David Leonhardt writes a fascinating piece in today's Times, detailing the many year philosophical battle waged between American conservatives and American progressives. In this particular example he uses the health care debate as his centerpiece.
I appreciate how important laissez-faire has been in America's development, but I'm amazed at that camps utter opposition to any "big picture change". Social Security, overtime, integration, civil rights-- all bad according to my right-wing friends. Ronald Reagan led the charge against Medicare. It's kind of funny now looking back at his arguements againt the program--- oh my "socialized medicine." We are going to have trouble paying for many of these "progressive" ideas as we move on, but that is a totally different conversation.
The federal income tax, a senator from New York said a century ago, might mean the end of “our distinctively American experiment of individual freedom.” Social Security was actually a plan “to Sovietize America,” a previous head of the Chamber of Commerce said in 1935. The minimum wage and mandated overtime pay were steps “in the direction of Communism, Bolshevism, fascism and Nazism,” the National Association of Manufacturers charged in 1938.
After Brown v. Board of Education outlawed school segregation in 1954, 101 members of Congress signed a statement calling the ruling an instance of “naked judicial power” that would sow “chaos and confusion” and diminish American greatness. A decade later, The Wall Street Journal editorial board described civil rights marchers as “asking for trouble” and civil rights laws as being on “the outer edge of constitutionality, if not more.”