By lex, on August 11th, 2009
I was re-reading this review of a new book on Communism – “Mankind’s Greatest Mistake” – in the July 4th Economist when I ran across a paragraph that made me smile:
The promised communist nirvana brought a mixture of mass murder, lies and latterly the grey reality of self-interested rule by authoritarian bureaucrats. But it was a bit late for second thoughts. Communist regimes proved remarkably durable, partly thanks to the use of privileges for the docile and intimidation of the independent-minded. Another source of strength was tight control of language and information that deemed most criticism unpatriotic.
It’d be almost too easy, I thought, to compare that sentiment to those expressed so recently * by the Speaker of the House and her deputy. But that’d be taking the trope too far, I thought. Whatever else their flaws and failures, neither Pelosi nor Hoyer are Communists of the old skull-cracking type, nor even whey-faced apparatchiks of an impersonal and self-interested bureaucracy.
I don’t think.
They’re just cocooned by sycophants, enablers and adorers who don’t know anyone who voted for Nixon. As a result they are quite serenely convinced of their own rectitude, not to mention the evil intentions of their political adversaries. Who are really only racist dupes voting against their own self-interest when they’re not exploitative capitalists, red in tooth and claw.
Because there’s no principled reason to object to another trillion dollar government program, no reason to fear the inevitable encroachment of a public option whose only fiscal limitations are how many public pockets can be picked or how much of the burden can be passed down to our demographically shrinking successors, and no reason to fear the kind of rationing that would, in any other market system, inevitably result from increasing demand without increasing supply.
No, we are supposed to take the blandishments of our political class at face value: Everyone will be covered. No one will have to join a public option plan who does not want to. Costs will be reduced. Quality will not suffer. You will not have to wait. Just, you know: Shut up.
I wasn’t going to mention it because, you know: This is democracy. It’s occasionally messy, but that’s what you get. The Democratic Party has made no effort to hide their plans to reform the US health care system, and in fact has run aggressively on that plank at least since Hillary presumed to speak for Bill. They’re just trying to keep their promises.
I wasn’t going to mention it until I read Ezra Klein’s latest in the WaPo, entitled “It’s democracy, not health care reform that is sick“:
What we’re seeing here is not merely distrust in the House health-care reform bill. It’s distrust in the political system. A healthy relationship does not require an explicit detailing of the “institutional checks” that will prevent one partner from beating or killing the other. In a healthy relationship, such madness is simply unthinkable. If it was not unthinkable, then no number of institutional checks could repair that relationship. Similarly, the relationship between the protesters and the government is not healthy.
This is revealing language, this definition of the relationship between the electorate and their representatives. Klein seems to believe that we are in some form of marriage relationship with government, that our romantic troth is unalterably plighted. He may even think – although he does not go so far in this essay – that government is in a paternalistic relationship to the people. That daddy knows best. So just shut up.
But we are taxpayers, not children. And congressmen are not our partners, but our employees.
It would be “healthy” for them to keep that in mind: Their contract comes up for renewal in 15 months.
* 09-09-2018 Link Gone; no replacements found. Was in neptunuslex.com – 08-10-2009 – Pelosi and Hoyer 52 Americans who are un-American Ed.