This is the third post in a five-part series. The purpose of this series is to help us, myself included, come to grips with House’s passage of the Senate’s version of the Health Care Bill

Crossing the Rubicon

What does it mean to “cross the Rubicon“?   

The Rubicon is small river in northern Italy. When Julius Caesar crossed the river with a Roman Legion, he initiated his final quest to become the ruler of Roman Empire. The 1911 version of the Encyclopedia provides this brief explanation.

RUBICON , a small stream which flowed into the Adriatic between Ariminum and Caesena, formed the boundary between Italy and the province of Cisalpine Gaul. Hence GAIUS JULIUS (102—44 B.c.) CAESAR crossing of it in 49 B.C. was tantamount to a declaration of war against Rome as represented by Pompey and the Senate. The historic importance of this event gave rise to the phrase ” crossing the Rubicon ” for a step which definitely commits a person to a given course of action. (from here)

When President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats committed to passing the Senate’s version of Health Care Reform, some say they crossed their Rubicon. Victor Davis Hanson put it this way.

President Obama has crossed the Rubicon with the health care vote. The bill was not really about medicine; after all, a moderately priced, relatively small federal program could offer the poorer not now insured, presently not on Medicare or state programs like Medicaid or Medical, a basic medical plan.

We have no interest in stopping trial lawyers from milking the system for billions. And we don’t want to address in any meaningful way the individual’s responsibility in some cases (drink, drugs, violence, dangerous sex, bad diet, sloth, etc.) for costly and chronic health procedures.

No, instead, the bill was about assuming a massive portion of the private sector, hiring tens of thousands of loyal, compliant new employees, staffing new departments with new technocrats, and feeling wonderful that we “are leveling the playing field” and have achieved another Civil Rights landmark law. (NB: do the math: add higher state income taxes in most states; the new Clinton-era federal income tax rates to come; the proposed lifting of limits on income exposed to FICA taxes; and now new health care charges — and I think you can reach in some cases a bite of 65%to 70% of one’s income.) (continued here)

And Peggy G put it this way.

It appears that Obama has staked his political career, his historical legacy, and his re-election on passing his large comprehensive Health Care Bill, beginning with the House Vote on Sunday, March 21, 2010. Like a Louisiana river-boat gambler, Obama is also placing all his chips, as well as, all of the borrowed chips that he could glean from Democratic members of Congress on the table, to bet on his and their political future. Obama cajoled, arm twisted, made-horse deals with some legislators, or chose to strong-armed other Congressman to get their chips. These chips are the votes of the Democratic Senators & Representatives in Congress whose very job is on the line in 2010. (continued here)

With the government’s seemingly sudden acquisition of a large sector of the economy, Liberal Democrats must now either convince the American electorate that socialism works or risk great losses this year in the 2010 Congressional elections. 

The End Justifies the Means

Although the passage of “health care reform” undenibly serves as milestone event, Liberal Democrats crossed the Rubicon long before they decided to socialize health care. Their conquest (of the rest of us) began when they decided give to the “poor” by robbing the “rich.” When Liberal Democrats decided that it is okay to rob the “rich” to give to the “poor,” they adopted a dangerous credo that says the end justifies the means. What is the problem with that? One blogger put it this way.

If we do the wrong thing for the right reason, we corrupt our good intentions. We act in the belief that the end justifies the means. (from here)

In the long run, there is only one way to accomplish any good thing. We must do the right thing for the right reason. Otherwise, we risk corrupting more than just our good intentions. We risk our souls.

Robin Hood Politics

Let’s consider the example of Robin Hood, that mythical bandit who robbed from the rich to give to the poor. Imagine for a moment that you are Robin Hood.

  • You lead a band of merry men living in the woods.  When an occasional fat merchant comes through “your” woods — with insufficient guard — you waylay him and take his “ill-gotten” wealth.
  • The more you keep of the fat merchant’s “ill-gotten” wealth — the less you redistribute to the poor — the more merry you and your men can be.
  • The less discriminating you and your merry men are about which merchants you rob, the more merry you and your men can be.

Now imagine you are a fat merchant.

  • You make your living by buying goods where they are cheap selling them where they are expensive.  To provide your customers a service, you risk your capital, what you own, in the hope of profit.  Moreover, you bear the cost of transporting goods from where they are produced (and cheap) to where they are needed (and, therefore, more expensive).
  • Robin Hood’s thievery increases the cost of doing businesses. Either you have to take a longer route, around Robin Hood’s wood’s, or you have to hire guards. In either case, you have no choice except to pass the additional cost onto your customers.
  • You wonder how Robin decides which merchants need robbing.  Would it help if you went on a diet?

What would a fat merchant sell? What do merchants sell today? Don’t these things include food, clothing and the material we use to make our homes? Don’t the poor need to buy such things? Don’t thieves raise the costs.  Doesn’t government thievery, unnecessary taxation to pay for ill-conceived and poorly administered welfare programs, raise the cost of doing business?

If government taxation just raises the cost of doing business, who pays the cost? Is it really the fat merchants?  Doesn’t everyone pay, including the poor.  Therefore, robbing the socalled rich to give to the poor has a very thin moral justification indeed. So why do we do it? Perhaps that is a question we should be asking the Liberal Democrats who sold this idea to us. In addition, we should also ask them who benefits the most when governments redistributes the wealth, the poor or the people who run our government?


  1. Seems like Jesus wanted his disciples to spread his Gospel far and wide. Some religions tried to force it on people, but others just brought it forth and let folks make up their own minds.

    I have kinfolk that have been missionaries their entire adult lives, going to places like China, Mozambique and Columbia. They go to some of the most remote places and build schools and help villagers build up their infrastructure, as well as spread the Gospel.

    They’re not “wealthy” by most people’s standards, but have a wealth of friends and contacts all over the world. They never want for anything. It must be a “good” life as my cousin continues their mission.


  2. Not to bring religion into this, but in the Bible, in Leviticus, I believe, it is said that the rich shall pay no more than the poor and the poor shall pay no more than the rich. Percentage wise. God asks for 10%.

    It’s kind of ironic that the most charitable people are often some of the wealthiest people. People that give their 10% or more.

    Am I wrong?


    1. Since my religion requires that I not impose it on others, I do not necessarily object to applying religion to politics.

      I think it suffices to say Christianity does not authorize us to punish the rich for being rich or the poor for being poor. We don’t know enough to make such judgments.


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