Of Crying and Compromise

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Two major political developments vie for attention this morning, one domestic and one foreign.

Domestically, a federal judge has ruled ObamaCare unconstitutional because it forces individuals to purchase health insurance, and because this requirement not severable (i.e., It will void the rest of the law if it is found unconstitutional.) Given that we have been slowly approaching de facto socialized medicine for decades and even this judge finds its redistributionist goal "laudable," it is clear that, if this opinion ultimately prevails, it merely buys time for the real fight for freedom in medicine.

The Obama Administration's response to this ruling is amusing, given both Obama's previous position on the mandate and his recent declaration of lip-service to the idea of eliminating bad regulations:

Much of Judge Vinson's ruling was a discussion of how the Founding Fathers, including James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, saw the limits on congressional power. Judge Vinson hypothesized that, under the Obama administration's legal theory, the government could mandate that all citizens eat broccoli.

White House officials said that sort of "surpassingly curious reading" called into question Judge Vinson's entire ruling.

"There's something thoroughly odd and unconventional about the analysis," said a White House official who briefed reporters late Monday afternoon, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Not only is this not an odd reading, it would seem to be a typical one, given the metastasizing regulatory power of, for example, the EPA over such things as carbon dioxide, dust raised by farming equipment, and now, as Thomas Sowell notes in an appropriately titled piece, milk spills!
[T]he EPA has decided that, since milk contains oil, it has the authority to force farmers to comply with new regulations to file "emergency management" plans to show how they will cope with spilled milk, how farmers will train "first responders" and build "containment facilities" if there is a flood of spilled milk.
Granted, the anonymous official is referring to a legal analysis and, for all I know, he's right in that narrow context, but still... Were we only crying over spilled milk!

On the international front, Egypt looks to my eyes like the next Iran and Tony Blankley agrees. Blankley's analysis is hampered, though, by the following misunderstanding of what an actual political revolution is like:
Revolutions - French, Russian, Chinese and Iranian - have a typical trajectory. They are won on the street with the masses calling for freedom; they are stolen afterward by the best-organized, usually most malicious thugs (Napoleon, Lenin, Mao and the mullahs).

Once in a while - as in our Revolution - the cry of the street slogans becomes the principle of the government that follows - but usually not.
This ignores the crucial distinction between a blind revolt and an actual revolution, which one can understand in terms of whether principles are clear or murky, as Ayn Rand once wrote in her essay, "The Anatomy of Compromise," as quoted by Paul Blair.
When opposite basic principles are clearly and openly defined, it works to the advantage of the rational side; when they are not clearly defined, but are hidden or evaded, it works to the advantage of the irrational side.
Blair's analysis of the compromised conservative movement is brief, and worth reading on its own.

Judging by the inability of many pundits to make head or tail of the stated beliefs of the Egyptian body politic, it is plain to me that this uprising is blind and, therefore, ultimately doomed.

-- CAV

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