I go to the British publication, the Guardian and its website, guardian,co,uk fairly often to review a more civilized lefty publication regarding American affairs usually, that either the Washington Post or the New York Times. It does not mask the deviousness of the countless chapters of ”let’s pretend” politics of the American Left’s books in Congress and the Supreme Court.
The following article was found at Michael Tomasky’s Blog at the Guardian site:
“Republicans are pouncing on the less-than-crystal-clear answer Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan gave late in Tuesday’s confirmation hearing to a question from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) about whether the government has the right to micromanage Americans’ diets.
“If I wanted to sponsor a bill and it said Americans, you have to eat three vegetables and three fruits every day and I got it through Congress and that’s now the law of the land, got to do it, does that violate the Commerce Clause?” Coburn asked.
“Sounds like a dumb law,” Kagan replied. “But I think that the question of whether it’s a dumb law is different from whether the question of whether it’s constitutional and I think that courts would be wrong to strike down laws that they think are senseless just because they’re senseless.”
That portion of Kagan’s noncommittal answer seemed to suggest that Congress had carte blanche to create a nanny state that would regulate Americans’ day-to-day lives. “Kagan declines to say gov’t has no power to tell Americans what to eat,” reads a headline on the video posted by Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans and currently prominently linked on the Drudge Report.
I guess I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the government should in fact be able to pass a law ordering that Americans eat three vegetables a day. On the other hand this is pretty much a classic argument about individual liberty vs. the common good that liberalism always loses in American culture but not necessarily in others.
If everyone ate three servings of vegetables a day, we’d be living in an improved society. Heart attacks and obesity would reduce, health-care costs would go down by the order of billions of dollars, American farmers would be making more money and on and on and on and on. The benefits would be vast.
But of course, to American conservatives, this would be fascism. Even something well short of this would be accused of being fascist, since after all Hitler liked vegetables, too.
To me it’s like this. Any society is full of competing values and interests. Here, we have the value of individual liberty competing with the value of overall social health. I have big trouble taking seriously the idea that making fast-food joints post their nutritional information is fascism. However, I have a hard time seeing how any sane person could deny that a largely fast-food diet will kill a person.
It’d be nice if conservatives showed an ounce of interest in this problem, instead of acting as if a person’s right to live on triple bacon-cheeseburgers is as inalienable as free speech. And it’s interesting once again that McDonald’s and Wendy’s and the rest are not just junk-food purveyors but also major international corporations and the GOP just happens to be on their side.
Anyway, Kagan didn’t answer, as any liberal would not, because she knew Coburn was really talking about healthcare reform. But if this is the best they got, she has no worries.
Comment: Republicans should be pouncing. They have been sitting on their soft pudge for about 32 of the past 40 years…..