I've been saying in this space for two years that the governmentalization of health care is the fastest way to a permanent left-of-center political culture. It redefines the relationship between the citizen and the state in fundamental ways that make limited government all but impossible.Steyn points to numerous examples, including the Departments of Energy and Education domestically. Once some program or department comes into being, it becomes almost impossible to eliminate. And so the country moves closer to statism. Even when conservatives get control, they are operating within the context established by Leftists. Steyn concludes that the Left is willing to take a short-term hit in November in order to take a massive step towards their long-term goal.
While Steyn correctly notes that conservatives have done little to stop the Left, he fails to identify the fundamental reason. He accurately identifies the effect, but comes up short regarding the cause. Fundamentally, conservatives agree with the Left. Both sides accept altruism as the moral ideal, and they just disagree on its political manifestation.
Conservatives cannot challenge, let alone rollback, Leftist programs because they agree with the premise that we have a moral duty to self-sacrificially serve others. Conservatives cannot stop the Leftist political agenda because they are in agreement regarding the moral base of politics.
The Left is winning politically because it is the more consistent advocate of altruism. As Ayn Rand identified the issue:
In any conflict between two men (or two groups) who hold the same basic principles, it is the more consistent one who wins.
In any collaboration between two men (or two groups) who hold different basic principles, it is the more evil or irrational one who wins.
When opposite basic principles are clearly and openly defined, it works to the advantage of the rational side; when they are not clearly defined, but are hidden or evaded, it works to the advantage of the irrational side.
More than a century ago the Left started the train rolling towards statism (ironically by regulating the rail roads). With each generation that train has picked up speed, aided and abetted by conservatives who have, with few exceptions, simply gone along for the ride. Altruism set the course, and until it is rejected, it matters little who sits in the locomotive.