Monday, August 18, 2014

Do the Means Justify Medicaid Ends?

A letter titled Affordable Care Act is good for the country appeared in the New Jersey Star-Ledger on March 21, 2014. The letter writer, Christopher, explains that he was born with severe disabilities, but that his family was unable to afford the necessary treatments. But, thanks to the "help" of Medicaid, the federal healthcare program for the poor, Christopher is now an 11-year veteran employee of Starbucks with plans to marry in 2015. Medicaid, writes Christopher, "enabled me to become the man I am today."

He concludes:

    I am appalled by the way the Republican Party has repeatedly tried to deny and obstruct the Affordable Care Act, which would benefit all people regardless of mental and physical limitations, especially those with financial hardships.
    I am a testament to and living proof that this piece of legislation benefits not just the individual but the country as a whole.

I left these comments:

"The ends justify the means" is one of the most horrific moral precepts ever devised by man. It excuses any injustice or aggression, so long as the end to be achieved is deemed to be good.

This is the premise behind Christopher Gagliardi's letter. Where does the money that funds Medicaid, ACA subsidies, and the like come from, and by what means? It comes out of the pockets of taxpayers who earned it, by means of legalized force—i.e., it is stolen at gunpoint.

I sympathize with Gagliardi's health plight. I also admire his courage and determination in dealing with and overcoming his handicap to build a productive life for himself. And I don't necessarily fault Gagliardi for taking advantage of Medicaid, since his family's taxes undoubtedly contributed to it. 

But calling Medicaid benefits "help" is dishonest. Their are certainly people worthy of consideration for voluntary charity from his fellow man (simply being "poor" is not one of them). But the term "help" implies voluntary good will, not force. This fact must not be evaded: Government "charity" programs start with legalized theft, and that makes them fundamentally immoral. 

Notice that advocates of government programs always rationalize them with undefinable collectivist catchphrases, like "the good of the country as a whole," as if the "whole" exists independently of the individuals that make it up. There is a reason for this. When you focus on reality and facts, you find theft (and power-lust) at the root of government programs. There is no "whole" in this context. There are individual people being victimized by government aggression—being denied the liberty to decide who, when, and in what capacity to help others—and there are beneficiaries that profit from that aggression. Nobody has ever attempted to justify theft as regards actual human beings—nor can it be justified, whether or not carried out under cover of law—hence the vague collectivist catchphrase, "the good of the country as a whole."

There is more wrong with Medicaid, the ACA, and like programs than the theft; such as that they feed the growth of government power over our lives. But the bottom line is, the ends don't justify the means, until and unless the means are first justified. In regard to Medicaid and ObamaCare, the means can not be justified, so neither can these programs, no matter who benefits from them.

Related Reading:

The “Personal Account” Path to Ending Social Security

No One is "Supposed" to Shoulder Unchosen Obligations

What if Someone Can't Afford Healthcare In a Free Market?

1 comment:

Mike Kevitt said...

To counter your argument that there's no whole in this context, collectivists will say the only reason there's no whole is some will always choose to insist on their rights and on their exercise of them. If there weren't such people, or if they'd just clamb up and give in, there'd be a whole. They have no business insisting on their rights. Ignore them. Pick their pockets.

But even if there were no such people, or if there were, but they just clambed up, this collectivist claim would still be false, in principle. Such a person could come along at any time, or anybody could change his mind at any time as per his right, busting up the whole.

The collectivist must initiate force in principle and in fact, justifying it by vague slogans or by claiming that there are no rights.