A Primer from Hippocrates:
“I will respect the privacy of my patients, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.”
The authors of the Federalist Papers appear to have argued that the worst fears of objectors to the creation of the Constitution were wrong because the Constitution was a self-limiting document. In simple language, it had its own kill switches. One such kill switch was supported by the argument, in Federalist 41, that the language in article one, section eight, “the Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States,” was a general statement limited by the language in the rest of the article and elsewhere in the Constitution.
Federalist forty-one argued strenuously that the document absolutely limited the ability of the central government to corrupt this general language to usurp the rights of the states and individual citizens. Yet, in every argument for the expansion of the central government since 1932 the words general welfare have hovered in the background, the progressive justification for the usurpation of individual and state rights in pursuit of the so-called greater good. As a nation, the last tattered vestiges of the Constitution and our individual liberties are now endangered as the legislature attempts to create a permanent individual fiscal obligation to pay for so-called healthcare reform. In other words, each citizen is presumed to be indentured to pay for the collective healthcare bill of the country. Call it a tax just for being alive. This is the very form of legislative overreach many of the founders were terrified of, and James Madison argued in forty-one that the constitution would (or was it must) prevent.
Among the things Madison wrote were:
“Had no other enumeration or definition of the powers of the Congress been found in the Constitution, than the general expressions just cited, the authors of the objection might have had some color for it; though it would have been difficult to find a reason for so awkward a form of describing an authority to legislate in all possible cases. A power to destroy the freedom of the press, the trial by jury, or even to regulate the course of descents, or the forms of conveyances, must be very singularly expressed by the terms “to raise money for the general welfare.
“But what color can the objection have, when a specification of the objects alluded to by these general terms immediately follows, and is not even separated by a longer pause than a semicolon? If the different parts of the same instrument ought to be so expounded, as to give meaning to every part which will bear it, shall one part of the same sentence be excluded altogether from a share in the meaning; and shall the more doubtful and indefinite terms be retained in their full extent, and the clear and precise expressions be denied any signification whatsoever? For what purpose could the enumeration of particular powers be inserted, if these and all others were meant to be included in the preceding general power? Nothing is more natural or common than first to use a general phrase, and then to explain and qualify it by a recital of particulars.
Madison, Jay, and Hamilton helped convince the rest of the founders that an imperial central government was a virtual impossibility because the Constitution itself was virtually an impenetrable bulwark against such an end to democracy. The founders knew that an imperial central government would do what every other one in history had done even if it had the trappings of democracy; it would turn carnivorous, demeaning absolutely the rights of the sentient individual before devouring them. The founders understood that an imperial central government has no conscience.
Yet, today’s U.S. legislative and executive leadership ask us to accept that not only is an imperial central government morally superior to the individual, but that it also has a conscience. The party of the so-called Democrat has clearly devolved not only the language of the founders and the constitution, but also the broader intent. The final act in, arguably, the most valuable constitutional democracy in history is reaching its anticlimactic end, as triggered by healthcare reform. The Democrat believes somehow that the founders meant us to sacrifice our liberty for comfort. The Democrat also believes, apparently, what history has taught us to be false; the proposition that an imperial central government has a conscience. They argued this in creating the Social Security Ponzi. They argued this in creating Medicare, Medicaid, and Welfare. They argue this now – a lullaby of comfort – as they move to seize full control of healthcare in the United States. They ask us to accept indentured servitude to pay for a government mandate the type of which the founders knew would lead us to tyranny.
In order for one to believe that the healthcare legislation now passed in both houses of congress will be good for us one has to accept that the government will treat us as Hippocrates would. The Democrat, as a species, will argue of course it does. Is not the legislature itself a conscience? But does any government have the capability to really understand right versus wrong? The protections in the constitution are there precisely because the founders knew that absolute power corrupts absolutely. If we accept this maxim, and historical evidence dictates we must, then how can we submit to entrust our very lives to the absolute power of the nameless, faceless, well paid bureaucrats orbiting Washington like so many pilot fish. Those same Democrats, for example, argue that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are indispensible without showing you the ruinous debt being created because they are fundamentally Ponzi schemes dressed up as pay-as-you-go.
We are now asked to believe that the U.S. government – after indenturing every man, woman, and child with a mandate to pay for healthcare insurance or face a penalty – will treat us with the same conscience a spouse, a mother, or a grandchild would treat us. We are asked to accept without question that – by ending an environment where the natural scarcity of resources is allocated by the market and the conscience of caregivers today – an imperial central bureaucracy will do it with more compassion at a lower cost than happens today. You may see the following posts to understand how well the federal government has done so far in any number of areas:
There is a reason governments are generally first formed for the common defense. Like violent dogs, governments have a nature that is only suppressed through stern control by the citizenry. Our government was formed to be controlled by the people, not to control the people. In the past, even Monarchies were controlled by the avarice or conscience of their kings and queens. In the absence of tight control, it is the nature of government to devolve to violence unless a conscience is somehow in charge. The difficulty in the U.S. today is that there is no conscience in charge because the constitution has been parsed virtually into irrelevance. Part of that is our fault for letting a de-facto one party system govern us since 1932 with brief interruptions by Republicans. Even those interruptions looked virtually the same as the legislators reverted to type and wallowed in the power inside the beltway.
If you fervently believe an imperial central government will take better care of you and do it with the same compassion and conscience as your family, please refer to the following examples for comfort: The U.S. experiments on the Tuskeegee Airmen. The Japanese experiments throughout China during WWII. The German Final Solution. The Soviet Gulag. The British Health Service. The Khmer Rouge. The Cuban Nirvana. South African Apartheid. The Thirty Years War. Idi Amin. The Taliban. The French in Algeria. Zimbabwe. And these are just examples off the top of the head.
History is overflowing with evidence of the inhumanity of governments, culminating in the estimated liquidation of nearly one hundred million souls by socialist regimes in the last century. The American Democrat would have us believe that legislating our indenture to pay for healthcare will end differently because their version of an imperial central government would act in good, compassionate faith and conscience. What do you think?
There are reasons Article One, Section Eight exist. There are reasons Amendment Ten exists. There are reasons Madison wrote Federalist Forty-One. They knew government has no conscience. They knew if left to run wild, it would turn on us. Today we are asked to let it run wild, to give it even more leash and license over our lives. I leave it to you to imagine what will happen if we do.
© Edward Hunter and Thanks for the Laughs, 2009