In the wake of the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision, I wrote a blog post arguing that the opinion doesn’t warrant celebration.
To you conservatives in celebration mode as you dissect the overlords’ opinion on religious beliefs and health insurance mandates, you might want to pause for just a moment and contemplate the absurdity of five federal employees making decisions like this for some 350 million people.
At what point did American become an oligarchy? At what point did Americans become the kind of people who sit on the edge of their chairs with baited breath waiting for five politically connected federal employees to tell them what is and isn’t permissible? How did a simply majority of nine judges gain control over your basic rights?
You let them. And you endorse them.
I went on to argue that the decision essentially moves the bar of federal overreach down, tacitly conceding that the Supreme Court has final and ultimate authority over your healthcare decisions.
The notion that the federal government runs a “health care system” is absurd on its face. But now, many conservatives celebrate the fact that the political class will allow some religious discretion within that blatantly unconstitutional system. By lauding this decision as victory, they tacitly consent to the idea that the government has this kind of power and authority in the first place. Calling this some kind of victory concedes a million miles of constitutional ground.
But some folks took issue with my negative spin, asserting that I was missing the bigger picture, and that the ruling was at least a small victory for liberty.
You don’t get big victories without getting small ones first.
Also, whatever it does or doesn’t mean, strategically, at it’s core, this decision was about real, live people who will not be forced to choose between their livelihoods and their deeply held convictions. To me, that alone is worth celebrating.
My response was rather snarky.
Thank the master. He gave you bread.
That was probably an unfairly harsh response. My critic makes a legitimate point, and while I don’t agree completely, he wasn’t entirely off base. Kept in context, you can find a positive in the Court’s opinion.
But I responded the way I did for a reason.
Those of us who value liberty must get our fellow Americans to begin thinking outside of the frames created for us by the political class. For most “conservatives” the Court’s opinion simply reinforces the desired paradigm – the government lords over us and we get scraps from the table. The Supreme Court really does stand supreme and we must quiver in anticipation as we wait anxiously for the black-robed oracles to hand down their opinions and define the limits of our rights.
I find that notion unacceptable.
American thinking has by-and large become stuffed into a frame. Within the frame lies “acceptable ideas.”As Tom Woods often says, these cover the ideological spectrum between Nancy Pelosi and George W. Bush. Stepping outside the frame will get you labeled an extremist.
We need more extremists.
I am a big believer in incremental victories when it comes to political action – assuming the possibility of using that victory to advance the cause further down the road exists. But on another level, big picture thinking must change. The system itself is broken and corrupt. The Hobby Lobby opinion merely legitimized that broken, corrupt system. For whatever good you might try to squeeze out of it, I want more.
It should never have come to the point that this decision represents some great step forward for liberty.
We can’t allow the enemies of freedom define victory. We can’t allow them to dictate the terms of battle. The time has come for a radical shift in paradigms.
Step outside of the frame. Take it off the wall. Bash it on the ground and then stomp on it!