Ed Driscoll

Up From Progressivism

“Obamacare is a 19th-century answer to a 21st-century question,” the Washington Examiner correctly noted in a recent editorial:

Simply put, the digitization of social interaction, economic transaction, the political process and everything in between is decentralizing the world, moving it in the opposite direction of the massive centralization of Obamacare. But nobody needs a federal bureaucrat to tell him what health insurance to buy when anybody with an Internet connection can simultaneously solicit bids from dozens of competing providers, pay the winner via electronic fund transfer, manage the claims process with a laptop, consult with physicians and other medical specialists via email, and even be operated on remotely by surgeons on the other side of the globe. Rather than imposing a top-down, command-economy, welfare-state health care model with roots in Otto von Bismarck‘s Germany of 1881, a 21st century government would ask what is needed to apply to health care access the Internet’s boundless capacity to empower individual choice.

Of course, the following century was no great shakes either, but “Progressives” wish to saddle us with those bad old days permanently, Victor Davis Hanson writes today:

The 21st-century United States is in a 20th-century fit of depression — with the decline of America the same cultural motif.

In the 1930s, fascism was purported to be more efficient than American democracy. Then Nazism was said to create more idealistic and disciplined citizens.

After World War II, the new Communist man was announced as the wave of the future.

Then came the superior 20th-century model of postwar “Japan, Inc.”

Next was the all-powerful European Union.

The ruthlessly efficient Chinese juggernaut followed and seemed destined to outpace 20th-century America — which was suffering everything from stagflation to a shortage of oil.

But once more in the 21st-century, America is confounding its critics by reinventing itself as it did in the last century.

The U.S. may soon become the world’s largest gas and oil producer. Food exports are booming as never before. American brands from iPhones and Starbucks to Google and Twitter flood the world.

To find answers for this chaotic young century, just look back at the past one.

But how can the left do that? As Glenn Reynolds writes today, “Note that [Charlie] Rangel can’t let go of the idea that [George] Zimmerman is white. He has to hold onto that, or he can’t pretend it’s still 1963. And if it’s not still 1963, he’s just a pathetic corrupt tax-evading pol instead of a bold crusader for justice. Problem is, it’s not still 1963.”

Heck, I’ll be happy when for the left figures out that it’s no longer 1933, let alone ’63.