Antonin Scalia’s Broccoli Fixation

March 31, 2012


Let’s expand a bit on what Justice Antonin Scalia was talking about when he compared the health care insurance mandate to a government requirement to purchase broccoli.  The undeniably brilliant (if extremely ideology-driven) Justice makes a great point!

Everyone will eat broccoli eventually. Sooner or later, as sure as the sun rises, you will NEED to eat broccoli. Perhaps DESPERATELY need to eat broccoli. Broccoli might even be necessary to save your life at some point.

So how come so many people simply refuse to pay for broccoli – then expect to get all the very best broccoli that they need, promptly and for free, at the emergency door of their local food store? Because we let them get away with it – that’s why!

The food store is required by law to provide top-quality broccoli to every person in need of it – whether he can pay for expensive broccoli or not. Who pays for all this free broccoli? The rest of us – that’s who! You and me.

There’s a name for people who won’t pay for their own broccoli – freeloaders!

Unless we’re willing to let those freeloaders die in the street from broccoli deficiency syndrome, the government should make them prepay for their own eventual consumption of broccoli. But we aren’t willing to do that. Nor should we.

How can the government require us to prepay for broccoli Constitutionally? Since the broccoli market has a HUGE impact on interstate commerce, Congress may require everyone to pay his share for it.

Never doubt the ability of the brilliant Justice Scalia to select the very best Republican talking point when hearing a Supreme Court case.  Is broccoli an apt analogy for the health care mandate, or what?

Now shut up and eat your broccoli.


  1. Indeed. I liked the argument (not) by I think Justice Kennedy, who said since everyone is going to die, should we mandate the purchase of a burial plan? That’s relevant because both broccoli and burial start with the letter B.

    • You should only be required to buy a prepaid burial plan if you expect to receive a fancy first-class funeral – the same first-rate class of service that we all expect when we are sick or injured.

      The State does provide a decent, no-frills burial for the indigent in a potter’s field. Always has, probably always will. People have always died, but it has only been in the past century that decent medical care even existed.

    • I don’t care about the disposal of your body after death. Even Christians agree with me on that. The body is just an empty vessel, from which the soul has fled. So….who cares? I care about what happens to you while you’re alive.

    • I’m with you on dead bodies. There’s nothing there any more.

      But why is it that folks like me who are mostly non-religious care little about dead bodies, but very religious people (including most devout Christians) go through elaborate rites involving the dead body: embalming, expensive caskets, burying stuff with the body, putting it in a cemetery (“consecrated ground”), orienting it just so…?

      And those are the people who believe in the immortal soul. But they also believe in “the resurrection of the body.”


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