Thought crime, the butterfly effect, and interstate commerce

by wfgodbold

Another judge has handed down a ruling on the great constitutional question of our age (for now, anyway); this time, on the side that says the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is indeed constitutional; his argument hinges on the assertion that choosing not to engage in commerce is still engaging in commerce. While no act takes place overtly, the individual still thinks about it, and therefore acts, and is subject to the commerce regulation powers of Congress.

It’s easy to see how this power could then be expanded to cover everything; any action (or inaction) a person takes affects something, and those effects ripple throughout society (like the butterfly flapping its wings). If everything affects everything else, then it’s obvious that a young man in Florida not exercising and not buying health insurance (which, I feel I should point out, is completely different from health *care*; does your car insurance cover oil changes, tire rotation, and other routine maintenance? No!) is affecting the health care a middle-aged woman in California is subject to.

If everything is affects interstate commerce, then everything is subject to regulation. If everything is subject to regulation, then there is no facet of life that the government can not justify its meddling with, and the great experiment will have ended in failure; all Orwell will have gotten wrong is the year.

ETA: The main purpose of the Constitution was to expressly *limit* what the government was allowed to use its power to do; by saying that the government has the power and ability to do whatever it wants, the entire Constitution is rendered moot in one fell swoop.


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