Is there anything to celebrate this Fourth of July? Not much. Maybe there will be cause for celebration in November. But I'm not sanguine about that either. Our founding documents have become merely ornamental. They are interpreted to mean whatever those in power want them to mean.
The Commerce Clause is to be found in Section 8, Article I, of the U. S. Constitution. It reads," The Congress shall have Power to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, the several States, and with the Indian Tribes."
Congress, then, has the constitutionally-based power to regulate interstate commerce. But it seems to this concerned citizen -- who is no constitutional scholar -- that one cannot regulate what does not exist. If there is some interstate commerce taking place between, say, California and Arizona, then congress by the above clause has the power to regulate it. But if no commerce is taking place, then there is nothing to regulate. Now if I choose not to purchase health insurance, then my not buying it is surely not a bit of commerce. So there is nothing to regulate, and my non-buying does not fall under the Commerce Clause even if, by some argumentative stretch, the buying of health insurance involves interstate commerce.
Or do you think something can be regulated into existence? Can my buying of health insurance be regulated into existence? The very notion is incoherent.
Ah, but "The Congress shall have Power to lay and collect Taxes . . . ." (Section 8) and so all we have to do is call the Obamacare individual mandate a tax, and we get what we want. After all, the PoMo Prez and his enablers can use words to mean whatever they want depending on what promotes their agenda.
The underlying principle here is the lack of any principle limiting governmental expansion. The essence of the totalitarian Left -- and of course the Left is totalitarian by its very nature -- is the lack of any limiting principle. And so, if the individual mandate cannot be rammed through via specious reasoning from the Commerce Clause, then some other justification must be found, however specious and mendacious it may be. Instead of evaluating for constitutionality a law that is presented for evaluation, one can simply rewrite the law, changing the mandate to a tax.
I like Dennis Prager, but he is sometimes sloppy in his use of language. He will often say that high self esteem is not a value, or words to that effect. It sounds as if he is against people having high self esteem. But what he really wants to oppose, or rather what he ought to oppose, is not self esteem or high self esteem, but the silly notion of many liberals that high self esteem is a value, a good thing, regardless of whether or not it is grounded in any actual accomplishment.
Suppose my high self-esteem, in general, or in some particular respect, is justified by actual achievement. Then I am entitled to my high self esteem, and my having it is a good. When a person of high achievement suffers from low self esteem we consider that an unfortunate state of affairs.
Another example of Prager's sloppiness is his use of 'Ponzi scheme.' He said one day on his show that the welfare state is a Ponzi scheme. I know what he means, and what he means to say is true, but he ought to say what he means. What he means is that the welfare state is economically unsustainable in the long run like a Ponzi scheme. But if X is like Y, it doesn't follow that X is Y.
Ponzi schemes are set up by people with fraudulent intent. But neither the architects of the modern welfare state nor the architects of the Social Security system in particular had fraudulent intent. Nor do current supporters of the welfare state or SS have fraudulent intent. They really think that these schemes are good and workable.
Why is this important? Well, because one ought not demonize one's opponents, or, less drastically, impute to them unsavory motives, unless one has very good evidence of the unsavoriness of their motives. I am not saying that one ought never impute evil motives to one's opponents, but that one ought to be very careful about doing so.