A Supreme and Colossal Failure

The waiting is over.  By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court has upheld the Obamacare “individual mandate” requiring citizens to purchase healthcare coverage.  In failing to defend the constitutional system of limited federal government, the Supreme Court has become a colossal failure.

Students of American history will look back to this moment as a turning point in the history of the United States of America.  That much is certain.  What remains unknown is whether the US by then will have returned to the limited form of federal government mandated by its Constitution or if it will have moved into the nightmare world of utopian activism guided by whichever “feel-good ideology” happens to be popular between our time and theirs.  Where they happen to find themselves in the future will be decided by how we decide to respond today.

The only constitutionally valid response was that of Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing on behalf of the minority:  “The entire act before us in invalid in its entirety.”

Whether you call it Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act and whether you see more good or more danger in its nearly 3000 pages of legal dictates, one deeply disturbing question remains:  if the federal government, supposedly for our own good, can force every citizen to purchase health insurance or otherwise to face fines and penalties, what else can it force us to buy?

How did the “Infamous Five” decide this?  By referring to the penalty placed upon those who refuse to purchase mandated healthcare as a tax.  That’s right–it’s the tax that wasn’t a tax that was a tax before it wasn’t.  In other words, the Supreme Court has perpetrated a bizarre twist of damnable magic upon the nation’s citizenry by waving the same magician’s wand used by the Obama administration in arguing its case before the Court.

Essentially, the healthcare mandate is whatever powerful people want it to be–simply because they have authority over us and they want to see that authority upheld.  Their agenda is said to be good for us all, no matter how much it costs and no matter whose liberties are curtailed to obtain that agenda.

While writing this post, I overhead a member of the clergy remark that “we’re going to have a healthier country.”  I’m willing to bet not, though it’s a sure bet that we’re going to have a poorer one.

As the patriot Thomas Paine once wrote of his own revolutionary travails, “these are the times that try men’s souls.”  What will our reply be?  What will our labors be from this point onward?  Will we be silent … or will we act?  Most will cower and do as they are told.  Some will act.  Even if our political activism should bring about the repeal of this mandate, the Supreme Court has done us a profound injustice by setting a dangerous precedent.

If the motto of the first American Revolution can rightly be described as “Give me liberty of give me death,” perhaps a fitting motto for a second American Revolution can be “We will not reply.”  I’m already practicing.

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14 thoughts on “A Supreme and Colossal Failure

  1. This is the first time I have looked at your blog. I was sure with the ruling today you would have something pertinent to say. I don’t know a lot about politics but I certainly know when my individual rights are being trampled on and what I see happening and not happening is frightening. I am in Pensacola and am volunteering at the Republican headquarters. They need people right now just to make phone calls. It’s very easy and I can just go in and work whenever I have some free time. It doesn’t have to be scheduled. It’s a little thing but I think if everyone who is unhappy with this turn of events did one little tangible thing maybe it would be enough to turn things around. God bless you for the time you take to keep these issues in the front of people’s minds.

    • Thank you, Linda. As I say to Mr. Bradford (below), yesterday’s “Supreme and Colossal Failure” reminds us that we have only ourselves to depend upon if we intend to save the Republic.

  2. Dr. Switzer,

    Great post. I share your concern about unchecked government power. My reply is primarily concerned with one of your statements:

    “if the federal government, supposedly for our own good, can force every citizen to purchase health insurance or otherwise to face fines and penalties, what else can it force us to buy?”

    The answer, as I’m sure you know, is almost nothing. Whether a tax or subsidy, the effect is still the same on the taxpayers. In the same way that the ACA forces you to buy health insurance, farm subsidies force you to buy tobacco: In 2011, the value of U.S. subsidies for tobacco exceeded $190 million. And then there’s the defense budget. Defense spending forces Americans to “buy” civilian deaths in the Middle East.

    My problem is this: You are putting medical care in the same category as tobacco and all other government spending. The ACA aims to enhance social justice in our country by guaranteeing basic medical coverage to those who have been unfairly denied in the past. Tobacco subsidies, on the other hand, enable a social harm. Why do you choose this issue, the ACA, an act that seeks to protect the American citizen from unfair insurance practices and ensure care for Americans in need, to draw the line? The federal government has been doing the same thing for decades, just in a slightly different fashion, for far worse reasons, and with far worse consequences.

    This is your sticking point?
    Now, it has gone too far?
    The “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act?”
    Seriously?

    • Mr. Bradford, thank you so much for taking the time to read my post and to offer your comment. As a constitutionalist, I find myself in agreement with you. Tobacco subsidies, along with so many other subsidies (oil included), should end.

      I am certainly not against healthcare reform, nor am I opposed to social justice. The ACA, however, is not the answer to our problem. It was rushed, it is overly intrusive, it’s loaded with consequences with one-sided political agendas, and it will neither save the country money nor improve healthcare for most. It will, however, result in a weaker economic situation for the nation, poorer and less healthcare for most, and larger, more expensive, more powerful federal government.

      The healthcare problems faced by the nation can be repaired by free-market alternatives mixed with reasonable, less expensive government programs that help the genuinely poor and disadvantaged.

      Many who think along the constitutional lines that inspire me see yesterday’s colossal failure by the Supreme Court as a new clarion call for action. I believe it will inspire a new mood among constitutionalists. We now realize that we have no one to rely upon but ourselves. If that sounds revolutionary, that’s the intent!

  3. What’s more, the American Medical Student Association has officially supported the measure and wants all members to petition that the option for states to refuse the Medicaid expansion be removed. Doesn’t sound like good advice for Americans or medical students to me…

  4. Nullification? How many more dead would you have in Magnolia Cemetery?
    That issue has been long settled by the blood of many including a martyred president.
    Shall we return to slavery so you can feel free?

    • Thank you for your comment, R.A. You speak of of the “blood of many” as a tool for justifying the massive wave of unconstitutional legislation heaped upon the states and the people of the states by the federal government. With your mention of a “martyred president” I can only presume you a referring to the War of Southern Rebellion. Should I take it, then, that you believe might to make right–in other words, when a group of sovereign states chose to leave the voluntary association known as the federal union, when they posed no threat to any other states except in defending their own soil, and when they simply asked to be left to their own devices and self-governance, that you believe it was justifiable for an invading army to force their submission?

      I only ask because I want to understand your argument.

      • Whatever we think of the current Supreme Court, we certainly enjoy more rights today than most everyone alive when notions like “nullification” and “state sovereignty” held sway. Workers had no unions, no job or safety protections, and North or South, women could not vote anywhere.

        But the Confederacy? Is it reasonable to claim the slave states “chose to leave the voluntary association known as the federal union” when nearly fifty percent of their population was not only denied any voice in government but owned, sold and traded like livestock?

        While it is unfair to judge the past by today’s moral standards, is it not more unjust to continue to speak as if the lives and opinions of the enslaved still do not matter?

        Certainly you wouldn’t suggest that the slave half of the population viewed the war as “an attack by an invading army” on states who “simply asked to be left to their own devices and self-governance.” Could they possibly have thought that slave-hunters crossing the borders into equally sovereign free states “posed no threat to any other states?”

        Again, when John Calhoun was arguing for nullification, out of a population of roughly eight million Southerners, four million were slaves.

        Nullification is not a dead issue because “might makes right,” but because it absolutely does not guarantee freedom – unless, of course, we imagine that “The Confederacy” consisted solely of white plantation owners. “State Sovereignty” certainly protected them.

      • I’ll let you have the last word here, R.A. But let me simply say in my defense that I’m not arguing for any backward march toward slavery. This is 2012, not 1861–and not even 1961. I’ll grant that nullification is an extreme suggestion. But how else might we respond when the liberties of the states and their people are being systematically deleted? Have we no rights at all as we see the Constitution violated and the federal government ballooning in size, scope, and cost? In addition, you have done a fine job of painting the slavery problem of the past as simply a southern problem. That’s inaccurate and misinformed, though it certainly represents the successful bias of the victorious side in the War of 1861 that became the official history of the nation in the wake of that sad event.

  5. John: Your opinions on the healthcare law are very interesting. What about the decision about the immigration laws and Arizona?

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