Subjects and sovereigns.

Greg Sisk hyperventilates at the thought of…

the US government imposing legal duties on its citizens:

If the Court had upheld the individual mandate to purchase insurance as a proper regulation under the Commerce Clause, the federal government would have been affirmed as having the power to impose an affirmative duty on a person, not because of any action taken by that person, but simply because the person lives inside the borders of the United States.  If the federal government were permitted to exercise such direct power over a person based on that person’s mere existence, it would be difficult to avoid the conclusion that this person had been relegated into a mere “subject” of that government.  By virtue of being born, each person would become the proper subject of intrusive governmental direction.  Government would be the first principle in all matters, the first actor of that society.

If the people are sovereign, then they must be understood to precede government.  In the United States, the government proceeds from the people and is directed by the people.  Government must have power to act, within crucial limits, for the common good of the people.  But the federal government does not assume immediate power at the moment of birth and regardless of actions and choices affirmatively undertaken by that person.

Where to begin with this? Firstly, if an elected President and Congress passing legislation they campaigned on does not count as an example of government ‘proceeding’ from the people as sovereign, I don’t know what does.  And secondly, regardless of that, what’s with the obsessive hostility towards the idea that the government can tell Americans what to do simply by virtue of them being in America? Does Sisk seriously want exemptions from laws against rape for those that object to such a rule? Of course not. Why? Because it doesn’t matter what the rapist wants; his actions would have adverse affects on others which require regulating. Sound familiar? Perhaps that’s because choosing to not have health insurance is analogous. No, it’s not as bad as rape. But yes, it creates a sufficient burden on the rest of society as to warrant the imposition of a duty. And why, exactly, does it thus matter if that person objects?


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