The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Doug Wilson on the Roberts’ Decision

I am generally in 90% agreement with Doug on political issues. He is sober-minded, and remarkably astute when it comes to the heart of the political exchange. Here he demonstrates in seven points the fallacy of the pro-Roberts’ analysis:

1. Yesterday I sent out a tweet that offered my legal analysis of the Obamacare de . . . well, let us call it a decision. That theory was that somebody has PHOTOS of John Roberts. Not an assertion, not a charge, just an attempt to place a charitable construct upon the inexplicable. Others have argued that Roberts was being way tricksy — here and here, fer instance.

2. If John Roberts caved, for whatever reason, we should all be full of hopping indignation. But if he is a deep and tricksy thinker, then the success of his stratagem will depend entirely upon us ignoring his deep meanings, and being full of hopping indignation anyway. So fortunately, that all works out. Our duty is clear. Kick into fulmination mode and hop away.

3. Whether he intended to do this or not, there are some significant silver linings, at least as far as the next two or three tactical moves go. Obamacare was upheld as a tax. This means several things. First, the Constitution requires tax bills to originate in the House, and Obamacare originated in the Senate. A suit should be filed on that basis. Second, this means that Obamacare can now be overturned in the Senate with 51 votes instead of the 60 that were required before. In short, this was a bad decision, but it was convoluted enough to provide conservatives with significant maneuvering room. They should maneuver in it.

4. We have to function in terms of principle, and not in terms of party. The choice is not between Obama/not Obama. The actual choice is between despotism and freedom. Parties will let you down. Men will let you down. Don’t set your hope in princes, man (Ps. 118:9). The liberty-buster that Obama laid on the country was previously laid on Massachuetts by the Republican nominee. The monstrosity of Obamacare was upheld because of Roberts’ vote, and he was a Republican nominee, supposedly an arch-conservative. This significantly dilutes the force of “gotta have a Republican president for the sake of the court nominations.” It doesn’t eradicate that argument (Scalia, Alito, et al.), but it does weaken it.

5. Politically, in terms of motivation and money, this really is bad news for the big spenders. Look for the Tea Party to move from tri-corner hats and the colonial schtick to more of a Bavarian peasants with torches and pitchforks motif.

6. Conservatives will please notice that the current Republican place-holder wants to “repeal and replace” Obamacare. “Repeal,” yay. “And replace,” not so much. I don’t want him to repeal and replace it. I would prefer something along the lines of “repeal and soak with lighter fluid, followed by a torching ceremony, and a conga line dance around the flames accompanied with loud whoops and raucous singing, late into the night.” Of course, the details would have to be worked out, but it should be something quiet and dignified like that.

7. Last, and most significantly, whatever political and policy things happen in Washington, there is now a huge constitutional issue that must be addressed outside Washington, in numerous state capitals. That constitutional issue is now in front of us, whether or not a repeal of Obamacare gets through Congress and is signed by the president.

There is now, in principle, no limiting principle on the congressional power to tax, and the absence of such a limiting principle has been upheld by the Supreme Court. Even if Obamacare is repealed (as I now believe to be likely), this is now just a policy decision — the constitutional green light has been given. If Congress is deemed to have the constitutional authority to tax you for not doing whatever it is they dictate (eating brocoli, wearing blue tee-shirts, whatever), there is no other name for this than despotism. The fact that it is a nanny despotism helps not at all. The fact that their exercise of this authority is currently in abeyance matters not at all.

And so this means that we should resort to Calvin’s doctrine of the lesser magistrate, and call upon our state governors and legislatures to simply refuse to comply with Obamacare. The time has come to just say no. This is because there is no form of government more fundamentally anti-Christian than a government that recognizes, in principle, no limit to what it can require. Absolute claims are the prerogative of Deity. If this decision is allowed to stand, there is no longer any limiting principle inside the Beltway whatever. It is time for the ruling class to discover that there is still a limiting principle outside the Beltway, enforced by those who believe that the only real limiting principle is at the right hand of the Father.

Jesus is Lord — not Caesar, and not Congress.

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