By Arnold Ahlert
Had an interesting conversation with my health insurance agent yesterday. Despite coming nowhere near my deductible, I was told the cost of my health insurance would increase by $1200 for the coming year. Undoubtedly, many Americans will be having the same conversation very shortly. It was when I began asking questions that the conversation became intriguing — and extremely aggravating.
Although I am more aware of things than the average American as a result of doing these columns, I'd be lying to you if I said I knew every detail about the new health care bill. And I'm not the least bit embarrassed by it. The bet here is a majority of slackers in Congress know even less than I do, and they voted on this American nightmare.
And make no mistake: it is a nightmare for many reasons, but first and foremost — like so many liberal programs — is the deleterious effect it has on one's personal integrity.
According to my insurance provider, this July is when insurance companies can no longer deny care for pre-existing conditions. My policy expires in June. So I asked the rep a logical question: since I'm facing a twelve hundred dollar increase in my premium, but no one can deny me coverage for pre-existing conditions, why shouldn't I just wait until something happens and buy insurance then? Sure, it would likely be more expensive then, but that's assuming I kept paying for it after the crisis passed. The way I see it, why not sign up when you get sick, drop it as soon as you get well, and sign up again when you get sick again?
And that's just until 2014. After that, why not just pay the fine and continue gaming the system?
Only one thing stands in my way: personal integrity.
That's the same personal integrity that keeps me paying my mortgage when I could hop on the government bailout wagon. It's the same integrity that compels me not to spend money I don't have on things I don't need, instead of maxing out a credit card and welshing on the debt — by way of one of those companies whose advertising consists of telling people they can get a fifty percent discount on what they owe "predatory" credit card companies.
In theory, good government is supposed to discourage "moral hazard." This bunch embraces it, from bailing out companies "too big to fail" to underwriting every American who considers himself entitled to walk away from an underwater mortgage, not because he can't afford it, but because he feels no compunction whatsoever to honor a contract he signed.
People like me? The message is crystal clear: integrity is for suckers — sucker.
As I've said many times before, there are three types of people in the world: those who do the right thing, those who don't — and those who straddle the fence with their finger held aloft to see which way the wind is blowing. Right now there's a Category 5 hurricane blowing in the direction of the takers, whose despicable sense of entitlement ought to be shame-inducing.
But it's not. And every time government pats these people on the head and tells them it's "not their fault" for anything, the fence-sitters head down the path of least resistance, knowing that safety in numbers is the best defense for the indefensible. Or as any grade-schooler would put it:
Everyone else is doing it, why not me?
People can rationalize anything. From the street thug who sells crack because "the man is keeping me down" to the suit who pockets millions after running a company into the ground because "he's earned it" — to a government which justifies destroying incentive because "it's unfair that equality of opportunity doesn't yield equality of results" — we are constantly reminded that scruples are taking a beating across the American landscape.
And yet people are fighting back. The Tea Party movement is many things, but the premise behind it is simple: we will not yield to moral anarchy being promoted as social justice. We will not mortgage the future of the country to underwrite the selfishness and irresponsibility of the present. We will not accept expediency as a viable substitute for the rule of law, the most glaring example of which is illegal immigration "reform."
We will not "do it," just because everyone else is.
Progressives think they can infiltrate such a movement and discredit it. Good luck, comrades. Good luck telling Americans with integrity that they're bigots, racists, red-necks, etc. Good luck selling "flexible" morality to people with clear consciences and pure hearts. Good luck persuading them that "clinging" to their faith, their families and the Second Amendment is a fool's errand.
Good luck convincing yourselves that this is nothing more than a political movement.
It's not. Throughout the course of history, human decency has been pushed to the brink of extinction many times. Millions have been exterminated wherever depravity gained the upper hand. But people always fought back, even when it seemed far more hopeless than it does right now.
Despite what progressives think, not every American can be compromised — not with a handout, an entitlement program, or anything else which necessitates abandoning one's integrity for security. Those Americans will not be gulled by the false promises of government-sponsored "happiness" — or the inducement of progressive guilt which posits that life is a zero-sum game in which every winner requires an equal number of losers or victims. They will never feel ashamed for being decent, hard-working, law-abiding Americans, who believe in the Constitution, capitalism and American exceptionalism.
That is why progressive America despises the Tea party movement — but why nothing they do can destroy it.
Progressives will never understand the true greatness of America. They will never understand how a nation which gave the rest of civilization a two thousand year "head start" vaulted past every other country to the top of the heap in less than three hundred years. For them, America is an ongoing tragedy in which the only remedy is atonement — an atonement which requires Americans to lower their hopes and expectations for the future in order to "align" themselves with the rest of the world.
That's what they're selling as hope and change, my fellow Americans.
The Tea Partiers aren't buying. And the bet here is a substantial majority of Americans aren't either. Those Americans may not be officially aligned with the Tea party phenomenon, but they are with it in spirit. It is a spirit that scares the hell of out those frantically trying disparage it by any means necessary.
Such attempts are nothing new. Communists tried containing such a spirit — literally — when they built the Berlin Wall and the rest of the Iron Curtain. Take a good, long look at the that rubble, my progressive friends. That is your future, and it's as inevitable as the sunrise. It's a future determined by the one spark of human nature which has grown dim many times, but will never, ever be completely extinguished:
It's called personal integrity — and it's poised for a giant comeback.