The Second Declaration of Indepencence

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Why Conservatives Lost the Health Care Battle

By Jacob Hornberger
View all 43 articles by Jacob Hornberger

The reason that conservatives bit the dust in the recent health-care battle is simple: their fateful decision to abandon their principles many decades ago cost them any chance of defeating President Obama's socialist health-care plan.

Think back to the 1960s, when liberals were celebrating the enactment of LBJ's Medicare and Medicaid plans as much as they are celebrating Obama's plan today. Those were the halcyon days when the statists were proclaiming that Medicare and Medicaid would bring a health-care paradise to America.

At the time conservatives were warning Americans against traveling down this road to socialism, a road to serfdom, a road that would lead to national bankruptcy, a road to where socialism has led Greece today.

But Americans wouldn't listen. Surrendering to the siren's song of the statists, the American people embraced Medicare and Medicaid (and the welfare state), in the process ditching what was once the finest health-care system in the world, one based on freedom and free markets.

Conservatives realized that they had an important choice to make -- whether to adhere to their free-market principles or to join the statists. Fearing that they would lose political power and "legitimacy" and "credibility" with the mainstream press, they chose to throw in the towel and join the statists. They embraced Medicare and Medicaid (and Social Security and the rest of the welfare state) with eagerness and enthusiasm, sometimes, it seems, even trying to appear more statist than the liberals.

Meanwhile, libertarian free-market thinkers were continuing to warn Americans what lay ahead.

Friedrich Hayek, whose famous book The Road to Serfdom had been published in 1944, continued to sound the warnings.

Ludwig von Mises was pointing out that one government intervention would inevitably lead to future interventions to deal with the crises produced by previous interventions.

In his 1962 book Capitalism and Freedom, Milton Friedman included a chapter in which he called for an end to medical licensure.

Putting all this together inevitably led any devotee of liberty to but one conclusion: that the root cause of America's health-care woes lay in the socialism of Medicare and Medicaid and the interventionism of medical licensure and insurance regulation. As these government programs developed over time, the health-care crisis grew bigger and bigger, producing more and more distortions and perversions, leading statist proponents to call for ever-increasing new socialist and interventionist programs.

So, where did that leave conservatives in the latest health-care debate? It left them with nothing. Concerned about legitimacy, credibility, and power, they couldn't bring themselves to call for the only real solution there is to a crisis produced by decades of socialism and interventionism: Repeal (i.e., don't reform) Medicare, Medicaid, medical licensure, and insurance regulation (along with the taxes that fund them).

Yet, calling for nothing would have left conservatives in the position of implicitly defending the continuation of the nation's health-care crisis. So, they took the predictable course: They proposed their own alternative reform plan, which simply called for a bit less socialism and interventionism than Obama's plan.

That leaves the libertarians to lead the way. Ever since conservatives threw in the towel, libertarians have assumed the difficult task of sounding the warnings against socialism and interventionism and striking at the root of the welfare state rather than trimming its branches.

Can we succeed in bringing about a change in course, one away from socialism and interventionism and toward freedom and free markets? Sure, but we must never permit ourselves to do what conservatives did. We must continue adhering to our principles and our integrity and to speaking the truth. It is, of course, no guarantee of success but it provides the only real chance there is of restoring a free, prosperous, harmonious, and healthy society to our land.

1 comment:

  1. The legitimacy of putrefied politics is simply the licensing of bad behavior by bad behavior. When ever a conservative member of the house or senate complains about the blatant and illegal practices of the progressive left, the accused simply needs to points out the facts that the conservatives have already used the same tactics somewhere before.

    It makes no difference that the circumstance may have been greatly different and lacked the capacity or intentions to destroy an entire nation, but the damage was done, never the less, and credibility has been lost.

    This is why it is so vitally important that we change the way we treat politicians in general. We can no longer tolerate politicians that can run on a campaign promise that they have no desire, intension or capability of keeping.

    We have become completely anesthetized to the campaign lies and rhetoric of our politicians for way too many generations and it has come home to bite us. For proof, we need only to observe the parliamentary antics of the house or senate to see just how blatantly insubordinate our elected officials have become to the desires and wishes of the voters. The voters no longer count, except to be used as pawns to regain election, to keep pumping money into the well and to fill the military ranks.

    Why is it not a treasonable offense to swear to uphold the laws of the land i.e. the Constitution of the United States of America and then in turn disobey and or even trash it on every turn?

    Why are these public officials allowed to stay in office after willfully and blatantly breaking their solemn oath?

    When did it become acceptable that our elected officials could become corrupt and use their position of power for ill gotten gains without fear of punitive action? Now day’s most corrupt officials hardly make any effort to hide their nefarious deeds because they know that there is no one in power who cares or who dares to point a finger.

    Where is the overriding authority to ensure that these elected politicians do uphold the law and sworn oath of office?

    Perhaps “We the People” need to read up on the Constitution and discover that it is “We the People” that are the ones who have the authorization “Vested by the Constitution” to oversee our elected officials and to hold them accountable for their actions.

    Perhaps we will also learn that it was written in the Constitution, or rather “The Bill of Rights” by our wise forefathers, that “We the People” have the right to own and to bear arms in the event that our elected officials did become insubordinate and corrupt, in order that we may prevent tyranny and enslavement from our government.