Perhaps history’s greatest military strategist is Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese general and tactician. Tzu made the following observation:
“Though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been seen associated with long delays.”
And to make it absolutely clear he reiterated it in The Art of War on several occasions:
“He who wishes to fight must first count the cost. When you engage in actual fighting, if victory is long in coming, then men’s weapons will grow dull and their ardor will be dampened. If you lay siege to a town, you will exhaust your strength. Again, if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain. Now, when your weapons are dulled, your ardor dampened, your strength exhausted and your treasure spent, other chieftains will spring up to take advantage of your extremity. Then no man, however wise, will be able to avert the consequences that must ensue… In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns.”
So, why is this so important to our discussion of the ruling by the Roberts Court? Because many on our side seem to believe that John Roberts did us a favor in his decision upholding the Affordable Healthcare Act, or as it is known colloquially, Obamacare. The argument in conservative circles for a silver lining to this dark cloud of human bodily excretions is that this ends the debate over the right to use the Commerce Clause to justify any action of Congress and that it hangs this around Osama’s neck, a huge tax increase, for the November elections. While a little soothing may be in order we are making a terrible mistake here, because, A.) an eggplant could see this is unconstitutional and, B.) it simply kicks the can down the road, forcing us to fight yet another unnecessary battle. We should have declared victory here.
First, this is not a mere political move on Roberts part. He is Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and as such is not going to tie his name to a partisan decision that will be read about in American textbooks. If he is to violate his oath it will be for personal reasons, such as upholding this law against all expectations. What will he gain personally from doing the right thing and striking it down? Upholding such a crazy law guarantees him a spot in the history books. But he is violating his oath of office in doing so, and that is the only sensible explanation because the Constitution is fairly clear; the United States Constitution expressly grants all powers not specifically enumerated in the document to the states and the People, and nowhere is this particular tax authorized. Furthermore, it violates the principle of equality under the law as only some of the public is actually paying a tax; the rest are buying a product that the government deems appropriate from a private company in lieu of the tax. Either the insurance companies are collecting the tax (and not giving it to the taxpayers) or some taxpayers are stuck paying and others are not. It was on this basis that Obama determined that this was NOT a tax. But Roberts struck that down, saying the Commerce Clause does not apply here but the power to tax does. Fine; does that grant Congress the power to tax people who do not smoke to shore up the tobacco industry, or those who do not drive to help out oil companies? The exact same argument can be made in any number of cases, including the abridgement of the most fundamental rights.
I would argue this is rather like Jizya, the Muslim concept of taxation on non-Muslims. The purpose of the Islamic Jizya is to compel approved behavior, and as such has been a powerful tool used by Islamic societies to compel conversion to Islam. In this instance the United States government is using it to compel conversion to socialist medicine, forcing us to either buy expensive private insurance or go on the government plan. In short, they are abridging our freedom of religion, a constitutionally protected category.
But, you may say, it doesn’t stop us from worshipping as we see fit. Oh? What exactly are the Catholics protesting about Obamacare? The Administration is forcing Catholic organizations to fund contraception and abortion in violation of Church doctrine. That it will be the insurance companies (which Mr. Obama simply forced into compliance) is immaterial; the Jizya is being used to force conversion to a secular religion, the religion of the State. And the Catholics have brought suit.
What is clear is that this is an abridgement of the Establishment clause, and of the First Amendment. How can Roberts fail to understand that? This Jizya is prohibiting the free exercise of religion on the part of any number of faiths.
Roberts has simply killed us with an arrow rather than a bullet, but in the end he has killed us. The argument that this saves us from a super-stretching of the Commerce Clause is immaterial; we have simply replaced it with a super-stretching of the power of taxation. In the end, dead is just as dead.
What is to stop the government from holding people without charge, claiming they are serving time to fulfill a special assessment tax? Wouldn’t the Obama Administration have done this very thing to bank presidents, or oil company executives, or tobacco company execs? Does anyone remember Al Armendariz at the EPA saying he wanted to crucify oil executives? http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/04/30/top-epa-official-resigns... For that matter, does anybody remember government taxing away corporate executive bonuses at AIG? http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123730459869257121 Roberts has just said that this is perfectly acceptable behavior.
If they can do that, how much farther can they go?
But let’s get to the nuts and bolts of this thing. Many on the conservative side of the aisle, desperate to console themselves, are claiming John Roberts did us a favor by ruling in favor of Obamacare, because now Obama has a massive tax increase wrapped around his neck. Fine and dandy, but this throws this back into the political arena, an arena where we have been fighting and losing for forty years or more. Does anybody really believe it is a victory to lose here? Roberts could have accomplished the same goals by simply striking this abomination down, rather than tossing it back into the political arena. The idea that we will be fired up and fight harder is dubious, and Sun Tzu would agree; the longer this fight continues the weaker our side will become. One does not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and expect to soldier on to greater glory. One does not give up a major victory for the possibility of future success, and I sincerely doubt Roberts had any of this in his mind.
Oh, and Roberts did not represent the majority http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/304459/mark-levin-not-so-fast-... in doing away with the use of the commerce clause. That was why Justice Ginsburg wrote a dissenting opinion, even though she was on the majority.
So the silver lining is looking more and more like simply a black cloud.
So what does this mean for America? Granted, we MAY be able to overturn this legislatively, or simply defund it, but we have set the precedent that this is permissible and it will come back. Liberal ideas are like bedbugs; you eradicate them on the surface but they just hide in your mattress and bite you on your posterior when you are asleep. Even assuming the GOP captures enough seats in both houses of Congress to pass a repeal, we have to have Mitt Romney sign the bill, and that may prove less easy than at first glance; Romney’s own law in Massachusetts was the model for this, after all. He will not be motivated to kill it, but to alter it so that he can keep it intact. And Even if it is repealed, what then? It may take a generation, but it will be back, and perhaps at a time when the public is less resistant. That is what Sun Tzu meant; you have to fight battles and win when you can, because the longer you wait the duller grow your swords.
What is really needed is a Constitutional Amendment, and the individual states need to spearhead that. We must re-fight the Civil War, not in a military fashion but in the arena of ideas and laws. We have allowed the United States to move from a representative democratic republic to an empire, a system dominated by a ruling elite, an oligarchy. We must return to the Federalism that was at the core of the Republic. We cannot simply allow the central government to continue to usurp authority.
John Roberts shows clearly that America’s imperial system is broken. He is a traitor to his oath, a Benedict Arnold in a black robe. He has placed his desire for self-aggrandizement over his duty, and so has affirmed the power of government and the ruling elite to do anything to the public they please. It’s time we take this country back. That can only happen at the state level.
We cannot continue to fight this in the way we have been fighting; the ballot box alone is inadequate. Leftism proceeds in all aspects of life with barely a hiccup, despite political victories. We must try different tactics. We should look into buying a news network or two; Fox is but a mere cable channel and insists on reporting the news in the same way as the mainstream media. We need to change that. We need to get our foot in the door in the educational system, in Hollywood, in the arts. We must fight for a spiritual renaissance, a revival of our religious traditions. Without these things all is lost.
The Roberts ruling should teach us some valuable lessons. We had better learn them, and stop trying to make ourselves believe things are fine. They aren’t.