Charles Kessler takes aim at the recent health care legislation:

Among its other effects, this act marks a new stage in the decline of constitutional government in America. One sign of this was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's remark, "we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy." In late August, Senator Max Baucus, Finance Committee chairman, chimed in: "I don't think you want me to waste my time to read every page of the health care bill....We hire experts."

These statements make both an epistemological and a political point. The first is that these bills are so long, complicated, and unreadable that no one who isn't an expert can possibly decipher them. That implies, in turn, that no amount or quality of democratic deliberation can clarify them to citizens, and in most cases to legislators, in advance. Indeed, Pelosi suggests that political debate itself, "controversy," mostly dims public understanding by generating "fog."

This reminds me of John Stewart noting, "I follow the president pretty closely, I still don't know what he wants out of health care reform."

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