The Right Opinion

Waiving Freedom

By Thomas Sowell · Nov. 7, 2012

Among the objections to ObamaCare, one that has not gotten as much attention as it should is the president's power to waive the law for any company, union or other enterprise he chooses.

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution provides for “equal protection of the laws” for all Americans. To have a law that can cost an organization millions of dollars a year either apply or not apply, depending on the whim or political interest of the President of the United States, is to make a mockery of the rule of law.

How secure is any freedom when there is this kind of arbitrary power in the hands of one man?

What does your right of freedom of speech mean if saying something that irritates the Obama administration means that you or your business has to pay huge amounts of money and get hit with all sorts of red tape under ObamaCare that your competitor is exempted from, because your competitor either kept quiet or praised the Obama administration or donated to its reelection campaign?

Arbitrary ObamaCare waivers are bad enough by themselves. They are truly ominous as part of a more general practice of this administration to create arbitrary powers that permit them to walk roughshod over the basic rights of the American people.

The checks and balances of the Constitution have been evaded time and time again by the Obama administration, undermining the fundamental right of the people to determine the laws that govern them, through their elected representatives.

You do not have a self-governing people when huge laws are passed too fast for the public to even know what is in them.

You do not have a self-governing people when “czars” are created by Executive Orders, so that individuals wielding vast powers equal to, or greater than, the powers of Cabinet members do not have to be vetted and confirmed by the people's elected representatives in the Senate, as Cabinet members must be.

You do not have a self-governing people when decisions to take military action are referred to the United Nations and the Arab League, but not to the Congress of the United States, elected by the American people, whose blood and treasure are squandered.

You do not have a self-governing people when a so-called “consumer protection” agency is created to be financed by the unelected officials of the Federal Reserve System, which can create its own money out of thin air, instead of being financed by appropriations voted by elected members of Congress who have to justify their priorities and trade-offs to the taxpaying public.

You do not have a self-governing people when laws passed by the Congress, signed by previous Presidents, and approved by the federal courts, can have the current President waive whatever sections he does not like, and refuse to enforce those sections, despite his oath to see that the laws are faithfully executed.

Barack Obama, for example, has refused to carry out sections of the immigration laws that he does not like, unilaterally creating de facto amnesty for those illegal immigrants he has chosen to be exempt from the law. The issue is not – repeat, NOT – the wisdom or justice of this President's immigration policy, but the seizing of arbitrary powers not granted to any President by the Constitution of the United States.

You do not have a self-governing people if President Obama succeeds in having international treaties under United Nations auspices govern the way Americans live their lives, whether with gun control laws or other laws.

Obama's “citizen of the world” mindset was revealed back in 2008, when he said “We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that every other country is going to say okay.”

The desire to circumvent the will of the American people was revealed even more ominously when Barack Obama said to Russian President Medvedev – when he thought the microphone was off – that, after he is reelected and need never face the voters again, he can be more “flexible” with the Russians about missile defense.

There are other signs of Obama's contempt for American Constitutional democracy, but these should be more than enough. Dare we risk how far he will go when he never has to face the voters again, and can appoint Supreme Court justices who can rubber stamp his power grabs? Will this still be America in 2016?



Honest Abe in North Carolina said:

Dr. Sowell, it is sad at this time in the history of a nation when a majority of its citizens, legitimate, ignorant, dead and illegal have voted to turn this country upside down for the sake of keeping an imposter in the White House. It is a God-given right of every citizen to not have to bear allegiance to a country or president who will not guarantee its citizens equal protection under the laws of the United States Constitution.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 12:34 AM

India in GA said:

Great article. Thanks for laying this out in black and white.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 1:48 AM


I used to be Ready4AChange, but sadly, that didn't happen. Dear India, be careful how you word your comments - we don't want to upset anyone by seeming racist. *sigh*

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Richard of CT in Cheshire, CT said:

Well, I truly did not believe my fellow Americans could be this stupid. Four more years of a lame brain, community organizer, bought and paid for by the Chicago Machine, George Soros and the Hollywood 'elite'!!

You get what you deserve.

Thanks for selling our once beautiful Republic to the Communist Chinese and for ending the American Dream. Never again will we ever be held in the high esteem we once were. The whole world is laughing at us, and you probably think it is applause!

For those of you that fought the good fight over these past months and weeks, thanks for trying.
I hope you survive the dark night that is about to envelope us, with a few more super liberal appointments to the SCOTUS, more Executive orders that will strip us of our freedom and liberty, and if you happen to be over 65 you can forget about receiving the kind of healthcare your parents enjoyed.

Oh, and our grandkids will be paying the bill for this until the day they die.
Peasants and serfs is what we will be, on the Obama Plantation.
Hope and Change has morphed into Rope and Chains!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 2:37 AM

Old Desert Rat in Las Vegas, NV said:

As usual, Dr. Sowell, you have cut to the heart of the problem. Freedom was a wonderful idea. We shall miss its passing.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 9:33 AM

Mikey in Southwest Idaho said:

Dr. Sowell just provided the evidence of tyranny in America as James Madison defined it in Federalist 47. There is no longer liberty and justice for all. "The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, selfappointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 9:54 AM

Orf in Pennsylvania said:

Goodbye America! No more the land of the free and home of the brave.

Is the fight all over? Can we not get back to where we were? Probably not unless major changes could be made, and we have no real leaders to accomplish this. We will wait until we resemble Greece and the Eurozone. Then the riots will begin and the end will not be far behind.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Wayne in Hinesville, GA replied:

Orf, You are so right! It's now the home of the lazy and the home of the ignorant. You can bet when the crisis comes, and it will, the parasites will riot because the government can no longer afford to take care of them. No one having a home, a car, or anything sellable will be safe unless they are well armed. Keep stocking up on food and ammo because we may need both one day.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 12:50 PM

JustJodi in So Cal said:

As Chief Justice John Roberts said about the Court: “It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.”

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 10:23 AM

JAC in Texas said:

I never thought I'd see the day when Americans would vote to continue the destruction of their own country, simply because someone gave them a free cell phone. People don't realize that the most far-reaching impact of this election is on the Supreme Court. Two, maybe three, of the justices will probably be leaving in the next four years. Obozo gets to replace them with more Kagens and Sotomayors. All those 5-4 votes in favor of the Constitution will soon be 7-2 against. And, we're not just talking about the next four years when it comes to the Supreme Court. The country is now totally screwed!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 12:04 PM

wjm in Colorado replied:

Jefferson warned us it was to be the despotic branch of government, and Obamao will see that it does. America voted for its own demise. The traitors and useful idiots now outnumber those who believe in the founders vision. The decline and fall is complete.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 12:40 PM

Abu Nudnik in Toronto said:

This is one of the best articles I've read and Romney should have said it in one of the debates when people were watching. The Second Law of Thermodynamics doesn't work on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. It wouldn't be a law if that were true. Human laws, like scientific ones, must be invariable in application or be a promiscuous application of tyrannical power. That law and power are not the same can never be stressed enough. Law contains even those who hold power to make law, which is what makes it so necessary. Even God is constrained by His Testaments. Only the rebellious angel, preferring to rule in hell than serve in heaven, hold law to be a thing made of clay to be bent to his will and fancy. Your point about every law passed by every congress and signed by every president is right: it's the law, to be executed faithfully without fear or favor until overturned by the court or repealed by congress.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Abu Nudnik in Toronto replied:

His Covenants, I should have said.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 1:14 PM

p3orion in Midland, Georgia said:

"Will this still be America in 2016?"

I'm not sure it still is even today.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Another Sad Patriot in Texas said:

Very Sad.
"Work hard, and you have a fair shot of living the American dream" has been replaced by "Be lazy, collect government hand-outs and live the American dream at the expense of taxpayers". That's only one example of how Obama has trampled over The Constitution time and time again. This undoubtedly contributes to the moral decay we're seeing.

We are growing a population that has no knowledge of, or doesn't care about the principals by which this country was founded. It's becoming a "What can the government do for me" mindset. If this keeps up, we'll find ourselves without the freedom and liberty many people seek by coming to this country. For those of us that work and pay taxes, we're already working for the government, while our hard earned money is be squandered.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 2:26 PM

Tapdaddy in Indiana said:

Since, the majority of Americans have not read the Constitution let, Thomas
Sowell interpret some Presidential actions for you.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 4:25 PM

yepthatsme in midwest said:

Mr. Sowell, this is another good article. Please keep them coming. I was devastated from the results of the election. I too, wanted to give up and just let America fall. I think that is a normal first reaction. We would like to distance ourselves from the cause of our pain. However, I am an American. It is my responsibility to keep our country safe, free, and protect our freedom. We cannot expect our government to do it for us, so it is time to do it for ourselves. It's time to roll up our shirt sleeves and get to work on changing America back to what it was intended to be, a free republic. We need to start working on one person at a time, to remind them what it means to be an American.

I am as guilty as many others that have sat back and watched the candidates battle it out without any help from me, thinking that all I needed to do was to vote. This was wrong. I have talked with others about my conservative views, but I should have done more, much more. I should have, no, WE should have worked harder to save our nation. I know I'm not the only one that did very little. All of us have enjoyed the good times, the prosperous times, the growing up in a free country. I have let myself and my country down for not working harder during the bad times, when my country needed me the most. That will not happen again. I am going to do all I can to make a change, to make a difference. Now is the time that we need to pull together and to make a difference, to make up for our reluctance, our laziness.

We cannot afford to turn our backs on our country when it needs us most. Let us take a break, lick our wounds, and regroup, and then let us join together and do what we can to turn this around. We cannot be defeated unless we allow ourselves to be defeated. Freedom is a responsibility that requires constant vigilance. We have made a lot of progress since 2008. That was evident in this election. Obama’s support has diminished and we need to continue working on reducing his support by opening their eyes to the truth.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 9:02 PM

Robinius in Broomfield, Colorado said:

It's not just Obama - it's his enablers. The people with both hands out for "free stuff"; the people who vote for him because of his pigmentation, not caring a wit what his plans for America are; but mostly I blame the "mainstream media" for covering Obama's sins and shamelessly promoting him while denigrating Romney. With a "free press" like we have now we need to be ever vigilant because they are fawning, ass-kissing sycophants of Obama and his regime.
I read the comments here and wonder what good we do - we already know what needs to be done. We need to reach beyond the readers of the Patriot Post, Drudge Report, Washington Times, etc. or this will happen again in 4 years with a different "leader" put forth by the Democrats. How can we get hispanics to see that if the ship goes down they will go with it as well? Sorry to run on, I'm slightly upset today.

Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 1:00 AM