Autonomy: The Ethics Alarm That Obamacare Should Be Setting Off, But Isn’t


Autonomy. This is the ethical value, a sub-set of the “respect” section of the Josephson Institute’s Six Pillars of Character, that is suddenly absent from the value set of the New American Left. This is cause for concern to say the least, because autonomy is the very value that was the impetus for the nation’s founding, and that is at the core of the Bill of Rights as well as the “inalienable rights” that introduce Mr. Jefferson’s mission statement for our strange experiment in self-governance. Beginning back in Bill Clinton’s administration, advocates of a nationalized health care system, including President Clinton himself, began floating the historical and logical nonsense that Jefferson and the Founders would have enthusiastically supported national health care. This is, of course, a cynical lie if one is educated (as it was in Clinton’s case) or proof positive of complete unfamiliarity with, oh, everything about the Founders, their political philosophy, and political philosophy generally. Whatever the value of a national health care program, the idea that the government would presume to dictate how one managed something so personal and intimate as one’s own health would have horrified  every signer of the Declaration, from its author to Button Gwinett.

That Mr. Jefferson’s supposed followers—he is the Original Democrat, by most lights, would reach the point of maintaining that the public’s beliefs, opinions and attitudes must be bent to their will is a development that threatens the existence of United States society and culture as we know it. The recent flare in this emergency arrived via the mugging of Brandon Eich, ex-CEO of Mozilla, who was deemed by the liberal elite as unworthy of keeping his job (though Mozilla is an internet company and he is an innovator in the field) because he was not convinced of the rightness of same-sex marriage by the elite’s newly determined, and well past,  deadline—a deadline that such progressive icons as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton also missed, but never mind. Conformity to Progressive Truth has become the order of the day, and woe be to any good citizen who dares to oppose it. Does this sound like freedom to you? “Choice,” to use a popular rallying cry in the protest against the “War against Women?” It doesn’t sound like freedom to me.

A pause is in order however. Government and the Rules of Law, which even the most radical Founders believed in, both require the surrender of some degree of autonomy. The test is, and has always been, in this natural rights-based society, whether the exercise of a particular act of autonomy sufficiently affects the welfare of others to warrant government regulation. Society and civilization, after all, does require acceptance of certain limitations, obligations and responsibilities. Accepting the benefits of a society imposes the acceptance of certain curbs on liberty. The question is, and has always been, how much liberty can be restricted for the good of society before there is no more liberty, and we have handed our welfare over completely to a faceless, bureaucratic authority, which is assuredly bad for civilization, society, and everyone in it except those calling the shots, and probably them as well. How do we know this? We know it because it has always been this way. We know it because power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We know it because large groups of people charged with doing any big job are inevitably sloppy, careless, lazy, arrogant and inefficient. Individual citizens are often sloppy, careless, lazy, arrogant and inefficient too, but it is part of the mission statement of this nation that if anyone is going to screw up my life, it should be me.

Thus our autonomy, which is naturally imperiled by government—“Can’t live with it, can’t live without it!”—needs to be carefully guarded and protected, and not surrendered in large chunks without due attention, caution, and reluctance.

I was watching an old (about ten years or so) National Geographic show about the FBI yesterday, and was struck by how Democratic Senators were expressing alarm then at domestic surveillance measures in the Patriot Act that the current Administration’s NSA conduct dwarfs in scope and intrusiveness, and nothing has occurred in the ten-year span that would seem cataclysmic enough to explain it. The initial incursion on our liberties, however, was deemed acceptable because of that oldest of all justifications for tyranny, security. Keeping that legitimate societal objective from swallowing our autonomy requires constant vigilance and skepticism that we once relied upon liberals to provide—so much for that plan. Now, after abdicating their traditional and necessary role of looking out for our autonomy and individual rights in the unavoidable area of societal safety, Mr. Jefferson’s heirs are opening up new frontiers where they will be imperiled, if they are not already. One such frontier is the environment, an area of shared societal impact that Jefferson could not have foreseen. In a shared society, my litter is your eyesore, your coal-burning factory is my emphysema, and complete autonomy is not an option. Yes, it’s a necessary chunk gone, but it is still a chunk.

Making individual health part of a shared societal responsibility has a great deal of compassionate and even practical appeal, but it also requires  Americans to surrender yet another large chunk of their autonomy, and this feature, an unavoidable one, of any national health care law and system, not just Obamacare, has not only been neglected in the national debate but intentionally obscured and actively derided by supporters of the law. The primary means of by-passing the critical matter of  autonomy is by focusing only on one half of the equation, a standard tactic by both sides of the political divide on many issues. “Abortion on demand must be an absolute right because a woman should have dominion over her own body!” Unborn child? What unborn child? “Nobody should be forced to provide a service or product in violation of their religion or personal beliefs!” Discrimination? Who said anything about discrimination? Ethical conflicts are achieved by balance, and balance is impossible if one side of the equation is left out of the calculation.

No discussion of the Affordable Care Act should fail to include its likely, potential or eventual affects on the autonomy of U.S. citizens. Any advocate so dishonest as to  refuse to deal with that crucial issue, and any  citizen so ignorant as to be unaware of it, is irresponsible. Once we are all required to sacrifice money and freedom based on the health of others,  our personal autonomy is not only affected but affected at the most personal and private level, an incursion far more intimate than our society or our founding documents had ever contemplated. If you want to ride your Harley without a helmet, be my guest, you moron—but if I have to pay park of the cost of keeping you on a ventilator, I’m going to support a law that stops you, and maybe that even bans motorcycles. If you want to smoke your brains out, swell, you idiot, but if I have to pay for your radiation treatments, your right to abuse yourself just vanished. And if you want to keep grandma alive for six months more, even though she’s 94 and can barely talk, hear, walk or think, that’s dandy with me, Croesus, but once it goes on my tab, “Hello, Death Panel! Come right in!”

TV’s new Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray, mirroring millions of one-side-of -the-equation zombies, gushed all over President Obama for helping the uninsured. Fact: a law that does good things is still lousy law if it does more bad things. We know that Democrats and progressives don’t think budgets, deficits, debts and taxes (on someone else) matter. but what about autonomy? Does losing that matter? Understand, I can respect the point of view that losing the autonomy to choose how we work, play, eat, exercise, relax, and spend our money (buy that health insurance or else!) is justified by a fairer, more affordable health system, but I cannot respect the fiction—that is, lie— being perpetrated that this isn’t the course we are taking. That choice is an ethical one, and it is only ethical if it is made with full understanding and disclosure of two facts:

1. By accepting a collective approach to health care, we are guaranteeing ongoing erosion of our personal autonomy, and

2. The government bureaucrats who will decide how we live our lives once we have surrendered that autonomy are not the brightest bulbs on the tree.

Regarding the second point—I think we’ve covered the first—meet 20-year-old Yale student Frances Chan, a threat to the health of the Yale community:


Chan, a natural ectomorph who weighs 92 pounds, went to her college’s  medical clinic to check a lump in her breast. It was benign, but Yale decided that Chan was too thin to meet Yale’s healthy student mandates, and its clinician ordered the student to meet with her for weekly weigh-ins. Chan says she was told, ” If it were up to the administration, school would already be out for you. I’m just trying to help.’” In other words, she faced suspension if she didn’t conform her physique to Yale’s specifications—in the best interest of collective community health, of course.

Chan insisted that she did not have an eating disorder, but to no avail.“I’ve always been small,” she wrote in the Huffington Post. “I’ve been 5’2” and 90 pounds since high school, but it has never led to any illnesses related to low weight or malnutrition. My mom was the same; my whole family is skinny. We all enjoy Mom’s fabulous cooking, which included Taiwanese beef noodle soup, tricolor pasta, strawberry cheesecake, and cream puffs, none of which make the Weight Watchers shortlist. I just don’t gain weight easily.”

Perhaps, being of Asian heritage, Chan is familiar with the famous Japanese proverb, The nail that sticks up will be hammered down. This is also the motto of  OKCupid, Yale, and maybe, some day, a health insurance death panel coming to your town. She was told that she had to submit  to weekly weigh-ins and urine tests, three blood tests, appointments with a mental health counselor and a nutritionist, and  an EKG. Finally, after months of arguing with Yale, media attention embarrassed Yale into backing off.

Remember, Yale is a supposedly a bastion of liberal thought, full of intelligent people who are a good bet to be more rational than the government types who will be dictating who you live, exercise and eat in the future. They are likely to be even more ridiculous, arbitrary and coercive than the health Nazis at Old Eli.

Now, for a glimpse into that future, meet Anita Albrecht…


…..victim of the British one-size-must-fit-all socialized medicine system that Harry Reid and his ilk are just dying to get installed in the U.S.

Anita was told by a U.K. nurse that she needed to lose weight, because she was, according to government charts, nearly obese. Albrecht, who is 4feet 11 inches tall, was consulting the nurse during an appointment about contraception at a family planning clinic in  London. Ordered to exercise more (she’s a competeitive bodybuilder and personal trainer, as if you couldn’t tell), eat less and to cut alcohol and fruit juice from her diet, she was aghast and indignant. “She put me on scales and clearly I’m a lot heavier than other women because of my height and I’m a bodybuilder,”  said Anita. “I felt insulted, was made to feel as though I was overweight, over eating and I felt a knock in my confidence.When I tried to explain to her about body composition she wasn’t interested at all.”

Of course the nurse wasn’t interested. Big Brother knows what’s good for you, and it can’t manage a huge system by making exceptions for every anomaly. Anita just has to get rid of all that dangerous muscle if she’s going to get her socialized health care, and that’s all there is to it.(Again, Big Brother MD  backed down here, too, thanks to adverse publicity.)

Plus the nurse is obviously an idiot. But this is the very factor that those who would eagerly trade in large chunks of our precious autonomy for the presumed greater good seem to be unwilling to accept: when we give up our autonomy, those who take over are seldom as wise and all-knowing as they pretend to be. Besides, if someone is going to make stupid decisions about your life and lifestyle, it should be you. Only if you pay for it yourself, of course.

At least, that’s what Thomas Jefferson believed.


Facts: ABC, Houston Chronicle, Huffington Post, Bodybuildsters, Metro UK

Graphics:ABC, Bodybuildsters

53 thoughts on “Autonomy: The Ethics Alarm That Obamacare Should Be Setting Off, But Isn’t

      • Despite what Bill Maher or the Howling Mob said, the Wall Street Journal notes that “The appointment has proved controversial in more ways than one.”

        People don’t get bounced for one reason alone in situations like this. Sounds like the straw and the camel’s back. It may be in the gay lobby’s interest to spin it like it was a one-issue affair, but I’m skeptical.

          • LOL

            “My side” is objective reason; I am not betrothed to political ideology. It is quite interesting and noteworthy, that your first reaction is to compartmentalize and brand me, instead of looking at the situation objectively.

            • Judging from your comment to Jack, I think we can all tell what side of politics you favor.

              In fact, I’d wager I could, with 5 guesses, name the last three presidential candidates you voted for in the general election (assuming you’re even that old).

        • But Charles, isn’t that irrelevant? If both Right and Left interpret what happened as the CEO being dumped out of fear of a vengeful boycott, and they do, isn’t that chilling dissent enough to be alarming? You’re spinning. So what if there were other reasons…there always are other reasons. This was the reason that mattered, and matters.

          • Chilling dissent is only alarming to the left when lefty dissent is being chilled. To them the Weather underground were saints and Eich is the Devil incarnate.

    • So what? They resigned, not him. He was forced to resign by the Gay Mafia (to quote Bill Maher) and militant politically correct conformity. The release from Mozilla said so. It’s no “bubble.”

      • It was unfortunately also based on a kernel of truth, that there exist a small but very loud core of gay activists who will attempt to attack and hurt those who don’t agree with them. They can’t silence people like Eich and the Duck Dynasty folks directly, so they try to create storms of bad publicity to make others silence them. They can’t force their way into private events like the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, so instead they accuse them of being haters and homophobes and try to scare off their sponsors. This is wrong, and unfair, and inimical to American values, same as 1920s mafiosi coming in your restaurant and remarking that it’s a nice little place and it would be a terrible shame if something were to happen to it.

  1. I’m scratching my head at this one.

    On any social issue – and you named a good list of them – there is the same tradeoff: individual autonomy vs. collective good. This is hardly new, though it’s always useful to point it out.

    But it is being pointed out – ad infinitum, it seems to me. Your headline suggests that somehow it’s being overlooked. The right wing press is full of nothing BUT examples of how individual rights are being trampled on (except when it’s full of predictions about how it’s all going to fail).

    So – what’s your point?

    It would have been useful to give some context, or guidelines, or metrics, by which to decide whether the balance between autonomy and social good has been transgressed. All I see here are individual anecdotes.

    It’s not hard to find morons manning the stations in the TSA, teacher unions, school administrators, and – yes – health care administrators. It’s equally easy to find morons asserting their right to buy politicians, bring handguns to class, and discriminate in business. What’s the point?

    Here are three kinds of analysis that would actually shed light on the shifting line between autonomy and social good:

    a. an historical perspective (vs. 100 years ago; vs. 20 years ago)
    b. a cross-cultural perspective (vs. other nations)
    c. an economic perspective (e.g. cost-benefit)

    I know you’ve touched on all three of those kinds of topics before; they would add to the case here, instead of the bald assertion that “[autonomy] is suddenly absent from the value set of the New American Left.”

    It’s not absent at all, but almost by definition it’s going to be emphasized less by the left than by the right, just as the social good is almost by definition going to be emphasized less on the right than on the left.

    • Tell you what, Chucky… You let me run your life for you for one full year, starting in May. I will have complete authority over what sort of things you can buy, eat, and drive. I can, without any warning, demand compliance with a rule I made up, and in fact can penalize you for not having followed other rules I made up that I never told you about but expected you to know and follow.

      Then come talk to me about “trade-offs”.

        • You think trading liberty is perfectly fine, so why won’t you let me make the decisions? It is, in effect, what you are doing when you give control to Congress, I’m just helping you skip a couple of steps…

          • I vote Scott the head of the Death Panel in charge of Charles’ healthcare.

            Isn’t that what this is all about?

            BTW: Charles thought it just great that King Barry was spending MORE MONEY to close monuments, parks, CLOSE PRIVATE BUSINESSES and THROW SENIOR CITIZENS OUT OF THEIR HOMES (without due process I may add) during the “shutdown”. It was ALL the fault of Republicans, though… so no foul I guess. NOTHING could have prevented King Barry from throwing those old people out of their homes… the Republicans MADE him spend that extra money by “shutting down” the government… or something like that.

            Similarly, NOTHING will prevent Scott from sending a gang of armed thugs to Charles’ place to take away some cheap, live saving prescription. Because PROGRESS. Those EEEEVIL republicans will MAKE him do it!

            Check the history of this blog… the dirty laundry is all there.

        • it IS a reasoned discussion, Scott’s just cutting through all the bullshit and taking this very quickly to the bottom line. If autonomy isn’t that important, Charles, why not hand over all decision-making power to someone else? Or is that only bad when someone else is making decisions involving sexual behavior, but not who pays for it?

    • Not rights. I didn’t write about rights. It’s about autonomy, and what this benefit truly gives up. I think it was pretty clear, and I think both supporters of the ACA and the press have been actively deceptive in denying the consequences of collective health. Talk to an Obamcare supporters and ask if they realize that they are opening the door to have their food, hobbies, weight and other lifestyle choices dictated by government agencies. They don’t I HAVE asked, and most people haven’t even thought about it….or, if they have, they aren’t happy about it.

      And you can’t just brush off a lack of candor so airily. We’re talking about autonomy, and free choices. Those who are arguing to take them away have the duty of full disclosure. Critics, because they are not advocating a loss of liberty and autonomy that will be irrevocable, do not have a commensurate burden.

      • Let me clarify—the post certainly discusses rights, but the ethical issue is the value known as autonomy. Rights is a legal/constitutional issue—I’m not arguing that the AFA is unconstitutional. Rights aren’t absolute. But autonomy is a vital ethical value, and threats to it should set off alarms, just so we know what we’re doing an appreciate the trade-offs. For those whose reaction is “Great! More people have insurance!” and nothing else, the alarms aren’t ringing.

        • Jack, honest question: I looked up the Josephson Pillars (for which, thank you; I was not aware of that, and will give it a lot more study). But under the heading of “Respect,” where you say autonomy is located, I find the following:

          “Respect: Honor the worth and dignity of all individuals. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. Act courteously, civilly, peaceably, and nonviolently. Be tolerant and accepting of differences. Avoid rude, offensive, and abusive words and actions.”

          I do not see autonomy listed there. In fact, autonomy would seem to be out of place here (unless it were phrased in terms of “respect others’ autonomy”) because it doesn’t seem to fit with the other categories of character (fairness, caring, trustworthiness, citizenship, and responsibility. How is autonomy a character trait?

          Say more please about what you mean when you say autonomy is a vital ethical issue?

          • I have been using the Six Pillars for so long that I no longer know hwo the version I use came into being. I know that I added sub-categories under “Citizenship,’ which was needed for clarification. I do know I didn’t add autonomy on my own, so it must have come from another source referencing the Six pillars. I did add, for example, the distinction between honesty in deed and honesty in word.

            Autonomy is shorthand for “respecting the autonomy of others,” and fits under “Honor the worth and dignity of all individuals. Treat others the way you would want to be treated.” It could also be under fairness, I suppose.

            The argument is Kantian—respect the individual and the right of the individual to self-determination—don’t exploit, manipulate or seek to control others without their informed consent, and don’t use human beings as a means to your ends. They should be allowed to use themselves as the means to their own ends.

            Now it’s going to drive me nuts trying to figure out how autonomy got on the list, but I am confident that it belongs there. The Ethics Alarms adaptation of the Six Pillars is…

            1. TRUSTWORTHINESS, including:

            • Honesty in communication
            • Candor
            • Truth-telling
            • Reliability
            • Sincerity
            • Honesty in Conduct
            • Integrity
            • Loyalty

            2. RESPECT, including:

            • Civility
            • Courtesy
            • Decency
            • Dignity
            • Tolerance
            • Acceptance
            • Autonomy

            3. RESPONSIBILITY, including:

            • Diligence
            • Pursuit of Excellence
            • Competence
            • Accountability
            • Perseverance
            • Self-restraint
            • Prudence

            4. FAIRNESS, including:

            • Openness
            • Process
            • Impartiality
            • Proportionality
            • Consistency
            • Equity

            5. CARING, including:

            • Charity
            • Benevolence
            • Consideration
            • Empathy
            • Generosity

            6. CITIZENSHIP

            • Loyalty
            • Patriotism
            • Civic literacy
            • Participation
            • Honorable representation

            • I would think autonomy, if it doesn’t fall under “Responsibility”, is one of the “Enabling Virtues”, such as Courage. Lacking Autonomy, none of the virtues listed above is genuine, but forced from externality.

              • Well, the enabling virtues are the individual’s character traits. “Autonomy” refers to the other party—not abusing power by removing another’s autonomy or freedom. It was always clear to me, but I see how it can be confusing. I need to clarify it on the list—just trying to find the clearest way.

    • Personal autonomy is a fundamental right in this country. The only restriction universally recognized is that it be equally held. Restricting it further is a social evil even if there is some social good that also goes along with it. You can’t objectively measure the harms and benefits, so you can’t subtract one from the other and determine if it’s on net good or evil. That valuation is inherently subjective in nature.

      This is my snapshot explanation of why the ends can’t justify the means. Both the good and the evil effects occur, but they don’t cancel.

      I personally think the costs of any number of programs are outweighed by the benefits, but that doesn’t magically make it right to shove them down the throats of people who value things differently. Some people don’t grasp that necessary (or inevetible) evils are still evil and should be eliminated rather than expanded whenever possible.

      If you think you have the right to run my life based on your value system, then I have an equal right to run yours. That’s more or less the point of Scott’s comment I think. You would find it intolerable to have his preferences forced on you regardless of how sure he was that the tradeoff with your loss of autonomy would be to your benefit.

  2. This is all a feature, Jack, not a bug.

    Control is the desire of everyone with power, because it lets them keep their power, and helps them amass more power.

    But this is what the people voted for, and so I say they should get it – all of it – shoved down their ignorant, gormless noise-holes.

    And I hope they choke on it.

  3. As I recall, prior to the American Revolution the Stamp Act of 1765 was a major trigger for resistance against the British Parliament. “No taxation without representation” was an insistence upon the rights of the American colonists to be free of laws passed without their consent. I for one, am unwilling to give up my autonomy so Big Government can decide how the healthcare system is run and who has to buy insurance.

  4. The test is, and has always been, in this natural rights-based society, whether the exercise of a particular act of autonomy sufficiently affects the welfare of others to warrant government regulation.

    I think in this case, to some degree, we are actually shifting the burden from society back on to individuals. Hospitals cannot refuse to treat uninsured people, which means that in the many, many cases where people did not pay their bills and/or declared bankruptcy, we were all paying anyway. With Obamacare, individuals became responsible for maintaining some sort of insurance, and could now acquire preventative care, which in theory would also lower future health care costs. In other words, no matter what, your healthcare always affects me.

    Another point is that health care is immune to many of the rational business decisions and market forces. As pointed out above, how much would a person pay to keep their beloved 6 year daughter alive? Yourself alive for another week, a year? Nor can people make good costs comparisons. If you have a heart attack, do you direct the ambulance to take you to the nearest hospital, or the cheapest one, wherever that might be? Why are the prices at one hospital so cheap, versus another one which is far more expensive? Are they using better equipment, better doctors, more staff, better novel procedures? Most people aren’t in a position or educated enough to be able to evaluate such things. Nor are such things very easy to find out. All of these factors provide a good rationale as to why health care in general should be heavily regulated by the government.

    • in the many, many cases where people did not pay their bills and/or declared bankruptcy, we were all paying anyway.

      Not only is that actually not true, but your solution to “we all pay anyways” is to make us all pay more.

      Your solution has a tiny flaw…

      • How are we paying more? Except for those who didn’t have insurance in the first place, who were forcing their risk management onto the rest of us.

        • a) because premiums are and will continue to increase, and b) the government spending mountains of cash to subsidies the policies so people can actually afford the shitty plans.

        • My individual policy now costs just shy of $10,000 MORE (counting increased premium and deductible) than it did prior to Obamacare. I basically pay this as a FEE to access care with a competent health care org. Your premise that I was paying more than this leaves me wondering how I failed to notice such a large expenditure.

    • Regulated sure. No industry should go completely unregulated. Regulated to the point of unworkability, no, made to compete with the government directly (i.e. “the public option”) no, turned into an indirect way for the government to control aspects of people’s lives not now controlled, no.

      • He couldn’t knock you back on your heels with one link and a few smart-mouth comments, so he figured a weak attempt to channel Dan Savage was the way to go.

        • Reminded me a bit of that dude a few weeks back who was going to “instruct” Jack in the best way to run his blog. I thought Scott did an excellent job of frying him as did Jack and several others.

          • Nah, I think that guy might have had a bit more substance. This guy comes off as more a life-is-a-sitcom person who thinks a snappy comeback means you win automatically.

            • P.S., not that there isn’t room for humor or sarcasm here used as devices to drive home a point (I think, though Jack has the final word on that). It’s when they are used with no point that they become mockery as a substitute for substance and insult as a substitute for wit. The fact is this isn’t a comedy audience who’s just there to laugh.

            • In his defense, that is what virtually every large news aggregating website’s comments deteriorate into almost immediately, and is pretty much accepted demeanor most places on the web. It’s literally amazing…any story involving misconduct or incompetence by Democrats, for example, turns into a “yeah, well, Bush is an idiot” back and forth within about three comments, and never gets back on point. Any example of idiotic statement by a Republican becomes a tea party is/isn’t a bunch of racists and your mother is ugly LOL are you taking your meds exchange immediately. There is no evidence of thought at all, and that’s the rule, not the exception. Even on Professor Turley’s blog, which is otherwise excellent (except on weekends when he allows ideologues to take over) Althouse obviously dings a lot of comments, so her threads are pretty high level.

  5. “If you want to smoke your brains out, swell, you idiot, but if I have to pay for your radiation treatments, your right to abuse yourself just vanished” This is one of the reasons I’ve opposed government takeover of health care in the first place. The argument is flawed though. Providing a service would allow for revoking the service in the face recipient actions which increase the price of providing it. It does not revoke their right to personal autonomy, even though it will be used an excuse to do so.

  6. 1) The Democrats of today ARE NOT the descendants of Thomas Jefferson’s party. The party system shifted so chaotically in the early years of the Republic as issues broke up factions in several ways and united them in different ways after that.

    2) The “traditional role” of liberals has NOT been to question government policy in regards to attacks on autonomy. They only gained that faux role in the 60s and 70s as they questioned EVERYTHING the US Government did. EVERYTHING, unless it advanced agendas that ultimately morphed into the autonomy-crushing platform you see today. Their “traditional role” has never been to defend autonomy, only to defend the insurgency necessary to gain power for the brand of Leftism.

    • Not to play White Knight, but I didn’t say or mean that the Democrats view themselves as the descendants of Jefferson’s PARTY—if anything, they descend from Jackson’s party. But he is properly called the first Democrat, based of traditional concepts of liberalism.

      • Once in a while I call myself a classical liberal instead of a libertarian, but mostly it’s not worth fighting at this point. If I just say liberal, people will assume something that probably should be called progressive.

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