08/29/08 Wall Street Journal - Potomac Watch by Kimberley A. Strassel
"If today's liberal storyline were correct, a proud "progressive" candidate should win voter acclaim with promises of higher taxes, government regulation, an encompassing health-care entitlement, protectionism and corporate-bashing. We can't know if that's the case, since the "progressive" Mr. Obama is doing such an excellent job of hiding those policies behind the conservative rhetoric of "choice," "tax cuts," "free trade" and "freedom."
Tequila Kid's reply: “Today's liberal storyline”, as you put it, is indeed accurate. You claim there's no way of telling whether voters prefer statist solutions or individualistic solutions. That claim is clearly false, and constitutes part of a mendacious conservative narrative intended to obscure the facts of America’s recent history.
In 2000 Al Gore won “voter acclaim with promises of higher taxes, government regulation, an[d] encompassing health-care entitlement”. More voters voted for liberal Gore than for ”conservative” Bush, despite an intense and ruthless campaign by the conservative mainstream media (especially The NY Times and The Washington Post) in favor of Bush. However the conservative élite – by resorting to Byzantine intrigues culminating in a judicial coup d'état -- overruled voters' preferences.
In my view freedom of collective choice is just as worth striving for as freedom of individual choice. But conservatives, who dominate the media -- thanks to the concentration of media ownership in the hands of a few plutocrats, enabled in turn by pro-monopoly Republican legislation of the 1990s -- are opposed to freedom of collective choice. Their opposition takes the form of denying that such a freedom exists. The flimsy theoretical basis for this claim is to deny – within the sphere of economic theory -- the existence of public goods and of market failure.
If Obama disguises his collectivist policies as individualistic ones, that is because the politically correct conservative establishment has conducted a hysterical, decades-long witch hunt against collective decision-making by the majority through free elections. Thus Obama wishes to elude the opprobrium regularly meted out to those who challenge the cretinous free-market twaddle that in the United States has become a folk religion. The right wing denounces choices freely made by the electorate as the doings of sinister bureaucratic insiders. Conservatives wish to preserve the current system in which collective decisions are made in secret by a handful of plutocrats to further their own class interests.
It is a well-known fact that Americans overwhelmingly prefer a universal single-payer health care system. The economist and Nobel laureate Kenneth Arrow conducted theoretical research into the economics of health care and concluded that a free market in health care is incompatible with inborn human values and is instinctively rejected by almost everybody.
Right-wing insistence on a private health care system is done principally pro forma, i.e. for show – since they know perfectly well that it is a chimera -- because it is required by their ideological cover story.