ObamaCare: It's Yahweh Or the Highway

It appears the President has given up on the technocratic arguments for ObamaCare, which (if I may paraphrase) went roughly like this:

Decades of heavy government interference in the health care sector have brought us fiscally unsustainable government programs and increasingly expensive, insecure, and unportable private-sector insurance, with only marginal improvements in health outcomes.

So we'd like to interfere even more, remaking the whole enchilada from top to bottom, putting huge new restrictions on insurance companies. But don't worry, everything you like will stay exactly the same. And it won't cost you anything, unless you're rich. Hey, you'll probably save money!

No government bureaucrat will deny you care you need! But we'll have this expert government panel to make sure everything's "cost effective", even though we've never actually made anything like that work at any point in the past.

And there will be a public option! That's a must! Or maybe not.

Oh, and we won't kill Grandma. Trust us.

Amazingly, people were skeptical. And, for their skepticism, they were branded racists, traitors, immoral villains, and (of course) un-American. And, most unkindly of all, "well-dressed." (Take that back, you vicious …)

So a new and even more offensive marketing gimmick is being rolled out, roughly: God says we have to do this. And if you disagree, you're a sinner.

In a conference call with liberal and progressive religious leaders Wednesday afternoon, President Obama railed against those who were "bearing false witness" in the debate over health care reform.
And, yes, using that kind of language to that kind of audience is no accident, and they're only too willing to respond, demanding that we start rendering unto Caesar even more of the things that are Caesar's, and rendering up some of our own stuff too:
A group of religious leaders launches a health care blitz Wednesday that will be highlighted by television ads, sermons and a nationwide "call-in" to the White House that will stress the "moral imperative" to extend affordable coverage to the nation's uninsured.

The "40 Days for Health Reform" initiative by the interfaith groups will include prayer services in congressional districts, meetings of religious leaders with members of Congress and a "Nationwide Health Care Sermon Weekend" with preaching from the pulpit on the need for a health care overhaul. The leaders say they're the ones who see up close the problems with the insurance system and the need for change.

I eagerly await the howls of the folks that bewailed imminent theocracy and pulpit-politicizing under Reagan/Bush/Bush. But I expect to hear crickets instead.

There are a number of good comments elsewhere:

  • I like David Harsanyi's take:
    On Team Righteous, we have those who meet their moral obligations; on the other squad, we must have the minions of Beelzebub--by which, of course, we mean profit-driven, child-killing, mob-inciting insurance companies.
    So true. The previous vituperation directed at ObamaCare opponents will pale in comparison once their true eeeevil nature is revealed.

    (I also stole the headline for this post from Harsanyi's column. Pun… can't resist! But it's not as if others haven't used it before.)

  • Ann Althouse is also unimpressed with the new tactic.
    Government as religion -- it's a poisonous notion! But drink it, drink it. Believe! It will not hurt you at all!

  • And if Taranto isn't an every-weekday stop for you, this is a pretty good day to check him out.

  • And Andrew Klavan makes a subtle theological point.

Of course, you don't have to be religious to engage in this sort of moralizing. A good example is Ms. Susan Jacoby, a self-proclaimed atheist who writes at the (I am not making this up) "On Faith" section of the Washington Post website:
Opponents of universal health care are not only morally wrong but antirational.
If that's not enough, she also plays the racism card:
Finally, we […] should stop pretending that opposition to health care reform is all about health care. It isn't. It is about an unreconciled minority that does not accept the legitimacy of an African-American president […]
And demonstrates how her atheism informs her compassion and tolerance:
One reason I don't believe in God is that if he existed, I just feel certain that he would inflict some really, really uncomfortable (not fatal--I've never liked the Passover tale of the plagues or the slaying of the Egyptian first-born) ailment on the screamers at town hall meetings.
Ms. Jacoby demonstrates just how unattractive preening moral superiority can be just as unattractive in the unreligious as the religious. And (truth be told) probably more so; at least some religious folks are humbly uncertain that they can know the mind and will of God and are informed by the Gospel's message of love; unbelievers lack that particular brake on their arrogance, whims, petty hatreds, and resentments.

Side Street

[3.0
stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

The second half of our Farley Granger/Cathy O'Donnell double feature, this one directed by Anthony Mann. It's not thought to be one of his classics, but it moves along OK.

Farley and Cathy play young married couple Joe and Ellen, living in black-and-white postwar NYC. They're desperately poor, she's pregnant, and he's eking out a living as a part time mail carrier. While delivering to a lawyer's office, Joe espies a cool $300 lying around. On his next delivery, there's nobody around, and Joe impulsively decides to smash-n-grab.

Unfortunately, he winds up unwittingly stealing a cool $30,000, a blackmail payment masterminded by the lawyer and his lady-killing partner. And when I say lady-killing, I mean that literally: he's already done away with a blonde floozy (ironically named "Lucky"), simply because she was a loose end, the only person the blackmail victim had contact with.

So Joe is targeted by the bad guys, and (of course) also needs to stay away from the cops. And did I mention that the Mrs. is about 8.97 months pregnant?

Again, you're supposed to sympathize with Joe, but he's whiny, stupid, and easily self-tempted into petty crime. Sorry, Joe. My advice is to find a job and keep your nose clean.

Jean Hagen, the great Lina Lamont herself ("a shimmering, glowing star in the cinema firmament"), has a small role as another floozy, a part-time bar singer and full-time drunkard. I kept waiting for her to say Ehnd I cayyyn't stehnd im! But no such luck, and her destiny here is even grimmer.

Also, Whit Bissell as a bank teller. He was in a lot of stuff. And were I James Lileks, I'd point out the Star Trek connection.


Last Modified 2012-10-05 4:23 PM EST