Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Government Shutdown Standoff: What's Missing From the GOP Strategy?

I believe the Republicans' stand in the government shutdown fight is courageous but politically hollow. The problem is that they haven't established the groundwork for a successful confrontation with the Democrats.

The reason: They haven't put forth a comprehensive, morally supportable alternative to ObamaCare. The result: They leave themselves vulnerable—with justification—to charges such as this from the New Jersey Star-Ledger:

We've heard [Republicans] criticize the details of this law, with a vague promise to “replace” it. But they haven’t said with what. And don’t expect an answer to that. Because, truth is, they have no plans of their own for universal health insurance coverage. No other proposal that would cover a similar number of people, at lower cost and with fewer glitches.Why not just admit that? Because then they might have to acknowledge, publicly, the core reason behind their opposition to this law, also known as “Obamacare” — that they've just come to view basic medical care as a privilege, and not a right. Something intended for the fortunate among the sick, not every single American.

I left these comments:

". . . they have no plans of their own for universal health insurance coverage. . .because . . . they've just come to view basic medical care as a privilege, and not a rightSomething intended for the fortunate among the sick, not every single American."

The subverting of concepts in order to justify total government control is a classic tactic of state supremacists, as George Orwell dramatized in "1984".  

Here, the editors are saying there is no alternative to some form of socialized medicine. How? By morally inverting "
privilege" and "rights". They're saying if you earned your healthcare—paid for it with your own money in voluntary contract with providers—it is a PRIVILEGE. If you didn't earn it, it is a RIGHT. "Freedom is Slavery." If healthcare is a right, then someone must be forced to provide it, meaning those who must provide and/or pay for it are slaves. To say there is a right to healthcare is to say there is a right to enslave. If you accept this moral premise—the inverting of the concept "right"—then freedom is indeed slavery, and there is indeed no alternative to universal enslavement under socialized medicine.

"Universal health insurance coverage" advocates are counting on people unwittingly accepting the idea that the healthcare needs of some justify the enslavement of others. All government intrusions into healthcare depend on the slave premise. And the slave premise depends on the inverting of the concepts "privilege" and "right."

I agree that the Republicans have not provided an alternative. In order to introduce a real alternative to ObamaCare—a free market in healthcare, the only moral alternative—Republicans must challenge the slave premise, and correctly identify the relevant concepts.

A right is a moral concept; a legal sanction of your freedom of action, not a claim to material benefits that others must be forced to provide.  Only to the extent that you acquire your healthcare by voluntary means (including private charity) do you have an actual right to your healthcare. If the government forces others to provide you with healthcare, you are the privileged one—courtesy of slave labor. Only a free market is based on rights; "free" meaning the absence of physical coercion in human relationships, including coercion by people in their capacity as government officials. Freedom is not a "right" to escape from the responsibility of meeting your own needs by means of enslaving others—with the government as your hired slave overseer. Freedom means liberation from slavery, and freedom's only implementation is individual rights. 

RIGHTS are only possible in a free market. PRIVILEGE is the corollary of totalitarian socialism. Why must the statists fraudulently invert the two concepts? It is an attempt to cloak socialized medicine in a moral legitimacy is does not have.

It's clear what's needed from the Republicans. It's also clear why they shrink from challenging the moral premise behind laws like ObamaCare: They dare not challenge the altruist moral code. Without the readiness to challenge the altruist idea that healthcare is a right, the GOP cannot summon up the moral muscle to offer a convincing free market alternative to both ObamaCare or a return to the pre-ObamaCare mixed status quo.

There may be hope, though. As the Star-Ledger points out, the George W. Bush Republicans argued "about the best way to do universal coverage; not whether or not we should." Now, laments the Ledger, "this is no longer the Republican Party your parents knew. Even its radicals have become more extreme."

A more radical and extreme Republican Party is just what the Left fears, of course. And, of course, the critical question is: What would "A more radical and extreme Republican Party" be more radical and extreme about?

If only the Republicans and the Right were as extreme in defense of liberty and free market healthcare as the Democrats and their Leftist base are in defense of slavery and socialized medicine. The Right owns the moral high ground. Too bad most of them don't seem to know it yet. Then again, this budget battle may signal the first fledgling rumblings of a newly emerging—and more principled—GOP leadership. Considering that Senator Ted Cruz quoted from "Atlas Shrugged" in his recent filibuster, you never know.

Related Reading:

Review: American Individualism: How a New Generation of Republicans Can Save the Republican Party, by Margaret Hoover

Rights vs. Privileges

Extremists vs. the Moderates: Why the Left Keeps Winning and the Right Has Been Powerless to Stop It

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