Green Room

The First Casualty Is Choice

posted at 6:03 pm on December 10, 2009 by

In the conclusion to his excellent indictment of the sheer arrogance of ObamaCare, Robert Tracinski of writes:

That is the final and perhaps most compelling reason to kill this bill: the sheer arrogance of the whole enterprise. It is the arrogance of stampeding an unwilling public toward a monstrous 2,000-page piece of legislation while admitting that it still has huge problems, but promising that it will all somehow be fixed later on. It’s the arrogance of selling us a bill that expands government spending by hundreds of billions of dollars while telling us that it will reduce the deficit. It is the sheer unmitigated gall of appointing a bureaucrat to run a government-controlled insurance market that takes away all of our health choices-and then calling this bureaucrat the Health Choices Commissioner.

The Orwellian splendor of the “Health Choices Commissioner” is consistent with the tendency of the President and his allies to promote the “choices” that will come with a government takeover of health insurance. This is insulting nonsense. When the government takes over anything, choice is the first casualty.

Government is defined by its ability to exercise compulsive force. This is its only resource. It has money only because it compels the payment of taxes. You are not allowed to choose which government agencies you want to pay for, or select a special discounted Libertarian Plan if you don’t want the full Trillion Dollar Deficit Platinum Membership. Its monopoly on compulsion means government’s every action involves the reduction of choices. You don’t have to force people to do something they freely choose to do.

Government sounds ominous and sinister when described this way, but we should remember that some restriction of choice is desirable. You cannot choose to murder your annoying neighbor, or drive at ninety miles per hour through a school zone. By ruling some actions out of bounds, and constructing a system of laws, society enhances the freedom of the law-abiding. Your daily menu of meaningful choices would be greatly reduced in a state of anarchy, where you were subject to the whims of gangs and warlords, and would be taking a grave risk by placing the slightest trust in neighbors and trading partners.

When government exceeds its just boundaries and begins exercising direct control over the economy, the choices available to its citizens inevitably suffer. High levels of taxation drain citizens of the single greatest instrument for implementing their will: money. Money is the force multiplier of free will. It provides you with a fantastic range of options. Money transforms the time you spend laboring at your job, and submitting to the needs and directives of others, into a resource that makes your leisure time vastly more productive and enjoyable. When government absorbs huge amounts of money from the population, it reduces their options for entertainment, travel, and countless other aspects of their lives.

Because money is so versatile, we experience the loss of choice through taxation in a gradual way, making it relatively painless. Payroll tax withholding is also a potent sedative. You barely feel the possibilities being drained away from you. The essential lesson of the Obama Administration is that this kind of painless energy drain is over. The ambitions of socialism can no longer be fulfilled by draining tax money from the middle class in mosquito bites, while the heavy-duty vampire attacks are reserved for the Evil Rich. ObamaCare is not an initiative to raise taxes and subsidize health care for the desperately poor. It’s all about commanding the economy and its citizens.

The cavalier disdain of Obama Democrats for the staggering cost of their health care plan is instructive. Fiscal solvency is not a matter of concern. Constitutional objections are literally laughed off. The goal is control, and that is the opposite of choice. Every aspect of the Democrat health care proposals has been about penalizing choices disagreeable to government, as in the concept of taxing “Cadillac” health care plans, or levying fines against people who don’t purchase government-mandated health insurance. Refusing to buy health care is a choice… and if ObamaCare passes, that choice will be ruled out of existence, converted into a crime comparable to exceeding the speed limit.

The defenders of government-run health insurance might say their plans will provide a smaller range of better choices to Americans. How would we ever know? Government is never held accountable for what lost treasures lie on the roads it forbids its citizens to take. It always insists on comparing its performance to phantasmal disaster scenarios of its own design, rather than the superior results that could have been achieved by free citizens without government interference. The State always measures its judgment in “jobs created or saved.” Only the happy recipients of “free” government money are counted when describing the “success” of the Cash for Clunkers program. Questions about what might have happened without the avalanche of government spending are not permitted.

The true value of choice can only be measured against the vast, chaotic, glorious sweep of possible futures that spill from the achievements, and mistakes, of free men and women… who have a collective gift for coming up with unexpected solutions, and meeting each others’ needs, in ways the architects of calcified government programs can never understand. Whatever the other merits of government-run health care, enhanced “choice” will not be among them, and anyone who tells you otherwise is playing you for a fool. If the statists get what they want, they’ll spend the rest of your life telling you not to worry your little head about all the choices that died under the weight of the Senate votes Harry Reid has been desperately scrambling to purchase with billions of your own dollars.

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It’s not just Orwellian. It’s Goebbelian, too. In fact, what if Obama is the reincarnation of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels? Impossible? See

NNtrancer on December 10, 2009 at 7:15 PM

…that choice will be ruled out of existence, converted into a crime comparable to exceeding the speed limit.

If only. Not too many moving violations that I know of are “…punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment of up to five years.”

Mike H on December 10, 2009 at 8:39 PM

Doc, you are good! Especially when you are fired up.

publiuspen on December 10, 2009 at 11:46 PM

Do not imagine, Doctor Zero, that leadership is a pleasure. On the contrary, it is a deep and heavy responsibility. No one believes more firmly than our Dear Emperor and Savior Barack Obama, Royal Queen Nancy Pelosi and High Prince Harry that all Americans should have their liberty and constitutional rights. They would be only too happy to let American citizens make their own choices for themselves, but sometimes America’s citizens might be racists, Nazis, political terrorists or dressed too well or not dressed well enough or just plain stupid and make the wrong choices, Doctor Zero, and then where would we be?

Now Doctor Zero you yet again stand accused of repeatedly using the unholy combination of meticulous logic and reason to try to convince the uppity unwashed peasants that they have the right and ability to stand up to their royalist betters. This is completely unacceptable as with malice of forethought it is molesting, tormenting, and otherwise greatly annoying our beloved Dear Leader and all his Royalist Forces and loyal subjects. Now, Doctor Zero, His Royal Majesty, Obama the Magnificent, ruler of all that he surveys, has instructed me to again give you fair warning, either you or your head must be off, and that in about half no time! Take your choice!

Cheshire Cat on December 11, 2009 at 12:35 AM

Of course Doc is right in the essentials here. One major problem I see is the general malaise in the American public. I have tried repeatedly to get friends and relatives to attend just one Tea Party with terrible results. “It’s too hot/cold/wet outside” “The football/racing/baseball game is on then” “Sounds good (then doesn’t show)”. It is hard to blame them, as not so long ago I did not want to know about how the sausage was made either.

There is still hope though, as these folks DO vote. For that, they will make time in their day. They might even write a check or two. So sway them.

GnuBreed on December 11, 2009 at 12:36 AM

Excellent job.

maverick muse on December 11, 2009 at 7:56 AM

/BTW, I’m still in HotAir’s Error 404 – page not found status.

maverick muse on December 11, 2009 at 7:58 AM

GnuBreed on December 11, 2009 at 12:36 AM

these folks DO vote. For that, they will make time in their day. They might even write a check or two. So sway them.

You’re right. Though they just aren’t up to being in a parade, that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy the parade, or that the tea parties don’t influence them with some energy to come out in their own fashion behind the scenes, even if it’s “just” voting, the ULTIMATE expression.

I was reading yesterday that Rasmussen attributes permanent relevance to results from people with a “strong opinion” on a subject because they don’t shift. Those poll results bear out through time; whereas, Rasmussen points to the ambivalence of results from those who poll with a moderate “somewhat approve/disapprove” opinion of a politician’s performance “at this time” as the influence of that opinion is transient at best.

The Tea Party protest movement reestablishes the sense of relevance to the Silent Majority. We share the same strong opinion about the socialist permeation of our government and our culture. Together, we unite the forces of our mutual repulsion for the leftist monopoly ruining what is Constitutional, that monopoly destroying balance of powers and rule of law, while also negating unalienable human rights along with our Bill of Rights as apply to US citizens.

Conservatives are nurturing new candidates to run for office. But just as not everyone is cut out to be the leader of the pack, without the pack, no leader succeeds. And every team needs support from those members in reserve and most certainly from the fans, not all of whom buy tickets and show up at the stadium since the majority cheer while viewing from the airwaves.

The Marxists and Frauds explain “why” they corrupt via Bill Clinton’s response: BECAUSE I COULD.

Americans stop Marxism because we can.

Good lead, Dr. Zero!

maverick muse on December 11, 2009 at 8:29 AM

Congress has already legislated ownership of all water, minerals and natural resources disregarding property titles and deeds, disavowing contract law as this Potus also disregards. Congress already handed over the US Treasury to the Federal Reserve banker monopoly, substantiating an Executive Order. Now Congress is about to hand over the nation’s purse strings to the Chief Executive. H.R. 4173, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009 would codify into law a bailout clause that authorizes the president to spend money without going through the appropriations phase. Beyond eliminating Congressional debate over the merits of whether tax funds should be spent, this Congress is unconstitutionally relinquishing its Constitutional budget control requirement to the Chief Executive, eliminating separation of powers while bloating the presidency into the position of a dictator who literally owns the media, destroying free speech with the iron grip of Marx. The President can dictate ideology and curriculum, and fund only his obedient researchers.

Our Constitutional Republic is monopolized by Marxists who are revising all powers unto themselves as Federal Authoritarians leaving us all their slaves. They dispossess us of our land, water, crops, homes, and business to destroy private property. They completely disregard the voice of the people. They are assuming ownership of our DNA, bodies and minds.

“Just Say No” to enslavement is not enough without Divine Providence, which is not enough to save* us without our own devotion to the Grand American Cause of Liberty. Honor our founding fathers and their gifts to our country, their Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution with the citizens’ Bill of Rights.

*Your faith has made you whole. Yet faith without works is dead. Exercise your faith in our Constitutional Republic by requiring the impeachment of fraud, to demand that officials conform to the supremacy of our Constitution and Bill of Rights over subsequent unconstitutional legislation they concoct to corrupt all reason.

An important lesson about faith is expressed through an experience with Jesus (Matthew 17:14-21 NKJV). And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. “So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.” Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

Who else has noted the latest determination that hunger is a crime that they won’t tolerate? Without fasting in prayer, many good results are forfeited, as understood ecumenically by spiritual people of all faiths. The propaganda supposedly to prevent children from suffering (good will) blankets the cure-all INTENDED consequence that will throw the babies out with the bathwater of “protection” that engenders enslavement. My point is to remind the reader that miracles often require faith, fasting and prayer in the effort to successfully dispel and eradicate the problem.

maverick muse on December 11, 2009 at 9:17 AM

Ah…reading one of Dr.Zero’s posts is so intellectually refreshing after going ten rounds with the wingnut lemmings on HA.

Common-sense points, reasonable balance in the positions taken, clear use of the English language, and good old fashioned LOGIC!

Keep up the good work Doc.

Dark-Star on December 11, 2009 at 1:57 PM

My point is to remind the reader that miracles often require faith, fasting and prayer in the effort to successfully dispel and eradicate the problem.
maverick muse on December 11, 2009 at 9:17 AM

And the Lord WILL answer – in one of three ways – Yes, No or Wait.

America has reached a crucial point in our history. We constantly hear the phrase “God bless America.” – But God has blessed America in abundance. Have we “blessed God” with our thanks and praise and adherence to “His ways?”

No. Thus, He is withdrawing His blessings and allowing “our will be done” – since we refuse “His will be done.” – And the consequences are so obvious – if one just stops to see.

We ignore God at our own peril.

Thank you for reminding all of us about Truth!

Oopsdaisy on December 11, 2009 at 6:56 PM

My point is to remind the reader that miracles often require faith, fasting and prayer in the effort to successfully dispel and eradicate the problem.
maverick muse on December 11, 2009 at 9:17 AM

Forgot to “quote Maverick on last post – sorry!

Oopsdaisy on December 11, 2009 at 6:58 PM