But when was the last time liberals gave the benefit of the doubt to conservatives? Obama says opponents to his health-care initiative are all being paid off by corporate interests. Pelosi says we're un-American and carry swastikas around.
So forget nice.
Liberals have a basic problem with freedom. They don't like it. Well, to be more precise, they don't like it when it's other people's freedom. Congress is careful to exempt themselves from whatever plans they force on us. It fits the pattern. Obama preaches public education but sends his girls to a posh private school. Geithner is fine with raising taxes on us while not paying his own. Congress is against corporate jets for CEOs of bankrupt firms, but is in favor of corporate jets for morally bankrupt Congressmen. Al Gore travels the world in private jets and Lincoln Town Car limousines to lecture the rest of us about our unsustainable carbon footprints.
Socialism for thee, but not for me.
And then there is PDS to deal with -- namely, Palin Derangement Syndrome. I was discussing the Obama health-care initiatives with a liberal correspondent, and for some reason, it became clear that I was not allowed to have an opinion without first having to pass the Palin test.
Specifically: I was asked, where does Sarah Palin get off telling people the legislation calls for government "death panels"?
Where do I begin? Why not all the way back to ninth grade? I have been a conservative since she was in kindergarten. I don't feel like my opposition to this initiative is dependent on what Sarah Palin says. I haven't often sent her a letter asking for her permission to oppose socialism, nor to her credit has she demanded one.
Obviously, Ms. Palin didn't design her remarks to elicit coos of approval from the American left. (If that's a sin, I should be in Hell right this second.) But, aside from the fact that, for the first time since Reagan, liberals have had to face a conservative who is as good as they are at using inflammatory catch phrases, I don't think she is all that far off the mark.
Last I heard, medical care is still what economists classify as a "scarce good" -- meaning not that it is rare, but that all of us can't have all we may want or need in a limitless supply. That means, at some point, someone makes decisions as to who gets it and who doesn't.
Under socialized medicine, that someone is the government.
We have all heard horror stories from liberals about how this or that HMO denied care to someone. Well, to the consumer, the advantage of HMOs is that not everyone is forced to use the same HMO, and the HMOs are bound by contractual law in such a way that there is only so much they can legally deny to a paying customer.
In other words, the customer has options. Maybe not quite as many as he might like, but they're there.
The government will deny care just like the HMOs do. Bet the rent on it.
And when the same life-or-death decisions are made by the government, the avenues of redress are not as obvious nor are the options as plentiful. Since government is a political entity, such decisions will tend to be made politically -- favored constituencies, favored states, etc. But all the wishful thinking in the world will not make medical care a free good, like oxygen. That means rationing. That means someone will make the life-or-death decisions. And that means the government will be the one who makes them.
If Sarah Palin wants to call those decision-makers a "death panel", she is doing liberals a greater disservice than she is doing to the truth. I say, she's close enough.
In other countries with socialized medicine, end-of-life things are treated in the manner you can expect to see here when our time comes. In Britain, for example, they just quit feeding old people at the hospital, so family members who still love their grandparents have to smuggle in food. In the Netherlands, where there is euthanasia, the doctors can just flat-out kill you; only an idiot lets himself get checked into a Dutch hospital if he's older than, say, 55. My age.
There are clues that the Obama administration may value human life somewhat differently than most Americans. Here's what John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, wrote:
"The fetus, given the opportunity to develop properly before birth, and given the essential early socializing experiences and sufficient nourishing food during the crucial early years after birth, will ultimately develop into a human being."
"...will ultimately develop into a human being." I don't think Herr Goebbels could have said it better.
Sorry, I don't want these people in charge of deciding my health-care options.