Free Markets, Free People


“Everyone deserves health care”

That’s been the starting position for everyone who supported the health care reform monstrosity that just came out of Washington DC.  It’s stated in various ways, such as health care being a “right”, but the axiom is always that in our society everyone should have health care, or as a practical matter, health insurance.

It sounds so compassionate and decent doesn’t it? But that little phrase packs in some nasty principles.

It’s one thing to say that you deserve to control your own life, or property or income.    That’s pretty uncontroversial.  But when you say, “I have a right to have health care–or a pension, or a home–provided for me even if I can’t afford it”, then what you’re really saying is that I have an obligation to provide you with those things.  Whether I wish to provide them to you, or whether it causes me some degree of privation, is irrelevant.  To say that you–or anyone else–has a right to something I must provide is to say that you have an irrevocable claim on my life, labor or property.  I owe you.

No matter how you try to gussy it up, or dress it in compassion, the fact is that by claiming that such an obligation, you place me in indentured servitude.  My wishes are irrelevant.

Indeed, it’s not even indentured servitude.  At least in an indenture, I have to agree to provide you with my labor for some period, after which I am manumitted.  In actuality, by claiming such an obligation on me that I cannot evade, you make me, to some degree, your serf.  You are the laird of the manor, and I have my obligation of labor days to provide you.

Now, perhaps I should be willing to provide you with health insurance.  Perhaps that is the moral and/or ethical course of action I should undertake.  But that, too, is irrelevant.  By demanding it, and by forcing me to provide you with a good or service by law, you not only ignore my conception of morality, you impose your morality on me.  Whether I agree with your morality is not even a consideration for you.  You have a claim,you say, so your morality trumps mine.

Moreover, once you’ve accepted that it’s perfectly all right to impose a form of servitude on me, in order that I might provide you with a good, what’s your limiting principle?  If you may impose an obligation on me to provide a part of my income or property in order to procure a good for yourself, why can’t you simply take all of it?  After all, you’ve already signed on to imposing slavery in principle, because you’ve decided that you can impose an obligation on me against my will.  Why stop  at serfdom?

Slavery, to one degree or another, is, of course, the inevitable outcome of any attempt to enforce some sense of cosmic justice on life, and the lives of your fellow men.  Because there is no such thing as cosmic justice.  Nor is there any general agreement on what cosmic justice should be.  So, your attempt to impose it on others invariably must be done by force, either through the majesty of the law, or with a knife to the throat.

Which is often the same thing.

So, what you are really saying when you claim that “Everyone deserves health care,” is, “I have the right to enslave you, in whole or in part, in order to require you provide health care to me.”  When you strip the high-sounding phrases to the principles, it doesn’t sound nearly so moral and compassionate, does it?

Oh, and by the way, it does no good to tell me that I also have the same claim on others, and can force someone else to provide me with health care, too.  Because all you’re really telling me is that I can become a slavemaster, too.  The fact that I don’t care to be a slavemaster, or that I find it morally abhorrent, is utterly irrelevant to you.  Again, your morality trumps mine.

Because, after all, if you can get everyone else to join you in your crime–indeed, to glory in it–who will condemn you?

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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31 Responses to “Everyone deserves health care”

  • Yeah.  I deserve an X-box, a Hershey bar, McDonald’s french fries, a Lexus, and a private jet like Speaker Pelosi.

  • Let’s take it to the absurd level. Imagine our economy is humming and we have ZERO unemployment. Anyone can get a job doing what they are good at. We have a healthy 25 years old plumber who has saved up some money. He decides to not do any work at all and spend that money having a good time. On the day the money runs out, he needs some healthcare. Should we pay for it?
    Take away the sob stories, and that’s the test case. We all feel for the veteran missing two limbs – of course we can pay for him. But how about Joe Layabout who chooses to work less?
    True story – I have a very smart and able friend who sort of did this – work just enough to finance trips all over the world. Meanwhile, I was working hard and paying taxes in a country where he could access subsidized (heavily) healthcare. Seems to me I am paying for his life choice – maybe I should have some input into that then. Fair is fair.

  • Oh, and my friend ever see this, it really wasn’t any hard feelings, but an interesting philosophical question: If people have rights to food, housing, and healthcare from the state, then shouldn’t the state have some say over that person’s work?

  • Dale Franks[B]y forcing me to provide you with a good or service by law, you not only ignore my conception of morality, you impose your morality on me.  Whether I agree with your morality is not even a consideration for you.  You have a claim,you say, so your morality trumps mine. [emphasis original - dj505]

    This underscores the typical hypocrisy of the left: the same group who rant and rave about “keep your laws off my body”, have compared making people on welfare actually do a bit of work (public service) to slavery, and b*tch that we’re tricking people into joining the military because no sensible person would ever do that, have no problem looking around, finding somebody with money, and forcing them to give up some of it because “it’s the right thing to do”.  To put a cherry on top of that sundae, they’ll add a few insults while they’re at it, as if having money is just a mean, dirty, downright evil thing that no decent person would ever think about doing.

    But this leads to a philosophical question: do we owe ANYTHING to society?  Or, to put it another way, if the government can draft me to fight a war that I may not support or force me to serve on a jury when I don’t want to, does it not follow that it can also take my labor for other things that I may not support?    Where do we draw the line?

    That there is an implicit line is why so many people can and do support increasing taxes: they believe that there is some unwritten, unspoken limit beyond which we would NEVER go, and politicians are happy to agree to that fiction.  Indeed, we have the historical example of the federal income tax: this was sold to people as a way for the federal government to get a little money from a handful of people who had plenty, and we’d NEVER have to take more than that.  Ditto the other taxes such as Social Security, Medicare, etc. (I wish I could go back in time and show my pay stub to people who supported these things and then punch them in the mouth for setting up a system that would lead to DC and Raleigh routinely siezing about 35% of my pay).

    I’m waiting for the next steps in the process, where the government passes laws determining what specialities med students can choose, how much doctors can be paid, forcing doctors to see EVERY patient, and even mandating where doctors must practice.  I’ve heard rumblings that the Dept. of Education is considering similar rules about teachers to mandate where they must teach.  And if we start running out of teachers or doctors because they don’t fancy the idea of being treated like they are in the Army, then we’ll start drafting.  “Oh, hey!  You’re getting a degree that qualifies you to be a school teacher.  Guess what YOU’LL be doing after graduation!” For anybody who says that this would never happen, I ask, “Why not?” We’re already telling insurance companies that they must cover anybody who walks in the door; we’re already telling hospital emergency rooms that they must treat anybody who walks in the door; and we’re telling everybody who makes above a certain amount of money that they’ve got to foot the bill for everybody else.  So, why WOULDN’T we start telling people that they MUST work for the government?

    Once you accept that citizens exist to serve and pay for the State, there’s really no limit to what you can do to them.

    And we thought that the corvée disappeared with the French Revolution!

    • In India now, its law that you can get 100 days of paid labor from the government. Its so poor people can dig ditches for some cash. I guess that’s the reverse corvee!

      • Sounds like a good sort of welfare system to me!

        • What’s funny is that poor people protest that they can’t get the work – the local officials use ghost workers etc. and deny the people their “right” to dig ditches.

    • Do we “owe” anything? Owe is a funny word – it means you have an obligation you must fulfill because you took on some kind of debt – usually voluntary. “Owe”? I think we agree to participate in a society and, even, part with some of our money to support it, if everyone participates equally. But I don’t think anything in particular is owed simply because you were born here. And we certainly haven’t taken on most of these “obligations” voluntarily – they’ve been imposed on us.

      • McQ“Owe”? I think we agree to participate in a society and, even, part with some of our money to support it, if everyone participates equally. But I don’t think anything in particular is owed simply because you were born here. And we certainly haven’t taken on most of these “obligations” voluntarily – they’ve been imposed on us.

        I agree that we’ve had quite a lot of obligations imposed upon us.  Whether these obligations are reasonable or even “good” is a matter of opinion, and that’s the point of my question, which I restate: if you wish to participate in society, what obligations do you thus incur?

        Would you agree that society, through the government, can place obligations upon us?  For example, we are obliged to obey the speed limit even if we think it foolish.  We are obliged to show up for jury duty.  We have to pay taxes.  Etc, etc; broadly, we have to obey the law, which may be viewed as a contract between the citizen and the society: “obey these rules and enjoy the benefits of being a member of our society.  So, if society / the government can oblige you to do one thing, does it not follow that it can oblige you to do another as a cost of being a member of that society?

        Consider especially the idea of “security”.  We have armed forces employed by society to protect the rest of us.  We give servicemen pay and benefits for this, but we have conscription laws that allow us to FORCE people to do it in times of emergency.  We have these laws because enough people consider it a reasonable obligation for some people to fight (and perhaps die) for the rest of us.  If we can force some eople to fight and die for the security of the rest of us, can we not logically force some people to work and pay for the security (health care) of the rest of us?

        if everyone participates equally - That’s a bit of a rub, isn’t it, because not everybody does or even CAN “participate equally”, and benefits are not necessarily distributed equally even without intent to skew the benefits for political purposes.  It seems to me that a major argument against illegal immigration is that people enjoy benefits for which they have paid little or nothing in taxes.  Cannot the same be said about children who get benefits?  Or the chronically poor?  Elderly people like my grandmother who spent most of her adult life as a housewife?

        • Everyone can participate equally if we’re not trying to redistribute income, or pay for what others want, or, well you get the idea. It’s about the vision of government – it’s function. There is a model that fulfills that ideal – but that’s not where we’re headed, that’s what we’re headed away from.

  • Serfdom has been the word kicking around in my head for what is going on, too.

    It about making the fruits of my labor go to someone else (an ruling elite class) and they dole out compensations back to me as they see fit.  And the relationship is reinforced by the legal system.

    Supposedly, the serf system is one of reciprocity.  You work for the Lord of the manor and in return he provides for your security and needs and supplies a rudimentary government and representation for you.  In reality you’re a slave.

    I consider Communism was an attempt to hijack the momentum of change of the industrial revolution to return us to the Serf model.

    Since it was one of the early models of society and government, I have to believe there’s an almost genetic appeal for a percentage of the population to such a system where the majority of people are cared for but subservient to an elite class.

    Unfortunately I’ve also come to the conclusion both sides of the isle have been driving us back to serfdom in each their own way.

    • The problem with serfdom is you belonged to the lord of the manor. You aren’t working at an equal level at all. Serfs couldn’t go shopping for a better lord or a better deal.

      • It is a mild form of slavery. But then, so is any form of socialism.

        Note that in the last century, the more extreme socialist countries had to force their citizens to stay. In fact, that continiues today in places like North Korea and Cuba.

  • My goodness, you dense righties certainly go over the top with all this talk about serfdom and slavery and servitude. {eyes rolling} You doth protest too much. We wise leftists don’t want to be your masters! We just want to make you happy and comfortable all the time.

    And how could you possibly be happy with bad health? LOL. So healthcare is a right. I decree it. And all this hair-splitting about rights that other people have to provide is just silly. With wise leftists in charge, everyone concerned can be influenced through wise social policies to provide all the services needed. You’ll see. {chuckle}

    Obama is a transformational figure, and I understand that with your primitive, obsolete concepts around “freedom” and “choice” and similar claptrap that he would make you uncomfortable. But I suspect you’ll be surprised this fall. His goodness and glory will come shining through, and those tea partiers will be awed into silence and the Democrats will continue their march to the glorious salvation of a leftist utopia.

    So why don’t you stop all this talk of serfdom and servitude, and sit down at the table with us and work everything out? Your extremist rhetoric isn’t helping anyone, least of all yourselves, because it just makes you look out of touch and keeps you from participating in the process. Because if you sat down with us and participated and worked it all out through the magical process of negotiation, you would get something. Really, you would! You would, say, get to insert a provision that you can still fire your dangerous guns (which are a clear threat to good health, which is a right) on alternate Wednesdays, as long as you lock them up with a duly authorized guardian in your local government on the other days. See! Isn’t that better than losing everything?

    My analysis shows that you would be better off if you did that. And it’s not either true that I constantly use the word “analysis” when I really mean my opinion, just to sound like there’s some kind of logical support behind it. It really is analysis! Analysis, analysis, analysis. At least that’s what the professors at my advanced study university told me. They gave me a degree for turning in hundreds of pages of my analysis, and they praised my analysis, and apparently it was so profound that they couldn’t even get through reading all of it, but they gave me a degree, and it’s not either true that they did that just to get rid of me and stop hearing my whiny voice! It’s not! I don’t either have a whiny voice! Stop saying that!

    • Decree healthcare a right? Well, that is actually Scott’s trick. He claims a right is whatever we say it is. I suspect he’s using the royal “we”.

  • Choosing to remain in our Collectively Acquired, Collectively Defended organization isn’t free, however you can leave anytime.

    • The voice of oppression gets a touch more strident.

      And you have to love the irony – America: love it or leave it.

    • Ah.  “America: Love it or leave it.”  Nice.

      Of course, one wonders who has the better claim to make such an argument.  Those who want to retain the traditional freedom this country was founded on, or those who wish to fundamentally alter it via socialization?

  • A friend summed it up fairly well on Facebook a while back:
    “I don’t want you to go broke because you got sick.  But I also don’t want to go broke because you got sick.”

  • For all of the progressives, before you tax the rest of us to pay for a government bureaucracy, please show me you’ve been donating to provide healthcare on a charity basis first:
    http://healthcarecharities.org/
    This one operates in Maine…does Erb tithe 10% to help the poor sick folks?

  • I just shake my head, more in sadness than in anger, at the progressives who seem to think that they’re the only ones who care about the “have-nots.”  The problem is that all of the “progressive” solutions–ALL OF THEM–ultimately, sooner or later, hurt the very people that they say that they want to help much worse than the solutions of the allegedly heartless and unfeeling freedom-lovers.
    For a while, the progressive policies may look like they’re helping, much like running up credit cards to their limits makes it look like you are doing well financially–until you hit the limits and start having your purchases rejected.
    The reality is that the progressive, social-democratic/socialist approach simply assumes that human nature is other than what human nature actually is.  It punishes achievement and rewards indolence.  For people who want to be productive, it is all stick and no carrot.  For people who don’t want to work so hard, it’s all carrot and no stick.  From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.
    The inconvenient truth is that if given a choice normal, rational human beings will tend to choose not working so hard over busting their butts and having much of the fruits of their labors taken from them anyway.   When a sufficient number of people have so chosen, the entire system collapses.  We’ve seen that over and over and over again through history.  The names and places change, but the end result of the attempt to get something for nothing never, ever does.
    See, it’s not that we don’t agree that it’s a virtue to help those less fortunate.  But freedom-lovers just think that it is NOT a virtue to provide that help with other people’s money.

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