The Rhetoric of Opposition

I’ve seen a lot of over-the-top responses to the new health care law — you know, it imposes socialism, ends freedom in America, etc. — and I’m struck by how similar those responses are to the over-the-top responses to the USA Patriot Act in 2001.

If you took the public outcry over the Patriot Act in 2001, replaced “police state” with “socialist state” and replaced “privacy” with “freedom,” and then replaced the claims of violating the Fourth Amendment with claims of violating the Commerce Clause, you would pretty much have the public outcry over the health care law today — except from the Right not the Left.

Of course, I’m not saying the two laws are the same. But I’m struck by the rhetorical similarities of the case made by the laws’ outspoken opponents.