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Almost Twenty-Two Years Later … Whether it’s Hillarycare or Obamacare … What difference does it make now?

This weekend I received two emails.  The first email had this cartoon image from 1992 and the current news topic of the day, Hillarycare.  Later that day I received an email from a friend who had found the original article which addressed the issues portrayed within the cartoon.  It has been said that if you wait long enough history will always repeat itself.  In 1992 the public has enough sense to know that they did not want the government to take over their private sector health care or health insurance.  Since that time the States creeped in quasi versions of Hillarycare.  In 2010 the Federal Government pushed through their version known as Obamacare.

Enjoy this blast from the past and ask yourself…what difference does it make now?

~ Kris Halterman

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The Dark Lessons of Utopia


Judge Kozinski, who sits on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, left Romania in 1961 at age 11. An earlier version of this article appeared in The University of Chicago Law Review, vol. 58 (Spring 1991). Copyright © 1991 by Alex Kozinski

Socialist_Utopia While I was at UCLA in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, tout le monde was a collectivist of one stripe or another. It was the height of the Vietnam War, a time when, in the words of Justice William O. Douglas, we were bombing innocent peasants “whose only ‘sin’ [was] a desire for socialized medicine to alleviate the suffering of their families and neighbors.” It was a time when every self-respecting college campus had its spring demonstrations and sit4ns promoting a cornucopia of causes, and when “capitalism” was a synonym for “fascism.” The cure for what ailed us, everyone seemed to agree, was greater, deeper, more extensive government involvement in our lives. And the sooner the better.

Having left the popular vision of Utopia—a country whose government attempted to solve everyone’s problems—only a few years earlier, I found this naive, or worse. And I said so, often and forcefully, to the dismay of my colleagues and professors who thought I was much too smart to hold such troglodyte views. When I confronted them with the hard reality of what life was like behind the Iron Curtain, I received various evasive or glib answers: “You have to give collectivism a chance to work,” or “there are different forms of collectivism,” or “Romania and the other eastern bloc countries would do better if they were more like Sweden.” “You’re exaggerating,” still others would argue, “at least they don’t have crime, racism, pollution, and huge disparities in wealth, the way we do.” And so on. In the years I spent at UCLA, I doubt I managed to wean even three people away from the sweet morphia of collectivism. Faith in the power of benevolent government is very difficult to shake.

Events in Eastern Europe over the last few years should prove an embarrassment to many. People in this country should be reconsidering their fundamental assumptions about what government can and should do, and what it should not. Surprisingly, this has not happened. Government at all levels grows bigger and more powerful; it absorbs more of our productive resources than ever before; and its involvement in our daily lives increases unabated. Even as the peoples of Eastern Europe strive to establish free market economies, implement private property rights, and diminish the role of government, the United States continues on a path headed in the opposite direction. We have been so busy gloating over the triumph of our system, and so anxious to offer the Eastern Europeans advice on how to run their new lives, that we have hardly paused to consider what we might learn from their bitter experience.

In all likelihood, the people of Eastern Europe will do just fine, despite some of the bad advice that may come from the West. Having lived through the dreary hopelessness of collectivism, they will eventually and unavoidably turn to free markets and private property. The transition to capitalism may take time, it may be painful, but it is inexorable.

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