On another site, I got into an argument about ObamaCare, and the Constitutionality thereof. I argued that the federal government has absolutely no authority to compel individual Americans to buy a product for the mere privilege of living. The arguments used against me were the standard ones: the Commerce Clause gives the government the right to control any activity (or refusal to engage in an activity) that might affect interstate commerce; that the potential costs to society should the individual require hospitalization; and insurance is such a good thing, everyone should carry it.
Those can be tough arguments to refute, so I’m not going to try this time. Instead, I’m going to call upon those who believe them to refute them for me.
Those arguments have a common theme to them: that we, as individuals, have an obligation to society. That our rights as individuals are curtailed when they inflict too high a price on others. And we have a duty to minimize those costs, and even those risks — a duty that can and should be enforced by law.
So, let’s just take that argument and run with it a bit. Let’s take it in other areas, and apply it there.
Let’s start with welfare recipients. They’re even better as subjects for this principle; the costs they incur on society are real and measurable — in direct aid and the costs of the programs that deliver that aid.
So let’s apply those same rationales and put some restrictions on their actions — all in the name of protecting themselves from themselves and minimizing the costs they incur on the rest of us.
For starters, how about mandatory birth control? Children are a hell of a responsibility, and expensive. These are people who have proven that they can’t take care of themselves (not necessarily their fault, but indisputable); why should we help them add to their responsibilities? Rather, our responsibilities; we’re the ones picking up the tabs. So why not — for our good and their own — require them to at least not increase their needs?
And while we’re at it, how about requiring them to not smoke? They can’t buy cigarettes with public assistance; if they’ve got extra money for smokes, let them spend it on something beneficial. Cigarettes are the only product that, when used precisely as intended, will kill you. Welfare recipients are already depending on all of us for their health care; why the hell should we continue to provide support and assistance for them while they’re ruining their health — which we’ll end up paying for as well?
Now I don’t advocate either of these measures, or any of a dozen or so similar ideas. But the reasoning behind supporting ObamaCare applies just as well, as I see it. Actually, even more, because as I noted, the arguments for ObamaCare are based on potential costs to society, while above it’s real costs.
Anyone care to contradict me?