Lynne and I stayed up watching C-SPAN late into the night on Sunday, drawn to the House debacle like spectators at a car crash. The scene––”kabuki theatre,” as one Republican Congressman put it––was almost surreal. Democrats were actually using Social Security and Medicare, the two largest and most crippling wealth redistribution programs in American history, as evidence in favor of the health care “reform” bill. How can this happen here?
Gus van Horn summarized the event perfectly in his post this morning:
In a historic vote yesterday, the Democratic Party told the American people to go to hell -- and tried to send them on their way -- by passing an unpopular bill that threatens to adversely affect the life of every man, woman, and child in this country. Far from being a “credit to Nancy Pelosi’s savvy,” this bill is simply another indicator that something is horribly wrong, culturally, with America. . . It is a manifestation of the cultural rot that occurs when enough people accept or fail to challenge the idea of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”
One thing that is encouraging, however, is that the American public is largely opposed to this bill. Of course there are millions who support it––resentful and impotent intellectuals, mediocrities who go along with the crowd, vultures looking for a cut of the loot––but there are many more who know (or at least suspect) that something is very, very wrong. The fact that enough tricks were employed to finally push this bill through shows us that there are a lot of delusional people on Capitol Hill, but it does not necessarily signal a collapse of the American spirit in ordinary citizens.
The real silver lining here is that the takeover is so outrageous, there is already a call for its repeal. This is a huge opportunity. A repeal could trigger more repeals, rolling back the welfare state and restoring freedom. Naturally, there is a lot of work to do in a short amount of time; the whole culture must change. But that change––a turn away from sacrifice and duty, and toward reason and rational self-interest––is something that Americans, more than anyone else in the world, are amenable to. To stand on one’s own feet, to earn one’s own living, to be neither a slave nor a slave-master, is what it means to be an American in spirit.