On Property Rights and Health Care Exchange.
Over the past two years, much has been written about Obamacare. Will it cut Medicare spending? Will it add jobs? Will it help us balance the budget? Will it help us live longer and help us abort our babies? They are all valid and interesting questions, each one worthy of discussion. But if you will permit it, I would like to take a step back and look at this legislation with spectacles larger than ones focused on health care.I am told that we have nothing to fear from this legislation. That those who do are fear mongering racists trying to scare the frail and under-educated into believing that this is not a threat to them; but rather a promise for their future freedoms. I am told that those who talk about this legislation as representing an affront to our liberties should stop it with the hyperbole and the rhetoric. Because, after all, this isn’t Lybia, or Cuba. We are not an oppressed people. But, if we are not oppressed…..if we are truly not oppressed….then it is because of the strength of two uniquely American instruments. The first is a document; the United States Constitution, the oldest, democratically devised and adopted government blueprint on earth. In it, among other provisions, we are proscribed protections to property theft, initially from the federal government by virtue of the Fifth Amendment, but later from all jurisdictions by virtue of the Fourteenth Amendment.Those property rights (along with the freedoms of speech, of assembly, due process and gun ownership) are key safeguards against government oppression and tyranny. It is therefore imperative that the Constitution be upheld in its strictest form, and the state be resisted from encroaching upon these guarantees through the loose interpretation of that hallowed document. One can easily encounter the consequences of such loose interpretations. We need look no further than the case of Hawaii Housing Authority v. Midkiff 467 US 229 (1984) where the Supreme Court, through a grotesquely imaginative interpretation of the Fifth Amendment, ruled that it was appropriate for the state of Hawaii to implement a program allowing that state to take land from large property owners for the purpose of selling it to tenants purely for the purpose of redistributing wealth in that state; the rawest form of socialism approved by the highest bench in the land .
Or consider the very recent case of Kelo v. City of New London 545 US 469 (2005) where the Supreme Court, again through a very loose interpretation of the “public use” provision in the Fifth Amendment, allowed the City of New London to take the homes of its residents in order to clear the way for the development of a shopping and entertainment complex by a private builder in support of a Pfizer plant that was to be built in an adjacent area of the city. In its opinion, the court stated that such redirection of land use for private interests can be considered “public use” as it mattered little whether the taking was done for the purpose of passing the land to another private party, so long as the city thought the new land use was in the public’s best interest.
Other forms of property are your labor and the products of your intellect. And if labor and intellectual creations are your property, then the price for their alienability is yours and your buyer’s to determine…and no one else.
And just as is the case in any other form of property rights, intrusions onto this freedom are steps upon the ladder towards the creation of an oppressive state. In 1865, after shedding countless amounts of American blood, we affirmed the protection against such intrusions with the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment with its prohibition of involuntary servitude.
So, regardless of whether it is slavery, or Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act mandating that physicians see patients in the emergency room, whether they want to or not, or whether the President feels it is his job to decide what the appropriate pay schedules should be for corporate CEOs, or whether the state mandates that you must use a certain portion of your pay to buy government mandated health insurance, these are all state intrusions into our liberties and steps up the ladder of oppression.
And so it is up to you, my brethren, as American citizens and as stewards of our liberties to sniff out those tendencies and resist them, wherever they may occur. To do otherwise is to be derelict to our responsibilities, not just to each other, but to our posterity.
Which brings me to the second great check against oppression in our system: you…and others like you….the American people. This is an essential pillar to American societal design. I encourage you to read Hamilton’s, Madison’s and Jay’s The Federalist Papers (not just know they exist, but read them); Chapter Four of Thomas Payne’s Common Sense and The 5,0000 Year Leap by Willard Cleon Skousen to gain a concrete idea of how this works. It is the American people who are the final stewards against the oppressive/over-arching tendencies of the state. (see John Locke/Voltaire/Madison/Payne/
Martin Luther King/Ronald Reagan/Margaret Thatcher, etc). Once the people let down their guard, oppression will inevitably follow.
And don’t for a minute think it starts with one event. I encourage you to speak to the people that have lived through such transitions to convince yourself of the subtlety of the process. Speak to people who lived in Germany just prior to WWII, people in Poland during the same era, those who lived in Cuba before Castro, or my friends in Venezuela just prior to Chavez to get an idea of how this works. All these oppressive regimes started with a promise; a promise by the state to correct an injustice with the premise that if one gives up a portion of one’s liberties, the government will correct the injustice.
Usually what they ask for starts with a small infringement upon one’s property or speech rights, one’s capital (personal property), one’s labor (servitude) with the intent of correcting the civil wrong. And then, over time, like something we orthopaedists call creeping substitution in bone, the situation changes. The infringement becomes worse, and before you know it, we have a Cuba, Venezuela, a Third Reich.
And the recurring theme and regret of all of these people is that they should have resisted. They should not have yielded their freedoms for the sake of a promise.
So, no, as I have been today reminded, we don’t face the oppressions that one sees in states like Lybia and Cuba. But we are sadly and negligently mistaken if we think that government left to its own devices is able to curtail itself from spreading to that point in our country. Even our Founding Fathers warned us of this occurrence; even in a Republic where the states were supposed to be dominant over the federal government (something that has long since been reversed in our country) did they ever think that this could not happen in their republic.
And it was up to the people and the tensions inherent to the Constitution to keep that from happening.
And so it is for that reason that I continue to say, resoundingly and without hesitation, ”Keep your hands off of my health care!” Because, I for one will not quietly allow the state, or any of its agents, take us up the ladder of oppression. And I will oppose anyone who thinks it should.
Julio Gonzalez, M.D.
Dr. Gonzalez to Speak on April 15. 
Dr. Julio Gonzalez is scheduled to speak at the Venice Tax Day Tea Party to be held at the Centennial Park Gazebo between the hours of 5:00 PM and 6:00 PM (the rally is scheduled to continue until 8:00 PM), followed by a speach at the Manatee Tea Party at the Mixon Fruit Farms; 2712 26th Ave. East Bradenton, Fl between 7:00 PM and 8:00 PM (the rally is schduled to run from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
MAKE SURE TO COME BY AND SAY HELLO!