I was at work on my next book — The Unfolding Civilization — when I received a phone call from a dear libertarian friend. He was in tears and most upset. At first I thought something terrible had happened to his daughter. He then told me that he was troubled over the Supreme Court's upholding of "Obamacare," including its mandatory provisions. "I didn't think they would do that; I thought there were some limits to government power the court would recognize," he cried. "What led you to that conclusion?," I asked. "But this means the government can do whatever it wants to do," my friend responded. "But that's what the Constitution has always been about," I told him.
The conservatives who talk about "getting back to the Constitution" overlook the fact that the courts/congress/the presidency have never deviated from it. The same general words about "general welfare," "necessary and proper," "reasonable," "due process," etc., have been in the document since the very beginning. But words have to be interpreted, and the Supreme Court usurped this power of interpretation quite early, in the case of Marbury v. Madison.
"I thought Justice Roberts — who wrote the majority opinion — would have voted to strike down this law," my friend continued. "How do you think he got this job?," I replied. "How many times have we been blessed with a Stephen Field on the court?," I asked.
It was now a little after 7 a.m. when I received my second phone call, this from a colleague at the law school who was also upset with the court's decision. On this, as well as another matter, he said that he "really felt betrayed" by noble statements made, weeks ago, by others. I told him that such sentiments as "altruism," "public interest," the "public good," and the like, were nothing more than shields behind which people hide their self-interests from public view; that all human action is motivated by self-interest. He told me he could not accept such a view, to which I replied that he ought to take up the question with the gang over at Big-Pharma which, I am certain, has a different perspective on Obamacare than does my friend!