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The "Choices"
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Paul Hsieh lays them out as they pertain to health care. Not who gets what, or how much it will cost in monetary terms, but in terms of freedom and lack thereof.

Here's how I understood freedom and liberty worked:
Of course healthy diet and exercise are good. But these are issues of personal – not government – responsibility. So long as they don't harm others, adults should have the right to eat and drink what they wish – and the corresponding responsibility to enjoy (or suffer) the consequences of their choices. Anyone who makes poor lifestyle choices should pay the price himself or rely on voluntary charity, not demand that the government pay for his choices.
Does anyone have a particular argument with that?

In fact, if you believe in freedom and liberty, there really isn't another choice, is there?

But here's what's being offered as the alternative:
Government attempts to regulate individual lifestyles are based on the claim that they must limit medical costs that would otherwise be a burden on "society." But this issue can arise only in "universal healthcare" systems where taxpayers must pay for everyone's medical expenses.
Of course that's not how the alternative is presented. Hey, it's going to be marketed just like children's toys and fast food. They're going to try to make you want it and want it badly. But the fact remains that at its base, once it belongs to government, your life is no longer your own. If you don't believe me, look at what is happening in other countries where they already "enjoy" the alternative:
Imagine a country where the government regularly checks the waistlines of citizens over age 40. Anyone deemed too fat would be required to undergo diet counseling. Those who fail to lose sufficient weight could face further "reeducation" and their communities subject to stiff fines.

Is this some nightmarish dystopia?

No, this is contemporary Japan.

The Japanese government argues that it must regulate citizens' lifestyles because it is paying their health costs.
And Japan isn't the only government using "universal health care" as a means of controlling people's lives. Other examples are numerous and varied:
... [T]he British government has banned some television ads for eggs on the grounds that they were promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. This is a blatant infringement of egg sellers' rights to advertise their products.
Of course its a blatant infringement, but Nanny knows best.
In 2007, New Zealand banned Richie Trezise, a Welsh submarine cable specialist, from entering the country on the grounds that his obesity would "impose significant costs ... on New Zealand's health or special education services." Richie later lost weight and was allowed to immigrate, but his wife had trouble slimming and was kept home. Germany has mounted an aggressive anti-obesity campaign in workplaces and schools to promote dieting and exercise. Citizens who fail to cooperate are branded as "antisocial" for costing the government billions of euros in medical expenses.
And before we feel too sumg:
Many American cities ban restaurants from selling foods with trans fats. Los Angeles has imposed a moratorium on new fast food restaurants in South L.A. Other California cities ban smoking in some private residences. California has outlawed after-school bake sales as part of a "zero tolerance" ban on selling sugar products on campus. New York Gov. David Paterson has proposed an 18 percent tax on sugary sodas and juice drinks, and state officials have not ruled out additional taxes on cheeseburgers and other foods deemed unhealthy.
The universal health care debate is one of those foundational debates which can, and will, change forever the fabric of the country. In reality, universal healthcare is a painted, glittering whore which will pass along a morally fatal disease after we choose her. In short:
Just as universal healthcare will further fuel the nanny state, the nanny state mind-set helps fuel the drive toward universal healthcare. Individuals aren't regarded as competent to decide how to manage their lives and their health. So the government provides "cradle to grave" coverage of their healthcare.

Nanny state regulations and universal healthcare thus feed a vicious cycle of increasing government control over individuals. Both undermine individual responsibility and habituate citizens to ever-worsening erosions of their individual rights. Both promote dependence on government. Both undermine the virtues of independence and rationality. Both jeopardize the very foundations of a free society.

The American Founding Fathers who fought and died for our freedoms would be appalled to know their descendants were allowing the government to dictate what they could eat and drink. The Founders correctly understood that the proper role of government is to protect individual rights and otherwise leave men free to live – not tell us how many eggs we should eat.
The unfortunate problem, at least as I see it, is that once this passes into law, it is unrecoverable.
Any government that attempts to guarantee healthcare must also control its costs. The inevitable next step will be to seek to control citizens' health and their behavior. Hence, Americans should beware that if we adopt universal healthcare, we also risk creating a "nanny state on steroids" antithetical to core American principles.
And freedom and liberty, as we've always understood them, will be dead.
 
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You talk as if people don’t want to be relieved of all their responsibilities.

Sorry, bud, but there’s fewer and fewer of us left who dig the whole "individualism" thing. Nope, as long as people can watch who gets voted off the island this week, they’re not going to care too much about the laws that impact their lives.

Well, they won’t care right up to the point where they’re denied pain medication because they’re too fat. But by then, their neighbors and fellow collectivists will be too busy watching the latest reality show to be of much help.
 
Written By: Robb Allen
URL: http://blog.robballen.com
Not just what we eat or drink, but how long we should live when we are elderly and severely disabled.
 
Written By: James D
URL: http://
I have a radical proposal with regard to health care. You pay for your own. The State lets you keep more of your paycheck so you have more money for health care. Or, if you can’t afford it, you persuade friends or relatives or kindly strangers to help out. And if you’re concerned about people who can’t afford to pay for their own health care, you start some sort of charity to help them.

I call this radical idea "freedom." I hear at one time, somewhere in the Western Hemisphere, some other radicals thought there should be a country founded on that idea. Too bad people didn’t listen to them.
 
Written By: Bilwick
URL: http://
Excellent article. The only thing that caused me pause was that you begin your list of state-side offenses with "Many American cities ban restaurants from selling foods with trans fats." A tiny bit of research will reveal that trans fats are not "real food," but rather oil that has been chemically altered to increase the shelf life of foods, thereby poisoning the food and contributing to an array of life-threatening and health-compromising problems and diseases. Real foods such as eggs have no business being black-listed; you’re exactly right. Real foods such as cheeseburgers can be easily made without the use of dangerous trans fats. Two websites that I found helpful to my waistline (40 lbs lighter just by eliminating trans fats) and my checkbook (no doctors visits, co-pays, or prescriptions for several years) are: http://bantransfats.com and http://www.westonaprice.org/. Maybe I’m way off base on this, but I find it comforting when companies are not legally allowed to market or sell poison in the name of food.
 
Written By: Say "No" to Trans Fats
URL: http://bantransfats.com
Maybe I’m way off base on this, but I find it comforting when companies are not legally allowed to market or sell poison in the name of food.
With freedom comes choice. And part of that is the choice to do things which are harmful to you. We have the right to be stupid and short-sighted as long as we don’t harm others when we do so. Another part of that right is the responsibility to pay consequences when we make those choices.

Government’s role in the trans-fat debate is, at most, one which provides information pertaining to the consumption of them. Beyond that, it should be our choice, not government’s, as to whether we, in fact, consume them.

With the proper information, that becomes an informed choice - even if we choose to consume the harmful trans-fat. However, in this case, government has decided for us.

That’s the definition of a Nanny state.

I much prefer the informed choice option.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Excellent article. The only thing that caused me pause was that you begin your list of state-side offenses with "Many American cities ban restaurants from selling foods with trans fats." A tiny bit of research will reveal that trans fats are not "real food," but rather oil that has been chemically altered to increase the shelf life of foods, thereby poisoning the food and contributing to an array of life-threatening and health-compromising problems and diseases. Real foods such as eggs have no business being black-listed; you’re exactly right. Real foods such as cheeseburgers can be easily made without the use of dangerous trans fats. Two websites that I found helpful to my waistline (40 lbs lighter just by eliminating trans fats) and my checkbook (no doctors visits, co-pays, or prescriptions for several years) are: http://bantransfats.com and http://www.westonaprice.org/. Maybe I’m way off base on this, but I find it comforting when companies are not legally allowed to market or sell poison in the name of food.
You had the choice not to eat trans fats before they were banned. Choice = freedom. By banning them, government took my freedom to have fast food fries cooked in trans-goodness 3 or 4 times per year. What I do with my own body is a private matter that is no business of yours or the government. It is between me and my cheeseburger provider. Pro Choice.
 
Written By: Is
URL: http://
First they came for the Fatties and I said nothing because I wasn’t a fatty...
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
First they came for the Fatties and I said nothing because I wasn’t a fatty...
That’s not what I’ve heard ...

Happy New Year, Retief.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Government’s role in the trans-fat debate is, at most, one which provides information pertaining to the consumption of them.
you are putting to much responsibility on the government. you know they can’t handle something as complicated as publishing unbiased information about a food, drug, or chemical before it kills, polutes, or sickens.
 
Written By: mac
URL: http://
I agree with McQ (and not because I’m bias). My New Year’s Resolution is to quit smoking, but I’m well informed on the dangers of smoking and have never blindly lit a cigarrette ignorant of the chemicals I’m inhaling. I don’t need the government swooping in to take note of my stupidity and ban me from smoking.

However, I am open to the government banning anything that could cause stress such as work, car payments, rent, kids...

 
Written By: JMcQ
URL: http://
Those who fail to lose sufficient weight could face further "reeducation" and their communities subject to stiff fines.
I hear that Camp FDR, used for the Japanese during WWII, is ready to be used in California for just such a purpose.

Maybe The Clown™ gave offer some of the land he stole in Chicago for "Camp Fuggmeup." Then again, he may need it in 2013 to come home to.

 
Written By: James Marsden
URL: http://
They can have my French fry when they pry it from my cold, greasy, dead hand.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
The "as long as it doesn’t hurt others" has a new PC meaning. Any action that one now takes that causes a public response, i.e. public funds, hurts others. Riding a motorcycle without a helmet can result in serious head injuries and would require emergency service and if one has no or minimum insurance, the public will bear some of the cost of your recovery. Likewise our betters under national health care could withhold treatment for diseases related to obesity if we do not have the self control to keep ourselves slim and trim. Good old big brother knows best, even if you suffer a lost of your freedom of choice.
 
Written By: amr
URL: http://
Remember the gym (24 hr Fitness?) ad showing an alien with the caption: When they come, they will eat the fat ones first. All the lefties whined about hurt feelings, blah, blah. Maybe it’s was really a preview?
 
Written By: TheOldMan
URL: http://
"I have a radical proposal with regard to health care. You pay for your own."

That’s why I have a Health Savings Account.

Republicans should bring the implications this would have for immigration to the front of campaigns in California, New Mexico, Arizona, Florida, and possibly New York. Or at least make it part of a theme outlining how closed and how much less dynamic our society would be. Does that sound crazy?

I also think that Eminent Domain should be a part of the "conversation". With a Columbia Grad in the White House, this may strike some chords in New York.
 
Written By: blackrockmarauder
URL: http://

 
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