August 17, 2009
I Don't Accept the Premise
I haven't read the health care bill, HR 3200. It's not because I don't care what's in it; rather, I oppose the bill because I don't accept the premise that it's needed or even constitutional. This debate is not about health care; it's about control. To let progressives frame the debate around a specific bill allows them to bypass the exposure and probable defeat of their larger agenda: government centralization and control. It's time we stop permitting progressive Trojan Horses through our nation's gates and start looking these gift horses in the mouth.
This health care debate is the perfect place to make an ideological stand. We shouldn't invest ourselves entirely in a debate over the legislation, but should direct our efforts more broadly to question its intent. The health care bill must be defeated and not negotiated. Congress will offer us everything we want and more, so long as a bill for socialized health care gets signed into law. There are no sacred cows in HR 3200; the only thing that matters to progressive elites is the precedent of its passage. They will eventually, patronizingly capitulate to our demands to change the bill. We will have been taken as fools who bought the snake oil because we won the haggle over price.
Our Constitution is very clear on a limited federal government. Providing health care and other social services on a federal level are not what our founders intended. In fact, they all spoke at great length about avoiding the tyranny of oppressively large government, emphasizing individual freedom & limitations on federal government.
Before we debate socialized health care, we need to have an open, national discussion about socialist influences on America. We must openly acknowledge and discuss the ramifications of continuing down the path of centralized government & abandoning the Constitution as it was intended. Understanding what the Progressive Movement embodies is the key to understanding why the defense of our republic is paramount.
Federal programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Welfare... are all theoretically unconstitutional. A government run health care bill (optional or not) is not part of its obligation to American citizens. Instead of debating who decides if the plug gets pulled on grandma, we should win our argument based on grandma maintaining the freedom to access unlimited health care based on a free market system.
So how did we come to a point in America where the people accept the notion of increasing the power of the federal government at the expense of individual freedom? Take a look at one example of a Trojan Horse used to warp the Constitution:
"Promoting the general Welfare". From the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, ensure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
"General Welfare" is mentioned again in the Constitution under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1:
The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States....
Progressives interpret this as a carte blanche on legislative and purchasing power to expand the role of federal government and to implement programs of social justice. A better interpretation reads that an absence of definition implies situational discretion rather than a policy of ongoing intervention. Lincoln's policies during the Civil War highlight a situation where ‘promoting the general welfare' resulted in temporary measures to ensure that the secession of states and disruption of national unity did not occur. Expansive social programs with no expiration, such as entitlements, are an abuse of seeing to the general welfare.
Although it has been an uphill battle in defining the limits of "promoting/providing for... the general welfare", it can be argued that the term is so vague as to be a lofty, rhetorical statement of concern for the states & the population in general. Consider the following point in the Preamble, "secure the Blessings of Liberty". How do we "secure a Blessing?" Does this imply a need for a bureaucracy of clergy to oversee securing of blessings for our nation? Or does it mean that our founders, deeply rooted in the Laws of Nature's God, intended for our nation to continue to be moral people who respect and protect their unalienable rights "endowed by [our] Creator". The first example makes a heavy-handed policy; the latter conveys a guideline for a free society to follow.
Although our founders were extremely intelligent, well read men, their tendency for bombast provides political ammunition for the altruistic liberal faction of progressives to reinterpret the Constitution. They have a tendency to promote policies based on collective ideals derived from socialism: redistribution of wealth, nationalization of industry and social conscience through Environmentalism. Progressives will ally themselves with ideologues that support similar goals resulting in government control. The fault in communist-based ideas is this: nothing truly belongs collectively ‘to the people'; it belongs, in reality, to the government.
Another Trojan Horse was the New Deal Policies of Roosevelt. From the late 1920's until the early 1940's our nation was suffering under the hardship of the Great Depression. Around that same time, there was also a school of thought being actively tested in European and American politics: Fascism. It was not a dirty word yet but considered at the time, in progressive circles, as a forward thinking concept of nationalism & industry corporatism. Republican and Democrat presidents of this era espoused elements of fascism to make economic and social policies. The political movement was allowed to flourish under the false pretense that The New Deal solved our economic problems rather than the industrial jump-start from WWII. It's wasn't until the realization that these programs were bankrupting America and stifling free markets, that the real questioning of progressive economic policies were discussed outside of economists' circles.
Ever since the brief, outward American acceptance of fascism through the Progressive Movement, a crack has formed in our philosophical foundation and our constitutional republic has been under constant attack. Progressive policies embody the sentiment of most "isms" based on centralized power driven by the mob rule of a democracy. Thomas Jefferson summed up a democracy best when he said:
A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51 percent of the people may take away the rights of the other 49. - Thomas Jefferson.
Progressivism is a snow balling of power that doesn't stop because there are no bounds to contain it. A reasonable extrapolation of successful progressive control would be comparable to an Iron Law of Oligarchy. Our constitutional republic defends against such a collection of power and is resistant to "social justice" policies. Considering that actions speak louder than words, you can see the obvious goal of progressivism is to transform our constitutional republic into a democracy, ruled by centralized government. Progressivism ends the great American Experiment in freedom.
Andie Brownlow edits the Conservatarian Journal.