Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Driving A Crooked Horse

Sometime over the course of the next few days, it appears that the Democrats will realize a monumental victory in their long-awaited scheme to have the government control the American health care system. There are a whole host of reasons to look forward with dread to what likely lies ahead for us as a result of this corrupt bargain. One concern that seems appropriate to discuss at this time of year is that if the government completely manages (and pays for) heath care, they will have an even larger stake in controlling personal conduct that impacts people's health.

If you thought we already had an overreaching, busy-bodied Nanny State, you ain't seen nothing yet. What you choose to eat, drink, inhale, ingest, or otherwise consume is no longer a matter between your brain and your body. Nope. Now that the government will be doling out the care and footing the bill, these decisions will no longer be left up to individuals. It will now be completely within the purvey of the government to decide what's good for you and what's not.

So enjoy this Christmas season while you still can. Eat, drink, and be merry in the manner of your choosing. Make the most of the Christmas cookies, candy canes, and cakes at your disposal. Fill up on that figgy pudding and fruitcake. Pig out on pie and plum pudding. Savor the fowl of your fancy whether it be turkey, duck, or goose. Revel in the roast beast. Hit the hot chocolate and hot buttered rum early and often. Enjoy many an eggnog. Tip back the Tom and Jerries. Consume your favorite Christmas cocktail with abandon.

Because it the not-too-distant future, in may well not be within your means to enjoy these essential elements for celebrating Christmas. They won't be banned outright of course. No, instead they'll be dealt with the same way the government has dealt with cigarettes: tax them heavily while running propaganda campaigns that stigmatize them and exaggerate their health risks (second-hand smoke in the case of cigarettes). Those that still want to enjoy these fine holiday fetes will find themselves paying a pretty penny for their pleasure and risk being ostracized from civil society the way that smokers have been.

The rich and privileged of course will continue to indulge as they do today. They'll be able to afford the added costs and if their appetites do lead to medical problems they'll still have access to the finest care, if no longer in America than perhaps in a luxury hospital in the Caribbean. Celebrities will do PSA urging the proles to eat healthy and exercise to help keep OUR health care costs down while living a separate and very unequal life outside of the public system. Yes, the future of the People's health care will be glorious indeed.

While we're on the subject of Christmas traditions which will no longer be sustainable in our return to the cave new world, you should also be sure to enjoy your Christmas tree while you can:

In other tree news, Alternative Consumer magazine says we should stop buying Christmas trees and just draw holiday trees on old shopping bags. Here's the green prescription from Alternative Consumer for family fun during the holidays and how the tree should look for the kids on Christmas morning:

"No tree. No driving to the tree lot, watching them saw the tree down, wrapping it in plastic and then driving back home. No driving to Target, buying a plastic tree and driving home. We make a tree mural out of shopping bags and leave a few Sharpies around to decorate with. It's personal, meaningful and 100 percent recycled."

And it's more than just Christmas trees too:

"The Rules" in Alternative Consumer for "A Freegan Christmas" include the following: (1) "No cards. Not even e-cards." (2) "No wrapping paper. There's something exciting about opening a wrapped gift, and you can achieve that by putting it in a paper bag--we all know you have a billion under your sink." (3) "No thank-you cards." (4) "No holiday hams. French toast can replace tired turkey and ham dinners." (5) "No stress."

Actually my kids would probably welcome number four.

For now, these are merely suggestions for how you can save the planet by slashing and burning your Christmas traditions. For now.

Finally, it's likely that you'll soon have to forget all about dreaming or roasting chestnuts by an open fire at Christmas. At least in California, which seems to be the primary breeding ground for ideas on how to best restrict individual freedoms for the common good.

Merry Christmas everyone. Be sure to take the time savor the season. Especially this time around.

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