Another day, another health care debate being dominated by the Leftist opposition. Earlier this week, the Republican leaders in Congress announced that they had come to an agreement with the House Freedom Caucus and would be putting forward a new attempt at repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The reaction from activists on the Right has been as predictable as it is sad. One either hears the sound of crickets from the groups that support the new proposal, or cries of “No Complete Repeal, No Peace!” All the while, the Left is working the phone lines trying to kill any attempt at walking back Obama’s lone legacy.
The new proposal not only reverses large parts of Obamacare, it also empowers individual states to pull out deep institutional roots at the local level. Like other cancerous bureaucratic enterprises, Obamacare dropped deep roots in a short time. These cannot be pulled out in one movement and will require a sustained effort to prevent a resurgence, but the only sustained efforts one can see are those of the obsequious press and Leftist activists like Topher Spiro at the Center for American Progress who are providing “whip lists” to their allies. These are efforts to kill the bill, plain and simple. They are targeted, they are organized, and they are non-stop.
align=”left” Now we must struggle to merely hold the ground we won last fall, even as we seek to expand the sphere of liberty. This means that we need to fight hard in favor of the repeal of Obamacare, but it also means that we must do so with the long view in mind. We should take any opportunity for victory that we can, but we should never stop in our own march through the institutions.
How are my friends on the Right responding? Many of them, especially those in the cozy confines of Conservative Inc., are complaining that the bill doesn’t do enough to kill Obamacare.
This is a true statement. The bill doesn’t do enough to kill Obamacare, but it does push the lines of battle away from single-payer health care and provides a roadmap for the complete eradication of the stifling and complex regulations associated with the highly unaffordable act. Conservatives, who represent the best of the Western Tradition, have to be mindful not to succumb to one potential strategic weakness of that tradition. We are often looking for the decisive victory, the legislative success that undoes decades of governmental overreach and that in one fell sweep returns power to local government and the people.
Sadly, that is not how wars are won, nor is it how institutions are changed. Battles may be decisive, but war is a prolonged test of wills. Institutions are, as they say, sticky. Once an institution has been created, it immediately begins to affect the legal, social, and political environment. In the case of the so-called Affordable Care Act, the takeover of the individual marketplace transformed independent insurance agents into quasi-government employees almost overnight. In effect, it took over an entire industry of small business owners and independent contractors. People who were once intermediaries in a genuine marketplace were shifted into a new role as form-filers. It turned entrepreneurs into bureaucrats. Add to the long litany of legal changes to the medical system an amendment that allowed the federal government to take over student loans and use that money to pay for Obamacare, and you begin to see that the bill has externalities piled upon externalities that must be overcome. These are deep roots, too deep to be removed in a single piece of legislation.
How does one fight against such a leviathan? Through a long battle of attrition. We must follow the advice of Michael Walsh and adopt the strategy that the Left has used to such great effect and make the long march through the institutions, clawing back every inch until we return to the people control over their daily lives. We need not use the same tools of deception and deceit that the Left has used while implementing this strategy, but we must take the long view and understand that the “Battle of Obamacare” is only one battle in a much longer war of ideas.
It’s a war that is being fought in every corner of society. The battle rages on college campuses where professors have long used their positions of authority to stifle conservative opinions in the classroom, and where conservative speakers need to worry about being physically assaulted. But threats of physical assault aren’t limited to college campuses; we now see these threats leading to the cancellation of family friendly festivals. The battlefield of ideas is everywhere. The Left has won so many battles, both in the open and in the shadows, for so long that the desire for a big win is understandable. This is especially true after last year’s election when Donald Trump demonstrated that it is possible to win even when all the forces of hell stand against you.
What we need to remember is that even though Donald Trump won, he didn’t win by a landslide. He won by securing nail-biting victories within traditional Democratic Party strongholds. His was but the first victory in what needs to be a long and hard fought war against the totalitarian Left. Now we must struggle to merely hold the ground we won last fall, even as we seek to expand the sphere of liberty. This means that we need to fight hard in favor of the repeal of Obamacare, but it also means that we must do so with the long view in mind. We should take any opportunity for victory that we can, but we should never stop in our own march through the institutions.
Even as the Left has created a strategic guidebook to enable perpetual “resistance,” we must use those tools to fight them in every sector. For every “Themed Protest March of the Week ™,” we must be ready to counter-protest. Every time they seek to silence a speaker like Ann Coulter, we need to be there in support of them. We need to let the Young Americas Foundation know it will not have to face the ultra-fascists alone. We need to call our congressmen and senators.The phone lines should be flooded with our voices, not merely the voices of organized authoritarians. The Left seeks our silence; let us give them a clamor.
Yes, our representatives need to do more in the effort to repeal Obamacare, but they are not the only ones who should be fighting the Left. We need to pull our own weight in the battle against an enemy who surrounds us and who never stops.