This week we take a look at what "government" means on either side of the Pond.
There’s a lot of Americans upset about the government at the moment. Apparently, President Obama, and his supposed love of BIG government is pushing the USA towards socialism, communism or fascism, depending on who they’ve been listening to. (Rather sadly, most of these opponents probably couldn’t differentiate between the three but seem happy to bandy the terms around.) Apart from being mildly insulted that the UK’s health system is seen as the absolute worst thing that could happen to this country, the protests got me thinking about how government is viewed on each side of the Pond.
Having grown up with unlimited access to excellent, free healthcare it shocks me that some in this country go without routine medical check ups because they have no health insurance and others can be bankrupted by health care bills. Even though everyone agrees there’s a huge problem with healthcare in the US, Obama opponents see the status quo as preferable to government involvement. What is conveniently overlooked is that Medicaid (for some low income families) and Medicare (for the over 65’s) take care of millions of Americans and both are tax funded and government run. Sound familiar?
And I have more questions- Don’t people realize that law enforcement services are also tax funded and government run? And why isn’t state education such an outrage? Why is there no outcry against federal or state funded interstate highways? I understand that this country is made up of individual, autonomous states, but within that structure there is still government, and it’s often less efficient and more corrupt than the Federal government. (I live in Chicago - I know what goes on!)
I also get that this is a collection of very different states, and that’s the way people want it to stay. What I don’t understand however, is why it’s okay to have government involvement in some things, yet it’s seen as an attack on civil liberties (or a partnership with Satan) in other areas.
Makes no sense to me and I’ve yet to hear a decent explanation.
Probably the best argument for limited centralized government is that was what the founding fathers had in mind. But this isn’t what people are reacting against; at least I don’t believe so. Although I no longer live in the US, I did grow up there and I think I understand where this resistance comes from.
As a flag-pledging, God-fearing, Boy-Scouting American, I knew—just as I knew that if Jesus came back to earth he would, by God, be an American—that communism was bad. Well, “bad” doesn’t quite cut it. “Better Dead Than Red” seems to sum it up nicely, though.
Big government is simply the government seeking to control all aspects of your life. And that—especially if you are talking about health care—is communism, pure and simple.
If you take Big Government to its logical extreme, you are talking about a totalitarian state, so there is a basis, however small, for the current vociferous opposition. Why the health care system seems to be regarded as the Maginot Line I can’t say, but possibly is it because it represents a large entity moving from capable private hands into the slimy embrace of the Nanny State.
I have to admit, if I were still in the US, I would be firmly in the “you can take my health care when you pry it out of my cold, dead fingers” camp, but after living under a national health service for seven years without developing an unhealthy interest in Karl Marx, checking The Communist Manifesto out of the local library or referring to people I meet in the street as “Comrade,” I think the American public may be over reacting just a bit here.
The founding fathers could not have conceived of anything as abstract as “health care” in an era where medicine could be described as primitive, at best. I like to think, however, that if they could have looked into the future and understood that providing adequate heath services for the entire population was to become a possibility, they might look upon that, not as governmental interference, but as something any compassionate country would do for its citizens. Like seeing to it every child is offered an education.
22 hours ago