Supposedly, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) just handed a major win to liberty, and a significant blow to ObamaCare. Here are 5 reasons why people who believe in liberty and/or are pro-life should tend to see this particular glass as half-full at best.
1. Government violence (taxation) is still used to force pro-life individuals to help pay for abortions.
Federal taxes, more than $500M annually, goes to the largest abortion provider in the nation, Planned Parenthood. This is compulsory, and one can not deduct this or any other disputed amount from their federal income tax obligation due to moral or first amendment concerns (US vs Lee; Jenkins vs Commissioner). Planned Parenthood will vehemently deny that federal taxes are used directly for abortions. Instead, the funding is used for the building, personnel, and other services. This is a distinction based upon form/accounting rather than function. What difference does it make to say “we don’t use your taxes for abortion…we only use that money for the building and people that enable abortions”.
2. The core of ObamaCare remains firmly intact.
This is the same SCOTUS which has said both the individual mandate and employer mandate are constitutional.
3. This decision is very unlikely to expand liberty within other areas.
This decision came by a razor thin margin; barely getting to the 5-4 majority. Even the supposed conservative justices who voted in the majority were quick to insist their “very specific” ruling should not set a precedent. This decision allows a small niche of freedom to only those businesses which are “closely held”; with a carefully worded decision which will remove that same privilege if you dare grow your business too successfully (i.e. raise capital via public stock markets).
The Hobby Lobby decision and majority opinion verbiage does next to nothing to begin correct the dead-wrong belief that the federal government can do anything it wants unless it is expressly forbidden. The original intent of the founders was precisely the opposite; that the federal government had only the few, specific enumerated powers.
4. Applauding the SCOTUS only emboldens the enemies of liberty.
The Supreme Court favors government over liberty by a significant ratio (through direct decisions or refusing to hear cases). Cheering the SCOTUS in those rare cases it gets at least partially correct – – as with Hobby Lobby – – only gives this institution more credibility and ability to sanction state violations of our liberty and constitution. Far too many people say “it’s Constitutional because the Supreme Court said so”.
As usual, Murray Rothbard was right when he said
“And if the ultimate power to interpret a constitution is given to the government’s own Supreme Court, then the inevitable tendency is for the Court to continue to place its imprimatur on ever-broader powers for its own government. Furthermore, the highly touted “checks and balances” and “separation of powers” in the American government are flimsy indeed, since in the final analysis all of these divisions are part of the same government and are governed by the same set of rulers”
And again in For A New Liberty
Certainly, the most ambitious attempt in history to impose limits on the State was the Bill of Rights and other restrictive parts of the United States Constitution. Here, written limits on government became the fundamental law, to be interpreted by a judiciary supposedly independent of the other branches of government. All Americans are familiar with the process by which John C. Calhoun’s prophetic analysis has been vindicated; the State’s own monopoly judiciary has inexorably broadened the construction of State power over the last century and a half. But few have been as keen as liberal Professor Charles Black — who hails the process — in seeing that the State has been able to transform judicial review itself from a limiting device into a powerful instrument for gaining legitimacy for its actions in the minds of the public. If a judicial decree of “unconstitutional” is a mighty check on governmental power, so too a verdict of “constitutional” is an equally mighty weapon for fostering public acceptance of ever greater governmental power.
5. These court cases typically distract us from the real goal, and the real enemy.
Paraphrasing one of the greatest libertarian movies of all time, Braveheart William Wallace might say
“You’re so concerned with squabbling for the scraps from the Federal Government’s table that you’ve missed your God-given right to something better.”
The end goal is liberty; a society based upon the non-aggression principle and voluntary interaction.
The enemy of liberty is the state. The state is founded upon people’s belief in an authority which is allowed to initiate violence and violate the natural law which all individuals must adhere.
To end on a more positive “glass is half-full” note, this decision could have easily gone the wrong way with government adding another notch on its belt of tyranny. The decision also has the positive effect to get ordinary people interested in concepts of morality, rights, freedom and where the line of government shall not pass.