The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Monday, March 26, 2012

And now the final test of "Obamacare"

One thing that is very special about the United States is the importance placed in compliance with our Constitution. We have a Constitution that is over two centuries old, and it is agreed that all brabches of our government must abide by it. (By contrast, in the United Kingdom, Parliament is all-powerful. It has been said that the only thing that Parliament cannot do is “make a man a woman, or make a woman a man.”) The constitutionality of laws enacted by Congress and signed into law by the President is always open to challenge before the Supreme Court. And the court began today to take up the so called “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” of 2010 — frequently called “Obamacare.” Whatever this court decides, it is certain to be as controversial as Roe v. Wade, and all of us are waiting with bated breath to see what they decide, since there are a substantial number of lower court judges who have made conflicting decisions on the question.

To me, there is no question; the law is clearly unconstitutional. Congress cannot make people buy a private product like health insurance. The argument that states make drivers buy auto insurance is irrelevant — Congress is bound by the strictures of Art. I, Sect. 8 of the Constitution (and a few additional paragraphs in some of the amendments that give Congress the right to enforce those amendments by appropriate legislation), while the States have powers, by virtue of the Tenth Amendment, to do a lot of things that the Federal Government cannot. But some people claim that the commerce clause of Art. I, Sect. 8, or perhaps the taxation clause of the same article, gives Congress the power. And the Supreme Court does not always rule in conformity with the way I would read the Constitution: one recent example is Heller v. District of Columbia, where the Court invalidated D. C.'s gun control laws based on its reading of the Second Amendment. So we have a nervous three months or so to wait before the Court's actual decision comes out. Perhaps, though, people attending these hearings will be able to discern, from the questions the Justices ask the lawyers arguing the case, how they are likely to rule — or more specifically, how Justice Anthony Kennedy is likely to rule, since the others, by their general ways of reasoning, are almost certain to divide 4—4.

It is going to be a long wait.

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