November 3, 2019
Author: Chilton Williamson
What is wrong with the Republicans? The answer: They are the Stupid Party, as the British Tories were called in the late 19th century. Which prompts a further question. And a further answer. Why are they stupid? Answer: Because they are are intellectually and politically dishonest with themselves and with their constituency. They see that the United States is going left, inexorably. It was founded by people who were liberals, theologically and politically, by the standards of their own times. And it has been moving steadily further left since then. The Republicans don’t oppose this tendency on principle. They oppose it because they realize that every “democratic” government, no matter how liberal, requires an opposition to be credible, and they have every intention of remaining as that opposition. And of enjoying the power (when they can get it) and the offices and all the other takings therefrom. But in order to do this, they need to keep the present system up and running. The Republicans need the Democratic Party, as a foil, as Laurel needed Hardy. This is why they always fail to take advantage of the most obvious openings the Democrats offer them. For instance, “Medicare for all.”
Americans have no interest in anything “foreign,” as they say, unless it offers a possibility for military conquest and the further imposition of “America values” upon a benighted world. (It appears Trump has not much changed that attitude, as we see from the political and popular response to his very sensible withdrawal of troops from Syria.) Thus no one in America, including (so far as I know) the so-called conservative press, has raised the highly negative example of the United Kingdom’s National Health Service in the debate over the Democrats’ insistence on a fully nationalized healthcare system to replace the already semi-nationalized one. Elizabeth Warren has recently introduced a plan for “Medicare for All” that would cost the country, over the next decade, $52 trillion. Inflation in health care is like inflation in higher education. It is financially ruinous for the people it claims to help. And it doesn’t help them, because it doesn’t work.
Great Britain has suffered under a system of nationalized medical care since 1948. Like the BBC, it has been progressively corrupted and grown progressively unpopular. Today it is in a disastrous state, and so are the Britons who must rely on it. Patients wait months for an appointment. Once diagnosed, mortally ill patients, such as those with cancer, must wait months–or more–for treatment. GPs are retiring early, and many of them are not being replaced. (What would wish to work under such highly bureaucratic circumstances?) Longevity is falling in the UK, and the health of Britons (whose economy is the fifth largest in the world) is declining by comparison with that of people in other countries. Residents living outside the largest cities, and in small towns and rural areas, are especially affected. The BBC, which is barking-liberal to the bone and charges a hefty annual fee to all television owners (and even bills some sensible resident of the British Isles who do not own a television set), is still popularly known, though with less affection that formerly, as “Auntie.” No one calls the NHS that.
I imagine President Elizabeth Warren would very much enjoy being regarded, from New York to San Francisco, as Auntie. Were she actually elected president, and should she succeed in imposing an American version of the NHS upon 330 million people, she would certainly be remembered by history as “That Old Bitch in the White House.”