The National Taxpayers Union has been doing a little content analysis of the House Democrats' Health Care bill, noting the statistical predominance of words like require, limit, enforce, must, obligation, and restrict, and the scarcity of words like choice, options, and freedom. "House Democrats' Health Plan Contains Words of Coercion — not Choice — Text Analysis Shows," the headline on their news release says, as they conclude ominously:
if the language of the "America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009" is a guide to its true intent then the bill is really about empowering bureaucracy and limiting freedom, competition, and the marketplace.
Leaving the bill's content aside, the linguistic assumptions here seem a little confused. As vexing as it can be to have laws telling you what you're obliged or required to do, it's probably better than living someplace where the laws tell you what you're permitted or free to do. If we have to have laws, I'd rather have them peppered with must than with may.
[Added 8/7: Nancy Scola and Micah Sifry make a similar point at TechPresident.]