I went to Missouri's Capital earlier this week and sat in the house gallery with many others in a show of support for a proposed state constitutional amendment to Missouri's constitution, "Health Care Freedom Act - HJR57 ". Watching the debate was interesting, and oh soooo frustrating - there are points being made right in front of you that are just frustrating as heck and that you want to join in on, but obviously you can't, can't cheer or boo or even stand up or make any display whatsoever (as several of us discovered... a couple times).
A live debate just feet away, and I couldn't even so much as post a comment on it - oh you know that hurt...arghhh!
For the most part MO Rep. Tim Jones did a good job countering the left's criticisms, except for three points which I want to address since I believe I've heard the same talking point objections on the national stage as well, these points needs to be pointed out and hacked off in the bud.
1. Bipartisanship - The oh-so pained left (and proregressive republicans) are usually the ones moaning about the lack of bipartisanship in congress, always calling for bipartisan support for this and that... but of course when they do that it usually isn't because they see the need for reaching principled agreement on an issue, but because they see that they won't have the votes they need without the other sides support. Now however, when the Left feels that they don't need the Right (which they don't BTW, they have more than the necessary number to pass anything without the Rights involvement - not even a single vote - their real problem right now is that significant numbers of their own membership are too repulsed by their legislation to sign on to it... but that's another issue), they are breezily pleased to attempt to push through legislation without any republican support at all.
Why is that an issue?
If you read my post on "Athens and America: The Bog of the Gaps", you might remember that one of Woodruff's points about the decay of Athenian democracy, had to do with 'Doubles' - issues whose meaning and usage was subverted into it's opposite. One of the things which Woodruff decried was the loss of the virtue of "Harmony or Reverence", the willingness of two or more sides to an issue to insist on finding a way of working together and making an agreement that preserves their principles as much as possible, without obliterating them - not just to say that more quantities of people supported it, but because the purpose was, and should be, to fashion legislation which actually represented the principles and ideals of all concerned, in at least some measure, and addressed the concerns of the other sides of the issue - and failing that, they recognized that the actions should not be taken - at least not while such honestly unbridgeable disagreements were still standing.
When that principled quest for harmony began to fail the Athenians, it was supplanted by the ideal of 'Majority Rules!', which would become the substitute double for what was once a principled attempt to find common ground and agreement amongst opposing views - the ideal of that First Democracy - and it degenerated into the assertion that because there was a majority of people in support of a position, that alone made it okay and possible to force the issue and get their way with no more justification than "It's democratic! Majority Rules!".
That was false 2,500 years ago when the majority voted that Socrates should be put to death for his views, and it is just as false today when the Left asserts that all Americans should be compelled to purchase something they may not want, which may jeopardize what they do want, change their lifestyle and infringe upon a huge array of their freedoms and liberties, just because a majority of representatives of one party in congress have the numbers necessary to compel the entire nation to comply.
This is not a Democratic (the political science term, not the party) ideal, and it is certainly not a Republican (the political science term, not the party) ideal, but is is very much is an anti-American ideal.
If some representation cannot be found amongst the honest portion of the other side, then it should be assumed that in principle the issue violates the views of a significant portion of Americans, and as such, it should not be rammed through and given the force of law (and yes, of course, this should have applied to Bush's 'Medicare Prescription' bill, or any other such example you can come up with). Outside of any constitutional issues, such a bill should not be passed, because it will not serve the purpose of resolving any actual fundamental issue, it will instead serve to create discontent - at best - as well as disrespect for the law, and biter resentment amongst Americans towards each other. When such a situation arises it should be taken as an indication that a huge dialog/debate needs to be engaged in on the national scale, and perhaps another election held, before the issue is returned to again.
I've said again and again, that were I suddenly given the magic legislative pen, able to repeal the legislation of the 20th century en masse, and significant swaths of the 19th as well, I would not use it. It would be pointless. It would fail. It would produce violence in the streets and open disregard for the laws of the land. Laws, even laws that are Just, even by my definition, cannot be imposed upon a people who do not understand or accept them. Laws to be valid, must represent the best understanding of the public they serve, as to how to, and not to, conduct themselves - it's been said that "The law is reason unaffected by desire", if they do not agree or understand the laws in question, then Reason is absent and only desire, force, is left to rule - in such a case the law cannot represent their understanding and so, even if good and correct, does violence to their reason and to that portion of their individual choice which the people have given by proxy to their representatives in congress.
It is in this way that even a Just law, can be unjust to impose upon the people. But that's getting ahead of myself in my series on Justice, so I'll leave it there.
I'll leave the pretext of 'Bipartisanship' and 'Majority Rules', with the idea that legislation which represents significant changes and requirements for all Americans and for the operations of a vast range of them in their daily personal and business roles, for such a proposition to be advanced at all (and more likely than not such a large thing never should, no matter the 'support' it has), it had damn well better have the backing of a huge majority of Americans and their representatives in congress, or it should not even be discussed, let alone imposed upon We The People by a simple majority vote.
Then there was this one which had me nearly jumping out of my seat, and the one argument which I didn't think Jones handled well, at least not in the morning session, the issue of legislation making health care activities,
2. Mandatory - several congressmen pointed out that govt already makes it mandatory by EMTALA (Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act) that hospitals comply with a requirement that they treat individuals in an emergency situation without regard to whether or not they can afford the care given, so how is this any different than making it mandatory for people to purchase healthcontrol insurance?
While not granting the legitimacy of EMTALA, the comparison is still a huge equivocation and invalid on the face of it. With EMTALA, certain businesses - hospitals - which are designed for and are already engaged in providing a service - health care - and are already involved in providing that care in emergency situations, is being required through EMTALA to provide their already existing service in emergency situations where lives may be at stake, to people presumably in life threatening situations (actual, feared or feigned), without regard to whether the person can pay for the service (Note: both Left and Right tend to be unaware of the fact that this constitutes an indirect tax upon all Americans, who end up paying for the unpaid services, through actual taxes under different names and of course... raising the costs of healthcare. As is typical of Govt solutions, the fix furthers the fracture!).
Making something like EMTALA mandatory, has nothing whatsoever to do with making it mandatory that individuals who may have reasonable means to suppose their health is sound, to purchase expensive insurance policies to cover payment for services - routine as well as emergency - which they may not believe they even need, yet forces them to purchase anyway at the threat of fines or even imprisonment. To dare claim an equivalence between these two, and by people who are engaged in legislating on the issue and are presumably informed about the facts, is to confess brazen ignorance, willful stupidity or far more likely, the deliberate intent to deceive the inattentive listener - those citizens whose job it is for them to represent in congress.
Shocked to find such practices among politicians, shocked I say. Really pegs my disgust-o-meter. But it still doesn't quite compare to the capper:
3. 'What does it mean to compel? - Several leftist rep's engaged in the infuriatingly condescending, coyly obtuse route, of "I'm sorry, I don't understand what the word 'Compel' means, could you help me to understand that?" The question alone made me want to compel them to the floor. When the word was finally defined as use or threat of force to cause or ensure behavior a person wouldn't otherwise engage in, they then lay on the smarm double thick with "Thank you, but now I'm really confused, isn't that what we DO in the legislature? Don't we write laws in order to compel people to do things?" - um, hello America - this is the actual mindset of leftists and it should scare the bejeeber's out of you. "Doesn't the state compel people to own auto insurance? How is the Health Care legislation before Congress any different?"
Without getting into all the areas where govt is in fact compelling, forcing, Americans - and unconstitutionally so - most laws compel people NOT to engage in actions or behavior that is deemed harmful to others or themselves, but the proposed healthcontrol bill doesn't just compel an absence of action, it forces Americans TO act, and not only to act, but to purchase a product with their own money whether they want it or not, and it threatens fines and even imprisonment to all Americans should they choose not to make that purchase.
To top it off, this healthcontrol legislation is being done at the Federal level, the federal govt is directly compelling individuals, the citizens of individual states, to engage in specific actions - that alone is unconstitutional on several levels, not the least of which is to brush the existence of states aside in their effort to directly get at the citizenry and force compliance upon them - but it is directly making an individuals preference to not engage in a business transaction, essentially a federal crime.
Not to grant the validity of the state compelling auto insurance, but when the leftist says,
"What is the issue of compel... I don't understand... doesn't the state force you to have auto insurance?"
, the comparison is lame to the nth degree. First off, yes most States do compel their citizenry to purchase auto-insurance IF they intend to engage in the specific activity of driving an automobile on the public streets, and they compel this because there is at least an argument for the fact that even their competent actions and forethought could result in accidental damage to another's property or person. Whether or not you agree with the argument, there is at least an argument of some substance there.
The Federal Govt Does NOT compel individual citizens of individual states to purchase auto insurance, even though the actions of those individuals could conceivably result in damage, injury or death to other citizens. Even though such a scenario does in fact represent real dangers to others - and the children (sorry, couldn' resist)- the Fed Govt does not involve itself in auto insurance because the Federal Govt has no business whatsoever in involving itself in the individual behaviors and transactions of individual citizens of individual states - IT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!!
Furthermore, with the issue of auto insurance, there are several other options open to individual citizens, several valid choices they could make and very legitimately and legally go their entire lives without ever purchasing auto insurance, but there are Zero such options regarding healthcare insurance. While the state does require that you have insurance if you are going to drive a car on the streets, you can still purchase and own a car without insuring it - as long you don't park or drive it on the public streets. You can purchase a car for the purpose of fixing it up, such as with a classic show car, and never be required to insure it, since you may never intend to drive it - it's for show only, and would be towed to car shows or sold. You could also own a car and drive it, and never have to insure it, if you only drive it on your own property or on no roads at all, such as is the case with 4-wheeling.
Or of course you could, as many Americans in fact do, simply not drive a car, choosing instead to ride trains, subways, busses, taxis, bikes or just plain walk from here to there on your own two feet. People are not compelled to purchase auto insurance simply because they are breathing, but only if they intend to engage in a very specific activity and in a specific situation, and only because that could conceivably put others at potential risk as a result of your deliberately chosen activities.
Such is NOT the case with healthcontrol insurance.
As Nancy Pelosi said, every American should be compelled, forced, to purchase, and a significantly expensive and ongoing purchase at that, health insurance - and not just any health insurance, but health insurance that meets her standards - or be fined significant amounts of money, and if you persist in not complying with her legislation, then you should be imprisoned for your impudence, for daring to make your own choice about your own life.
You unpatriotic fiend you.
Unlike the States which have mandatory auto insurance laws, you have no other options in this matter, other than to cease breathing - and while Pelosi-Reid-Obamao may indeed prefer you to make that choice - they have no right, no constitutional authority, to compel you to do either.
The Slippery Slope
There is another thought to be taken away from this, and it is demonstrated in the lefts choice of objections. The issues they choose to center upon,
are measures of how far down the slope we've already slipped.
- Bipartisanship - the willingness to engage in simple majority rules actions which violate the principles and beliefs of significant numbers of Americans,
- Mandating actions for business through legislation such as EMTALA, compelling them to provide services whether they choose to or not, and
- States legislating their citizens to be compelled to make purchases for particular activities,
Ladies and Gentlemen of We The People, what we have on display here in the leftists criticism of our objections, is a virtual illustration of the slippery slope we've been sliding down for decades, it marks out those areas that we have already lost many of our rights, liberties and property on - how much further do you really think there is left before hitting the bottom of the slope? What do you suppose we'll find there? How many more steps can we be nudged down before we find ourselves without any rights whatsoever?
As usual, the leftist looks at the actual evidence of the slippery slope having taken place, and denies that you have slipped at all, instead it asserts that you've been climbing upwards, not slidding downwards.
This should also illustrate the folly of attempting to combat an abridgment of principle, by quibbling over the details - that is THE method of pushing you down that slippery slope. In the debate the other day, in the morning Rep. Jones made that mistake, he tried to combat the opposition by arguing over costs and benefits, and came off poorly when he did. In the afternoon, apparently after reviewing the situation, he and other key Representatives refused to take the bait, instead they kept their arguments to principles, and that's an argument we can win, and when we do, the leftist will lose every time - being woefully unarmed, they are in effect left with bringing nothing more than a nasty tongue to a gun fight.
Ladies and Gentlemen of "We The People", arm yourselves with the ideas which your freedom and liberty depend upon. Do your part to arm your fellow Americans as well. This is a nation built upon Ideas, and it can only be defended on the basis of principled Ideas, and it will be lost if those ideas are not widely understood by those who make up this nation.
Wake up America - Do Something!