Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A GOP Idea Comes Back to Bite, But...'s unfair to paint all Republicans with the same RomneyCare brush. That said, The Star-Ledger makes an important political point in the December 2010 editorial.

Republicans liked what they now decry in health care reform

My Commentary

zemack December 15, 2010 at 7:04PM

The Star-Ledger is partially right, here. The dirty little secret of the entire healthcare debate is that the centerpiece of the entire ObamaCare package is a gift from Republicans. What I disagree on is the characterization of today’s GOP opponents of the individual mandate as the “Right” – if by Right one means support for individual rights and a government limited to protecting those rights.

How is it that “Without [the individual mandate], millions of younger and healthier people will go without coverage, gambling that they won’t get sick — and knowing that if they do, the cost will be spread to the rest of us through higher premiums or Medicaid”?

“Higher premiums” are a result of government mandates that force insurers to cover “pre-existing conditions” and hospital emergency rooms to treat the uninsured without charge. Medicaid is a government program that forces taxpayers to cover “the poor”. The GOP supports all three, even though they necessitated the individual mandate. They call the court ruling “a great blow for personal liberty”, even though many of the same conservatives hailed RomneyCare in Massachusetts as a “free market solution”.

But, it’s obvious that neither the Republicans nor the conservatives even know what “liberty” means. If they did, they would fight to overturn all three mandates, and the privatization and eventual phaseout of Medicaid. These immoral government intrusions into healthcare violate the rights of insurers, hospitals, doctors, and all taxpayers, who are forced to involuntarily provide or pay for the healthcare of others. Without their elimination, the ObamaCare individual insurance mandate does indeed appear to “seem reasonable”, as the Editors put it.

The sad fact is, there is no Right in American politics today. The Democrats are far Left, and the Republicans are moderately Left, and both keep marching farther and farther Left. Thus, the so-called “political center” keeps moving Left as well, by default. Most Americans, though, still lean toward individualism, which is manifested in the Tea Party Movement and the recent election: even though the movement still lacks a coherent ideological framework. Unfortunately, there is no major party political voice for individual rights, yet.

The consequence of all of this is that totalitarian socialism in medicine is almost here, and the rest of the economy is following suit, by default of a Republican Party that has abandoned its principles. Government controls beget more government controls, which beget more government controls, as the statist beat goes on. This editorial proves the point.

Other's Commentary:

jrsyshorjohn December 15, 2010 at 8:58PM

Folks, it's all true that 'Obamacare' is a Repubican program (first proposed by then President Richard M. Nixon) that now is reviled by third millenium Republicans, but that's not the issue here.

As an inner city kid who spent 13 years being taught very well by the Sisters of Charity, I learned that every right carries with it a concomitant responsibility. For example, the right to drive carries with it the concomitant rsponsibility to purchase auto insurance. The sisters believe that access to health care is a basic human right. I fully agree. However, with that right comes the responsibility to participate in the system by purchasing health insurance, even if you are a healthy twenty something who thinks he or she is immortal.

Talk to anyone who works in an Emergency Room and let them tell you about the young uninsured delivered by EMS after some traumatic injury, and the huge hospital bills that follow. Who's paying for their care? The rest of us responsible citizens who understand that rights carry responsibilities. It's that simple.

zemack December 16, 2010 at 4:56PM


“Responsibility”… determined and imposed by whom? It’s crucially important to understand exactly what we are talking about, as the stakes are high. What you are saying, in essence, is: “To secure these rights, governments are instituted to trample these rights”!

Rights are a guarantee and a sanction to freedom of individual action in a social context. They are moral principles that govern human relationships, by banishing force as a means of associating with one another. They assure each individual the freedom to think and act upon his/her own judgement, free from coercive interference by other people, including those acting in the capacity of a government official. Rights are unconditional, so long as you respect, and refrain from violating, the same rights of others. Rights are not, however, a claim to material benefits that must be supplied by others. Nor do they impose any involuntary, unchosen obligation to act against your own beliefs. Rights protect you from these kinds of coercion. By definition, rights can not conflict, with the rights of one necessitating the violation of the rights of others. Rights, in other words, are unalienable and possessed equally and at all times by all individuals. Rights are not a gift of the state, society, or God, accompanied by arbitrary “responsibilities”. They do not pop into existence because of the assertions of any persons who happen to “believe that access to health care is a basic human right”. Individual rights are an unconditional, unalienable birthright of every human being, because he is a human being.

The correct wording is: “To secure these rights, governments are instituted among men”.

The same principle of rights that protects an individual’s freedom of action, also defines the limits of that freedom. No one has a right to force some people to pay for the healthcare of another. No one has a right to force some people to provide medical treatment for another. No one has a right to force another person to buy health insurance. No one has a right to impose involuntary servitude on another human being. There is no price tag on rights. A “right” that imposes an unchosen obligation on some to provide unearned benefits to another is not a right at all – it is a privilege bestowed by a tyrannical government and paid for out of the exploitation of others. Sound familiar? Check your history. It’s a sad fact that, even in this day and age, we still can’t let go of some manifestation of the age-old scourge of slavery. Like a vampire, it keeps re-incarnating, returning in different forms that allow many to evade the truth of what they are advocating. Only a proper recognition of and understanding of individual rights will finally eradicate this dark human evil, once and for all.

For more on the relationship between individual rights and personal responsibility, read my post 5/11/09 post, Responsibility Depends on Individual Rights

The Constitution - It's About More than just Words

The following editorial was written in response to last January's Republican gimmick to open the 2011 session of the House of Representitives with a reading of the US Constitution. I use the term "gimmick" because ... well ... the GOP doesn't exactly have a good track record of living within its meaning.

Be that as it may, here is the editorial followed by exerpts from the comments section:

Reading of the Constitution should include every word

fpparent January 10, 2011 at 6:53AM

And if you knew anything about Consitutional history, you'll know that the 3/5 clause that liberals are so quick to judge has absolutely nothing to do with human value. It was a measure added to prevent slave owners from using those slaves to enhance their states' representation in Washington.

zemack January 10, 2011 at 6:49PM

Fpparent is right here. Slavery was wrong, not the 3/5 clause. That clause was a victory for anti-slavery factions – which couldn’t at the time muster the political strength to completely eradicate that ancient evil from American soil - because it limited the electoral power of the slave states. In essence, the South was not allowed to have its cake and also eat it. It was not allowed to accrue any political benefits from a segment of the population that at the same time was denied its individual rights – i.e., treated as less than fully human.

The 3/5 clause is politically irrelevant today, not because it’s shameful or unimportant, but because that particular manifestation of slavery no longer exists in America. Today, we partially enslave the productive members of society under an unconstitutional predatory welfare state.

zemack January 10, 2011 at 7:59PM

The Constitution is indeed an “imperfect document”. But that imperfection stemmed from the fact that it didn’t fully implement the principles laid down in the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration is the philosophical foundation of America. The principles it laid down were unalienable individual rights possessed equally and at all times by all people and a government charged with the task of protecting those rights. Those rights were understood to be sanctions to freedom of action to pursue one’s own happiness, not an automatic claim to material benefits that must be provided by the forced labor and confiscation of the property of others.

Aside from the abolition of slavery, the constitutional change mechanism bestowed by the Founders was not employed to remove the imperfections so as to fully implement America’s Declaratory principles. Instead of moving America toward the fully free society envisioned by the Founders, the “living document” feature exploited those imperfections, such as the unfortunate wording of the Commerce Clause, eminent domain, and tolerance for tax-funded education, to completely eradicate the Founding principles, and instead push the nation steadily down the road to ever more omnipotent government.

The result is an “empty constitution” – one devoid of any guiding principles. But a free nation that abandons its core principles, as America has, will not remain free. The editors laud the “ever-changing rough draft of history”. But without the constraints of a constitution based upon rational political principles such as those laid down in the Declaration, a nation’s government is like a sociopath lacking morals or conscience. It is a rogue government, guided by nothing but the latest whims of any court, legislature, or electoral majority that chooses to reinterpret the “unfinished document” according to the political winds of the moment. The big winner in such a game is government power. The big loser is the individual.

America’s “living document” no longer protects our freedom because the “changes and scratch-outs and doodles in the margins” weren’t confined within the boundaries established by the Declaration of Independence – a document that in its essentials is a perfect one. It established the framework for a servant government that recognizes the supreme value of the individual – which each and every one of us is – and that “promotes the general welfare” by protecting individual rights from violation by fellow men and, most importantly, from the government itself. We're not quite at "rogue government" status yet, but we're getting there. We must rediscover and relearn our unique heritage, and bring our nation back within its bounds.