Why Do the People Abuse Themselves by Empowering Government?

There is nothing in the Constitution that grants the federal government the authority to regulate the health care industry, much less the right to actually administer any portion of it.  Of course, the same statement can be made about education, disability, retirement, insurance, employment, housing, and so many other key aspects of our society and the U.S. economy.  That hasn't stopped the feds from assuming control of these enterprises – sometimes partial, increasingly total.  Moreover, all three branches of the government have colluded in the lawlessly unconstitutional usurpation of the people's rights in these matters.

But the people are complicit.  By repeatedly electing politicians who boldly proclaim their intention to enhance federal power, the people knowingly empower those who rob the people of their rights.  By not recalling judges who ratify the government's implementation of unconstitutional authority, the people acquiesce in the curtailment of the rights granted to them in our founding documents.  By supporting statist policies and programs that assign responsibility for managing the mundane details of their lives to Uncle Sam, the people surrender the liberties envisioned for them by their forefathers and enjoyed by their ancestors.

Why do people do these things?  Three reasons: greed, laziness, and ignorance.  Perhaps greed is too strong a term.  But people want stuff – be it quality and affordable health care, a nice home, an outstanding education, a good job, or a comfortable retirement.  It can be difficult to secure these things.  If the federal government is willing to help, doesn’t it make sense to allow it?  Or even to encourage it?

Again, perhaps laziness is too strong a word.  But life is hard.  Aside from the high cost of obtaining the aforementioned items, the act of doing so is often impeded by difficult family matters, incidental illness or injury, haphazard crime or natural disaster, and unsympathetic friends and co-workers.  It's enough to discourage one from even trying.  A little help from a benevolent government can make a difference.

And that is where ignorance comes in.  All of these obstacles were anticipated by our Founders.  They knew, therefore, that our system of government – structured for a free people to govern themselves – would work only if the people were moral, disciplined, well-educated, responsible, self-reliant, modest, and respectful of their neighbors.  Alas, the progressives, who have taken control of all the opinion-molding organs of American society over the last century, have done their best to undermine in the populace all of the virtues required by the Founders' recipe.  Too many people no longer understand that relinquishing to the government the responsibility for running their own lives leads to tyranny.  As the famous saying – mistakenly attributed to Jefferson – goes, "A government that is big enough to give you everything you need is also strong enough to take from you everything you have."  (The actual Jefferson quote is "The natural progression of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.")  It is in the natural order of things for governments to take far more than they give – for they have nothing to give John but what they take from Sam.

And so through Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, the VA, and, of course, ObamaCare, the government has taken nearly complete control of the health care industry in America.  The polls say that most people are unhappy about that development.  Well, they have only themselves to blame.  They put Obama and the Democrats in a position to impose on us the Frankenstein monster known as ObamaCare.  It’s not like Obama and the Dems hid, before the 2008 election, their intention to do it.  The people elected them anyway.  Greed, laziness and ignorance!

We are told that ObamaCare was modeled after its precursor Romneycare in Massachusetts.  Now, several state governments have decided that ObamaCare does not go far enough in controlling the people's health care.  For example, there is Martin O'Malley, the governor of Maryland.  O'Malley has deemed that even though individuals are now dependent on government for their health care, they are still behaving in an irresponsible fashion.  They eat too much, get fat, become sick and then spend too many health care dollars.  Or they ignore health warnings (like high blood pressure, diabetes, or a family history of cancer) and fall prey to expensive illnesses.  Worst of all, they don't follow the instructions of their physicians.  Well, O'Malley will put a stop to that nonsense.  Henceforth, all health insurance policies for state employees and retirees (and others soon, doubtless) will entail a contractual agreement among the state, the health insurer, and the insuree.  Everyone will have to undergo an initial medical assessment – presumably by a doctor of his or her choosing.  The doctor is obliged to perform a health evaluation on the insuree and then provide a plan of health care maintenance.  If the insuree adheres to the plan, various discounts for medical services will ensue.  If the insuree violates the doctor's plan, then fees and financial penalties will be assessed on the individual.  How often the assessment must be performed is unclear.

The mechanisms for administering and enforcing this government diktat are buried in a document, which, although not as long, is just as obtuse and impenetrable as the ObamaCare bill.  One more layer of individual freedom is peeled away by a supposedly benevolent but, in fact, misguided and ultimately insidious government.

"But," say the new mandate's supporters, "this is for your own good, and anyway, government has to do something to rein in health care costs."  Well, it is not Big Brother's place to tell me what is good for me.  As long as I don’t harm anyone else, my health concerns are none of government's business.  And if the government were not running health care, it would not be incurring any costs that it felt the need to control.

If we are to halt government's increasing encroachment on our freedoms, we must find a way to overcome the greed, laziness, and ignorance instilled by the progressive-controlled opinion-molding organs of society.  If conservatives do not contest the liberal cultural hegemony and ultimately reassert control of those organs that drive the culture, then you can kiss the good old USA goodbye.

Ron Lipsman, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the University of Maryland, writes about politics, culture, education, science and sports at http://ronlipsman.com.  Follow him on Twitter @rlipsman.

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