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Repeal Obamacare – and then the 17th Amendment

By Henry Lamb
web posted November 15, 2010

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While there are hundreds of political parties and even more political initiatives seeking support, when all of the hoopla is striped away, there are only two political philosophies.  One philosophy embraces the notion that government is omnipotent, and grants rights to individual citizens.  This philosophy is demonstrated by the United Nations' Declaration of Human Rights and more pointedly in the U.N. Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  Article 19, for example, guarantees everyone has the right of free expression, but then goes on to say that "The exercise of these rights … carries with it special duties and responsibilities. It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions"

The other philosophy is demonstrated by the founding documents of the United States: the Declaration of Independence; the Constitution; and the Bill of Rights.  This philosophy recognizes that individuals are the omnipotent power, that government is the creation of individuals, and is empowered by, and subject to the wishes of the individuals who created it.   America's founders realized that not all individuals could possibly know about, nor exercise a vote on every issue that needed a decision.  These founders also believed that individuals choosing a representative from their midst, would choose wisely and send a person to legislate in their behalf who would truly represent their interest. 

This new nation, however, was not a single nation, it was a confederation of thirteen states, each  inhabited by a different number of individuals.  The most contentious issue confronting the founders was how to achieve fair and equitable representation among the various states, and among the individuals within those states.  Connecticut delegate, Roger Sherman, came up with the "Grand Compromise": the lower chamber, the House of Representatives, would consist of representatives based on population, while the upper chamber, the Senate, would represent the states, and would consist of two representatives chosen by the state legislatures.

This arrangement provided the balance needed to protect the interest of the states, while providing equal representation for the individuals.  The tension created by the competition among the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Executive offered the best system of checks and balances the founders could create.

Had this system been in place when Obamacare was presented, the bill would likely have failed.  The bill passed the House with only a two-vote margin.  Had the Senate been comprised of individuals chosen by the states, the bill would have never seen the light of day.  At least 14 states immediately filed lawsuits to have the new law declared unconstitutional.   Had the Senators from these 14 states been chosen by the state legislatures – according to the original design – there would be no Obamacare now.

The explosion of progressive thinking unleashed by Woodrow Wilson and his cronies produced the Federal Reserve, the income tax, and the 17th Amendment which removed from the states the right to choose their Senators, and put the election of Senators in the hands of the people.

This amendment was sold as a more "democratic" way to choose Senators; but the founders did not create a democracy, they created a republic - and fair and balanced representation of individuals and of the states was their goal.  Enactment of the 17th Amendment expanded the power of political parties and opened a whole new avenue of influence for well-funded special interest groups.

The procedures used in the Senate to force Obamacare through the system, was a masterful exercise in negotiating the labyrinth of legality.  Had the Senators been chosen by state legislatures, there is no way they would have allowed the shenanigans that Harry Reid and his pals perpetrated on the nation. 

The framers knew what they were doing when they made the Senators accountable to the state legislature.   This accountability prevented progressives from advancing their agenda prior to the Wilson administration.  By putting the election of Senators in the hands of the public, special interest groups could buy the votes they needed to advance their agenda.  A good exercise might be to track the contributions to Senate candidates from labor unions and other special interest groups.   

Obamacare is perhaps the most dramatic departure from the founders' philosophy of government that has been seen since the days of Franklin Roosevelt.  If Obamacare is allowed to stand, the United States of America will no longer be a capitalist nation, constructed on the belief that individuals empower government.  Obama will have succeeded in overwhelming the sovereignty of individuals with the sovereign power of government.    Once unleashed, there is no stopping governmental power.

A government that can force its citizens to buy health insurance can force its citizens to buy anything the government dictates.

Obamacare must be repealed.  Perhaps the 17th Amendment should be next on the list to repeal. ESR

Henry Lamb is the author of "The Rise of Global Governance,"  Chairman of Sovereignty International , and founder of the Environmental Conservation Organization (ECO) and Freedom21, Inc.




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