November 21, 2009
Pirate PoliticsBy John Leonard
The movie Pirate Radio is loosely based on the true story of a collection of renegade disc-jockeys that broadcast rock and roll from a ship on the open seas after that music was banned from the airwaves by a repressive British government during the mid-1960s. The trailer for the comedy depicts two ominous moments interspersed among a number of hilarious scenes. The first occurs when government official Sir Alistair Dormandy (played by actor Kenneth Branaugh) responds to a colleague's suggestion the broadcasters no longer violate any laws by saying: "That's the whole point of being in government. If you don't like something, you simply make it illegal."
The second moment is when actor "Quentin" (Bill Nighy) begs "The Count" (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) not to drop the f-bomb on the airwaves. Hoffman suggests that in their life as pirates, they are beyond the reach of government. Quentin's response is simply, "They will find a way. Governments loathe people being free."
Our federal government in Washington apparently shares that same loathing for freedom. Our freedom to choose the health care coverage we want is under assault. In complete disregard for the wishes of a majority of the American people, the legislation exercises the power to take away the choice of a young person out of college with limited income and no history of health problems to forgo the expensive medical insurance not provided by his or her employer, under threat of fines and possibly incarceration for failure to comply.
When considering the recent passage of "health care reform" by the House of Representatives, one must conclude that our freedom is being subjugated under the guise of providing affordable, government-mandated health care for everyone. The phrase "health care reform" itself is oxymoronic because the bill isn't about health care and does nothing to reform it. Instead, it attacks the medical insurance business and reforms the tax code only to increase government's control over the financial pie. The bill is about demonizing a private industry averaging a profit margin less than three percent of revenue in favor of ever-increasing government regulation over "competition" in the business.
The House bill is purely about power and control. If it were truly about providing affordable coverage for the neediest people, there wouldn't be a six-month waiting period of exemption for preexisting conditions. Really sick people will be dead before government help is ever available to them.
The mechanism by which public approval is sought for this insidious government control is one I have termed "oppositional positioning." The technique is simple: State a position no sane person can oppose and then claim all supporters of the cause share that generic position and all opponents are unreasonable fools. Something like "I'm for clean air."
For example, the advocates of "health care reform" say they support affordable, quality health care for every American. The implication that it doesn't already exist is based on the claim that forty seven million Americans need such insurance but don't have it and can't get it. These claims are based on dubious numbers (counterarguments place the number as low as twelve million) and the ludicrous assertion that our economic woes are all directly attributable to a lack of affordable health care.
Democrat Congressman Alan Grayson actually claimed on the floor of the House of Representatives the Republican plan called for people to die, and die quickly. Contrast his statement with his party's actual position on issues like abortion and his president's famous line about Mom popping the pain pill rather than having the surgery. Rush Limbaugh has been ridiculed for needing successful treatment for prescription drug addiction years after his cure, but it's perfectly fine to turn Mom into a junkie. Hypocrisy, thy party is Democrat.
The most ridiculous assertion made by some politicians recently has been that people have died because they lacked health insurance. This implies that people aren't dying of diseases or serious illnesses, and government-mandated health care will prevent death. This simply defies logic. As Ronald Reagan famously said, "The scariest words in the English language are 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help you.'"
Think back to your last experience with government bureaucracy. Maybe you renewed your driver's license at the Department of Motor Vehicles, or, God forbid, you had to file for unemployment recently like ten percent of the rest of us. Maybe you were in a long line at the post office and watched as a clerk looked uninterestedly at the growing crowd and took her break at that very moment.
Then consider that in the future, that may well be your typical experience getting an appointment to see your doctor.
Opponents of this legislation disagree with both the premise and goal of the bill. Republicans called to improve health care via tort reform and the allowance of insurance companies to offer medical coverage across state lines. These two changes would facilitate a reduction in the cost of insurance, but they are anathema to Democrats because they hurt Democrats' core constituency -- the trial lawyers -- and they do nothing to increase Democrat power.
A majority of the American people vehemently oppose the new health care bill, but it is being rammed down our throat by a highly partisan Congress voting along strict party lines. Despite the crushing blows recently dealt to our economy, Washington is determined to force a bad bill through without regard for the cost to our economy. The bill will blow up the deficit and will fail to accomplish what the politicians claim their goals to be.
Machiavelli said, "Absolute power corrupts absolutely." What else can explain the corruption of decent men (and women) but capitulation to the intoxicating effects of power?
Republicans in the previous administration added a huge new government entitlement with prescription drugs through Medicare. Now the Democrats are trying to up the ante by confiscating over twenty percent of the nation's economy by forcing this legislation through under the guise of providing health care benefits for all. Buying votes by wielding political influence seems to be the modus operandi in vogue these days.
Obviously "The Boat That Rocked" (British title of the film) must have a happy ending in which the pirates win, or rock and roll music would not be what it is today. Our best hope for a happy ending to this proposed fiasco known as health care reform is that it dies in the Senate.
Our freedom will remain secure if Congress heeds the words of the brilliant economist Walter Williams, who said that the problem with the Bill of Rights is that it goes too far. Only the first five words are necessary: "Congress shall make no law."
If this bill passes, we need to make every last one of these political pirates walk the plank during the next election cycle.