great editorial in Augusta Chronicle

The authors of Obamacare believe that a decision by you not to buy health insurance — in effect, sitting on your couch — is “interstate commerce” that Congress can regulate.

Those of us who question that authority have wondered: If the federal government can require you to buy a product — and decree that your refusal to do so is an act of “commerce” that it will punish — then what can’t Congress do? What are the limits, if any?

If there are no limits, then why did the writers of the Constitution enumerate some? And what will have happened to the America you grew up in?

It’s frightening enough that some courts have essentially ruled that there are no limits to the federal government’s power. Pray the Supreme Court stops the insanity.

But now it appears Americans themselves have gone totally soft and wholly ignorant of their rights as individuals.

Columnist George Will, incisively getting to the point in terms all of us can understand, posed this question to fellow panelists last Sunday on ABC-TV’s This Week : “Does Congress have the constitutional power to require obese people to sign up for Weight Watchers? If not, why not?”

If you know anything about the founding and structure of this country and its federal government, it’s a superbly inane question. But — and this should make your jaw drop, along with your heart — his fellow panelists either didn’t know, or seemed to think the answer was yes!

“I don’t know the answer to that,” admitted Richard Stengel of Time magazine.

“It’s open,” added Professor Michael Eric Dyson of Georgetown University. “If they decide that they will, they will have the power to do so.”

We presume the first “they” he was referring to was the Supreme Court.

Stengel argues that the government already “asks” us to pay taxes, register for the draft, get car insurance. Of course, as Will pointed out, the government isn’t asking these things; it’s mandating them. Moreover, you only have to buy car insurance if you choose to drive a car — which, as you’re supposed to be taught by age 16, is a privilege, not a right.

In addition, that’s a state matter.

These people really think it’s an open question as to whether Congress can order obese people into Weight Watchers? If so, what individual rights could they possibly believe remain?

How can you explain such thinking — on a respected network news show, and from a national magazine and renowned university? How can any American be so cavalier with another’s rights? And how widespread is this dangerously puerile thinking?

If the government has the power to force you to be responsible, as this law seeks to do, then why stop there? Why not outlaw single parenthood, considering all its costs to society? Why not ban cigarettes and alcohol and runny eggs and rare hamburgers? If we can be forced into Weight Watchers, what else should the government do to us for our own good and for the good of the whole?

That George Will’s question was met with shrugs and even taken seriously by others tells you just how teetering this country is.

Isn’t it clear by now that if we allow the government to expropriate the power to force us to buy something, and punish us for not doing it, there is little it could not do to us — and that plenty of otherwise rational Americans would go along with it?

For your children’s sake, pray this law is stopped, as well as the mentality that gave it birth.