For some time now, I’ve criticized the socialism both actual and latent among self-described conservatives, even TEA partiers, including the widespread popularity of government schools, social security, etc. The ruling assumption is, “The other guy’s socialism is bad, but socialism that benefits me I’ll embrace and defend.”
Leftists know this, and have been planning all along on getting as many people as possible dependent upon such government-funded benefits. For example, as Henry Blodget notes at BusinessInsder.com, the Democrat theory is “that the Republican leadership is scared that Obamacare actually won’t be as bad as they have been saying it will be — that, in fact, Americans (including Republican constituents) will quite like it.” This is the “trust us, you’ll like it” theory. Or better yet, the “these bozos can be bought off” theory—also known as “politics as usual.”
But let’s not forget that at the heart of socialistic programs like ObamaCare is the redistribution of wealth by government mandate/coercion. Most people who oppose it do so, on the surface, based on arguments of principle: “taxed enough already!” “keep government out of healthcare,” “no socialized healthcare.” So unless self-described conservatives and Republicans have the gumption to stand firm on those principles in practice when the time comes, they’re going to have admit that, just as much as liberal progressives, they love tax subsidies, big government in their lives, and socialized everything—as long as it benefits them.
The problem is that such conservatives want to rake in the government funded benefits and still wear labels like “conservative” and “strong Republican.” And that’s another staple of politics as usual—hypocrisy, sometimes known as the bald-faced lie.
This is what we see with government schools, social security, medicare, farm subsidies, defense contracts, etc., and sure enough, this is exactly what we are starting to see with ObamaCare. The leftist organ ThinkProgress.com (aptly abbreviated “TP”) broke this story, but conservative websites like BusinessInsider and ConservativeIntel have picked it up too: Butch Matthews, a 61-year old retiree, conveniently switched his view on ObamaCare once he realized he could get an absolutely free package with only a $750 deductible.
Even though Matthews has his house and cars paid off, and has money saved up, the fully-subsidized package for which he qualifies will save him an additional $13,000 per year. He bit, and he ain’t looking back. In fact, he has now seems to have become an evangelist for ObamaCare:
So what would Matthews tell other Americans who are skeptical about Obamacare? “I would tell them to learn more about it before they start talking bad about it.”
What he means to say is, “Just look how much you can get out of it, personally, at someone else’s expense! Never bad-mouth wealth redistribution until you find out on which end of it you fall. It can be very profitable!”
The fact that allegedly conservative people can be bought off so easily is problematic in itself. But like I said, when we consider this practice at work in American life, there is hardly any area where socialistic, big government has not inserted its sucker-lined tentacles. This helps explain the consistent slide into socialism and big government throughout American history: people want easy profit no matter how it comes. The Democrats have been right: even people who oppose socialism on principle will embrace the theft in practice if they can benefit from it.
But my point here is to go a step beyond and point out the truly discouraging hypocrisy that follows. Matthews exemplifies it: “I still am a very strong Republican, but this… I’m so happy that this came along.”
Now, a fitting argument can be made that Republicans have always been quasi-socialists, and so Matthews is not far off here. And considering how so many mainstream conservatives and even TEA partiers recently embraced the father of RomneyCare with laughable equivocations and special pleadings as to why he was so different, perhaps Matthews is merely at the forefront of a trend. But “very strong Republican”? Don’t make me spit out my coffee.
For those who would like to retain both their principles and their integrity, the widespread practice and approval of wealth distribution throughout our society will present a stiff challenge. You “very strong Republicans,” TEA partiers, conservatives—especially the large number of Christians within these categories—will inevitably be tempted to embrace socialistic programs and institutions by means of personal benefit. It is and will be made personally profitable to you to accept. At this point, you are being tempted to sell out your principles and values for a few thousand dollars. It will be up to you at that point to decide whether you prefer the birthright or the bowl of pottage, your soul or the thirty pieces of silver.
And after you condemn Mr. Matthews for doing this in regard to ObamaCare, turn and apply the same logic to the school, the markets, the Fed, government contracts, old age care, medicare, and pretty much everywhere else. Spend some time on the project. Get creative. Meditate upon it. It can lead to something cathartic.
If our fight is on principle, then let’s stick to principle even when it seems to hurt. If our fight is personal profit and pragmatic, then let’s just admit we’re all thieving socialists now, and get on with the natural business of pushing and goring each other to see who can get the most (Ezek. 34:17–21).