29 June 2012

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Supreme Court

According to a handful of my favorite bloggers,* the USSC ruled that the health care mandate is constitutional because it’s a tax and congress is authorized to levy taxes. I would say that I’m surprised with the ruling, but that would mean I cared about the ruling before it was handed down. ObamaCare is obviously unconstitutional and, more importantly, antithetical to liberty, which makes it in noncompliance with the spirit of the law.

Some have argued that the constitution is itself antithetical to human liberty, which is a not altogether unreasonable claim in light of the fact that the constitution a) authorizes a central government in the first place, b) authorizes said government to levy taxes, c) authorizes said government to regulate coinage, d) authorizes the government to have an army and wage war, and e) gives the government authority to regulate commerce. Basically, if the government is authorized to have coercive power (i.e. an army) and to have power over currency and business, then it would appear that the increases in federal power over time were all but inevitable.

Of course, it should now be obvious, if it was not already, that the United States is basically a socialist nation. It may not engage in the massive slaughter of its citizens (unborn babies excepted from this assertion, natch), and it may not engage in ethnic cleansing (yet), but it is undeniably socialist. It is a soft socialism born of the fear of uncertainty, wherein people are afraid to live without the guarantees of basic “necessities.” Nothing is guaranteed in life, save death and taxes, so the idea that people can be guaranteed that their health care will be provided by the government at no direct cost to them should all else fail is nothing more than a mirage.

It is also indicative of a broader pathology, namely that of cowardice. It appears that too few people are willing and able to live a life of risk. The American people are not only soft and doughy of body, but of spirit as well. Having amassed the greatest collection of wealth and prosperity that the world has ever seen, they are now afraid to lose it. Thus, the recent health care crusade—successfully defended by five tyrants in robes—is nothing more than the triumph of fear. Fear that someone somewhere may have to go without antibiotics because they would rather buy shoes than Amoxicillin. It is as if people neglect to remember that most people in most of the world throughout most of history did not have health care. And yet, they managed to procreate before the expiration of their various nasty, brutish, and short lives.

Life, of course, always goes on, regardless of whether one has immediate access to a doctor. Lack of immediate access to comprehensive health care—once a fact of life for all but the most rich and powerful—is now considered a violation of rights. Funnily, it was not considered as such until providing immediate, comprehensive health care on a wide scope was technically (though not necessarily economically) feasible.

Anyhow, getting back to the point at hand, the SCOTUS decision simply demonstrates that security is to take precedence over freedom, however illusory that economic freedom may actually be. It is better to feel that one will be taken care of than to have the freedom and responsibility to take care of oneself.

Incidentally, this decision has completely destroyed what little support I might ever have had for Romney. I had once argued with a neoconservative friend about the merits of Ron Paul vs. the rest of the GOP field (this argument occurred in the halcyon days of Herman Cain’s not-yet-a-joke campaign), and in the course of this argument had ceded the point that any GOP candidate would be better than Obama because that GOP candidate would at least pick a strict constitutionalist as a Supreme Court nominee. The ObamaCare decision, though, has shown that conservative Supreme Court nominees are pretty much worthless. Sure, Alito, Scalia, and Thomas all ruled against ObamaCare, but it was Bush’s own appointment—Roberts—that sided with the leftists. If this is the sort of thing that right-wing appointees will do, I think I’d rather have liberals because at least you know where you stand with them, which means you don’t get stabbed in the back. At any rate, it now seems ludicrous to vote GOP simply to ensure that SCOTUS picks are conservative, because it turns out that not even this is guaranteed anymore.
At any rate, the great experiment of liberty is over. It appears that it cannot be sustained indefinitely, as tyrants constantly seek power, and will contort the law to enslave the people. It’s sad that it had to end this way, but I suspect that it would have ended regardless. And now on to the next experiment.

* Vox, Karl Denninger, Foseti, Ulysses, and Sonic Charmer, among others.

7 comments:

  1. Also, one should also note that throughout most of human history, access to a doctor was a death sentence.

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  2. At any rate, it now seems ludicrous to vote GOP simply to ensure that SCOTUS picks are conservative, because it turns out that not even this is guaranteed anymore.

    Nothing new and been true for decades. Blackmun, of Roe vs. Wade fame was made a judge by Eisenhower and put on the supreme court by Nixon.

    Anyhow, part of the fear is an inordinate fear of death, imo brought on my the decline of real religiosity.

    Regarding Prof. Hale's comment, it still often is. For example, 195K annual deaths in the USA due to hospital mistakes:
    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/11856.php

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  3. Basically, if the government is authorized to have coercive power (i.e. an army) and to have power over currency and business, then it would appear that the increases in federal power over time were all but inevitable.

    I think that another way to look at this is that coercive power is coercive power. The power to enforce law is, is and only is, the power to make it. The King, no matter how he was elected, no matter how long he voluntarily chooses to remain on the throne, is... nevertheless... the King. You cannot change the laws of physics, and the sooner we stop believing these enlightenment fairy tales, the better off we'll be. No positive law can stand against coercive power, i.e., the King, because the King is positive law. Any positive law can be changed, violated, or nuanced at will by the coercive power, i.e., the King.

    Since the coercive power is, quite strictly, unavoidable (in a civlized society at least--and we really don't want anarchy do we?), it seems that rather than criticize the growth of government power (which was, is, and always shall be limited only by the might of police and military force), we ought rather criticize the ends to which this power is applied.

    And on that front, yes, forcing people to buy health insurance--i.e., to make bets they hope they lose--is a profoundly stupid use of the power of government. Why don't they use the power for something better: like making the USG long term profitable? If Exxon can do it, why not USG?

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  4. " It appears that too few people are willing and able to live a life of risk. The American people are not only soft and doughy of body, but of spirit as well. Having amassed the greatest collection of wealth and prosperity that the world has ever seen, they are now afraid to lose it."

    Well said. The image of Americans' doughy spirits to match the adipose nature of their bodies is gobsmacking.

    I think Sir John Glubb would agree with you in your assessment, in that once a society attains wealth, it becomes scared and defensive. It loses the vigor that got them there.

    Thus our politics are characterized by grasping for safety, as opposed to the ardent risk-taking of times past, no doubt aided by the more feminine nature of our national character these days.

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  5. I'm 100% with you about Obamacare, but come on. America, a socialist country? Are you fuckin shitting me? You can barely take two steps in this country without someone trying to squeeze a penny out of you-- and that's encouraged by our capitalist system! Make a product and try to hassle people into paying you for it, and you're officially a better citizen than if you make the same product and give it away for free. We worship money in this country, to a very unhealthy level. If you want socialism, single payer would be socialist. Obamacare is just a gift on a silver platter to the insurance industry-- can't get more capitalist than that!

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  6. That sounds like the definition an anti-capitalist would make up. A pro-capitalist would say government giveaways are the worst part of socialism; a socialist would say they are the worst part of capitalism.

    Nothing wrong with that, but let's look at exactly which political philosophies would support the Obamacare giveaway to insurance companies (List A):

    Okay, now let's look at the ones that would oppose it (List B):

    Socialism (taxing the proletariat to pay the bourgeoisie)

    Anarcho-capitalism (government intervention)

    Minarchism (unnecessary government intervention)

    Conservatism (unprecedented government intervention)

    Internationalist centrism (fails to take superior models from other countries (e.g. Switzerland and Capitalism) into account)

    Communism (fails to overthrow oppressive blah blah blah)

    Subsidiarity (if this plan is so good, states will adopt it on their own, e.g. Massachusetts, which would also be constitutional, and since everyone cares about the constitution so much Romney is running at 90% in the polls?)

    Christianity ("charity" isn't charity if it is mandatory)

    Masculism (see other comments on this thread)

    Since List A is somewhat shorter than List B, it seems as if political philosophy wasn't the driving force behind Obamacare.

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  7. People are starting to take a second look at the ruling, and it is beginning to appear that Roberts has tweaked Obama's nose for insulting him. The ruling lets states opt out of certain major parts of the plan without penalty, and it is guessed 26 states will most certainly do just that. If so, the plan is virtually unworkable.

    And, past uses for commerce clause to force all sorts of bad stuff on states is also almost certainly gone. Also, politically, the fees charged will politically be placed on the Dems as an increase in taxes.

    So, some folks think this was Roberts' vengeance for insults rendered. Clearly, we must wait and see what happens, but it sure looks like it may not be what it seems.

    http://www.ijreview.com/2012/06/9398-why-chief-justice-roberts-made-the-right-long-term-decision-with-obamacare/

    Anonymous age 70

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