April 12, 2010
As we approach April 15th and the next round of public protests against the collectivization of our American culture by the Obama administration and Congress, I have been reflecting upon the struggle that we recently lost with the passage of the draconian health care legislation, which now moves the government another giant step forward towards becoming our totalitarian master, while at the same time destroying the very citizen rights it was charged with protecting.
We could blame our representatives in Congress for failing to actually represent the great majority of us who opposed this nationalization of the medical and insurance professions. We could point to the many cowards among them who sold out their values, their conscience, and their constituents for a few dollars or some special backroom deal. And we could certainly point to the underhanded and unconstitutional tactics that were used to completely bypass the normal legislative process in order to ram this bill down our throats. But there is another reason that we lost this battle — one for which we have to accept responsibility, acknowledge our mistakes, and correct.
When Obama and the Democrats stated that health care in America was broken and must be reformed, what was the response? The Republicans jumped right on the bandwagon, conceded that, yes indeed, health care was busted, and then proposed their own plans for its renovation. Over the next few months, my state representative sent out a series of proposals indicating that he and his fellow Republicans had at least three different and much better sets of ideas for how the government should regulate the insurance and medical professions in order to achieve far superior results to those being proposed by the Democrats. And it wasn’t just the Republicans. There were reform alternatives being proposed by everyone from conservative and libertarian think tanks to syndicated newspaper columnists, and these proposals were supported in varying degrees by bloggers, social networks, Tea Party groups, and individuals, as a better and more rational solution to the need for health care reform.
The problem with all of this was that the original assumption went unchallenged — Obama’s claim that the insurance and health care industries were, in fact, broken.
Over the course of the past year, we have learned a great many things about how we arrived at our current state of health care coverage. And the bottom line is that our system has absolutely nothing to do with how high quality, cost effective health care could and would be obtained in a competitive free market. Instead, what we have is the abominable end result of a steady stream of foolish government tax policies extending back to World War II, combined with an insane set of regulations placed upon doctors, nurses, medical practices, hospitals and insurers, causing them to act suboptimally and in a manner neither in their, nor their customer’s best interest. It is these market-distorting policies which must be eliminated if we ever wish to improve medical service and reduce costs. Yet, even when these facts have been properly identified and appropriate solutions suggested, they were always presented as an alternate solution for health care reform. And this is our mistake! It is not the medical or the insurance industries which are in need of repair. It is the government policies which cripple their normal functions that is the true source of the problem. We do not need, nor do we want any type of health care reform. What we are truly seeking is GOVERNMENT REFORM!
Words are powerful tools. We lost the battle because we allowed our opponents to frame the nature of the issue, which immediately accorded to them an undeserved legitimacy for their position, while undermining ours. Each time we spoke of health care reform, we were implicitly agreeing that the source of the problem resided somewhere within the medical and insurance arenas, and were then reduced to merely arguing about the specific details that constituted the best possible fix. And by accepting their framework, we allowed the Democrats to turn the doctors, insurers, pharmaceutical and medical device makers into scapegoats for the results of the government’s own failed policies. We had lost the fight before we began it.
Consider just how different the debate would have gone if the Republican opposition had stood up and proposed Government Reform, consisting of the elimination of all existing regulations hampering the insurance and medical industries, and reforming tax policy so that every individual enjoyed the same tax benefits for personal medical savings that had been available only to businesses. When Obama and the Democrats then called out for health care reform, we should have responded, “Hell No! It’s Government Reform that’s needed”, completely changing the nature of the debate, forcing our opponents to address the topic on our terms, and focusing the discussion on the true nature of the problem. Imagine how much more effective this approach would have been in getting other members of the public to view this subject in completely different terms.
In issue after issue, the argument remains the same. Whenever we closely examine a problem, whether it be in the area of housing, automotive, finance, education, job creation, energy production, or anything else, we discover that every attempt by the government to intervene in the economy and the lives of its citizens simply makes the problem worse. And in every case, the true solution to those problems is the same — getting government out of the way and allowing the collective wisdom of free individuals, interacting within the framework of a free market, to find creative and cost efficient solutions to their problems. The required solution in every case is Government Reform.
And there is no guesswork involved, because we already have the blueprint for Government Reform spelled out for us by our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.
The Declaration of Independence provides us with the philosophical framework establishing the primacy of the individual, with our inherent unalienable rights:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
and decrees the subservient role of government, tasked with the single purpose of protecting those rights:
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed
The Constitution is intended to be a straitjacket placed around the federal government, strictly limiting its scope and power to a very specific set of enumerated actions — and nothing more.
Clearly, things have gone very wrong. The Supreme Court, which should have been our last and best line of defense in preserving our rights under the original intent and meaning of the Constitution, has failed us. Since we can no longer rely upon the court, it falls back to us, the sovereign citizens of the United States, to reassert our supremacy and authority over the government, which we can do at the polls by voting out every big government Democrat and Republican and replacing each of them with an entirely new breed of politician who understands the principles upon which this country was founded — individual rights and strictly limited government — and can demonstrate the integrity and courage of their conviction to go to Washington D.C. with the single-minded purpose of dismantling the behemoth and returning the three branches to their proper constitutional roles. When evaluating any candidate, be ruthless in judging their character and commitment to both economic and personal freedom. And if they fail to live up to the necessary standard, reject them and find someone else who is up to the task. The days for political compromise are over. The Herculean task of cleaning our political stables is under way.
And let us never again make the same mistake. Moving forward, we must change the nature of the political game and establish a new set of rules. No longer will we allow our opponents to frame the issues. We are setting the terms, and those terms are:
Government Reform — Constitution Style
You activists — the true American patriots within the various Tea Party organizations — are the new watchdogs and gatekeepers of our political system, standing guard to insure that from this moment on, only those with a true commitment to the original intent of the Constitution will be granted the privilege of representing us. All others need not apply.
I look forward to seeing some of you manning the front lines on April 15th.
C. Jeffery Small