Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Takeover Takedown

As of last night, thirteen separate states are already suing the federal government regarding the Health Insurance takeover.

While reporting this last night, the local talking head said something that made me laugh aloud: he assured us that "experts" (whom he neither quoted nor identified, natch!) said it was Constitutional, because "federal law trumps state law." (He may as well have added "So there!")

Now, he's right that the Constitution is binding on the several states, but that still leaves open the question of whether THIS is Constitutionally permissible.  So here I am with my pocket copy of the Constitution... Look, it's the Tenth Amendment! "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
For the sake of this post, we have to set aside the vast numbers of times the Congress has already ignored the Constitution and pretend that this time, they do care what it says and will abide by it.  You may pull something making this stretch, so take your time.

Good?  Good.

Right at the outset this Amendment is bad news for would-be totalitarians and Big Brotherists: it states openly and plainly that the powers of the United States Government are delegated to it by the people via the Constitution.  They are not inherent to it like the rights of the people are to them.  They are borrowed, and therefore can be taken back when used unwisely or recklessly.  In brief, We the People are the adults of this relationship; the Congress, the President, and the Courts are the balky children, and their powers over us are an allowance we grant exclusively at our sufferance.  We can ground them if they misbehave.  And this is the consistent language of the rest of the Constitution: in the Preamble, it is We the People who ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States, not the other way around.  Article I starts thus: "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States..." etc.  And that confirms what was written in the Declaration of Independence, that Governments are established only to protect the inherent rights of the people, "deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed."

I highlighted those two words "herein granted" because they further illustrate what the Tenth Amendment was designed to emphasize - the Constitution is meant as an upper limit, not a minimum requirement.  If said powers are not "herein" the Constitution, they are "reserved to the States respectively, or to the People."  And even in the faintest penumbra and emanations of the Constitution, there is nowhere the right to have one's health costs insured by the Federal Treasury.  There's no right to have them insured at all by anybody.

So... going all the way back to our talking head, I would say that a federal law has to be Constitutional in order to be valid and binding on the states.  This thing ain't.

Am I confident about this?  Absolutely.  Will it matter to our rapacious government?  I'm not holding my breath, let's just say that.  If governments stuck to what they were told we may all still be British subjects; no revolution would have been necessary.  By their nature governments prey on their own people.  They don't shrink unless someone shrinks them. and then only with great truculence.  And We are not the same People as the revolutionaries and Founding Fathers.  They helped carve the colonies out of the wilderness, fought to keep them safe, and did so with no promise that their far-distant King and Parliament could swoop in at a moment's notice with millions in federal aid if some flood or fire obliterated their town.  Even the most urbane and loyalist of them had to be a lot more self-reliant than we are.

Not for a moment am I ungrateful to live today, with modern medicine, roads, cheap goods, the Internet, and a thousand other conveniences.  Still I have to say, they're not the reason for living, and they never were.  None of them would mean much if we were reduced to subservience.  Chains of gold and velvet still bind.  These particular chains are in fact so lavish that their forging will beggar every mother's son of us, and we will be a nation of pauper slaves instead of the land of the free and the home of the brave.

AND an update from Noel at Cold Fury: such a major and transformative act has been bipartisan, up until now.  Hell, even Prohibition was a two-thirds majority idea.  As that was eventually repealed, so let this be.

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