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  An American Manifesto
Thursday September 18, 2014 
by Christopher Chantrill Follow chrischantrill on Twitter

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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 03, 2012 at 6:00 pm

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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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 TAGS


Action

The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


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


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


Churches

[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm


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


Class War

In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, “The Scientist as Rebel”


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


Conservatism's Holy Grail

What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph


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


Democratic Capitalism

I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


Drang nach Osten

There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion


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


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©2012 Christopher Chantrill