By 1944, the social order had changed and grown enough for the statesman Roosevelt to explicitly redefine Americans’ rights to include jobs, housing, medical care, education — in short, a “Second Bill of Rights,” all of which “spell security.” That can’t be the last word, however; the prospect of future changes in the social order causes FDR to urge the recognition of “these and similar rights.” The governmental right to discover new rights could, for instance, someday lead to the development endorsed by FDR’s National Public Resources Board in 1943, when it called for recognizing the right to “rest, recreation and adventure.”Freedom is so much more than just another word for nothing left to lose. When you have freedom you have everything to lose, that's what makes it so precious. That's what makes it worth killing and dying for.
Who among us would disdain citizenship in that Club Med polity where safaris and sea cruises are guaranteed as a matter of right, where we might awaken any day to find that the changing social order has left us yet another shiny new entitlement in the driveway? The problem is that it turns out to be impossible to elevate every social-policy goal to a right without reducing every right to just one more policy goal. In 1994, the Clinton Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) enforcement of the Fair Housing Act was so zealous that it demanded that groups opposed to new homeless shelters or drug-treatment facilities in their neighborhoods turn over to federal investigators (who were seeking evidence of discriminatory motives or attitudes) every article, flier, or letter to the editor their leaders had written, as well as the minutes of every public meeting they addressed. The HUD assistant secretary called upon to defend this thuggery compressed six decades of liberal rhetoric into a single op-ed, which explained how the department had to “walk a tightrope between free speech and fair housing. We are ever mindful of the need to maintain the proper balance between these rights.”
(3) Finally, in saying that all this graduate-seminar mumbo-jumbo about natural rights and limited government is a sideshow, Lind is, again, being a good New Deal liberal. The practicalities are what matter, he says. Peter Beinart of The Daily Beast recently concurred: “FDR’s greatness stemmed from his indifference to ideology.” Beinart approvingly quoted Roosevelt’s reply to a question about how he would explain the political philosophy behind the Tennessee Valley Authority: “I’ll tell them it’s neither fish nor fowl, but, whatever it is, it will taste awfully good to the people of the Tennessee Valley.” By the same token, Beinart praised Barack Obama for discovering and giving voice to his inner New Dealer in time to salvage health-care reform by turning “a theoretical debate into a tactile one.”
This tactile aspect of liberalism is the one that causes so many conservatives to pound their heads on the table in frustration. I refer to the moist-eyed, quivering-voiced, morally preening affirmation of the tautology that when the government gives people stuff, the people it gives stuff to wind up with more stuff than they had before the government started giving them stuff. After they calm down, conservatives say, “Fine. Stipulated: Benefits are (or at least can be) beneficial. Now, can we please talk about how we’re going to pay for all these programs? And how we’re going to make sure that the Santa Clausification of American government does not transform us from a republic of free and equal citizens into a nursery of wardens and wards? And, finally, what will be the governing practices that allow us to overcome the correlation of political forces that makes it so much easier to expand failed programs than to euthanize them?”...
“America does not need to choose between James Madison and Woodrow Wilson,” writes Lind. “But it does need to choose between Franklin Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover.” It needs, he is saying, to respond to modern challenges by rejecting a conservative government too hemmed in by rules and strictures to grapple with our problems. The alternative Lind endorses, however, is by-any-means-necessary liberalism, in which the consent of the governed is of far less political importance than the “vision” of the governors. (all boldface is mine--Darren)
I'm not willing to kill and die for national socialist health care.