“You still have your health (and Obamacare is watching)”

The Founders envisioned the government of the United States to be run by “self-governing” individuals, people whose morals and conscience would enable them to consciously embrace certain principles and ideals, and whose intelligence and experience would allow them to apply their skills in new and varied situations.  They believed that morals and conscience allowed an individual to at least partially “know” natural law, or the divine order of the cosmos.  This was a popular theme during the Age of Enlightenment, and one that was the subject of many writers, including Thomas Paine who went all the way back to the ideas of Cicero when writing of this subject.  They believed that a person of conscience was compelled to follow the natural law, thus promoting the pursuit of all that is good and harmonious.

In other words, a person was ideally not to be commanded to do good by anyone – not another individual, certainly not a government, and really not even a divine being – but rather the impetus to do good would come from within, from their conscience.  (Anthony Burgess in A Clockwork Orange wrote: “Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness?”.)  An individual’s conscience, in turn, came from the use of reason when examining the needs of individuals and society, which promoted moral behavior, leading to a better society, which in turn would lead to an enhanced conscience, and so on and so forth.   A person of conscience would become a self-governing individual, and self-governing individuals would organize into a self-governing society.  As society tended to become more “perfect”, the need for government would lessen, as there would be increasingly fewer occasions for government to exercise civil and legal powers to protect individual rights.

“You still have your health” is often used when someone has lost financially, or some other misfortune has befallen them, the idea of course being that health is life, and life is precious, and a healthy, competent individual has a good chance to get back on his or her feet again.  In truth, our corporeal bodies might be the only physical thing we truly own.  Physical objects we may possess, and have a legal right to (at least, subject to the whims of our government), but we only truly own those things when they are in our control.  Cars can be stolen, bank accounts can be compromised, etc., but our bodies and our health are uniquely our own.  This might be at the root of the aversion many feel at the thought of Obamacare:  that an impersonal, overreaching governmental behemoth may suddenly have access to us at a very personal level.  A government that was envisioned to be formed of individuals of conscience, that was entrusted with the responsibility to protect the rights of its citizens, now assuming powers that it was never imagined to possess.  This is not on the road to the self-governing society that Paine envisioned.  Will we still have our health if the government becomes a controlling force in healthcare?  Or will the government “have” our health?  Will they be the ones truly in control of our physical selves?  Given the failures of the recent administrations when attempting to undertake tasks of much smaller scale, I feel there is plenty to be worried about.

Down south there is another term:  “You still have your religion.”  When you’ve lost everything, and your health is failing, that term is used.  If you still have faith and hope, you at least have faith and hope, if nothing else.  “Losing your religion” truly means to lose everything, including your faith.  I wonder how many of us will lose faith in our government within the next three years, as direct or indirect result of Obamacare.

Is this a story we will be telling our grandchildren?

It was actually quite easy:  by promising us freedoms in the form of “freedom from” – freedom from want, from crime, from social injustices and inequalities, all those human ills against which every free society struggles – the government was able to deny its citizens the traditional American values of “freedom to”.

They started small.  They could have started with any of the Ten Amendments, but they chose the Second because that seemed to make the most sense at the time.  After all, criminals use guns, so take away firearms and crime will stop.

After all, they told us, you don’t need firearms for self-defense.  We can watch with drones, we can collect and monitor phone records and other forms of electronic communication, we can use our bureaucratic tax structure and institutions to control those sections of government and society alike who don’t think like we do.  Crime will be an ill of other nations, and if a few of our diplomats get killed in those far-off lands, what difference does it make?  We are trying to make sure our society doesn’t end up like theirs.

Just like the Founders (those “old men operating in secret behind closed doors”) could not have imagined modern firearm technology (untrue), they also couldn’t possibly have envisioned the effects of modern communication and monitoring technology (if they had, the Bill of Rights would have been longer and more robust).  It’s obvious, they told us, that the Second Amendment is no longer needed.  It’s antiquated, obsolete, and the government can provide for your self-defense.  And if the government gets out of line, we have the First Amendment to redress any grievances.  They assured us that we would always have the First.

So when the increased government presence was found to be ineffective at relieving citizens of their burdens, that crime continued to increase and social injustices continued to prevail – as is inevitable when one addresses the symptoms and not the true causes –the response was a further increase of governmental power.  The Fourth Amendment, protecting us against a standing army within our borders, was suspended.  Temporarily, of course.  After all, the Fourth prohibited a standing army in a time of peace, and our society wasn’t sufficiently peaceful.

And so it came to be that there was formed a society of frightened, defenseless citizens at the mercy of armed criminals and the armed government forces put in place to protect us and “form a more perfect union.”

And when the inevitable happened, when it became clear that the government was ineffective at solving society’s ills, and that it had become a tremendous burden, that injustices were being carried out by those in power against their subjects – for subjects we had become – we used our First Amendment rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression to redress our grievances against.  We wrote letters to the media, or at least that part of the media that had yet to succumb to government oversight, and we gathered in public spaces in protest.  At times frustrated citizen-subjects turned violent, and government forces were called in to disperse the crowds (mobs, they called them).  Eventually all public assembly was prohibited – again, only temporarily until the officials could get a hold on things.  So we continued to use the remainder of the First to contact the media and our fellow citizen-subjects.  But that just continued to inflame our fellows and anger our government, and since the government had gotten so effective at monitoring our communications, they stopped that behavior, too.  So the citizen-subjects were stripped of the First Amendment, the Second was a distant memory, and the Fourth was suspended indefinitely as a strong armed presence was deemed necessary to keep order in society.

After all, they said, isn’t it the job of government to ensure a perfect, peaceful society?  The Government has to have these powers in order to be able to guarantee “freedom from” all of society’s ills.  Men and women of a society simply cannot be trusted to properly use “freedom to”

And that, children, is how the Government turned its citizens into just that:  children.

see: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/feb/14/knight-when-you-give-liberals-the-oval-office/