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Taking the pill

By Joseph Randolph
web posted March 1, 2010

Social engineering is a favorite project of politicians who know better than the citizens what medicine the citizens need most.  As a youngster I remember hearing presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey hawking his vision of a better America conceived within a blanket of "programs," with every program touted as virtual manna waiting in the storehouses for distribution on earth.  Those on the ground are forever told how needy they are and how resourceful government is compared to the citizen.  Thus, the mantra of a program politician is to never let voters forget how desperate their futures are without their politicians and without the exercise of exponentially increasing programs. 

This politician in a Santa suit is extraordinarily enticing to voters who can have more stuff than children on Christmas—and should—for the adults inherit 364 more days of gifts from their fellow citizens.  In time the recipients of such gifts cannot imagine being without such provisions, being virtually addicted to government administered by such politicians.  Meanwhile these citizens relegate more and more of their lives to such politicians as they give more and more of their own responsibility away and so too their freedom.  In time, despite the avalanches and showers of governmental blessings, some of the recipients may assess their last estate as ultimately worse than their first: for those who can bear to think that the utopian vision of their giving politicians has turned into a dystopia for citizens—and their country.  This realization may take some historical time, however, as the rest of us try to hold onto our wallets and our health and our health care—and our country—that government is trying to take over. 

The past week I was reminded of the line from Milton Friedman that the citizen should neither ask what the country can do for him, nor what he can do for his country.  Friedman's point of course was not to denigrate patriotism and other noble virtues, but simply to recall the original and indeed revolutionary foundation of our country; it is we the people who are in charge of our country and not the reverse. 

However, the aforementioned caring politicians may exhibit an angry side show, capable of trumping the main show of compassionate and giving government.  If the citizens, for example, become so aroused as to dare to criticize and reject the omniscient-bearing leaders from above from massively directing our lives below, a very negative reaction from these normally finessed politicians may result.  Moreover, the hawkers of the Santa government may react extremely impolitely by showing more anger and more disdain for the citizens in revolt against them, than indeed the citizens have shown in their revolt against such programmed politicians.  This counter reaction from these politicians is easy to understand, if we understand these politicians.  But still, the current political incumbents in Washington can hardly fathom how the road to their health care effort can be so rocky.  They fault their opponents as having only a one word vocabulary for the criticized social engineering program of government run health care—no. 

Nevertheless, the incumbent party is unmoved from their feverish intention to revamp the country in accordance with a politician's delight in social engineering.  The seeming rejection of its strenuous efforts to help the American people is maddening to those working on this latest and long overdue project.  The President has announced that he wishes to be the last of the Oval Office to work on this project.  It needs to be finished before the sky falls if it fails this time.  Thus, this past week these project engineers with their President strenuously tried to get the medicine down the mouth of the resisting patient, once again.  However, suffering from stiff resistance from rebellious patients can tempt the care-giver toward less than enlightened visions of social engineering, such as slouching toward despotism and the like.  These adamant care-givers have not quite that much power, yet.  Meanwhile, they still have to get the pill down, as it a good first step.

The revolt among citizens against such a government is even easier to understand than the revolt of these politicians against the people.  Americans do not be like being talked down to from above by public servants beneath them and presuming to know better.  As the contest between these two combatants escalates, ever increasing numbers of citizens will hopefully come to reject the insidious North Pole image of government, and of late, the function of government as doctor and us as patients.  Meanwhile, the incumbent party incessantly refers to the opposition party as the "party of no."  With reference to the Washington care-givers arrogant treatment of the citizen-patient, the opposition party should affirm the charge and plead guilty. ESR

Joseph Randolph is an academic and writer living in Wisconsin.  His 2010 book Debilitating Democracy: Power From The People, is available from Wasteland Press and Amazon as well as Barnes and Noble.  His email address is jqrandolph@hotmail.com






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