I can't help noticing the similarities between the Democrats' drive to pass Obamacare, and the methods used to collectivize agriculture in the Soviet Union.
The three main parallels I see are:
- Scapegoats – Stalin used the evil "kulaks" as an excuse to take over agriculture. Democrats demonize doctors and insurance companies as an excuse to take over the medical field.
Stalin relied on a scapegoat because the ordinary citizen could relate to that more easily than to abstract notions of economics and Marxist theory:
[T]he naming of the kulak enemy ... presented a flesh-and-blood foe accursed by history; and such a target made for a far more satisfactory campaign than mere abstract organizational change.
– Robert Conquest, "The Harvest of Sorrow," p120
Proponents of Obamacare also use scapegoats, because such a target makes for a far more satisfactory campaign than mere abstract organizational change:
We should be prepared to respond to the other side, but we don't need to ... feel pressure to answer their accusations point by point. Instead, we should treat them as agents of the insurance lobbyists who want to maintain the status quo.
- A specious crisis atmosphere – Stalin's was a trumped-up "bread crisis." Obama's "crisis" is a combination of rising medical expenses and the number of uninsured people.
- A specious class war is posited – Stalin's was between kulaks and the middle and poor peasants; ours pits "Brooks Brothers" protesters (owners of "Cadillac" insurance plans) and the uninsured.
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Some lesser, ancillary similarities are:
- Outlandish, unfounded claims are made about the ostensible remedy.
Stalin and his henchmen made unwarranted optimistic predictions about what collective, socialized farming would accomplish. Obama makes several mutually incompatible promises: insurance for everyone, better medical care, no tax increases, lower costs, etc.
- A simpler solution is ignored.
In "The Harvest of Sorrow," Robert Conquest says, "[T]here seems little doubt that output could have been raised by fairly simple methods. Steel plows ... the better use of seed; and similar measures taken in other countries, would have proved very effective."
Similarly, we don't need a complete government takeover of the medical industry; Obama and his cohorts want it, and have always wanted it. This is a chosen, discretionary class war.
- Bracket creep among scapegoats.
The class war against "kulaks" inevitably was expanded to repress the peasantry at large, since the goal was to force them all into collective farms. Similarly, Neil Cavuto asked Sen. Lieberman, "Do you think that the real eye-opener for a lot of your colleagues, Senator, was this so-called Cadillac-plan tax feature, where, turns out that if you're driving a Camry you're stuck with this?"
- Iatrogenic (doctor-caused) disease.
The original "problem" or crisis was caused by the government to begin with. The "grain crisis" had been caused by the state itself, by its appropriation of the fruits of the peasants' labor.
Similarly, our government's reimbursement/payment schedules have created "disequilibrium" in our medical field. And state governments have driven up the cost of insurance by ordering insurance companies to insure the already-sick ("guaranteed issue") and to insure everybody, regardless of their personal characteristics, at the same premium rates ("community pricing").
- The real reason for opposition: Freedom.
As regards the collective farms, one peasant is quoted as saying, "Yes they will have everything on the kolhoz [collective farm], big cow stables, big piggeries, big incubators, big silos, big machines and maybe big houses. But people won't have any independence, won't have any happiness. They'll be like the pigs and the cows – in stalls and in stanchions."
Similarly, people who oppose Obamacare likewise understand that their freedom of choice is being taken away. Just as the collectivized peasants spoke of kolhoz life as a "second serfdom," so Obamacare promises to reduce doctors to serfs, taking orders from government bureaucrats and dependent on them for a meager wage. It's not "hate and fear" that motivates the opponents of Obamacare, nor yet racism. It's freedom.
- The problem was better than the cure.
Just as private, un-collectivized farming was more productive than the Soviet collective farms that replaced it, so private, un-collectivized medical care undoubtedly produces better medicine than Obamacare ever would. Even our poorer citizens get better care than the wealthy in other countries. "A rising tide lifts all boats" in the medical arena just as much as in economic matters generally.
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Larry Eubank is a freelance writer with articles published in Chronicles magazine and the British magazine "Quarterly Review."