The purpose of government - health care
Ilya Shapiro posted on the Obamacare Lawsuit: From the Courtroom in Atlanta:
ATLANTA — In the most important appeal of the Obamacare constitutional saga, today was the best day yet for individual freedom. The government’s lawyer, Neal Katyal, spent most of the hearing on the ropes, with the judicial panel extremely cautious not to extend federal power beyond its present outer limits of regulating economic activity that has a substantial aggregate effect on interstate commerce.
. . .This legal process is not an academic exercise to map the precise contours of the Commerce Clause or Necessary and Proper Clause — or even to vindicate our commitment to federalism or judicial review. No, all of these worthy endeavors are just means to achieve the goal of maximizing human freedom and flourishing. Indeed, that is the very reason the government exists in the first place.
And the 11th Circuit judges saw that. Countless times, Judges Dubina and Marcus demanded that the government articulate constitutional limiting principles to the power it asserted. And countless times they pointed out that never in history has Congress tried to compel people to engage in commerce as a means of regulating commerce. Even Judge Hull, reputed to be the most liberal member of the panel, conducted a withering cross-exa. . .
I realize this doesn't seem to have anything to do with Brits, but limiting the power of government was a great British ideal for centuries. In the British Liberty Timeline, men and women are in a constant struggle to limit the power of government and defend their freedom.
It's always going to be a struggle because there are always people who are going to want to take it away - sometimes for what they think or pretend they think are the most beneficent reasons.
One of the more paradoxical lessons of history is that the more government tries to "take care of you", the less freedom you have and the less you flourish.
You might well wonder why some Americans are so resistant to establishing a health system which resembles Britain's NHS.
Walking to the Twyford village shop today, across two swiftly running rivers and along the fields, I did not feel less free because the NHS exists.
Many people in Britain probably obtain real medical help and comfort from it.
There are stories which suggest that the level of care is uneven, perhaps even grossly so. Balanced against this is the fact that everyone in Britain who needs medical care will receive it even if they have to wait months to get it.
The British people who pay for the NHS with their taxes have less freedom to spend their pay cheques, since a large portion goes to supporting the NHS, but perhaps this is a reasonable exchange for the care received.
It's true that people who are not free often can hardly imagine what it is like to be free. People who have had money siphoned out of their pay cheques before they've ever received it - clever governments to take it prior to distribution - those people can hardly think what they might have done with money they've never seen.
And perhaps they would have paid it to a health insurance company - and perhaps the amount they paid would have been less than the government took and the care they received would have been better. Or perhaps not.
They cannot imagine an alternative medical delivery system, one, for instance, in which people work very hard not because they care about you but because they want to be efficient and make more money - and perhaps they care as well. Most people don't spend much time thinking about an alternative because they have too many other things to think about - their families, their jobs, friends, football, gardens, dogs, a romance, a vacation abroad. . .
What happens when government starts running out of money?
Thanks to Instapundit for the link.