by Jay Johansen | Jul 8, 2017
I had a conversation with a liberal a few days ago about health care. It went about as you might expect:
He was outraged about Republican plans to scale back Obamacare, especially proposals to reduce regulations on insurance companies. He said that we needed the government to protect us from being exploited by these big corporations.
I said that if we had a true free market for insurance, then if a consumer like him or me didn't like the policy offerred by our insurance company, we could go somewhere else. But if the government runs insurance, then we have no choice. What if the government adopts bad policies?
He said that wasn't a danger. The government is democratically elected, so it must follow the will of the people.
At which point I said, What? Wait! You say that you have no fear of bad government policies because our government is democratically elected. So ... why are you protesting against these policies that you don't like? You are furiously angry about a bad government policy, and you think this government policy is bad because it fails to recognize that government policy is always and inevitably good.
He never replied to that.
This is the paradox of modern American liberalism. They say that our government is a tool of the rich and powerful. The rich use the government to exploit the poor. The government is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the big corporations. The whole system is totally evil and corrupt. And their solution is: Let's give the government more power and control! Every past government program has been taken over by the special interests. But if we just create a new, bigger program that gives the government even more power over people's lives, it just naturally and inevitably will be run totally for the good of the common person, with complete fairness and justice.
© 2017 by Jay Johansen
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