It Isn't Roberts's Problem: It's Ours
When Chief Justice Roberts voted in Obamacare in 2012 I wrote that:
[T]he only way to make liberals accept a repeal of ObamaCare is by the brute force of political power, the mandate of the voters expressed at the ballot box.
Now Roberts has pushed aside the little matter of the Obamis' deliberate attempt to intimidate states into building their own health care exchanges in King v. Burwell. Justice Kennedy has rubber-stamped gay marriage, and hey, what's the matter with a little disparate impact among friends?
What is going on here? It's all explained in Angelo Codevilla's 2010 American Spectator epic, “America's Ruling Class – and the Perils of Revolution.” The money quote is (in reference to little Timmy Geithner):
Hence whether formally in government, out of it, or halfway, America's ruling class speaks the language and has the tastes, habits, and tools of bureaucrats.
As in programs and regulations and policy analysis.
The culture of bureaucracy began in America with the rise of the Progressives in the late 19th century as they determined to bring America out of its embarrassing spoils-system Dark Age with rationalism and expertise. First they built a culture that worshiped at the altar of the rational educated expert. They remade politics and government in its image.
That's the reason for Chief Justice Roberts' capitulation. It's Breitbart's First Law: Politics is downstream from culture. We can't roll back the administrative welfare state with a stroke of the legal pen because we haven't won the battle for the culture.
Oh sure, we want to maintain a conservative majority on the court to stop the lefty mind-numbed robots from rubber stamping every stupid liberal idea that comes into the policy-analyst mind of a Jonathan Gruber. But that majority can only stand astride Liberal Fascism shouting Stop.
In short, we conservatives cannot “fundamentally transform” the administrative welfare state until every Pajama Boy and Mattress Girl in America confidently knows that entitlements and the regulatory state are rubbish. To do that means to change the culture, and then grow a ruling class rooted in that culture.
That kind of ruling class wouldn't have written a cruel law like Obamacare, wouldn't impose gay marriage from on high, because why would anyone, even the dullest scion of a political family such as, oh, a Chelsea Clinton, want to do anything so unjust, so stupid as that?
Now, I have done some humble work on the question of changing the culture. In fact I think about nothing else. Not surprisingly, I've come up with an idea or two which might help to change the political culture, such as:
Government is force. Imagine an America in which every twentysomething dressed in artistical black is tweeting in response to the latest liberal free-stuff proposal: Doofus #GovIsForce. See here.
Capitalism invented plantation slavery, But then it changed its mind, because slaves don't create wealth like free, responsible workers. Capitalism has increased per capita income from $3 per day to $100 per day in 200 years. There has been nothing like that, ever. Stalin, Mao, and the Castro brothers double-checked the math, just to be sure. See here.
Social cooperation without force means religion. If you want a society where the knuckledusters mostly stay in the drawer, then you need stuff like divine punishment and naming and shaming of defaulters. Social justice warriors need not apply; elders and members of Charleston Emanuel AME Church go to the head of the line. See here.
Also, Everyone gets involved. We are talking about civil society, baby, and the culture of involvement for things like education, relief of the poor and elderly, driven by “an inherent element of peaceableness, good-naturedness, and generosity” as lefty Theodor Adorno (I kid you not!) put it in Critical Models. See here.
I think that's enough for now. It's a start. There's lots more over at An American Manifesto: Life After Liberalism.
There's one little problem with this glorious new culture that, one fine day, will flow downstream into our politics. It is that every government on this planet is an armed minority ruling over some territory, and it maintains the consent of the governed by handing out free stuff to its freeloading supporters.
So the glorious new culture would be fighting against one of the oldest of human instincts: to freeload off the work of others.
And it would be fighting against all liberals and Democrats who think you can't have enough people of the subordinate self that vote for more free stuff and keep dull scions of political families in the chips.
But if the glorious new culture wins the war, then the Supreme Court wouldn't matter so much, because it would just go along the new ruling-class ideology, just like today's court tends to go along with today's ruling class.
Christopher Chantrill @chrischantrill runs the go-to site on US government finances, usgovernmentspending.com. Also see his American Manifesto and get his Road to the Middle Class.