It is so hard to feel sympathy for people who were duped because they wanted to be duped.
When someone says, "Yes, you can have your cake and eat it too – I promise," at what point do you scratch your head and wonder, how? At what point do you ask a few questions to see what gives?
When someone promises the impossible, at what point should a person suspend their willingness to believe and become doubtful?
When someone says "First we have to pass the law, to find out what's in it," shouldn't you wonder why they don't want you to know what's in it, first? If they start calling you names because you ask questions, should you let that silence you?
These are serious questions, given the degree to which so many people believed the sales pitch they got on Obamacare. The advocates were not the least bit cleaver in their deviousness, plenty of truths were available for anyone interested in knowing. But, what if you didn't want to know? What if you just wanted to believe the impossible was possible?
As one listens to all the crying and lamenting, the crony capitalists who were double-crossed and silenced, and all those left holding the bag, one is reminded of the adage that a con artist can't con a honest man. Within that is the real problem – a population willing to suspend the very essence of their own integrity and intellect, in order to gain the unearned. That's not something which will be easily corrected or changed any time soon.
There are a lot of people who have every right to say, "I told you so" – you know who they are – all those unintelligent, unenlightened and uncouth individuals, deemed ignorant when compared to the beautiful people of mass media and the politically blind, who predicted the impossible was possible. They have left Sarah Palin and the Tea Party looking quite brilliant. Are they?
Hardly. They just saw what anyone could see if you weren't intent on wanting to believe the impossible. If you are honest enough to understand that there is no such thing as a free lunch, then you have to look behind the words of promises to the contrary. The Tea Party and others oppose Obamacare because they do not believe it will work – but somehow they have been successfully portrayed as stubbornly opposing it, all the while knowing it WILL work. Who does that? How does anyone swallow such spin? Right or wrong, the Tea Partiers believe what they say. Don't you wonder why?
The only brilliance of the Tea Party, of Sarah Palin, of Ted Cruz, etc., is in understanding that there is no escaping the necessity of being responsible for one's self. You don't need to know the nuances of the plan, to know that. Fundamentally, they understand that there is no societal benefit in institutionalizing theft, or enslaving others for your benefit. Apparently, true genius is simply to know that truth.
How the catastrophe that is Obamacare will precisely fail cannot be specifically foretold, in part because so much of it is being perpetrated in secret – but that it will fail — even more so than it has so far – there is no doubt. That's not to say we may not wind up oppressed by a program called Obamacare; the reach of unrestrained government is, after all, quite powerful. But we can know that we will not have improved health care at less cost.
If it advances, we can know that it will do so only under extreme coercion which forces everyone against their will – everyone from the providers of care to the insurers to the patients. We can know it will diminish liberty to an extreme degree. It's already been suggested, in the face of so many medical professionals dropping out, that the government should force doctors to continue to practice. This is Atlas Shrugged! Whoever believed we could reach this point of insanity?
Economics and human nature dictate that when something is "free" demand and costs will increase. And, we know that when the money runs out service will be cut [unless of course government is willing at that point to relinquish power and unleash the private sector ].
How will the high standards being imposed on insurance companies today, hold up when government is solely responsible for providing benefits? When the money runs out, will the government's insurance policy standards still be invoked when it comes to disbursing benefits to those over 60 or 70 years old? I suspect those "junk" policies being cancelled today will probably look pretty good, then.
The underlying attitude that will direct government at that point is already evident in their explanations about cancelled policies: "Only a small minority" of people are having their policies cancelled, we are being told in attempts to mollify us. Not stated is the philosophical premise that the pain and anguish of this group is acceptable, for the sake of the greater number.
"Unenlightened" people hear in this, the future, when demand exceeds government's capability of delivering. They know that it is just a matter of time and those words will be: "Gee whiz, it's only a minority of people who are being left to die for the sake of the greater good."
Seeing this inescapable eventuality is what makes Sarah Palin appear brilliant in predicting "death panels."
As to the private sector coming to the rescue? Forget it. Private providers of health care will, in some way or another, be rendered illegal. That too is predictable, because common sense says that people will run to the private sector when government becomes too oppressive. But, if freedom of choice was the goal we would never have implemented Obamacare. Protecting the power of government will require removing all competing alternatives – not unlike the postal service when it comes to delivering first class mail.
Such practical application of reality is what makes the "unenlightened" so brilliant. Such studious avoidance of reality is what will deliver us into a catastrophe in which many people will certainly suffer.
To believe that there is any turning back, at any time, is to believe that once acquired, government will relinquish power. Talk about wanting to believe the impossible is possible! That too is a profound understanding of the "unenlightened."
The hand-writing has long been on the wall about the real role of the Policy Coordinating Committee or the PCC, and it's really not about traffic signals as the current controversy would seem to indicate, nor is it about bike trails, as a previous conflict seemed to imply – it's all about local control versus federal control. Who is in charge of how local communities grow?
Yellowstone County Commissioners are coming to understand that maybe it's not local elected officials – not if they want to receive their share of the disbursement of federal transportation dollars.
Going back to 2006, when people in the community were upset about how a map of proposed bike trails were misleading bikers onto private property— the outcome revealed much. The map is a product of the Heritage Bike Trail Program, which is mandated by the Federal Highway Agency, which dictates not only a requirement for a map, but the very existence of the PCC and how it must function. The fact that the local public officials could not make the incredibly benign decision not to publish a map, should say all that needs to be said about who's in charge.
While local officials were able to manipulate the map so that it shows very little, they didn't have the authority to decide not to publish one. The Heritage Bike Trail map still exists, just as the program still exists, even though the name has been changed in an effort to try to fool the public into thinking that it's something different.
The discovery that local officials, also, can't make such a simple decision as instituting a left turn at a traffic light, has again clearly illuminated the situation, which prompted one county commissioner to declare "we are wasting our time."
If the PCC lacks the authority to make even such simple decisions, then one has to question: What is the real purpose of the PCC?
Having for years watched, researched and studied the function of the PCC and the transportation bureaucracy, one has to conclude that the primary purpose of the PCC is to corral legitimate local power. It is a bureaucratic coup that manipulates all aspects of local elected authority, by forcing local government to function within the confines of federal dictates, leveraged by the return of tax dollars to local communities.
The PCC, the county commissioners, the city council, and even the federally mandated Planning Board members, can all run around voicing opinions, holding meetings, voting on issues and making proclamations, to their hearts content, so long as they do not step beyond the policies and goals which the federal government has placed around them. Those policies and goals have not so much to do with transportation as with a vision of how we all should live, which is pretty much a plan that places human beings at a subservient level to the planet, wildlife and "sustaining" nature.
The artificially contrived new form of government is one which keeps locals in their place, running around like mice in a box. It also assures that all communities will grow and develop in the same way, marching to the same drummer.
Since, if people fully understood those goals, many might not agree, the much wiser social engineers and centralized planners have found it necessary to coerce us into the proper chutes. Understanding that, American citizens still hold the rather archaic idea that they should have some input about how they live their lives, the bureaucracies, and progressive organizations at the fore, have devised this system that lets the locals THINK they have a voice.
Don't misunderstand. Local public "input" is solicited and even mandated by the regulators, but what the local yokels want only has influence to the point that it conflicts with a federal edict – exactly as PCC members are discovering.
Whether it's a bike trail map, the necessity of bike trails or "alternative" modes of transportation, or whether it's roundabouts or instituting the whole concept of "Smart Streets," or whether it's a Growth Policy or the endorsement of "sustainable" living, be assured there is only one acceptable outcome, no matter what local input might be.
This is not to say that a left turn signal is desirable, or that bike trails are bad. It is not to say that people won't enjoy "walkable communities," or that roundabouts don't work. It is to say that people should have a choice. It is to say that whatever the benefits of these things are, citizens are not being given a choice, and local communities are not self-directing. It is to say that no matter the risks of environmental degradation, the risks of dictatorial government are far greater. It is to say that local citizens in the end will make better decisions than centralized government planning.
The policies and political manipulations behind the PCC have broader implications. The strategy was recently expanded upon by President Obama in coordinating the goals of the Department of Transportation with those of two other federal agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Housing and Urban Development. Millions of dollars have been put into place to attempt to corral all local elected government under a new plan of regional government.
Federal regulators are taking a lesson from the success of leveraging transportation dollars. In the future the officials of local communities, in order to get grants and other tax funds, from any of these agencies, will be required to endorse "sustainable" development and to function through this new system of government, propped up with the appearance of local control, with "partnerships" and pseudo grassroots organizations.
The goals are being expanded to include things like diversity in neighborhoods, compliance with land use restraints, and adoption of regulatory mandates regarding natural resource development, economic growth, etc.
This "new age" vision was most clearly described in the July 30, 2013 issue of National Review, ""It is part of a broader suite of initiatives designed to block suburban development, press Americans into hyper-dense cities, and force us out of our cars. Government-mandated ethnic and racial diversification plays a role in this scheme, yet the broader goal is forced 'economic integration.'"
The ultimate vision is to make all neighborhoods more or less alike, turning traditional cities into "ultra-dense Manhattans, while making suburbs look more like cities do now. In this centrally-planned utopia, steadily increasing numbers will live cheek-by-jowl in 'stack and pack' high-rises close to public transportation, while automobiles fall into relative disuse," reads the article.
Again, if this is what Americans want, great! But most don't even know the vision, nor do they know that their power to influence it and their individual choices are being co-opted, while their local elected representatives are being strong-armed for the redistribution of tax dollars into their communities.
And as the PCC is learning, it is a struggle between local control versus federal control.
Local officials who stand up to defend local power and local autonomy should be commended, because ultimately they are defending our rights as citizens to choose. Local officials who acquiesce to the top-down controls for the sake of "free money," should be replaced as soon as possible. Our system of local control and Constitutional government should have no price tag.
The Big Sky Business Journal
P.O. Box 3262
Billings, MT 59103