Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

Regulating Not Doing Anything

Rate this topic


Recommended Posts

Regulating Not Doing Anything

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the activity / inactivity distinction of a recent Federal Court decision against ObamaCare, and if that distinction does not hold, then the government will be able to regulate anything under their interpretation of the Commerce Clause. A more recent ruling states that there is no distinction between activity and inactivity under the Commerce Clause and this leaves open the possibility of the State being able to tell you to do something, say buy a car, and if you don’t do it, they will be legally free to fine you for your non-activity. Let’s say they want to spur the economy, which they think is consumer driven, and they decide that one has to buy a new car every five years or pay a fine of $1,000; or let’s say they pass a law stating that one has to buy a new house every fifteen years or pay a hefty fine of $10,000; if the activity / inactivity ruling distinction does not stand, then they will be able to do this and even the Supreme Court won’t be able to help you. This amounts to slavery, as some others have pointed out. The government has no right and no jurisdiction to tell you to do something, though it can prevent you from doing actions that are against the law.

See the more recent ruling here: http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/law/6319-court-endorses-thought-crime.html

In other words, if you can be fined for NOT doing something, then they can get away with anything. Any law telling you to do anything under the sun – especially if it is economic in nature – and you don’t do it, can be met with severe jail terms or severe fines. This is government regulations run amuck!

It is often pointed out that states can order you to buy automobile insurance and that this is Constitutional and that this can be the basis of the law telling you have to buy health insurance. However, this obliterates a very crucial distinction. Namely that the State owns and operates most of the roads, and therefore the State can set the terms of driving on said roads. Under capitalism, this wouldn’t be the case, the roads would be privately owned and the owner / operator could decide the rules of the road – including whether or not insurance is mandatory or not. However, no one has suggested that one can be fined for not driving! And yet, that is what the erasure of the activity / inactivity distinction could mean, and will mean as soon as the bureaucrats figure it out.

The activity / inactivity distinction has not yet made it to the Supreme Court regarding ObamaCare – and Obama doesn’t want it to get there any time soon – but it is frightening to think they we are only one ruling away from being slaves of the State.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is often pointed out that states can order you to buy automobile insurance and that this is Constitutional and that this can be the basis of the law telling you have to buy health insurance. However, this obliterates a very crucial distinction. Namely that the State owns and operates most of the roads, and therefore the State can set the terms of driving on said roads.

Indeed, my understanding is that the state cannot order you to buy auto insurance. If you own a large plot of private land, for example, such as a farm, I believe you can operate a car on it without registration or insurance. You just can't drive it on public roads. The insurance requirement is a condition imposed on the use of a public resource. The health insurance mandate imposed by ObamaCare is an entirely different sort of thing -- an unconditional mandate tied only to being alive. It's only analogous to the auto insurance case on the premise that your life is like the roads: a public resource.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I started a new thread because it is now not so much about ObamaCare, but rather the implications of the more recent ruling that the government can essentially regulate all of you economic activities because if the activity / inactivity distinction breaks down and thinking about something is considered an economic potential activity, then they will be able to regulate all of your personal purchasing decisions. In other words, right now, the government cannot tell you what to buy. They can encourage you to buy certain things -- i.e. a house -- by giving you tax incentives, but they cannot tell you that deciding not to buy a house is an economic activity. That is the importance of the distinction between activity and inactivity. The government can fine you or imprison you if you act against a particular law -- but you have to do something -- i.e. be in possession of drugs -- before they can do anything to you. But if merely thinking about taking an action and then either taking it or not taking it can be regulated, then the sky is the limit as to what they will try to regulate if the Supreme Court overturns the ruling that the activity / inactivity distinction is the proper separation between law and human activity. If, by that ruling I posted, thinking is considered an action that can be regulated, then I think Ed Cline is right that it is thought control and decision control -- at least insofar as regulating the economy is concerned.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is often pointed out that states can order you to buy automobile insurance and that this is Constitutional and that this can be the basis of the law telling you have to buy health insurance. However, this obliterates a very crucial distinction. Namely that the State owns and operates most of the roads, and therefore the State can set the terms of driving on said roads.

Freedom: "Intellectual freedom cannot exist without political freedom; political freedom cannot exist without economic freedom; a free mind and a free market are corollaries." For the New Intellectual, 25.

The government requires that we purchase auto insurance as a condition of using the "public" roadways (roadways that are "owned" and operated by the government), and generally people consider that to be logical, even appropriate — as you say, "the State owns and operates most of the roads, and therefore the State can set the terms of driving on said roads."

The insurance that we are currently required to purchase for that purpose is insurance to cover the potential damages which we might cause to others, their person or property, not ourselves — minimal liability insurance. To engage in the "privilege" of driving on "our" "public" roadways we are not (yet) required to purchase personal injury, medical, collision, etc, insurance to cover potential damages to our own vehicles or to ourselves.

If it is proper for the government to require us to purchase minimum liability insurance, would it not be equally proper for the government to require us to purchase personal injury, medical, collision insurance as well as a condition of the "privilege" of driving on the government "owned" roadways?

I certainly agree with your and Mr. Cline's view as to the significance and implications of the activity/non-activity distinction.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Indeed, my understanding is that the state cannot order you to buy auto insurance. If you own a large plot of private land, for example, such as a farm, I believe you can operate a car on it without registration or insurance. You just can't drive it on public roads. The insurance requirement is a condition imposed on the use of a public resource.

Unfortunately precedent is in place against this.

With ever greater frequency people are getting DUIs while on private property (some not even driving but just sitting in an unmoving vehicle). The distinction between public and private property has long been negated. Only now are the symptoms of what was put in place long ago becoming acute.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

– but it is frightening to think they we are only one ruling away from being slaves of the State.

Yes, if this case is decided the wrong way, it will mean an end to liberty in America. Where are the ACLU and the other supposed defenders of our rights?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, if this case is decided the wrong way, it will mean an end to liberty in America. Where are the ACLU and the other supposed defenders of our rights?

This is "Change" they can believe in...

The ACLU's entire purpose is not defending civil liberties, but undermining American society by selectively engaging in legal battles. It was never more than a communist front organization. Our Nashville branch shares the same office space with the Nashville Peace and Justice Center, and the CPUSA.

Edited by Maximus
Link to comment
Share on other sites

but it is frightening to think they we are only one ruling away from being slaves of the State.

Then we are one ruling away from me shrugging. I will not work for one more penny than what I need under such conditions—I will not supply the means for my own destruction.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...