Green Shoots and Silver Linings

“If you want it, come and get it, for crying out loud. The love that I was giving you was never in doubt.” – David Gray, Babylon

I’ve picked up a couple of story lines lately that at first glance seem to be urgent matters of the struggle in good versus evil (or freedom versus oppression). Despite the urgent tones in the conversation though, these discussions are actually very encouraging. The change from bad to good, from injustice to freedom, from fear to hope doesn’t come overnight, and it almost always starts in the conversation.

Bernanke & Friends Flail at the Gold Standard …

We noted part of this story a few days ago, but it seems that there are quite a few articles making the rounds attacking the gold standard – with Ben Bernanke leading the charge. Mish has a good takedown of the conversation in “Ben Bernanke: Inflationist [redacted], Devoid of Common Sense, Clueless About Trade, Debt, History, and Gold.” He points to several articles, including one by Simone Foxman who quips “Sorry, Ron Paul, we think Bernanke just destroyed your position.”

So, here we have Ben Bernanke surrounding himself with friends and reciting his textbook nonsense. Then, he waits for acolytes in the friendly media to chime in with “ooooh, burn on you Ron Paul!”

When Ben Bernanke even deigns to discuss the gold standard it means he’s worried. When these articles come out in unison decrying sound money, it means they’re losing. These types of self-aggrandizing diatribes only come out when the central planners are feeling that their power is threatened, feeling that public sentiment is turning against them. These are very, very good signs.

Obamacare Raises Obvious Questions …

The Supreme Court will start hearing oral arguments on Obamacare and the individual mandate on Monday. This will be huge. Everybody almost knows how it will go. There are four conservative, constitutionalist judges on the court: Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and Chief Justice Roberts. There are four liberal, activist judges on the court: Sotomayor, Kagan, Ginsburg, and Breyer. Kennedy is the swing vote – he will decide it all.

In preparation for the case, the punditry is out in full force. Conservative Charles Krauthammer penned a nice piece titled “Obamacare’s Reckoning Is At Hand.” In that article, he posits the following:

Ultimately, the question will hinge on whether the Commerce Clause has any limits. If the federal government can compel a private citizen, under threat of a federally imposed penalty, to engage in a private contract with a private entity (to buy health insurance), is there anything the federal government cannot compel the citizen to do?

It’s a great question. I think the answer is obvious. If the government can compel your private behavior – compel you to do something – then what is the limit on their power?

The question leads to another logical end as well. If the government cannot compel you to buy insurance if you don’t want to, if they cannot compel you to enter into a contract against your will, what other options do they have? Can they simply tax you (call it a fee if you will) and buy the contract for you? Is there any logical difference between the two?

This is a dangerous question indeed. It starts to pull at the root of the basis by which the government takes from a citizen to provide “services” to the public. If this begins to crumble, even in the least, then we could be headed toward liberty indeed.

Jonathan Cohn picks up this thread over at the National Review with “If Medicare is OK, Obamacare Should Be Too.” Of course, he is arguing from a pro-Obamacare stance, but his argument is spot on. If the government can take from the citizenry to give to the citizenry (Medicare & Social Security) then why can’t they put forward an individual mandate? I agree – but I come to the conclusion that all of these are unfair and fundamentally immoral … they enslave the citizenry.

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Just like the post-birth abortion debate from a few weeks ago, these conversations are good signs. They point to a greater public awareness of the real issues underlying so many of the contentious debates in our time – and that is a good thing.

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