Paul Krugman wrote a good column yesterday about Antonin Scalia, the U.S. Supreme Court’s chief buffoon, but a reader’s response to the column was even better:
When Justice Scalia compared requiring health insurance to requiring people to buy broccoli, something in me snapped. I think what snapped is the basic faith in our government that I have held onto for decades. My wife and I are both cancer survivors and have lived through being denied health insurance, facing a choice between destitution and death.
To take our suffering, and that of millions of others so casually, so dismissively. as Justice Scalia did in his broccoli comment, is an act of moral degeneracy. Clearly major portions of our government care not the slightest for the well-being of the citizenry.
I didn’t snap when I read Scalia’s remarks, but I did feel a moment of clarity. I remembered that Scalia, despite all his legal training, reasons crudely, without factoring in empathy or compassion. He laughs at the misfortune of the poor because he convinced himself long ago that poor people deserve misfortune.
Scalia feels contempt for the sort of social contract envisioned by certain Enlightenment thinkers and gradually implemented by progressive-minded Americans in the 19th and 20th centuries. It’s no exaggeration to say he’d feel more at home in the antebellum South than in America after the New Deal. I’m sure he’d tell great slave jokes.
Regardless of how the Court rules on the health care law, you can be sure Scalia cares nothing about how his rulings affect “the well-being of the citizenry.” That’s why Ronald Reagan appointed him.