“A little socialism isn’t bad,” said my highly intelligent friend, minutes before we returned to work. She identifies as a constitutionalist libertarian and these are the last words I expected to hear from her. That is because I only have half a brain and I need to remember that in beautiful, free America, people my age think this might actually be true, having never seen the opposite.
The conversation began about as badly as any conversation with me can, which was thusly: “KJ, what are your thoughts on Ron Paul?” Twenty-seven immediate smart-ass responses, all of which ended with “and operated lovingly by Frank Oz,” came to mind. Instead, I trotted out some bits that were on Ace’s site, mentioned the newsletters, and, because I couldn’t stop myself, references to puppetry. She laughed. She also said “Neo-Nazis drink Jack Daniels, but that doesn’t make Jack Daniels bad. If American Nazis support Ron Paul, is that his fault?”
Well, yes, I responded, in that why would Neo-Nazis support any American candidate unless he said something Neo-Nazis liked? Like, oh I don’t know… things about Israel? Seeing as we had three minutes left to converse, she said those were scary points and that she’d do further research. I know her; she will. She said if that is indeed true, it’s sad because he has some good ideas regarding the economy.
I made some sort of affirmative grunt and additional noises about freer commerce.
Then she said “We need someone to do something, definitely. I was talking about this with someone the other day. Remember F.D.R.?” Yes, we were good friends in a past life. “Something like the Works Progress Bureau, right?”
My brain screamed “OHMIGOSH more overpaid federal employees?!” but I went straight to my skill set and said, “Oh, and Medicare, right? Medicare, that now dictates pricing to private insurance companies because, hey, who’s gonna argue with Medicare?” Then I glossed over twenty years of my medical administration career with, “One day, girl, we will have to talk about socialized medicine and why I live in America now.”
To which she nodded sagely and said “Granted, we must. But a little socialism isn’t bad. Not if it stimulates the economy.”
You know when you’re almost certain you’re about to experience explosive diarrhea? There’s this unquestionable “blork” feeling in your sigmoid colon and you know you have 7.3 seconds to get to a toilet? I have a similar sensation when I encounter this argument. It’s the “Dear Jesus, please don’t make me have to unearth the ‘My Grandfather spent six years in a Russian prison’ story again!”
What I said was, “Oh, man. There ain’t no such animal as ‘a little socialism.’ Good intentions during crises become law far too easily.”
“That’s a good point,” she said. Then we both had to get going. As I walked away, I muttered something about businesses being given the assurance that they won’t be penalized for success, so they can hire more people. She muttered assent.
This conversation, when it continues, will go like this: Anything the government gives, it can take away, by force, if that is deemed necessary. Also, whatever the government gives will come with laws. Yes, you can haz free stuff, but oh noes! WE R IN UR HOMEZ, MAKIN ROOLZ! Using health care as an example: when your HMO, that you pay for out of your pay-check, does stupid things, your employer can elect a new HMO. You can’t do it, of course, because of the stupid insurance laws. So it’s like a kind of capitalism, just not the super free kind you’d expect in America.
What, America’s not the capitalist pig wonderland your liberal friends hate and love? No, it’s not. Creeping socialism is an itchy rash with slightly watery pustules slithering over Europe, Britain (no, not the same thing), and yes, America. Little gentle fiddly laws pop up here and there and everywhere and erode your freedom to choose what you want. They’re all for your own good, so you feel safe and loved and happy, and bit by bit you realize you’ve been safetied into a padded cell with a muzzle.
“Oh, don’t be daft,” say my liberal friends. “That’ll never happen in America. Socialism comes with bloody revolutions.” Well, no. Sometimes it starts almost sweetly and ends up kinda force-oriented, which is how my paternal grandfather ended up in a Russian prison, but that’s not gone over terribly well in the long run. New socialists know that now. Besides, all this fiddly, motherly attention isn’t being forced. We vote for it! It’s so kind, and helpful, and don’t we all want to be happy?
Have you ever been hospitalized? People prop you up in bed and monitor your every function and bring you food. They bathe you, change your bed pan and people send you nice cards and flowers…it’s lovely, irresponsible fun! And you can’t wait to get the bloody hell out of there. You want to get up and move about of your own accord, without people poking their heads around the door every second and asking how you feel. Even if you’re just sick in bed at home with bronchitis, you start wishing you were dead rather than lying there helpless.
Health is freedom. Freedom to screw up, to succeed, to fall on your face, and to fly like a G6 is delicious. A healthy culture is free. There is no nursing, there is no nannying; there is just support to defend what you’ve got, talk about what you think, and expand on it if possible. The acquisition of things is not as important in a free commerce society anywhere near as much as the idea that anyone can. Owning your own things and thoughts creates the character to defend and improve them.
A thing I like to ask liberal “youths” is to imagine the zombie apocalypse they seem so excited about. “WOOT! Smashing people in the head with bats! Oh hell yeah!” Keep visualizing. Now…what are the welfare mothers you natter on about vaguely, going to do to survive? What happens to all those kids? How about your grandmother with dementia? In a wheelchair? Are polar bears your top priority now? There’s no government, Wii McAxeSpritz. How will you survive?
These folks unfailingly stand up straighter and announce that they will do what it takes to defend the lives of themselves, their family, and their friends, plus whatever property survives. They almost invariably add in how important it is to have ammo. What you then say is, “It’s totally easier to do that now, under the current system, while you have the choice to do so. Why don’t you?”
It’s easier to push away a spoonful of poo than to duck when the crap hits the fan. Right now, we’ve got a septic tank backing up. Man, do we need some enzymes.