The modern day “Tea Party” movement is not modeling itself on the right rebellion. Patriots in Boston, throwing British tea overboard, rallied themselves around the cause of “No taxation without representation.” Fair enough.
Tea party revelers have representation today. They may disagree with many of their representatives’ decisions, but they are free to express themselves at the ballot box. They are also free to gather together and protest, which is a very American thing to do, but to draw inspiration from the Boston Tea Party - a response to a truly unfair situation - rings hollow.
Another recent “assault” on freedom is the new health care bill. It requires Americans to purchase health insurance. I will readily admit that this is a necessary evil. Government coercion always is. Stopping at red lights and paying taxes are also necessary evils, but they are the price we pay for civilization. We trade in some of our freedoms to realize other freedoms.
Requiring health insurance for citizens makes sense. How can we expect the health care system to work when tens of millions either can’t afford insurance or decide not to carry it? When they get sick, hospital emergency rooms are required by law to treat them. And when the hospital is not paid, the price goes up for everyone. As Mit Romney said during the 2008 election (paraphrase) - “We already have universal health care - but not everyone is paying for it.” And without encouraging preventative care and regular check-ups, many people wait until they are really, really sick to seek treatment. This isn’t smart - it’s a waste of human life both for the sick and for those who have to pay for it.
As long as hospital ER’s are required to treat people, regardless of their financial circumstances, then we all must contribute. If we had a single payer system our required “insurance” would be paid through taxes, but private insurance is the way of the land, and that is fine.
Does this infringe on our freedom? In some ways yes it does. We are being required to provide for our own health care by purchasing insurance. But there are other possible assaults on freedom. How free is someone when she is sick, or her children are sick, and she cannot afford a doctor? How free is a person waiting until he is sick enough to go to the ER, rather than making a doctor appointment weeks earlier? How free is the middle class person whose medical bills include the cost of all the free treatments provided by hospitals? How free is a person stuck in a dead end job that she hates because she needs the insurance for her family? How free is the man with asthma who cannot purchase health insurance on his own, so he gives up on his entrepreneurial dream and takes a job with a corporation large enough to insure him? How free is a person in physical pain, who doesn’t know what to do about it?
Can government go too far attempting to provide for its citizens? Of course. But we are not talking about cars, cell phones, or even housing here. We are talking about whether we should systematically do all we can to provide health care to our citizens - to ourselves and to our neighbors. The only other commodity as valuable is education, and we pay our property taxes to educate society. To not do this would be to effectively brainwash children. If we have the ability to provide education and health care to our citizens we must do it. If we do not, then calling this the land of equal opportunity has zero credibility.