I have heard the argument that providing a public option for health care will somehow reduce "our freedoms." I confess confusion. However, I've tried to wrap my head around what people might be talking about, and decided to figure out what might be meant by "freedom." This is what I've come up with. Part of American Exceptionalism is the Horatio Alger myth; that is, a poor boy, through the judicious use of his own bootstraps and a medium-to-heavy application of cliche, can become rich. This freedom is the freedom of self-creation. But it's not true. Almost half of an adult's wealth is dependent upon his parents' money. Half. In Denmark (socialist, scary), in contrast, only 15% is. What does this mean? There's way more social mobility in pretty much every other Western European country other than Great Britian, the one with the hereditary ruling class.
Here's the numbers from 2006, (found here.) 1 means the children's monetary worth is 100% dependent on their family's monetary worth; 0 means that how well the children do is completely independent of the family of origin. Denmark's .15 indicates that only 15% of a child's success is dependent upon the family of origin. In Denmark, people are self-made. Contrast that with the .47 in the US; a full half of a person's success has to do with the family they were born into. As an example, what, exactly, did Jenna Bush do to get that sweet, sweet gig on the Today show. Oh, wait, I think I know.
United States 0.47
United Kingdom 0.50
Things weren't always this bad in the US, as can be seen here. The '70's were more equitable than the 80's, which in turn were more equitable than the 90's. I'm guessing the '00's are even worse.
There's this myth afoot in the land that somehow if you're poor you're by definition undeserving, and shouldn't be helped. But there's actual evidence that what help does is lift people from poverty. This chart shows that people stay poor for shorter periods of time in Scandinavian countries where they're given help, and poor for longer times when they're not, like here. So, being mean just increases the misery of the poor, being nice lifts people out of poverty. Remind me again of what the problem is with peace, love, and understaning, please.