Sunday, March 21, 2010

Change I Can Believe In


Yankeedoodle said...

Three responses:

1) State nullification - already happening

2) Supreme Court challenges - if the rule of law truly extends beyond affording lawyers and miranda warnings to terrorists, then this is a given. Government should never be a tyranny of the majority, and the violence of the law should never be employed to salve the fragile emotions of a bare majority. Challenges on 4th, 5th, 6th, 9th and 10th amendment grounds.

3) Constitutional convention - if none of those constitutional problems concern anyone, then time we write a new one. The federal is a creation of, and subordinate to, the states, and it only takes 2/3 of them to call a convention and either rewrite the constitution, or dissolve the union completely. We have 37 states.

4) We don't want to get to this one.

e. said...

pardon what may be vast ignorance, but in just trying to understand how exactly this reform is going to change things, i am wondering, yankeedoodle, who is the "we" that has 37 states? is it that 37 states already plan to nullify? and, in #4, who again is the "we"-- is it the same "we" in #3-- and, what exactly is it that this we does not want to get?

just trying to hear out all sides of the debate...

thanks in advance for the clarification!

DOCTOR J said...

Yankeedoodle: As I think most readers of this blog would attest, I'm usually pretty open to engaging commenters, even those with whom I disagree. But, I have to say, what you wrote above makes no sense whatsoever to me. Maybe a little context for those claims? Or, at minimum, could you state a few of them in complete sentences?

tribalpremise said...

Ok, in complete sentences, I will clarify my original comment.

I posted these as responses to this fascistic piece of legislation. Yes, fascist. Why don't I use the word socialist like some others do? Because as those on the left, who are ever conscious of the close and discomfiting consanguinity of the two political systems helpfully point out, there is no direct and formal government ownership of property, just the complete enjoyment of the trappings thereof through extensive regulation, while maintaining the illusion of ownership vested in an individual or individuals to whom blame may be assigned when it becomes politically expedient. That being the key difference between the two. Common to the two of course is the complete subordination of the individual to the state, or some other collective abstraction.

Oh yeah, and I forgot that whole corporatist element, where the government and corporations collude to turn us into serfs, where I am either forced to buy some crap government insurance, or some crap private insurance that has been stripped of all usefulness by a bureaucracy that decides what should be covered and what should not. Oh yeah, there's always the option of free room and board in a cell somewhere for refusing to participate. Its great when the ever-so-empathic-and-agape-loving left is so eager to turn the guns of the state on the people they love so much.

Oh, but there's no nationalism? I hear that whenever someone points to some - usually misleading or manipulated - statistic and decrying that the GREAT UNITED STATES is lower ranking than those dirty Spaniards, or those drunken French. What an affront to our manifest greatness that some dirt-plot nothing of a furrin country full of ignorant ruffians outranks us in life expectancy!

But I am rambling.

Ok, so I was listing the possible ways this could be challenged. The first one is happening already. A large number of states, I believe it is 37 at this point, are considering legislation that would nullify the mandate provisions of Obamacare. Without that provision, the edifice collapses. Will this legislation stand up in court? Under the supremacy clause, probably not.

This leads to my number 2. If the states cannot nullify, then they can challenge the constitutionality of the thing. The snarky comment about terrorists found its genesis in another article I read on this blog about the importance of the rule of law. If this thing is not a complete abortion of that principle, then no terrorist is safe. You cannot credibly argue that it is not ok to subject a jihadist to some emotional discomfort, while arguing that it is ok to throw me in jail (or kill me for resisting arrest by whatever means possible) for not buying government-mandated and approved insurance. By the way, that wonderful high-deductible plan I had? It is now illegal. I also got a letter from my family doctor. He will no longer take insurance of any kind. Good job, superheroes of empathy.

And my comment about violence of the law? That's what law is. It is nothing more than violence - or threat thereof - candied over by the consent of the violated.

tribalpremise said...

The fragile emotions I referred to? This legal violence visited upon me and my family finds its cause in the frail emotions of a few people who find it utterly horrifying that someone else might not have insurance. But the true narcissistic nature of that so-called empathy they feel reveals itself when they can only imagine themselves in that place, never considering why another person might choose not to have insurance. Those reasons might include the fact that they are young and healthy and do not want it, or that they might pay directly. When one looks at the numbers, there are not that many people who are truly without insurance for reasons beyond their control, despite the endless theater of sobs the democrats are so fond of subjecting us to. Certainly not enough to criminalize the choice to not have it. But back to empathy and narcissism. Empathy is nothing more than projecting oneself into the circumstance of another, while completely effacing the values and conscience of the individual into whose world the empathizer has been crudely copy-pasted. The narcissism is the belief that eradicating the one empathized with in the process yields anything meaningful. If a fat pasty, comfortable middle-class American had to work in a sweat shop, then he would think it something awful. So it must, then, be awful in such absolute terms that the guy who thanks his god every day that he isn't dying of starvation waiting for crops grow in his barren plot needs to be disabused of his false consciousness and sent back to his field. If some fat pasty middle class guy would hate making soccer balls in a warm room, then by God and by law, so must everyone! That's the ultimate narcissism of empathy.

Anyway, these challenges to the constitutionality of this beast can be based on any of the amendments I listed. It can also be challenged on commerce clause grounds, as even Gonzales vs Raich did not contemplate such an expansive power. If this stands, it means not only that the government can outlaw growing marijuana for personal use that never crosses state lines (as ruled under Raich), but it can also force you to buy and consume it if it wanted to. No matter what narrow and immediate utopian ends you have in mind for the purpose of cosmic health insurance coverage, you'd have to be pretty dull and shortsighted to not see, and be frightened by, the broader implications of that idea.

Now, my third option was much shorter and simpler. Basically it means that if the Supreme Court challenges fail, then there is the ultimate option: calling a constitutional convention. All you need is 2/3s to get that process started. If the Supreme Court won't declare this monstrosity unconstitutional, then its time to write a new constitution free of the perversions and contortions of past SC rulings. Or we could just dissolve the union. My comment about the 37 states referred to nullification, not the convention, though I am sure that the same states that would vote to nullify would also vote to call a convention.

The fourth one is civil disobedience. I plan on it. I refuse to have anything to do with this. I will get fined, yes. I will refuse to pay the fine. They might not come for me right away, but they will, eventually. Every coercive scheme ultimately must resort to force in the face of opposition.

I hope this has clarified things.