Two of my favorite Latin phrases with translations follow. The first, a quote from Virgil, was the life motto of Ludwig von Mises:
Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito. ”Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it.”
The second comes from Ovid:
Principiis obsta et finem respice. ”Resist the beginnings and consider the ends.”
I have thought about these quotes recently as I continue to encounter the argument, “…now that Obamacare is the law of the land, let’s get on with implementing it instead of fighting it,” …or some similar version of this. Interestingly, the same argument (strangely almost verbatim) is used nationally and locally, by the supporters of this federal takeover of the practice of medicine.
I find the continued resistance and defiance, even of those who I suspect to be impostors and demagogues, refreshing. I have no doubt that “..never let a crisis go to waste,” one of the core operational principles of any state (see: “Crisis and Leviathan” by Professor Robert Higgs), continues to drive ideologues of all stripes seeking power. Those who would launch their political careers using anti-state rhetoric promote their own undoing and undoubtedly aware of this, know not to take this too far. I believe the power represented by the public defiance encouraged by all those promoting anti-Obamacare or limited government ideas, dwarfs any political power to be gained by the promoters, political or otherwise. Here’s why I say this.
Public judging of a law (Obamacare is just one example) as a failure invariably leads thoughtful people to dig deeper, wondering, for example if other laws have escaped the public scrutiny they deserved, and introduces an element of doubt about the sincerity of the players in the regime and even the legitimacy of the regime itself. Having lost their health insurance as a result of Obamacare, a hitherto Obamacare supporter might entertain the unthinkable: ”If I was lied to about being able to keep this policy I liked, what else have they lied to me about?” Most people in this spot initially direct their frustration at individuals rather than focus on the system itself, mistakenly believing that a different political course of action is all that is needed.
Much more important is the non-political form of defiance, for this represents the “lack of consent of the governed,” that brand of defiance that even the cruelest of tyrants have found difficult to crush. Ignoring, ridiculing or laughing at the awkward cruelty and corruption of tyrants and their cronies have historically been more effective in deterring political bullies than even the best results of “mid-term” elections, in my opinion.
I remain optimistic about free markets in healthcare and about liberty in general, in part because of the level of public defiance I am seeing everywhere. State legislators and attorneys general all over the country are openly discussing nullification. Not just a few governors are refusing to expand the federal Medicaid program. If these public officials thought their political futures were threatened with such talk, it would not be nearly as widespread. A great number of individuals see these individuals as their champions, their defenders against the leviathan federal government. In short, political defiance is safe and popular because of widespread public defiance.
This is truly remarkable, I think, and shows the extent to which a great number of people see that the federal government has overstepped. Think of the vast numbers of young people refusing to participate in this latest Ponzi scheme, the physicians who are opting out of any involvement with federal medicine, whatsoever, and the great number of well-known medical facilities all over the country publicly announcing their refusal to participate with Obamacare. I, for one, plan to cheer on anyone who proclaims defiance, as once the general public understands, just as Rothbard foretold, that without our consent, the ruling class is neutered.
G. Keith Smith, M.D.
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