The Obama administration has made a terrible mistake.
On Tuesday, August 4, the White House posted a blog entry enjoining Americans to spy on one another, and to report any "disinformation" which might undermine the administration's health-care reform:
"There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there. Since we can't keep track of all of them here at the White House, we're asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to email@example.com."
How can an American president think to embrace such open Orwellian thuggishness? The answer is a noxious combination of (1) liberal moral obtuseness, and (2) the naked lust for power which has characterized the political left since Robespierre. (The political designation sinistra in fact originates with the French Revolution: Jacobins sat to the left of president's chair in the Third Estate.)
For liberals, the morally correct stance on every issue is by definition the liberal one. It is a moral imperative that everyone have health insurance, consequences be damned. To cite possible negative repercussions of liberal policies is to reveal yourself to be ethically and intellectually degenerate. Just look at what liberal pundits and politicians are saying about anti-Obamacare protesters: Paul Krugman vilifies them as racists; to Nancy Pelosi, they are literally Nazis.
Got that, America? If you're against government-run health care, you're not just a Nazi, you're a racist Nazi. Liberals cannot help but think in such terms; their views to them are so enlightened that to oppose them is to automatically render one unfit for discourse...and unworthy of respect. The irony, lost on Pelosi et al, is that, if there had been a few more freedom-loving citizens in 1930's Germany protesting government take over of industry, there may never have been a Nazi regime.
Then there is the left's all-consuming thirst for power. It animates the tactics of ACORN and Union head busters; the methods advocated in Saul Alinsky's community-organizing manifesto Rules for Radicals. It gave rise to the notoriously corrupt political culture of the Chicago machine, in which fetid waters Obama bathed and came to political maturity.
The White House wants to be appraised of "fishy" things? Very well. Let us appraise them. Let us send them every study by every reputable research institute - Heritage, CATO, AEI, Galen, Pacific Research - which uses solid economic and historical data to argue against Obamacare; send them every op-ed or article written by any respected economist, author, or pundit (and they are legion) who makes a solid case against further government intrusion into health care. But if they really want fishy, send them this report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, which gives the lie to the president's assertion that his reform measures will reduce costs. Instead, according the CBO, Obama's proposals would produce economically suicidal deficits as far as the eye can see.
The White House's blog may be illegal - some experts claim it is a clear violation of the Privacy Act of 1974, which places strict legal limits on how and why federal agencies can collect and maintain data on private citizens (instituted - rightfully so - after Nixon's abuses). Whether or not it is illegal, it is certainly repugnant for the president to ask us to spy on his political opponents for him.
Really, what country does he think this is?
Matt Patterson is a National Review Institute Washington Fellow and the author of "Union of Hearts: The Abraham Lincoln & Ann Rutledge Story." His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.