Suggests ways to force change on government

To the editor:

Obamacare threatens to wreck our national health system. One of its provisions is an example of its utter foolishness: The law that all insurance plans will fit one model that includes everything, a rule that has no economic sense and is contrary to the way that medical insurance has always worked.

The shutdown is now providing further evidence of the damage that government control of medicine causes. The shutdown is a politician’s quarrel that should never affect people’s health, but it’s causing the cancellation of medical producers at NIH and similar events.

The shutdown also demonstrates the government’s essential disregard for the people. That attitude is already evident in the unwillingness of Congress to live by the laws they pass to regulate our lives. Now in the shutdown we hear them saying, “You need the government and don’t try to show us otherwise,” and, “Don’t challenge us in the way we run the country.” The examples pile up: The barricading of an open WWII monument to prevent veterans from seeing it; the direction of a Park Services official to his employees to “make life difficult for the people,” and shockingly, the Army’s refusal to let Catholic Mass be celebrated, even after the contract chaplains, who are paid to say Mass, volunteered to do it for free. Who’s to blame for all this? All of them: The Democrats and Republicans, simply fighting for office, regardless of the expense to us or disruption to our lives.

The time has passed for just sitting and complaining. The shutdown is proving, in probably more ways than we’ve realized so far, that we can get along quite well without parts of the government. Can we do anything about it? Here are some ideas:

1. Tax revolt. Stop paying taxes. What are they going to do about it-put you in jail? Well, at least you’ll get room and board and free health care. And, if you want to change the government, a little jail time on your resume won’t hurt: Think Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Lech Walesa. Tax revolt won’t work if just a few people do it, but if everybody does it, it will panic the politicians.

2. Make life difficult for the government. When you have to deal with the government, challenge everything they tell you to do. There’s an old saying that offices of regulation over time tend to permit the very behavior they’re supposed to regulate. Making a squeaky wheel of yourself will help make that happen.

3. Operate in black markets. If the government says you can’t do something with somebody, go to that person and see if you can work a deal. Obamacare probably has prohibitions against private medical transactions; there are ways to get around those rules. Cut corners. Money talks.

4. Get pictures of Thoreau and Gandhi and hang them up and read up on civil disobedience, for some more ideas.

Enough of the above activities will drive the government nuts and force them to start responding to people. The politicians think they have us under control, that we can’t change anything until the next election, when they let us choose between two people who will play by their game, by settling in with them and their lives of privilege. If enough people make themselves heard and felt, not at the ballot box but by regular non-violent challenges to the way the government treats us, the American people can be, as the Greeks put it, a Hercules who cleans out the Augean Stables.

John Brittain