Thursday, June 28, 2012

To the Ramparts

The editors at NRO on Chief Justice Roberts’s Folly:

The Court has failed to do its duty. Conservatives should not follow its example — which is what they would do if they now gave up the fight against Obamacare. The law, as rewritten by judges, remains incompatible with the country’s tradition of limited government, the future strength of our health-care system, and the nation’s solvency. We are not among those who are convinced that we will be stuck with it forever if the next election goes wrong: The law is also so poorly structured that we think it may well unravel even if put fully into effect. But we would prefer not to take the risk.

It now falls to the Republicans, and especially to Mitt Romney, to make the case for the repeal of the law and for its replacement by something better than either it or the health-care policies that preceded it. Instead of trusting experts to use the federal government’s purchasing power to drive efficiency throughout the health sector — the vain hope of Obamacare’s Medicare-cutting board — they should replace Medicare with a new system in which individuals have incentives to get value for their dollar. Instead of having Washington establish a cartel for the insurance industry, they should give individuals tax credits and the ability to purchase insurance across state lines. Instead of further centralizing the health-care system, in short, they should give individuals more control over their insurance.

Opponents should take heart: The law remains unpopular. Let the president and his partisans ring their bells today, and let us work to make sure that they are wringing their hands come November.

There are some similarities between the way that some conservatives are reacting to today’s Obamacare ruling and the way that some proponents of traditional marriage have reacted to what appears to be an inevitable societal shift toward allowing same sex marriage. Elements in both groups seem resigned to defeat and are starting to question whether either matter is worth continuing the fight.

The truth is in that both instances core principals are at stake. And if you truly believe in those principals, you have a duty to fight for them no matter how dire the circumstances may appear. The fight may be lost, but it has to be fought. Now is not the time to shirk from battle.