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The Ghosts of Liberal Pieties Injustice, American Style

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Roberts Hands a Poisoned Chalice to the President

by Christopher Chantrill
July 04, 2012 at 12:00 am

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WHAT IN the world was Chief Justice Roberts trying to do by voting with the liberals on ObamaCare? Conservative opinion is all over the map, but conservative talk show hosts were clear, as I drove south from liberal Seattle to liberal Ashland, Oregon, on June 28, 2012, that the ball was in the voters’ court.

Whatever you think of Roberts’ decision, his message was unequivocal. If you don’t like ObamaCare then you’d better vote it down in November. In this he gives conservatives real clarity.

If the Supreme Court conservatives had voted down ObamaCare by a vote of 5 to 4 the liberals would not have accepted it, any more than the pro-life movement accepts Roe v. Wade. There was only one way in 2012 to make a Supreme Court decision to invalidate ObamaCare stick, and that would have been for Justice Kagan to join the conservative majority in a 6-3 decision. Why Kagan? Look at the other three liberals: Ginsburg was a liberal ACLU lawyer; Breyer was a Kennedy staffer; Sotomayor an affirmative action pick—liberal hacks every one. But Elena Kagan was dean of Harvard Law School and Solicitor General; she is the liberal educated elite. Her vote to overturn would have been an admission from the educated establishment that ObamaCare was unjust and wrong.

Good luck with that. So the only way to make liberals accept a repeal of ObamaCare is by the brute force of political power, the mandate of the voters expressed at the ballot box, just as Chief Justice wrote in the majority decision.

Chief Justice Roberts did his level best “nudge” the voters. First of all, he ruled that ObamaCare is constitutional because it is really a tax. This means that Mitt Romney and a dozen SuperPACs can tell the voters that President Obama has raised taxes on the middle class. Secondly, Roberts ruled that the federal government cannot penalize states that don’t accept expanded Medicaid.

These two poison pills hand the president a poisoned chalice. “Tell it like it is,” Howard Cosell used to say: a tax is a tax. Forget using Medicaid as a bludgeon to force the states to enroll the near poor.

The central weakness of ObamaCare is the same as the HillaryCare of 18 years ago. It does nothing for the middle class. The middle class already has health insurance. The Obamis tried to surround this truth with a bodyguard of lies about everyone being able to keep their present health insurance and with the canard that a penalty is not a tax. Now Chief Justice Roberts has insisted on telling the American people the truth.

If Americans vote against President Obama in November it will be the third election that liberals have lost on the health care issue. Perhaps liberals will finally get the point.

It is, of course, grossly unfair that the liberals can create unjust law with the help of the Supreme Court but conservatives can’t use it to repeal injustice. But life is unfair. Liberals get to use the Supreme Court as their pet pony because they are the educated elite and the aristocratic branch of government is naturally the branch of the educated elite. Conservatives merely add up to a sub-culture allied with movements of resistance on abortion, guns, and taxes.

The generation-long conservative strategy for turning the Supreme Court from a liberal rubber stamp into a bench with respect for the Constitution as written is a good one. But it cannot make liberals abandon their program of political domination and what James C. Scott in Seeing Like a State calls “internal colonialism,” the domestic liberal equivalent of the old imperialist program of using raw power to bring the benefits of civilization to the backward natives whether they like it or not.

This means that Chief Justice Roberts is right. There is no short cut to reforming the welfare state and ending its reign of injustice and oppression. It must be accomplished through the expression of the American popular will.

Ultimately conservatives must still persuade the liberal educated elite that their once noble program has turned into a cesspit of injustice and cruelty that visits its harshest cruelties on the people it is supposed to help, the folks in Charles Murray’s underclass Fishtown, the single mothers on welfare and the men that have dropped out of the work force. But intelligent people don’t abandon their closed system on their own. They will only be persuaded by the ruin of their hopes and the destruction of their power. That is what elections are for.

Today conservatives are disappointed. The Supreme Court failed to wave a magic wand over ObamaCare and make it disappear in a pinch of fairy dust. But it gave us a bracing dose of reality and did us the favor of handing President Obama a poisoned chalice to drink from. Tomorrow conservatives must return to the fight.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Chappies

“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison


Civil Society

“Civil Society”—a complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churches—builds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust


Hugo on Genius

“Tear down theory, poetic systems... No more rules, no more models... Genius conjures up rather than learns... ” —Victor Hugo
César Graña, Bohemian versus Bourgeois


Education

“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State


Faith & Purpose

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Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990


Conversion

“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh


Postmodernism

A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ’merely relative’, is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy


Faith and Politics

As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable... [1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006


China and Christianity

At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing


Religion, Property, and Family

But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family. Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


Conservatism

Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority — the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says ‘we should...’.
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity


US Life in 1842

Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


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