Unhinged by Obama

Obama's second term will not bring about the end of liberty in America.

On Wednesday morning, sober conservatives pondered an election defeat, swallowed their disappointment, and turned their attention to things that truly affect their lives, such as work and family. But there are other conservatives, who were profoundly affected by their collision with reality.

Upon learning of Barack Obama's victory, they envisioned themselves in one of two movies: Man on a Ledge or Braveheart. The first group fell into utter despair. The second chose furious defiance. All agree the apocalypse is at hand. The argument is only about what to do next.

Why the reaction should be so intense is a mystery. We have already had four years of Obama, and the consequences have been endurable, if not enjoyable to all.

Capitalism is managing tolerably well, with the stock market up dramatically since he took office. Inflation is low and unemployment has fallen. The Bush tax cuts have survived. So has the Second Amendment. We remain the premier military power on the planet.

In fact, things have not changed a whole lot. But somehow, the alarmists believe that a second term will usher us into a totalitarian hell.

"It really is liberty versus tyranny," declared Rush Limbaugh in a fit of gloom, pleading to listeners, "I'd love to be talked out of it." He will not be talked out of it by Robert Stacy McCain, who wrote in The American Spectator that "America is doomed beyond all hope of redemption, and any talk of the future fills me with dread and horror."

We can hope they enlist the help of Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer, who said, "As a psychiatrist, I will offer to write prescriptions for anyone who needs them right now."

Donald Trump took the defeat as grounds not for despondency but—his word—"revolution!" He shouldn't expect an argument from radio talk show host Mark Levin. "We do not accept bipartisanship in the pursuit of tyranny," he thundered. "We will not negotiate the terms of our economic and political servitude."

Levin imagines himself as Mel Gibson's William Wallace, who chose death over submission to a despot, shouting "Freedom!" as he died. But this is not commitment to principle. It is, as Daily Beast blogger Andrew Sullivan marveled, "delusion and mania."

The hysterics' definition of tyranny is being forced to buy health insurance to prevent them from becoming public charges—under terms identical to those prescribed by the man who was supposed to save us from servitude, Mitt Romney.

It's returning to a top marginal tax rate lower than the one that prevailed during most of Ronald Reagan's time in office. It's keeping entitlements Republican presidents preserved and even expanded.

These conservatives cannot bring themselves to admit all the ways in which America has grown freer in our time. Wage and price controls have been relegated to the scrap heap of history. Deregulation has occurred in one sector after another.

Political speech, including corporate speech, is less constrained than ever. Radio stations no longer have to provide airtime for different viewpoints. Gambling is legal in almost every state. The Supreme Court recognizes an individual right to keep and bear arms.

Marijuana laws have become more permissive. Women enjoy equality. Racial and ethnic minorities are full participants in our society. Gays have been largely freed of persecution and can get legal protection for their families.

Communism is dead. Socialism is dead. They live on only in the nightmares of conservative fear-mongers.

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  • Lord Humungus||

    yay Cronyism! Yay regulations! Yay!

  • Bucky||

    cough, cough, bullshit!
    cough, cough, waroncoal!

    earth to chapman umm, there's this little agency called the EPA, umm, you might want to do an intertubes search on "new regulations waiting until after the elections"...

    do you remember:
    $600 hammers,
    $1,500 toilet seats,
    "We have to pass the bill to find out what's in the bill",
    multiple agencies administrating overlapping programs,
    and you STILL think that the government is going to be able to help you with your individual health care needs?

  • Darwin||

    Which industries have been de-regulated? I'm quite sure regulations have been getting more and more intense over time. If not, someone needs to tell Stossel.

  • Adam||

    I'm assuming he's talking about things like airline de-regulation in the 70's....otherwise it's the silliest statement I've heard in a while; and that's saying a lot.

  • Drake||

    He's a moron who has never had to sit through a monthly SOX Audits.

    Dodd-Frank and Obamacare are both in the process of being turned into fully weaponized regulations. The EPA supposedly has some real doosies in the pipeline.

    I'm not unhinged by Obama, but Chapman might get me there.

  • Ecdysis||

    The telecommunications market has been largely deregulated from the state sanction monopoly of the Bell System. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 further deregulated the industry on the local level. It seems to me regulation with the mindset of directly controlling the economy (such as the 1930s) is largely gone, but regulation with the mindset of "social justice" is still prevalent.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    WTF? What world do you live in? I assume you're a gov't employee of some kind?

  • DJF||

    Depends on what kind of conservative.

    The Neo-cons are just upset that they are not on the front lines of the Bush/Obama polices anymore and are reduced to cheering from the sidelines. Though their brothers the Neo-Libs are taking up the slack.

    The Paleo-cons did not like actual Bush polices that much so don’t like them even more without the fig leaf of conservative rhetoric

    The average conservative like the average liberal really does not have any solid principles and just cheers for their team even if both teams agree with each other more then they agree with their fans.

  • ||

    Hey, Neolib still means Neoliberal, damnit. Don't sully our good name by letting the leftists take it.

  • $park¥||

    Wage and price controls have been relegated to the scrap heap of history.

    No more minimum wage laws? I must have missed that.

    State approved gambling is legal in almost every state.

    FTFY

    Women enjoy equality.

    They don't sound like they're enjoying it very much.

    Communism is dead. Socialism is dead. They live on only in the nightmares of conservative fear-mongers.

    Huh, I didn't realize I was a conservative fear-monger.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Socialism is dead? WTF?

  • Loki||

    Communism is dead. Socialism is dead.

    I noticed that little of idiocy too. Someone might want to tell China, Cuba, N. Korea, Venezuala, France, Britain, Russia, et al. I don't think they got the memo.

  • Fluhdoten1||

    nanny statists (ones who control the US govt) havent been informed either.

    stop naming other nations as if its not that way in USA right now.

    controlling private sector with draconian regulations is hardly different from outright owning them.

    this distinction is lost on "how things operate". a private sector regulated into the dirt is just like a public owned industry.

    what we need is for ppl who favor massive regulation of private industry to stop pretending that is essentially different from socialism. IT IS NOT.

    it even has a petty cash fund so the govt can make cash withdrawals as it likes: fines.

    overregulated industries OPERATE exactly like socialism.

  • wareagle||

    Capitalism is managing tolerably well, with the stock market up dramatically since he took office. Inflation is low and unemployment has fallen. The Bush tax cuts have survived. So has the Second Amendment. We remain the premier military power on the planet.

    it's as though Chapman believes that unless martial law is declared, it's all good. No, Steve, it isn't.

  • ||

    Retarded liberaltarian horseshit is retarded. News at 10:00.

  • Rich||

    This. "It could be worse."

  • Lyle||

    Chapman only sees short term. He doesn't understand where we're all headed.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    "unemployment has fallen"

    I actually missed this when I RTFA. What are the job requirements for a columnist on here? Is it too much to ask that someone getting paid to write on here knows that there are millions less people working now than when Obama took office, despite an increase in the population? How the fuck has unemployment fallen?

  • Carston||

    Well, unemployment has fallen, they just never mention that this administration has juked the stats, and a lot of people have just quit looking for work, so they aren't included in the numbers either.

  • ||

    Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer, who said, "As a psychiatrist, I will offer to write prescriptions for anyone who needs them right now."

    Paaaaaaaarty!

  • ||

    If it's at my house, women are restricted to the kitchen and laundry room.

    What? Libertarian doctrine!

  • $park¥||

    Every time I saw Charles on TV I couldn't get past his weird way of breathing when he talks. Then I found out that he's paralyzed. Now I chuckle at the thought of somebody pushing around a talking head in a wheelchair.

  • wareagle||

    laughing at the crip; it's one of the reasons we can't have nice things.

  • ||

    Like the Presidency.

  • Killazontherun||

    Shit, I didn't know that. He's never been a favorite of mine but I remember the very first thing I read of his. A cover issue article of The New Republic article showing the UN buildings with the title Let It Sink back in the 80's. I was still a left liberal then and that was a new idea to me.

  • Bucky||

    sheesh,
    i've been away, this is what qualifies as something you feel the need to share?

  • SugarFree||

    I guess every barrel needs a bottom.

  • TheSpiteHouse||

    Otherwise, how do you hold the fish in?

  • Bucky||

    holds the umm, fertilizer...

  • $park¥||

    They merely have different ideas about how to address problems they regard as a collective responsibility in a practical way.

    Most people comprehend this all too well. Lack of understanding is not the problem here.

    Democrats are often mistaken about how their remedies would work.

    But don't let that stop them, no sir.

    Some Obama policies may indeed curtail economic freedom at the margin, but not so much as to warrant howling panic, and not in any way that future elections cannot undo.

    Why didn't you say right up front that you live in Dreamland? That would have made it easier to write off this whole mess.

  • Fluhdoten1||

    I dont understand why this article didnt start with a disclaimer that the author was a democrat apologist without libertarian ideals.

    Its confusing to visit this site and read this article.

  • Carston||

    They put these articles on the site so we can all freak out in the comments section.

  • SIV||

  • Fluhdoten1||

    original phrase "life, liberty, pursuit of happiness" was "land, liberty, pursuit of happiness".

    private property and individual rights are essential to the American brand of freedom.

    his regulatory history be damned.

  • Redmanfms||

    Wrong, it was "life, liberty, and property."

    Read Locke's "Two Treatises on Government" to learn more and understand its meaning to the Founders.

  • ||

    "Communism is dead. Socialism is dead."

    Well done, Chapman. Your delusional ode to an infinitesimal reprieve from certain aspects of governmental tyranny in wholesale ignorance, or disregard, of the authoritarian avalanche heading our way was abhorrent enough, but THAT?

    Oh, boy, you jumped the shark like a motherfucker.

  • wareagle||

    Chapman represents Chicago-style libertarianism; it's done differently there.

  • ||

    "Unless Mr. Government has his enormous cock all the way up my ass, everything's peachy, and there's no reason to whine until the sky itself falls and shit really hits the fan."

  • Fluhdoten1||

    im having a hard time believing this guy could qualify as a libertarian.

    his attitude towards infringements has a partisan overlay of which are acceptable.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I'm sorry to sound like I'm whining, but it's kind of a weird pattern. If someone says, "I believe in traditional values, think it's a good idea to live a wholesome lifestyle and practice religion, even though I think it's incredibly immoral to force that on people.", they're a close-minded, right-wing fundy. If they "I think the government should exercise tremendous influence in the economy and engineer society to exhibit progressive values", well at least they're not Pol Pot...

  • Drake||

    Socialism is dead? Can somebody tell the Europeans?

  • ||

    Or, indeed, the Democrats

  • Drake||

    They like to point out that they don't want government to own the means of production.

    I like to point out that they just defined themselves as Fascists.

  • ||

    Die Regierung ist heilig.

  • Killazontherun||

    What the earlier socialist came to learn is once the state owned the means of production those who oversaw the functions of the state became responsible for producing. Far better for someone else to do it whom you can kick in the nuts at your leisure and blame when things go wrong.

    Besides, it is only one form of socialism. The more prevalent form of socialism today here and in Europe is in positive rights theory and applying it as a means to extract wealth from third parties to get votes for your coalition.

  • dan'o||

    That way they have a handy scapegoat during times of public disapproval

  • dan'o||

    Woops. Me redundant. Killaz covered it

  • Fluhdoten1||

    at some point, regulation equates to effective ownership.

    When you can regulate an industry to behave how you want, fine them as you like (cash withdrawals), there is no meaningful difference between your lordship over them and outright ownership.

    overregulation IS socialism.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Exactly. If ownership has any meaning, it entails control over the use of an asset, and not just a residual claim on the benefits of that asset. If the state controls the use of the asset, they effectively control the residual claim. The residual claim becomes nothing more than a stipend from the state.

  • ||

    Well I wanted some salty ham tears. I couldn't get obama's so I suppose social conservatives will do. It just that it is more like a burrito supreme than the filet mignon I was expecting.

    Obama's second term will not bring about the end of liberty in America.

    Why don't you and Obama get a room? Jesus. This remains to be seen. Let's see whtat the DOJ does with colorado and washington and whether BO sends in a lot of federal pigs.

    I do love the idea that I think this is the beggining of the end for social conservative (at least those who would use the power of government to compel their version of conservatism) as an effective voting block. They are simply on the wrong side of history.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Is so, then say hello to govt-subsidized single motherhood for as far as the eye can see. Say goodbye to Clinton's welfare reform, which needed socon pressure to get over the top.

  • Fluhdoten1||

    Its funny that just as social "science" determines that the family structure overwhelmingly correlates with happiness, productivity, avoiding crime, disease, etc...that social conservative values lose political power.

    America has made its culture bed. It chose liberalism. Now it will lie down with addicts and rise up with AIDS.

    No skin off my back, its just funny that leftwing "science" figures it out just as they vanquish the messenger of those values.

    I hate the idea of legislating ANY social values. Which is why its funny that now its the left (who loves coersion) that will champion marriage and the end of divorce (along with population controls).

    no persuasion, just regulation! fun times await humanity. if someone thought the right was a busybody, just wait till liberalism gets its hands on sudsidizing the traditional family. hahaha

  • Mike M.||

    Meanwhile, liberals like Steve Chapman voted for Obama, and then partied into the wee hours of the morning.

  • Killazontherun||

    Chapman's professional career makes little sense. He's too fucking retarded to be earning his income this way.

  • H. Reardon||

    While I have to agree that the conservative doomsday hysterics are mostly a partisan squabble, Chapman proves his ignorance with the rest of this artice.

    Some Obama policies may indeed curtail economic freedom at the margin, but not so much as to warrant howling panic, and not in any way that future elections cannot undo.

    Just who could be elected to reverse the curtailing of economic freedoms? He already admits that there is little difference between the major parties. Both parties have eaten away at the margins of economic freedom for so long that the margins are approaching the core.

    When the government is no longer able to fund enforcement of their economic regulation, the populace will simply be able to ignore them and economic freedom will begin to be restored. That's not a doomsday scenario, but one of liberation.

    I now know to ignore most that is written by Mr. Chapman.

  • Lyle||

    I have to say it's hard for me to not compare Obama to the Gracchi.

  • Randian||

    The hysterics' definition of tyranny is being forced to buy health insurance to prevent them from becoming public charges

    I have no idea why forcing people into State-Administered health care would be considered "tyranny".

    I am going to force Steve to get a vasectomy, because the risk that his children will be as stupid as he is just too great - they're sure to be public charges, and one generation of imbeciles is enough.

    FREEEEDOM!

  • R C Dean||

    The hysterics' definition of tyranny is being forced

    Sounds like a pretty good start, to me.

  • T o n y||

    They merely have different ideas about how to address problems they regard as a collective responsibility in a practical way.

    You know who else had ideas how to address collective problems in a practical way?

    Yeah, everyone, including libertarians. (Except, often, for the practical part.) This article is insightful: the more hysterical the opposition sounds, the less seriously it will be taken, and the less power it therefore has. There is not a single policy proposal from either side, or from libertarians, that is not exactly as collectively-focused as any other. The few actual ideas conservatives have would probably more radically affect more people than anything Democrats propose. The same goes even more for libertarians. The rest is slogans. Attacking a straw man with a straw sword.

  • LiberTarHeel||

    "There is not a single policy proposal from either side, or from libertarians, that is not exactly as collectively-focused as any other." Damned collectivist libertarians! If only there were a philosophy that stressed individual liberty, free people, free markets, free thought/speech/actions!

  • T o n y||

    Those are slogans. All your policy proposals will by definition affect people's lives, probably much more so than those of people you consider statist meddlers.

  • Average Dude||

    ... All your policy proposals will by definition affect people's lives, probably much more so than those of people you consider statist meddlers...

    Sigh...

    T o n y , find the nearest toilet. Open the lid. Insert your head. Flush. Repeat.

  • Fluhdoten1||

    Tony,

    yes the different govt styles cover the same issues, but they allow decisions to be made at different levels.

    Whether you take a dump today or not COULD be considered a matter for the collective to decide.

    Libertarians generally believe decisions should be pushed to as low a level as possible.

    Decisions that effect subsets of the populations ought to be decided by subsets of the population. Not the whole thing.

    When healthcare is decided on a national level, we have to ask, WHY?

    Why not regulate your daily dump at the national level? Because its not a collective decision. Same as healthcare.

    Healthcare is a personal choice, made at the individual level, that impacts each individually different. They alone are responsible for their own self. They are the ones who have to bear the brunt of bad health.

    Statists want to push choice up the ladder of accountability. Libertarians want to push it to as low a level as possible. Hopefully to the individual level.

    AFFECTATION only comes into play because statists would allow govt to affect personal choices. The only way in which libertarianism increases affect on private lives is its perceived absence (of effect) when statism is withdrawn.

    basically you are arguing that libertarianism affects ppls lives by not screwing with them.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    You know who else had ideas how to address collective problems in a practical way?


    "Collective problems"?

    Tonylogic 101:
    -- "I have a problem, therefore YOU have a problem!"

    -- "Uh, no, I don't think that's true!"

    -- "That's because you're against the collective will of The People!"

    The rest of your rant goes downhill from that fallacious premise.

  • ||

    the more hysterical the opposition sounds, the less seriously it will be taken, and the less power it therefore has.

    So you now understand why nobody takes you seriously because you a partisan hack? Well, it's a step FORWARD!

  • Jeff||

    Nothing has changed. The sun still rises, and Chapman is still an Obamatard.

  • Treadonme||

    And I suppose liberal viewpoints like banning fast food or declaring meatless Monday's as an official government position not tyranny?

  • T o n y||

    You're much more likely to be killed by obesity than your government. So what's the real tyrannical force?

  • Jeff||

    The one that involves coercion, shithead.

  • Randian||

    Tyranny of nature! Damn you nature, you tyrant!

    Sic semper naturus!

  • Randian||

    You're more likely to die of old age than at the hand of your government. BAN AGING

  • T o n y||

    There are more bad things in the world than are perpetrated by human agents. One might call this a central blind spot of libertarianism.

  • Jeff||

    Sure. But there's no problem that government can't make worse, shithead. And it does, almost invariably. This is what libertarians understand, and what power-worshiping lickspittles like yourself don't.

  • T o n y||

    Oh look another mindless slogan.

    If nothing else I have picked up on the fact that you guys thing government = bad.

  • Cavpitalist||

    Government IS bad, even when necessary.

    You apparently don't have the varied life experience to realize that, which is why you find yourself perpetually embarrassed trying to argue with those who do.

  • T o n y||

    Government is bad until you need it, and except for the numerous ways in which it makes your life easier on a daily basis, which you apparently rarely even notice.

    Government = bad is not a political philosophy.

  • Cavpitalist||

    No, it's a recognition of a basic truth.

    Show me where government empirically makes my life better. I'm not trying to set a trap, but I know you'll fall in anyway.

    Government is a monopoly of all legitimate force centralized into a few hands and enforced with targeted violence and general oppression. In every instance, for all of human history. There is a universe of discussion that can proceed from that point, but if you refuse to accept the basic philosophical truth of all government, you don't have a political philosophy. You have an alternate path to tyranny.

    I'm not an anarchist. I would probably anger a good portion of the HundR commentariat, as I am a Libertarian for purely pragmatic reasons.

    War is sometimes necessary, but it is always evil. Government is sometimes necessary, but it is always evil. You can't separate the one from the other.

  • Teaching Student||

    So in order to solve the bad things perpetrated by human agents you are going to give the power of a gun to human agents?

    Or is the government run by benevolent supernatural beings?

  • T o n y||

    We all agree on that don't we? Government should react to crimes...

    Sure a few of you realize the embarrassing disconnect in assuming government is always a force for evil and is inefficient at everything it does, yet is somehow indispensable in order to secure the rights you care about. Those people do a lot of hand waving.

    Government's job is to be the agent of the collective will of the people, and any propensity toward doing bad is supposed to be checked by elections, oversight, institutional checks and balances, and an informed population. That last bit is what's been causing all the problems lately if you ask me.

  • DrAwkward||

    Don't you mean the "Collective Will of the People"? You should capitalize names of (nonexistent) deities.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    We all agree on that don't we? Government should react to crimes

    That depends... What do you mean by "crimes"?

    Because mala prohibita "crimes" are not real crimes, necessarily.

    Sure a few of you realize the embarrassing disconnect in assuming government is always a force for evil [...] yet is somehow indispensable in order to secure the rights you care about.

    I don't need no stinkin' government. Try getting into my house uninvited, and my two friends - Smith, and Wesson - will give you a lesson in securement of rights.

    Government's job is to be the agent of the collective will of the people,

    There's no such thing as "collective will", you ignoramus.

  • Fluhdoten1||

    govts need to step in is CAUSED by human weakness.

    if there was no crime we would need no cops.

    *necessary* govt invasion into our private lives is in direct proportion to the corruption of the populace.

    *unnecessary* govt intrusion is a result of powerhungry scumbags infiltrating our constitutional republic.

    if ppl were all good, we wouldnt need ANY govt. they would naturally donate $ to construction crews, build roads, get organized, etc.

    I see govt as a necessary evil to combat human frailty. You see govt as a morally justified entity with its own legitimate agenda, rights, priviledges.

    Its an imaginary nonliving abstraction! It only exists in the minds of men. Any and all of its wants, wishes, hopes, and dreams are nothing in comparison to 1 human's.

    govt is only lent legitimacy inasmuch as it represents other humans REAL interests.

    So what is my interest in the timing of your daily dump? Shouldnt you alone get to decide that? Collectivism is a virus that conflates interest and divests beings of personhood. no thanks.

  • DrAwkward||

    Morality and ethics are concerned with how human agents interact with each other. Not sure what non-human agents or non-human non-agents you're referring to here.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    And if I choose those things, THAT'S ON ME!!!. It's MY choice and MY consequnces. Who the HELL are you to decide what exactly is a good thing and a bad thing for me, anyway? I might very well feel that the pleasure I get from that last cigarette is worth the time shaved off my life. Guess what? It's none of your damned concern.

  • mgd||

    Brilliant, the tyrannical force of obesity.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tony,

    You're much more likely to be killed by obesity than your government.

    Evil is justified by comparison of number of bodybags.

    News at 11.

  • ||

    Tony said:
    "You're much more likely to be killed by obesity than your government. So what's the real tyrannical force?"

    Considering that governments (not counting war) murdered over 100 million people in the 20th century (it goes over 200 million when you factor in war), I assume it depends on who you're talking to, and which government you're talking about.

    I, for one, prefer death by cheeseburger to death by forced starvation, or the draft.

  • Skyhawk||

    Way to spoil Braveheart, asshole, I had it TiVo'd.

  • LiberTarHeel||

    Socialized medicine, NDAA, Presidential "kill list", militarized domestic police (now with drone technology), destructive environmental and energy mandates, unprecedented level of executive orders, FISA ... I could go on, but clearly, Steve, it's all my unhinged chimeric fantasy. Thanks so much for clearing that up; I feel much better now!

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Socialism is dead."

    Didn't Obama spend the last month traipsing around Ohio and bragging about having nationalized GM?

    You only see what you want to see Chapman.

    You know, the South didn't wait for the Emancipation Proclamation before it seceded. Once Lincoln was elected, they realized that presidents didn't need any support from the South to get elected anymore, and they could read the writing on the wall...

    Now the parasites now far outnumber the hosts, and this election made that abundantly clear. Mitt was right about the 47%. Moving forward, there's no reason to think presidents need worry themselves over the concerns of the hosts.

    I used to think there was some hope, but we are now at the mercy of a president who has insufficient reason NOT to grind the productive class into the ground. We now have an electorate that thinks grinding the productive class into the ground is what should be done!

    I can see the writing on the wall.

  • LilMissSunshine||

    Obamacare is the first step to losing our freedom. Why should I have to pay for your healtcare bills when you choose to abuse your body with inproper diet, drugs, & alcohol? How many lap bands or rehab bills do I have to pay for before people get it? Also America was raped when we had no say about Obamacare. Would you vote for someone who said "you'll see what you get after it's voted in?" Pretty much an insult to all Americans. Talk about sheep.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Yay! I'm in Washington and can smoke pot!

    Too bad my current doctor probably won't continue prescribing the various medications I take for off label purposes as the government cracks down with "evidence based medicine", i.e., rationing and one size fits all medical care.

    But I can get stoned! Yay! I am so free!

  • Ken Shultz||

    "The hysterics' definition of tyranny is being forced to buy health insurance to prevent them from becoming public charges—under terms identical to those prescribed by the man who was supposed to save us from servitude, Mitt Romney."

    Obama refusing to sign any repeal of the individual mandate is not identical to Romney promising to sign a repeal of the individual mandate.

    It just isn't identical.

    And it's interesting to note that you apparently support using the IRS to force people to buy stuff, now? Do you imagine that the uninsured owe you something?

    The uninsured don't owe you anything, Chapman.

  • Mike M.||

    One could argue that the only thing the uninsured "owe" us is to pay their medical bills if and when they come up.

    But mention that to liberal shitheads like Champman and their response is "no, no no, we can't expect them to do that, that would be UNFAAAAAIR!"

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    It would be one thing if we taxed people who refused to by catastrophic health insurance - you know, the people who are subsidized when the go to the emergency room.

    But under the health-care law, buying catastrophic insurance isn't enough. You have to insure against things which aren't exactly going to bring you to the emergency room, like checkups and birth control.

    In fact, catastrophic insurance is basically illegal, since it doesn't cover enough stuff.

    So that puts paid to the while emergency-room rationale.

  • amelia||

    I can't get catastrophic. It is already unavailable in my state. I've been denied twice for policies that were as close as I could get - $5000 deductibles and coverage of generics and maternity. My next option is the high-risk pool. My pre-existing conditions are a hernia (I treat symptoms with OTC acid reflux meds) and depression, for which I take fluoxetine (generic Prozac). The co-pay for the anti-depressant would be more than I pay for it without insurance.

  • Fluhdoten1||

    the original problem is forcing hospitals and doctors to treat ppl.

    that is slavery.

    either let them die in the street so there is no financial problem, or keep your healthcare to yourself and make the doctors eat the costs themselves.

    asking for average americans to buttress the healthcare industry who is held hostage to serve indigent is ugly.

    if ppl dont want to be charitable, let poor ppl die in the street.

    i dont feel like subsiding obese ppls healthcare by compulsion and threat of the US govts IRS.

    economic slavery is not a real solution. occupation slavery is not a real solution either, but im not a doctor so im not as worried.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Capitalism is managing tolerably well, with the stock market up dramatically since he took office. Inflation is low and unemployment has fallen. The Bush tax cuts have survived. So has the Second Amendment. We remain the premier military power on the planet."

    Capitalism is managing tolerably well?

    The investment banks--the very agents of creative destruction--have been hamstrung by regulation. ...and if the stock market is up since Obama took office, it isn't becasue anything Obama has done. It's becasue the stock market was in the toilet when Obama took office (do the alleged reasons for TARP ring a bell) and fed keeps pumping in money.

    Inflation is low and unemployment has fallen.

    If unemployment has fallen, it's fallen to still unacceptable levels. And if inflation is low, it's in spite of everything Obama has done--not because of it. Inflation is low because growth remains anemic.

    The Bush tax cuts have survived.

    They've been sentenced to execution at dawn on January 1st! Chapman, haven't you heard anything at all about the fiscal cliff?

  • Bill Dalasio||

    ^This^

    The normal course of an economy is creative destruction followed by recovery. Unfortunately, we haven't seen this process play out in this business cycle because it hasn't been allowed to play out. The market has not been allowed to clear.

  • www.paradiseexposed.com||

    Mr. Chapman, the titles of two current articles on the Reason site (published along side this opinion piece of yours) are "How Misguided USDA Regulations Harm Consumers and Restrict Food Freedom" and "Obama Re-Iterates Desire to Raise Taxes in Campaign-Style Event Post-Election". Your own publication points to the fact that we are over-regulated and overtaxed. We all know that you want to affect a moderate point of view to differentiate yourself from other commentators and, thus, sell your "libertarian" articles. It is unfair, however, to paint those of us who fear for our freedom as fanatics from a Mel Gibson movie. That is simplistic of you and likely done to avoid liberal scorn.

  • Harvard||

    Makes me wonder when Steve Chapmanstein would have sought out that exit visa from Berlin. 1936? 1937? 1938? 1939?.....oh wait.

  • Jeff||

    1945, when Dear Leader went away. :-((((

  • Rick Santorum||

    Why is this published in a libertarian rag? I guess that libertarians really are nothing more than greedy progressives.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    "Wage and price controls have been relegated to the scrap heap of history."

    Ummmm....Mr. Chapman, I know some folks in NYC and LI who might disagree with you there.

    Putz.

  • Roman||

    Yes, the sun will come up tomorrow, because Obama can't tax it. Yet.

    Mr. Chapman confuses libertarian-cheering progress at the state level with massive steps backward at the federal level, and forgets that policies enacted today (Obamacare) become impossible to get rid of even as they crush the life from the economy in the not-too-distant future (Social Security).

    The deficit hawks have every reason to be despondent and angry; the electorate has proven itself to be easily distracted by fringe issues that matter to special interests (gay marriage, contraception, union power) and incapable of understanding the tidal wave of economic disaster headed our way.

    Socialism is dead, Mr Chapman? Tell that to a President elected despite repeatedly espousing positive views of redistribution of wealth and who honestly believes "someone else built that for you."

  • dan'o||

    21 trillion in the hole projected in 2016 ... i wonder what interest on that horse will look like after another downgrade or two

  • R C Dean||

    Lessee, the historical weighted average interest rate on federal debt is around 5%, if memory serves, so call it $1TT/year.

  • Ron||

    "Obama and his party are not actually aflame with the dream of turning America into North Korea"

    On both linkTV and CurrentTv they have actually stated that North Korea is a model to follow.

  • Loki||

    Way to write a shitty fact free reality challenged assessment of the election result and the last four years. De-regulation??? WTF reality does Chapman live in? Bizarro World? What a fucking hack.

  • Ecdysis||

    Doesn't the U.S. Government still own a large portion of GM? That sure sounds like socialism. I wouldn't say socialism is DEAD, reformist democratic socialism still seems to be prevalent in the minds of most of our Progressive friends. The problem is that they fail to own up to it because it is not politically correct. Let's call a spade a spade, that way we can have a sincere argument about the merits.

  • Chris Bray||

    The stock market is "up dramatically" because three rounds of QE have poured free money into the economy -- a sugar high, not sustainable prosperity built on a foundation of productive enterprise. "Inflation is low" if you don't count food and fuel, which aren't important at all to the daily lives of ordinary people. "Unemployment has fallen" all the way to 7.9%, after being parked over 8% for four years. "The Bush tax cuts have survived," but are unlikely to survive the next month and a half.

    Visit the planet earth, Steve Chapman. Have a look around.

  • Brandon Magoon||

    Actually if you look at shadowstats dot com you can see that unemployment is at 23%.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    "Capitalism is managing tolerably well, with the stock market up dramatically since he took office. Inflation is low and unemployment has fallen. The Bush tax cuts have survived. So has the Second Amendment. We remain the premier military power on the planet."

    Steve, did you clear this paragraph with Tim Cavanaugh?

  • Ken Shultz||

    He must have misfiled his reports!

    Right now there's probably another article that was submitted to the New York Times with Chapman's name on it saying something insightful about our economic problems.

  • CatoTheElder||

    While Steve Chapman wrote his pollyannaish sentiments wearing his rose-colored glasses, Jonathan Chait was writing as well.

    We Just Had a CLASS WAR. Democrats Won.

    http://nymag.com/news/features.....r-2012-11/

    For the clueless, "class war" was coined by Marx. Sure Chait's class war reference is a metaphor ... kinda ... for now.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It's the productive class against the parasites.

    It's a world of leeches voting to suck the blood out of the rest of us for dinner.

  • Disgusted Dem||

    This article has two major problems. First, it makes a very poor case in asserting that things are not so bad. It's no surprise that people commenting here were able to pick it apart so easily. Second, the way the article is written would leave one to believe that anyone who is very fearful of the coming consequences of the next 4 years is fanatical. I suspect that the intended message was that engaging in strong emotional rhetoric is not an optimal way to persuade others of your viewpoint. We look with disdain at the emotionally manipulative rhetoric of people like Mathews, Obama, and Gore. We need to realize others will look at us with the same disdain if we resort to the same tools of persuasion or cajole people to listen to commentators who engage in such tactics.

  • ||

    Didn't Chapman just write an article about how the voters elected to maintain the status quo? Apparently, the status quo is okay. He finally writes an article that was actually good, and then he goes and writes this piece of trash.

  • ||

    "Wage and price controls have been relegated to the scrap heap of history."

    I'm sorry. I must have been grossly misinformed in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. I also missed the part where the minimum wage law was repealed, or where we stopped subsidizing everything under the sun so that the mindnumbingly ignorant electorate can perceive themselves as getting free goodies everywhere they turn.

  • Gradivus||

    It may be a mystery to you, but it's no mystery to most conservatives and libertarians why the reaction should be so intense. Four years ago the electorate seemed to have been hoodwinked by pie-in-the-sky promises and the historic prospect of a black President. But now the people have seen what this man is all about. This time, they voted for him with their eyes wide open. They walked up to the ballot box, held out their bowl, and said, "I want some more Obama, please."

    To those of us who loved the America of individual freedoms, personal responsibility, and small government, the election meant that America itself—not just the government—had changed in a fundamental way. We are now demonstrably a people who prefer a system of entitlement and big government, a people who have surrendered the promise of upward mobility and embraced class envy, the goal of forced equality of outcome, and government redistribution of wealth according to "fairness."

    That's why we are so downhearted. We mourn at the death of a dream hitherto known as America. We loved it, and now we've lost it. What we have now is a different nation, similar to those on the other side of the Atlantic. The nation we loved is gone, and it will be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to ever get it back.

  • ||

    +1

  • jili5||

    I think the author's point, although poorly made, is that electing Romney would have changed nothing. A choice between Romney and Obama is like asking if you want a bullet in the heart or the head.

  • wef||

    There are at least two additional aspects to the angst that Chapman is talking about. Some reactions in the comments have reflected them.

    1. Many “conservatives” are having a psychic reaction to having to admit that America has been living for some time under a fuzzy, ill-defined and ever-evolving regime of Progressive fumbling and experimentation. They are having to admit that Reagan and the Noble House of Bush were (and are) participants in encouraging this impulse to centralization, daddy government and the whole long drift toward indifferent servitude and a mass class of fat and satisfied potato heads. They are having a psycho-aesthetic reaction: their fantasy is of a Constitution of yore, and upright Citizens respected by statesmen-like citizen-politicians who have nothing but the public good in mind. I’d call this the post-Constitutional nausea, and most-loudly expressed by Mark Levin.

    2. Many republicans-party devotees do not want to believe that their party is led by a bunch of con artists, frauds, gamers, apologists, power worships and sleazeballs. No one wants to face up to the realization that he has been played the fool for years. Limbaugh is particularly unable to separate his rightish libertarian sentiments from his party apologizing. Many republican-conservatives have been in denial of the sterility of the nationalreview suckups and the georgewill gamers. The election pushes them to open their eyes, and they hate it, lashing out in hyperbole.

  • American||

    Fire Chapman already. His ideas are not even remotely libertarian. His are just a patheitc defense of team blue and an open dislike of the historical American nation.
    "Socialism is dead."
    Actually, the young voters think that socialism is a better system than capitalism.
    "The hysterics' definition of tyranny is being forced to buy health insurance to prevent them from becoming public charges"
    Gee, wonder what all the other Reason writers think about being called "hysterics'."
    "Inflation is low and unemployment has fallen. The Bush tax cuts have survived. So has the Second Amendment."
    Chapman, those things have happened in spite of Obama, not because of him.
    "Women enjoy equality."
    But there is no room for the Catholic church, is there Chapman?
    Just look at Chapman's prior articles, like the one about how Culture has nothing to do with economic growth, it's all free-markets.[1] Or the one about how the fed should pursue inflationary policies.[2]
    1. http://reason.com/archives/201.....me-culture
    2. http://reason.com/archives/201.....ight-money

  • American||

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    Quoting Andrew Sullivan? Really?

    And:

    "Deregulation has occurred in one sector after another."

    Huh?

    Fucking sheep.

  • XM||

    Yes, I admit it, America will not become North America anytime soon, but we don't have to be North Korea to be miserable.

    But libertarians have plenty to worry about the future of their own movement, since their mortal enemies are growing in size. Only in some fantasyland will the GOP survive by becoming more "libertarian". The Repubs were thumped by non white statists who THOUGHT the GOP represented small government. If Romney actually supported free trade and defended outsourcing on economic principle, he would have lost even more decisively.

    And make no mistake, the libertarians are (probably) even WHITER than the GOP. Not a living soul in my immigrant community knows who Gary Johnson or the libertarian party is. Outreach to Hispanic or Asian communities from RP and GJ is nonexistent. If there was, I certainly didn't notice it.

    There's the line the dems will use if the libertarians actually rise to power - "Libertarians - even WHITER than the GOP!"

  • XM||

    North Korea, I meant

  • jili5||

    There were a lot of libertarians and Ron Paul supporters in California that were hispanic, asian, middle eastern (tons of them), but yeah a little low on blacks I'd still say.

  • XM||

    I live in California and I have not witnessed a visible ethnic coalition for Ron Paul. Among the younger English speaking crowd maybe, but In CA they're irrelevant.

    I read and speak in another language, and I actually interact actively among immigrants, unlike these white liberals who probably had a person of color in their house a handful of times a year. The concept of limited government is either foreign or not appetizing to them.

    Any center right group advocating limited government will be predominantly white. Which in itself means nothing, but that screams "exclusion" to the left sees inherent value in diversity. Image wise, the libertarians share the GOP's problem.

  • jili5||

    This is a strange article. While neo-cons are clueless in general and sound ridiculous to criticize Obama while they absentmindedly think Romney was somehow different, I in now way see any evidence of deregulation or that our bloated military is somehow good. Maybe the author meant neo-cons consider a bloated wasted military a good thing, it's hard to tell. But wage and prices controls put in the scrap heap of history? We still have a minimum wage, we still have the federal reserve price fixing money, we even have Chris Christie (see, guys like this phony are the supposed conservatives) signing price fixing laws on gas stations.

  • RoninX||

    Regardless of who wins, the losers overreact, and the winners overreach.

    This happened in 2004, when the Democrats said America was heading back into the Dark Ages, and Bush had a laundry list of radical reforms he thought he could enact -- starting with privatizing Social Security.

    I agree that conservatives have overreacted to the latest election. Read the comment section on the National Review site, and most of them are saying, "America is doomed! America is dead!" For people who trumpet their faith, they seem to have very little faith in Americans.

    On the other hand, liberals are just as guilty of this. Look at how feminists were saying, "If the Romney is elected, women will be turned into chattel slaves!" Seriously?

    The apocalypse isn't coming. That means we have the harder job of trying to make incremental progress in a messy, complicated world, where pendulums swing back and forth all the time.

  • Sevo||

    "The hysterics' definition of tyranny is being forced to buy health insurance to prevent them from becoming public charges—under terms identical to those prescribed by the man who was supposed to save us from servitude, Mitt Romney."

    False equivalence? Only all of it.

  • ||

    Inflation is low and unemployment has fallen.

    Lol. You’re adorable.

    It is, as Daily Beast blogger Andrew Sullivan marveled, "delusion and mania."

    Well, if anybody could offer a qualified opinion on the subject, it’d be Andrew Sullivan. After 8 years of Bush Derangement Syndrome, pot meet kettle.

    Communism is dead. Socialism is dead. They live on only in the nightmares of conservative fear-mongers.

    Yeah, if you don't count China, Cuba, and the entire continents of Europe and South America, communism and socialism are dead alright. What the fuck Chapman? You can't seriously be that irredeemably stupid, can you?

    The problem is that drama queens make no effort to comprehend the liberal mind.

    Yeah, about that: http://www.american.com/archiv.....ose-minded

    What Chapman is actually saying is that liberty will not be curtailed in any way that is meaningful to him personally – hardly surprising given that he voted for Obama and has not missed an opportunity to justify doing so since – so the rest of us should shut the fuck up, lie back, and think of England.

  • Epicdelusion||

    Steve Chapman is an apologist for the middle class.

  • ETremens||

    Don't be too hard on Steve. He was given the assignment to write a polemic on modern politics that had no cognizance of cause and effect.

    A tour de force, sir.

  • Gardner||

    True Mitt wasn't much better than Obama, But things are not all roses in the US of A.
    Drones dropping bombs on Americans
    Drones dropping bombs on civilians
    Undeclared wars
    Military intervention without the obligatory vote from congress
    Massive inflation, not sure where you buy gas and food
    Debt, debt and more debt
    NDAA
    Treaty on handguns likely ahead of us.
    Government Motors
    The list goes on. And yes, many republicans like these things when it's their guy in office...and that's why we should all be unhinged.

  • Epicdelusion||

    here here

  • HenryC||

    I am more worried about total financial collapse leading to a loss of our freedoms than the Presidents agenda, which is a gradual erosion of a limited number of our freedoms.

  • Coach Panto||

    Left is Right. Down is Up. Chapman is being held captive at the Ministry of Truth by Richard Burton in the room with four lights, and now that he's been forced to say there is five lights, he now has the task of convincing us.

    With the election of 2012, because repeal is now impossible, Freedom has been destroyed irreparably by:
    1. The bank nationalization Dodd-Frank (too big to fail set in stone)
    2. The healthcare nationalization Obamacare, which will allow absolutely every human activity, or LACK of activity, to be regulated
    3. The EPA juggernaut of regulations that is essentially nationalizing the energy industry
    4. The auto bailout / theft of the bondholders / seizure of stock given to the UAW
    5. The open-ended QE3 that is buying up with printed money all the property mortgages in the country from Fan/Fred and the big banks
    6. The Fed monetizing the debt indefinitely

    All this will lead, either in this term or the next (no matter who wins in 2016) to a hyperinflation followedmass unemployment, massive bank failures, a completion of bank nationalization, and wage/price controls which will indirectly complete all industrial nationalization (ushering in a new era of American fascism). After that, look for austerity riots, martial law, gun seizure, gold seizure, and new sedition laws allowing arbitrary suppression of dissent.

  • Coach Panto||

    I wish I was wrong, but history has shown this trajectory dozens of times after the people can 'democratically' extort benefits from the commercial base. We are past the point where makers can win elections. The Takers will rule until the place becomes a totalitarian state. The only way we can slow it down and get ahead of it a bit to eke out a living is to go underground and establish black commodity markets protected by layers of front enterprises and a strong honor culture which kills thieves and those who rat the black ops out to the State. That is how things run in Italy and a few other countries under the weight of fascist governments, and that is what we must do here.

  • Free Society||

    My beef isn't so much with Steve Chapman, but with the Reason editor that keeps publishing his articles in a libertarian periodical. Why not have Micheal Tomasky join the Reason staff while we're at it?

  • Carston||

    "Some Obama policies may indeed curtail economic freedom at the margin"

    Death by a thousand cuts.

    "Socialism is dead"

    Obamacare=socialism

  • SpartanGirl||

    If Mr. Chapman is a libertarian is his job at stake or something? I live in a mildly fascist country and the journalists here have been forced to write pro government articles in order to prevent getting fired or jailed. If Mr. Chapman is a liberal then why is his article on reason.com? We read enough liberal articles on many other sites and this is one of the few places where I can read libertarian articles.

  • Free Society||

    I ponder that question every time I see Chapman's articles appear on or in Reason.

  • Fluhdoten1||

    i live in a "mildly" fascist country too and this past election cycle the prez used the DOJ to threaten private polling companies in the weeks leading up to election day.

    it was great drama!

    it worked too, as he was reelected. hes the first half black to ever be president. great stuff!!!

    also along your lines, of the press being controlled by govt, our prez basically owns the media. there is 1 who isnt in his pocket, but its villified as on par with satanism.

  • Masturbatin' Pete||

    It is, as Daily Beast blogger Andrew Sullivan marveled, "delusion and mania."

    You lost me at Milky Loads.

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