Here's another discredited story that won't die: the rumor that Obama created the post of "National Coordinator of Health Information Technology" in his stimulus package, presumably to steal your most personal secrets. (The position was actually created by President Bush in 2004, with broad bipartisan support.)
The latest appearance of this folktale - call it "Obama's Health Big Brother" - comes in a Bloomberg News editorial by Amity Shlaes that boldly goes where no metaphor has gone before. "Barack Obama has dropped us all into The Matrix," writes Ms. Shlaes, adding:
In the Obama Era, it seems, we all pick our way through anxious lives that have something to do with software. Like Keanu Reeves' Neo, we realize hour-to-hour that we are being manipulated by a system that has its own larger plan.
If only we keep a cool head, we tell ourselves, our powers of logic will help us escape the web. But each move we make, even the one that feels independent, takes us deeper into the Matrix ...
President Obama's $634 billion, 10-year health-care plan undoubtedly appeals to would-be Neos out there ... As in "The Matrix," freedom is a mirage ... and there's no escape.
Freedom's a "mirage"? I thought it was "just another word for nothing left to lose." But if she seems to be pushing her Matrix metaphor a little too hard in these paragraphs, wait until she compares Peter Orszag to Agent Smith. America reads this and wonders: Do I take the blue pill or the red pill?
(Think I'll take a Tylenol. It's blue and red.)
There's a pattern developing here, a new "scare 'em with spooky computers" approach that's gaining ground in the right-leaning commentariat. Why pick on the "national coordinator for health information technology"? Maybe because it brings up memories of all those computers-are-taking-over movies from the seventies. In this new conservative meme, anything with "computers" or "information" in it is sinister and dehumanizing.
I look forward to Amity Shlaes' next piece, in which she warns of the enslavement of humanity that's sure to come if people don't stop forwarding that cute video of a dog cleaning your computer screen from the inside.
Ezra Klein has more.