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Doug Smith: Cautionary Tale from a Curmudgeon

2 Jul


Doug Smith: Author, Historian and regular contributor to Free State Patriot

“The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.

The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number.

The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.”

Robert Heinlein


Some of our idealists and are enthusiastically celebrating SCOTUS’ ruling on Obamacare. So, for them: a Cautionary Tale.

Our vaunted Brethren (and Sisterns? ) reversed their own positions and found, because they wanted it to be so, that the words of a law did not say what they said, but rather what the Brethren thought they ought to have said, if the Congress intended what the Brethren thought the Congress ought to have intended.

The court, in very nearly the same breath, has said Government may NOT control your decisions, yet Government May control your decisions, depending 9 people’s whim of the moment. The Court, has, then, gathered to itself the role of Grand Arbiter, final word on all decisions of law or politics regarding what Government may do TO you.

How’s that again?

Our Constitution was enacted to protect citizens from what Government could do to its citizens, by people who had been subjects of a Government which could, and did, exercise arbitrary power at the whim of King or Noble. People who live under a monarch thought to rule by divine Right, unquestionable, are the Subjects of his will, and the whim of his lesser nobles. Or 9 Robed Arbiters.

justices 1

Citizens are protected by laws and rights that may not be infringed under those laws. Altering those laws, under the Constitution is, by design, possible, but difficult. We ought not to alter our laws on the whims of a few or a passing fashion, but by a dawning and sustained consensus that a change ought to take place, and carries popular support. Because what is so easily gained, “just like that”, can just as easily be taken away.

As part of this cautionary tale, consider that we fought a war to get the 13th Amendment, and how enduring it is. Whereas the 18th Amendment, which, like Obamacare, involved a Progressive Government controlling businesses and personal financial choices, lasted barely 10 years.

Prohibition, like Obamacare, was touted as “the law of the land”. But it quickly became unpopular, and was repealed. Why? Because it didn’t work, and was a financial disaster. Obamacare has been, and remains, hugely unpopular. Why? Because it doesn’t work, and is a financial disaster.

Our cautionary tale, then, suggests the Idealists might want to temper their celebrations. Or, perhaps, elect politicians who will vote and work to make it workable. To make it survivable, it would be necessary to change it to earn support.

Idealists don’t want to do that. They prefer that you accept their will since acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number.

But their neighbors are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. And we are comfortable with that.


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