Well, at least we knew liberty for a while ... which is more than most people in human history can say and much more than most people today can say. We've experienced liberation through technology from many of evils that have plagued mankind. We've experienced a greater degree of political freedom. For those of us in our late 40s, we will still be able to ride the wave for the next 10 or 20 years, barring unseen events. Our retirement may be difficult, but less so than most have experienced in history and throughout the world.
We're experiencing at least three dislocating trends:
One is a cultural war, which will last our lifetimes and our children's lifetimes. We'll probably lose battle after battle, but that war is already won for us. I'll try not to fret too much about it. Acceptance for the sake of my sanity is the key here.
Second is the economic dislocations caused by automation and the Internet. I have no idea how this will play out.
Third is a demographic challenge. Our birth rate is low ... saved by immigration. Culturally, we will change, and America will look more like the places people have immigrated from than what we've known. Still, there will be a strong remnant American culture for many decades to come.
The battles will continue, but I can't imagine the GOP getting enough votes in the Senate to overturn Obamacare, even with Romney as president. Just not gonna happen.
Some guesses at the future, now that Obamacare is upheld:
1. Expect merciless hectoring about health choices. Now that the government is paying for healthcare, it can can issue incentives and punishments for wellness. It actually must do so. So your lifestyle choices — expect them to be hemmed in. So far, most of the leftist hectoring concerns food, drink, smoking and exercise. Mayor Bloomberg's soda ban times 1,000. It will all be justified as reducing costs. At some point, the left will have to take a look at sexual choices, but they won't — for a long time at least. The left's puritanism is currently limited to food rules.
2. Expect to be forcibly euthanized or granted only palliative care if you cannot pay for private healthcare in your old age or if you get seriously ill. It's inevitable. The left laughs at this, but Oregon has state health insurance, and so far at least one woman was told that the state would not pay for her cancer treatment medication, only for palliative care. The drug company offered her free drugs when this happened, but next time? This is inevitable.
3. Not sure, but at some point you may see the crossing of another trend — the government's preference of certain demographic groups — with healthcare. That is, your gender and skin color may matter.
4. Unemployment will likely stay high. The European socialist model results in unemployment rates of 10 to 20 percent. So expect that as structural unemployment.
5. Look for a clamoring for a single payer system. Obamacare is unworkable as is. The only thing that will replace it will be either a public option or a single-payer system.
As far as this question — what do we conservatives do?
1. Don't upset ourselves unnecessarily. About 80 to 90 percent of suffering comes from upsetting ourselves. If something sucks 10 percent, don't magnify it. Just let it be the 10 percent suckitude.
2. Continue to fight. I don't think we should give up. But we should fight with considerable sobriety and equanimity, stopping to smell the roses. Don't underestimate our own ability to adapt and change. Perhaps we will roll back and delay the left for a while.
3. Don't count on the Republicans. At best, they'll shoot for a "replace" option, but doubtful it will happen. They will reform and promise to do it better, but in the end, here it is.
That's all I have right now.
UPDATE: The more I think about it, this is a devastating setback for the conservative movement. Taking my own advice, I may have to sign off for a while to not magnify it. But I think this ruling all-but-assures Obama's victory in 2012. At that point, game over until reality kicks in.
But even then, don't count on it. Detroit is currently shutting off street lights. That's how broke it is, but the people there keep electing Democrats. No matter what. Leftists have an endless array of excuses for doing what they do. When human nature and reality intervenes or causes unintended consequences, they make excuses, blame Republicans, say they didn't do enough of what they were trying to do, and yadda yadda yadda. There's no end to it.
The country's been in a Cold Civil War since 1980, when Ronald Reagan was elected. This was the first real breach of the New Deal philosophy that was the controlling political force from 1932 to 1980. RR opened up the front; what he did worked; and liberals loathed him for it.
From about 1980 to 2006, the conservative movement was ascending, but not dominant. We did manage to win some. I was surprised at the persistence of the Democratic Party and the Leftists that have so corrupted it.
What the Democrats have done so effectively is reframe the debate in terms of peer pressure — educated, compassionate right-thinking people are Democrats.
Conservatives want to win politically and go home and watch baseball and cut the lawn. Democrats aren't that way.
But if everything's going fine under conservative governance, the Democrats will start politicizing the weather. They'll declare marriage to be discriminatory. They'll harp on abortion, women, talk about open borders, talk about dividing the country.
The Democratic Party promotes values that ensure poverty and heartbreak (which is why the cognitive elite live as conservatives), sowing discord, while simultaneously offering government solutions that turn people into reliable constituencies, while setting them at odds with each other.
It's a heck of a strategy. And it's largely worked. In this world. I doubt the Republican Party will help us much. They've thrown us under the bus so many times my clothes smell like exhaust. It's tiring.