I’m Just A Long Haired Hippie: But Qualified For The Supreme Court

The argument goes something like this:

By allowing people to make their own decisions, they pass costs on to other American citizens who make better and more correct decisions.  Therefore, we can mandate that what we feel is a better and more correct decision; health insurance.

That’s the Left.  That’s Obama.  That’s what people who claim to love liberty want to embrace.  That a beneficent government, acting in our best interests, can mandate behavior.

I’ve challenged this line of thought by asking if we could mandate blueberries.  See, blueberries are one of the most healthy foods available.  It consistently ranks in the top 5; heck, top 3.  People who eat blueberries are healthier than people who don’t.

There is little scientific evidence to dispute this.  If any.

Yet we know that we cannot mandate that people buy blueberries.

But if this health care mandate goes through, we are saying that the government CAN mandate blueberries.  Heck, we then admit that the government mandate that we GROW blueberries.

And yet this argument has been ignored.

Until now:

Antonin Scalia, asked if the government might require Americans to buy broccoli or automobiles. Returning to the limits thing, Scalia asked, “If the government can do this, what else can it … do?”

Sub green for blue and the argument is the same.

What can the government NOT mandate?



4 responses to “I’m Just A Long Haired Hippie: But Qualified For The Supreme Court

  1. That’s all a bit silly. I’ve not heard that argument from the left, I’ve only heard that argument from the right, setting up a straw man of government mandating a whole bunch of things that nobody has suggested mandating. All that’s up to question is whether or not we should mandate health insurance because that creates a larger pool making it more affordable. It’s part of one very major and important policy idea — and such things are supported by conservatives throughout the western industrialized world. This weird fear “they’ll mandate everything” tactic makes no sense — nobody is suggesting anything like that. As one reporter noted, the right can’t point to any “freedom” Obama has taken away, it’s all this discourse of fear and paranoia, trying to make people think the Obama administration is doing things it isn’t (highlighted by Santorum’s weird horror flick ad). It’s over the top. It’s silly.

    • All that’s up to question is whether or not we should mandate health insurance because that creates a larger pool making it more affordable.

      I don’t think anyone disagrees. It DOES make it easier to afford insurance if more healthy people pay to play. That’s not in dispute. The question is this:

      Can you make me?

      It might be silly for some no-name blogger jammin’ on a keyboard in his jammies after the kids have gone to bed. But it takes on a whol enew meaning when it’s asked by a Justice of the Supreme Court during hearings.

      What can’t the government mandate? No one, except nickgb recently, has answered that. And to his credit, nickgb answered that the government COULD mandate blueberries.

      And THAT is scary.

  2. I think I have two bones pick:

    First, it seems to me that: the ‘requiring insurance’ argument leads to tyranny’ assumes that we we haven’t already stepped over the line, or through the looking glass to less freedom, but clearly we have long ago. We’re already prohibited from activity some legal process has pronounced injuries: drugs, unsafe medicine,etc. I guesse the argument is this different in that here you’re mandated to purchase as opposed to not purchasing, so we would cross a new rubicon. I don’t see the distinction between prohibiting or mandating purchases as so significant, though I think I’ve developed a better understanding of your argument in writing this. I don’t see a lot of difference from being required to carry car insurance, so I don’t impose expenses on others by just walking (or maybe driving slowly away) from an accident to being required to buy insurance to not be a burden on othe when I’m sick.

    My other concern? I think most everyone agrees that at least government has a role to play in keeping my fist from hitting your face, but that my behavior that doesn’t hurt you or others is my own business. Property rights, and regulation in theory deal with the former situation, and the existence of freedom deals with the latter. In a way it seems simple. Government gets involved when my behavior would otherwise adversely impact you.

    The rub is that I don’t think the line is that bright and clear on what I do that actually affects you. If I hit you I think most people would agree that affects you. (Don’t worry I can’t hit that hard and we’re separated by a continent). When we I take drugs that may induce me to violence against you or others, for now at least due process of law and legislating provides for a role for the state, but the consensus is gone. If I’m talking to loud in public place on my cell, many find it obnoxious, but I don’t think many would say I should be arrested because of it.

    So where does this leave us? I think with a wide blurry line about what behavior should be prohibited or mandated. The case for mandating health insurance, it seems to me clearly isn’t as strong as the case for prohibiting physical violence, but I think there’s a better case for it than rounding up obnoxious cell phone users. That’s just my opinion isn’t it?

    The constitution of government ought to create a process to decide where we want to be in that blurry area that determines what is just my own business.

    Long post short: I don’t think we’re on the road to serfdom if the law is upheld.

    • Long post short: I don’t think we’re on the road to serfdom if the law is upheld.

      This great experiment was based on limiting government. The basis of everything is “negative” law; the concept that we describe what the government CAN’T do, not what it can.

      My point is, if this law is upheld, what CAN’T the government dictate?

      The answer is “nothing.”

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