Barack Obama, channeling decades of theory, says constantly that the traditional system has failed. He said it in his 2011 Osawatomie, Kan., speech: “It doesn’t work. It has never worked.” He has attacked Congress repeatedly as a failed institution, teeing it up for mass revulsion just as he did the 1%.
With Congress rendered moribund, the new branch of the American political system is the federal enforcement bureaucracy. The Department of Health and Human Services’ auto-revisions of the Affordable Care Act are the most famous expressions of the new governing philosophy. But historians of the new system will cite the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights’ 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter on sexual harassment as the watershed event.
I’m currently going through all of the legislation on the table in the General Assembly, and two observations stand out (as usual):
- Our elected officials really do believe that it is their role to micromanage life in this state.
- As bad as that is, worse still is the latitude that they are increasingly giving to appointed bureaucrats to do the same.
An example that I’ve heard from multiple directions, lately, is the still-new mandate that all seventh grade students (public or private school) must be vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) — a sexually transmitted disease. This isn’t like the flu or chickenpox, which students can catch and spread simply by attending school. The Dept. of Health has crossed into a new territory of rationale, assuming the authority to instruct parents to put a drug in their children based on studies of long-term health risks, rather than immediate danger.
The bureaucracy has done so with the permission of extremely broad legislation, which states that students are required to show proof that they have “been immunized against any diseases that may from time to time be prescribed by regulation of the director of health.” There is a religious exemption form, but that only mitigates the reality that freedom has been flipped. Instead of the government attempting to persuade parents to make a particular decision, they’re requiring parents to actively notify the government of their decision in the other direction.
Charles Murray’s notion that Americans need to begin a regimen of deliberate civil disobedience against the bureaucracy seems wiser by the day. There doesn’t appear to be anything about filling out the exemption form that precludes a parent from actually going forward with the vaccine, so it should become a matter of course among parents, and we should all look for other ways to thumb our nose at people who think they have authority over us, but shouldn’t.