We told you so

It has been a while — since the old blog, I believe — since Wagonwheel used the phrase “bending the cost curve downward” when he wrote about the Affordable Care Act. Now, it seems as though the cost curve is getting bent alright, but not in the direction our Democrat from Delaware told us:


March 13, 2012 4:21pm

CBO: Obamacare to cost $1.76 trillion over 10 yrs

byPhilip Klein Senior Editorial Writer

President Obama’s national health care law will cost $1.76 trillion over a decade, according to a new projection released today by the Congressional Budget Office, rather than the $940 billion forecast when it was signed into law.

Democrats employed many accounting tricks when they were pushing through the national health care legislation, the most egregious of which was to delay full implementation of the law until 2014, so it would appear cheaper under the CBO’s standard ten-year budget window and, at least on paper, meet Obama’s pledge that the legislation would cost “around $900 billion over 10 years.” When the final CBO score came out before passage, critics noted that the true 10 year cost would be far higher than advertised once projections accounted for full implementation.

Today, the CBO released new projections from 2013 extending through 2022, and the results are as critics expected: the ten-year cost of the law’s core provisions to expand health insurance coverage has now ballooned to $1.76 trillion. That’s because we now have estimates for Obamacare’s first nine years of full implementation, rather than the mere six when it was signed into law. Only next year will we get a true ten-year cost estimate, if the law isn’t overturned by the Supreme Court or repealed by then. Given that in 2022, the last year available, the gross cost of the coverage expansions are $265 billion, we’re likely looking at about $2 trillion over the first decade, or more than double what Obama advertised.

This is, undoubtedly, a complete surprise to President Obama, and to the Democrats who voted to pass the Affordable Care Act. I wonder if anyone had foreseen this?1

As for Wagonwheel, he wrote, on 31 August 2010:

“Of course, just because the Democrats are admitting it to themselves doesn’t mean that Perry will quit using his standard claims! :)

Yes, Dana, I am still sticking with the non-partisan (CBO) conclusions.2

So, will Wagonwheel still stick with the “non-partisan (CBO) conclusions?” So far, everything the Democrats projected about the Affordable care Act has been wrong, and it hasn’t even come into full force yet. Of course, that fits in quite well with the fact that, so far, everything the Democrats projected about the economy and the 2009 stimulus plan was wrong as well.

I have never met Barack Obama. He may be the nicest guy in the world for all I know, and his intentions and goals for our country may be the noblest that could ever be found. But one thing I do know is that he is simply not up to the job of President of the United States.
______________________________________

  1. Note: there are six separate hyperlinks in this sentence.
  2. In his original comment, Wagonwheel used “OMB” instead of “CBO,” but he meant CBO. The Office of Management and Budget is not non-partisan, but is under the control of the President.

34 Comments

  1. But we had to pass it before we could read it and know what was in it. Why anyone would listen to a socialist about anything is beyond me!

  2. BREAKING NEWS!

    Four Million Fewer Covered at Work Under Obamacare

    by Keith Koffler on March 14, 2012, 8:56 am

    A new report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office states that by 2016, Obamacare will result in 4 million people fewer people getting health insurance coverage from their employers.

    Yes Mr. editor, we did tell them so!

  3. Once again, Mr Editor, you are not asking yourself the right questions:

    1. What would the ten your cost projection have been if we did not have the ACA and and did have fewer folks insured, especially younger, healthier Americans?

    2. How much more would out-of-control, monolopistic private insurers have added to our health care bill without the exchanges in the ACA.

    3. How much would have been saved if Republicans had been willing to sign on to a public option?

    4. How much more would have been saved if we had single payer, like Medicare for all?

    5. What would be the loss in cost/performance if we maintained the previous system which leaves upwards of fifty million uninsured?

    Mr Editor, you are taking a very complex issue, then simplifying it so that you can attack the President, without coming up with a viable plan of your own which will cost less and insure more people.

    This is all you Republicans do, while refusing to take into account the health needs of the American people.

    Ask Yorkshire where he would be without Medicare and Social Security on the horizon for him.

    Ask Mr Hitchcock where he would be without unemployment insurance and food stamps.

    Ask koolo and Hube where they would be without robust teachers’ pensions and social security and Medicare when they are age eligible.

    Ask yourself where you would be should you become permanently disabled without Medicare and Social Security on the horizon in less than ten years.

    My point: It is all ideological with you people, while you are unwilling to ask yourself questions similar to those I’ve just listed, or just won’t acknowledge the safety net which the Dems (mostly) have enacted on your behalf.

  4. Perry, you just can’t seem to face facts:

    Hoagie pointed out the new CBO report reveals that millions of workers will lose health insurance from their employer under ObamaCare. (quotes from Keith Koffler at White House Dossier)

    A new report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office states that by 2016, Obamacare will result in 4 million people fewer people getting health insurance coverage from their employers.

    The estimate is a vast increase from the CBO prediction just a year ago that 1 million would no longer obtain coverage from their employers. And it raises substantial questions about the veracity of one of Obama’s key pledges in selling the health care law – that everyone who wants to keep their current health insurance plan and doctor could do it.

    And, it just keeps getting worse:

    According to a survey published last summer by the Towers Watson consulting firm, almost one in ten medium to large size employers said they are likely or very likely to end health benefits for their workers.

    But, this isn’t the rosy picture Obama painted when he was trying to ram ObamaCare down our throats in the dark of night.

    During the debate over the health care law, Obama repeatedly and emphatically asserted everyone would be able to keep their current insurance if they wanted, even suggesting those who said otherwise were not telling the truth. (Which was a lie when he said it, and it was a lie when you repeated it on CSPT.)

    But, true to form, your personal interest is in diverting attention away from the cold reality of Obama’s monumental failures.

    So, here’s a question for you: How quickly could Obama have ended the recession if he’s focused on tax cuts, eliminating burdensome regulation, and making deep reductions in government spending?

    A President who faced up to the nation’s problems and worked on behalf of the American people would deserve their thanks and their votes. Obama fails on both counts.

    [Comment edited to remove an unintentional blockquote, as ropelight noted in the subsequent comment. No changes were made in the text. -- Editor]

  5. Ropelight, the facts are that it is the employers who are opting out of providing health care insurance for their workers. This is not under Obama’s control. The same trend has been going on since Reagan, in which middle incomes have been stagnant, while wealth flows to the top. Is this the kind of America you wish.

    This is why a government run single payer system would have been better, as has worked well in other countries. Or at least the Swiss plan, where basic health insurance is mandated, under terms contracted periodically, I think yearly, the contract being both with private medical care providers and with private health insurance companies.

    This winner take all system which we have is terrible, due to continually escalating costs and lack of competition among insurers.

    In answer to your question, if President Obama had followed the path you describe, tax cuts, regulation cuts, and deep reductions in government spending, we would then have a Great Depression II and a small elite few holding most of the nation’s wealth. I guess you are OK with that tucked in down there in your gated community in Southwest FL, without a financial worry in the world.

  6. SINP writes

    Once again, Mr Editor, you are not asking yourself the right questions

    Actually, you’re refusing to address the points made in the post. It’s a smart move, though — who would want to address yet another Obama debacle?

    Ask koolo and Hube where they would be without robust teachers’ pensions and social security and Medicare when they are age eligible

    I’d have liked to been able to invest both as I wished, not subject to the dictates of the state and feds. So leave me out of your pathetic pre-conceived partisan notions.

  7. This is a demonstration of how the right-wing engages in outright lying.

    Here’s the release from the horse’s mouth:

    http://www.cbo.gov/publication/43080

    —-
    Estimates Through Fiscal Year 2022

    This report also presents estimates through fiscal year 2022, because the baseline projection period now extends through that additional year. The ACA’s provisions related to insurance coverage are now projected to have a net cost of $1,252 billion over the 2012-2022 period; that amount represents a gross cost to the federal government of $1,762 billion, offset in part by $510 billion in receipts and other budgetary effects (primarily revenues from penalties and other sources).
    —–

    The true estimated cost of the ACA is 1,252 billion. Referring to the gross cost alone without mentioning receipts is a lot la business trying to pass off its gross revenue as “profits” without mentioning costs.

  8. Wagonwheel wrote:

    Once again, Mr Editor, you are not asking yourself the right questions:

    1. What would the ten your cost projection have been if we did not have the ACA and and did have fewer folks insured, especially younger, healthier Americans?

    2. How much more would out-of-control, monolopistic private insurers have added to our health care bill without the exchanges in the ACA.

    3. How much would have been saved if Republicans had been willing to sign on to a public option?

    You didn’t need Republican votes for that; the public option was defeated because not enough Democrats would go along with it. However, the public option would have been an additional cost to the taxpayers, just more money sucked away from those who pay taxes, to give a benefit to those who don’t.

    4. How much more would have been saved if we had single payer, like Medicare for all?

    Don’t blame the Republicans for that, Mr Wheel: the President never put that out as a plan, and the few Democrats who did introduce such concepts were quickly outvoted in the Democratic caucus.

    In 2008, only two of the Democrats running for the presidential nomination advocated single-payer: Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel. Neither of those gentlemen polled above single digits — and I’m not sure that Mr Gravel even got out of just fractions — while the candidates who advocated something similar to ObaminableCare earned votes.

    5. What would be the loss in cost/performance if we maintained the previous system which leaves upwards of fifty million uninsured?

    Mr Editor, you are taking a very complex issue, then simplifying it so that you can attack the President, without coming up with a viable plan of your own which will cost less and insure more people.

    But that’s just it: I am not interested in having the government “insure more people.” I believe that it is the individual’s responsibility to take care of himself, not the government’s. My “plan” is to repeal ObaminableCare and replace it with absolutely nothing, and revert to the system we had before the ACA was passed.

  9. “But that’s just it: I am not interested in having the government “insure more people.” I believe that it is the individual’s responsibility to take care of himself, not the government’s. My “plan” is to repeal ObaminableCare and replace it with absolutely nothing, and revert to the system we had before the ACA was passed.”

    This would be the system which was leaving many Americans in medical bankruptcy, becoming a serious drag on economic competitivity, and more than doubling in the cost of premiums every decade?

    http://www.cfr.org/health-science-and-technology/healthcare-costs-us-competitiveness/p13325#p2

  10. You can be smug about this ACA, Mr Editor, because both you and your wife are gainfully employed. However, through no fault of their own, through Wall Street greed bank malfeasance, off-shoring of their jobs, millions are now unemployed, many of them are underwater on their mortgages, and health care is a luxury which they cannot afford. Yet this is all just fine with you: Let these lazy bums suffer, you say!

    Under these severe circumstances, the government has an obligation to rescue these people and help them to once more be productive.

    How is this asking too much from our government?

  11. WW:
    Under these severe circumstances, the government has an obligation to rescue these people and help them to once more be productive.

    How is this asking too much from our government?

    Which article in the Constitution covers this?

  12. York, as you know well, there is no Constitutional authority for ObamaCare. In fact, the reserved powers clause pecifically forbids the federal government from just such mischief.

    The Tenth Amendment is clear and unambiguous:

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

    “The Tenth Amendment was intended to confirm the understanding of the people at the time the Constitution was adopted, that powers not granted to the United States were reserved to the States or to the people.” – United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716, 733 (1931).

    Many of the founding fathers, including Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and others, who came to be known as the Anti-Federalists passionately argued for the inclusion of the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution, because they feared an aggressive centralized state power which could destroy the individual liberty of the people.

    The founders deeply distrusted government power, and their goal was to prevent the growth of the type of government that the British had exercised over the colonies, and which was only removed by a long, expensive and bloody rebellion.

    Consequently, the Tenth Amendment was added to the Constitution to emphasize the limited nature of the powers delegated to the federal government. In delegating only those specified powers to the federal government, both the individual states and the people, with some small and very specific exceptions, would remain free to continue exercising their sovereign powers.

  13. Editor, or anyone with access, please turn off bold. I messed up.

    In the second sentence, I intended to use it to emphasize reserved powers. I hope that fixes it.

  14. ropelight says:
    March 15, 2012 at 13:54

    York, as you know well, there is no Constitutional authority for ObamaCare. In fact, the reserved powers clause specifically forbids the federal government from just such mischief.

    The Tenth Amendment is clear and unambiguous:

    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

    “The Tenth Amendment was intended to confirm the understanding of the people at the time the Constitution was adopted, that powers not granted to the United States were reserved to the States or to the people.” – United States v. Sprague, 282 U.S. 716, 733 (1931).

    Just a trick question to agitate the Constitutionally Challenged here. Somehow, we came from the Davey Crockett re-election challenge to if you want, just pander and get the votes for it. We have Presidents with no balls to veto this extra constitutional stuff, a SCOTUS who won’t touch this hot potato, and a totally bought and paid for Congress, all 535 of the jerks.

    On pg. 40 of the “Origins of the Bill of Rights” it states there were originally Twelve Amendments. Congress took out the first two (I think there was redundancy there) were dropped and it became the first 10 amendments, or the Bill of Rights. Or as Obama refers to them as the Bill of Negative Rights since it hinders what the Gummint can do.

  15. Amendments Passed
    by the Senate
    September 9, 1789

    ARTICLE THE FIRST.
    After the first enumeration, required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred; to which number one Representative shall be added for every subsequent increase of forty thousand, until the Representatives shall amount to two hundred, to which number one Representative shall be added for every subsequent increase of sixty thousand persons.

    ARTICLE THE SECOND.
    No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

    ARTICLE THE THIRD.
    Congress shall make no law establishing articles of faith, or a mode of worship, or prohibiting the free exercise of religion, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition to the government for a redress of grievances.

    ARTICLE THE FOURTH.
    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

    ARTICLE THE FIFTH.
    No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

    ARTICLE THE SIXTH.
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    ARTICLE THE SEVENTH.
    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case, to be a witnesses against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

    ARTICLE THE EIGHTH.
    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, to be confronted with the witnesses against him, to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favour, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence.

    ARTICLE THE NINTH.
    In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by Jury shall be preserved, and no fact, tried by a Jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

    ARTICLE THE TENTH.
    Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

    ARTICLE THE ELEVENTH.
    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    ARTICLE* THE TWELFTH.
    The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    The first two were excluded, and there is your Bill of Rights, or the First TEN Amendments

  16. “York, as you know well, there is no Constitutional authority for ObamaCare. In fact, the reserved powers clause specifically forbids the federal government from just such mischief.”

    This is your opinion, ropelight, but has not yet been established. Undoubtedly, the SCOTUS will have to make a decision. Recall that our the collection of Federal Taxes is a mandate applicable to all American citizens.

  17. ““York, as you know well, there is no Constitutional authority for ObamaCare. In fact, the reserved powers clause specifically forbids the federal government from just such mischief.””

    The same claim was made about Medicare. So far it has survived all court challenges, if any.

    I think it would be interesting if the case was bought to the Supreme Court and the ACA struck down on this basis – the only ethical response for the President would be to suspend Medicare as well.

  18. Wagonwheel wrote:

    “York, as you know well, there is no Constitutional authority for ObamaCare. In fact, the reserved powers clause specifically forbids the federal government from just such mischief.”

    This is your opinion, ropelight, but has not yet been established. Undoubtedly, the SCOTUS will have to make a decision. Recall that our the collection of Federal Taxes is a mandate applicable to all American citizens.

    It is absolutely true that the federal government has the authority to impose taxes, and had the health care reform legislation actually switched us over to a taxpayer-funded single-payer system, I am fairly certain that it would be constitutional. As Miss Nova noted, Medicare, which is a single-payer system for retirees financed by direct taxes imposed on people who are not retired, and there has never been a successful constitutional challenge to it.

    But the Affordable care Act is not financed that way. Rather, it retains the private insurance system, and then adds an individual mandate; that may well be unconstitutional. Nor does it seem to me that some of the regulations that the federal government is trying to impose with regard to the ACA would be constitutional: the attempt to require religious institutions or others with a moral objection to contraception to provide contraceptive coverage would be one such area. The interstate commerce clause, the over-broad interpretation of which has been the source of much mischief, could be interpreted as giving Congress the authority to set up something like the ACA, but it is a far greater stretch than has ever been previously made to state that the ICC gives the feds the authority to order everyone to purchase a product from a private corporation. If that part is declared to be unconstitutional, the whole thing falls apart: it is wholly unworkable without the individual mandate, because insurance companies are prohibited from denying acceptance due to pre-existing conditions. And while I believe the individual mandate is unconstitutional, I would never bet on what the Supreme Court will do.

    The ACA looks to me as though it was designed to fail. The individual mandate is constitutionally repugnant, and everything falls apart without that. Yet, if that part is overturned, and the rest allowed to stand, it will drive the private insurance companies out of business . . . which may well be what the President wanted to accomplish in the first place. Either the ACA is declared unconstitutional in its entirety, and the Democrats then say, “Well, single-payer is the only option left,” or the individual mandate is declared unconstitutional, and either the insurance companies go out of business or have to raise premiums to high that they are completely unaffordable, and, once again, the Democrats say, “Well, single-payer is the only option left.” And even if the ACA is found to be completely constitutional, we are likely to see more and more corporations simply dropping insurance coverage, and the Democrats’ response is, “Well, single-payer is the only option left.”

    One thing is clear, however: you cannot mandate coverage for people who cannot pay for coverage without increasing costs to someone!

    The only real solution is to kick the Democrats out of office, repeal the entire thing, and return to the pre-ACA law. Get the government out of the health care business, and stop pretending that we can cover people who cannot pay without dramatically increasing costs for those who do pay or radically cutting back quality for everyone.

  19. Miss Nova wrote:

    I think it would be interesting if the case was bought to the Supreme Court and the ACA struck down on this basis – the only ethical response for the President would be to suspend Medicare as well.

    And you think that our President is ethical?

  20. “The ACA looks to me as though it was designed to fail. The individual mandate is constitutionally repugnant, and everything falls apart without that.”

    Sure, and you would also argue that Social Security Taxes and Medicare Taxes are both mandates as well, since the Federal Government requires all of us to participate.

    However, both programs have withstood the Constitutional test over time, and the ACA will as well, in my opinion, because SS and Medicare serve as precedents for a Federal mandate.

    Otherwise, the SCOTUS would have to throw SS and Medicare out. Is this what you wish?

  21. SINP writes

    Sure, and you would also argue that Social Security Taxes and Medicare Taxes are both mandates as well, since the Federal Government requires all of us to participate.

    These are federal programs. ObamaCare would mandate that we purchase a private product.

  22. “These are federal programs. ObamaCare would mandate that we purchase a private product.”

    Good point, koolo. This poses the question whether this a distinction without a Constitutional significance.

  23. Gone wobbly? In a shocking about-face Obama’s Justice Department just changed their tune on the individual mandate as the SCOTUS deadline, March 26th, approaches.

    For 2 years, DOJ’s lawyers insisted authority for the federal government’s unprecedented power grab resided in the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, now it seems they’ve had second thoughts. Since the bogus claim failed to attract sufficient support, DOJ has come up with a new and even more far fetched rational.

    Laughably, DOJ’s desperate attempt to convince the uninformed now hangs on the Necessary and Proper Clause for permission to marshal government force against the individual rights of American citizens.

    DOJ argument is based on 2 propositions: 1. that requiring health insurance companies to cover everyone (not already having purchased an exemption with a substantial contribution to Obama’s reelection campaign), and 2. preventing health insurers from charging higher rates for pre-existing conditions, are both regulatory activities already permitted under the Constitution.

    Thus, the individual mandate, Justice argues, is a necessary and proper way for the federal government to carry out it’s regulatory obligations without causing the cost of health insurance to skyrocket.

    Anyone see a problem with that?

  24. WW wrote:


    The ACA looks to me as though it was designed to fail. The individual mandate is constitutionally repugnant, and everything falls apart without that.”

    Sure, and you would also argue that Social Security Taxes and Medicare Taxes are both mandates as well, since the Federal Government requires all of us to participate.

    No, I would not argue that. Social Security and Medicare taxes are just that, taxes, and the Constitution clearly allows the federal government to impose direct taxation. The individual mandate in teh ACA is a requirement that you purchase a product from a private corporation.

  25. ropelight wrote:

    Thus, the individual mandate, Justice argues, is a necessary and proper way for the federal government to carry out it’s regulatory obligations without causing the cost of health insurance to skyrocket.

    Anyone see a problem with that?

    The biggest problem with that argument is that the republic had survived for 234 years without having mandatory health insurance, so while our friends on the left may see universal health care coverage as very desirable, it clearly isn’t necessary.

  26. “Thus, the individual mandate, Justice argues, is a necessary and proper way for the federal government to carry out it’s regulatory obligations without causing the cost of health insurance to skyrocket.

    Anyone see a problem with that?’

    Just the usual problems with a no limits textual interpretation placed in the service of bags of appetites aiming to tap into your jugular.

    If you mean a more “inside baseball” problem, well yes, but the force is any of these latter points mean nothing in the face of the former.

    Legal arguments based on precedent and careful textual interpretation and shared fundamental assumptions and values mean only as much as precedent and careful textual interpretation mean to people who share fundamental assumptions and values.

    The cynic, or the law student brought up on the “depends whose ox is being gored” doctrines, would probably say that careful legal arguments in the face of desire, will work about as well as they did for Thomas More vis-a-vis Henry the VIII.

    The left’s materialist premise is, First the revolution, then the justification, and then the formation of suitable moral standards.

  27. ropelight says:
    March 16, 2012 at 12:58

    The thought did cross my mind you may have intended farce.”

    That would probably work.

    I’m going to repeat a theme I’ve commented on before, just because it strikes me with a certain force as relevant. Not because you would find it especially noteworthy.

    But one of the things that deeply impressed and struck me – actually unsettled me – many years after leaving college, was the result of systematically reading through Commager’s ‘Civil War Archive’ or whatever the title actually is. And, in revisiting at leisure, some of my old similarly constructed college texts in which only selected readings had been previously assigned.

    When reading the letters and the political tracts of some of the Northerners, I couldn’t get over the emotionalism, the religious flavored collectivist fervor as applied to secular and social matters, and how the totalizing presumptions most common to a religious community, were so clearly re-fashioned and expressed as secular political ideals, years before the Civil War.

    For every free soil and free labor Republican, there seemed to be another one more mystically motivated by principles of social and sexual amalgamation and political consolidation.

    I expected a lot of “you’alls” and “our glorious honor” and other hyperbole and crap from the Southerners, and found a fair share of it, especially in some political writing. But much less so in the personal letters of the common people.

    What I unexpectedly saw of the Northern party, set me back. There, even many of the common men and women expressed their opinions and recollections as if they were … I don’t know – possessed – in some secular sense: As if when you might have tried to talk to them, they would have been found inaccessible behind a mask of religious and emotional fervor. Even the editors remarked on certain aspects of this sectional divergence of manner.

    Now, I had studied Marxism pretty thoroughly back in school, listened to my professors blather on about the social construction of reality, law as the diktat of the executive committee of the ruling class etc. etc. But even though I had had to take some significant amounts of American history per se, as opposed to intellectual or legal history or philosophy, somehow in my readings it had escaped me as to just how deep was a certain strain of progressivist statism, and just how far back it ran in some social circles or geographic areas.

    I guess it reaches right back to the collapse of New England Congregationalism as a living Christian faith, and to its (de)evolution into a primarily social justice doctrine. Or maybe beyond that, as David Hackett Fisher might argue.

    The supernatural flame died away, leaving only the church buildings and the ideal of a New Jerusalem that was no longer needed for its original purpose.

    We think of the Southerners as extremists and bigots, as the so-called “fire-eaters” certainly, and many others too, no doubt were. But it was the pseudo-religious vainglory that permeated so much of ardent northern thought, that shocked me.

    I remember thinking it was no wonder that Union General Geo. McClellan, no paragon himself, took the attitude that both South Carolina and Massachusetts should be lumped in the same category, and sunk.

    I really don’t know what the solution is for dealing with people – from whatever area of the ideological spectrum – for whom law is merely the present and cynical codification of ever evolving desires, locked in a state of intrinsic conflict.

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