What Freedom Demands

Tonight, self-appointed wise men in Washington are steamrolling the objections of sixty to seventy percent of the population, and forcing a massive health-care bill down our throats “for our own good.” Presumably the backroom deals, corrupt payoffs, Congressional Budget Office accounting tricks, threats of unconstitutional parliamentary maneuvers, and betrayals of principle are also for our own good. What do you know? Banana republics turn out to be the highest evolution of government – the only form of the State equipped to take proper care of its citizens, by lying to them and trapping them in legislative cages over their howling protests.

Tonight is not the end of the ObamaCare saga, but it does mark the beginning of a slow turn by the American ship of state. It doesn’t have to be a turn to the left. On the contrary, it could be the first overture in a rebirth of our commitment to freedom, and the last gasp of an exhausted statist ideology, long overdue for its disposal in the waste bin of history.

The decision is up to us. Our representatives will fight various legislative battles in the months to come… and then we will speak in November. As the voters of the United States ponder what to say, it would profit us to think long and hard about the freedom Democrats are trying to take from us tonight, and what freedom demands.

Yes, it makes demands. Freedom is not a gift. It is not given to you by the government, in a precise dosage that can be adjusted to match a politician’s diagnosis of what ails the body politic. Your forefathers won an impossible Revolution against an invincible foe to declare the self-evident truth that your rights descend from your Creator. Whether that Creator is a transcendent God, or a random combination of genetic material in the primordial soup, it is a power that existed before the first king assumed his throne, or the first president was elected. Liberty burns in your imagination, flows through your veins, and rings through your words.

This radiant idea has burned through all the bloody clouds of the last three centuries: you are not clay to be sculpted by the will of another. You are not a racially inferior inconvenience, to be marched into a concentration camp. You aren’t a class enemy to be exiled by dictators. You are not a disposable cog in the machinery of collectivist economics, or a mouth to be starved by the failure of collective agriculture. You are an American, and through a dereliction of their duty as elected representatives, the Democrats have forced you to choose whether you will retain the full measure of the honor and dignity your Constitution asserts for you.

If you choose to obey their demands, it will be the last such choice you make. Your opinion was disregarded on this travesty of a health-care bill. It will not be solicited in the future. Fifteen thousand new IRS agents will ensure that you comply with endless future “adjustments” to socialized insurance, until it mutates into socialist medicine, and bankrupts us along with the crushing weight of other unsustainable entitlements. On that dark day, you will be fighting battles, not making choices.

Like your muscles, heart, and lungs, freedom is a part of you, and it makes demands. You cannot exercise freedom in the absence of responsibility. That means you must accept the challenges of a complex, fast-moving world. You must exercise your influence in that world, and money is the medium of exchange that transforms your labor into your will. You have to demand the best return on your investments, and the best quality for your purchases. This requires education, to gather the information necessary for making wise decisions.

We are currently paying the price for decades of turning away from those demands, and trusting government to insure our quality of life. It’s understandable. The free market is huge and powerful, and it does not pause to adore the millions of individuals passing through it… and occasionally stumbling. We feel overwhelmed by the waves of information crashing around us. In the case of an arcane discipline like medicine, we don’t feel as if we understand it well enough to make informed decisions, and our will is expressed through an insurance system that has already been turned into an incomprehensible mess by government regulation. It would be so easy to let righteous politicians with limitless power and money take care of us, tapping into the vast fortunes of the super-rich for the benefit of all, and transforming health care into a “human right” – which means the little people won’t have to think about it any more.

If you are in thrall to this temptation, consider what you are being asked to surrender. Hidden in ObamaCare’s thousands of pages are countless legislative snares, and subsidies designed to convert your freedom into benefits for favored constituencies. The money drained from our economy into this health-care sinkhole will reduce your freedom – even when it’s money from the wallets of other people. That’s because a collapsing free market will eliminate choices and options you currently take for granted. Mandates that wipe out part-time employment will destroy services your family needs. Jobs shipped overseas to avoid crushing penalties are employment opportunities forever denied to you. Higher taxes on corporations slither down to you as elevated prices on goods you may no longer be able to afford.

A swelling government reduces the size of the private sector… the galaxy in which free Americans burn as stars. Common sense tells you that a nation with a gigantic government is less free. What is the proper name for a system in which the State controls everything, and the private sector is completely gone? Why should free men applaud heavy steps taken in that direction? What about the freedom of Bart Stupak’s constituents, who foolishly trusted him to resist the tyranny of forcing pro-life taxpayers to fund abortions? Today they watched Stupak’s honor shrivel into a meaningless piece of paper, offered by a compulsive liar, whose every commitment comes with an expiration date.

The call of freedom requires you to turn away easy solutions offered by corrupt politicians. It’s not a “solution” anyway – just the gateway to another, heavier imposition on your liberty down the line. If its authors believed otherwise, why would they use tricks and lies to chisel out a “deficit-neutral” ten-year forecast from the Congressional Budget Office? A free man dismisses such deception with contempt, and demands to know what happens in Year Eleven. A free woman looks at a “crisis” in a heavily regulated market and commands government to remove itself to undo the damage it has already caused. What is the final form of a State that is rewarded for its failures with more power? We already know that name, don’t we?

Tonight, the Democrat Party declares war on the American middle class. They are gambling on the forced creation of an entitlement we’ll be too exhausted and weary to reject – no matter how poor its quality, corrupt its inception, or unbearable its cost. We do have one last chance to strike this down. There is no reason any Democrat up for re-election in 2010 or 2012 needs to retain their seats. They don’t own those seats, any more than the Kennedys owned Massachussetts. There’s no reason the Democrats need to exist as a viable political party after 2012. Obama can be their last President.

It would be incredible if the American people could bring about such a transformation of their decadent political class, in these coming elections.

Sometimes freedom demands that you do the incredible to preserve it.

Cross-posted at www.doczero.org.