I have read various portions of one of health care reform bills (HB3200) and found over the last few months that most people don't really want to have a discussion it. My experience has been that as soon as you start to address specific items in the bill or how they are worded and try to get people to talk about the potential ramifications and ultimate effect of these things, the conversation rapidly comes to an end. I would have to say that the majority of the people I have had conversations with have NO idea what various portions of the bill actually say. A part of the problem also comes from the fact that most of our politicians also have no idea what is in the bill since every committee has amended the bill and we no longer require these amendments or the bill to be read from the floor.
As a nation we have descended into a cynical and self-serving ochlocracy (mob rule) in which we not only expect but demand that our government provide and be responsible for our well-being, health, children, and indeed our livelihood and security. Yet we forget that we – each individual - are the source of this government largesse, and we choose to believe that we will benefit at the expense of the better off who “can afford it.”
In 1946, Henning W. Prentis spoke at the Newcomen Society of England in Montreal regarding the United States: "Paradoxically enough, the release of initiative and enterprise made possible by popular self-government ultimately generates disintegrating forces from within. Again and again after freedom has brought opportunity and some degree of plenty, the competent become selfish, luxury-loving and complacent, the incompetent and the unfortunate grow envious and covetous, and all three groups turn aside from the hard road of freedom to worship the Golden Calf of economic security. The ancient systole and diastole of history has repeated itself in country after country: From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to courage; from courage to freedom; from freedom to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to fear; from fear to dependency; and from dependency back to bondage once more. In the United States we stand today at the complacency - apathy stage.
At the stage between apathy and dependency, men always turn in fear to economic and political panaceas. New conditions, it is claimed, require new remedies. Under such circumstances, the competent citizen is certainly not a fool if he insists upon using the compass of history when forced to sail uncharted seas. Usually so-called new remedies are not new at all. Compulsory planned economy, for example, was tried by the Chinese some three millenniums ago, and by the Romans in the early centuries of the Christian era. It was applied in Germany, Italy and Russia long before the present war broke out. Yet it is being seriously advocated today as a solution of our economic problems in the United States. Its proponents confidently assert that government can successfully plan and control all major business activity in the nation, and still not interfere with our political freedom and our hard-won civil and religious liberties. The lessons of history all point in exactly the reverse direction."
Prentis stated that we stand amid the complacency-apathy stage. I believe we have moved beyond to the dependency-fear stage, and with the passage of this bill we will indeed seal ourselves back into bondage. For what the government giveth, that same government can indeed take away. A most apropos quote often attributed either to Lord Tytler or to Alexis de Tocqueville: "A Democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only last until the citizens discover they can vote themselves largesse out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that the Democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy, to be followed by a dictatorship, then by a monarchy."
But I have not yet given up hope! Eugene Wilson said it well at Hillyer College in 1950: "If the above is taken as a statement of natural law, then we are doomed. However, history records that early civilizations have often responded to a challenge and then gone on to a higher plane. In other words the expression is cyclic in character with different degrees of amplitude and different frequencies. My faith in the underlying character of the American people persuade me that, despite periods of weak leadership, we will check the downswing before it is too late."
While not politically correct or in vogue at this turbulent time in our nation’s history, it is both factual and true that we are a nation that is great and influential. Yet at this time we stand at a crossroads. On the one hand a future which seems at first glance to be right and true, yet pandering to the voices of the many who cry for security and provision from the government in the name of ‘fairness’. Down that road is a dark future enslaved to the masses of the self-serving, both politicians and citizen alike, which leads to repression (through law and force both), tyranny, and revolution. On the other hand is a future full of liberty and risk, hardship and reward, and great potential and promise.
When the time comes for you to cast your vote in the next election, which road will you choose? Will it be the road of those who promise security for you at the expense of others, bringing tyranny as your reward for bringing them to power? Or will you vote for those who offer the chance for liberty and fulfillment in return for persistence and self-sufficiency?