If one is going to go after sacred cows, one should really go after sacred cows. Most of the people in our society who get credit for "going after sacred cows" are just going after unfashionable ones. At least ones that are unfashionable in the circles they want to appeal to. We live in a world of iconodules posing as iconoclasts.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Unlimited Government

What to make of the health care workers in New York protesting mandatory vaccinations, on condition of employment?

I think fears of the vaccine are almost certainly groundless, though a very small percentage of people do have negative reactions to a vaccine. The protest seems hysteric, especially since the same people may not object to administering it to their patients.

However, as is typical today, the issue here is one of liberty as opposed to the unlimited state. If the health care workers are employed by the State of New York, the State has the right to make the vaccination mandatory. If they aren't, there must be some provision in the State Constitution permitting this in case of a health emergency (which I'm not sure the Swine Flu rises to. Note: I'm not going to let them control the language, therefore I shall not call it "H1N1").

More significant, however, is the individual health insurance mandate being considered in Congress, which apparently has bipartisan support. As usual since the 1930s, this will be justified under the Commerce Clause, the redefinition of which created an unlimited government.

The rejoinder might be a practical one, that health insurance is so important, people should be required to have it, as they are with automobile insurance. Auto insurance is handled at the State level, however, and more importantly these are two different things.

Under the New Deal Redefinition of the Constitution, there were ostensibly to be two different sets of rights. Economic rights, where they ruled you had none, and personal rights, which you might still have if the Court so ruled, especially if you belonged to the right sort of group.

However as the proposed individual mandate to buy health insurance shows, the distinction between economic and personal rights was always false. If they can force you to buy health insurance, they can force you to buy anything. There is no Constitutional, principled barrier. They may refrain from compelling you to buy this or that out of practical or political/popularity considerations, as holds in any omnipotent government, but their power is demonstrated to be unconstrained.

The fact is we live under an unlimited government, and have since the New Deal. The fiction of limited government has been maintained as a guise, because there would be popular outcry and resistance if this were to be stated openly and honestly. This fiction is most maintained by Progressives, who become champions of constitutional government when out of office, but then view their power as unlimited when they are in office. Ironically these are often the same people who mutter about the unprincipled nature of Straussians.



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