Quick Roundup 516

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

An Unintended Good Consequence

Writing for The Dallas Morning News, Mark Davis indicates how the passage of ObamaCare could touch off a much-needed challenge to the legitimacy of the welfare state at the legal level.

[T]he Constitution itself rises to say no. Someone please show me where the Constitution gives Congress the authority to even address health care issues, much less embark on socialist adventures of this scope.

Don't even try to trot out the old, failed "commerce clause" argument, which says only that Congress may "regulate" already existing commerce of certain types, a far cry from mandating commerce that the public does not wish to engage in.

This is government forcing people to purchase something they may not want, and punishing them if they do not. Millions are thrilled with this because it amounts to more free stuff paid for by other people, but if there is a rising voice in this wilderness, it is from Americans, not all conservatives, stunned by the sheer fiscal irresponsibility of the whole mess. [bold added]
I am no legal scholar, but I was under the impression that the Commerce Clause has been used to excuse all kinds of similar laws that should have been thrown out long ago. This bill is so clear-cut that perhaps a successful challenge could pave the way for other legal assaults on the welfare state by creative attorneys who support limited government.

Another Possible Good Consequence

I have noticed -- but not read -- a smattering of pessimistic, "We are doomed!" pieces to the effect that America is somehow past the point of no return thanks to the passage of ObamaCare by a certain type of conservative -- the type that thinks that ideas don't matter. This argument is about as valid and, now that I think about it, about as classy as the comment that famously sank the candidacy of Clayton Williams for Texas governor in 1990:
During the campaign, Williams publicly made a joke likening rape to bad weather, having quipped: "If it's inevitable, just relax and enjoy it".
Yes. We are in serious trouble. But no, the destruction of America is not inevitable.

As in the American Revolution before, what we face is a battle to win minds over to our side. The fact that everyone isn't yet roiling about the very existence of the welfare state is about as significant as the fact that there were British loyalists living in the American colonies even during the Revolution.

Such writers will discover and check their premises -- or they will lose credibility and influence among real Americans who refuse to give up and are looking for a way to win. In any event, they should be easy pickings for those of us who do understand the importance of ideas.

Some Unintended (?) Bad Consequences

Thomas Sowell indicates a variety of things that can result from central "planning" of medicine.
If the current legislation does not entail the transmission of all our individual medical records to Washington, it will take only an administrative regulation or, at most, an Executive Order of the President, to do that.

With politicians now having not only access to our most confidential records, and having the power of granting or withholding medical care needed to sustain ourselves or our loved ones, how many people will be bold enough to criticize our public servants, who will in fact have become our public masters?
It is important to get this fight going again sooner, rather than later.

Hitchens: Tear Down that Wall

Christopher Hitchens has been magnificent lately in his call for bringing the Roman Catholic hierarchy to justice for its systematic covering-up of the sexual abuse of minors:
Almost every week, I go and debate with spokesmen of religious faith. Invariably and without exception, they inform me that without a belief in supernatural authority I would have no basis for my morality. Yet here is an ancient Christian church that deals in awful certainties when it comes to outright condemnation of sins like divorce, abortion, contraception, and homosexuality between consenting adults. For these offenses there is no forgiveness, and moral absolutism is invoked. Yet let the subject be the rape and torture of defenseless children, and at once every kind of wiggle room and excuse-making is invoked. What can one say of a church that finds so much latitude for a crime so ghastly that no morally normal person can even think of it without shuddering?
Read the whole thing.

To be clear, perhaps to the point of redundancy, about one thing: Moral certainty is possible, but only in a moral code discovered through reason and based on the requirements in reality for man's survival in reality.

Holleran on Alice in Wonderland

I was already planning on seeing this, but Scott Holleran's review makes the latest movie version of Lewis Carroll's classic sound compelling.
Alice has an equally solid story, which engages the senses and, in its finest moments, the mind. Though it dips in the middle, Alice in Wonderland rises to the occasion. This is due in large part to the earnestness of its leading lady, an actress named Mia Wasikowska. Striking the right balance of innocence and seriousness, her Alice is that rarely seen sight: a heroine. Amid Lewis Carroll’s fantastically humorous characters, Mia makes the tale matter.
In addition: "For once, [Tim] Burton's strange sensibility isn't overplayed..."

I would probably save it for older children, though. I keep hearing about young children being terrified by the realistic monsters and having to be escorted from theaters.

-- CAV


: Corrected Mark Davis's name, HT Dismuke.


Dismuke said...

Typo alert: you mean, Mark DAVIS, the talk show host - NOT Mark White who is the National Socialist Pelosi Party candidate for Texas governor.

Dismuke said...

Actually, I now made a typo in my last posting. It is BILL White who is running for governor on the Pelosi Party ticket. MARK White was a FORMER governor from that party.

Jim May said...

a certain type of conservative -- the type that thinks that ideas don't matter.

Is there any other kind? Even among the better ones, that basic mistrust of the human mind and its products (in favor of various flavors of determinism) is a fundamental.

Gus Van Horn said...


Thanks for the correction.


You are quite right.