For my money, Dr. Charles Krauthammer is the most consistently thought-provoking and insightful columnist around. Whether or not you agree with the weekly assessments he offers in his syndicated column, or the nightly prognostications he delivers on Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier, Chuck is an intellectual force to be reckoned with.
As I’ve followed the media blitz surrounding the release of his new book Things That Matter, I’m reminded of the power of big ideas and that people can, in fact, change their mind about once-held views on politics and economics. Dr. Krauthammer started out a big-government liberal who believed in the ideals (and policies) of The Great Society. But, being the intellectually honest man that he is, when mountains of data began to emerge in the 1980’s that showed just how detrimental the “good intentions” of progressive Democrats had become to the very people they claimed to be helping, he sought out new and better ways to address the needs of a complex, diverse and freedom-loving nation.
To paraphrase another later-in-life free market convert, Krauthammer was an intelligent, earnest liberal who was mugged by reality. While he may differ with many on the Right when it comes to specific social/values issues, Charles Krauthammer is a valiant, articulate defender of free enterprise and limited government.
On Monday’s edition of Special Report, Dr. K was asked to comment on the reality of folks signing up for Obamacare and getting coverage that they don’t need (i.e. single, 58-year-old man forced to pay for prenatal care). Here’s a taste of what he said:
“Historically, centrally-planned economies don’t work. The Soviets had a plan for this much steel and this much concrete and it had no response to what was out there in the market and they overproduced. So, they had a lot of production numbers and they had an economy that was unworkable. Here these people are deciding if you’re a single male in your 60s, you don’t need the maternal care, you don’t — you’ve never smoked dope, you don’t need the substance abuse stuff. You want a catastrophic plan which is very rational, but Jay Carney is saying, you know, ‘you’re too stupid to understand what you want.’ Once you eliminate the market response, which is a lot of people decide I know what I want better than the bureaucrat and they’re eliminating this. That’s the essence of what’s happening and that’s why it’s not going to work.”
Boom goes the dynamite!
Krauthammer, in one brief monologue, summed up the practical problem with Obamacare (and big-government liberalism in general): you cannot plan the lives of 300 million people. It simply will not work. Common sense ought to affirm this. History unequivocally confirms it.
There is an arrogance that rides shotgun alongside nearly any governmental attempt to dictate what others should eat, drink or purchase. It is a wildly misplaced arrogance. It has neither the “compassion” we all desire, nor the historical proof of actually working.
Either liberty matters, or it doesn’t. Either bigger and bigger government is a mistake, or it’s something we should rally behind.
A lot of religious people in this country need to start seriously asking themselves which it is. I’m grateful for the clarity of a man like Charles Krauthammer in helping me make my decision.
(Note: for the CK fans out there, make sure to check out this clip of Dr. K opening up about the accident that left him paralyzed as a young man.)