The Word "Repeal"

Monday, March 22, 2010

In a historic vote yesterday, the Democratic Party told the American people to go to hell -- and tried to send them on their way -- by passing an unpopular bill that threatens to adversely affect the life of every man, woman, and child in this country. Far from being a "credit to Nancy Pelosi's savvy," this bill is simply another indicator that something is horribly wrong, culturally, with America.

That such a manipulative, power-lusting, worm could wield such power in a republic founded by the likes of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington is a symptom: It is a manifestation of the cultural rot that occurs when enough people accept or fail to challenge the idea of "from each according to his ability to each according to his need." Kill that idea and Nancy Pelosi will die with it to become the mere cautionary tale she deserves to be and actually is.

All wars consist of battles, and you can't necessarily win every single battle. The good guys lost one yesterday, but the war goes on. On HBL, Harry Binswanger has already noticed a silver lining: The unpopularity of this bill has some Republicans bandying about the word, "repeal," which he rightly notes has been missing from political discourse for quite some time and must be reintroduced for us to ever have a hope of dismantling the welfare state.

There is much to say about and learn from this battle, but after this post, I am stepping back from it for most of the day. The dishonest, emotionally manipulative nature of this battle has been exhausting -- revealingly, for the enemy side as well. This fight is far from over, but winning it will require not just the right ideas, but the will to fight, which can only come from moral certainty and the ability to sustain oneself by always remembering one's values. Towards that sacred end, I recommend enjoying something one loves today, or in the near future as a means of catching a breather, of remembering what we are fighting for, of fully experiencing the independence and defiance of a free mind, and most importantly, of living the life that Nancy Pelosi's ilk forfeited long ago, and now want to sap away from you.

Speaking of values, I want to end by acknowledging everyone who fought against this cowardly raising from the dead of the institution of slavery. I particularly want to thank my fellow Objectivists, and especially among them, Paul Hsieh, whose efforts have been nothing short of heroic. Seeing what those on the forefront of this long fight have done shows me what is possible and demonstrates that I am hardly alone. Those things are all vitally important.

-- CAV

11 comments:

Burgess Laughlin said...

> " This fight is far from over, but winning it will require not just the right ideas, but the will to fight, which can only come from moral certainty and the ability to sustain oneself by always remembering one's values."

The right ideas, the will to fight, and the moral certainty that comes from understanding one's ethical roots are indeed necessary conditions for winning. They are not, I think, sufficient. (Your list of course was not meant to be exhaustive.)

Your spotlight on Dr. Paul Hsieh is well founded. He has all the necessary conditions you named. Further he is an in-line activist. By that I mean that he is specializing long-term in an area of activism that is an outgrowth of his profession.

That approach involves heavy lifting: a specialized focus, a long-range dedication, and a determination to accumulate the specialized knowledge, the social network, and the communication skills required.

There are a few others -- such as Diana Hsieh and you -- who can be successful generalists, but such people are very rare and usually need to devote full time to their efforts to succeed.

Beth said...

Thank you Gus--for your righteous anger and your words of consolation and encouragement.

Knowing that we are not alone makes the fight and the set backs easier to take.

I am going to sit on my deck and soak up the sun and think about how grateful I am to be alive.

Grant said...

The most painful part of all of this - this cultural change, that is - is that when it gets bad enough to finally be changed for the better, the American people are going to finally be equipped to, and are going to have to, take stock of all that they've lost during these "dark ages of American life." So much time wasted, so much wealth destroyed, so many opportunities missed, such great things that could have been done but were not. It's going to be gut-wrenching.

Gus Van Horn said...

Burgess,

"[S]uch people are very rare and usually need to devote full time to their efforts to succeed."

I'll thank you for the complement and take the adverb as additional encouragement.

Beth,

I was home early today and just finished watching a favorite movie curled up with my cat. I'll have a day off soon that I plan to use to explore Boston, too.

Grant,

We can't evade the unpleasantness, but I think it's important to keep our eyes on the prize. There is a way out, even from a gutter.

Gus

Jim May said...

Kill that idea and Nancy Pelosi will die with it to become the mere cautionary tale she deserves to be and actually is.

Amen.

Gus Van Horn said...

I haven't read the Billy Beck piece yet, but I have noticed the title of a Victor Davis Hanson piece to the effect that we've crossed the Rubicon.

It's premature to start writing America's obituary.

The subhumans can win only if we stop fighting them.

Paul Hsieh said...

Thanks for those kind remarks, Gus.

As I had earlier mentioned to you in private (but which I would also like to repeat here for the public record), your writing and blogging on health care and other topics has been consistently strong, with excellent insights and integrations. Your blog is on my short of sites I check every day.

So thank you for fighting the good fight alongside me!

Gus Van Horn said...

Paul,

The value of your efforts goes far beyond the delimited question of whether this atrocious bill passed.

Arguments like those you made perhaps made this atrocious bill harder to pass, will make it easier to argue for repeal, and aspects are generally applicable to many more similar public debates we will have in the future. This is all on top of demonstrating how one can fight back.

Thank you again.

Gus

drake2b said...

Let the sobbing and the gnashing of teeth begin.

mtnrunner2 said...

Perfectly put, from top to bottom.

These are the same thoughts I had about the whole thing, although what stuck out most was Pelosi's *incredibly galling, idiotic smile*, which she wore as she -- as you put it -- was telling us all to go to hell.

I got my mind off the whole thing by sending my final, and futile, emails to my reps on Sunday AM, then wandering around in the mountains taking photos of fuzzy chipmunks, running along snowy ridgelines, and such. The vote was set by then, and I needed a break. I checked my phone for the final outcome, but that's it.

I'm also incredibly grateful to everyone who fought the bill, from FIRM, to the entire OBloggers list, to other freedom defenders and beyond. What excellent people.

Gus Van Horn said...

drake2b,

Would you care to elaborate, or are you done, as Mark Twain might put it, "removing all doubt?"

Jeff,

Thank you, sir.

Yesterday, my work called for me to have lunch with an entire table of people who were happy this bill passed, and one of them said, half-jokingly that Pelosi is "certifiably insane."

In a fit of staircase wit, I later wished I'd rebutted him with, "Pelosi isn't half-crazy. She's half-sane."

How in hell could anyone entrust asny aspect of his health to someone who is so clearly nuts as Nancy Pelosi?"

Gus