Instead of "Court Backs Obama on Health Law," the headline last week should have declared, "Five of Nine Supreme Court Justices Don't Understand the Principles of American Government." On this, the 236th birthday of our country, the United States of America, let's give the Supremes a little refresher.
The founders of this country rigorously studied history and witnessed what ruinous things happened when unlimited governments were in charge, which is why they designed a federal government with clearly limited powers. Here's what David R. Henderson and I said in our book, Making Great Decisions in Business and Life:
"Look around the world and you'll notice something quite striking: the countries that are the most successful have governments with limited abilities to act. An unlimited government is a totalitarian dictatorship, able to do anything at any time.
Consider the United States Government. It is directly and clearly limited by the Constitution. The Constitution describes what the federal government may do in general terms, but it specifically describes how these powers are limited. To describe what a government may do isn't very interesting or unique, because in any number of oppressive countries around the world, the government can do anything it wants. What made the U.S. Constitution radical was the awareness that limited governments are better governments. It is this very limitation on its power that enabled U.S. society to become one of the most successful societies the world has ever known. This irony is, sadly, lost on most people. Otherwise, they would understand that the limits on government mainly limit its power to create mischief and thus prevent it from operating as if it, not we, were of primary importance."
Ever willing to abandon the principles of limited government, those bent on government intervention imagine the problems the federal government could solve if it had more money and power. Such government intervention, perhaps helping group A, virtually requires violating the rights of group B and/or degrades into a form of mob rule whereby the 51 percent bully the 49 percent.
The Founders understood this conundrum, which is why they specifically designed the federal government to avoid these problems and stay focused on its primary role, which is to secure the rights of individuals and to represent all Americans.
The reason so many people--including five Supreme Court Justices--were confused on this matter is that for the last century much of what the federal government has done has been unconstitutional. Had the waters not been already muddied, the unconstitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would have been as clear as an alpine spring.