THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 586, September 5, 2010
"Taxation is the fuel of war"
You Asked for It, You Got It: Obamacare
Special to The Libertarian Enterprise
Thomas Jefferson once wrote that "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." Dictionary definitions of eternal include "continued without intermission" or "valid or existing at all times."
We must be equally protective of our liberties at all times, regardless of who is in office, regardless of their party and regardless of how noble their stated aims might be.
Obamacare has been a long time coming, even when Republicans held power. How's that? Let us look at six common objections.
First, Obamacare represents reckless, bloated and socialistic government. Yet, when GW Bush and the Republicans outspent Bill Clinton by $1 trillion per year the predominant response from rank-and-file Republicans was either denial or justification. Not only did Bush expand every big government, liberal, socialist program that they said they hated, but he added some of his own. Bush was Bill Clinton on steroids.
Second, Obamacare represents a federal takeover of the medical marketplace. Yet, when the Republicans left town in January, 2009, Uncle Sam, through programs like Medicare, already controlled about 60 percent of the medical marketplace. Not only that, but GW Bush and a Republican House and Senate gave us a massive expansion of the federal role in health care with the 2003 prescription drug benefit. But, they were conservatives, weren't they?
If you gave Bush and inch, why wouldn't you expect Obama to take a mile?
Third, federal control of healthcare is not authorized by the Constitution. I agree. Nor is ninety-five percent of what Uncle Sam does. This includes lots of things conservatives like, such as the wars on drugs, terror, Afghanistan and Iraq. The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution never restrained conservatives. Why should we expect liberals to respect it?
Fourth, no one has read the bill in its entirety. This is nothing new. In 2001, Congress voted overwhelmingly for the 300-page Patriot Act after having only 20 minutes to read it. A lot of folks who support the Patriot Act are now objecting to Obamacare on the grounds that no one has read it or knows everything that is in there. Too bad, so sad. When you let your party's bills sail through Congress without being read, don't come crying to me when the other party passes bills they don't read. Indeed, most bills that get through Congress are not read in their entirety.
Fifth, Obamacare violates financial privacy. Consider this from a blog called Values Voter News: "ObamaCare Violates Financial Privacy. Cloaked in the unassuming garment of 'fraud protection', ObamaCare in its current form would require the IRS to divulge taxpayer identity income, number of dependents and 'other information as prescribed' by regulation.
Weren't these same "values voters" the biggest supporters of GW Bush's post-9/11 agenda? Wasn't one of the pillars of this the Patriot Act, which authorized massive intrusions on financial privacy? (In the words of LewRockwell.com's Rick Fisk: "Values voters have strange values.")
And finally, Obamacare takes away our freedom to make our own decisions. To quote Chris Farley's character Matt Foley, "Well lah-de-FRIGGIN'-DAH!"
Many of the people who are the most outspoken against Obamacare are also opposed to medical marijuana. The right to ingest the hippy lettuce for medical purposesand indeed for any purpose whatsoeveris protected by the Ninth Amendment. This same amendment protects your right to home school your kids. It protects your right to do all kinds of things regardless of whether or not someone else approves.
If you would deny others the right to smoke medical marijuana, you do not believe in medical freedom. (I would also invite you to consider what you would do if you were in excruciating pain and had exhausted all other options other than medical marijuana. Would thou still be as holy as thou currently art?) If you would micromanage how others medicate themselves, just know that there are people who think differently than you that would micromanage your medical treatment.
Lew Rockwell once wrote that "The problem with American conservatism is that it hates the left more than the state ... believes brute force is the answer to all social problems. It has never understood the idea of freedom as a self-ordering principle of society. It has never seen the state as the enemy of what conservatives purport to favor."
This whole march toward Obamacare has me paraphrasing the old Toyota jingle. You asked for it, you got it: Obamacare. For decades, conservatives have been so implicitly trusting of Republicans as they recklessly disregarded constitutional limits on federal power. Why are they so outraged and indignant as Democrats run wild when they gain power?