There has been much written in the blogosphere about whether there is any constitutional authority for the federal government to force its citizens to purchase a policy of health insurance. As one who is afraid of government gaining increasing power over people's lives, I do not think it is. But let us assume that that it is constitutionally permissible. What next? If the government really wants to save the auto industry, why not pass a law that requires every American to purchase a new American made vehicle in the next 6 months? If you do not make the purchase, you will be taxed the fair market value of a standard 4 door sedan. If you don't pay that, it's off to the hoosegow for you. Ditto for the housing market. Too many unemployed carpenters and tile installers? Pass a law requiring every American to put an addition on his house. The coup de grace in this scenario might be the ultimate test of the political power of the NRA. Worried about the police not being around when you get mugged or your house gets broken into? That's right. Instead of running to your phone and dialing up 911, just put your hand in your pants and pull out that government sanctioned 357 magnum and start firing away (and hope it is not your dog just wanting to come back in the house). Now the government can force you to purchase automobile insurance as a condition of driving a car, which you are free not to do. But can they force you to purchase something as a condition of citizenship? If the answer is yes, we are well on our way to an Orwellian society. For if the government has authority over your health, they have control over your life. If the government is going to pay for your diabetes or heart attack, you can bet your bottom dollar they will soon be telling you how much wine you can drink, whether or not to smoke cigars, and what kind of vegetables you need to eat. Putting this in historical perspective, I read the following ditty every week. It is as predictable as the laws of physics. Alexander Tyler made the following observation in 1787:
A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.
The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;
From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage.
I believe the US is in stage 7. It will take about 50 years to get to stage 8. But like a rock falling from a building, nothing can stop the trajectory. That is unfortunate. Not for us, bur for many of our children and all of our grandchildren.