by Andrew Napolitano
We elect the government. It works for us. As we watch the Democrats' plans for health care take shape, we can only ask how did our government get so removed, so unbridled, so arrogant that it can tell us how to live our personal lives?
Last Saturday, at 11 oíclock in the evening, the House of Representatives voted by a five vote margin to have the federal government manage the health care of every American at a cost of $1 trillion dollars over the next ten years.
For the first time in American history, if this bill becomes law, the Feds will force you to buy insurance you might not want, or may not need, or cannot afford. If you donít purchase what the government tells you to buy, if you donít do so when they tell you to do it, and if you donít buy just what they say is right for you, the government may fine you, prosecute you, and even put you in jail. Freedom of choice and control over your own body will be lost. The privacy of your communications and medical decision making with your physician will be gone. More of your hard earned dollars will be at the disposal of federal bureaucrats.
It was not supposed to be this way. We elect the government. It works for us. How did it get so removed, so unbridled, so arrogant that it can tell us how to live our personal lives? Evil rarely comes upon us all at once, and liberty is rarely lost in one stroke. It happens gradually, over the years and decades and even centuries. A little stretch here, a cave in there, powers are slowly taken from the states and the people and before you know it, we have one big monster government that recognizes no restraint on its ability to tell us how to live. It claims the power to regulate any activity, tax any behavior, and demand conformity to any standard it chooses.
The Founders did not give us a government like the one we have today. The government they gave us was strictly limited in its scope, guaranteed individual liberty, preserved the free market, and on matters that pertain to our private behavior was supposed to leave us alone.
In the Constitution, the Founders built in checks and balances. If the Congress got out of hand, the states would restrain it. If the states stole liberty or property, the Congress would cure it. If the President tried to become a king, the courts would prevent it.
In the next few weeks, I will be giving a public class on Constitutional Law here on the Fox News Channel, on the Fox Business Network, on Foxnews.com, and on Fox Nation. In anticipation of that, many of you have asked: What can we do now about the loss of freedom? For starters, we can vote the bums out of their cushy federal offices! We can persuade our state governments to defy the Feds in areas like health care -- where the Constitution gives the Feds zero authority. We can petition our state legislatures to threaten to amend the Constitution to abolish the income tax, return the selection of U.S. senators to state legislatures and nullify all the laws the Congress has written that are not based in the Constitution.
One thing we canít do is just sit back and take it.
Judge Andrew Napolitano is Fox News' senior judicial analyst.