Now, numerous news organizations have falsely reported that the Supreme Court agreed this week "to decide the fate" of Barack Obama's health care policy. Fortunately, the fate of Obamacare can still be decided by voters and -- more likely, in time -- by its overwhelming fiscal and moral failure. The court does not historically like to strike down federal legislation. Those who oppose Obamacare might hope for the best in July, but rather than stake their argument solely on the constitutionality question, they should be prepared to fight on grounds of bad policy and corrupt process.Sooner or later we are going to have to confront the whole of the welfare state and its "springtime for freeloaders." It's appropriate that an age that rejected the notion of divine justice, that God will get you even if earthly policemen and judges don't, has reverted to an older, crueler form of social control: the blunt force of government. Because that is the grand theory of the welfare state: Force.
The reason that humans first invented divine justice, according to Nicholas Wade in The Faith Instinct, is that it is much better to have God deal with freeloaders than society, for with God you don't need policemen and jailers.
In the old hunter-gatherer days, freeloaders were controlled by the "force" of divine justice, but in the agricultural age real force was needed to keep the agricultural surplus away from robbers and brigands, so we got the warrior landowners to enforce property rights and protect farmers from thieves.
Capitalism came along and changed the rules again. Instead of divine justice or land barons it offered freedom. If you didn't trust someone, you were free not to deal with him: freeloaders beware.
A lot of people were scared to death by the new freedom. What if my employer just fires me on a whim? What if my best worker ups and quits? So we got a new birth of compulsion. Activists decided that government had to fill in the gaps in private education. So now we have a government monster that fails to educate the majority of students. Even at the top end, half of college freshmen need remedial courses. Instead of mutual aid and charity, with the discernment to pick out the freeloaders from the honest folk coming on hard times "through no fault of their own" we have government welfare with qualification rules that the poor have become expert in scamming. Instead of a flexible, adaptable health care system we have a government monstrosity that is eating up the budget.
The fundamental truth about social animals is that social behavior reduces the need for force. You can't have social animals if everything is decided by force. But with the welfare state we have regressed to a pre-social community. For in the welfare state everything is decided by politics, and the decisions of politics are fast-frozen into bureaucratic rules. Unfortunately there is an unavoidable truth about this. Politics is power, government is force. By deciding societal matters by force we revert to a pre-social society where everyone is a freeloader unless restrained by the police and the enforcement officers.
It's a tragedy that an age that invented a stunning system of social cooperation without force decided that it was much happier living under the knout of the politician and the bureaucrat.