Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Two stories courtesy of Reason’s Hit and Run startled me into thinking about the strange issues that come up when you put government in charge.

Peter Suderman covered another Supreme Court review of Obamacare, featuring Liberty University’s claim that Congress overstepped its authority in mandating employer coverage of specific insurance features, and that the contraception/abortion mandate violates religious freedom.

Then I scrolled down to read Rachel Moran on one conservative British MP’s daring call for “patients suffering from so-called ‘lifestyle diseases,’ such as type II diabetes, [to] pay for their own prescriptions rather than claim free or subsidized drugs.” The Tory MP has a point:

[W]e have got to have an affordable system that rewards individual responsibility. If you want to have doughnuts for breakfast, lunch and dinner, fine, but there’s a cost.

Trouble is, as we learned last Saturday, the whole point of the modern welfare state is to take away folks’ responsibility by removing negative consequences, the costs, from risky behavior.

Here in America, we’re headed that direction. The responsibility for one’s own contraceptive purchases is being shifted (by the Democrats’ healthcare reform law) from individuals and couples to employers, via government — putting the monetary burden onto all citizens, via higher insurance payments.

The religious freedom aspect of the constitutional challenge is a red herring. More basic? Individual freedom and personal responsibility. But those aren’t exactly guaranteed in the Constitution, and politicians haven’t found a way to get elected in enough numbers on the issue of returning responsibility back into the system.

So we’re left in a world where it makes perverted sense to call pregnancy a “lifestyle disease.” And subsidize its prevention.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. James says:

    It’s time we understood current political happenings in terms not of liberty vs. tyranny, but of doing good vs. doing evil.

    You might argue, Mr. Jacob, that there’s no difference. And you’d make a good case of it. But since power is clearly being removed from our hands, and coercion is increasingly becoming an unavoidable part of daily life, perhaps it’s time to consider the question in terms of “good kings” and “evil kings”.

    George Washington might very well have made a good king, while Saddam Hussein was an evil one. The question is, what will a man with power do with that power?

    He will coerce, obviously. But will his coercions do us good, as those of a loving and wise parent do for a child? Or harm, as those of a wicked stepmother or a corrupt judge?

    If the king curtails free speech, will it be prayers at school football games that are banned? Or will he instead prohibit homosexual advocacy in the classroom?

    If the king decides to oversee medical care, will he reward promiscuity or punish it?

    “The king”, obviously, is whoever possesses coercive power. If that power is consistently used to reward evil and punish good, the nature of the battle has changed. And if that power has been voluntarily and democratically ceded to “the king”, our battle cry of “Liberty over tyranny!” begins to ring hollow.

  2. drrik says:

    That margin of victory of ceded power was 0.28% of the electorate of 4 states. This was the closest to a 50/50 tie of any election in our history. While “the king” certainly has the power, it will end as currupting as power alway is with the absence of consequences. And that will cause it to be wielded more harshly, which will inevitably yield revolt. And then the battle cry will not be so hollow.

    In the interim, the government is rapidly training the Atlases, and Atlases-to-be that live here to shrug, which seems likely to yield the opposite of the desired response.

    The immediate result will be entitlement “reform” which is newspeak for the govenrment cancelling much of the pension obligations for firemen and teachers and others that had worked for the state. This will not happen until they have started a massive transfer of money from the functional states that have managed their finaces well to the ones that have been spending and promising like there is no tomorrow, and the frugal states start to balk.

  3. MoreFreedom says:

    “Individual freedom and personal responsibility. But those aren’t exactly guaranteed in the Constitution”

    Wasn’t the purpose of the constitution to create a government that protects our “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness”? And isn’t responsibility and liberty two sides of the same coin?

    James and drink write about kings and coercion. The reason we give government power, is so government agents can use it against those who use coercion against us or our property. This is for the purpose of protecting us and our property.

    If we want to reduce the amount of coercion in the world, government should only be protect our freedom. Anything beyond that introduces government coercion into the mix where none is needed, and instead of protecting us, government then uses it’s coercion against us and becomes criminal.

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