Thursday, July 23, 2009

Veritas et libertas ultra omnis sunto – Truth and liberty above all

During Obama's umpteenth presidential address to sell to the public on yet another costly government experiment, he inadvertently said something that may be more prescient than he realized. At one point during one of his rambling, incoherent examples of why he thinks we should have the government control our health care, he said that people will have to make sacrifices like "Giving up paying for things that don't make them healthier." Then he said something about having a blue pill and red pill and if they do the same thing but one costs twice as much, why pay for the costlier pill? I don't know if that was his whole point or not, because I drifted away to a scene from "The Matrix."

For those who haven't seen it, here's a quick summary (from

"The Matrix is a film filled with religious and philosophical symbolism. The plot supposes that humans live in vats many years in the future, being fed false sensory information by a giant virtual reality computer (the Matrix). The perpetrators of this horror are machines of the future who use humans as a source of power. Humans are literally farmed.

The central character of the film, Neo, is presented to us in the opening part of the film as a loner who is searching for a mysterious character called Morpheus (named after the Greek god of dreams and sleep). He is also trying to discover the answer to the question "What is the Matrix?"

Morpheus contacts Neo just as the machines (posing as sinister 'agents') are trying to keep Neo from finding out any more. When Morpheus and Neo meet, Morpheus offers Neo two pills. The red pill will answer the question "what is the Matrix?" (by removing him from it) and the blue pill simply for life to carry on as before. As Neo reaches for the red pill Morpheus warns Neo "Remember, all I'm offering is the truth. Nothing more.""

How fitting is it that Obama chose those colors the pills in his example? Red – the color attributed to the Republican Party, as in "Red States" is the color of the pill that reveals the truth. The blue pill, for Democrats, carries on with the lie, keeping people in ignorance. Could that be any more appropriate for this debate?

At another point in the movie, when the crappiness of real life is weighing Neo down, another character, Cypher, says to Neo "I know what you're thinking, 'cause right now I'm thinking the same thing. Actually, I've been thinking it ever since I got here: Why oh why didn't I take the BLUE pill?" Many people ask themselves that every day. I know I was perfectly content a year and a half ago, conservative but not politically active. I couldn't have told you who my senators were, what congressional district in which I reside, or any details of pending legislation (except for what the media chose to tell me). Then I read the book "The Case Against Barack Obama." It was like taking the RED pill.

The Democrats want people taking the BLUE pill. When Obama trots out his numbers, like the 47 million people who are uninsured, he hopes people won't read articles like this one: that cut the legs out from under that argument. When he uses a figure like $700 per month for insurance as an example of the high cost of insurance, then says people are paying "thousands of dollars in hidden costs" in their insurance premiums, he doesn't want us to scratch our heads and say "wait a second…$700 per month is $8400…thousands per year in hidden costs means at least $2000….so 25% is 'hidden costs?' Where do these numbers come from?" He doesn't want us to ask questions like that because we then might question the sources of that data, and of other data like the 'hundreds' of letters he gets from people begging him to help them with their health care costs. What about the hundreds of letters telling him to leave their insurance alone? Do they not count? Suddenly I'm feeling a little disenfranchised. Here are some other BLUE pill moments from his speech and Q&A:

I don't think anyone will argue with the idea that health care could be reformed for the better. But there are myriad other options that are not being considered simply because they're offered by conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation, or by Newt Gingrich's Center For Healthcare Transformation. They promote choice, efficiency and keep the government out of the middle of things, and therefore we're asked to take the BLUE pill.

I say resist the urge to keep the blinders on. Take the RED pill, discover the truth, and fight to keep your liberty.

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