The politics of anti-politics

Many libertarian ideas are worthy of respect, or at least attention. That massive policy change can be contrasted with “politics” is not one of them.

I try my best to appreciate the insights of libertarians.  I mean that truthfully, not condescendingly. I’m by instinct much closer to a flinty individualist than an Organization Man. I think government exists to further our common interests, not to represent some alleged social unity. I oppose the very idea of a public philosophy and think government should damn well let us think for ourselves. I find several recurrent egalitarian temptations—to regulate pornography, keep “offensive” speech off college campuses, and ban private alternatives to public provision in education and health care—not just wrong on policy but insulting and immoral.  I think Adam Smith, scourge of monopoly, guilds, and regulatory capture—and defender of public goods—was a great benefactor to humankind. I found Brink Lindsey’s proposal for liberaltarianism so intriguing that I helped organize a conference on it, and enjoyed meeting both him and Will Wilkinson.  (That particular alliance didn’t exactly work out, of course, and at this point probably never will.)  I support the welfare state and public goods provision because they enable individual projects, but admit that political support for such things often requires communitarian rhetoric and friend-enemy distinctions that are distasteful on their face and bad for public debate.   I believe it’s very important to have a strong party in society that’s suspicious of spending to ensure that spending is well directed and government not even more responsive to concentrated, organized interests than it inevitably is to some extent. And I read Reason’s blog Hit and Run for a reason: it makes about five interesting contrarian points a day, and covers plenty of stories others bury.  (Random examples in the last couple of days here, here, here, here, and here—and I’m not just saying that because two of those items showcase UCLA’s School of Public Affairs, though it helps.)

But sometimes I’m just at a loss.  Yesterday, John Stossel proposed a plan to balance the budget.  It’s fairly standard libertarian fare. Leaving out ideological items that he admits don’t amount to many dollars, he wants to do the following: Eliminate the Department of Education (since “Federal involvement doesn’t improve education. It gets in the way”). Zero out agriculture subsidies. Ditto energy subsidies (green and non-green). Raise the retirement age and index benefits to inflation (as opposed to wage growth, I assume). Cut “Medicare and Medicaid” in unspecified ways endorsed by Cato. And shrink defense spending, again per Cato. Now, I sharply oppose a great many of these proposals. Federal education subsidies prevent a state-level race to the bottom—which libertarians call “fiscal federalism” without thereby making it less callous towards the poor, not to mention the non-poor with extraordinary requirements; I doubt Stossel has a kid with autism.  Raising the retirement age would be a kick in the teeth to people with physically punishing jobs. I do not believe that one can massively cut Medicaid without harming health care for the poor, and think that comforting-sounding budget caps proposed “control the growth” of that program  serve to whitewash, not change, that fact. I see no merit in Stossel’s claim that we’d save money by repealing our current law governing health care, which he fails to call the Affordable Care Act. And, of course, I don’t think he has grounds for leaving the word “taxes” out of his article, nor for not bothering to consider the consequences during a recession of a massive drop in government-driven demand. On the other hand, I wouldn’t mind ag subsidies getting slashed; defense cuts are fine with me too; it’s quite possible that Medicare, which has much higher reimbursement rates than Medicaid, could achieve the same health outcomes at lower cost; and I hear it’s an open question whether ending all energy subsidies would on balance be better or worse for the environment than the status quo. In short, I partly agree, but overwhelmingly disagree, with Stossel’s politics.

But the gobsmacking part is how Stossel frames the proposal: “disciplined government could make cuts that get us to a surplus in one year.” “[E]ven a timid Congress could make swift progress if it wanted to.” While “bureaucrats” will complain, if “the crowd in Washington would limit spending growth to about 2 percent,” we’d be almost in balance in ten years.  In short, “the budget can be cut. Only politics stand in the way.” The Reason staff’s link to the item says the same thing (though it makes “politics” singular). It seems to be the party line.

This is pretty common talk among libertarians, who often claim we’d be much better off without “politics.” And it’s completely mad. Stossel proposes that we slash our spending on public goods; rearrange the compact between the federal government and the states; greatly scale back our military commitments abroad; shrink substantially our commitment to provide for the poor and elderly; and let the market set our energy policy in spite of global warming being the mother of all externalities (or if he likes the denialist line, at least widely asserted to be so).  And of course, he assumes that the level of taxation should be the same as or lower than it is now, not higher. These proposals aren’t marginal to politics.  They are the essence of politics.  If we took questions like this off the table, politics would practically disappear.

If libertarians meant their stance cynically—using a posture of opposing “politics” while knowing very well that it meant “enact our politics”—I’d understand. But as far as I can tell they mean it completely sincerely.  They really think that radical political proposals aren’t political at all, and that all that stands in the way of enacting them is lack of spine among our politicians, who must secretly know that libertarians are right in spite of having collectively spent millions of hours asserting that they’re wrong. (Libertarians seem to be fair-weather believers in civic virtue: citizens never need it, but politicians universally lack it.)

I simply can’t understand how thinking people could believe this for a second without their heads exploding from illogic.

Author: Andrew Sabl

I'm a political theorist and Visiting Professor (through 2017) in the Program on Ethics, Politics and Economics at Yale. My interests include the history of political thought, toleration, democratic theory, political ethics, problems of coordination and convention, the realist movement in political theory, and the thought of David Hume. My first book, Ruling Passions: Political Offices and Democratic Ethics (Princeton, 2002) covered many of these topics, with a special focus on the varieties of democratic politics and the disparate qualities of mind and character appropriate to those who practice each of them. My second book Hume's Politics: Coordination and Crisis in the History of England was published in 2012; I am currently finishing a book on toleration, with the working title The Virtues of Hypocrisy, under contract with Harvard University Press. A Los Angeles native, I got my B.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard. Before coming to Yale I taught at Vanderbilt and at UCLA, where I was an Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor; and held visiting positions at Williams, Harvard, and Princeton. I am married to Miriam Laugesen, who teaches health policy and the politics of health care at the Mailman School of public health at Columbia, and we have a twelve-year-old son.

28 thoughts on “The politics of anti-politics”

  1. I jumped off the Fonzie of Freedom train a few years ago.

    So I avoid this: I simply can’t understand how thinking people could believe this for a second without their heads exploding from illogic.

  2. The libertarians are simply cowardly anarchists. No guts. Their entire program is running in Somalia. Why don’t some of them fly over and see how well it works.

  3. To give some credit to the libertarians, I think that most of them believe that politics would go away in a minarchy, because there would be so little to fight over. It’s a perfectly coherent thought. If we ever got a minarchy, it may well be correct. However, this thinking gets a bit weird when they fail to realize that you would need a whole lot of Constitutional-level politicking on the transition to a low-politics libertarian nirvana.

    Like Sabl, I’m kind of fond of libertarianism–it is an important part of the Enlightenment project that has much to teach us. But I’m also fond of communism, for the same reason. And both suffer from exactly the same problem: what Oakeshott called “rationalism” and what Burke discerned in the French Revolution.

  4. Oh, I forgot. Sabl’s insinuation that Stossel is a libertarian is an insult to libertarians. Stossel is a corporate hack; a loyal vassal of our system of industrial feudalism.

  5. ES: “most of them believe that politics would go away in a minarchy”

    I agree; this is the essence of a common libertarian mindset.

    Government, in this view, is an expensive broker of private intent in public action, and is not worth the broker’s fee. If the government simply did not act in a particular domain, there would be no need for political controversy over how it should act.

    So, if, for example, there’s a controversy over teaching Darwinian evolution in the public schools, a simple libertarian solution is to abolish public schools. Then, teaching Darwinian evolution is no longer a question for public policy, and, hence there is no need for a political controversy. People are free to choose, individually, what their children will be taught.

    Libertarians, in contrast to liberals or conservatives, characteristically argue for principle and process, because their general point is that the substance simply should not be a public question.

  6. Ebenezer Scrooge and Bruce: while you may be right about minarchy, it’s inapt in this case. Stossel is not proposing a new constitution that’s supposedly objective, nor a privatization of everything that supposedly makes these questions go away. He’s proposing a level of spending below the current one, within existing institutions of government and policy, and *then* saying that only “politics” prevents his proposal from being enacted. That’s like saying that only politics prevents us from adopting a welfare state as big as Sweden’s: true, I guess, but if I regularly argued this way I’d be thought pretty silly.

  7. Bruce,

    So, if, for example, there’s a controversy over teaching Darwinian evolution in the public schools, a simple libertarian solution is to abolish public schools. Then, teaching Darwinian evolution is no longer a question for public policy, and, hence there is no need for a political controversy. People are free to choose, individually, what their children will be taught.

    But of course it’s not true that it’s no longer a question of public policy. First there is the decision as to whether the government will pay for education, through a voucher system perhaps. That creates the public policy question of whether to teach poor children anything. But let’s say a financially reasonable voucher system is set up. Presumably no one will object if the government takes steps to prevent crooks from setting up non-schools to collect vouchers and teach nothing. And it’s easy to see where that leads.

  8. Stossel: …disciplined government could make cuts that get us to a surplus in one year.

    So?

    How will a surplus make anyone’s life better?
    Baby boomers want their social security and medicare.
    In fact most want a raise.
    And if they don’t get it….

    Do the political science math:

    We have a surplus of baby boomers.
    They have lots of guns and ammo.
    They want their social security and medicare.
    They are not going to let you take it from them without a ferocious fight.
    Not when they see billionaires larding it up on teevee…

    Conclusion: I suspect Stossel is a well-insulated academic who has tenure with a right-wing tank.
    He is dangerously out of touch with an armed, angry and mostly poor public…

    Class dismissed.

  9. I think Stossel pretty silly, but I can understand why he does not feel his head explode from illogic.

    “Politics” of the who-gets-what variety is a dispute over questions of substance, in the sense of resource allocation and production of goods. Libertarians are opposed, on principle, to “politics” of that kind (even though you or I, or even libertarians themselves, might regard that as the only kind of politics there is), reasoning that we would all be better off, across a broad margin adjacent to where we are, if the private resources incompetently brokered to public purposes, were simply left in private hands. In the libertarian view, the liberal and conservative politicians agree among themselves, as a first order, to have a politics of substance, by filling the trough, and then proceed as a second order matter, to have a “politics” of disputes over whose pigs will feed. (This second-order “politics” provides employment for the politicians as brokers of these resources, stolen from private hands and now available, minus a skim, for transfer back to private hands as public expenditures.) Getting rid of the “politics” means ending the first order agreement, or reducing its scope and extent, by reducing the 1st-order committment of resources available for 2nd-order “politics”. Stossel is arguing that the difficulties of achieving a balanced budget are obscured by the determination of the players to continue the 2nd-order “politics” disputes over who-gets-what, when what is needed — a 1st order agreement to reduce the resources allocated to government, i.e. to having a 2nd-order politics — is relatively simple and straightforward, but requires adjuring the 2nd-order politics.

    I think Stossel would largely deny that he has any interest in 2nd-order “politics”; he’s against having “public policy” disputes over, say, the “retirement age” — people should be free to choose their own retirement age, and to take responsibility for that choice; it’s only the insistence on diverting so many resources into the hands of government that make that a public choice. If you have an autistic child, that’s your lookout, and to the extent he is sympathetic, he should be free to express that sympathy thru private charity.

    Andrew Sabl tends to agree with Stossel, when Sabl is disinterested in the 2nd-order question, or skeptical about whether there actually is such a question. Agricultural subsidies, maybe energy subsidies. The idea that Stossel has a position on Medicare reimbursement rates seems wildly implausible. I’m not sure why Sabl claims Stossel wishes to remain “within existing institutions of government and policy”. I think Stossel believes that substantial 1st-order cuts would create a kind of small-c constitutional change in our politics, by reducing the scope and extent of 2nd-order “politics”. Libertarianism of the kind Stossel promotes has had enormous success, since Friedman in the 1960s, in taking apart the institutions of the New Deal, and continues with unspent ambition.

    Libertarianism has little mass-appeal, precisely because its substantive politics is favorable only to the very, very Rich, but that does assure that it is a well-funded pasttime, for articulate mouthpieces of opinion propaganda, and one that can get airtime on the corporate Media. It’s chief function in our politics is to distract and obscure.

  10. “I think government exists to further our common interests, not to represent some alleged social unity.”

    See, that’s a problem I have with liberals. It might be nice if government existed to further our common interests. That doesn’t mean it DOES exist to further them, rather than the interests of those who run it. Any more than business exists to benefit the general population.

    To quote Smith, “”It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest.” This is no less true of government.

    The real challenge of government is setting up a system of incentives such that the people in charge of it need to further our common interests, more than not, in order to further their own. And, secondly, making sure that they don’t get the chance to change that set of incentives to free them of this annoying necessity. But to do either of these things you’ve got to recognize, and never forget, that furthering our common interests isn’t what government is about. It is, at best, something we can with endless vigilance divert government into doing.

  11. Brett, I don’t understand your point very well. Unlike the butcher, the baker, etc., the general point of government is to offer some service or another to the common good. It is explicitly not like a private business in this regard. Therefore while the butcher, the baker, etc. do not have to provide services to anyone, or can charge as much as they please, the library, parks, schools, etc. all must be open to everyone and provide some basic level of service as asked of by the public. I want the guy on the other end of town to have access to clean water, a minimum wage, a well-lit street, health care, etc. I could care less if he wants meat, bread or candlesticks. Thus, I do not require those business’ benevolence. But I do require the benevolence of government service.

    You can argue all you want that some or another method is or isn’t efficient, or that personal interest isn’t usually a driving factor at the site level. But the *express goal* of government services like those I mentioned are indeed to provide for the common good. And to a degree this exists in the private sector, when in the form of business charters, journalism ethics, etc. Unfortunately modern business seems about as relativistic as ever, so former concerns about “doing the right thing by society” often fall by the wayside. I’m wonder whether if Adam Smith were alive today he would be aghast at how much his “dinner” really had been up to the benevolence of business, when streams run thick with toxins, and corporate lobbyists…

    OK, this is absurd… the EPA, freed slaves, child labor laws… women’s suffrage, anti-discrimination laws… what *would* Adam think?!!! lol…

  12. I doubt Stossel has a kid with autism

    And as I *do* have a kid with autism, who is in public school, I encourage the Stossels and Bellmores to go found their selfish libertarian utopia someplace else.

    But to do either of these things you’ve got to recognize, and never forget, that furthering our common interests isn’t what government is about.

    I am not the world’s biggest Jefferson fan, but I’ll take the Declaration of Independence over Brett Bellmore eight days out of the week.

    Libertarians, I have come to notice, simply do not like America, a country founded on the premise that government is an instrument of the people, not a tyranny over the people. The latter is essential to their childish escapism.

  13. Bruce, meet Eli. Yes, it IS a point of which many liberals are ignorant. Though perhaps “resistant” would be a better description.

    Anderson, I’ll match your Jefferson with Madison:

    “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. What is government itself but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

    Libertarians simply do not like government. This dislike is not limited to American government, and American government most assuredly was founded on the premise that government, if not subject to many limitations, would be a tyranny over the people.

    It seems to me that, far too often, liberals only see what more powerful government could do for people, and never stop to think of what it will do TO them. But the two are inextricably connected. I think Ford, while I never thought him a particularly impressive President, was spot on when he said, “A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.”

  14. Everything Anderson said.

    Brett, as a long-time lefty, I am quite aware government can be a tyranny. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s an FBI file with my name on it (probably disappointed if there wasn’t) but I’d be surprised if there was one with yours. I just accept that it’s a big, complex, contradictory world, that the same government that in some ways is ‘an instrument of the people’ is also in some ways tyrannical. I believe the expression is, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  15. “Bruce, meet Eli. Yes, it IS a point of which many liberals are ignorant. Though perhaps “resistant” would be a better description.”

    This is probably what frustrates me most about the current libertarianism that has now largely taken over conservatism as well. It incessantly paints an enormously overblown picture of government as tyranny (oh no, medicare and public schools, when will it end!). I think libertarians, with their nightwatchman state, are living in a dream world. I think conservatives, who have no such vision, are either ignorant or playing a cynical game of fear-mongering. This is the movement that, in prior, more reasonable years, actively supported much of what we now consider basic government services. (see 2010’s anti-government/pro-medicare paradox.)

    So the reason, Brett, that so many liberals might appear resistant to tightening of the government belt, is that we have been faced with an increasingly dishonest right which frames *all* government as an existential threat. Instead of being grown-up, and in good faith working within a mixed-economy system, we are stuck in these idiotic battles over the meaning of “creeping socialism” and “tyranny” – just because we want to, say, raise taxes 3% to cover 30 million uninsured Americans. Or fund public pensions. Or place regulations on certain types of emissions. Or offer daycare to poor single mothers.

    What I would like to see from the right, is a good-faith acknowledgment that modern government is going to be relatively large, and a focus not on it’s existence, but on specific issues where we can compromise over what we each value. Because a good portion of the time, the right isn’t really concerned about government at all – just government they don’t approve of. Just imagine how silly it would be if the left always railed against “big-government”, yet really only wanted to cut defense?

    I would be much more eager to have a discussion about “trimming the fat”, if I thought I was talking to people who were being intellectually honest. And whenever I hear the word “tyranny” as referred to our current government, I know the conversation isn’t serious.

  16. I think our current government is increasingly tyrannical, even if it hasn’t arrived at full-fledged tyranny. I actually seriously worry that Bush and now Obama are working on building a fascist state. When I talk to people, who don’t take the relevant trends seriously, I know the conversation isn’t serious.

    With Brett, I suspect he favors tyranny, even as he rails against it. I want a “big government”, in the sense that I want the government to provide a lot of cheap insurance and to act as countervailing force against private business interests. The alternative, as I see it, is a neo-feudalism.

  17. OK, Bruce. Do me a favor and describe what tyranny would look like, and then how we are close to it. There will always be ways in which this or that policy crosses the line, but the term tyranny actually has a definition. I think it’s really sloppy and *unserious* to bandy it about when real tyrannies do in fact exist and are vast distances from our current state. And we aren’t even talking about the kind of mythological tyranny libertarians routinely speak of, like helmet and drug laws, or moderate tax rates.

  18. Let’s see, what would tyranny look like?

    Asset forfeiture, where the police take your property, then require you to prove yourself innocent of a crime in order to get it back?

    An arbitrary list of people who can’t fly, with no procedure for getting off it?

    The President asserting the power to order citizens assassinated without judicial review?

    How about the administration announcing that it’s going to continue to implement a law that’s been declared unconstitutional?

    Seizure of domain names without any adversarial hearing?

    Mind you, there are worse tyrannies than what we’ve got in the US, by far. But what’s your point, that we aren’t allowed to change course before we arrive at the destination?

  19. Nothing is easier than sitting down at a keyboard and crafting a plan to balance the budget.

    What’s hard is crafting a plan that 218 House members, 60 senators and one president will all agree on.

  20. Brett, re: your list of travesties that should not be allowed to stand — do you think those of us on the left are for the President ordering citizens assassinated with or without judicial review?

    I continue to fail to see the relationship between the arbitrariness of the no-fly list and the Libertarian desire to deny a public education, medical attention and other supports, inlcuding financial assistance, to children like mine and Anderson’s throughout their lives. Is taking away government funding for group homes somehow going to prevent asset forfeiture?

  21. Brett, that’s a list of specific instances which have generally been argued over democratically and routinely supported by all 3 branches of government. Some of them will no doubt be reviewed and dealt with democratically, according to their merits. No one said democracy was easy. But I’m sorry, it is hand-waving to call them tyranny.

    I suppose the question is: what is tyranny? I can think of a long list of things that the government has done throughout history that could be described as unconstitutional, or immoral, or unconscionable. But tyrannical? Wouldn’t that require a concerted effort on the part of our government to act in a tyrannical manner? I mean, many of the things you listed are arguably constitutional. Just because you disagree with them, you can’t say therefore that the state has become tyrannical.

    My point is simply that we should be more reasonable and make a distinction between things like health care laws we don’t like and tyrannical despotism. I know certain paranoid personality types on the right and left get off on the idea they are taking part in a life or death struggle against government/corporations/CIA/etc. On the right, they start greasing their guns. On the left they fantasize about organic cauliflower beds. But look around, for God sakes! We remain an incredibly free, productive and healthy society. Are we perfect? No. But that’s by degree. Spend some time in other countries and you’ll quickly see just how damn good we have it.

    In my opinion, the most serious problems we have are the political laziness and civic disinterest of our fellow citizens. That’s not a very exciting conspiracy, I know. But being serious is often unexciting.

  22. @Eli

    How close are we? Close enough to detain innocent people indefinitely without charge. Close enough to torture people. Close enough to prosecute “aggressive war”, arbitrarily and without provocation or cause, invading another country. Close enough to choose a President, without bothering to count the votes in a national election. Close enough to allow Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase to dictate the country’s economic policy.

    I thought most of the things on Brett’s list were actually pretty accurate instances of tyrannical government, though hardly an exhaustive list. When I say, “tyranny”, I mean “arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power”, that being the dictionary definition of tyranny.

    If all three branches of government support, say, civil asset forfeiture, without criminal charges against the owner . . . well, support of such an arbitrary exercise of power is evidence of tyranny. The absence of tyranny would manifest in a process to correct this abuse of power, not consensus confirming its legitimacy. The refusal of our Federalist Society judiciary to do its duty is evidence of increasing tyranny.

    Now, Brett snuck one into his list — “the administration announcing that it’s going to continue to implement a law that’s been declared unconstitutional” — which I would view somewhat differently, but that’s our Brett! Brett knows perfectly well that the Judge Vinson did not issue an injunction, that conflicting rulings have been made on the issue of constitutionality, and the issue will not be decided with effect by the Supreme Court for some time. So that item is completely inappropriate. (Hack Republican judges making arbitary and partisan decisions, undermining democracy and the rule of law, is one of the most serious trends leading in the direction of tyranny, imho, but that’s another topic.)

    I take your point that calling, say, Medicare, “tyranny”, is pretty silly. The systematic undermining of political rhetoric and its divorce from reality — the “socialist, Muslim Obama!” stuff — however, is, itself, part of the progress toward tyranny. I think Glenn Beck is campaigning for tyranny. (Oh, I’m sorry, a Mormon on a white horse, to rescue our Constitution as it hangs by a thread! Do you suppose Mitt Romney rides?)

    I agree, too, that the political laziness and civic disinterest of our fellow citizens is a serious problem. I am inclined to think that the corporate Media functions much of the time as a propaganda machine, which leaves the citizenry badly misinformed even on questions of paramount importance. Not an excuse, but part of the dynamic. The U.S. initiated an unprovoked invasion and occupation of Iraq — an “aggressive war” and the war crime of a tyranny, by common definition — and most Americans were unaware that that war was unprovoked, that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with the events of 9/11. It takes some serious work to convince a solid majority of a major democracy in the 21st century of “facts” which are simply and plainly not true. Call me silly, if you like, but that worries me. But, there’s a ready apparatus to do this work; notice what happened to ACORN, and watch Planned Parenthood, and then tell me that you are bored.

    One thing that bugs me a bit, when I raise these issues, is the reference to a “conspiracy”. I don’t say, “conspiracy”, unless I mean “conspiracy”, and that, generally, means I don’t use the word. People, who defend their complacent ignorance, with arch references to “conspiracy theories”, seriously need to wake up and smell the coffee.

    Take a look at Kevin Phillip’s American Theocracy or Bad Money, or, for a longer perspective, Rick Perlstein’s Nixonland.

  23. Just a small clarification, about the central paradox of my view: I think the primary danger of a trend toward “tyranny” stems from the increasing weaknesses of American government. I see government becoming more arbitrary, because it has fewer resources and less practical capacity to process feedback and act on that feedback, rationally and effectively.

    To take the example of invading and occupying Iraq: I see the problem as incompetence much more than malevolence. Incompetence, though, that still outputs arbitrary and unrestrained exercise of power.

  24. “Brett knows perfectly well that the Judge Vinson did not issue an injunction”

    Brett knows perfectly well that judges do not, as a general matter, issue injunctions against the government, simply as a matter of courtesy. The theory being, however ill founded, that the government is law abiding, and therefore does not have to be explicitly told to stop doing something once it’s told that it’s unconstitutional. Injunctions typically issue on evidence that the government is continuing to enforce the unconstitutional law, and I figure it’s only a matter of time in this case, unless the circuit reverses Vinson, and quite promptly.

    In the meanwhile, it should be understood that, since judge Vinson’s ruling, Obamacare lacks the force of law, and the plaintiffs are free to ignore it, whatever the Obama administration might decide to do.

  25. Brett is truly unserious. Now he is making definitive pronouncements on the legality of healthcare. The best part about libertarians is when they decide that a truly free society would do whatever said libertarian deems appropriate. Every man a king…..

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