Saturday, November 30, 2013

If You Like Your Tyranny, You Can Keep It

From Daren Jonescu at American Thinker:

2013 has been a banner year for damning self-portraits of American progressivism.  Just when you thought no one could top Hillary Clinton's agonized "What difference, at this point, does it make?" -- perhaps the most concise account of the leftist strategy of incremental subversion ever recorded -- along comes President Obama's revelatory time bomb, set ticking back in 2009 for detonation on October 1 of this year: "If you like your plan, you can keep it."
With her "What difference" outburst, Clinton told the world what the progressive elite think of their subjects.  They think you are stupid, morally shallow, and have the attention span of three year olds -- exactly as progressive schooling and entertainment are designed to make you.  Hence they need only wait you out, until the haze of time dulls your capacity for outrage about whether your leaders knowingly took the phone off the hook as your fellow citizens called for help with killers closing in on them.  Hence they need only bide their time after passing rights-violating, spirit-diminishing legislation, and weather the storm of criticism until the majority of you get used to the new shackles, and carry on with your little lives.  Hence, in all things, they need only embrace the necessity of working through their totalitarian dreams gradually, so as not to allow any particular "transformation" to seem fundamental enough to disturb your equilibrium.
Obama, not to be outdone, has matched Clinton's bid for Self-exposed Authoritarian of the Year, and raised it several degrees of amplification.  "If you like your plan, you can keep it" gives clear expression to one installment in the multigenerational bait-and-switch strategy with which progressivism has undermined modernity. 
First of all, to state the obvious, the fact that Obama spoke those words, or words extremely like them, a thousand times during the ObamaCare debate proves they were carefully scripted, and not a throwaway remark.  And to state the equally obvious, Obama knew -- or at least his strategists knew -- that he was making a promise he would not keep, for at least three reasons: first, the cancelled policy wave that ObamaCare's implementation has instigated was expected and predictable; second, no politician can guarantee that you will be able to keep something over which politicians have no direct control, such as a private insurance policy; and third, that you should keep your plan was exactly the outcome they were hoping to thwart.
Obama's scripted and oft-repeated assurance, therefore, was more than a garden variety lie.  It perfectly encapsulated the progressive method of civilizational betrayal, the deliberate poisoning of the well of representative government by means of what we might call "performative politics." 
All politicians subject to election make promises.  And all politicians know that keeping every promise they make will be difficult, if not impossible.   But when a politician promises a certain outcome, not because he actually wishes he could provide it (realistically or otherwise), nor even because he knows it is what the voters want to hear, but rather because he desires exactly the opposite outcome, then we have entered the corrupt realm of performative politics, the grand theater of fake representative government.
Regarding healthcare, you have all heard America's progressive leadership, from Obama, Reid, and Pelosi on down, state explicitly that what they want is a single-payer healthcare system, i.e., socialized medicine.  You also know that the ObamaCare "compromise" was intended, and has been described by various high-ranking Democrats, as a big turn of the ratchet in the direction of a single-payer system.  (That is, it is a step "forward" into the dream of comprehensive government control over your physical preservation.)  The progressives were, in effect, compromising with themselves: calculating that a complete government takeover of American healthcare would cause unmanageable outrage, they settled for an interim takeover by means of a labyrinth of unfathomable regulations and advisory boards. 
Whether they intended this compromise to crumble under its own weight immediately, thereby opening the door right away to the "fix" of even more direct government control, is debateable.  What is not debateable, however, is that their ultimate goal, the definitive aim of socialized medicine, is precisely to deny Americans the "the plan they like" -- that is, the healthcare arrangements of their own free choice.  Therefore, when Obama and his various mouthpieces promised that Americans could keep those arrangements, they were not merely lying in the ordinary political sense -- making promises they knew they couldn't keep ("No new taxes," "Ten million jobs," etc.) -- but rather defrauding a nation, by pretending they were happy and eager to allow people to do the very thing these planners were dead set on preventing people from doing. 
A typical politician is a slick used car salesman.  A progressive politician is Iago.  The former seeks to gain his advantage within the existing political machinery, while leaving that machinery more or less intact.  The latter seeks a fundamental transformation of the existing arrangements, much as Iago seeks a fundamental transformation of Othello's marriage to Desdemona.  And the methods used are virtually identical: foster in the victim a trust of his destroyer through pretended loyalty against imaginary rivals, stir doubts about the virtue of the innocent through insinuation and half-truth, and finally promote the victim's self-destruction through traitorous trickery.
"If you like your plan, you can keep it."  This is a perfect iteration of the basic lie that has fueled modernity's "progress" down the drain of history -- or History, as progressive thinkers would have it.  It is not so much a lie as a mask, the necessary first step, or thesis if you will, in each stage of the dialectical deflowering of a civilization against its better judgment and best instincts.  It is the emphatic reassurance that the latest "five year plan" will in no way threaten the freedom, opportunity, and prosperity to which you have become accustomed -- a necessary buffer against reality which buys the progressives time to work their black magic, until the nasty truth arrives, obscured in the fog of time and cushioned by the human capacity for "learning to live with it."  You have heard this lie, and witnessed the tyrannical dialectic it sets in motion, your whole life, as have your parents and grandparents.  Variations on this theme have become the soundtrack of late modernity's decline.  The theme remains the same; only the melodic details are changed to suit the collectivist totalitarian agenda item of the moment.
"If you like your current healthcare arrangements, you can keep them" -- except that our intention is to delegitimize, denigrate, and finally outlaw all private healthcare arrangements.
"If you like your 'negative rights,' you can keep them" -- except that the new positive rights we are gradually introducing into the political lexicon will necessarily override your life, liberty, and property, not to mention trumping all the secondary rights derived from those initial three, such as speech, association, and religion.

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