By Scott Galupo, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Healthcare reform is about to become the law of the land, and here's what I'm thinking: If America ever did become a totalitarian state under the radical despot Barack II, would Glenn Beck have run out of chalk or swastika logos or tennis shoes before it happened?
We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism author John Derbyshire shared these characteristic thoughts on the (shall we say) morning after House passage:
"I once tried to compute the sheer quantity, in man-years, of lives lived under the despotic order--Egyptians and Assyrians, Persians and Chinese, Romans and post-Alexander Greeks, Incas and Aztecs, Umayyads and Abbasids, Ottomans and Zulus, Tsars and General Secretaries ... as against humans in liberty, ruled by common consent. It came out at around a hundred to one."
Uh, thanks, Derb, I guess.
My brothers and sisters of the (broadly speaking) right should probably get a grip. I opposed the Democrats' plan for prudential reasons along the lines of Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson. (Here's another piece by Samuelson on Real Clear Politics.)
Let's say, worst-case scenario, the plan is "socialist." I'm happy to report we'd still be living in a free country. Last I checked, "Saskatchewan" is not considered interchangeable, in the informal sense, with "Siberia."
Conservatives, over the past year, have walked onto a rhetorical ledge from which it's going to be difficult to return--especially in the event that Republicans recapture one or both houses of Congress. (How fast will it take them to beat a "just kidding" retreat from Rep. Paul Ryan's "Roadmap"?)
In a way, we've become like the increasingly kooky Gore Vidal, who has pegged the end of "republican" America, and the concomitant establishment of a militarized national-security state, to--depending on when you ask him--both Abraham Lincoln's prosecution of the Civil War and Harry Truman's kicking off of the Cold War.
Mainstream conservatives, to their credit, have traditionally been more pragmatic; they absorb this and that federal expansion and subsequently move the goal posts of what constitutes full-on collectivization. Ronald Reagan famously said Medicare was a trojan horse for "statism." Today we decry cuts to the very same program.
This is politics, and to be expected.
But at some point, the non-Tea Partying public may come to tune out warnings about creeping socialism or the impending destruction of the Constitution or the--pace Derb--Umayyadification of America.