Political Hay

Serfs Up!

Americans are resisting Obamacare's trip down the road to serfdom.

By 8.6.09

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The more Americans learn about ObamaCare, the more concerns they have. Opposition to mandatory abortion funding is strong -- up in the high 70-percent figures according to some reliable polls. This is not just pro-life sentiment speaking. Yes, the majority of Americans have told the Gallup organization they are pro-life. But this strong reaction goes even further. Millions of Americans who count themselves pro-choice are opposed to being forced themselves to pay for abortion-on-demand and are conscientiously opposed to forcing their pro-life neighbors to pay for it.

Mark Steyn has written powerfully about the entire question of government-provided health care. Steyn says even if costs could be contained by the new government takeover, and even if government health care did not lead inevitably to rationing -- two conditions most analysts consider highly unlikely -- Americans should still reject ObamaCare.

Why? Because, Steyn says, when the government takes over health care it fundamentally changes the relationship between citizen and state. People are no longer patients to their doctors or constituents to the government. They become supplicants. I will say it: they become serfs.

Serfs were peasants tied to the land in Old Russia. In the same way, we will be tied to the government, dependent on the government for our very lives. That's the deeper meaning of the Five-Year Plan Obama has defended. This is not a Soviet-era Five Year Plan. Instead, it's the legal obligation for all health care recipients to discuss their "end of life" decisions every five years. This is not optional. This is not voluntary. It is mandated. It is national conscription.

It would seem that this provision applies only to the elderly. But why should it? After all, medically dependent persons do not have to be elderly. Any one of us could collide with another vehicle on the highway any day-and require long-term treatment in a neurological hospital. Certainly, head trauma cases are tragically entering our military hospitals every day from the battlefields of Afghanistan. These are mostly very young patients. Should they not have "end of life" plans made, too? That, at least, will be the reasoning of the government-appointed Tsars who will be assigned to control health care costs and do the inevitable triage of medical treatment options.

"It is at once the safeguard and the glory of mankind that they are easy to lead and hard to drive." That was the wisdom of Winston Churchill. President Obama is finding this out.

The harder he drives people to enact his health care plan, the more they seem to dig in their heels -- not just Americans at the grassroots, but also their Representatives in Congress.

How can this be? Didn't the President just win a strong victory? Of course he did. But so did FDR in 1936. Roosevelt swept the nation, burying the hapless Alf Landon. Republicans carried only two states in that bruising contest-Maine and Vermont.

No sooner had Roosevelt won his second consecutive landslide, however, than he came to grief trying to pack the U.S. Supreme Court. His own Democrats in Congress rebelled.

Franklin Roosevelt was a man with long experience in government-as state lawmaker, as Cabinet member, as Governor, as President. This is in marked contrast with President Obama. He spent little time in each office in his meteoric rise to power. He rose because he has an "aura."

That aura, says Michael Barone in the Washington Examiner, made Obama a formidable candidate. But now, when the hard task of governing is before him, Barone writes, Obama's lack of experience is showing. "On the major legislation considered this year-the stimulus, cap and trade, health care-the Obama administration has done little or nothing to set down markers to provide guidance, to establish boundaries and no-go areas."

There are not enough Republicans in Congress today to stop ObamaCare, just as there were not enough GOP members in 1937 to stop Roosevelt's "court packing scheme." They must reach out across the aisle.

We who are concerned about fundamental issues of liberty and dependency, of life and death, must seek bipartisan support. When issues like abortion mandates-in-health-care and forced end-of-life-decision-making are raised, they have a strong resonance with millions of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. After all, everyone has a life. If you'd like to make the key decisions about yours without government mandates, join the resistance.

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About the Author
Ken Blackwell, the former mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio is Vice Chairman of the Republican National Committee's Platform Committee. He also serves on the boards of the Club For Growth and the National Taxpayers Union.