Barack Obama

What Would Jesus Do? Ask Obama

The president's troubling use of religion to sell health care reform

|

"For with thee is the fountain of life; in thy light shall we see the public option."

Yes, it's finally come to this. We've dragged the Almighty Lord into the debate. It's Yahweh or the highway.

This week, President Barack Obama claimed his version of health care reform is "a core ethical and moral obligation," beseeching religious leaders to promote his government-run scheme. Questioning the patriotism of opponents, apparently, wasn't gaining the type of traction advocates of "reform" had hoped.

"I know there's been a lot of misinformation in this debate, and there are some folks out there who are frankly bearing false witness," Obama said, invoking the frightening specter of the Ten Commandments.

On Team Righteous, we have those who meet their moral obligations; on the other squad, we must have the minions of Beelzebub—by which, of course, we mean profit-driven, child-killing, mob-inciting insurance companies.

Why wasn't this multidenominational group of pastors, rabbis, and other religious leaders offended that a mere earthly servant was summoning the good Lord in an effort to pass legislation? Certainly, one of the most grating habits of the Bush administration was how it framed policy positions in moral absolutes.

As CBS News recently reported, Obama has thrown around the name of God even more often than George W. Bush. Then again, no group couches policy as a moral obligation more than the left. On nearly every question of legislation, there is a pious straw man tugging at the sleeves of the wicked.

What isn't a moral imperative these days? As if they were chiseling commandments into stone tablets, Democrats refer to budgets as "moral documents." Thou shalt compost, or climate change will descend upon the lands and smite the wicked and innocent alike. Extend alms to the downtrodden moneylenders and carmakers, for it is just, and the president commandeth thee.

If the apostate argues that dependency programs keep poor people poor or that progressive environmental policies are ineffective and create poverty or that free will is more important than free stuff, they will be dealt with like the Amorites. And you know what happened to those swine.

Morality—whether derived from religion or a Starbucks coffee cup—is only one of the many considerations Americans take into account when thinking about policy. As an atheist, for instance, my core moral concern is that elected officials stop telling me what my core moral concerns should be.

While we have no clue what Jesus would make of a public option, we do have plenty of evidence that government tends to act immorally, corruptly, and incompetently—especially a government with too much power. And the self-righteous elected official who has complete moral certitude on his side also has a tendency to ignore any other concerns. That detail has been painfully obvious in this debate.

"It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies," wrote C.S. Lewis, a man who knew a thing or two about religion. "The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

We now know that the advocates of government-run health care have full approval of their own consciences. That is surely comforting to them. Now, I don't know about you, but I gladly will champion the policies of any president who can walk on water. Until that time, though, I'll take my chances with blasphemy.

David Harsanyi is a columnist at The Denver Post and the author of Nanny State. Visit his Web site at www.DavidHarsanyi.com.

COPYRIGHT 2009 THE DENVER POST
DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

NEXT: This Just In: Heroin Addicts Like Heroin

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I just wish he’d quit coveting my goods.

  2. I miss the good old days, when lefties constantly worried about the American Taliban imposing a theocracy.

  3. Somebody tell Obama that bearing false witness == perjury, not mere lying. The only people doing that during this crisis are Geithner and Bernanke.

  4. It’s also hard to bear false witness while being frank.

  5. I wonder if the President sees this as an opportunity to take the God plank from the GOP platform. That would be huge for democrats. I like it from a strategery point of view.

  6. For the record, jesus was pretty selective about those he healed. Sure he “saved” us all but only the leper, blind guy, and Lazurus reaped any tangible benefit.

  7. Ayn Rand identified altruism (“You are your brother’s keeper”) as a core principle of Christianity and a building block in collectivist political systems. It’s not surprising that Obama would utilize it. Most Americans believe it, until they feel the government hand lifting their wallets.

  8. Luke 12
    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=49&chapter=12&version=31

    13Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

    14Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?”

  9. I called out a local Democrat who has been using the “my brother’s keeper” line, by reminding him of his party’s insistence on the separation of church and state, and how he was using Christian references to bolster his state-takeover of health care.

    Boy, was he pissed.

  10. As ed pointed out, religion and government are two sides of the same collectivist coin

  11. Somebody tell Obama that bearing false witness == perjury

    Like Clinton did during the Paula Jones suit.

  12. “It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies,” wrote C.S. Lewis, a man who knew a thing or two about religion. “The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

    Wow. Lewis was a great guy.

  13. John, that Lewis quote is part of the reason i’m a libertarian.

  14. Government is a way for the collective to pretend to redeem individuals’ evil actions. God gives a collective no authority to do that. It is simply another instance of Man being his own god.

  15. Obama asked what Jesus would do? So he was talking to himself then.

    Just my opinion, but I’ve seen absolutely nothing to convince me the Messiah in the White House, or any of his disciples in Congress, have consciences.

  16. Jesus was an early church/state separatist, what with the whole “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, render unto God what is God’s” thing.

  17. “As ed pointed out, religion and government are two sides of the same collectivist coin”

    It doesn’t have to be. Religon has to be voluntary. It can’t be coercive. If you make everyone do the right thing at the point of a gun, you have done nothing to save their souls. But, you have created collectivist paradise.

  18. Well said John. I’ve said it repeatedly here that christians, IMO, have no place in political office. It forces them to either force their beliefs on an unwilling populace, or relax their faith to satisfy the people.

  19. The nice thing about Christianity is that, when the collection plate is being passed around, you have a choice whether to add to it. Obama and his cronies would take away that choice. They can’t afford to have doubters in their Great Crusade.

  20. Shit, ed, i’ve known folks who used the collection plate to make change.

  21. I wonder if the President sees this as an opportunity to take the God plank from the GOP platform. That would be huge for democrats. I like it from a strategery point of view.

    Democrats using pious language to sell their bill of goods are going to be just as effective as Republicans playing the race card have been. They’re just insulting the people they’re pretending to side with.

  22. “Icalled out a local Democrat who has been using the “my brother’s keeper” line, by reminding him of his party’s insistence on the separation of church and state, and how he was using Christian references to bolster his state-takeover of health care.”

    Yes the liberals are hypocrits on this.

    They yap about the separation of church and state and denounce those who want to outlaw abortions and prevent gay marriages as trying to impose their religion on everybody else – and then they turn around and invokve religion as a justification for government mandated entitlement programs and any other coercive government policy they happen to like.

  23. I’ve said it repeatedly here that christians, IMO, have no place in political office.

    That’s absolutely ridiculous and seems at odds with John’s comment (with which you seemingly approve). If you ever read Luther’s doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, you’d understand that nothing about the Christian faith (at least as I and millions of others practice it) requires either forcing beliefs on an unwilling populace or relaxing one’s faith in order to hold public office. It’s apples and oranges.

  24. I’ve said it repeatedly here that christians, IMO, have no place in political office. It forces them to either force their beliefs on an unwilling populace, or relax their faith to satisfy the people.

    That’s horse blank, and a mighty convenient line for non-Christian ideologues. Legality need not precisely match morality, even for a Christian. I’m not a Christian myself, but I’d prefer a legislature full of Christians to the true whackjobs who would fill the power vacuum if Christians stayed out of politics.

  25. I’m a Christian and while there are many things we talk about legalizing that I consider wrong to partake of (prostitution as an example), I find nothing in my faith that requires me to keep prosititution illegal. In fact, I believe legalization will reveal who are truly faithful. It’s easy to be faithful to the Word of God when it’s illegal to not be. It’s quite another to be faithful when the temptations are all around.

  26. I don’t think Christ ever proselytized for coercive utopianism.

    He said “Render unto Caesar” not “redistribute income via Caesar.”

  27. If I have to account to the govt for my every dollar, because Jesus says so, then we live in a theocracy.

  28. Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell everything and give it to the poor (BTW, would it be moral to buy what the rich young ruler was selling?), then said it was his loss (the camel and the eye of the needle) when he refused. Jesus left the choice up to the rich young ruler.

  29. This is so much bullshit.

    Statements like this make the people that call Obama the anti-Christ look like they are on to something.

    Where did Jesus say “point a gun at people, demand their money, and then give it to people you think are poor”?

    He said the opposite. You make personal choices how you deal with people in your life.

  30. Someone should ask George Obama if Barry is his keeper.

  31. I am so freaking tired of my fellow non-believers giving this man a pass on these type of comments simply because they like him.

    Why is consistency so hard to find?

  32. When Obama talks of core ethics and morals obligations, I assume that since he claims christianity, that his faith is what drives his ethics and morals. He shouldn’t let it if that causes him to act outside the constitution and laws of the land. If he ignores his faith to do the people’s bidding, he is also wrong. I don’t think you can hold public office and stay true to the faith.

  33. An atheist giving love to C. S. Lewis? I love it!

  34. Or to put it simply, man cannot serve two masters.

  35. As CBS News recently reported, Obama has thrown around the name of God even more often than George W. Bush.

    In Obama’s defense, however, most of those references were actually to Allah.

  36. It worked for Bush, and clearly the only way to convince the American People of anything is to invoke jesus.

    This might be the first intelligent thing Obama’s done with respect to pushing his healthcare reform agenda through.

    Of course, the same people who are automatically convinced by the appeal to religion are the same people who hate obama for being a dirty commu-nigger. So his appeal to religion is prolly not gonna work…

  37. brotherben | August 21, 2009, 1:02pm | #

    Or to put it simply, man cannot serve two masters.

    Racist!

    Sorry.

  38. “This week, President Barack Obama claimed his version of health care reform is “a core ethical and moral obligation,” beseeching religious leaders to promote his government-run scheme.”

    If they lobby for the president’s policies, shouldn’t they lose their tax-exempt status?


  39. John | August 21, 2009, 12:15pm | #

    Wow. Lewis was a great guy.

    i concur!

  40. mr obama –

    plank

    eye

    remove

    stat & pronto!

  41. there is nothing in christianity contra to liberty.

    christains believe god gave man free will.

    who is man to rescind that?

    plain & simple….

  42. “…I don’t think you can hold public office and stay true to the faith.”

    staying “true” to ideas or concepts in which you have zero evidence for in terms of using it to shape policy that affects others shows to me a truly egotistical view.

    I have no problem with a personal faith that anyone has, but we must make decisions that affect everyone based on reason and evidence.

  43. When Obama talks of core ethics and morals obligations, I assume that since he claims christianity, that his faith is what drives his ethics and morals.

    That’s a pretty huge leap from this statement to your statement that no Christian should hold office.

  44. Yahweh or the highway

    Win.

  45. “Where did Jesus say “point a gun at people, demand their money, and then give it to people you think are poor”?

    He said the opposite. You make personal choices how you deal with people in your life.”

    Indeed.

    Jesus didn’t march around at the head of Roman legion strong-arming people for “contributions” to causes he favored.

  46. You may recall that I had some rather unkind words for a certain ignorant hillbilly whackjob preacher using his interpretation of the Bible as a basis for policy positions.

    For the record, I find it no less distasteful when Obama does it.

  47. “I don’t think you can hold public office and stay true to the faith.”

    What about dog catcher? I see no conflict there.

  48. C.S. Lewis and Ayn Rand had a lot in common. Both are 3rd rate philosophers who wrote children’s books.

  49. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors income for wasteful and egalitarian public works.

    Thou shalt not lay with a bankrupt corporation as thou wouldst with a woman. For it is an abomination.

    Render unto the IRS, that is all.

  50. Could this be Obama’s way of saying his health care reform proposal doesn’t have a prayer?

  51. STFU, Tony-bot!

  52. “I know there’s been a lot of misinformation in this debate, and there are some folks out there who are frankly bearing false witness,” Obama said, invoking the frightening specter of the Ten Commandments.

    Given that Obama has defiled at least three commandments (covet, steal and kill) I wonder who he thinks he is kidding?

  53. ‘C.S. Lewis and Ayn Rand had a lot in common. Both are 3rd rate philosophers who wrote children’s books.’

    One thing they *don’t* have in common: Being good writers. Lewis was a good writer (in his own, Anglican way), while Rand . . . well, if you can’t say anything nice . . .

  54. Actually, he’s just onto the tactic that was used to promote the welfare state in many of the countries that have it now.

    Many of the socialists and social democrats who promoted the welfare state were devout christians who were quite fond of quoting scripture to bring the doubters into line. others were devout Jews who similarly were not reluctant to bring religious messages to the purpose.

    The two men most responsible for Canada’s Medicare system. L B Pearson and T C Douglas came from extremely religious backgrounds. Douglas, in fact, had been a Baptist preacher before entering politics. Pearsons’s mother was disappointed that he went into government service (diplomacy) instead of the clergy.

    The notion of passing Medicare in Canada as a manifestation of Christian charity and compassion was widespread during the debates over the issue. And, yes, “you are your brother’s keeper” was heard all the time, as well as other biblical exhortations.

    Mind you, this was completely consitent in their eyes with crushing censorship and provincial Sunday closing laws known as The Lord’s Day Acts.

    Ironical, ain’t it, when you consider what a bunch o’ heathen bastards them puck slapping, syrup sucking Canuck bastards have turned into.

    1. Couldn’t agree more if I tried.

  55. I don’t think Christ ever proselytized for coercive utopianism.

    It was the other guy. During the 40 days Christ spent in the wilderness Satan took him up on a high mountain, and they beheld all the kingdoms of the world. Satan offered to put Jesus in charge, make him ruler over all the rulers. Jesus declined the “honor.”

    I don’t think you can hold public office and stay true to the faith.

    If I held public office I would conduct myself as a Christian, in accordance with my personal relationship with Christ. That would keep me honest. I would hope that you have your own relationship to maintain, therefore I would want to have the least government possible, the fewest laws and rules and regulations, so that you could exercise maximum free will and responsibility in establishing that relationship.

    There are immoral actions that should be illegal because you shouldn’t be able to force your will on others. (Murder, for example.) There are immoral actions that should not be illegal, since virtue lies in your choices regarding them. (Abuse of drugs, for instance.)

    For a Christian libertarian, there’s no conflict at all.

  56. I’ve said it repeatedly here that christians, IMO, have no place in political office.

    You’re free to have this opinion of course, but you should know that the founders of America didn’t agree with you. In fact, they went out of their way to specifically put it in the Constitution that religious tests of any kind for public office are illegal in America.

    There are people on the hard right who believe that atheists have no place in public office, and they are just as wrong as you are, for the exact same reason.

  57. Matthew 20 (King James Version)

    1 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.

    2 And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

    3 And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace,

    4 And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.

    5 Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.

    6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?

    7 They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.

    8 So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first.

    9 And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny.

    10 But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny.

    11 And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house,

    12 Saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day.

    13 But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?

    14 Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee.

    15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?

    16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

  58. “It was the other guy. During the 40 days Christ spent in the wilderness Satan took him up on a high mountain, and they beheld all the kingdoms of the world. Satan offered to put Jesus in charge, make him ruler over all the rulers. Jesus declined the “honor.””

    He was an idiot. I jumped at Satan’s offer.

  59. “15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?”

    That’s the money shot, BTW

  60. This:

    agreed

  61. “It doesn’t have to be. Religon has to be voluntary. It can’t be coercive. If you make everyone do the right thing at the point of a gun, you have done nothing to save their souls. But, you have created collectivist paradise.”

    The Catholics who conquered and ‘saved’ the Native Americans from hedonism and idolatry would disagree. Then they would enslave them, in Christian love of course.

  62. Larry A, thanks for that explanation. It is very helpful.

    Mike M, I am a bible believing christian. Not being the libertarian that Larry A is, I find it hard to imagine a christian in office not trying to legislate from the Bible. I was not tryig to suggest a law excluding christians or ant other groups from office. I was saying that the two, imo, aren’t compatible.

  63. “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?”

    THAT’S what should have been the text on the Obama/Joker poster.

  64. Let’s not forget that the Gospel of Wealth wasn’t just made up out of wholecloth by Carnegie. Here is St. Paul [2 Corinthians 9:6-11] on the issue:

    6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9As it is written: “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” 10Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

  65. [quote]If he ignores his faith to do the people’s bidding, he is also wrong. I don’t think you can hold public office and stay true to the faith.[/quote]

    You’re really going to say on a libertarian website that you don’t even think it’s possible to let others make choices you disagree with? I don’t smoke crack, and I believe doing so is morally wrong, but I don’t see how my Christian faith gives me the right to put a gun to your head and restrain you from doing so. In fact, it calls for just about the opposite.

  66. Forgot where I was there for a second – you get the idea.

  67. Space: what version is that?

  68. Ransom: New International, pretty standard.

    Here is King James: Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

  69. Space:

    cool, thanks. i haven’t read in years… except when i’m arguing w/ someone.

  70. oops. handle change, stage left.

    wasn’t meant for you Space

  71. For a Christian libertarian, there’s no conflict at all.

    Most of the time Christianity and the state operate in parallel but depending on the office you hold you could have issues to address that conflict with Christianity. Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi notwithstanding I don’t see how a Christian could ever advocate favorable abortion laws. The best you could hope for at the federal level is to push it back to the states. The Pope believes that Christ frowns on the death penalty. I believe Jesus also had an opinion or two on substance abuse.

  72. Hey Space,

    Paul was just a guy. His theology is questionable at best. He didn’t like teh gays.

  73. What draws me here is the thought that Christianity and Libertarianism are very compatible. The charity and personal responsibility of christianity, if practiced by all that claim the faith, would result in society being governable by a libertarian sized government.

    I wrote this back in april.

    My opinion about christians keeping their faith from affecting their position as a lawmaker is similar to the arguments we have about scotus appointees. If a judge is appointed that has very socialist beliefs, it is hard to imagine him/her seeing the constitution with the small govt eyes the founders had and ruling from that perspective.

  74. What would Jesus Do?
    Now with updated Obama iconography!

  75. ed: did you make that?

  76. “C.S. Lewis and Ayn Rand had a lot in common. Both are 3rd rate philosophers who wrote children’s books.”

    Way to dismiss entire bodies of work, Tony.

    If Paul Krugman wrote a children’s book, you’d be singing his praises as the best fucking author to ever hit the market.

  77. duh. never mind.

  78. Only guy worse than Obama might’ve been William Jennings Huckabee.

  79. Well, at least Huck’s a capitalist… sorta.

    Not that I was gonna vote for him, mind you.

  80. Michael Ejercito | August 21, 2009, 12:52pm | #
    Someone should ask George Obama if Barry is his keeper.

    “Let me be clear. I am not my brothers keeper.”

    I wonder if he’s Aunt Zeituni’s keeper…

  81. Mizuna | August 21, 2009, 6:47pm | #
    Only guy worse than Obama might’ve been William Jennings Huckabee.

    And coming in right after Huckster would have been the man that worships his Progressive Hero Teddy Roosevelt…

  82. So the premise here is that Obama’s turn to religious leaders and good ‘ol New Testament morals as a way of leveling the moral high ground is a flawed strategy? One thing can be said is this: there may be “good guys” and “bad guys”, but every soul who laces up the gloves and enters the ring is first and foremost a fighter and has accepted the rules of the game. Whatever your reasons for entering politics, once you’re in it you fight to win and the people that back you accept you as their champion. Our president can’t allow himself and his mandate to collapse because of one challenged initiative and we, the people, expect our guy to fight to win. Americans wouldn’t vote for Gandhi and we don’t expect our heroes to turn the other cheek – by the end of the story they always unleash a righteous fury and trounce the villains – we demand this. My only criticism of Obama is that he’s not hitting hard enough. I want the gloves off on this – call the liars out and honest citizens to the streets, draw and quarter the racists in the town square, lambaste and castigate the ignorant and shake the earth with reason, rightness and compassion for the unlucky few. I want my president to make whatever deals have to be made in order to WIN THIS DAMN THING AND GET ON WITH WHAT COMES NEXT. Fixing healthcare is only the beginning. Life is a series of choices, and just because an option is imperfect doesn’t mean it’s the wrong way to go – the only real failure we should fear is a simpering defeat at the hands of Rupert Murdoch (i.e. Fox News) and his WSJ cronies.

  83. My only criticism of Obama is that he’s not hitting hard enough. I want the gloves off on this – call the liars out and honest citizens to the streets, draw and quarter the racists in the town square, lambaste and castigate the ignorant and shake the earth with reason, rightness and compassion for the unlucky few.

    Is this Eric Cartman? /s

    Seriously, I doubt Obama could be an LBJ…

  84. I think he’s too busy trying to please people to play the part of the heavy. If we don’t see it by this time next week, he doesn’t have it in him.

  85. My only comments are:

    F that nigger, god bless what should be a confederacy just so the queers can have their utopia in CA, and the commies in NY can have theirs.

  86. Way to dismiss entire bodies of work, Tony.

    I’m allowed because I’ve read their entire bodies of work. The philosophies of both Rand and Lewis seem to appeal to adolescent minds looking for something clever to believe in, but are hardly serious attempts to increase human understanding. I think Lewis’s children’s books are entertaining though I think the message is too sectarian for my taste. Rand’s children’s books are a little dry for their audience.

  87. Of course Sullivan will now find some way to explain how this is not being Christianist, just like he has found a way to rectify $9 Trillion 10-yr defecits and a belief in fiscal responsibility.

    Explain to me again why anyone calling themselves libertarian would go anywhere near his bullshit blog, much less fucking post on it?

  88. “I’m allowed because I’ve read their entire bodies of work. The philosophies of both Rand and Lewis seem to appeal to adolescent minds looking for something clever to believe in, but are hardly serious attempts to increase human understanding.”

    Ok genius, why don’t you provide us some concrete examples of the above assertions, by which I mean specific citations accompanied by your own insightful analysis. Yeah, I won’t be holding my fucking breath. I would be willing to bet everything I own that the amount of Rand you have read would fit in this fucking box.

  89. “Fixing healthcare is only the beginning. Life is a series of choices, and just because an option is imperfect doesn’t mean it’s the wrong way to go – the only real failure we should fear is a simpering defeat at the hands of Rupert Murdoch (i.e. Fox News) and his WSJ cronies.”

    The above quote from the douchebag who wrote it is clear evidence of what Katherine Mengu Ward wrote a few days ago: those who support Obama’s health plan absolutely refuse to admit or concede that opposition to said plan is honest based on one’s own limited government principles.

    What is with Obamabots? They evidently believe that he is infallible thus any and all opposition to his plans absolutely MUST come from racists, Rupert Murdoch (an all-encompassing boogeyman for those on the left) or greedy Wall Street or insurance executives. Because since he is right, without question, the motives for opposing him are necessarily sinister, and as Obama’s recent invocation of God makes clear, immoral as well. I am none of “bad” things I list above yet I would do anything in my power to prevent the passage of “ObamaCare” and I guarantee a vast majority of those on this site would say the same thing. But according to dicks like “mike”, we are all acting in bad faith, and really just want Obama to fail because he is black, or some such other bullshit.

  90. “Only guy worse than Obama might’ve been William Jennings Huckabee.”

    If you still think that, even after the shit Obama has done during his first seven months, you are probably beyond saving. I would rather have Dennis Kucinich running the country than the incompetent socialist douchebag we have now. At least then we could laugh at his UFO stories on the way to our Euro-socialist state of bankruptcy and perpetual sub-par economic growth.

  91. Of course Sullivan will now find some way to explain how this is not being Christianist, just like he has found a way to rectify $9 Trillion 10-yr defecits and a belief in fiscal responsibility.

    Explain to me again why anyone calling themselves libertarian would go anywhere near his bullshit blog, much less fucking post on it?

    And this whole time I thought libertarians wanted to know who Trig Palin’s real mother was… I don’t see why you are bashing on Sullivan. Doesn’t he represent all that is good about progressive libertarians? /s

  92. I’m allowed because I’ve read their entire bodies of work.

    …and you’ll cry if you want to because it’s your party or something?

    Just don’t let Mommy find out you’re posting comments…

  93. I would be willing to bet everything I own that the amount of Rand you have read would fit in this fucking box.

    Read her shorter works in middle school, Fountainhead as a teenager, got around to Atlas pretty recently. It was even worse than the rumors I’d heard. But that’s just my opinion. Now it’s just a matter of proving it so that we can settle the terms of our contract and I can take possession of all your property…

  94. I’m allowed because I’ve read their entire bodies of work.

    Tony, I am gonna call bullshit on this. C.S.Lewis had at least 59 works published. If you found his children’s fiction too sectarian, there is no way in hell you made yourself read his dozens of non-fiction christian apologetics books.

  95. I recently sent the letter below to Mr. Obama. I realize that many who are regular Reason readers and LPers are atheists or agnostics or Non Christians so this letter will sound “crazy” perhaps even demented.

    Unfortuantely if Mr. Obama did read the letter and ponder upon its warnings and promises from God theorugh me as a messenger, he arrived at conclusions NOT from the light side but from the dark side.

    #############################################

    I have written you twice during the last two weeks asking you to voluntarily step down as POTUS to avoid being forced to do so and causing race riots especially throughout the big cities of the USA. I warned, in these two messages, that the political noose was quickly being tightened around your neck.
    This week, with the help of a number of friends in the international intelligence/special forces community, we now have an authentic copy of your Kenyan birth certificate. Within the next to two weeks, we will have an authentic copy of your original, long form, vault birth certificate housed in Hawaii.
    Court technical games, buyoffs of Hawaii officials, and your “protectors” in the MSM can’t protect you against the special operations that have been created to obtain that birth certificate. There are too many men and women who are committed to protecting the liberties in the Constitution.
    Once both these documents have been tested by a team of internationally recognized document forensic scientists, they will prove that they are the “real thing,” and the noose will be complete. Please voluntarily step down as POTUS

    The other night while conducting my nightly prayers with “hatred” in my heart towards you, I suddenly had a total change of heart towards you. “Hatred” turned to sorrow for your eternal welfare. God choose me for His reasons which I don’t know to be an instrument in His hands to deliver you a message as you face the crossroads of your political and personal life during August. Below is that message:

    “He has seen your stress and tremendous mental anguish. He has searched your heart and sees some remaining good that can be used for His cause.
    The warning to you is that you’re presently following the dark path, surrounded with people who seek to use you for their own evil purposes. The prince of darkness is behind all these acts. To continue along this path will result in an inability to be forgiven by God both in this life and the eternities to come. Your legacy in history will become known as the “black Benedict Arnold.”
    Now in contrast, if you place your total trust in God and turn from the dark side, while fully exposing and criminally prosecuting those who seek the destruction of the US Constitutional Republic and the creation of a Global Government, I’m authorized to promise you the following:
    1. That God will physically protect you and your wife and lovely children from any harm from all elements of the dark side
    2. That He will literally lead you by the hand each and everyday. He will provide you will the path you should lead as POTUS.
    3. That your legacy will be as the “black George Washington,” being loved and respected by peoples of all races and creeds, not only in the USA but throughout the world. That you will go down in history as a man even greater that Abraham Lincoln

    I realize that you don’t know me: that I could simply be a crazy religious fanatic. But? IF you will seek to talk with an open mind and heart to God out loud in very private place away from all distractions and people, He will certify to you that the message I bring is from Him. He will in His infinite mercy forgive you of everything you have done in the past. He will wipe the “slate clean.” You will literally become an instrument in His hands.

    May you take my message very seriously,

    Dr. Douglas W. Schell aka Captain Moroni
    Retired Professor of Business

  96. “Rand’s children’s books are a little dry for their audience.”

    Rand has never written a children’s book. You’re just pissed off at her philosophy, and can’t help but be childish about describing it.

    Why do you even bother posting here, Tony? You’re not a free-market fan, you support a political party that is openly hostile to the private sector and only cares about “choice” on one issue. Wouldn’t you be better off over at DU or NewsHounds?

  97. Xeones:

    Jesus was an early church/state separatist, what with the whole “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, render unto God what is God’s” thing.

    Jesus was an early church/state separatist? Try God.

    1 Samuel 8-18.

    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=9&chapter=8&version=31

    I mean, if you believe the bible, God meant for the Hebrews to be Libertarians. But they wanted otherwise. And that didn’t turn out so well for them over the course of the rest of the bible.

  98. Let me start by stating first that I do *not* support the health care reform policies put forth by the Democratic majority. That being said, I have not been able to find any realistic alternatives being put out by the so-called “conservative” Republicans which address the following:

    I pay $980.00 every month for health care insurance covering my family of four. That’s my portion *after* what is paid by my employer. My co-payments have risen 150% in the past 5 years. I’ve passed on two opportunities to open a small business because I believe I can’t purchase insurance-even at a higher cost-because of pre-existing conditions. And finally, if one of us were to suffer a catastrophic accident or be diagnosed with an all-to-common condition like cancer, there is a good chance we would be driven into bankruptcy.

    I am personally offended by the blasphemy of invoking the Lord, and the borderline illiterate interpretations of the principals of this nation’s founders, put forth by my party. I have been a Republican for 25 years, and I am active (Precinct Judge, member or county, state, and national parties), and I am so utterly disheartened by the lack of leadership and ideas on this important issue that I’ve honestly considered withdrawing from the party.

    There’s no need-or cause-to invoke the Bible. This is entirely a secular, economic issue. Health care reform MUST happen for this nation to be competitive and to prevent escalating costs in the next few decades which will necessitate tax increases and spending on par with the early 1960’s (where the top tax bracket was over 80%).

    This is a golden opportunity for our party to seize control over a critical debate, and put forth TRUE free market solutions. Otherwise, please-leave the Lord out of this. To continue to invoke His name in vain in this pathetic squabbling is blasphemy at best, sinful at worst.

  99. I’m asking this question sincerely and not to start any kind of flame war:

    Did Reason have any problem with GWB selling the Iraq war with his “god told me to do this” line?

    I hope they did, and that this article isn’t supreme hypocrisy.

    Both parties have used god to win elections and pass legislation. I actually remember the Democrats doing it first with Jimmy Carter’s “born again” shit. The Republicans just do it better, usually.

    And that C.S. Lewis “robber baron” line is awful. How about “Robber barons and big-government hacks are all stupid cunts who deserve to die.”

    I can get behind that a little bit easier.

  100. Charles,

    Our assertion is that government has created the situation where health insurance and medicine costs are rising disproportionately to inflation, quality standards, and technology. Regulation and cost trends, correlation between intervention and costs, since even social security was created bear this out.

    We all know the government is intent on increasing control over this sector. “Never waste a good crisis” — this is the official line of the administration.

    The conclusion is simple. Central planning is an economic failure, and the constitution does not allow it to occur. Either one of those would be enough reason to fight it as the attack on sovereign soil it is.

  101. Some people tend to misjudge people who are too frank as liars or sarcastic. Well, it’s hard to go straightforward using the right words for that person!

  102. I’m asking this question sincerely and not to start any kind of flame war:

    If so, then you’re asking it the wrong way.

    Did Reason have any problem with GWB selling the Iraq war with his “god told me to do this” line?

    If he had, maybe they would, but he didn’t. Don’t trust your W-hating pals on this: find us a speech where he actually said that or some reasonable facsimile thereof before you go attacking Reason for not condemning it.

    We should note that these heathen libertines over here at Reason did snicker a bit at Bush’s calling Jesus his favorite philosopher (when somebody asked him about it, let the record state). They were also hostile to the point of being well-nigh libelous of the entire War on Terrorism, albeit not specifically over the theology of it.

    I hope they did, and that this article isn’t supreme hypocrisy.

    It’s not hypocrisy not to attack someone for something they didn’t say. It is hypocritical and disingenuous to put words in someone’s mouth and attack them for what they didn’t say in an attempt to distract us from what someone else definitely did say. (We’ve got the video and everything. What’ve you got?)

    Both parties have used god to win elections and pass legislation. I actually remember the Democrats doing it first with Jimmy Carter’s “born again” shit. The Republicans just do it better, usually.

    The tendency for politicians to cozy up to the reigning deity goes all the way back to the start of recorded history; without the cult, there is no culture. As to who’s doing it “better” can we some definition please? Also, what exactly is your problem with them if they are cozying up to God win support? Persuading your constituents to let you do things the way you propose to do them is the whole point of politics.

    Cozying up to a deity is one such method of persuasion; in, for example, Al Gore’s case, that deity is known as Science. Y’know, as in “She blinded me with Science!” I rarely hear that kind of theology condemned around here though.

    And that C.S. Lewis “robber baron” line is awful. How about “Robber barons and big-government hacks are all stupid cunts who deserve to die.”

    Yes, because your line sure is a great way of winning friends and influencing people. How very original and thought-provoking! Here’s an equally original and thought-provoking line for you: “All Bush bashers are Saddam-loving mass-murdering traitors and too stupid to live!”

    I can get behind that a little bit easier.

    The rest of us, not so much.

  103. “I am personally offended by the blasphemy of invoking the Lord, and the borderline illiterate interpretations of the principals of this nation’s founders, put forth by my party.”

    Fair enough, but now the Democrats are doing all of the above. It’s just as disgusting.

  104. Charles | August 22, 2009, 5:11pm | #
    Let me start by stating first that I do *not* support the health care reform policies put forth by the Democratic majority. That being said, I have not been able to find any realistic alternatives being put out by the so-called “conservative” Republicans which address the following:

    I pay $980.00 every month for health care insurance covering my family of four. That’s my portion *after* what is paid by my employer. My co-payments have risen 150% in the past 5 years. I’ve passed on two opportunities to open a small business because I believe I can’t purchase insurance-even at a higher cost-because of pre-existing conditions. And finally, if one of us were to suffer a catastrophic accident or be diagnosed with an all-to-common condition like cancer, there is a good chance we would be driven into bankruptcy.

    The obvious solution here is commonly known as privatization. Your coverage is currently linked to your employer and is therefore corporate; if it could be de-linked from your employer and made transferable, you would then be able to stick with your current plan wherever you go and those pre-existing conditions would not be an obstacle to your economic mobility.

    That the premiums are so high is indeed a problem. You do need to realize, however, that your employer’s part of the payment is in fact coming out of your paycheck. In other words, if health insurance were to be privatized so that you were picking up the whole payment yourself, your pay should rise along with the payment in compensation.

    Obviously, if the Republicans were in a position make the laws, they could call for this in a privatization and deregulation bill: that all employer premiums be transferred to the employees along with a raise in pay that directly corresponds to their share of the burden. Republicans are currently not in such a position. If you want them to take up your cause, therefore, your best bet is to band together with others in a special interest group to lobby your Republican candidates for a promise to privatize health insurance in return for your vote. (You can lobby Democrats for this too if you think any of them will listen to you, though I am quite certain they will not.)

    The very reason we have corporate health insurance plans such as yours in the first place is that back before the information revolution, employers were able to get a kind of bulk rate discount for their employees because the administrative costs of covering a corporate group were lower than they would be for covering the same number of people individually; with the information revolution and the rise of database software, this difference has been rendered negligible. There is therefore no longer any need for health insurance to be linked to one’s employers. The current system persists mainly through inertia.

    This inertia comes in part from the mistaken belief many people have that anything somebody else is paying for is “free” and in part from people at the insurance companies being set in their ways and resistant to upgrading their filing technology and updating their administrative methods. As others have noted, the insurance companies really are “the villains” in a way completely the opposite from what Pelosi pretends: in fact, they have an incestuous relationship with government that has them supporting more government control and interference, not less. They don’t want privatization, because it means getting them off the government teat.

    In the end, though, the main obstacle to true reform is this widespread foolish notion that money from any large collective–such as government or a big corporation–is essentially infinite. When any such entity (such as government) spends other people’s money (the taxpayers’) on other people (such as you), the price of the services that money buys (health care) skyrockets because the market always sets the price at what the seller believes the buyer can pay, and the buyer seems to be able to pay a well-nigh infinite amount.

    If we privatize health care, the insurance company will no longer be operating on the belief that it can squeeze so much money out of their payers because the clients won’t be corporate. This in turn will make them stingier toward the doctors and hospitals that treat you, decreasing revenue and forcing the medical workers to lower their prices to reflect what they believe you and your insurance company are able and willing to pay. (One method they have for this that works exceedingly well is also the system by which new graduates from medical school usually get their first job: HMOs, which provide their trainees with patients and valuable job experience in exchange for a steep discount on the services they provide.)

    In your case, privatization would bring down your premiums, enabling you to purchase more insurance for the same amount of money, allow you keep your plan even if you change jobs, and keep what you do with your money between you and your insurer instead of putting it in the hands of some distant bureaucrat who can’t possibly know or care much about what you really need. In short, it’s a true “single-payer” system that leaves government out of it.

    Beyond that, for special cases beyond what any insurer can handle (such as someone whose kid gets spina bifida or cerebral palsy or other hyper-expensive conditions) charities can deal with some of the expense, and with existing laws requiring the hospitals to treat patients whether they can pay or not, people can apply for federal aid to cover truly desperate cases. This should be called what it is: welfare. Privatization would thus have the fringe benefit of also separating insurance from government subsidization, again dispelling the economically ruinous belief that large collective entities have access to some kind of infinite revenue stream.

    Therefore, that’s my recommended solution as a conservative and Republican voter: privatization. Now, if you can get your elected officials to go for this–and convince them that you’ll back them up against their opponents if they champion your cause–then they’ve got a plan. If they won’t go for it, find someone who will. If no one will go for it (or nobody can get elected) because it doesn’t have enough support, then that’s hardly their fault, is it? Elected officials of all stripes find their way into office by promising the people what they think they want. What they don’t know so well is how to deliver the goods once they’re elected. That’s where you have to give them a little guidance.

  105. Rand has never written a children’s book. You’re just pissed off at her philosophy, and can’t help but be childish about describing it.

    Why do you even bother posting here, Tony? You’re not a free-market fan, you support a political party that is openly hostile to the private sector and only cares about “choice” on one issue. Wouldn’t you be better off over at DU or NewsHounds?

    And you’re someone who masturbates to thoughts of mass murder of people who disagree with you, as expressed on another thread, so let’s not lecture one another about individual liberty shall we.

  106. As Tony does not believe in the American conception of human rights, he does believe in liberty anyway.

  107. “…does not believe in liberty..”

  108. What the hell are you talking about “from another thread”, Tony? Where did I “advocate mass murder”, in any serious sense?

  109. Conservative Republican Voter | August 23, 2009, 1:20am | #

    The obvious solution here is commonly known as privatization.

    How does privatization solve the pre-existing condition problem? Please explain how your private medical insurance would handle the following two scenarios:

    1: A person, who while uninsured, is diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes

    2: A person who is diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes while insured, but who later loses or drops that insurance for whatever reason

    Then, please contrast that with home-owners’ insurance in the case of a devastating fire, for both someone who had no insurance at the time and someone who had insurance but later dropped or lost it.

    I think anyone would agree that there is something quite different about the two scenarios. In the latter, the person would have no problem picking up new insurance at a later date, at a reasonable price. In the former case, getting a new private insurer would either be entirely hopeless or enormously expensive.

    There is a fundamental difference between these two types of insurance. I encourage you to seek it out so that you understand it.

  110. getting a new private insurer would either be entirely hopeless or enormously expensive

    So what you’re saying is that people shouldn’t pay for their own risks, because they can’t be forseen (definition of a risk) and because they cost too much (you assert the expected value of the cost of treatments to be estimated by insurers too high to be reasonable — no evidence).

    What principles bring you to this conclusion? Where does charity come in? I see drives for money for diabetes, cancer, and such quite a bit; hospitals make good use of that, I’m told by those in the know.

    What I’m trying to say is that you’re making assertions about the state of the insurance market that don’t fit a reasonable risk analysis, mainly for lack of evidence, and which ignore the market distortions currently in place. In other words, it’s easy to assume you’re leveraging government’s past mistakes in order to justify a future mistake.

  111. How does privatization solve the pre-existing condition problem?

    Specifically, as I stated if you read a bit further (though evidently you didn’t), privatization solves Charles’ pre-existing condition problem by making the coverage he already has transferable. It’s not a panacea, just an improvement on the current system.

    Please explain how your private medical insurance would handle the following two scenarios:

    1: A person, who while uninsured, is diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes

    Check out that paragraph with the words “charities” and “hyper-expensive” in it in the long description above.

    2: A person who is diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes while insured, but who later loses or drops that insurance for whatever reason

    Obviously, the legislator and his constituents should do what they can to keep that from happening, though that’s beyond the reach of mere legislation. (Specifically, one needs sound free-market economic policies and the rule of law to ensure that the economy stays healthy and people who lose their jobs can find new ones quickly so they can keep paying their premiums.)

    In this particular plan, transferability keeps the buyer from losing his plan when he switches jobs, and–let’s face it–how many people do you think would willingly drop their coverage if it were paying for medical bills they were currently incurring? Your “whatever reason” objection is awfully vague and therefore virtually meaningless.

    Then, please contrast that with home-owners’ insurance in the case of a devastating fire, for both someone who had no insurance at the time and someone who had insurance but later dropped or lost it.

    Your comparison and contrast is already faulty: hyper-expensive health conditions last for months and years and lifetimes. House fires last (usually) an hour or two and are a one-time expense.

    I think anyone would agree that there is something quite different about the two scenarios.

    I think most anyone else would also agree that you’re comparing apples and oranges.

    In the latter, the person would have no problem picking up new insurance at a later date, at a reasonable price. In the former case, getting a new private insurer would either be entirely hopeless or enormously expensive.

    Unless, of course, there were some way your house could be on fire for the rest of your life; then getting a new insurer would also be entirely hopeless. So what’s your point?

    There is a fundamental difference between these two types of insurance. I encourage you to seek it out so that you understand it.

    It seems to me that I already understand the difference better than you do. Again, what’s your point? You seem to have stated two premises and then neglected to come to any conclusion.

  112. “I just wish he’d quit coveting my goods.”

    Cheer up, BO may covet your goods, but his pal Barney covets your ASS!

  113. The real problem is not that BO sees himself as a partner with God.

    The problem is that BO sees his own name first on the door sign.

  114. “C.S. Lewis and Ayn Rand had a lot in common. Both are 3rd rate philosophers who wrote children’s books.”

    I don’t think many philosophers would disagree with that. Objectivism is far too dogmatic and anti-utilitarian for my taste. I agree with most of its main tenets but, IMO, it’s not a practical philosophy.

  115. This is just all part of Obama’s use of neuro-linguistic programing. It’s a form of covert hypnosis. He was well trained in these techniques during his time in Chicago. Remember the whole “A light will shine down and you will think, I have to vote for Barack” schpeel? Unfortunately the great unwashed masses are falling for it hook, line and sinker.

  116. Tenets of Objectivism:

    1. Metaphysics; Objective Reality
    2. Epistemology; Reason
    3. Ethics; Self-interest
    4. Politics; Capitalism

    How is any of that dogmatic or anti-utilitarian?

  117. Yo, ICE-T, why you disrespectin’ NLP?

    Tony Robbins was a big NLP fan.

    Are you afraid to “awaken the giant within”?

    The President isn’t.

    Unfortunately, those of us who want to sleep through this present national greatness self-help course won’t be left alone.

  118. Conservative Republican Voter | August 23, 2009, 10:19pm | #

    Specifically, as I stated if you read a bit further (though evidently you didn’t), privatization solves Charles’ pre-existing condition problem by making the coverage he already has transferable.

    So he is supposed to be locked into this one company for life, regardless of any poor decisions it makes or bad products it delivers?

    Obviously, the legislator and his constituents should do what they can to keep that from happening

    I thought we were talking about a “free market”. Legislators should do nothing but enforce contracts.

    In this particular plan, transferability keeps the buyer from losing his plan when he switches jobs, and–let’s face it–how many people do you think would willingly drop their coverage if it were paying for medical bills they were currently incurring? Your “whatever reason” objection is awfully vague and therefore virtually meaningless.

    Here are a few examples.

    1: Chris misses paying a bill while he is in the hospital. Bye-bye insurance.

    2: Chris forgets to put a stamp on his monthly bill. He misses the deadline to pay. Bye-bye insurance.

    3: The insurance company digs through every piece of paper they have on Chris, and find some improperly dotted “i”. Bye-bye insurance.

    4: Chris, being sick and unemployed, is forced to choose between his forclosure and his insurance. He chooses to pay on the house. Bye-bye insurance.

    5: The insurance company goes kaput. Bye-bye insurance.

    Your comparison and contrast is already faulty: hyper-expensive health conditions last for months and years and lifetimes. House fires last (usually) an hour or two and are a one-time expense.

    Exactly. That is my entire point: health insurance is fundamentally different than any other kind of insurance, because the things incidents you are insuring against are often chronic and impossible to isolate from one another.

  119. Even the devil can quote scripture, as has been demonstrated. The Democrats have no problem paying lip service to the religion they hate the most and wish to destroy if they think it will work in their favor. However, the most startling is how Obama’s god complex really came to forefront. He spoke as if he actually believed he was God. However, Christ is my god, not Obama. No true Christian will be swayed by the god of the Statolaters.

    Also, as a Catholic, I resent any suggestions that Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi are christians, when they are clearly apostates. Nancy Pelosi even lied about the catholic stance on abortion, which caused the Pope to scold her. Then she had a meeting with the Pope over the matter and afterwards lied about what the Pope said, to which, the Pope then went on to publicly scold her again.

  120. As an atheist, for instance, my core moral concern is that elected officials stop telling me what my core moral concerns should be.”——No shit!!

    I’m so sick and tired of the zombie worshipers blaming us “hethans and pagans” and calling on “god” to fix their bull shit problems.

  121. I think by making simple decisions to buy or not buy, consumers have changed entire industries ? banking, travel, cell phones. A little pressure from consumers typically produces a lot of innovation that shifts products, competition, prices, quality, choices, and ultimately value. The problem with personal and corporate health insurance plans is that it has been built around providers, insurers, the government, employers ? and not around consumers. We’ve ended up with spiralling costs and few consumer choices, primarily because many of the regulations and mindsets governing health care have inhibited the kind of broad-scale consumer innovation that’s happened in other industries.

  122. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on…the Bible’s books were written by people with very different mindsets..

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.