Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day and the Cruel Irony of Obamacare

We call this very date “Independence Day” and join to celebrate it on an annual basis. For many it may come simply as a welcome day off from work. For others it signals the opportunity to commence a gathering over common interests. The gathering may vary greatly in the disparate corners of our union; from ball games with friends to family barbeques, from awed appreciation of fireworks to concerts, and any manner of preoccupation in between. There is nothing wrong with this. It is in fact a carrying out of the very rights and freedoms which our forefathers fought to ensure. However, somewhere within the recesses of our minds, every one of us should carry some acknowledgement of the momentous resonance of this day.

Today is not about a war. At it its core, neither is it is not about a victory. Our celebration of the anniversary of July 4, 1776 is about Liberty. Today is about a people who stood up to declare their sovereignty over ownership of their own land, to conduct commerce for their own good, and to make judgment for themselves as to the best counsel for their own individual minds, bodies and souls. After centuries of kings and emperors and their ilk eschewing the virtues of collectivism, The United States of America was the first nation on Earth to firmly set into law the virtues of individualism. Remember this any time somebody talks to you about the common good. With the presumed rare exception of criminals who employ force or fraud against their fellow man, the only common good can come when all men of virtue are considered free.

It is not belief which is deemed by society as immoral of unethical, but actions which are legislated by government as illegal. Government, in its effort to prevent force or fraud by any individual or group against any other individual or group, is justified in telling its citizenry what actions it will consider, as taken by that citizenry, to be illegal. However, government is never justified in imposing force or fraud against those citizens who seek to live in accord with the laws of the land. Once government begins creating regulations which employ force or fraud against its citizenry, the legitimacy of that government becomes suspect.

Any discrimination by government regarding laws, lawmaking, rights or regulations, is an affront to liberty; whether it is by gender, ethnic background, philosophy or religion, gender preference, intellectual or physical ability, body type, asset holding or productive ability, or any other conceivable manner in which government might attempt to say that one individual or group of individuals holds dominion over another individual or group of individuals. In the free market of ideas individuals have the right to believe whatever they want with regards to discrimination, so long as they do not act to bring about bodily harm or to cause any other infringement upon the rights of their fellow citizens. The government does not have this right. After all, the term “government service” did not spring forth from the head of Zeus on a wave of foam. As with most phrases it was born of purpose, to connote the intention of its specific aspect. Government exists for the sole purpose of serving the people, not the other way around. Legitimate government must be, at all times, absolute in defending the inalienable rights of its citizens.

To be clear, rights are not entitlements. An individual is entitled to work towards the virtue of his own happiness, by the production of his own effort, unencumbered by taxes and levies forced upon him against his will for the sole purpose of apportioning the fruits of his labors to those who cannot or will not engage in equivalent labors. The Declaration of Independence, (along with The Constitution of the United States of America, The Articles of Confederation, and the Bill of Rights) guarantees the right to “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” to all citizens of the United States of America. One of the operative phrases, “The pursuit of happiness” is often misinterpreted as meaning that citizens have the right to be happy, while in fact when taken literally, the right actually guaranteed is to pursue happiness. There is nothing in any of those four original documents that says that citizens have the right to have happiness redistributed to them by government. It is your right by your own effort, and your own effort alone, which the founders sought to guarantee as a means towards the achievement of your own happiness. The nature of existence, and of the free market, will set obstacles against us which we, each to his own stead and by his own ability, may work to overcome. But it becomes a shot against the bow of Liberty when we work to legislate obstacles against each other, and thus against ourselves.

Anyone who knows anything about the law knows that it works largely by precedent. And the precedents we set now may become the thorns in our sides tomorrow. An old family friend, Edward Cline, recently published an article for the website which discusses the precedents set by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts’ decision regarding the Affordable Care Act (Aka. “Obamacare”.) Besides laying out the issues regarding ACA, the article also points out some the fundamental philosophical errors which gird the loins of the entrenched altruistic tendencies in government that have plagued liberty since even before our nation’s birth. The injustice of bearing witness to this scourge against the spirit of our union, so close to our celebration of the anniversary of its birth, compelled me to comment. What I wrote there spoke to the impending doom implicit in the decision of Justice Roberts regarding freedom and the sovereignty of the peoples of this nation. Having already posted my comment, prior to the above more thorough consideration of the subject, I decided to share my original comment once again on my own blog. The full text is included in the following paragraph:

Nationalism without liberty is statism. And when the state mandates force upon its citizens there is no liberty, for there are no longer any citizens. Citizens dominated by the will of the state are subjects in service of empire. Such a transgression can only be levied against a free people if the government is willing to engage is fraud, and if the people are uncritical enough in their thinking to accept it. As government always makes law with the power of the gun as the implied threat of enforcement, there is only one logical progression available in a nation which willfully chooses to defraud its citizenry and refuses to represent their voice…Let us hope that there is yet the time and the will for reason to prevail.

I’ll wrap up with four quotes, by the twentieth century philosopher Ayn Rand, which seem to sum up nicely the crux of the position expounded above.

  • “Do not ever say that the desire to "do good" by force is a good motive. Neither power-lust nor stupidity are good motives.”
  • ” Government "help" to business is just as disastrous as government persecution... the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off.”
  • ” Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).”
  • ” It only stands to reason that where there's sacrifice, there's someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there's service, there is someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master.”