The View From 1776
Saturday, July 07, 2012
Political Decisions - Ideology vs. Practicality
Would absence of the 17th Amendment have prevented Obamacare?
Obamacare was an ideological measure, not a practical solution to a problem, as evidenced by liberal-progressives’ frequently noting that it was a major step in completing FDR’s socialist New Deal. Even labor unions, already invested with gold-plated healthcare benefits, sought and obtained exemptions from Obamacare’s heavy costs.
Ostensibly it was a measure to bring healthcare costs under control, a claim belied by every CBO study and every independent analysis of its effects. Obamacare, in fact, is a typical piece of liberal-progressive social engineering, reflecting a core liberal-progressive belief that only university sociologists and government bureaucrats can truly perceive what is best for all of us, that only government can improve people’s lives.
It’s not clear that the Constitution’s original structure, prior to passage of the 17th Amendment, would have prevented imposition of Obamacare. As Tocqueville wrote, after sixty years of socialist equality, French citizens no longer cared about what might be best for the nation. They cared nought for anything other than grubbing for their own place at the public welfare trough. They were prepared to accept any degree of political tyranny, so long as the government gave lip service to “Liberty, Equality, and Brotherhood.”
We already have lived for more than seventy-five years, the life span of Soviet liberal-progressivism, under the corrupting influence of New Deal socialism. Perhaps Americans, who earlier would have rejected this giant new sledge hammer from the nanny state, would have gone along with the Democrat/Socialist Party demands of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. Perhaps the national consolidation and near homogenization of media propaganda, so different from the thousands of independent newspapers when the Constitution was crafted, would have swept state legislatures away from recognition of their states’ best interests, even with no 17th Amendment.
Note that French revolutionary philosophers recognized the necessity for government to control public opinion, which is the condition into which pure democracy always gravitates. To that end, as Tocqueville reported, French newspapers were few in number and tightly censored by the government. That is, for slightly different reasons, essentially the condition prevailing today in the United States.
There is much to be feared for the future of the United States, with young people having been since the 1960s inculcated with the secular religion of socialism. The hopeful sign is that the majority of the public have consistently opposed Obamacare.