Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Arrow of Freedom

As you have probably heard, the Supreme Court has been hearing the case brought against the individual mandate portion of Obamacare. At issue is whether or not the Commerce Clause of the Constitution combined with the power of the federal government to tax it citizens are sufficient to give the federal government the right to dictate to its citizens the mandatory purchase of health insurance. The thing that confounds me most about this case is that it had to be brought in the first place. The individual mandate is clearly unconstitutional. It is quite obvious that the intent of the Constitution was to put restraints on the federal government so they could not get to the point of being oppressive like the governments the colonists had once been under. If indeed the Commerce Clause grants our national leaders the power to mandate private purchases, then in essence they have unlimited power. What will come next? Preventing people from purchasing fatty and sugary foods? Mandating that businesses must hire people until unemployment is zero? Preventing people from pooling their money in an attempt to oust an incumbent politician? Our country now stands at a very important juncture. If the Supreme Court rules that the individual mandate is Constitutional, then basically our Constitution will have been ruled to be of no consequence. Congress and the President will be handed the keys to the nation. They will be able to open any door without resistance. This is a very dangerous road to go down, if indeed we want to remain a free people.

Historically, the courts in the United States have held that any contract that was signed under duress was invalid because the essence of a valid contract was that it was entered into on all sides voluntarily. If a person was coerced in any way, he could go to court, present his case, and have the contract invalidated. Now we have our very own government saying that that aspect of contract law is wrong. They are attempting to hold that they have the power to force a person to enter into a contract that he does not wish to enter. And the contract would be valid, regardless of the duress. What other contracts will our government force us into should this one be validated by the Supreme Court?

When this nation was founded, liberty was a great idea that was only enjoyed primarily by white males. Over time, as people became more enlightened, freedom began to expand. It took a civil war, rallies, writing, discourse, civil disobedience, and protests (sometimes violent), but over the years the arrow of freedom continued to move in the right direction. Blacks gained their freedom and eventually were able to overturn discriminatory laws. Women became full citizens with the right to vote and become leaders in industry and politics. More recently we see gay citizens standing up for their rights and gaining them little by little. We have seen a lot of progress in our country as its citizens of all stripes stand up for themselves and gain independence. Are we really willing to let our desire for safety reverse this progress? For if we give the federal government the power to run our lives in the marketplace, it won’t just be select groups of people who will see their freedom slip away. It will be everyone who calls himself a citizen.

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