Some things bear repeating. Much has been written about Mitt Romney's sudden "conversion" to traditionalist principles in his late fifties; we hear about his newfound pro-life and pro-marriage stances, for instance. What amazes me, though, is that people always miss the 800 pound gorilla in the center of the room. To wit: The most damning thing about Romney is an action he took quite recently, right before leaving the governor's office. I wrote about this in January of this year and here is the relevant excerpt:
On April 12, 2006, Romney signed a bill into law that creates a universal health system intrusive enough to be the envy of socialists everywhere. The plan mandates that every Ma. resident must obtain health insurance by July 1, 2007, or face a fine that could exceed 1,200 dollars a year. Of course, this scheme includes the creation of a new bureaucracy, one that will, using Big Brother’s infinite wisdom, determine how much you can afford to pay. Wow, thanks for the help, Mitt. Or, is it “Vinny the Chin”? I mean, this sounds like an offer you just can’t refuse.
To justify his socialist brainchild, Romney uses the argument that it is no different from requiring people to carry car insurance. Ah, speciousness, thy name is Romney. Mr. Governor, you can choose not to own a car.
Everyone must have a body.
How can we even consider nominating a man who conjured up a health plan right out of Lady MacBeth's playbook?
After writing my Romney piece, quite predictably, I was excoriated on pro-Romney websites. I also received an email from a Republican Party official in Massachusetts. She was very polite and civil, but also quite naive. She tried explaining to me the reasoning behind Romney's Orwellian plan, saying that the law mandated that the uninsured have to be covered anyway, and they were costing the system billions. So, said she, Romney's plan just ensures that no one will get a free ride.
The example she gave went something like this: There's a young guy in his twenties who has a feeling of immortality and doesn't acquire health insurance. Then he breaks his arm playing basketball or engaging in some high-risk pursuit, goes to a hospital, and they have to treat him regardless of whether or not he can pay the bill. Under Romney's plan, said this official, people like this fellow will no longer get a free ride and drain the system, as they will all be required to purchase insurance. It's an argument that makes sense to many, imbued as we are with statism.
So, since she seemed like a nice, reasonable person, I responded to her email and explained the fallacy in her thinking. The problem she addresses is not one of a free economy, but of socialism. It arises when you create a situation wherein people are held responsible for the bad decisions, mistakes and misfortune of others through government. He who pays the piper calls the tune, and with responsibility comes authority. If you're going to give government the responsibility of taking care of you, you should expect that it will soon demand the authority necessary to ensure that you don't act stupidly (or what it considers so) or become too much of a burden on the system. It starts acting in loco parentis.
The answer is that instead of growing government even further in an effort to compensate for problems caused by the growth of the little g to begin with, we should shrink government and make it less intrusive. I suppose I'm a voice in the wilderness on this nowadays, but I believe that free medical care should be the domain of private charities, of which there are many. Besides, eliminate the illegal aliens -- who receive free care and are bankrupting our hospitals -- and our medical costs will drop precipitously.
Sadly, though, many so-called conservatives have unwittingly accepted many statist suppositions, as they are now woven into our culture. And it is one of the greatest victories of the left.