Town Hall Protests Not Just About Health Care
By Staff News & Analysis - August 18, 2009

Sen. Charles Grassley (pictured left), a Republican who is a key bargainer on health care reform, played to packed crowds across the state who left little doubt that they are not happy with what's on the table. The questions were tough but respectful, and there was little of the shouting that has dominated similar meetings in other parts of the country. "It seems to me that people are expressing, not just on health care, but people are just very scared about the direction the country is taking," said Grassley, who emphasized that he hasn't signed off on anything. Grassley is the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee and he's been deep in bargaining seeking a compromise health care plan that could get some Republican votes. He made it clear there are portions of the current measure he can't swallow. – CBS

Dominant Social Theme: People are upset?

Free-Market Analysis: We've been watching American television with increasing interest – and also Youtube which has a good selection of town hall clips. What we're noticing is confirmed by this article excerpt above, that while the town hall meetings are being used by protestors as a venue to discuss healthcare, there is implicitly a larger frame of reference that the mainstream media is simply ignoring. But we believe in the near future that this larger frame of reference will become increasingly hard to ignore. Eventually, it will become the most important element in the American national revival.

What we have noticed is that many "average" Americans are referring to the constitutionality of health care, by pointing to American founding documents and asking where the authority is for Congress to legislate these kinds of profound changes. What is interesting about these references is that they can easily be expanded to encompass a number of other issues. There is little or no support in the American constitution for central banking, the graduated income tax, judicial activism, the war on drugs, a standing military, the myriad of domestic and aggressive international and domestic intelligence agencies, presidential executive orders, and a host of other issues that virtually compose the infrastructure of the modern American super-state.

This is ultimately a critical issue for the American electorate and its representatives in our humble opinion. In the 20th century, a procession of wars and an ever-expanding corporate-government complex dominated the American conversation and legislative process. But the Internet, much as the Gutenberg press did 500 years ago, is in the process of undermining most of the recent memes (inter-generational belief systems) that have taken shallow root in the past century.

Culture is a stubborn thing. The American exception was built on bedrock principles of republicanism that had evolved over at past 4,000 years, beginning with the city-states of Greece, then the Roman republic, the Italian city-states, the British Magna Charta and industrial revolution. In each case, little noticed today, the salient factor of free societies included the ability of individuals to migrate from one region (state/country) to another without an untoward disruption of lifestyle or language.

This held true for the American exception as well. It is no wonder that the founders, especially the libertarian genius Thomas Jefferson, emphasized states rights. The bedrock of American freedom was to be the ability of states to secede if the central, federal government became too oppressive. Seen from this point of view, it is ironic that Abraham Lincoln is celebrated as a foundational political figure who insisted on an evermore "perfect union" – as an evermore perfect union is exactly what history shows us expands federal power and initiates oppression.

Our point is that the mainstream media began missing the story long ago. It missed the import of the Internet – decrying the pornography and supposed government radicalism that could be found within its electronic pages. The media then missed the libertarian evolution of presidential candidate Ron Paul (R-Tex), the astounding amount of money he raised and now it is missing the point of these town hall protests.

They are part and parcel of the same movement, the growing enlightenment of the American electorate as to what really caused the entrepreneurial greatness of the American culture (hint: it wasn't federalism). The monetary elite that has tended to dominate the Western conversation in the past century has done all it could do to inculcate the masses with the idea that a strong and forceful democratic government is necessary for prosperity. In fact, this gets it backwards. Prosperity begins at home, with individual human action, with an entrepreneur filling a local need, often borrowing from friends and family to get a business started. Here's some more from the article excerpted above:

Speaking on CBS' "Early Show" before the meeting, Sen. Arlen Specter said he was "impressed with the fact that people have been very well prepared." Many have come to meetings with copies of the legislation and have cited specific provisions in their arguments. The senator was asked for his reaction to protesters turning up at town halls venting their frustration with the proposed health care bill. "It's more than health care … I think there's a mood in America of anger. With so many people unemployed and with so much bickering in Washington people are disgusted with the partisanship. And with the threat of losing their health care, it all boils over," Specter said.

Specter, who is a clever and manipulative man, has it partially right, though not entirely, in our humble opinion. Social change comes in waves – and real change comes from information and self-education. The Internet is the biggest self-education shop around and those who educated themselves about their personal and professional situation on the Internet tend to educate others around them. That's how memes work – and the monetary elite has no monopoly on memes, or not anymore anyway. What Spector is picking up on is just the beginning of a larger social change. American citizens are educated about health care now, but tomorrow it will be noticed that they are similarly educated on other topics – from a constitutional point of view.

After Thoughts

Every time someone in an American town hall meeting refers to the constitution to make a point that President Obama's version of health care may be unconstitutional a larger insight is being enunciated. That larger insight, as yet un-verbalized by the mainstream media is that many or even most parts of the current American government have unconstitutional aspects. From our point of view, the most serious lack of constitutionality resides in the formation and operation of the Federal Reserve, the American central bank. We await with interest the upcoming national debate over its structure and the potential of metals standard to take its place.

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