[AOA’s Note: As you are reading this, the government shutdown has probably come and gone, but the truth expressed is still valid!]
Civil disobedience could be a dangerous thing. In fact, it might actually be contagious.
Recently, we wrote about a group of WWII veterans who flew intoWashington,D.C.to visit the national memorial created for their service. Unfortunately, that was the first day of the shut down, and the outdoor memorial was “closed down” even though it was an outdoor memorial.
Long story short, they knocked down the barriers and didn’t let something as silly as the government shutdown spoil their trip.
Now, we’re reading about other stories throughout the country of Americans standing up against the government’s attempt to make this shutdown worse than it really is. You see, for most places “affected” by the shutdown, the government is going out of its way to make sure people know and understand the repercussions of it.
While the media will make a big story of all the lost revenue of government employees forced to stay home, there’s another story that you might not hear about. It’s about the private business owners who have to close their doors so that politicians in D.C. can play their little political game. The ones who, in a normal world, shouldn’t have to worry about what happened thousands of miles away.
Take, for example, the Pigash Inn on theBlue Ridge Parkway. It’s a privately owned small business, (you know, the ones the government bends over backwards to help), but it’s built on government owned land.
They received an order to close up shop due to the government shutdown. They weren’t closing down the road leading to the Pigash Inn – they just wanted to remain consistent with the orders they were receiving from D.C. We’re assuming those orders were to make the lives of Americans as difficult as possible in order to justify the government’s presence in society.
The owner decided to stand up for what he believes in. It also helped that he was inspired by the WWII veterans earlier in that week. He announced that he would keep his doors open in defiance to the government’s orders.
His reasoning was simple. Government employees who are out of the job now will more than likely get paid retroactively when the shutdown ends. Private business owners who are negatively affected when public servants bicker with one another don’t get that luxury. The Pigash Inn won’t receive a check with the lost revenue of the guests they have to turn away.
When park rangers closed off the entrance to the inn with traffic cones and police cars, the owner found himself in a bind. And shortly after he made his dramatic stand, he relented. It was short, but sweet. Now, he’s seeking a court order that opens the road and allows him to get back to work.
Republican politicians seeking the spotlight are quick to point out how ridiculous these situations are. Which is strange if you look at the big picture. They’ve drawn their line in the sand over the Affordable Care Act, calling it one of the biggest government overreaches in history. Yet, they’re quick to defend many other government programs that are just as outrageous.
The Future of Freedom Foundation president, Jacob Hornberger, examines this hypocrisy in the following article. The opponents of this health care overhaul can’t really be taken seriously if they’re not willing to be ideologically consistent. And that means taking on some mainstays ofAmerica’s system.
Why Do Conservatives Support Medicare and Medicaid?
By Jacob Hornberger
For the life of me, I just don’t get conservatives. They profess to love free enterprise and free markets and they say they hate socialism. Okay, then why do they never call for the repeal of Medicare and Medicaid?
After all, it’s not surprising that progressives (or liberals) favor Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare. They don’t make any pretenses of loving the free market. They love socialism and they hate the free market.
But it’s different with conservatives. One of their favorite mantras is “free enterprise, private property, and limited government.”
So, why do they limit their battle to Obamacare and never call for the repeal of Medicare and Medicaid? Why not direct people’s attention all the way back to the Lyndon Johnson era and make the case that it was a disastrous mistake to have adopted these two socialistic programs?
And make no mistake about it: Medicare and Medicaid are in fact socialistic programs. That’s indisputable. They are both based on the principle of having government forcibly take money from one group of people and transferring it to another group of people. It’s not a coincidence thatCuba, one of the most socialist countries in the world, has had Medicare and Medicaid since Fidel Castro imposed his socialist system on the island.
So, why don’t conservatives call for the repeal of Medicare and Medicaid? As purported devotees of the free market, surely they can see that these two socialistic programs are at the root ofAmerica’s perpetual health care crisis. Surely, conservatives can recognize that repealing Obamacare still leaves a root cause of the healthcare crisis — Medicare and Medicaid — intact.
The answer is: Despite their professed commitment to the free market, conservatives really do believe in these two socialistic programs. That is, they truly believe in socialism, a way of life in which the government takes care of people by providing them with such things as health care, education, food, and other essentials in life. Thus, thought of repealing these two programs is as frightening to conservatives as it is to liberals and progressives.
Okay, then why aren’t conservatives honest with themselves and others? Why not drop the pretense about being “pro-free enterprise” and just openly admit to people that they love socialism? Why keep wearing a pro-free-enterprise mask? Why keep telling their children how “free-market” they are, even as they embrace socialistic programs?
I suspect that one of the reasons that many conservatives admire and even envy libertarians is over our consistency of principle. (Of course, some conservatives hate us and resent us for the same reason.) We oppose socialism and favor free markets, just as conservatives say they do. But, unlike them, we actually oppose Medicare and Medicaid and call for their repeal. We don’t concern ourselves over whether the mainstream press likes us or considers us credible. What’s important to us is that we stand for what we believe in. We fully understand that statists don’t like what we believe in. Why should that matter? Why should that cause us to hide our views or change them?
Conservatives and liberals share one big thing in common — a lack of faith in freedom and free markets. They honestly believe that if Medicare and Medicaid were repealed, there would be catastrophe. Libertarians, on the hand, recognize that free markets produce the best of everything, which is one reason why libertarians would not hesitate to repeal Medicare and Medicaid today.
One of the greatest tragedies for conservatives is their approach to young people. On the one hand, they tell young people that conservatives stand for freedom and free markets. On the other hand, they tell them that conservatives embrace socialistic programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
How are young people supposed to reconcile those two things? Conservatives expect them to just do so and to not ask any questions.
That works for some young people but not for others. The ones for whom it does not work see what we libertarians see: that if they do what conservatives want them to do, they end up living a life of the lie, a life of conflict and delusion. It’s simply not possible to genuinely and honestly embrace freedom and free markets and socialistic programs at the same time. As soon as a person embraces socialistic programs, he abandons his commitment to freedom and free markets and reflects his lack of faith in freedom and free markets.
If conservatives are serious about embracing freedom and free markets, it’s time for them to stop dancing around the issue by limiting their fight to Obamacare or other reform plans. It’s time for them to confront a root of the healthcare problem: Lyndon Johnson’s Medicare and Medicaid plans. It’s time for them to join up with us libertarians and pull the socialist weed out by its root by repealing, not reforming, these two socialistic programs.
Jacob Hornberger, an author for Laissez Faire Today, is also the President of The Future of Freedom Foundation. Reprinted with permission of Agora Financial.