Silent Night, Sordid Night

William Murchison's picture

Americans sick over Congress’ “healthcare” outrage should be glad to sniff the generally unpolluted air of Christmas Eve in order, at last, to hear the angels sing.

Because if anyone ever took a political vote-counter for one of the heavenly host, it had to be a long time ago: not in the eight or nine months we’ve been anguishing over plans to overhaul the way 300 million-plus Americans pay for their healthcare.

If men were angels, President James Madison remarked with great discernment, no government would be necessary. What does the healthcare outrage tell us about human nature? Nothing complimentary. We learn that, carried away by the lust for power, particular politicians are prepared to cram their particular point of view down any and all throats.

The Democrats, on healthcare, want very much to cram their version of “healthcare” down the national throat. Nor do they care even to study and debate the legislation framed to this end. It’s all about winning.

You have to want very much to win in order to justify: 1) riding down your opponents, as if they were peasants asking the right of free speech, 2) engaging in the pretense that the public understands and deeply desires you to win, 3) not least, arranging the finale for Christmas Eve — an obscene, and very human, parody of the sacred:

“God rest you lousy Nazis now,/We’ve beaten you at last./You hate the sick, you hate the poor,/You creatures of the Past!/You thought to stop our Leader Bright with Warnings of Despair/Oh, now we have stuck it right to you, stuck it to you, Go away and leave Americans alone.”

Or words of like import.

The child in the manger, as he grew, declined political ambitions. The amassing of power for power’s sake was never his line. He sought power only over hearts and minds and, then, only to the extent that such power came of the donors’ wholehearted accord. Definitely an odd duck: never swaggering about, never issuing orders of the do-this, do-that sort; inviting, instead of demanding, assent.

The world of Christmas is miles from the world of Capitol Hill and the White House, for all the architectural resemblances that Washington bears to Rome. You enter the world of Christmas with hope, with expectation. A different kind of expectation, it should be noted, than generally hangs over Washington or any other political power center. Sour rejection is the mood in places of power — the rejection of entreaties to stop, look, listen.

The Senate healthcare bill doesn’t need dissecting here. Plenty of surgeons are available for the gruesome task. What needs pointing up instead, it seems to me, is the sheer violence of the occasion.

It is what happens when you start playing with people’s lives: second-guessing their needs and wants, trumping principled objections as stupid or backward or — as President Obama put it the other day, “The argument that opponents are making against this bill does not hold water.” It just doesn’t. Who says so? I say so. And I’m the president.

The Roman Empire had similarly smug, all-knowing habits. See what became of the empire. It stood for human force: to be sure in the interest of order. But is that not the very same end for which the congressional Democrats claim to be striving — forcing others into harness for the good those others just can’t see for themselves? Take that — and no back talk.

Other Christmas Eves will come: happier ones, it may be. Less polluted with rhetoric and bombastic threats meant to ensure the adoption of speculative and suppositious plans for public improvement.

The contrast excites and explains meanwhile — the Creator’s great design for the world; the tiny, often tyrannical designs of his creations, more and more in each generation, it seems.

Who wins this particular one in the end? The wise men or the rote reciters of talking points? The shepherds or those who just want to drive the flock to a different watering hole?

The angels? How about them? Be careful how you bet.

[William Murchison is the author of “Mortal Follies: Episcopalians and the Crisis of Mainline Christianity.”] COPYRIGHT 2009 CREATORS.COM

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S. Lindsey's picture
Submitted by S. Lindsey on Sat, 12/26/2009 - 4:39pm.

If it was.. Tort Reform, Interstate Competition and Medical Fees posted would have been a part of the "reform". Instead it is all about abortion, minority rights and control over our individual liberties..

What gives the Government the arthority to tell us what we have to purchase and force us to do so under the threat of punishment?

And don't give me the bs of "Auto Insurance".. you don't have a right to drive nor are you forced to.

This Government is out of control.. We can not afford these boondogles.. or as Bonkers would say it.. Boomdogels..

"A little matter will move a party

but it must be something great that moves a nation.

~Thomas Paine"

muddle's picture
Submitted by muddle on Sun, 12/27/2009 - 9:09am.

And don't give me the bs of "Auto Insurance".. you don't have a right to drive nor are you forced to.

Precisely right. The disanalogy is so obvious that one would have to be either a moron or a political ideologue to advance the argument.

Oh, wait. I heard Obama himself advance that argument....

SPQR's picture
Submitted by SPQR on Sun, 12/27/2009 - 12:21pm.

As an aside I have always been concerned that the often heard statement " driving is a privilege not a right" does not evoke a rebuttal that government is not(officially) empowered to grant privilege. Government can regulate and control activities and suspend certain rights for the good of the populace but it cannot govern by privilege. Anyway that was the plan in 1776.

Submitted by Bonkers on Sun, 12/27/2009 - 11:59am.

I suppose one could say that one doesn't have to go to a doctor or an emergency room if he doesn't want to--just like not driving.
One also doesn't have a right to pills and shots neither!
You don't even have a right to be born. Most of the time is is accidental.
I don't think the law would catch one if he didn't have health insurance if he didn't try to use it! Most doctors and hospitals will take cash in advance whether you have insurance or not.
Now as to that matter, one doesn't have a right to pay Social Security taxes neither. Many do not.
Nor do you have a right to pay sales taxes--just steal or buy from a knife trader who pays none.
As to Income taxes--just don't have any recordable income,as many don't, and you will have a right not to pay any.

All the ancient paper says is that I have a right to happiness, etc., doesn't say I have a right not to buy insurance and pay taxes!
Hey, the Bible is full of stuff we must do--even pay Caesar, and nobody pays much attention!

One even has to go to school and read a lot just to get a PhD. Even Obama never got one of them---yeah a JD, I suppose.

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Sun, 12/27/2009 - 12:50pm.

analogy is that unlike automobile insurance if you can't afford health care insurance the "Guv" will provide.
Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

mapleleaf's picture
Submitted by mapleleaf on Mon, 12/28/2009 - 8:05am.

You don't need automobile insurance unless you own an automobile. You don't need health insurance unless you have a live body (mind optional). Not everybody has an automobile. But everybody has a body. (That's why they're called "everybody.")

mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Mon, 12/28/2009 - 8:26am.

and we don't "need" either one of them - nor are we entitled to either one of them, you liberal in a closet.

Yes, health care is something everyone should strive to have access to -just like food, shelter, a job, etc. Government should have nothing to do with it. After all, if you don't like doctors or drug companies, the Christian Science option is available to you.

Health insurance is something you should be able to buy if you want it. Health insurance is also something the insurance companies should be allowed to sell without government interference in every state under one set of rules. The best rule would be some limit on malpractice claims and something resembling common sense on those John Edwards type class action lawsuits.

Submitted by Davids mom on Mon, 12/28/2009 - 11:02am.

if you don't like doctors or drug companies, the Christian Science option is available to you.

Many Christian Scientists, like Methodists and Baptists, have healthcare insurance through their employment. A Christian Scientist has the choiceof receiving assistance for his material needs. A student of Christian Science turns to God (Mind) first for healing.

Until the advancing age admits the efficacy and supremacy of Mind, it is better for Christian Scientists to leave surgery and the adjustment of broken bones and dislocations to the fingers of a surgeon, while the mental healer confines himself chiefly to mental reconstruction and to the prevention of inflammation. Christian Science is always the most skilful surgeon, but surgery is the branch of its healing which will be last acknowledged. However, it is but just to say that the author has already in her possession well-authenticated records of the cure, by herself and her students through mental surgery alone, of broken bones, dislocated joints, and spinal vertebrae. (S & H 401:27)

Christian Science is not ‘faith healing’. A Christian Scientist may avail themselves of being cared for during recovery from an illness by Christian Science nurses at a Christian Science care facility. There are insurance companies that assist Christian Scientists with the cost of care. Christian Scientists may avail themselves of the support of a Christian Science practitioner, a class-taught Christian Scientist who is effective in using prayer to bring about healing. A Christian Scientist may purchase insurance to assist with the cost of a practitioner. (

Many Christian Scientists wear glasses and are examined by an ophthalmologist. Christian Scientists do receive ‘health care’ and do use insurance to assist with the cost of such care. Christian Scientists respect the healing work of doctors – and there are doctors who respect the work/practice of Christian Scientists. A practicing Christian Scientist will turn to God(Mind) first. There is a choice.

Locke's picture
Submitted by Locke on Fri, 12/25/2009 - 6:48pm.

He has discovered that Congressmen aren't angels! Will the wonders of Christmas never end?

Merry Christmas!

It is one thing to show a man that he is in an error, and another to put him in possession of the truth. John Locke

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