Does the health care bill mark an inflection point to American history?

Summary:  putting recent events in a historical context.

Many conservatives describe the health care bill in almost apocalyptic terms, a slippery slope on steroids (much as leftists do with climate change). Hat tip on the following quotations to Brad Delong.

  1. Mark Steyn, “Happy Dependence Day“, National Review Online:  “Longer wait times, fewer doctors, more bureaucracy, massive IRS expansion, explosive debt, the end of the Pax Americana, and global Armageddon. Must try to look on the bright side . . .”
  2. Michael Steele, “The End Of Representative Government“, TPM:  “Today, America witnessed the first vote for the end of representative government.”
  3. Megan McArdle, “Life Under RomneyCare“, blog of The Atlantic:  “Are we now in a world where there is absolutely no recourse to the tyranny of the majority?”
  4. And John Derbyshire, Calm Despair“, National Review Online, giving the inevitable “western civilization as a sinking ship” metaphor.

From Gordon R. Dickson’s book Necromancer:

This has been a transition period in history. It’s been a time of stress and strain, and in such times things tend to become dramatic. Actually, each generation likes to think of itself as the pivot point in history, that in its time the great decision is made which puts man either on the true road or the false. But things aren’t really that serious. The way of mankind is too massive to be kinked, suddenly; it only changes direction in a long and gradual bend over many generations.

The people writing these things seek to arouse fear.  Panicked sheep are easily controlled.  Let’s disappoint them.

We face nothing worse than previous generations of Americans.  We face nothing that cannot be handled by calm debate, careful evaluation of our problems and options, boldness only when necessary (but not waffling on those occasions), awareness that we’re all in this together, and that it’s a long game.

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