The Washington elites who designed the law must be bewildered: Why doesn't everyone behave as they do?I think that speaks for itself as a common state of most statists. He then gives attention to three assumptions about the health insurance market that aren't holding up very well.
He concludes with highly relevant cultural and historical perspectives:
But policies that work well in Scandinavia or Minnesota and North Dakota won't necessarily work well in a wider United States, where a much larger proportion of people are socially disconnected.Not only are we culturally different from other places, we are to some extent different from ourselves. Some of the conflicts are a continuation of the English Civil War. Wherever you wish to place the roots of such conflict, we will not get along if there are no limits on the things we must all do together.
And such policies may not work as well as they might have in the United States of the 1950s and early 1960s, in which disconnectedness was much less common. That was an America in what I call the Midcentury Moment, a period when World War II and unexpected postwar prosperity produced a conformist and (mostly) culturally homogeneous nation with low rates of divorce and single parenthood, and high rates of social connectedness. A nation accustomed to a universal military draft and wage-and-price controls, and in which increasing numbers worked for giant firms and were members of giant labor unions, probably would have been more amenable to a centralized command-and-control policy like ObamaCare than the culturally fragmented America of today.In the long run of American history, the Midcentury Moment was just that—a moment, an exception, not the rule. We have been in some sense a multicultural nation from our colonial beginnings. The Founding Fathers, seeking to unite Puritan New England, Anglican Virginia, Dutch New York and Quaker Pennsylvania with the Scots-Irish warriors on the Appalachian frontier, determined that the federal government would impose no religious test for office and make no law regarding a religious establishment. They provided for a limited central government and a wide free-trade zone in which local cultures could prevail, local preachers could convert, and local entrepreneurs could innovate.ObamaCare cuts against this grain. The trouble that has resulted—from the architects' apparent failures to anticipate the behavior of fellow citizens who don't share their approach to the world, and the architects' determination to impose their mores, such as contraception coverage, on a multicultural nation—is a lesson to national policy makers, conservative as well as liberal. Govern lightly if you want to govern this culturally diverse nation well.