ObamaCare or the Enabling Act?

By | October 28, 2013 | 0 Comments

ObamaCare, and many other laws like it, grant the federal government in general, and the executive branch specifically, powers not listed in the Constitution. In effect, step by step, Congress is imitating the Reichstag. In 1933 the German legislature passed the Enabling Act, which handed Hitler vast powers. And no doubt there will be further steps, as the government is enlarged and the individual is diminished. Hunger for power is never satisfied. Like a black hole, it consumes our rights, leaving scarcely a trace.

There are many ways to look at ObamaCare. Obviously, one can look at it from the point of view of its damaging effect on health care – inserting bureaucrats into the doctor-patient relationship, and substituting a federal “cookbook” for individual doctors and individual patients deciding what is best. And one can look at it from the point of view of fiscal irresponsibility – adding huge but unpredictable amounts to our already bloated federal deficit, and taking control of another one-sixth of the national economy.

But let us look at ObamaCare from the point of view of power itself – empowering remote, faceless, unelected bureaucrats to make life-and-death decisions for all 317 million Americans. In what possible sense can we consider ourselves free, if the lives of ourselves and our loved ones depend on the arbitrary favor of government officials?

We fought a revolution to rid ourselves of the authority of King George III. He had bouts of insanity. But even at his worst, he would never have dreamed of controlling the health care of the colonists. His government imposed taxation without representation, but not  denial of medical care without the right to appeal. Back then, we considered him a tyrant. But he would consider our current government tyrannical. This is progress?

Most Americans – well, many – recall that July 4 commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. But do we recall the key words of that declaration?

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

We should remember the concept of God-given rights when our elected representatives passed without reading it a massive health-care bill that will control crucial aspects of our daily lives. Its backers insisted it was not a tax, yet the Supreme Court upheld it by a 5-4 vote on the grounds that it is a tax. But the Constitution insists that tax bills originate in the House, while ObamaCare originated in the Senate. The massive contradictions escape the attention of the mainstream media, which act as administration claques rather than journalists.

President Obama calls ObamaCare “settled law.” The Fugitive Slave Act was “settled law” too. It was passed by Congress, signed by the president, and upheld by the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott Decision. But eventually we got rid of it because it was unjust.

When we no longer believe that our nation is “under God,” the state becomes almighty. You say it can’t happen here? That’s exactly what people in Europe said as Nazism was on the rise. They believed that their traditions and good intentions protected them. But the traditions were being undermined, and not everyone has good intentions.
In his First Inaugural Address, Jefferson said this:

A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government…

Can you see the relation between believing that God gives us rights, and believing that the government should intrude as little as possible on those rights? Can you see why conservatives tend to favor a smaller government and lower taxes?

Our nation is founded on a document that mentions rights derived from the “Creator.” It also mentions “Divine Providence” and “God.” The use of these words in a public document would never be tolerated in today’s politically correct atmosphere. But these words are essential to the meaning of the Declaration.

How else could the authors express the idea that human rights are not a gift from the government, which could as easily take them away? How else could they indicate that rights are inherent in all human beings and are not dependent on the whims of officials?

Those who want to remove all traces of religion from our public life object to “In God We Trust” on coins and “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. These people emphasize the “wall of separation,” but that phrase appears nowhere in our founding documents. Jefferson, like many early Presidents, attended weekly Sunday services in the Capitol building. Didn’t Jefferson know about his own “wall”? (See Michael Novak’s “On Two Wings.”)Services were even held in the Supreme Court chambers. You’ll never learn that from the ACLU or school textbooks.

But, liberals argue, God is not mentioned in the Constitution. True, but so what? We have confused a table of organization with a mission statement. A table of organization details how an organization is constructed, and how the parts relate to one another. But alone, a table of organization is useless − it tells us how to do things, but it leaves us clueless about what to do, or why.

A mission statement, on the other hand, describes what the organization is intended to accomplish. Without a mission statement, a table of organization becomes a sterile, legalistic document. This is exactly what many courts have done with the Constitution. But without a table of organization, the mission statement would also be useless − we would be clueless about how to achieve the mission. Both a mission statement and a table of organization are necessary.

The Constitution is our table of organization. Like the owner’s manual of my car, it describes how the car is constructed, and where the hood release is located. But it doesn’t teach me how to drive – or where.

The Declaration of Independence is our mission statement. It lays out where we come from and where we hope to go. It proclaims that we are endowed by God with inalienable rights – rights we cannot give away, even if we want to give them away, and even if the government is eager to take them away.

If we read only the Constitution, we conclude that it gives us rights. And what the government gives, it can take away. If this were so and the Bill of Rights were repealed – or made meaningless by sweeping new laws or court decisions – we would have no rights. Only by also reading the Declaration of Independence do we learn that rights are God-given, and hence are not revocable by men.

Those who want to drive a wedge between church and state, and simultaneously weaken religion, will leave only the state. That’s precisely what the Nazis and communists did. Theirs is not an example we should follow.

We have two choices. We can treasure our Judeo-Christian heritage. Or we can throw our heritage into the trash. But if we continue to undermine the foundation of our republic, it does not take a prophet to foresee that the future will not be a happy one. If you doubt this, watch a preview of our single-payer future, now playing in Canada. There, the supreme court decided that a government panel can deny care, even against the wishes of the patient, the family, and the doctors. Have a nice day.

Laws that grant sweeping new powers to the federal government bear an uncomfortable resemblance to the German Enabling Act. But in addition, these laws enable in another sense. Just as one who gives money to an addict is said to enable the addiction, similarly a government that encourages people to take more government handouts can be said to enable dependency. The administration boasts that a record 47 million Americans now receive food stamps. But is this really something to boast about? An enabler may get the temporary gratitude of the addict, but in the end is doing him serious harm.

An increasingly powerful central government plus an increasingly dependent populace is a sure recipe for loss of liberty – and eventual tyranny. At the very least, we should remember that our nation’s birthday is not called Dependence Day.

It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government.
– Tom Paine

dstol@prodigy.net. You are welcome to publish or post these articles, provided that you cite the author and website.

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