As brilliant and divinely inspired as our founding fathers were, they made a serious mistake in judgment.
For they believed that future generations of Americans would not only share their same desire and vigor for individual freedom and liberty, but their deference to statesmanship over politics and, above all, dedication to the principles of limited government they laid out in the Constitution.
The passage of so-called “health care reform” last week by the Congress of the United States and signed into law by President Obama should, once and for all, put to rest the fantasy that our elected officials – descendants of our revolutionary representatives – live and breathe by those same founding principles.
The irony of all this is that the most divisive piece of legislation in a generation – and the one that has contributed more to the demise of our future freedoms and liberty – was signed into law by a president who used to teach the Constitution to college students.
Is the situation really so dire?
When you consider that the U.S. health care system amounts to one-sixth of our entire annual economy; that health care touches 100 percent of our population; and that the recently passed health care reform law mandates coverage at risk of penalty and/or jail, the answer is resoundingly in the affirmative.
In terms of advancing the scope of the federal government – a principle so anathema to our founders that they dedicated an entire section of the Constitution (Article I, Section 8) to enumerating the federal government’s very few and very specific powers – the takeover of our health care system amounts to a coup de grace for statists and big government supporters.
From now on, unless states can successfully challenge the law at the Supreme Court level, or unless Republican promises of repeal become reality, Washington’s sycophants, miscreants and derelicts will have cradle-to-grave control over your life in some form or fashion.
It’s not a pretty picture. But more than that, it’s not the vision our founders fought, bled and died to create.
When asked by a reporter a few months ago about the constitutionality of the Democrats’ health care takeover, Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California chided the questioner with temerity and derision, positing simply in response, “Are you serious?”
Thus is the level of contempt modern-day legislators, who brand themselves enlightened “progressives,” display for the very document which allowed them the individual freedom to seek office in the first place, and to which each of them pledged allegiance and obedience upon taking their seat as representatives of the people.
And yet, the very same post-modern lawmakers who, on the one hand, hold such scorn for the Constitution when it blocks advancement of their ideology, will use its supposedly intractable provisions when it is advantageous to them. Can you imagine, for instance, Pelosi – as third in line of succession to the White House, should tragedy befall both Obama and Vice President Biden simultaneously – hesitating to take her place at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Or any liberal decrying the First Amendment’s free-speech provisions as loudly as they do the Second Amendment’s guaranteed personal ownership of a firearm?
Of course it is impossible for our founders to physically witness today the America they created two-and-a-half centuries ago. But if it were possible, it’s more likely they would never recognize it – and just as likely they would consider the bulk of today’s legislators in Washington the same enemies of liberty as was King George and his Court.
There is no way the founding fathers could have improved on the Constitution in a way that would have prevented the passage of a blatantly unconstitutional law like we just saw in the health care reform bill. The Constitution is already clear about what powers Washington does – and does not – possess.
What our form of government requires to function properly, therefore, is a group of individuals who value and aspire to preserve our founding principles; statesmen who zealously guard the integrity of the Constitution’s limited federal role; men and women who forego the ugly pettiness, convenience and personal gain of politics in lieu of protecting and preserving what was, when it was first implemented, the most radically liberating and empowering form of government ever devised.
Obama is touting health care reform as a victory for the American people, while mocking those who rightfully deride his and his party’s new law as an insult to our forebears and a rejection of all they stood for.
With any luck, maybe the judicial branch of government still has enough founding principle left to put the kibosh on this blatant power grab. Short of that, there is no recourse left for the American people, save following the example of our founders.