I and thousands of other protesters attended the health care rally in DC yesterday. The protesters were great. The speakers, not so much.
At about 12:05, all of the House Republicans came running down from the Capitol building. One legislator tried in vain to pump up the crowd. I kept expecting to hear Queen blasting from the speakers. The speakers all co-opted tea party terms like liberty into their speeches. Many spoke about the need to defend the Constitution. But where was this principle during the Bush years? Where was this principle when they authorized a monstrous new entitlement program costing us billions (Medicare part D)? Or expanded education spending exponentially (No Child Left Behind)? Or passed out "stimulus checks"? Or bailed out banks from their "troubled assets"?
I am glad that our reps railed against health care. I will take any help I can get to kill the bill. But don't insult me by waving your Constitution around when you have clearly ignored it for the last 8 years. And longer. Really, the last 100 years.
Republicans and Democrats are plagued by a similar character flaw; arrogance. They all think that they know what's best for your life better than you do. Republicans are liberals with a clearer sense of human nature. That's why they try to interject market forces into (Medicare Part D's "donut hole") or "reform" entitlements (welfare reform in the 1990's) rather than just doing away with it all and letting you decide what's best for the life of you and your family. They don't want you to be able to use your money the way that you want to. They are wiser than you, and they will use your money better than you will.
But they are all human beings. Some of them are wiser than us, but that does not give them the right to dictate to ordinary Americans what's best for our lives. Hayek commented on the basic problem with this mindset. He said that information is the primary problem. No bureaucrat or politician can have the detailed knowledge of the lives of all Americans in order to make informed, rational decisions on all of our behalf. If he had that knowledge, and he was wise enough, he could make great decisions for all of us. But each one of us knows what's best for ourselves better than any politician. A little humility and acknowledgment of human limitations would be greatly refreshing from our leaders. Policy cannot solve every problem. It can't even solve most of them.