Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Give Me Liberty or Give Me ObamaCare

During the 2008 election campaign, I was struck by how Barack Obama would describe someone's heartrending personal story, then leap immediately to suggesting a federal government solution. The assumption in between was that whatever unhappiness there is in life is the responsibility of the federal government to remedy. John Kerry did the same thing in 2004 because that is the way liberal Democrats think.

But that is not our system of government. Ours is what we call a "limited government." It is limited by the security of each one of us in our individual rights. They are rights against the power of government. Our government is limited also as to its ends. Its powers are enumerated and therefore delineated. We have established our government to accomplish specific tasks, and we have enumerated those tasks in the Constitution. That brings me to the third way that our government is limited. It is limited by law. Those who govern us govern only under law, ultimately a fundamental law we call the Constitution. Those who make the law must themselves submit to the laws they make.

If you judge Democrats not by what they say but by what they do, you can see that they don't believe in any of these features of limited government. Why should the enlightened class be limited in any way? To subject The People's Party to limitations of any sort is an act of hostility toward the people themselves. At any rate, that is how communist parties have reasoned for almost a hundred years, and that appears to be the way liberal Democrats think. And Barack Obama is a turbo-liberal Democrat.

Consider his plans for health insurance reform, plans in which he is in harmonious alliance with the "liberal bulls" in Congress. The fact that the scheme is baldly unconstitutional gives them no pause whatsoever. The suggestion that it is unconstitutional just means that they have to find a constitutional rationalization of some sort. After all, these people have long ago stopped caring what the Constitution actually says. If it is a "living constitution," then the challenge to those living under it is not to conform their legislative wishes to the Constitution, but by clever rhetoric and legal reasoning to conform the Constitution to the legislative wishes of the day. This is very opposite of the rule of law and of limited government.

As to the ends of government, people like Barack Obama cannot think of anything the federal government should not be doing. If there is suffering in the world, then the government is the most effective and most trustworthy agent to be addressing it. The broader the government, the more egalitarian the solution will be, and so the federal government is always the instrument of choice, whether directly or indirectly through its control of state and local governments. This may be a kind-hearted sentiment, but it is not a noble sentiment because it does not respect people's liberty. Even if Obama and all those in political alliance with him on this were entirely public spirited in their intentions (which any sober adult should admit is unlikely), their reforms would establish a structure for a less high-minded generation of elected and unelected government officials to lord it over a prostrate and helpless American people.

Blind to these dangers, however, and convinced of the self-evident moral superiority of their understanding, Obama's Democrats have launched themselves into the restructuring our health care system--one sixth of the American economy--expecting that the only opposition will come from selfish corporate interests, the Republican party which is the tool of those interests, and whatever rural simpletons and Christian fanatics the Republicans can deceive.

But opposition is coming from honest lovers of liberty and of the rule of law. Two such patriots are David B. Rivkin and Lee A. Casey, both of whom served in the Justice Department under Presidents Reagan and Bush. In "Mandatory Insurance is Unconstitutional" (Wall Street Journal, Sept. 18, 2009), they make the case that it goes beyond the powers of the federal government to force people to buy something they don't wish to buy. "Congress...cannot regulate simply because it sees a problem to be fixed." Since the Progressive era began almost a hundred years ago, government activists have justified most federal regulatory powers on the interstate commerce clause. The federal government can act to regulate interstate commerce (Article I, section 8), but it cannot punish you simply for sitting in your living room not buying health insurance. Rivkin and Casey take you through the history, the current health care reform proposals, and the bearing of the Constitution on it all. It's good read, and you are sure to look very intelligent and well informed to your friends for having read it.

Because Obama's Democrats don't care about the spirit of our system of government which is the spirit of liberty, they will look for a way around that restriction. Because there are others in the country who love liberty and the Constitution that supports it, they will fight him to the highest court in the land.


Harold Kildow said...

That was well and truly said, and your statement that there are people who are not going to let it stand calls to mind a caller on Rush Limbaugh's show today. (I am able to listen most days because of the work I do). This lady, Susan from Glendale California, let loose with a very impassioned and eloquent plea for people to fight back. He posted a transcript of the conversation on his site... very worth reading. She was great.

Jeremy Cerone said...

"Liberal bull" is exactly what it is. :)

More seriously, though, would a constitutional challenge to ObamaCare delay its implementation until the case is resolved? And how do you think the Supreme Court, with its current membership, would rule?

David C. Innes said...

No. Thankfully, a constitutional challenge in the courts does not suspend laws that are passed by due process. nothing would get done otherwise.

brain said...

Here's the funny top Glenn Beck finalist political satire spoof video making fun of Obamacare, and the progressive view of their "New America:" New America Video by NarfBiscuits

David C. Innes said...

Thanks for link, brain. I just used it in a post.

P.S. weren't you in a cartoon in the 1990s?