Thursday, September 24, 2009

Beware the Stalin in progressive hearts


By Mark Tapscott | September 24, 2009 | Washington Examiner

If nothing else, the Obama eruption in American politics is steadily revealing the stark reality behind the progressive movement - the totalitarian temptation is always there and, for more than a few, possessing the official power to compel sooner or later becomes irresistible.

Not everybody on the left, of course. Some of the folks I most admire in this town are liberals whose work on behalf of values like transparency in government and protecting civil liberties is remarkable and essential.

Still, that this danger is real and growing becomes more obvious as public opposition grows to the president's across-the-board campaign to turn Washington into the all-powerful, centralized behemoth that Woodrow Wilson and FDR could only dream about.

Consider: Nowhere does the Constitution grant Congress authority to require every American to buy a particular private service or product on pain of forfeiture of a significant portion of their wealth. Yet, every version of Obamacare currently being discussed in Congress requires just that.

Forcing all of us to buy officially approved health insurance is essential to a functioning government-run system. As Obama told Congress, "many of insurance reforms we seek - especially requiring insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions - cannot be achieved" without the individual mandate.

Why? Because the politicians and bureaucrats who will manage the government-run health care program know that, without the force of government behind them, they won't be able to make the rest of us do what they tell us to do.

Once the power is granted, the question becomes how severe will the enforcement be. Fines will suffice, for Obamacare, for now. For Stalin, the first choice was usually the Gulag, or a bullet. It's just a matter of degree.

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