Monday, November 4, 2013

Common Senselessness

One who is habitually surrounded by persons of intellect and percipience can easily forget that, as the old saying goes, half of Mankind is below average. Worse, even the most gifted among us occasionally "down tools" in service to wishful thinking. In this connection, have a gander at this bit of incredulity from Victor Davis Hanson:

If [ObamaCare] was passed through coercion, noble lies, and subterfuge, and ushered in with the same, why would anyone believe it will not operate in the same spirit and practice? Why should everyone who has insurance expect to believe that he was simply given it and that everyone who doesn’t was deprived of it, when millions made difficult and costly choices not to play the odds while at least a few million others in no different circumstances embraced different choices?

The implications are inexorable and irrefutable...but to whom has Dr. Hanson addressed them? His usual readers hardly needed to be told any of that. Those to whom it would be potentially illuminating are unlikely ever to encounter it...and a hefty fraction thereof, probably more than half, would fail to grasp it.

Nor is that uniformly because of an inability to comprehend it.

Consider the following picture, which I stole from Battlefield USA:

The arithmetic is off, but there's a germ of insight in the concept. The $900 billion the Obama Administration originally projected to be the ten-year cost of ObamaCare comes to about $30,000 for each American, or $250 per month for every month of that period -- and the projection was lowballed by a factor of three or more. Inasmuch as a family of four, pre-ObamaCare, could routinely purchase a high-deductible (typically about $3000) medical insurance policy for about $450 per month, wouldn't the supposed goal of ObamaCare have been more directly and economically attained by subsidizing the cost of medical insurance?

There are other, similar cases. For example, the amount spent by the Department of Health and Human Services in any single year would suffice, if distributed to the "poor" as outright cash gifts, to eliminate "poverty" completely. So why do we still have poor people?

Is it plausible that the persons who operate those programs and departments are unaware of this? Indeed, is it plausible that anyone unable to do long division would rise to such a height in the federal bureaucracy?

Don't all answer at once, now.

In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's tale The Sign Of The Four, the inimitable Sherlock Holmes says to his sidekick Dr. Watson, "How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?" And it is so. At the very least, "whatever remains" must be a superset of the truth, within which one may locate the truth with penetration and diligence. So: If we have reduced to absurdity the proposition that ObamaCare was erected for the purpose of assisting Americans in the purchase of "affordable" medical insurance, what possibilities remain?

  1. The enlargement of the permanent dependent class;
  2. A new mechanism for robbery via "crony capitalism;"
  3. Power for specific individuals in the Obama Administration.

Any or all of these possibilities might be true. The first two are already visibly in operation. Given the perpetuation of the Obamunists' scheme, the third will arise over time. I can think of no other outcome of the Affordable Care Act that can be linked to a motive known to men.

If the set above is complete, what does it tell us about the character -- not the achievements nor the personalities, but the moral character -- of the persons who have imposed ObamaCare upon these United States?

Men are capable of deluding themselves. Therefore, it is quite possible that many within the Obama Administration have persuaded themselves, at least superficially, that they serve the "greater good." They may even believe that they are "sacrificing themselves" on the altar of "public service." They certainly make enough such statements before audiences of wide-eyed college students.

We in the Right have a charming yet deplorable tendency toward political naivety. We strain to think the best of our adversaries in the political sphere. We want to believe that their ultimate aims are as benevolent as ours, even if we must wish away the evidence of our senses and the deductions of our minds to do so. We cannot abide the suggestion that President Smith, who claims so insistently to have the well-being of all men as his one and only aim, might really be an American O'Brien:

"The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power....The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?"...

"Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress towards more pain. The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement....All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always -- do not forget this, Winston -- always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever." [From George Orwell's 1984]

...the idea is just too horrible to contemplate, because of the possibilities it implies for every human heart, including one's own.

Yet to one who lacks the insight, or the intellect, or the energy, or the perseverance to achieve greatly on his own, without conscripting unwilling others, what other path to "greatness" is there? When you look open-eyed, without presumptions, at the creatures that have infested our federal government and made it into the wallow of corruption and brutality we endure, what else could you possibly imagine of them?

If there is a single absolute necessity before us who love freedom and want it back it is to press O'Brien's six critical words into the American consciousness so firmly that they become indelible:

The Object Of Power Is Power.

It is a fatal mistake ever to concede power to one who seeks it. His intentions, even if wholesome and sincere, do not matter. Even the seemingly allowable power of taxation for Constitutionally licit purposes is infected with the germ of totalitarianism, for as with all coercive privileges, it is inherently unlimited, a license to kill those who resist too strenuously. Equally, it acts as a magnet upon those to whom power over others is their foremost desire -- and among such there is a hierarchy through which one can only ascend by ever-increasing brutality and ruthlessness.

Ayn Rand said it best:

"When force is made the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket." [From Atlas Shrugged]

This must become the common sense of Americans. Nothing else will suffice.


furball said...

Fran, I don't own a gun and I am a coward.

But at the least I would think we should "get rid of public sector unions."

How? I don't know. Your fictional President could do it. I think even FDR said public employees shouldn't be unionized. But here we are.

Reagan "did something" when he "did something" about those guys who tracked planes. But - as you can tell by my description almost 30 years later - it wasn't enough.

Some guy in Game Of Thrones said, Power resides where men believe it resides."

It's past time we deny the power of bureaucrats and departments like the EPA, where Congress gave an executive department law-making, judicial and sovereign power over individuals.

How do we do that, short of shooting them? We can't vote them out because they weren't elected. Our own pusillanimous Congress voted these bureaucracies in.

I remember in the late 60s and early 70s hearing about general strikes in England. I thought the idea was crazy - something like cutting your nose off to spite your face.

Now I hear people like Denninger and Barnhardt talking about a tax (or general) strike, and it seems like the best we can do, short of armed insurrection. When Roberts supports O'care and Kelo is the law of the land, what choice do we have?

If we had real federalism, I'd vote with my feet and move to another state. But Lincoln quashed that. And New Zealand and other countries make it very difficult for Americans to move there. (Given what happened to Colorado, who can blame them?)

So, we've got a million bureaucrats running our government, no matter who gets elected. We've got unions - public and private - in bed with our policy-makers for their own advantage. And we've got crony-capitalism in health-care, wall-street, agriculture much of business.

Finally, we have a media that does NOT dig into things like Benghazi or the IRS scandals, and an educational system that bends over backwards for multiculturalism and political correctness rather than teaching math, English, economics or history.

I know, you're almost as old as I am. You're tired, etc. We don't have interstellar travel, and we'd rather not shoot the bastards.

Where do we go?

What do we do?

Well, there are about 4.4 million people in New Zealand. How about if 6 million of us zoom down there ASAP? True, it's not nice to take someone else's country.

But New Zealand went out of their way to balance their budget and face up to reality. They'd hate us for coming in, but we'd at least match their values.

Or how about Iceland?

Listen to the politicians and media and schools of America. Is this a country you believe in?

Why not leave?

Anonymous said...

Why not leave? Because you'll be running for the rest of your life. You, Furball, claim to be a coward then propose to take over another's territory? I guess you'll have someone else do the dirty work for you.

Your belief that public sector unions are to blame is a convenient scapegoat but the problems are way deeper than a small (7%) collective body negotiating for pay and benefits. I've been on both sides of that isle nothing is as simple as you have stated.

America is not just a geographic spot on a globe, it is an ideal. And those ideals that defined this country's heart and soul have been slowly and deliberately twisted so that few even comprehend what it means to be American. The welfare state, "entitlements" and a growing section of the populous that believes that they are owed something is what is destroying America. The politicians are more that happy to provide for these parasites because in return for their souls they get more power. We all know how that ends.

The fist step in reversal of this trend is recognition and then confronting the takers for what they are...thieves and destroyers of civilization.

There's no magic formula to fix this but there is a receipt of ingredients that can start all on the path of prosperity. It begins with the truth. Call out the liars and fools when they prattle about their collective ways, stop ignoring the lies and confront them. Heck it usually is fun to watch them when twisting and contorting to escape the truth. There will be a point that true Americans are going to be pushed to far and it's rapidly approaching. True Americans have not lost their spine they just are being overrun by non-Americans. And by non-Americans I mean those of thought, words and deeds that run counter to the ideals of liberty and freedom.

I've ranted enough...running will not solve anything.

Mr.Porretto I've enjoyed reading your site, thanks for your insights and time.


J.P. Travis said...

"His usual readers hardly needed to be told any of that. Those to whom it would be potentially illuminating are unlikely ever to encounter it... and a hefty fraction thereof, probably more than half, would fail to grasp it."

You've just expressed the fear of every freedom loving website owner in America - that we are preaching to the choir. And a smaller and smaller choir at that. As literacy fades and Twitter becomes the favored mode of conversation, as the average age of the adequately educated marches further and further north of retirement age, how will we ever explain to our grandchildren what they have lost?