Monday, November 9, 2009

Can Washington Make You Buy Health Insurance?

The health care debate is monumentally important on all possible grounds: not least on the question of what happens if Congress gets away with ordering the American people to buy health insurance -- and if the American people knuckle under. Yes, what next for us, comrades?

Just about anything Congress decides to do in the name of uplift seems to be constitutional: In other words, in accord with written stipulations as to what the national government may and may not do.

Several problems arise concerning this fine theory:

-- It's nonsense. It contravenes the whole constitutional concept of divided powers: particular functions reserved to particular branches of government. And other powers divided between states and the national government.

-- It threatens liberty. A government that knows no limits to its power can be counted on to step more and more heavily on citizens' rights and privileges. All for the "general good" naturally!

-- It divides the citizens. On the one hand, those who want particular favors from government; on the other hand, those who deny that government has the right to dispense such favors.

The Obama administration, which desperately wants health care to pass, brushes off such concerns as cranky and relevant mainly to wild-eyed Limbaugh and Palin fans, when in fact concerns about the rightful exercise of government power should inform every legislative debate. Those it doesn't inform are likely to end badly.

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