Skip to comments.The Dangerous Self-Delusion of Some Conservatives
Posted on 06/30/2012 10:23:54 AM PDT by EternalVigilance
In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act, I have noticed a curious phenomenon in which some conservative commentators seem to be so desperate to find a silver lining to the ruling that they have abandoned all logic. Consider George Will, who wrote a column in the aftermath of the ruling that actually puts forward the argument that we conservatives should take the fact that Roberts didnt rely upon the commerce clause as evidence that there might be some constitutional limitation on the federal government after all. That would be a wonderful aspect of this ruling, if they had overturned the law! Instead, what we have is a monstrous precedent set in which the court re-writes a law in order to make it constitutional by imputing into the act a tax that had not existed in fact. This is an unmitigated disaster. I have heard a few who have noted hopefully that this ruling will energize the conservative base, and while thats probably the case, Im not certain I am so concerned about the political fall-out as I am about the long-run constitutional implications. You see, the political situation may permit us to repair the law, but it doesnt permit us to immediately repair the damage done to the body of case law upon which future courts will rely as precedents in their own rulings.
The other thing I have read is the bizarre notion put forward by the National Review that what Roberts did was more conservative because he exercised judicial restraint in not striking down the law. Balderdash! Once you realize the legal contortions through which Roberts arrived at this ruling, it makes no sense whatever to claim he hadnt acted as an activist. The convoluted logic by which he found a tax in a law that plainly states it does not contain one is an onerous breech of any notion of strict construction. I cannot conceive of any intellectually rigorous examination of this ruling by which this can be seen as a positive by anybody who is in favor of strict construction. When it came to the Anti-Injunction section of the ruling, it was held not to have been a tax, but just a few pages later, as Roberts performed mental gymnastics, he declared it was a tax after all.
On Thursday evening, Mark Levin summarized the matter better than anybody Ive heard speak to this matter, in part because he understands the legalities in question, his Landmark Legal Foundation having been a participant in this case, but also because he knew Justice Roberts years ago when they both worked in the Reagan administration. Levins critique of the decision mirrors most of my own, and indeed, there was one aspect I hadnt considered until Levin led me to it. That premise led me to yet another that I dont believe Levin has yet realized in full. What one must understand is that this ruling is an unmitigated disaster, and no search for some alleged silver lining can repair it.
What Justice Roberts actually did was to expand the definition of what constitutes a permissible tax . Congress is permitted to levy only certain forms of tax, and this one doesnt fit the definition of any of them. In dispensing with that issue, Roberts held that it didnt matter, and that words dont matter, and that plain-written legislative language doesnt matter. He also ignored the context of the law, and the intent of Congress. One version of this bill had an actual tax, but Congress could not pass it in that form, so Congress altered it to contain no tax. What John Roberts did was to ignore the actual text of the legislation, and to say that the labels didnt matter: If it looks like a tax, it is one. The problem with this is that it does nothing to restrain Congress from levying new taxes, and ignores the definitions of what sort of taxes Congress may enact. This is a wholesale extension of Congressional taxing authority because what Roberts ruled with respect to the particular form of the tax, insofar as the question of whether Congress had met the constitutional limits on whether it could impose it was effectively: Close enough.
That is offered to us as evidence of John Roberts alleged strict construction? Close enough? What this means, effectively, is that if Congress enacts some tax that it has questionable constitutional authority to levy, smiling John will be there to tell us its close enough, with every leftist monster on the court standing behind him to uphold it.
Ladies and gentlemen, there exists no silver lining to this ruling. All of the crackpot, delusional happy-talk from some conservatives in media is designed to make you feel better. Youve just lost both arms and legs in a brutal assault, but they tell you, you should consider this a happy opportunity to enjoy the comforts of a new wheelchair and mouth-controlled joystick. Youve just lost your family to a violent home-invasion, but, they tell you, you should view this as a chance to start over. The intention here is to keep you calm. The intention now is to serve a political end, while your country is dying around you. Your most sacred law, the US Constitution, has been crumpled and tossed into the ash-bin of history, and you are told you should do a happy-dance to the calming sounds of Oh Happy Days.
Id like you to inventory the whole of the conservatives to whom you listen, or whose columns and opinions you read, and I want you to take care to note which of them are imploring you to consider some silver lining. They are lying. They have good intentions, many of them, and they have contorted themselves into a formless spaghetti of reasoning in order to find some good in this awful plate of refuse youve been handed. Dont surrender your minds by sprinkling Parmesan on it and wolfing it down. Are there some limited political opportunities as a result of this decision? Yes, but they require the fulfillment of a whole laundry-list of if-then statements.
IF Mitt Romney is elected, and IF he doesnt sell us out, and IF we hold the House, and IF we recapture the Senate(and at least 60 votes) and IF the moderates in either house dont screw us, and IF Boehner and McConnell have the guts to do in repealing what the villains Reid and Pelosi did in passing the ACA, and IF they can deliver a bill to President Romneys desk, and IF John Roberts and the other liberals on the court can be replaced, and IF Mitt Romney can replace them with actual strict constructionists, THEN you might have a chance to undo this damage. IF any of these dont happen, your constitution is effectively dead as a restraint on government.
The danger of self-imposed delusions is that you come to believe them, like a pathological liar. It is by this form of self-delusion that weve permitted our country to lose its roots in reverence for the Constitution. We cannot defeat the statists by pretending this isnt the disaster that it is, if we can defeat them at all. I believe some talking heads know this, but do not want to yield to what will come in the wake of such a monstrosity. Theyre hanging on, stubbornly telling us that the stench of smoke reaching our nostrils is merely an air freshener of a novel scent. Rather than screaming Fire, and warning conservative Americans that the house is ablaze, the barn is wiped out, the surviving farm animals running loose in a frantic bid to stay ahead of the flames licking at their heels, many are now telling you that its all okay. It will be fine.
Spin it all they want, but the monster still lives.
It’s like a French battlefield around here lately, with all the white flags being waved.
This guy nails it to the wall.
I posted this on another thread. It’s applicable to the TAX conversation.
It is not conservatives doing this spin. It is people with vested interests in electing Republicans.
The rallying cry of the party types is “Elections Have Consequences”
Well in Roberts we have yet another failed Republican SCourt appointee in a long line of failed appointees. If you don’t see a pattern here you are blind.
That is why the republican elite are spinning so desperately to make you think this is not a defeat, it’s actually a victory. I’m not falling for it.
Except now there can be up to 300 million victims with standing to force Obama to prove he is eligible.
Monckton tells Lords: Obama presidency at risk
From the report:
Attorneys for anyone accused of a criminal offence signed into statute by President Obama under Art. I, s. 7, have the right to request access by their forensic investigators to the Hawaii Health Departments original birth record for Mr. Obama to satisfy them that the President is the President, the statute the statute and the alleged offence an offence. he suppression by the prosecution of evidence favorable to an accused upon request violates due process [14th Amdt.] where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment. Therefore, the courts will be obliged to grant any such defence request. By the supremacy clause (Art. 6), Hawaii must comply.
By the precedent set in Brady v. Maryland (373 US 83, 1963), T Does the issue matter? Advice from an eminent constitutional lawyer is that it does: The Constitution is the supreme law of the US. We amend it, or we abide by it. He expects a credible court challenge to the authenticity of Mr. Obamas birth certificate soon. If it occurs, and if the certificate is a forgery, the constitutional consequences will be grave.
Standing, by virtue of direct, personal harm involved in a criminal indictment/conviction? What types of cases would this involve?
Sorry. I don't play pretend.
-- Patrick Henry, Give me liberty or give me death speech
"Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it."
-- Patrick Henry, Give me liberty or give me death speech
Well, these same conservatives have also been trying desperately to convince themselves that Romney is some sort of paladin of constitutional conservatism, too, even though he’s obviously not.
Never underestimate the power of self-delusion.
I don't believe that Roberts is going to be returning to the bench in October. I predict some kind of health issue or family issue will cause him to resign before the next term.
Agreed. “Some conservatives” have developed a nasty case of battered women’s syndrome. It is truly and utterly pathetic to see otherwise intelligent men reduced to that level.
Oh, the silver lining is actually there. But it is tarnished, debased silver. The problem — and it is not a problem created by the Roberts Court — is that once the Sixteenth Amendment was added to the Constitution, the possibility of Congress taxing income, even laying a confiscatory tax on income, and waiving that tax if the income-earner engages in some action or other has been lurking in the Constitution as amended.
Of course, now that it’s legally and constitutionally considered a regressive income tax (the “penalty” is a percentage of AGI with a minimum — starting at $95 and rising to $695 per person over the course of a few years — and a maximum — the cost of the Federally defined “Bronze” insurance plan) someone needs to challenge the provision waiving it on religious grounds as a violation of the First Amendment (as interpreted by the courts in recent years).
Pissing and moaning about it on the internet won't accomplish anything.
What Roberts actually did was pull a sophoric rhetorical prank, committing a "semantic fallacy," arguing about, not what it means and what it does, but what we call it. Having called something a tax, when it is not a tax, he then further distorted what constitutes a permissible tax.
In my view Roberts grade shool diplomma should be revoked. His antics are of a kind that only a statist could pull, left wing or right wing does not really matter.
This is becoming more and more doable.
That’s a lot of IFS but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
In other words, there isn't a snow balls chance.
You really think that anyone in DC will ever reduce its power without violence?
Sometimes you guys are just so cute.
Everytime something bad happens, we got the "all is lost" crowd bitching and moaning and talking about how nothing good can ever exist again.
But then they just sit there. Typing.
If that is really your position, take up some weapons and start shooting.
If internet bitching could get people what we want, we'd be a world of good looking billionaires.
Real patriotic Americans understand that our mission is clear and that the time is now.
We defeat every Democrat on the ballot on November 6th, and then we take it from there.
Whiners stand clear.
Let your betters save the Republic without your interference.
At least that's what my mind saw at first glance...
Alito was the replacement for Miers not Roberts.
If I thought it was time to abandon the soapbox and the ballot box for the ammo box, you most certainly wouldn't see hide nor hair of me on the internet.
We need Patton to slap the crap out of the fetal position foxhole fillers.
Your attitude is ugly, and un-American, and un-Christian.
MA sounds hysterical. Not one constructive idea regarding what to do about the situation. Just run in circles, scream and shout...especially at those who still have hope and are waiting to see the end of the matter.
If this is as bad as the doom-and-gloomers say it is, what do they propose to do to help fix the error? We already had the November elections scheduled and planned to vote against those who forced ObamaCare on us. It already had been approved by two branches of our government. What good does screaming at other conservatives do?
Since the Supreme Beings ruled that this is a tax, we only need the vote of 51 $inators to repel it with a Republican President to sign the bill.
But even if we just get the Oval Office and a handful of Senators we are going to see Obamacare overturned.
Agree with you about the whiners.
Good post - the Bush cultists and Robertsbots are insane and ridiculous.
This is a disaster even worse than had they allowed the commerce clause argument to proceed.
Using the taxing power to expand the mandate opens a door and a danger beyond imagine.
Every man has his price, what was Roberts’ price?
Things will keep getting worse until we quit voting for liberals. Because so many conservatives voted for McCain, GOP leaders felt free to nominate Romney. I shudder to think who GOP leaders will nominate in 2016 if conservatives vote for Romney.
Now is the time to draw the line! I’m voting for you this time, Tom.
No more RINO’s, no more liberals. The American people have had enough!
The whole point of this article that you posted is that the ballot box is now useless and we are doomed. But you're still here. On the internet. Typing.
Which is it? Are elections now irrelevant or do they still matter?
You type your opinion, but by only typing it, you cause me to doubt whether you actually believe it.
Roberts has replaced Obozo as the most disliked/hated DC bozo. He has fallen into a zone/bottomless pit of no recovery.
El Dictator Obozo to John the traitor, "Hey Justice John, Nancy is really great in bed isn't she, and her pictures of you in bed with her are ready to go on You Tube if you don't vote for us!"
A question for all of us: "When and how did Pelosi know that her side would win?"
We had a primary. It was hard-fought.
There was every opportunity to put up a non-Romney. FR had its favorites at various times...and they came and went.
Primary process is over. Time to vote ABO.
Anybody who looks to the federal government to protect us from the federal government is seriously delusional. And it was the constitution (bow your head, if not genuflect) that allowed this monstrosity that we live under. Nothing really changed on Thursday. Same old, same old.
JR - the worst part is that even if ObamaCare is repealed - the legal precedent is still there that the taxing power can be used to coerce social behavior and manadatory purchases of good and services from private companies as dicatated by the Govt under force of law.
What Roberts did yesterday was “FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORM’ the USA as we knew it.
Many people have no idea the disaster Roberts unleashed.
Yes, for many, many, many, years I said the same...almost word for word.
You all will come around eventually.
Why don’t you show us where the author said, or even inferred, what you’re saying. Because I just read through it again and can’t see it.
"Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths?"
Yet, true is true. The SCOTUS has completely eliminated any semblance of Federal restraint. Now we must hope that every election goes our way, because one bad election, and IT'S ON.
I'll join you in voting against Obama, but I'm not going to help you replace him with a liberal you like better. I'm voting against both liberals.
Win or lose, I'm voting for Tom Hoefling this year.
Thx Jim, but I fear/know that there just are not enough real men left in this country.
Janice Rogers Brown once talked about a book called “The Decline of Men”, she noted we used to think of a family as a man, a woman, and a child. Now, a remarkable new family pattern has emerged which she labeled “bureaugamy.” A new trinity: a woman, a child, and a bureaucrat.
Amazing how many men sit by and wait for Rinos to help them in the next election, how many men have sat by and let the gov steal their income, property, and now their private healthcare.
Amazing, isn’t it? They’d rather whine about the loss than do something to win.
I think this is part of the grief process for some. And some just seem to prefer being losers. It’s easier than doing the hard work of winning elections, which is the only answer.
The people who aren’t just losers will burn themselves out on whining soon and get back to work. The rest never change and must be ignored. No candidate or judge is ever good enough, blah blah blah. It makes life so easy. You just sit back and proclaim that it’s all over, because the Man is holding you down! Wahh!
Been hearing their rah rah GOP cheer leading garbage for too many years now. I figured most people would see right through it.
Cult is perfect description...Others I assume are party insiders who have no desire to lose their lofty positions and still others who are just not capable of critical thought.
I believe this whole two party system production, is one big rigged con job..Good cop bad cop....All setup to appease the easily led morons, as they're incrementally led down the path.
So Free Republic is now to be a site predicated on hopelessness and despair?
This is to be solely a home for those who think only fools continue to believe that our divinely-inspired institutions of over two centuries' standing can meet the test of our time?
Well, to what end will this site of defeat be dedicated? Prepping for societal collapse? Praying for the return of the King?
Our command has always been to have faith, to be not afraid, to carry on with our mission, and to know that the time of His return is known only to Him.
Did any of that change this week?