Calm Down Already

The rhetoric has become too shrill.  Even bloggers I normally like, respect, and find intellectually resonant have reverted to fear and hysteria.  And, if one reverses the ideological polarity, there is a remarkable resemblance to the ideological panic of 2002.

That’s not to say that ideological or policy opponents of health care reform should relax their efforts to articulate their vision of a better America or to undo the damage they think has been done — far from it, although I’m not sure what, exactly, they could argue for at this point.  There are two kinds of members of the opposition:  the ones who actually engaged in the legislative process (and realized a moderate degree of success in doing so, an example of the hated “Broderism” of a true moderate in action) and those who chose plugging their fingers in their years and stamping their feet while saying “no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-NO!” over and over again as the tactic of choice.  The President rightly does not fear the latter tactic because it’s a new middle-class entitlement, which means that like Social Security or the home mortgage interest tax deduction, we might as well chisel it into granite as a permanent fact of American economic life susceptible to only marginal change from this point forward.  It can be changed incrementally but good luck trying to repeal it.

But it is not worth engaging in domestic terrorism.  Knock off the bullets* and the knives and the other implied threats of violence already.  While not all the reports of petty acts of domestic terrorism are accurate or even plausible, the right way to express your distaste for Congress’ recent activity is through the political process.  What we’re reading about now is terrorism — the use of violence against those who have personally done nothing wrong in order to effect political change motivated by fear.  Violence as a form of protest against passage of the health care reform laws should be condemned by everyone on all points of the political spectrum immediately and without reservation.

So it’s time for some perspective. Health care reform is big, expensive, and inefficient government in action. As enacted, it is an extension of the Bush Administration’s big-government, compassionate-conservatism ideology — it piggybacks government supports for private industries, uses fines to incentivize behavior the government finds desirable, and despite a lot of rhetoric and a willingness to cross ideological lines, it will both have much less effect that either its proponents hope or its opponents fear.

The big deal about it is not that it diminishes our civil liberties, because it doesn’t.  It is that we have more important things to be spending our money on — or more accurately, to be spending our children’s money on.  That is worth raising and sustaining a political stink and working to minimize its fiscal impact.

*  The bullet found in Eric Cantor’s office window is being treated by the police as a “random act” rather than one with a political motivation. Okay, but the timing of this “random act” still seems very odd.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.


  1. Come off it.The last time there were "bricks through windows" at Democrat offices, the democrat lie machine went into full swing trying to blame "evil republicans" for it… until the police turned out to have ARRESTED the brick-throwers and they were hired democrat operatives.In this case, we have the "waah they called us bad names" bit slipped anonymously to some sympathetic, lefty-kook "journalists" who repeat the lie as fact. I call it as I see it. By trotting this lie out, the Democraps are proving what a bunch of lying scumbags they are, and the leftist media proved how much they're just sucking on Obama's (unmentionable) by giving the "story" a free pass with absolutely zero investigation DESPITE Democraps' proven past willingness to pull frame-up jobs at the least motivation.

  2. Other dirty tricks the lying Democraps have tried this past year:- claiming someone "brought an assault weapon" to a Tea Party protest and an Obama event: True but misleading, the guy who did it was a LEFT WING BLACK PANTHER MEMBER planted there. CNN and MSNBC were such liars that day that they actually edited out video of the guy except for his gun, carefully not showing his face or hands while their left-wing "journalists" implied all over that the guy was white and brought the gun because he "hated obama."- claiming there were swastikas at Tea Party protests: true but they were on the banners of "Workers World Party" (a Stalinist group) who were "counterprotesting" the Tea Party, and the Obama-with-a-hitler-mustache banners that are repeatedly quoted are a mass-produced product by the devotees of LYNDON LAROUCHE, a "democrat" whose insane cult followers show up to protests, university campuses, bake sales, convention halls, or pretty much anywhere they think they might get someone into earshot.Remember the guys interrupting the "9 idiots including Obama wow a half-black guy so the media loves him and pitches softballs" debates in the 2008 race for the Democrat nomination? Yeah, those were the LaRouchies.- Where were you when PELOSI was calling opponents of Obamacare "nazis"? long were the Democraps pushing "bush is hitler" again?

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