Letter to the editor 03.29.10

members walk through protest

I sent the following letter concerning accusations of racism to the Daily Beacon, the University of Tennessee’s student newspaper, on March 29, but it was never printed:

Columnist Sam Smith is either a victim or, worse, a collaborator of propaganda. On March 20, the day before passage of the historic blunder misnamed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, several male members of the Congressional Black Caucus sauntered through a large crowd of mostly white demonstrators outside the Capitol–that is to say, they pulled a publicity stunt.

I have watched several videos of the incident, and I have a few questions that Smith may not have asked himself. Why did this group of black men choose to walk through the excited crowd? Almost every other representative traveled to the Capitol that day through the underground tunnel connected to their offices, and almost every other day these men do so as well. Why did all of these black men walk to the Capitol together? Why were two of the members recording the event with mobile devices? Why, after watching all of these videos, did I never once hear the N-word? It was mostly shouts of “kill the bill.” No one in the media, or even on a layperson’s hand-held recorder, has been able to produce any evidence that a racial invective was ever uttered, much less shouted, by the demonstrators that day. Fortunately, it appears the Black Caucus’ attempt to instigate a racial incident failed. The “Tea-Party” contingent was not so racist as had been hoped.

The publicity stunt, however, worked wonders. Just hours later, every evening news program reported that the demonstrators shouted the N-word at the men repeatedly. The intended message is clear: citizens opposed to Obamacare are ignorant, unreasonable racists that should be ignored. Despite the fact that this message is based on lies and propaganda, Smith affirms it.

Then, after forcing Republicans to accept this propaganda as reality, Smith challenges GOP leadership to denounce the fabricated bad behavior of its base, apparently unaware that House Minority Leader John Boehner has already issued a public condemnation. Smith also asks, “How long will we continue to watch the GOP behave this way and accept it as part of our political dialogue?” The answer: until we stop believing the perpetual myths of propagandists like the Congressional Black Caucus.


Letter to the editor, 09.28.09

I wrote the following letter, which appeared in the University of Tennessee student newspaper, The Daily Beacon, on September 28th:

By morally defending universal health care in his Sept. 21 column, Amien Essif displays a level of bravery not shared by many members of Congress, who would rather call their constituents racists than rationally defend their own policy positions. Unfortunately, in political debates, bravery is a weak contender against wisdom, and wisdom cannot morally defend universal health care.

Essif challenges himself to minimize his assumptions and employ good tact, then promptly adds, “the most important thing is that everyone in America has free access to good health care.” He assumes the government can provide a very costly service to everyone for free. Any economic genius who makes this assumption will confidently tell you that money is valuable because “um.” Essif imagines a great society: infinitely healthy, happy, prosperous, without worry and completely fictional.

Essif deems his argument a moral one, so let us briefly examine the morality of universal health care. Do not mistake terms. Universal health care is not charity; it is coercion. If a family member, friend, neighbor, fellow congregant or stranger came to you with upturned hands, your help would be charitable. If a person in need came to you with a loaded firearm and demands, your “help” would be coerced; that person would be a criminal.

If the robber’s need is then examined, and a public opinion poll shows that a majority of respondents believe he should be allowed to rob, does this legitimize his crime? This robber is universal health care, an injustice legitimized only by majority rule. That injustice can win the support of a majority is an elementary school fact. It is the reason our democratic whims are limited by the Constitution. If we respect morality and the Constitution, we must conclude that universal health care is immoral and illegal.

Alex Winston

Junior in political science

Statist dem(on)s scorn sensible reform

devilish president

Need to solve the health care problem? Easy: allow healthcare providers to deduct from their taxes the costs of treating those who cannot pay.  It’s beautiful: doctors and patients make all the decisions (not insurance companies or the government).  

This proposal helps everyone, but Congress ignores it–won’t consider it, would never allow it–because most politicians care not about the poor, the rich, nor any individuals but themselves. Most politicians, left and right, are statists.  Though they may make a show of attending a church or synagogue, the statist faith falsely preaches that the state is god, and that politicians are angels of infinite benevolence.

Statists are no angels; they are demons.  They are fear personified.  Behind his smiles and handshakes, the statist harbors a secret fear of every elector. He fears the poor in numbers, the rich in power, but his greatest fear is that the people will realize this truth: freedom works.

When government is limited to establishing equality under the law, enforcing contracts, and protecting life, liberty, and property, the politician is small and powerless.  This is the statist’s greatest fear, and his greatest desire is its polar opposite: to become all-powerful.  He marches through history toward that desire, at times leaping forward, occasionally nudged back, but never ceasing in his effort to advance against the freedom of individuals.  

The statist’s end is always to relieve the individual of power, that it may be lost in the abyss of centralized control.  To be clear, power taken from the individual by government is lost, because the government cannot use it.  Government is a force that may prevent individuals from using power, but it has no creative energy, and when government’s force rises, society’s power falls.  When the demon achieves his ultimate goal of becoming all-powerful, he establishes a society of individuals who have no ability to exercise power at all.  What follows is hell.

UtopiObama: the end of America

Obama inspires people. To do what? Vladimir Lenin inspired people too. That doesn’t mean his ideas about government were good. As far as I can tell, Obama only inspires people to encourage the government to take care of all their problems. Here is how I imagine UtopiObama in a few years:


“Good morning, United States Comrade #183790433. How much free gas, food, and healthcare would you like today? You feel good about your country. Go to work if you would like. Your work helps Obama provide for you. Just sit around and play Playstation 3 if you prefer. Either way, Obama will take care of you. Obama has decided your job is no longer necessary because of its carbon footprint. You can find a job building wind turbines at the Obama career center, or you can stay home and watch Oprah. Live comfortably knowing that, if we only hope hard enough, we can meet our great goals as a society. Enjoy your day of freedom, change, hope and fulfillment. Yes we can.”

“Good morning, United States Comrade #183790433. You have not worked since 03.25.08. The Department of Labor’s statistics for March showed a significant decrease in production and employment, resulting in temporary shortages in certain goods. Obama has decided the best way to handle this problem is through the following temporary labor decree: who does not work shall consume less. Until you visit the Obama career center and begin a new job, you will be allowed only one gallon of free gas each week. You are also allowed only one free meal per day. You are allowed one free medical consultation per quarter. If you are able to work, and do not contribute to the labor force before the end of the year, you will be drafted for active military service. Obama has instilled hope in our brave young men and women as Commander-in-Chief, and wants you to contribute to our ongoing fight for freedom against external evils and domestic sleeper cells. Enjoy your day of freedom, change, hope and fulfillment. Yes we can.”

“Good morning, United States Comrades. Due to unforseen pressures in national production, personalized morning messages will be temporarily suspended. There have been a few unsubstantiated reports of working citizens being unable to afford basic necessities in the United States. The government continues to ration these necessities to profitable workers, but temporary production pressures have resulted in reduced rations. The Department of Labor tells us the Consumer Price Index is still reasonably low, so inflation is not a problem. Where gasoline is available, prices are still less than $100 per gallon, thanks to Obama’s compassionate decision to nationalize oil. Imagine how high the prices would be if the oil companies were still getting a profit on top of that. The evil threats from abroad continue to fester, and Obama calls on Congress to propose a military draft. There are also numerous sleeper cells among us, who mean our good nation harm. They will backwardly suggest that Obama’s government is evil, and we have reason to believe they may have nuclear capabilities. At any moment, they could detonate a nuclear bomb in a major U.S. city. If you recognize or know people who may be dangerous, please turn their names in to the Department of Homeland Security. Because of the nature of this temporary threat, Obama declares a state of emergency throughout the nation and institutes martial law, effective immediately. Please remain in your homes and await further instruction. Enjoy your day of freedom, change, hope and fulfillment. Yes we can.”

The universal health remedy, and its fatal side side effect

Products of socialism
Michael Moore’s Sicko is a simple-minded and compelling cut of film.  In the United States, health services are sometimes denied, and in many countries that have a state-insured health system, good health services are readily available.  Moore shows this from the perspectives of sick individuals in the U.S., England, Canada, France and Cuba. 

Moore argues that universal health is a great blessing for the inhabitants of the countries that provide it, and if looked upon in the moment, his argument is not easily refuted.  Monopoly and collusion ignore the interests of patients and doctors in the United States, and allowing the government to take over is one solution to the problem.  However, a universal system entrusts health services to the same corrupt legislative body responsible for the downfall of market forces, and the increasing prices and unavailability in that industry.  If the practice of universal health care is viewed as a permanent societal institution, and not a momentary phenomenon (it is only this in the history of society), state health provision becomes a dead weight–an afflition of society nearly as dangerous as absolute tyranny.

Moore visited Europe, and showed a very happy and healthy utopia, where health services are always provided.  The social problems of that continent, however, meant nothing to Moore.  Moore’s appeal is to restricted minds, who see healthcare not as part of a society that necessarily relates to other parts, but as a single entity devoid of cause and effect.  Moore failed to notice that there are many illiterate, unemployed Europeans who, though they take advantage of government provisions, hate the government that provides them.  There is, according to the accounts of Bruce Bawer and Ayaan Hirsi Ali (among others), in the immigrant communities of Europe, a social disease that will, in time, manifest violently.  Multiculturalism destroys the common interest of society, and it perpetuates only as a product of social programs like healthcare and welfare.  The dangers of multiculturalism on European society are apparent and growing.

In her autobiography Infidel, Ayaan Hirsi Ali describes her experiences as a African Muslim refugee in the Netherlands.  The Dutch government provided her with housing, healthcare, a living stipend, career services, and language training.  She used these services to learn Dutch, get a job as an interpreter, go to university, and eventually become a member of parliament.  The vast majority of her contemporary refugees, however, chose to live under perpetual government care, and never found work or learned the Dutch language.  Those refugees blamed all of their problems on the Dutch government–the government that provided them the idle time to manufacture their worries.  History indicates that their children and grandchildren will live in much the same way, living off the system for as long as the government can support them, which cannot be forever, simply because these dependents are the fastest growing demographic on the continent.  The beneficiaries of government provision show little gratitude for the assistance that democracy has afforded them.  There are already third generation immigrants in Europe who do not speak their country’s language, and many of them hate the Western governments that have allowed them to live comfortably; they would like to replace them with a government most Europeans would find hostile to liberty.  Their numbers are growing, and the only way to change their attitude toward government is to end their government reliance, or change them using methods that deny them some freedom.

When people are allowed to live and reproduce comfortably without learning the language or contributing labor–when they are able to become product participators without ever participating in production–they cannot understand the common interest of a free society.  They become separate from the nation.  They will inevitably stop focusing on their own jobs and lives, and begin focusing on their relative values and social plans, attempting to socially engineer the nation accordingly, and government provisions will grow to meet ever-increasing demands.  As a result, the burden on government will grow while revenue remains stagnant or shrinks.  When the government’s burden becomes larger than the nation’s production, totalitarianism and economic collapse are already well under way.

Recognizing the unfortunate end of universal healthcare does not change the fact that America’s healthcare system is broken.  Universal is one solution to a real problem, but it stifles innovation and encourages laziness and apathy.  Moreover, it entrusts healthcare to the legislators who initially empowered collusive corporations.  By placing the interests of patients and medical professionals at the forefront under law, and by illegalizing the healthcare and drug company cartels, we can have quality healthcare that is affordable and innovative.