So can we oppose Obamacare and still practice fine civilized art of ordered liberty? Harry Reid would argue “No!” In so doing, he perhaps provides a data point pro my personal conjecture that Old Scratch was the world’s first attorney. Reid, you see, equates the legislated law with the higher moral law that should govern all of a society’s moral sentiment. Not only must it go in effect without turbulence, it must not be gainsaid by men of a civilized good will.
So what are people who dare gainsay the Law? Harry Reid offers us his rather jaundiced views. “There’s no need for conversations.” He announces preemptively. “It’s the law.” Subtext: “We rammed it down your throats and it survived the nine dictators in black on the SCOTUS. Now put on your big boy pants and obey before I tell you to go cut a switch.”
I fundamentally disagree with Reid on his position and furthermore believe he takes it in a self-serving manner. He could perhaps quote the famous dialogue that Socrates had with Crito concerning his argument with The Law.
Imagine that I am about to play truant (you may call the proceeding by any name which you like), and the laws and the government come and interrogate me: “Tell us, Socrates,” they say; “what are you about? are you going by an [50b] act of yours to overturn us — the laws and the whole state, as far as in you lies? Do you imagine that a state can subsist and not be overthrown, in which the decisions of law have no power, but are set aside and overthrown by individuals?”
This would imply that you couldn’t pick and choose which laws you obeyed and that once they were passed, you had to live under them. Oh, wait…
Socrates wasn’t engaging in telling someone else to drink the Hemlock while he, himself was exempt. Harry Reid is telling everyone else that it is the law while it isn’t in any way binding on him or his staff. Socrates also was speaking of direct and confrontational violation of the law. He was not discussing legislating to strike or repair a poorly-crafted law. Harry Reid has a history of changing his tune on laws he personally voted for. Here is his politically convenient turnabout on the Defense of Marriage Act.
He went on: “The idea that allowing two loving, committed people to marry would have a negative impact on anyone else, or on our nation as a whole, has always struck me as absurd.” Pretty strong words from a guy who voted for the Defense of Marriage Act.
And this also doesn’t cover the issue of what happens when the law says what it says but is implemented somewhat differently. As Omar once told a rent-a-cop on “The Wire:” “You want it to be one way, but it’s the other way.”
Harry Reid wants Obamacare to be THE LAW when we people discuss it in the US Senate. When HHS “interprets” it, we get it the other way and Omar can pretty much steal what he wants from the candy aisle.
Obama has declared that in states setting up their own exchanges, no one will have to prove his income in order to sign up for subsidies. He is so desperate to get the subsidies rolling — and thus, he hopes, buy support for the unpopular law — he’s willing to let people skip the part in the law where it says they have to prove they qualify for the goodies. He delayed the requirement for large businesses to comply with the law because the initial turmoil of having millions kicked off their insurance plans was more than he could bear politically.
So the law is THE LAW when Senator Reid says it’s the law. When it becomes a political convenience to get rid of it, he can argue against and vote against THE LAW that he previously voted in favor of. When the President finds parts of a law hard to implement or remarkably unpopular, he can enforce it piecemeal. When a person Harry Reid likes (himself for example) is harmed or inconvenienced; he can get waivers because in his case it is “different.” But if you oppose the law itself, there is no need for discussion. It’s THE LAW.
Under a similar set of circumstances to Socrates, if I were confronted by a law like Obamacare in argument, I’d want to drink too. I’m not a manly man like Socrates. I’d make it something a little tamer than hemlock.