Posted by: bkivey | 10 March 2014

Orwellian Freedom

In recent weeks the Administration has been ballyhooing the individual mandate of the ACA (Obamacare) as a way to increase personal freedom. The logic goes that because health care insurance is now decoupled from a particular job, people gain more control over their lives. It’s a brave new world where work is unnecessary. You can paint! Hang out in a coffee shop! Start a new business! But you’re guaranteed to have access to health care, and not suffer the golden handcuffs of company-supplied health care insurance. The very clear implication is that work is necessary evil.

The Administration’s message is true is far as it goes, but the depth is thinner than the veneer on cheap furniture, and serves the same crap-masking function. Some people may even believe in the veracity of the Administration’s messaging, while remaining blissfully unaware that:

  • Most people don’t work because they have to, they work because they want to. As a general rule, people like to be doing something. If they’re not engaged in productive activity, they’re going to find something to do. Idle minds and Devil’s workshops. How much more satisfying and healthy to engage in meaningful work than to passively absorb the efforts of others.
  • While some people feel they are tied to a job for the benefits, this percentage isn’t nearly as great as Progressives would have you believe. My experience is that most people accept that their skills early in their careers qualify them for a paycheck and little else. As they gain experience and expertise, they can move on to jobs with better benefits. And as most people mature, they take on greater life responsibilities that shift their focus to things like saving plans and healthcare benefits. A small percentage of the workforce may well find themselves in a position where they can’t get the same benefits they’ve become accustomed to outside their current job, and so feel ‘locked in’. I think this is more of an artificial barrier, because:
  • Nearly every company benefit offered can be obtained on the private market. Health care plans have always existed outside those offered by companies. While it’s true that the plans would generally be much more expensive than those offered ‘in-house’, it’s not like they’ve never existed. The same is true of savings plans, retirement accounts, and the like. It really comes down to priorities. If a person feels that the company benefits are too good to forgo and so they can’t make a job or career change, that’s more of a personal choice. It may be a problem, but not a societal one.
  • The idea that providing health care insurance, whether through direct payment or by subsidy somehow frees people to make choices that were previously unavailable is outright false. People have been pursuing avocations with an eye toward turning them into vocations since time began. Most people in the creative arts had to work some sort of regular job while they honed their craft. A lot of small business owners started part-time until they could afford to quit their previous job. Starting a new career takes ambition, perseverance, determination, and no small amount of faith. Making health care plans available isn’t going to suddenly endow a person lacking those qualities.
  • When government requires the purchase of a product as a condition of citizenship, that in no way, shape, or form enhances personal freedom. In fact, it diminishes it quite a bit. What this Administration has done is tell people that they are required to buy a product that costs more than many can pay, is full of ‘features’ that they may not be able to use, and oh, by the way, if you don’t buy it, we’re going to fine you. But look how much freer you are!


I’m not a fan of graffiti, especially on railroad cars, as they’re no great beauties to start with, but this one is pretty good.

covered hoppper graffitti


An image of a rainbow I saw today. There’s a faint double arc at the top: something I hadn’t noticed at the time.

faint double rainbow


  1. Listening to congressional overnight global warming party was akin to two minutes of hate with a good deal of newspeak and double speak intertwined, the debate over climate change is good fodder for George Orwell’s 1984, in fact this generation of do no good congress and senate exemplifies it!

  2. My favorite take on that colossal waste of time comes from V the K at (link under Blogroll):

    “But overall, the Democrats’ all night slumber party to stop the climate from changing was basically a command performance for their billionaire donors, who stood off to the sides clapping “Dance, puppets, dance!”

    • interesting blog, was notable to find the quote, but the quote is appropriate, the American citizen will never touch those strings, they are indeed reserved for those with the money, like soros.

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