Nanny State

Eat Your Veggies

Why the broccoli argument might backfire in the ObamaCare case


It has become known as the Broccoli Hypothetical. In oral arguments over whether ObamaCare violates the Constitution by forcing people to buy insurance, federal Judge Roger Vinson asked, "If they decided everybody needs to eat broccoli because broccoli makes us healthy, they could mandate that everybody has to eat broccoli each week?"

This is the reductio ad absurdum: a means of disproving X by showing that if X is carried to its logical conclusion, then the result is absurd. If Congress can make you buy insurance—not as a condition of exercising a privilege, such as driving, but as a condition of merely being alive—then it can make you buy anything, including broccoli and GM cars. But it would be absurd for Congress to make you buy broccoli or a car. Therefore, it can't make you buy health insurance, either.

There are two problems with this. First, some ObamaCare supporters say that, in fact, Congress could indeed force you to buy broccoli or GM cars. One of them is Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California, Irvine, School of Law. "In theory," he says, "Congress could use its commerce power to require people to buy cars. . . . Power can be used in silly ways, and the Constitution isn't our protector against undesirable government actions—only unconstitutional ones."

(Article continues below video "Wheat, Weed, and ObamaCare: How the Commerce Clause Made Congress All-Powerful.")

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan took the same position during her confirmation hearings, when Sen. Tom Coburn asked whether Congress had the power to make people eat three fruits and three vegetables each day. "Sounds like a dumb law," Kagan answered, "but I think that the question about whether it is a dumb law is different from . . . the question of whether it's constitutional." Or as one commenter on the Volokh Conspiracy blog put it even more succinctly, "Stupid legislation does not become unconstitutional by reason of being stupid."

True enough. What's more, forcing people to buy a product might not seem any kind of a stretch for a government that already has the power to conscript people into wartime military service. Indeed, the Supreme Court upheld a variety of WWII-era economic measures on precisely those grounds. So a fair number of people would contend that the reductio part of the reductio ad absurdum does not apply, since no great leap in federal power is being made.
It's also becoming apparent that a fair number of people would challenge the absurdum part, too. Forcing people to buy broccoli is not absurd at all, they would say; in fact, it is good public policy.

For evidence, consider a few recent developments:

• Arizona may slap a fee on Medicaid recipients who smoke or are obese.

• New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to forbid buying soft drinks with food stamps.

The Los Angeles Times recently published a lengthy editorial supporting a "fat tax" on the grounds that obesity raises health-care costs. Americans "should be free to eat what they want," the newspaper contends, "as long as they bear the cost of their personal choices."

• The federal government has proposed new rules that would prohibit advertising directed at children of foods deemed unhealthy.

• Little Village Academy, a public school in Chicago, has banned homemade lunches, explicitly to foster healthy eating and combat child obesity.

• Los Angeles is banning fast-food restaurants in South LA, where poverty and obesity are widespread.

• First Lady Michelle Obama has made reducing child obesity her cause.

• The Georgia "Stop Child Obesity" billboard campaign has ignited controversy with its stark anti-fat message.

These developments seem to follow the arc of the anti-smoking crusade—focusing first on children, public funding and advertising, but spreading to other realms like ripples in a pond. Taken individually, a few of them make sense. For example, there is nothing wrong with setting conditions on how recipients spend money from federal nutritional programs. And since nobody is in favor of children getting fat, there's little reason to object to the general goal of the first lady's "Let's Move!" campaign.

Taken collectively, however, these eat-your-vegetables developments point to a profound shift in how Americans think about government's role in society. For the most part, government intervention in private activity has been considered justifiable only to prevent the violation of rights. If Joe has broken into Fred's house and is stealing Fred's stuff, then the government should stop him. But the government cannot make Joe exercise just because Fred thinks he should.

More and more, it is claimed that Joe does not have to violate Fred's rights before the government can get involved. It is enough for Joe merely to do something that affects Fred in some way. But since just about everything anybody does can be said to affect somebody in some way, this amounts to a license for a government of infinite scope. More and more people seem to think because "a healthy population is good for everyone," as The New York Times recently put it, government should make people stay healthy as well. And as the federal government underwrites more and more of the health care system, it gains more and more prima facie justification for ordering people about.

Those who bring up the Broccoli Hypothetical, as Vinson did, seem to think they have played a trump card. Unfortunately, they might just be giving advocates of the nanny state ideas.

A. Barton Hinkle is a columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. This article originally appeared at the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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  1. How about just advising (but not forcing) people to stop swallowing cultish political shit? Oops,Sorry.

    1. Max has made his last post|11.17.10 @ 7:20PM|#
      Max|6.24.10 @ 3:29PM|#

      Go suck ron puals dick, morons. You peeple are fucking retarded. I`m done coming to this wingnut sight. this is my last post.

      1. Stay classy!

        1. Appreciate it, as it’s certainly no loss for the rest of us.

    2. You mean like the completely ahistorical and utterly baseless claim that Congress has the constitutional authority to require individual citizens to purchase a specific product?

    3. You’re one to give advice on cultish political shit, Max.

  2. Go easy on that broccoli. Makes your ass huge.

    1. Was that comment directed at me?

      1. Me and My Barack love our fat burgers. Y’all gotta start eatin’ veggies.

      2. Says something about a person, that they “claim” an untargeted comment as a personal insult. Admitting in public that your ass is huge by taking offense at an innocent comment just draw attention to hugeness.

  3. A. Barton Hinkle Heimer-Schmidt
    Hey, that’s my name, too
    Whenever we go out
    The people always shout
    There goes A. Barton Hinkle Heimer Schmidt

  4. I’ve got an even better idea to cure all preventable illness in this country.

    This can cure heart disease, obesity, diabetes, alcoholism… everything that is a result of individual choices.

    It’s really simple.

    Make it a felony to disobey your doctor.

    If you doctor tells you to do something or not do something, and finds on your next checkup that you didn’t follow orders, they cart you off to prison where they will make you change your behavior (while you’re not being ass-raped). You will be set free once you’ve proven you will do what the doctor ordered (and your ass stops bleeding).

    That’s it.

    1. Make it a felony to disobey your doctor.

      Gain 500 pounds by next Wednesday.
      Do it by eating a Jeep.
      Have fun in Rikers.
      Or sawing a bumber into bite size pieces.

    2. Don’t forget to make “going to your next check-up” mandatory.

  5. Actually, there’s another reason why this is bullshit – Ron Swanson is right, meat and saturated fat are good for you.

    1. Ron Swanson is my hero.

    2. Ron Swanson? Egads y’all watch a lot of TV!

      Nevertheless I know from personal experience that fat is my friend and bread is my enemy. I lost more than a third of my body weight eating copious fats and proteins while greatly restricting carbohydrates.

      And like in your cite, it was a complete accident I learned about it. One friend asking me to do it in support of another who was doing Atkins Induction for two weeks.

  6. The problem with this argument is that it is an argument against current government powers. It is perfectly true that the constitution does not allow the vast majority of the powers claimed by the federal government. But the argument cuts in the wrong direction for most people. They hear that the constitution when properly applied will ban insurance mandates and many (depending on team red/ team blue) will cheer. But then when you apply that same logical extension that you used to get from broccoli to insurance to arguments for popular programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the War on Drugs, etc… well, they get a little nervous.

    Because only a radical wingnut would assert that the federal government is not given the power to regulate plants like marijuana under the commerce clause. And we certainly wouldn’t want to entertain the notion that the words “general welfare” might not constitute permission for broad-based confiscation of wealth to be redistributed to the elderly by the government.

    Once you start asserting the logically consistent position that the constitution offers limited powers to the government you are inexorably led to the position that most of the money and power seized by DC has been done so without cover of the constitution. And that is a bridge too far for most.

    1. “With respect to the two words ‘general welfare,’ I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators. … If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress…. Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.”

      Err.. I mean, “Gosh, it would sure be a shame if schools, poverty programs, roads, and police weren’t under the firm hand of a strong federal government! How about we just give them a blank check, and then practice our surprised faces for when they take most of our money and civil liberties too?”

      1. Thanks Jim. I was hoping that someone would get the point. How long do you suppose it takes to sink in with the populace?

        1. It’s funny because he’s dead.

            1. “I’m a doctor, not a reanimator!”

              1. Too bad.

              2. I’m a doctor, and a re-animator!

      2. I acknowledge that at least some and likely most of the Founders probably expected the federal government the powers they gave it in a much, much more restricted fashion than they currently do. I guess I feel, so what? I don’t care about how they expected the powers to be used, the plain meaning of the words they ratified should guide. Sadly (and I actually do think it is sad, do you think I like Raich for example? WTF?) they wrote the Commerce Clause in a way that it is reasonable to interpret it broadly. As other provisions of the Constitution show the term “regulate” and “regulation” was not restricted to the meaning of “make regular”, the phrase “among the states” cannot seriously be read as anything other than the trade between people living in different state governments (as state governments had no “commerce” “among” them, wtf would that be, Delaware selling license plates to Virginia?).

        The answer to fighting expansive government power is not strained readings of the Commerce Clause, it is political. 1. Don’t elect people who will apply the power so broadly and/or 2. a Constitutional Amendment with limiting language

        1. YAWN!!!

          Oh, PU, did somebody fart?

          1. I wouldn’t know.


        2. MNG, your argument requires believing that “the plain meaning of the words they ratified” suddenly have taken on a very different meaning than they ever were understood to have by ANYONE for over the first 150 years after it was ratified – not just the framers or ratifiers in the late 18th/early 19th Century.

          You’re not talking about just reading the words, looking them up in a handy dictionary and “there’s the plain meaning; anyone can see that.” You’re talking about CHANGING the well-understood meaning and intent of those words from what they always had EXPRESSLY been understood to mean.

          I.e., you’re simply carrying on with and continuting with the New Deal Court’s revisionist readings of “the plain meaning of the words used.”

          So somehow all those legal scholars, attorneys, judges, Congressmen, senators, presidents, etc., for multiple generations, decade after decade, missed what those words REALLY mean. It took MNG to come along 230 years later to tell everyone what the “plain meaning” of the words is, and how the words *CAN* be interpreted to mean something that nobody ever would have even suggested they should mean a mere 100 years ago.

          This creates an infinitely elastic Constitution, rendering it meaningless. Might as well not have one, if we can just read into the words whatever meaning we find expedient at any particular juncture to achieve what we perceive to be desirable ends. If the words mean whatever we think we can argue they mean, using our current sensibilities, then the words no longer establish immutable, foundational principles, but are there merely as guidance, or more like modeling clay or wax, to be molded into the shape we like at the time.

          Of course, I’m sure that, in your universe, this is not a two-way street. If a court finds that the “plain meaning” of the words is other than your desired reading, I’m sure that court is simply wrong and “activist” or some such nonsense.

          1. BSR

            The plain meaning of the words “power” “regulate” “commerce” and “among” at the time of ratification support a broad grant of power. Marshall, one of the ratifying generation, read the “among” to mean “between” and states as geographical entities not subjects of the power in some of the early cases on the clause. Those were the normal meanings of the words. While regulate may have had the common meaning of “remove impediments” (iirc it was used this way when speaking of waterflow) it also had the meaning of “to make rules concerning” (as in other provisions of the document it mentions to the power of “regulation” of the military, certainly this did not mean to “remove impediments to the military”, wtf?).

            Now, no one desired or thought of using this power in this way for a long while, but of course we had very little talk of ‘national’ problems in many of the areas we have today. But none of this does not mean the actual words written did not have these meanings when ratified.

            1. “make rules concerning”..sure within the context of enabling trade to happen in as an unrestricted environment as possible, not by forcing people to participate in trade. You’ll never get this of course, due to the fact you just don’t like the truth and won’t admit to it.

              Tell you what dumb f-ck, you give me the quote from a federalist in any state debate (prior to ratification) supporting your stupidity then we’ll talk.

              In the meantime…



              and reply:

                1. To add, at the state convention debates arguments were put forth on just what the powers under the US constitution were for the federal government, and on that basis it was accepted or rejected. To say that after the fact those terms can be changed is so much BS.

                  To go further though, is how can a people generations removed from those agreeing to grant power of attorney be bound by decisions of dead people. Any constitution that does not restrict itself to protecting rights, and does not force the government to seek renewal at a reasonable space of time (20 years?) without the power returning to the people is to me invalid from day 1.

            2. The trouble with your theory, MNG, is that powermongers of both Teams have abused the interpretations. And it will never go downward. Do you think any of those Janus-faced jackasses will willingly give up any of their power, now or in the future? Or keep it STATIC, for Chrissakes?

              No… it will always expand. To our detriment, ultimately.

      3. General welfare isn’t the same as individual welfare. They don’t seem to understand that. I see the same thing in NYC with public health vs individual health.

        1. Not to mention it’s the general welfare of the “United States”, not the several states, not the people. Considering that the framers were clear to distinguish between the three, any argument that general welfare was intended for the people is so much crap. In addition the phrase “general welfare” was a limiting clause on the taxation power, else, it would have been just provide for the general welfare and common defense, and nothing else needed, making all the enumerated powers superfluous.

      4. I wonder if the “broccoli is good policy” people are really thinking this through.

        Going to church may have health benefits.

        Promiscuity is bad for your health.

        Alcohol and marijuana both have negative impact on health.

        Arguing with family members is bad for your health.

        Thinking is stressful.

        Just think of the laws we could enact.

    2. Another bridge too far.

      Colonel Nicholson: What have I done?

    3. It’s hardly being a radical wingnut to point out that if the government makes interstate trade or even transport of a commodity illegal, then there cannot be interstate commerce of it. So any production or use of it purely within a state’s borders isn’t subject to federal regulation under the commerce clause. The tenth amendment has never been repealed, after all.

      1. The hell you say, Bergman.

        Heed my power, bitches.

  7. The point of a valid reductio argument is to force you to re-examine your premises, to point out that your position lacks a limiting principle, and to warn you that your position now will require you to support a position later that you might not agree with.

    Given the politics of ObamaCare, I prefer to use the reductio that, if government can require you to buy health insurance, it can require you to buy guns and ammo (with, of course, tax credits to the po’ to spend on guns, and tax penalties on the rich who refuse.)

    1. Given the politics of ObamaCare, I prefer to use the reductio that, if government can require you to buy health insurance, it can require you to buy guns and ammo (with, of course, tax credits to the po’ to spend on guns, and tax penalties on the rich who refuse.)

      It would be uproariously funny if a law like that were passed. Because we all know what the Obamacare-luvin’ Dems would say to that, don’t we?

      Agggghhhhh! That’s…that’s…UNCONSTITUTIONAL!

    2. “”if government can require you to buy health insurance, it can require you to buy guns and ammo””

      The reverse argument is that the govement did require you to own a gun via the Militia Act, so they can require you to own insurance.

      Not that I buy that argument. It’s just one I hear often.

    3. Given the politics of ObamaCare, I prefer to use the reductio that, if government can require you to buy health insurance, it can require you to buy guns and ammo.


      I would love to get some congress-critter to introduce a bill mandating that every adult qualified under state law and not otherwise prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm must purchase a gun.

      It would force the disingenuous progressives (but I repeat myself) to reveal their rank hypocrisy. Because you know they would come out screaming about how the government can’t do that. I’m sure they would find some disingenuous basis upon which to distinguish a mandate to buy a gun from the mandate to buy health insurance.

      1. I’m not sure the militia act was repealed. But I really doubt it will help you win in court. I would love for someone to use that act as the reason they own a gun, just to see how it plays out.

        1. I believe the Dick Act (yeah, hurr hurr) of 1903 replaced the original Militia Act of 1792. So that original requirement for citizen members of the state militias to provide themselves with arms is no longer in federal law.

          1. In fact if anything can be argued, it is that the federal government is obligated to provide for the arming of every American that fits within the militia definition (able-bodied, 18-45).

            To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia

            1. da boyz r on da way fo da free guns

          2. I typed that in Google and all I found was sites related to San Fernando Valley.

            I keed, I keed.

            I did find a link that mentioned how much that act increased defense spending.

            “The increase in Federal funding was an important development. In 1808 Congress had allocated $200,000 a year to arm the militia; by 1887, the figure had risen to only $400,000. But in 1906, three years after the passage of the Dick Act, $2,000,000 was allocated to arm the militia; between 1903 and 1916, the Federal government spent $53,000,000 on the Guard, more than the total of the previous hundred years.”


        2. In most states, if called to duty under the militia act, failure to answer the summons is a misdemeanor, resulting in being hauled in under duress. Refusal to serve at all, however, is treason.

          Committing treason in front of a court of law is more accurately known as suicide, however, since every court system apparatus required to execute you is a direct witness to your crime.

    4. It is the ONLY way to maintain a well-regulated militia.

      Everyone must purchase, and regularly train with, a full array of infantry weaponry.

      1. Time to oil the old .50 cal AA gun in the basement.

        1. A 3 ton, 12 foot barreled gun designed to shoot a 3″ shell skyward is kept in your basement? And people said storing Claymores in the crib with my daughter was a bad idea…

    5. Perhaps more apt, would be that it can require you to buy a lottery ticket, on the strength that your failure to do so constitutes material harm to those who choose to play, by virtue of its reducing the value of their potential winnings.

    6. Actually, particularly if this bullshit stands, I’m thinking it should be done. Half the reason people support gun control is ignorance. You could always just amend the Selective Service act so that you get a gun and learn to use it, or you don’t get to vote. Also, extend it to women.

      Speaking of which:
      “Power can be used in silly ways, and the Constitution isn’t our protector against undesirable government actions — only unconstitutional ones”

      Guns can be used in silly ways, but I doubt this dipshit would just throw his hands in the air and say “so what?”. Plus, I like the fucking tautology/circular reasoning. Shouldn’t anyone who isn’t a moron suspect that a properly constructed constitution would mainly focus on protecting us against undesirable actions? And if it doesn’t, that we should fix that?

      1. Nobody fucks with the Swiss for a reason, and it’s not because they make good chocolate.

        1. It’s because they keep everybody intimidated. Those evil Swiss put holes in my cheese and that’s a scary thing when you’re making pastrami on rye.

  8. “If they decided everybody needs to eat broccoli because broccoli makes us healthy, they could mandate that everybody has to eat broccoli each week?”

    According to some, the answer is “yes” because a broccoli mandate would be analogous to a “tax”.

    No, I’m not making that up.

  9. Why not force us to eat broccoli? They fluoridate the drinking water.

    1. Broccolate the drinking water?

        1. Caffeinated bacon? Baconated coffee?

    2. bring on the bircher red meat which wingnuts find irresistable. fluoride, commies, homos…gotta luv it! pass the heroin please…

    3. There’s good evidence that fluorination has fewer benefits and more risks than previously mentioned.

      1. Flourination would be deadly. Flouridation, on the other hand, perfectly safe. Oh hey, have you read about aspertame? Now that’s some scary shit.

        1. Sigh. Ions are a bitch.

          Good point about Aspartame. I disagree about fluoridation, though. I don’t think it’s anything to get freaked out about, but it’s a chemical with essentially no potential benefits and some real risks, especially to the usual suspects (children, elderly).

        2. Mercola is a “natural medicine” crackpot.


      1. When you fart, you leave a chemtrail too.


  10. And remember to read your red meat, too

  11. Too much broccoli makes your breath and your ass smell.

    1. Then quit smelling your ass.

      1. That’s my reductio. If the government can force you to buy health insurance then it can force you to eat broccoli and smell your ass.

  12. Eat ’em and smile, mother fucker.

  13. “there is nothing wrong with setting conditions on how recipients spend money from federal nutritional programs”

    I sort of disagree. The government should not be manipulating behavior and commerce. Of course, all subsidies and welfare do that anyway.

    1. There should be no conditions on how recipients spend money given to them by the federal government to buy food because there should be no money given to individuals by the federal government to buy food.

  14. There’s Michelle working in the fields. There’s a word I’m looking for here…anyone?

    1. Phony photo-op?

    2. Hitler?

  15. Hortacultralist?

    1. You can lead a horticulture but you can’t make her think.

    2. Is that not someone who studies the cultures of silicon based lifeforms?

      1. NO KILL I.

  16. Herman Cain! He answers questions in a direct, simple manner. He understands how to solve problems – by DEFINING the problem, determining ways to solve it, seeking experts, and then FIXING it.

    Herman Cain 2012! If you are interested check out the website.

    1. Oh please!! He answers with no substance, and looked addled and unable to make a substantive position on anything during the debate. He also supported TARP.

      But for those easily driven by the wind wherever it blows, yeah he’s the guy.

  17. It’s only a matter of time before everyone has to do 30 mins of exercise a day every morning in front of their two way video screen.

    1. You know, if fat ugly chicks keep wearing stretch pants I’m for it. Frankly it’s f-cking crime to be forced to watch such unsightly displays of disgusting.

      1. can u imagine sleeping w some sweaty mound of gelatinous flesh?

  18. Sadly, the argument that will probably win the day is that the commerce clause has been given broader authority than when it was created. And under that broader authority, the health care law is justifiable.

    Obama is just working of the foundation created by others, and mostly approved by SCOTUS.

  19. That was an ugly picture of Mooshelle Obama in her natural environment.

    Of course, when she’s not pretending to be a Whole Foods weirdo, she’s feeding her children’ ribs or Mexican food, their favorite food according to Obama.

    WHAT IS A RACIST?…..acist.html

  20. Why the broccoli argument might backfire in the ObamaCare case

    It will backfire for the same reason that any argument against ObamaCare will backfire: we’re dealing with people utterly devoid of principle. It doesn’t matter how wrong or ridiculously illogical they have to be. They’re “ends justify the means” type folks.

  21. B-E S-U-R-E T-O D-R-I-N-K Y-O-U-R O-V-A-L-T-I-N-E.

    1. A crummy commercial? Son of a bitch!

      1. Who put the amphetamine in Michelle Obama’s Ovaltine?

  22. “…a “fat tax” on the grounds that obesity raises health-care costs.*** Americans “should be free to eat what they want,” the newspaper contends, “as long as they bear the cost of their personal choices.”***

    Broken clock-twice a day.

    1. They do: they get fat.

      It’s not a problem so long as no one but themselves have to pay the medical bills associated with worse health.

      All of this stems from the pseudo-principle of collectivism.

      1. I know. I was saying that this sentence-

        “Americans should be free to eat what they want as long as they bear the cost of their personal choices.”

        -is absolutely true and is what exactly why it’s so important that the government have absolutely nothing to do with people’s food choices and nothing to do with their health care.

      2. Aye, there’s the rub…

  23. If Joe has broken into Fred’s house and is stealing Fred’s stuff, then the government should stop him.

    Really? And if the government has broken into Fred’s paycheck and is stealing way more stuff than any thief would, in order to pay police officers who are unlikely to be there when the thief is and thus can’t prevent the theft, who is going to stop the government? Another government?

    Relying on the government to prevent theft is like relying on a loan shark to prevent usury.

  24. If ObamaCare is found constitutional, what other recourse will we have but armed revolution?

    1. What will we do for corpsmen? Once he figures out how to pronounce the word, POTUS will draft them all for Obamacare.

      1. The guy actually thought Austrian was a language. Where the fuck was the liberal press when that happened?

  25. “The Los Angeles Times recently published a lengthy editorial supporting a “fat tax” on the grounds that obesity raises health-care costs. Americans “should be free to eat what they want,” the newspaper contends, “as long as they bear the cost of their personal choices.”

    Does the LA Times advocate that everyone should pay their own health care costs? If they do not, that statement makes no sense.

  26. Seriously, guys, if ObamaCare is found constitutional, what do we do? Revolution?

    1. Pass a law requiring that all people buy guns and Nascar memorabilia.

      1. Oh, and ban abortion — if the fact that the government funds your healthcare means that it can tell you what you eat, it means that the government owns your body. And if women no longer own their bodies, there’s no constitutional defense of abortion.

  27. Being stupid does indeed not make the individual mandate unconstitutional. Being well beyond any reasonable interpretation of the federal government’s specifically enumerated powers does.

    And yes, if we lose that argument and the SCOTUS allows the individual mandate to stand, then the author is absolutely right – the libs will us all exercising and eating broccoli.

  28. I receive a small amount of food stamps a month, and let me tell you, a ban on buying soft drinks with them would be a problem for me, because that’s what I use them for. I have an abnormally high sensitivity to fluoride, to the extent that it takes longer to flush from my body, and I suffer toxicity from it a LOT faster than most people. I can’t drink the local tap water in any great amounts without becoming sick. So I buy diet soft drinks, because they don’t contain fluoride; I could buy bottled water, but just drinking water all the time gets a bit boring.

    As for a mandate to eat vegetables, if it were specifically broccoli, I’d end up in the hospital due to a strong allergy to anything resembling cabbage. I’d literally be in so much pain from being required to eat broccoli daily, I’d be unable to drive or work. Yes, eating vegetables is generally healthy, but not everyone gets the same benefits from the same foods.

  29. Caffeinated bacon and baconated coffee!

  30. Human body deteriorates, and therefore everyone will need healthcare at a certain point in life. This reduction to absurd has a big logic flaw. Try this other one:
    Steve Wonder is blind
    Love is blind
    God is love
    Therefore, Steve Wonder is God.

    Same flaw. Nice try.

  31. Its been decades since I read it, but didn’t George Orwell’s “1984” start with the hero being forced to do exercise in front of the television, which had a camera, so the government could watch him and make sure he was doing his jumping jacks?

  32. Its been decades since I read it, but didn’t George Orwell’s “1984” start with the hero being forced to do exercise in front of the television, which had a camera, so the government could watch him and make sure he was doing his jumping jacks?

  33. “Sounds like a dumb law,” Kagan answered, “but I think that the question about whether it is a dumb law is different from . . . the question of whether it’s constitutional.”

    Sounds like a dumb bitch, but I think the question about whether it is a dumb bitch is different from . . . the question of whether it’s a supreme court justice.

  34. nk the question about whether it is a dumb bitch is different from . . . the question of whether it’s a supreme court justice.

  35. None of those examples involve the government making us buy something.

    And every example is local or state governments, not federal. (Depending on if you consider what the first lady cares about to be an example of intrusive federal mandates. I suppose under Reagan we were required to believe in astrology by this reasoning. [Insert Eleanor Roosevelt lesbian joke.] )

    Also, look, if you’re just going to make a list of interventionist paternal stuff the government does, you’re going to need a lot more space and you might as well just devote a whole magazine to it.

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