The old kings used to play chess games with human chess pieces, a metaphor for how they saw their power over their subjects. The new kings or czars play with hundreds of millions of chess pieces. They assess how many pieces they have in a census, determine what kind of pieces they are and pass laws telling them where to move, what to buy and how to live. And they are no more tolerant of pawns who fail to move when ordered to; than the old kings playing human chess in their gardens.
In the last century, the Great Solvers went to work on a national and global game of human chess. They called this game by various names, The New Deal, the New Frontier, Hope and Change, or, most commonly, Social Justice. The real name of the game is “There Ain’t No More Middle Ground”. Either you are a New Dealer, a New Frontierer, a Hope and Changer, a Tolerator, a Liberal, a Donor, an Activist and an Organizer– or you are on the wrong side.
You might think that you are standing in the great moderate middle, the open-minded frontier of the old American, but the frontier and ground are both gone. There is only Problemtown and Solutionville and the bulldozers are coming to knock down Problemtown next week and deport its residents to Solutionville.
ObamaCare is the bus to Solutionville. It is the problem that is “You” being solved in the same inept brute-force fashion in which the Great Solvers solve everything, from Russian agriculture to European Union democracy.
The problems are many, and the Solvers are impatient. There are too many peasants, and weekends are too short, the golf courses are too crowded, the protesters are too annoying, and the numbers never add up. Each problem keeps needing to be solved many times, but they have already moved on to the next problem and the one after that in the great mass of problems that some people still call America.
The American Bushwhacked still wonder what happened. When did this stop being a free country? Then they finish pumping their gas, buy their sodas, paying several taxes on each and completing a transaction for two commodities whose production and distribution involve more laws than the entire legal codes of Rome and Greece combined, and then drive home, where they begin making notes for next year’s taxes, while reading how the latest laws will affect them.
On the television, an anchor with carefully molded hair and the grave look of the career idiot who has learned to disguise this fact by always appearing concerned about something, interviews an activist who is proposing new regulations as the only responsible thing to do. “If you aren’t part of the solution,” she says with equally grave sincerity, “then you are part of the problem.”
The American Bushwhacked nod along because the proposal seems so reasonable. Who doesn’t want to do something for the children, the oceans, the endangered red-banded shrub, the people somewhere who don’t have something and that sincere young woman who really seems passionate in a way that few are anymore. Then he turns back to his desk, somewhere in the great middle ground that once was, studies the tax forms again and wonders when this stopped being a free country.