» So, how do you like what is in it?

You have to hand it to Nancy Pelosi: She was dead-on accurate when she claimed Congress had to pass Obamacare before we would find out what was in it.

The latest case in point is the “Shared Responsibility Payment,” which appears in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but hasn’t been widely appreciated for its Orwellian genius until the IRS started to promote it this year.

The “Shared Responsibility Payment” is the penalty U.S. citizens have to fork over to their federal overlords if they fail to accede to the government’s order that they purchase health insurance for themselves and/or their families.

You see, it turns out that by taking individual responsibility for my own health care, I am robbing other citizens of their opportunity to get “affordable health care” because part of my premium payment would be used to offset the fact that millions of other people don’t pay enough (or possibly anything) for their health-care insurance.

Therefore, the government, in order to protect its Ponzi scheme, assesses me a “shared responsibility payment” — a tax which can then be used to pay those subsidies by which Obamacare distributes wealth from the not-so-rich to the not-so-poor.

Now please realize this example has nothing to do with me personally. I have a very good health-care plan available to me as an employee of the Daily Inter Lake, which I have taken advantage of for 30 years. But that is something I do out of my own free will, and likewise the newspaper has provided this valuable service as a benefit to its hard-working employees because it recognizes the value of doing so.

That is called the free market. It is a far cry from individual mandates and employer mandates and shared responsibility payments. Imagine if the same kind of logic (or illogic) that is applied to health care by the current regime were also applied to other components of our society. At the end of the cash register receipt from your local grocery store, you could expect to see a shared responsibility payment that was taken from you in order to (supposedly!) feed the less fortunate. On every mortgage and rental payment, there would be a percentage set aside as a “shared responsibility payment” to ensure that no one would ever have to be homeless.

It wouldn’t matter whether you might personally be inclined to donate a similar amount of money to good causes or not. The choice would be taken out of your hands. Someone — or something, some government bureaucrat — knows better than you where your money can do the best good. And if you thought your family needed every penny of your hard-earned money to ensure that they would be able to get ahead, live a secure life, gain a college education, and perhaps a decent retirement, then you would be mocked, humiliated and shamed as a capitalist roader. That’s why they have to take the “shared responsibility payment” from you — because you can’t be trusted to do the right thing. Or at least that is what they will try to convince you — through propaganda from the White House, a variety of “social justice” pushers, and the major news media.

You, hard-working American, are the problem. It is your fault that there is hunger, homelessness and income inequality. Your failure to buy health insurance explains why people are needlessly dying in America! And say it loud enough and long enough, and eventually people start to believe it! We may even be almost to that point.

But maybe not. The best hope for stopping the federal government from controlling every aspect of our lives is education. Don’t just go along to get along, or you will very likely be going along with all the Chinese killed in the Cultural Revolution, all the people sent to the Gulags by Stalin, and all the freethinkers sent to the guillotine by the Committee of Public Safety during the Reign of Terror.

Isn’t it funny how revolution co-opts words and phrases and makes things that are deadly sound like a move in the right direction? Cultural Revolution! Committee of Public Safety! Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act! Shared Responsibility Payment! When you hear words like that, the best advice is grab hold of your freedom and run for your life.

Of course, there is precedent for this failed experiment in forcing people to take shared responsibility for the less fortunate among us. It is called Marxism. “From each according to his abilities; to each according to his means.” The only problem with that utopian sentiment is that it destroys what Confucius called “the will to win” and replaces it with the willingness to wallow. A more sure path to decadence does not exist.

Another way to think of the “shared responsibility payment” is as tribute — the money that enslaved people owe to their conquerors as a sign of submission. This was common in ancient times up through the Roman Empire. Failure to make the payments could result in extreme punishments up to and including death because rejection of the “tax” was considered an insult to the emperor. We don’t have an emperor, but the federal government has more and more exhibited the imperial trappings that attend to those who rule with a sense of entitlement rather than a sense of honor.

It is not surprising that the most extreme forms of tribute carry with them an explicit admission of indebtedness to the ruling class. The jizya tax imposed by Muslims on non-Muslims up through the 20th century was seen as “a protection for their not being slain,” according to Orientalist Edward William Lane.

The “shared responsibility payment” may not go that far, but it is implicitly an acknowledgment that citizens are obligated to do whatever the government orders them to do. Whether you want to pay for your neighbor’s health-care plan or not, you must do so. And once the government has conditioned you to do what IT thinks is right instead of what you think is right, well, you can imagine the rest, and it isn’t pretty.