Campfire Blog

A Fourth Revolution?

United States ‘skating on thin ice’

As we await the Supreme Court’s imminent decision on Obamacare, I can’t shake the feeling that the healthcare takeover is a new Constitution. This ingenious political document—because it is more about politics than healthcare–changes the game, giving the government a whole new realm of powers. Once Washington can mandate that we all must purchase insurance, the feds can tell us to do pretty much anything.

Imagine if New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg were president under the Obamacare Constitution: He’d ban everything but spinach, quinoa, and tofu.

Sure, you might say, but at least our most essential freedoms are still protected by the Bill of Rights. Except they’re not:  Obamacare overrides all, as we’ve seen with the mandate that all employers must pay for contraceptives, even those with religious or moral exceptions. If Obama wins reelection this fall, there will be a mandate that all employers pay for abortions. Why am I so confident? Because if the administration can mandate everyone to do X, there is no longer any Constitutional shackle preventing them from mandating  X-1, X-2, X-3, or whatever else they want.

But this isn’t even about the reproductive debates:  It’s about whether the government has the power to coerce individuals and institutions against their will; it’s about whether we all march forward under the banner “But for the Grace of Government Go We” or whether we remain the land of the free; it’s about whether government can determine what our religious beliefs are–and so much more. It’s about whether the ideas and truths they fought for in 1776 still matter to us today–and whether the blood that has been shed for this great experiment in freedom was in vain.

Writing at the New Criterion, James Piereson argues that America might be on the cusp of its “fourth political revolution” (the other’s being: Jefferson’s destruction of the Federalist Party, the Civil War, and the New Deal). He’s not talking about anything violent, but he is suggesting there will be a drastic realignment of our politics, with the nation entering into an unfamiliar political and economic territory. It’s tough to read–and weirder to think about–but probably worthwhile, given what’s at stake. He writes:

“What the United States is now facing is not a gradual decline but a political upheaval that will reshape its politics, policies, and institutions for a generation or two to come.”

What’s driving this?  Piereson alleges, “The regime of public spending has at last drawn so many groups into the public arena in search of public dollars that it has paralyzed the political process and driven governments to the edge of bankruptcy.”

Piereson tends to see President Obama as the last leader of America before our parties realign in some new way. But if Obamacare is successful, it seems that President Obama, as chief of the Government Party, himself will be ushering in a different type of America, one that is fundamentally dependent on government. Unless the Free Economy Party can persuade the American people to turn away from the debilitating handout culture.

As Ben Franklin said, “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”

Check out Piereson’s essay here (about 5 pages).

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