The brightest star in Yogi Berra’s Library-of-Life-Lifters is probably “It’s déjà vu all over again.” (Runner-up: “Nobody goes to that restaurant anymore. It’s too crowded.”)
It hit me with a comforting force when I suddenly connected what I was hearing these days that rang dim but important bells from long ago. You’ve heard it, even said by conservatives on conservative media: “It’s not enough for Republicans to bash Obamacare. They’ve got to come up with superior alternatives.” Hitler’s propaganda minister, Josef Goebbels, gave us the “Big Lie,” which certainly describes Obamacare itself and the way it’s been sold. But what shall we call the notion just cited, that criticism of it is invalid without an alternative? “A wiggling little weasel of an opportunistic manipulative lie,” perhaps?
Thanks to some lucky breaks both amusing and incredible, I did quite a bit of time as a young would-be journalist inside the Communist world. (Example: Once I went from North Carolina to Maryland for a football game and wound up for six weeks in Communist Yugoslavia!) During the Cold War, I was often invited to speak to history and political science classes at nearby high schools and universities. This wasn’t one of those $15,000-a-pop jobs raked in by the Clintons. Depending on whether the student driver assigned to pick me up and take me to the school stayed on course or got lost, I might get a paper cup of coffee and a doughnut in the faculty lounge before the talk. I didn’t mind. They wanted a firsthand view of real-life Communism. I’d had several.
To me, Communism was a Gestapo look-alike and a consumer fraud. And that’s what I told them. When it was time for questions you could depend on the teacher to weigh in with, “Mr. Farber, you’ve told us you’re against Communism. But you haven’t given us any idea what you’re for!”
At that point the ring-kissers and boot-lickers would howl with a laughter that seemed to say, “Oh Boy, our good ol’ teacher sure got this guy, didn’t he?” I didn’t cooperate. I refused to speak and behave like somebody who’d been “got.” I simply replied, “Professor, you’re correct. I’m an anti-Communist. What I’m for is more effective anti-Communism at every level of every non-Communist government on earth.”
That brought forth cheers of support, but only from those students who knew they weren’t going to get very good grades anyhow.
So, the verdict is in. It’s not enough to point out the dangers of Obamacare. Apparently, I’ve got to offer something better!
Who says so? Who says if I can’t or don’t offer a superior alternative to Obamacare, then I’ve got to shut up while the audience clings to Obamacare the way some of us stand accused of clinging to our guns and Bibles? That’s a lame doctrine. It’s diseased, but it sure sounds great! It’s an all-purpose instant defense for the indefensible.
“General Washington, you can’t just go around bashing British rule. …”
“Mr. Churchill, you can’t just go around bashing Adolf Hitler. …”
What naked reeking rot! Why can’t you?
Imagine telling the resistance forces in Europe fighting the Germans – from the Greek royalists to the French Maquisards to Norway’s “Gutta i Skauen” (The Boys in the Woods) that it’s not enough to go around bashing the Nazis. And why not? Bashing the Nazis sounds like a solid, positive program to me. Same for Obamacare.
“Dr. King, you can’t just go around bashing racism. …”
“Mr. Mandela, you can’t just go around bashing apartheid. …”
The point is, yes, we can!
Attacking an evil does not require the obligatory encore of detailing an improvement to replace that evil. I think Communism and Obamacare deserve being dropped into sulfuric acid and sprayed over Death Valley. Let the triumphant survivors confect their own improvements; I’ll try to help!
One of the best songs of World War II is the long-forgotten “When The Lights Go On Again All Over The World.” The knockout line of the lyric went like this.
“When the lights go on again
All over the world
There’ll be time for things like wedding rings
And free hearts shall sing.
When the lights go on again
All over the world!”
And there’ll also be time for free democratically elected governments.
And vastly better health insurance plans.
Eleanor Roosevelt, possibly the sweetest liberal soul ever to inhabit the White House, said, “It’s better to light a candle than just curse the darkness.” Forgive her! Eleanor never heard the way we curse darkness these days. More of us curse better, with more feeling; we know more words; we deploy them with more gusto.
Just listen to the victims of Obamacare. Never before have Americans so mastered the vernacular of condemnatory damnation.
Or used that talent in so worthy a cause.