garrison state issues free candyopponents of garrison state offer rousing cheer
At Salon, the eminently sensible Glenn Greenwald raises an eyebrow at the news that federal officials are unable to find records of the Virginia Tech shooter's medication history in their files:
Is there any good reason whatsoever why the federal government should be maintaining "files" which contain information about the pharmaceutical products which all Americans are consuming? The noxious idea has taken root in our country -- even before the Bush presidency, though certainly greatly bolstered during it -- that one of the functions of the federal government is to track the private lives of American citizens and maintain dossiers on what we do.I very much agree, but I've also bookmarked Greenwald's post for future reference when the debate begins in earnest over the implementation of single-payer health care. Because, yes: When the government pays for all of your medical care, then they will of course have all of your medical records, and they will know what medication you take.
If you oppose the surveillance state erected by the Bush adminstration over the last six years -- the NSA's domestic eavesdropping and the abnegation of FISA laws, the FBI's national security letters, the Patriot Act provision for obtaining library records without a warrant, watch lists on top of watch lists -- but favor single-payer health care, I'd like to hear how you build that argument.
Or try this: If you oppose the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, and deplore this week's Supreme Court ruling on that law, and think your body is none of the government's business -- but favor single-payer, in which case the government will in fact see all of your ob/gyn bills -- how do you reconcile these two sets of political beliefs? How will the government pay for your prenatal care without maintaining a "dossier" on it? How then would a successful abortion ban not be enforced through law enforcement access to your medical records?
Or put it this way: If Bill Frist's diagnosis-by-video of Terri Schiavo turned your stomach, and you thought the Republican Congress should have stayed out of the question of her ongoing care, do you think the Republican Congress would have had more power to intervene or less power to intervene if they had been paying all the bills for that care?
The bottom line is that the successful implementation of single-payer in, say, 1999, would have meant that George Bush would have been in charge of your health care for the last six years. The successful implementation of single-payer in 2009 means that President Romney will be in charge of your health care in 2010.
I'm baffled that legions of sensible people have correctly identified the element of unbounded state power in the actions of the Bush Cult, but see no such implications in single-payer, which would apparently just be a really neat chance for the government to help. Like Irving Kristol said, defining neoconservatism back in 2003, the new conservative paradigm is to aggressively use state power to helpfully shape a neat new culture:
The steady decline in our democratic culture, sinking to new levels of vulgarity, does unite neocons with traditional conservatives -- though not with those libertarian conservatives who are conservative in economics but unmindful of the culture. The upshot is a quite unexpected alliance between neocons, who include a fair proportion of secular intellectuals, and religious traditionalists. They are united on issues concerning the quality of education, the relations of church and state, the regulation of pornography, and the like, all of which they regard as proper candidates for the government's attention.Anyway, I can't wait until Sam Brownback has funding authority over AIDS treatment -- just think progressive the outcome will be.