Sunday, January 19, 2014

How Retail Giants Saved the Obama Administration a World of Grief

It has gone relatively unnoticed, but the Obama administration has dodged a devastating PR bullet this month.

According to the Daily Mail, “[A]s many as one-third of new enrollees’ applications have seen problems when the government transmits them to insurance companies.” If seven million Americans have indeed signed up for Obamacare, this means that potentially millions of Americans now believe that they have insurance, but as far as the insurance companies they believe to be covered by are concerned, they are uninsured.

We have already heard (however faintly) stories about a few unfortunate Obamacare enrollees who headed to the hospital expecting to be covered for treatment, only to find that their doctors could not verify their insurance and they were liable for the entire cost. If a million or more Americans, believing to be covered by Obamacare, were to find that they could not get their needed prescriptions because an inept government broker failed to deliver their information and buying intent to their insurance company of choice, there would be a whirlwind of public disapproval that might be untenable even for the Obamacare spin team.

So retail giants rushed in and saved the Obama administration the headaches.

Both Walmart and Walgreens have, according to Reuters, said that they would “provide a month’s supply of certain prescriptions at no up-front cost to participants of U.S. President Obama’s signature healthcare law who have not yet received a plan identification number.” Kroger, Rite Aid, and CVS have introduced similar policies. Chain Drug Review reports that CVS is providing “a 15- or 30- day “bridge”” for “temporary insurance gaps,” meaning that CVS will essentially give prescription medicines to Obamacare subscribers who, by all accounts, have no insurance.

These retailers suggest that they will seek to recover these short-term losses by going to the insurance companies afterward to cover the costs. Assuming that all works out for the retailers, these products are indeed “sold,” and they will benefit in the long run.

There are elements of risk involved in that, though. Unless there is some obscure passage of Obamacare scripture which demands that they do so, there is no guarantee that these insurers will come out of pocket to pay for the medicines of customers who were not policyholders at the time of “purchase.” If insurance companies do not pay and the government cannot force their wallets open, we can assume that the customers will be asked to cover retailers’ costs, which is introduces another element of risk in offering these products at no up-front cost and no interest. Insurance companies have an assumed creditworthiness. These customers do not, and there is certainly no guarantee that these uninsured customers, without a contract or credit check, will pay the entire cost of their prescription medicines if retailers demand, particularly when they took the medicines with the expectation that they wouldn’t be liable for the entire cost.

And it’s important to understand that it is a very distinct group Americans that will benefit from this decision. You see, a consumer usually looks for three things: a desired product, a good price, and a smooth buying process. To be enrolled in Obamacare means you have invested time and effort in the notoriously painstaking buying experience on the Obamacare exchanges, and in many cases, it means you have paid more than you have in the past for a policy with more bells and whistles than you previously thought you needed. To have done all of that means that you might have a vested political interest in Obamacare’s success, or at the very least, you serve as a bulwark strengthening Obamacare’s bid for continued survival. In other words, it will largely be supporters of Obama’s healthcare legislation, ideological or otherwise, receiving this benefit. That’s a pretty focused recipient group.

It all seems curiously convenient. If you were to find yourself uninsured because your insurance broker failed in his job or your company decided to discontinue providing health insurance benefits due to Obamacare's myriad regulations and requirements, retailers wouldn’t be champing at the bit to accommodate you with prescription meds at no upfront cost or interest, but they’re doing it for Obamacare enrollees. So altruism has little, if anything, to do with it. While we might not be surprised at some future revelation that this decision somehow involved Obamacare’s social architects, there simply isn’t evidence to assume that any such collusion took place at this point.

But implicit collusion isn’t necessary to recognize the most unsettling problem this incident exposes. These are the largest pharmaceutical retailers in the nation. They are private companies, and yet they now function as a delivery system distributing a benefit to a specific, preferred group of political constituents in a way that uniquely benefits this administration by protecting its ideological sacred cow.

What is the message that Americans, particularly independents with no strong opinion on the healthcare law, might take from this? That by putting your faith in government, complying with its edicts, and enduring its incompetence, you might somehow be insulated from the potential adverse realities you would face if you choose to do otherwise.

And that’s certainly a huge win for Obama and the ideologues out there peddling government dependence.

William Sullivan

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Media Christens the Christie Scandal, [Sigh...] "Bridgegate"

Motorists that found themselves stranded on the George Washington Bridge, if they're anything like me, have something else to be annoyed about.

Chris Christie is now embroiled in a scandal which caused these traffic jams, allegedly the result of a petty political vendetta. The media has unsurprisingly dubbed the scandal "Bridgegate" or "Traffic-gate," depending on the source.

It seems a small grievance, I know, but somebody needs to say it.  This "gate" nonsense has gone well beyond ridiculous.  Seriously, at some point, American opinion makers should realize that the practice of giving nouns that are relevant to a particular scandal the suffix of “gate” isn’t wit, and completely ridiculous on its face. After all, the Watergate scandal that the practice invokes wasn't a maritime or public utilities issue -- it was the name of a hotel-office building which happened to be the site of a politically motivated break-in by the Nixon administration.

I do sincerely hope that my grandkids will not have to endure such annoying indicators of our society’s banal groupthink and unoriginality.

And what of the Chris Christie scandal that's up next on the docket? He is now the subject of a federal investigation questioning the funding used in his $25 million "Stronger that the Storm" advertising campaign, which was launched in 2012 in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Will the media do the expected thing? Will they call this scandal "Stormgate," or something even more ridiculous and stupid, like "Sandygate?"

Wait a tick... they already did. Here, here, and here. I hope we can all come to terms with the fact that it's really, really gotten out of hand.  Conservative, progressive, sportswriter, blogger,or anything in between, I don't care.  It's really, really stupid and all equally deserving of my derision.

I know it grabs hits and all that, but please, I just want it to stop.  I don't know what I'll do if I wake up tomorrow and the A-rod story is being called "Steroidgate" or some other ridiculous thing.  But know I that the last thing I'd be is surprised.

William Sullivan

Friday, January 10, 2014

Why a Gender-Neutral Military Doesn't Make Sense

Reason was once viewed and applied as an avenue to progress. So strong is the power of reason, and so entangled is it in American foundational principles, that Thomas Jefferson once said that “we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor tolerate any error so long as reason is left to combat it.”

But what if Jefferson’s qualifier was absent? What if reason is no longer intact in a society in such a way that it might combat erroneous contradictions to reasonable thought?

Take this excerpt from a USA Today report, which relates:

More than half of female Marines in boot camp can’t do three pullups, the minimum standard that was supposed to take effect with the new year, prompting the Marine Corps to delay the requirement, part of the process of equalizing physical standards to integrate women into combat jobs.

In what way might these standards be “equalized” in the future? By reducing the physical standard for our soldiers to match those which might be expected of a unisex collective? Undoubtedly so. But let’s assume that the ideas of militant feminism are not enough to drive an evolutionary change in womankind’s physiological makeup before the military brass, with their PC affectations ordered from above, makes these protocol changes this year or next. How would any military benefit by reducing its physical standards? The supposed benefits of “gender diversity?”

As many might say of a female infantry soldier’s inability to carry their loved one out of harm’s way in battle, the social currency of that term isn’t worth the practical value to be had in a stronger set of arms.

It’s a simple matter of whether a set of realistic facts yields specific outcomes (reason), or whether preferred outcomes are dictated by a set of preferred and/or malleable facts (fantasy).

Logically, if I were a man and unable to do three pull ups, I would be deemed incapable of carrying out the duty of a soldier, and thus I would never be expected to be in position to carry my fellow wounded soldier from the battlefield at all. It is such a corruption of realistic expectations to suggest that if my gender were opposite the practical outcome would be somehow different, and I could carry out the tasks expected of me.

And here we have Matt Walsh with something of a manifesto on the subject, exposing the fascists who demand we adhere to a gender-neutral worldview which history disproves and nature deems impossible. It is honest, and oh, so refreshingly un-PC. By far the best I’ve ever read on the matter. I will not gut the entire thing, but I ask that you do yourself a favor and read the piece in its entirety.

Let me be more specific: I disagree with the notion that women need to be “integrated” into combat roles.

I disagree with the fools who like to pretend we’re living in a Charlie’s Angels movie, where ladies can shout “girl power” and then kick butt and take names with the best of ‘em.

I disagree with the bureaucrats who think the military should be an instrument for social experimentation.

I disagree with anyone who claims that the battlefield is a place for “equality.”

I disagree that there is any tactical or strategic advantage to getting more women involved in combat.

I disagree that the military should place feminist ideology over tactical and strategic concerns.

I disagree with the pencil pushers and politicians ignoring the combat troop who has rightly worried about a scenario where he is wounded and needs to be carried out of a firefight, but the woman fighting next to him is completely physically incapable of doing so.

I disagree that we should get people killed just so that pushy liberals can feel like they’ve won some sort of bizarre moral victory.

I disagree with the notion that military fitness requirements are “barriers” to “gender equality” and ought to be adjusted because of it.

I disagree with the “gender equality” fable entirely.

I disagree with the strategy of achieving “equality” by treating different groups unequally.

I disagree with every single thought process and ideological dogma that goes into creating a scenario where the home of the Few and the Proud is transformed into a place for the Many and the Physically Incapable.


Here’s a funny thought: if women can fight in combat roles, then all-male conscription must assuredly be unconstitutional. So, when the Supreme Court strikes it down, and the draft is reinstated, will the liberal feminists of America jump for joy as their daughters are forcibly recruited and sent off to die in some godforsaken desert halfway around the world? If you want to be like men, will you die like them?

Maybe you would. But we are a shameful, cowardly country if we would send our daughters off to war for no reason other than to obey our New-Age Gender Creeds.

There are other aspects that go beyond the physical toll of battle. I’ve never been to war, but I understand (in the abstract, anyway) how the horrors of it can weigh on a man. In a world where we must pretend that women are as physically strong as men, I suppose there’s no hope that we’ll acknowledge the more difficult reality: that men are more psychologically equipped to deal with the lasting mental burden of combat. No human being is designed to deal with the carnage of war, but men at least have a better chance of carrying it and processing it. Research has shown that women are more vulnerable to developing PTSD than men — a fact that should come as no surprise to anyone with even the most basic understanding of the inherent emotional and psychological differences between the sexes.

And, somewhere in my disgust at this whole thing, I must admit that I am also personally fed up with what it all represents: the cheapening of masculinity.

No man would claim that they can do everything a woman can do. Or, I should say, not very many men would make that claim. It is a generally accepted truth that women possess unique capabilities. Women are invaluable and indispensable. Who would deny this? Not I, that’s for certain.

But what about the unique capabilities of men? Are we completely replaceable in every facet of society? Is that the new philosophy? And what about all of the things men have built, and achieved, and won, and died for, just so that we can live in a country where you’re allowed to be a crazed gender revolutionary? Women could have done all of that?


You know, maybe it would be wise to raise our daughters to have an appreciation for manhood. Maybe we should stop filling her head with this “you can do everything a man can do” garbage. Maybe she isn’t benefitted by this lie. Maybe it will only make her bitter and arrogant. Maybe it will cause her to see men as worthless, with the only characteristics particular to them being negative stereotypes about leaving the toilet seat up and drinking too much beer.

Maybe we should tell her that it is men who fight the wars, and men who are best equipped for the task. This is not because of “discrimination” or “glass ceilings,” it’s because men are men, and women are not. Women need men. GASP. What a scandalous notion. But I say it again: women need men.

Of course, in turn, I have absolutely no trouble admitting that men need women. I need my wife. The world needs my daughter.

Just not on the battlefield.

Okay. So I quoted a lot of it.

But those last four sentences happened to strike me particularly hard. That is reality, and if we lose sight of it, we are indeed a confused mess of a country.

Again, a brilliant piece by Walsh, please read here.

William Sullivan

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Obamacare Skewered in Song

First of all, we would like to apologize for the hiatus in uploading content to the blog.  These last months have been busy, but we will be looking to remedy this.  And also, a big thank you to all readers, we are now poised to cross the threshold of 100,000 hits for this site.  Very thankful to have our readership.

I once heard comedian Steven Crowder explain Houston talk radio czar Michael Berry why he does what he does, creating humorous videos with a conservative political bent.  He said that Thomas Sowell could be in a debate with Jon Stewart, and while Sowell is an intellectual mountain to Stewart's molehill, young people will think Stewart wins the debate because he makes them laugh.

It's extraordinarily sad, but true.  It's hard to keep young people's attention, probably now more than ever, what with these fancy new "smartphones" and "social media" and whatnot.  (Granted, I wasn't exactly whittling wood in my day, but having just turned 33, my crotchety geezer talk just got a little more cred)  And now, more than ever, we need young people to understand that this government is looking to spend their future today.  We need them to know that they are going to finance healthcare for everyone older than them, that it will be more difficult to find full-time employment, and that they will be the ones our government relies upon while chasing the dragon of its spending addiction.

Our collective future as a free nation is dependent upon young people seeing through the lies and whitewash surrounding the Obamacare rhetoric.  And to those ends, videos like this one below are essential to our liberty.  When such creative people are able to blend their talents with political ideals, especially in a manner that is so relatable, condensed, and undeniably true, we should applaud it and share.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Bill Whittle Discusses the Lynching of George Zimmerman

This excellent video explores the facts of the Trayvon Martin shooting, set in comparison to the narrative presented by the media -- one that in spite of Zimmerman's exoneration in a court of law, seems to yet pervade the social consciousness of millions of Americans.

Whether these Americans are only passively interested or ideologically bound to the accepted media narrative does not matter.  There is no excuse for such ignorance and complicit support of the unjust desires of a mob. As John Adams said to the jury while making his unpopular defense of the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre:

Facts are stubborn things, and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence: nor is the law less stable than the facts; if an assault was made to endanger their lives, they had a right to kill in their own defense.

John Adams made this defense not because he loved the British, but because it was right.  He later looked back at this moment as one of his proudest, saying that judgment of death against these soldiers who acted in self-defense would be "as foul a stain upon this Country as the Execution of Quakers and Witches, anciently."

Thankfully, the law has been upheld, and George Zimmerman found innocent.  But regrettably, the mob calling for his lynching still holds sway, thanks to racial arsonists like Al Sharpton, the dishonest journalism of ABC, and none other than the president of the United States.

This video only touches the tip of the iceberg.  But it's a good place to start for any reasonable person who craves truth.

William Sullivan can be followed on Twitter.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Texas Heralds the Inevitable Abolition of Late-Term Abortion

This article first appeared at Red Pill Report, found here.

Abortion advocates and their various political arms like Planned Parenthood sent troops from all around the country to the frontlines in Austin, Texas, where Wendy Davis rallied the pro-abortion base to once again defend their sacred institution. 

To say the least, the protesters didn’t exactly paint the pro-abortion crowd in an appealing light.  Honestly, just how many Americans are you endearing to your cause by having young girls hold signs saying “If I wanted the government in my womb, I’d f*** a Senator,” or chanting “Hail Satan!” over a group of people singing Amazing Grace?  Even the UK Church of Satan took offense to the latter, denouncing invocations of their Dark Lord’s name for such “diabolical” purposes. 

These protesters did, however, serve the intended purpose-- for a brief moment.

Their attendance outwardly presented widespread opposition to restrictive abortion laws for the news cameras, but more importantly, the spectacle deterred focus from what abortion advocates were actually arguing to preserve in Texas.  Keeping the argument vaguely about “choice” or “women’s rights” is a necessity, because the orchestrators of the pro-abortion agenda know what would happen if broad swathes of Americans choose to focus on what the debate is really about -- what to do with the life inside a mother’s womb at 20-weeks’ gestation and beyond. 

These pro-abortion advocates’ ethically inarguable position is that such a life can, and should be, legally ended on a mother’s whim.

Not-so-questionable humanity

At 20 weeks, a fetus can hardly be described as an inanimate lump of tissue.
“Ready for your big 20-week ultrasound?” asks writer Sarah Cohen in her piece for women’s website She Knows, titled “Say Hello to Baby.”  “Ultrasound technology has improved a lot since its advent,” she goes on.  “If Baby cooperates, you can see fingers, toes, a spine, and even a little face!  Also, you may be able to see the baby’s anatomy.”

In other words, the baby at 20-weeks’ gestation looks a lot like a human, right down to gender identity.  
According to noted abortion champion Michelle Goldberg, this can be “problematic” for the pro-abortion cause because “once a fetus has gestated to five or six months, most people, whatever their politics, can see its inherent human value.”  And for some crazy reason, “most people, whatever their politics,” have an innate aversion to killing living things with “inherent human value.”

The problem, which she recognizes, is that the argument that this “human value” should be legally snuffed out by a woman’s “choice” offers pretty thin gruel for most Americans. 

“No pain? No problem!”

As the argument goes: “Fetuses don’t feel pain” at 20 weeks, and therefore the moral issue is overstated, because the fetus can’t feel its termination or the forceful extraction from its mother’s womb.
It’s important that this argument be understood in the proper context.  Admittedly, this argument has recently been a response to Republicans having cited studies, in the wake of the Gosnell case, showing that fetuses do feel pain at 22 weeks, which led to consideration of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in the House, for example.  Pro-abortion advocates suggest that these studies are false, and that fetuses don’t feel pain until later in pregnancy. 

Studies exist to suggest that both arguments could be scientifically correct. (Here and here, for example.)  But the more pressing question is, what is each argument’s end? 

The pro-life argument is that if fetuses at 20-weeks’ gestation may feel pain, it is morally reprehensible to subject them to such pain as would be involved in the abortion process.  (Morally reprehensible beyond stopping its heart and forcibly extracting it, that is.)  This is a sound argument, and indeed, it is understandably so in nearly any estimation. 

The pro-abortion argument, however, is that if a fetus cannot feel pain, it is worthy of legal termination if a woman so “chooses,” for whatever reason.  For this to be true, we would have to assume that feeling pain is the singular metric that signifies a life worthy of existence, which is a wholly false assertion by any reasonable estimation.  Sensory receptors required for touch and pain are no more required for a person to be deemed worthy of life than the sense of smell, taste, sight, or hearing.

And indeed, if elements of sensory perception are convincing metrics suggesting human life, fetuses at 20 weeks are hardly devoid of such elements. His or her brain is rapidly developing the nerve centers dedicated to the senses by this point, responding to a pronounced changes in lighting, the sounds in the environment, and even the taste of amniotic fluid.

Too few to matter

So we can determine that most Americans would recognize that babies at 20 weeks’ gestation are small humans -- if they were to focus on what, exactly, is inside a mother’s womb by that point of a pregnancy.  And we’ve established that whether or not a fetus feels pain should be rather inconsequential, unless you’re making an unreasonable rebuttal to a silence a reasonable argument.  Why, then, do abortion advocates argue that late-term abortions should be legal? 

They just don’t happen that often -- only 1.5% of abortions are late-term, abortion advocates often claim. 
It sounds so casual to say “only 1.5%,” but it is worth noting, again and again, that with over one million abortions per annum in America, this is more than 15,000 babies that will never exist on this Earth because abortionists brutally confiscated their bodies from a mother’s natural sanctuary.  Again, if it can be reasonably assumed that a fetus at 20 weeks has “inherent human value,” destroying that value is tantamount to murder.  And for context, consider that this small percentage alone is roughly on par with annual murder levels in America in recent years. 

This “1.5%” is hardly insignificant by practical measures.

The protections of Roe v. Wade

For years, Roe v. Wade has been thought to protect the institution of abortion, the legal refuge of its supporters.  But in an interesting twist of fate, Roe v. Wade now serves as protection for states like Texas in curtailing abortion.

Without question, in my opinion, Roe v. Wade was an example (if not the example) of unconstitutional judicial activism, which I argue in detail here, and my opinion aligns closely with that of Justice White who wrote the dissenting opinion: “The Court simply fashion[ed] and announce[d] a new Constitutional right for pregnant women.”   But the decision does leave considerable power with the states to do precisely what Texas is now doing in terms of late-term abortion.  After the first trimester, states can reasonably define a point of assumed “viability” and protect the “potential life” in the womb by “proscribing abortion,” so long as the proscription does not directly endanger the life of the mother.

Far too few Americans are aware of these limitations in Roe v. Wade, and the most glaringly ignorant are pro-abortion zealots. Whether or not the courts will decide to honor the ruling and precedent if any Texas’ legislation comes under judicial review, however, is yet to be seen.

An unwinnable argument

Late-term abortion advocates are losing, and will continue to lose this debate.  The ramparts from which they mount their moral and scientific defense of the practice are easily reduced to rubble in honest debate, which is why they typically avoid honest debate like the plague.  Any legal defense of a state ban on late-term abortion is equally untenable.  So they resort to their time-honored tactic of broadly invoking “choice” to justify late-term abortion, a tactic which Kate Pickert of Time magazine calls “a stance that seems tone-deaf to current reality.”

Late-term abortion lobbyists like Wendy Davis, with her theatrics and her circus troupe in tow, could offer only a temporary distraction from the truth about the unquestionably abhorrent nature of late-term abortion.  Technology and a persistent morality have allowed the terrible truth about late-term abortion to seep into our social conscience, and rightfully, millions of Americans are addressing it at the state level in efforts to end the practice.

Sideshows like the one in Austin, and other such desperate attempts to avert the inevitable, won't do anything to change that.  

William Sullivan can be followed on Twitter.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

It Starts With the Money, and Ends in a Prison State

Descending into the rabbit-hole of the government’s apparent war on liberty and privacy, it’s easy to get lost.  It’s dirty, deep, and as each new leak provides some illumination, the motives and actions of this government become ever darker.  Whether it’s the IRS’s selectively targeting the administration’s political enemies, or the Department of Justice’s spying on major news networks, or the National Security Administration’s securing secret court orders to track and store the everyday phone conversations of innocent Americans, there can be no question -- America today is a dystopian visage of its former self. 

If the scandals themselves do not evidence our predicament well enough, consider the unprecedented crackdown on whistleblowers during Obama’s administration. 

Tim Shorrock of The Nation offers, in this piece from April 15, 2013:
In the annals of national security, the Obama administration will long be remembered for its crackdown on whistleblowers.  Since 2009, it has employed the WWI-era Espionage Act a record six times to prosecute officials suspected of leaking classified information.
By using the NSA to spy on Americans, [NSA whistleblower] Binney told me, the United States has created a police state with few parallels in history: “It’s better than anything that the KGB, the Stasi, or the Gestapo and SS ever had.”  He compared the situation to the Weimar Republic, a brief period of liberal democracy that preceded the Nazi takeover of Germany.  “We’re just waiting to turn the key,” he said.
Appraising why and how this bleak scenario came to pass is a quagmire complicated not only by partisanship, but by the sheer scope of it all.  If you consider each scandal individually, it’s simply too much for an ordinary person to process.  After all, if we were to join Obama’s lemmings in their leap of faith, we’d believe that the intricacies of bloated government bureaucracy left even Obama in the dark about some of this, despite it being his business to stay on top of such things in his administration.

So how could we average Americans have any in-depth understanding of all this?  However much we might like the notion of individual liberty and despise the government’s suppression of it, we’re too busy with our menial jobs trying to produce wealth for ourselves, the government, and our neighbor that lives on the government dole, all the while fighting big government expansionists at every turn in efforts to make our progeny self-sufficient producers, in hopes that future generations might become something more substantial than a gaggle of Julia’s, feeding for a lifetime at a communal trough.

Is it any wonder that the flood of insidious details about these scandals drives the average American to indifference?  I can think of no other reason that, according to Pew, 56% of Americans find nothing wrong with the NSA’s tracking and storing everyday phone conversations without reasonable cause.  If asked whether they agree with the principles of the Fourth Amendment, I’d wager that a vast majority of Americans would answer in the affirmative.  So what else but numbness could cause the majority of Americans to believe that the government has a right to willfully and blatantly violate it?

It is the natural tendency of government to manipulate the will and finances of the people to serve its own ends.  This incontrovertible truth caused Thomas Paine to observe that “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one.”  And thwarting this natural tendency of government is the very reason that our Constitution, providing a rigid framework of limited central government, was penned.

When government overreaches its Constitutional boundaries, it becomes ever more “intolerable,” and individual liberties disappear.  Given the Constitution’s explicit prohibitions, the government can’t simply set the Constitution alight and rebrand overnight without public outcry.  Rather, it strikes liberties incrementally, under the guise of crisis management and benevolence, until one day -- a day like today -- the Constitution and its Amendments like the Fourth no longer have any meaning, and the people can’t even seem to remember why the Amendment was there in the first place.

Our government has done precisely this.  And the primary method of its malevolence, to this point, has been  to assume ever more control of your money and property via tax legislation, federal spending, and regulation.  But that's not were it ends.  

As Mark Steyn points out in a driving theme in After America: Get Ready for Armageddon: “It starts with the money. For dominant powers in decline, it always does.”

“It starts with the money,” he says, “but it never stops there.”

Steyn gives us an idea about where he believes it ends:

Conservatives often talk about small government, which in a sense, is framing the issue in leftist terms.  They’re for big government, and when you’re arguing for the small alternative, it’s easy to sound pinched and mean and grudging.  But small government gives you big freedoms. And big government leaves you with very little freedom. 
The opposite of big government is not small government, but big liberty.  The bailout, and the stimulus, and the budget, and the trillion dollar deficits are not merely massive transfers from the most dynamic of the productive sector to the least dynamic and productive.  When governments annex a huge chunk of the economy, they also annex a huge chunk of individual liberty.  You fundamentally change the relationship between the citizen and the state into something closer to that of junkie and pusher.  And you make it very difficult ever to change back.
In the end, it’s not about money, but about something more fundamental.  Yes, you can tax people to the hilt, and give them free healthcare, and free homes, and free food, but in doing so you turn them into, if not yet slaves, then pets.  And that’s the nub of it.  Big government leads to small liberty and small men.
Liberty is profoundly tied to capitalism, free markets, and the eschewing of increased government control of wealth -- and while not the sole ingredients for liberty, they are necessary ones.  Steyn has not been the first to notice this correlation.  Milton Friedman said as much to an audience member in a taped appearance at Cornell University.  At about 8:25 of this video, we see a gentleman in army fatigues ask:

I see society as more and more tending to the usurping of my individual rights and freedoms as time goes by.  What do you see as the ultimate end of this, i.e., either in democracy or socialism, and why do you think the individuals within this society are letting this happen to them?
What is “the ultimate end of this,” in Friedman’s eyes?  He isn’t one to mince words, and he implies that finding the end is the easier part of his question to answer.  And like Steyn, he traces the roots of liberty’s erosion to government appropriation of wealth.

If we continue along the road we’ve been going on, of usurping more and more power to government officials to control our lives, I see only one end.  And that’s the loss of anything that has any meaning as democracy, a loss of human freedoms, and a prison state.  That’s the end.
Why are they letting this happen to them? That’s a much more difficult question to answer.  I think that is largely because of ignorance about where they are going.  A lack of recognition.  I don’t believe they want to go this road.  But I believe they are unwittingly letting themselves go down this road, because on each issue that comes up, people look at their separate special interest instead of the broader interest in governmental activity.  Everyone wants to cut down government, provided that those things he has an interest in are maintained.
The solution is for people like you and me to talk.  To ourselves, and to our fellows, and to try to persuade our fellow free men to be of like mind.  To change the climate of opinion in these respects, to try to correct the political structure … I’ve been recently working on one particular proposal along those lines, which is to have a Constitutional Amendment setting a maximum limit on the amount that the government may spend.  I won’t go into the details, but I think fundamentally, we are getting what the public at large has been asking for. And the public is asking for it, I believe, because they do not understand where it’s going to lead them.
It has led us to where we are today, an environment in which we have no idea which individual liberties the government will choose to recognize or ignore.  We just know that this choice seems to be at the government’s discretion.  And we are clearly not done traversing the path Friedman describes. 

We never got that Amendment setting a spending limit for government.  As a result, government has never been bigger than today, and liberty has never been smaller than today.  After nearly a century of amassed government control of Americans’ wealth, we are but a turn of the key from a prison state, if NSA whistleblowers in the know are to be believed.
In the last century we have witnessed the reimplementation of a progressive income tax that supplanted tariffs as the chief revenue source of the federal government, the legislation of the redistributive Titanics called Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and the establishment and perpetual expansion of the welfare state, mimicking Euro-democracies that are now collapsing under that gargantuan yoke.  In the last decade alone, government expansion has gone into hyper-drive, acting as broker for the taxpayers in buying billions in worthless assets for banks’ benefit, investing billions more taxpayer dollars in a stimulus package that did little to stimulate, and the government has procured administrative control of the healthcare industry, a significant driver of American GDP.  Even as we speak, the government is seeking to legislate even more control over the American economy by granting amnesty to illegal aliens and granting previously legislated federal benefits to them as reward for their having broken our laws, increasing the liability of the productive class and ensuring the need for more aggressive redistributive measures in the future.

We don’t have time to be ignorant anymore about where we are headed, or the manner in which we’ve been cobbling the path to get there.  It starts with the money -- it will end in a prison state, and the latter isn’t going to manifest itself decades hence, but at any moment.  All it takes is the right crisis, real or manufactured. 
It’s not enough that we wait around for 2014 in hopes to get the right people in office to support “big liberty” instead of “big government.”  As Milton Friedman said in 1975, which he alludes to in the above-linked video and which Steyn cites in After America:

I do not believe that the solution to our problem is to simply elect the right people.  The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing.  Unless it is politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing, the right people will not do the right thing either, or if they try, they will shortly be out of office.
This is why it is important that we work to change the direction of our public discourse.  We must demand that our representatives recognize that the purpose of our government is not to provide Americans with collectivized benefits.  The purpose of our government is to preserve Americans’ individual liberty.  And increased government spending at this dire breakpoint, in any capacity, wholly subverts liberty. 

And if the American people cannot be made to see that, well… our end is loosely written for us.

William Sullivan