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ObamaCare: Insurers Need Permission to Survive; Citizens, to Live

Nor will the government confine this exercise of arbitrary power to insurance companies. The government will also seek to control what medical care patients may receive. As Ed Morrissey noted, ObamaCare supporters now praise the fact that it will help the government deny treatments to patients after earlier deriding Americans' concerns about rationing and "death panels" as unjustified "paranoia."

The trend is becoming clear. First, insurers must seek government permission to survive. Then, patients must seek permission to receive some forms of medical care. Will we soon need government permission simply to live?

The fundamental problem is that our politicians no longer believe in the Founders' concept of a constitutionally limited government. Instead, they believe that the government's job is to "control the people."

As Ayn Rand once wrote, under a properly limited government:

[A] private individual is legally free to take any action he pleases (so long as he does not violate the rights of others), while a government official is bound by law in his every official act. A private individual may do anything except that which is legally forbidden; a government official may do nothing except that which is legally permitted.

Furthermore, a proper government should be limited to the function of protecting individual rights. Only physical force or fraud can violate our rights. The government thus protects our rights by protecting us from criminals who steal, murder, rape, etc., as well as from foreign aggressors. Otherwise, it should leave honest people alone to live peacefully. In particular, it should not force Americans to seek permission before engaging in mutually voluntary business transactions such as purchasing health insurance or medical services.

Rand also warned:

[W]e are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.

America is closer to that point than ever before. But we are not there yet. We can still reclaim our country if we are willing to fight back in the realm of ideas and in the realm of politics.

In the realm of ideas, we must advocate and defend the principle of properly limited government to our fellow Americans through articles, books, blog posts, e-mails, speeches, town hall meetings, tea party protests, etc.

In the realm of politics, we must hold our elected officials accountable for their actions -- especially those who swore an oath to uphold the Constitution, then betrayed that oath by brazenly declaring that they'll pass whatever laws they want without "worrying about the Constitution." We must exercise our constitutional power as voters to fire those politicians who would exert arbitrary power over us, and replace them with men and women who respect the proper limits of government.

George Washington once warned that government, like fire, "is a dangerous servant and a fearful master."

Will our government be our servant -- or our master? The choice will be ours.