I have a story to tell my new fellow Republicans and conservatives (new, as I’m a recent convert) that illustrates how the arguments we find compelling are likely to be perceived differently by the public they — oops, we — wish to persuade.
The story comes from my father, Hubert Yockey, who has despised Communism all his life and who was educated at Berkeley in the 1930s. He had sufficient exposure to draw his conclusions at a tender age.
Soviet Communists — in the 1930s, I believe — wished to convince their workers of how downtrodden the U.S. worker was by capitalism and democracy. The Communists showed the workers newsreel footage of picketing union members and police, thinking their people would be outraged by the cops beating their fellow proles.
But they weren’t. Apparently people who live in a police state accept getting beaten up by the police for any reason and no reason as ordinary, and this did not draw their attention at all.
Instead, the Communist workers saw the capitalist workers and instantly cried out: “The shoes! The shoes!” The Commies did not have shoes, or at least not shoes of the same sturdy quality that the capitalist workers wore.
It’s going to go that way in the debate over universal health care. Defenders of the current health care system, and proponents of the Republican plan, are telling stories of delays and rationing. They are crying “socialism,” believing that the uninsured and under insured will see things as conservatives do and reject government-run Obama care.
But I think the conservatives using this approach will be hearing a modern version of “The shoes! The shoes!”
People who have no access to health care, and people struggling without sufficient health care, will be saying, “you mean soon I could have some?” Because when you can’t afford it, you already have delays and rationing. Practically any alternative doesn’t just look better, it is better.