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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Total Power of the Mandate

The only real lesson of the ObamaCare defense is that if you define the macro broadly enough, you are entitled to completely control every aspect of the micro. Everyone can be compelled to buy health insurance because health care is no longer a service bought from a doctor, it is a national market which everyone by definition participates in. The market is then divided between good consumers who buy health insurance and the parasites who don't. Alternative possibilities such as people who pay as you go, choose alternative health care or reject medicine entirely for religious or political reasons don't figure into a macro equation which sees people in the macro, not as individuals.

Defenders of the Mandate insist that you couldn't similarly force people to buy Broccoli or a Chevy Volt but why not? You might not be able to individually force people to buy a specific product, but once you define a transportation market or an edibles market, you can force people to participate in that market on the terms set by the government and its allied businesses.

So there wouldn't be a mandate to buy a Chevy Volt. That would be a crude abuse of power. Instead we can define a transportation market in which everyone is presumed to participate in. Since everyone at some point in their lives has to buy a car, ride in a car or take a bus or a plane somewhere, we can include everyone as a participant in the business of going places. And once everyone has been included in the transportation market, a mandate can then define the terms on which they can participate in that market.

Buy a Chevy Volt? No. Buy an electric car or alternative means of transportation which meets a target carbon footprint, or participate in a collective ride sharing system that meets the same requirements. Absolutely yes. And if rather few non-Volt vehicles meet those requirements, that's just incentive for more companies to make their own Volts. Or for you to buy a Volt.

Compel you to eat broccoli? That's easy as pie. Everyone already buys food which makes them participants in an edibles market. Since their consumption also affects their health care which now directly interacts with the government, the only way to provide them with affordable health care is to control their diet.

Here's one easy way to do it. Compel health insurance companies not to sell plans to anyone who does not commit to follow nutritional guidelines. Then fine them for not having health insurance. Allow them to buy health insurance again only after they agree to regular sessions with a nutritional counselor.

But the broccoli mandate is easy enough too. Since everyone buys food, everyone is a participant in the edibles market. To provide good affordable and nutritious food, which is now a right, to all Americans, and safeguard affordable healthcare, everyone is now mandated to participate in the Federal Annual Nutritional Purchase Program which would offer discounted produce, with a subsidy for farmers, on an installment plan that everyone would be compelled to pay into.

To deflect public criticism, the FANPP would be mandatory only for families with children under thirteen. There would be a variety of alternatives, but at the end of the day you would be compelled to buy broccoli and arugula and anything else that the brilliant busybodies decide is good for you.

Could anyone actually compel you to actually eat it? There's no need to go too 1984, but it's worth bearing in mind that there are sensors that monitor whether a homeowner has taken out their recycling the appropriate number of times, complete with fines for those who haven't, or for those whose labors haven't registered on the sensor. Within a decade it will be child's play to track every item of food in the supermarket and your refrigerator and your trash with edible RFID tags, plug all that into a database and then crunch the numbers and see if you really are eating your vegetables.

There is no limit to the controlling antics of the nanny state under the leadership of men and women who are certain that they know best and that only by taking complete control of everyone's lives will their pet projects for making the world a better place work out. It won't work of course, but that just means they will try harder.

The real message of the Mandate is that socialism interfaces closely with crony capitalism and that government solutions depend on forcibly enlisting everyone into their ranks because otherwise the program isn't even workable enough to get started.

The failures of ObamaCare will necessitate a constant campaign of scapegoating, blaming companies and ordinary Americans for not doing what needs to be done for everything to run smoothly. And that scapegoating will necessitate new solutions, new programs and new regimes. Companies will be nationalized, patients will be regimented and like the NHS, the coverage will veer from treating it as the only thing keeping us from dying in the gutter to warning that it is constantly on the edge of the abyss. There will be constant talk of reforms, whispers of privatization, and the misery will go on.

That is what the Mandate really means, the power to impose a total system on everyone. As the system becomes more dysfunctional, it will lose its vestige of private care and become a total government monopoly for its own good and ours. But of course it doesn't end there. It never does.

Government health care is well and good, but what about government education? Take Warren Buffett's solution for fixing education. "Make private schools illegal and assign every child to a public school by random lottery."

You might be thinking that this sounds like some dystopian future, it's actually a proposal by one of the wealthiest and most influential men in the country, being repeated by the DC schools chancellor. It's also the logical next step.

Private schools are already illegal in Norway and even where it isn't illegal, pressure has grown on religious schools to abide by the dictates of the state, even when it is conflict with their religion. Homeschooling is illegal in parts of Europe. And don't we want to be more like Europe? A current state of affairs where any children are partially immune from constant indoctrination and molding into ideal citizens of the republic is hardly ideal. And after all we can't have affordable health care if children aren't taught proper nutrition at an early age.

So it goes. Every government program justifies another one. Every government intrusion justifies another one. When a program fails, it's because not enough resources have been thrown at it. The only way to fix the problem is to compel total participation, total accountability, total compliance and eventually total failure.

It is the total part that is so vitally important. Whether it's Obama insisting on the Mandate or Buffett insisting on a public school mandate, the system needs everyone on board because the goal isn't really success, it's managed failure. The architects know quite well that the problems are baked in and that throwing in some fresh blood will buy them a little more time before they go off the cliff.

Their only approach to failure is to seize more power. And that's what it's really all about. Power. The power to compel others to do as you please, to live as you think they should and to praise you for making them live that way is the essence of power. It is the essence of the nanny state. The excuses are everywhere, but none of them get to the meat of the thing, which is that utopia is planned failure that only serves as a justification for the perpetual and unlimited abuse of power.

There is nothing that they cannot mandate, no freedom they will not suppress and no right they will not create. Utopia is just around the corner and if we give up the last of our freedoms, they promise to take us there.

20 comments:

Lemon said...

Everything this president has done has been calculated to take down America, which, in his view needs to be dismantled.

I am hoping that Obama care is knocked down hard and forever but, judges can be odd and you never know what they will do. And, the Supreme Court has become far too political.

mindRider said...

....Go forth and multiply and fill the earth with your seed.....
7 billion and counting. It has become an unmanageable quantity even though each person from his eyes looking to the outside considers himself an individual for the government looking at the mass of inhabitants it's a collective. Wall sockets shapes for electric appliances are also standardized (at least per country). Without regulations based on statistical averages total chaos would ensue. By elections we hand individual power over to people that want it and sold themselves best. If we are unhappy with their decisions, vote them out or have yourself voted to do it better, in the meantime make the best of the regrettably necessary regulations.

mindRider said...

...and realize that if you as the most libertarian would be in power, leaving almost everything to individual enterprise and ingenuity would also have to cope with the results of mis-management and cog-ups even if your powers would be limited to city or county, why else have any government at all?

Anonymous said...

You always have some great, appropriate photos with your pieces, but with the cabbage above, you've outdone even your usual high standards...

Anonymous said...

You know, we will end up living in a country that looks like an amalgam of all those 'in the future we'll live in Orwellian police states' movies.

vladtepes2 said...

ObamaCare - another brick in the TOTALITARIAN jail cell our government is building for us.

Ex-Dissident said...

I call it Affordable Scare Shaft. That's where it's aimed.

Gothamite said...

Sultan: I agree that the approach Obama took can represent a slippery slope, and if he was honest, he would have backed a single payer system to get around the mandate problem. However, isn't there something different about health care? You say individuals should be free to choose to not partake of the health care system, but when such individuals get sick, don't they become society's burden? Don't we need to deal with the tragedy of the commons?

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Do they become society's burden? Doesn't that differ from person to person? And aren't the people who actually use emergency rooms for health care, that the OC defenders keep using to justify this argument more likely to be illegal aliens to whom this doesn't even apply or otherwise low income and thus exempt from the mandate?

fsy said...


You say individuals should be free to choose to not partake of the health care system, but when such individuals get sick, don't they become society's burden? Don't we need to deal with the tragedy of the commons?


The central issue here is who is 'we' who has to deal with things? If 'we' means responsible citizens, then yes, it is necessary to set up some way of helping the unfortunate, and people of means (including those unfortunate ones before they become disabled or whatever) should contribute to this cause. The problem is when 'we' is defined as the government, which then proceeds to use its potentially unlimited power to coerce everyone (except a small elite) to do what they see as 'good'. That is the real thrust of this article.

Gothamite said...

I'm not suggesting that Obamacare is the solution, or that a government-run health care system is the solution. But the bottom line is that if someone chooses to not carry health insurance (or can't afford it), and ends up in a hospital, the cost of that care will have to be picked up somewhere (unless you are suggesting that hospitals refuse care to those who can't prove they have resources in advance). And if the hospitals can't recover those costs from the patient, they will figure out a way to spread those costs to people who can pay.

Gothamite said...

And I'm not just talking about people using ERs for routine health care. What about someone with no insurance or lousy insurance who has a heart attack on the street, and ends up needing acute care, or an operation?

Anonymous said...

Yo Yo Yo.

Are all of us who believe in free markets and minimal government regulation just going to sit suppine as our nation becomes 3rd world in totality?

Is there any point where desktop screamers will say enough is enough? Will there be a time when disgusted American tax payers (The 52% who still pay taxes) hit the streets in a show of force? A time where we refuse to pay taxes? A time where we say this can be no more. A time, where confrontation is met by confrontation?

This is a divided nation, brought to us by the healer of all wounds, Obacko Rama.

Sultan, you do a great job of pointing out our nations ills. Any idea on how we set the ship straight before this fracas turns into armed conflict?

fsy said...

A certain small revolution in 1776 was fought over much less than this.

t1klish said...

This whole thing scares me to death. I've had $100 worth of actual medical care in my entire adult life, and now the government is going to force me to spend at least that much every single month for medical insurance that I don't need and can't afford. I literally barely make enough to pay my rent right now. I would be forced into homelessness by this law.

Only America could come up with a version of fascism that forces us to buy things we don't want.

Next thing you know they'll be forcing us to buy $100/month bread insurance, even if we rarely eat bread, and only need at the most $10/month of it. And just like how it will soon be illegal to go to a doctor and pay for it yourself, it will be illegal to buy bread without using the forced-to-buy bread insurance to pay for it.

And for those concerned about the birth control issue, it will soon be illegal to buy birth control yourself. It will only be possible to acquire it with the forced-to-buy medical insurance. Imagine a $3 condom could soon be obtainable only with medical insurance that costs hundreds of dollars a month.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

It's a real problem, but don't buy any insurance until you check whether the Mandate applies to you. There are income levels and if your income level is low enough, you may be okay.

Anonymous said...

Um... Yes!

t1klish said...

I definitely won't be buying any. Like I said, I barely make enough to pay my rent. If I buy any kind of insurance, or cable TV for that matter, I can't pay my rent, and would be instantly homeless. I wonder if soon we'll have forced-by-the-government-to-buy-cable-TV that costs several hundred times more than we would ever pay for it? Could be next. Along with 1,000/month forced-by-the-government-to-buy phone service.

Anonymous said...

May I please do away with a myth? Citizens of this country that cannot afford health insurance do not pay their fair share of the medical expenses? Wanna bet?!!! If you are a citizen, they will turn it over to collections, and you will pay. Oh, and we don't get the sweetheart deals the big insurance companies get because of their volume. No, we, the uninsured get the price gauging. My drive through delivery of by baby girl, no complications, nothing, not evening routine epidural or episiotomy, cost of $4000.00!BTW, sometimes it is the insurance that refuses to pay the hospital. Need I continue? Stop the lie. Citizens pay. It is the illegals who get by without paying.

Keli Ata said...

You're right Anonymous. Right now the fes (US Department of Education) can garnish wages and even Social Security Disability if someone defaults on a federal student loan.

Filing for bankruptcy isn't a protection when it comes to default student loans.

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