Jim covered Congress and The White House during the George W. Bush administration for The Washington Times, and worked as a reporter, editorial writer and columnist for newspapers in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and California. He has appeared on the Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, and many local and national talk radio shows to talk politics and policy.
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The Chicago Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society has a “Tavern Debate” every third Thursday of every odd-numbered month in the library of The Heartland Institute. We are honored to serve as the host for an evening of libations, sandwiches, and spirited debate in the style of 18th century patriots in pubs before the founding of this great country.
Tonight was the latest edition with the question on the table: “Resolved: Act! If not us, whom? If not now, when?”
Perhaps the wording of the question was too open-ended — as one speaker argued in the negative for the evening’s resolution — but I argued vigorously against that point, and very much in the positive on the question (which carried the vote in the end, by the way). Now is the time to act. And if not we few citizens who cherish our liberty, then whom?
Our liberties are under constant assault in ways big and small from a modern American Leviathan James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams would not recognize. They’d be horrified, as were most of the attendees at tonight’s Tavern Debate, that the federal government has usurped enough authority over the years to now consider itself the ultimate Masters of Our Universe. That our Masters are proving incompetent — especially with Obamacare — is not a bug in the plans of our supposed masters, but an inevitable feature. Tyranny, soft or hard, does not worry itself with the details. Control and forced obedience is what matters — and exactly what our Founders well understood and hoped to spare us from experiencing.
The Leviathan in the modern democratic state counts on us to simply throw up our hands and submit. Act to resist? How? We have elections and the people have spoken. Besides, who am I, as an individual, in the larger scheme of things? I can’t stop Obamacare by myself. I’ll just try to buck up and plug along. That’s the American Way!
No. I refuse to submit — especially when it comes to the Obamacare Disaster — and I pray that I won’t be alone.
My health insurance hasn’t been canceled yet, but I expect it will be next year under the current state of the law. When that happens, I will seek a doctor who will accept chickens as payment before I sign up at Heatlthcare.gov. I will seek “concierge medical service” — which will be the buzz words of 2014 — and pay what I can afford to escape the forced-choice of Obamacare before I enter all my personal information into the hacker’s paradise that is Healthcare.gov. I’ll pay what our Masters sometimes call “fines” and sometimes call “taxes” (as it suits them) in lieu of submitting my health care to their will for the “common good,” but not mine.
It is the duty of a free citizen to take all legal recourse to avoid submission to a government that passes laws to control your activity, but then decides to not follow them when it becomes inconvenient. What justice is there in a law that can be made up as it goes along by the president and his bureaucrats — with statutory deadlines arbitrarily postponed by the executive for the political expediency of his party, and waivers for unions that support him? If the chief executive can defy the law, why can’t I? Why can’t you?
Asking such questions is exactly what I did at the Tavern Debate, and what all citizens who want to restore the republic bestowed upon us must also ask themselves. What are you willing to do — in ways large and small — to preserve the rule of law, and not of men? I’m willing to go … Off. The. Grid.
Earlier today, the Democratic leader of the U.S. Senate invoked the “nuclear option,” changing the rules of the “World’s Most Deliberative Body” to ensure less deliberation on the desires of the Masters, and more rules on the rest of us. But a still-free people also has a “nuclear option” available: Refuse to submit.