I don’t normally follow film critics to get my political information, so I missed what Roger Ebert wrote back in August to explain why Obama Care is a good thing. Had I read it then, I would have learned that of course it’s socialized medicine — and that’s a good thing. In a lengthy post responding to critics who whine about how un-American Obama Care is, Ebert offered a careful point-by-point rebuttal, including to the contention that Obama Care is socialized medicine:
¶ It is “socialized medicine.” Yes, it is. The entire society shares the cost. It does not replace private medicine. Just as in the UK and Canada, for example, we would remain free to choose our own insurance policies and private physicians. But it is the safety net for everyone.
¶ It is “socialism.” Again, yes. The word socialism, however, has lost its usefulness in this debate. It has been tainted, perhaps forever, by the malevolent Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who succeeded somehow in linking it with the godless Commies. America is the only nation in the free world in which “socialism” is generally thought of in negative terms. The only nation in which that word, in and of itself, is thought to bring the discussion to a close.
I feel much better now, don’t you? Now I understand that socialism is just charity on broader terms. So what if it’s forced charity? And really, it’s silly to worry about the government using the IRS and its penalties to force this “charity” on everybody. ‘Cause really, life in socialized countries is fine. Just ask the citizens of the former Soviet Union, the former National Socialistic Party Germany (better known as Nazi Germany), the former Czechoslovakia, the former Poland, the former Romania, the former Albania, the current China, the current North Korea, the current Venezuela, the current Cuba . . . and on and on.
But those are extreme examples of a good thing run amok, I can hear Ebert saying. Things are just great in semi-socialized countries. Well, Mr. Ebert, I guess they’re okay if you don’t mind the government conspiring to change a whole nation’s social order, or the complete control of speech and thought (my example is in England, but check out speech codes and prosecutions in every other semi-socialized country in the world), or the fact that European countries have completely ceded their sovereignty to the EU (that is, whatever is left over after the UN has taken its cut). And so on. You get my point.
Socialism is great if your goal is perpetual childhood, free from the responsibility of caring for yourself. If a minimal level of comfort and irresponsibility is your goal, who really cares if you give up your freedom to act, speak or think. At least the government will ensure that there is food on your plate and, provided you’re not to old or sick (see the second video at this link), some type of injection in your arm. But I wonder, Mr. Ebert, just how many Americans, raised on a 233 year history of liberty are ready to walk quite so quietly into that socialist night.
(By the way, what’s really funny about the above is that it resulted from a conversation with a liberal during which I politely asked him to explain to me the support for his contention that health care is a “right.” Once he realized that neither the Declaration of Independence nor the Constitution gave any authority for this government power grab, he sent me this link with the bald statement that this would address the whole “rights” argument. And I guess it does. In liberal land, we have no rights.)