Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Choice is Clear: 'Unconstrained' Capitalism or Unconstrained Socialist Government

If the Trump Republican Party can be said to have a silver lining, it is this: It brought the fundamental issue confronting our nation to the fore of American debate.

In Healthcare as a human right is a bell GOP lawmakers cannot unring, freelancer Christopher Dale concluded his New Jersey Star-Ledger guest column with this.

In America, the preposterous idea that our well-being should be tied to unconstrained capitalism - that healthcare is a product rather than a right - is dead.

I left these comments, slightly edited:

If so, then so is the Declaration of Independence and any chance of a free and moral society.

Rights are moral principles sanctioning every individual’s freedom of self-advancing action, not an automatic claim on material benefits that others must be forced to provide. Healthcare does not just happen in nature. It must be produced by the individual efforts of human beings, and that fact of nature cannot be arbitrarily wished away. For a government to guarantee a right to healthcare beyond what one can acquire through voluntary dealings with others, the government must force others to pay for and/or provide it. To do that, the government must have the power to commandeer the efforts and property of productive citizens: i.e., the government must enslave those citizens.

“Unconstrained capitalism” is an interesting package deal, since capitalism is the only social system that banishes aggressive force from human society by constraining the government to the task of protecting every individual's inalienable rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, which necessarily includes the right to the product of one’s own, not others’, work. Once we accept the notion of a right to healthcare or any other material benefit that others must be forced to provide, we have abandoned the basic principle of capitalism—a society in which each person is free only to deal with others by voluntary, mutual consent. Then we’re left with the basic principle of socialism, the society of masters and slaves, in which material need makes one a master and the ability to satisfy that need makes one a slave—“from each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” with the government as the tool of the masters rather than the institution to secure equal rights.

Capitalism is the logical product of the principles laid out in the Declaration of Independence—the same principles that the 19th Century abolitionist movement, led by Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, based their anti-slavery activism upon. Where capitalism abolished slavery, socialism brought it back. So this is the basic choice—”Unconstrained” capitalism and constrained rights-protecting government, or socialism and unconstrained totalitarian government.

Christopher Dale claims that slavery is now a “core value” of the “American spirit.” If so, America is dead. I refuse to accept that. Healthcare is a product, not an unconstrained “right”. Never mind that the slavery Dale advocates is partial, limited only to healthcare. Slavery is slavery, whether it is partial or total, Confederate or Marxist. If the government can enslave for healthcare, it can enslave for any material benefit. Once you accept the principle of slavery, you have unleashed any predator claiming a right to whatever material benefit they claim to need, and then there’s no way to stop the slide toward total slavery without first identifying and rejecting the principle of slavery. The ultimate choice is clear: Unconstrained capitalism or unconstrained socialist government—that is, A Society of Inalienable Rights or a Society of Masters and Slaves.


Dale’s basic point is that “Despite opposition-hyped controversy, Obamacare has started cementing the concept that sufficient healthcare is a universal right.” Sadly, he’s right—which is why we cannot expect the Trump GOP to give us anything other than ObamaCare without Obama. Dale observes that, when push comes to shove, even the most committed anti-ObamaCare activists will cave:

Self-preservation is a greater motivator than partisanship. As woeful public support for the AHCA shows, even the rabidly anti-government (and even more rabidly anti-Obama) Republican base will embrace the tenets of Obamacare when faced with what could, literally, be life or death. GOP lawmakers are scaring those inclined to vote against so-called big government programs into open revolt.

In America, the preposterous idea that our well-being should be tied to unconstrained capitalism - that healthcare is a product rather than a right - is dead. Barack Obama started digging its grave in 2010. Unwittingly, Republican legislators have taken up shovels to finish the job.

Dale is right, which is why the battle must be fought on the level of philosophical principles. That’s the only way for pro-capitalists to show that socialism has never led to anything other than economic collapse, misery, and death, and why. That’s the only way to capture the moral high ground. The Left has been getting more vocal in preaching healthcare as a human right. Great. That’s just where we radicals for capitalism need to be if we’re ever going to win the battle.

Related Reading:

HHS Secretary Nominee Tom Price Whiffs in Confrontation With Bernie Sanders Over a ‘Right’ to Healthcare

Sanders Pitches ‘Right’ to Healthcare: Cruz Checks Swing

Moral Health Care vs. "Universal Health Care"—Paul Hsieh for The Objective Standard

Textbook of Americanism—Ayn Rand

1 comment:

Mike Kevitt said...

To fight the battle on the level of philosophical principles we have to teach humanity metaphysics, epistemology and ethics, in the sense of reason. That means getting humanity past religion, collectivism and altruism. Then we must teach law and government in the sense of reason. That means, again, getting humanity past religion, collectivism and altruism, this time getting down to the short strokes where humanity begins to see, in reality, what this means it must do. Then humanity must start making the physical, concrete moves, weaning itself off the father, since the beginning of human existence, of all addictions. There will be legions of violent resistors who will always be able to get physical state backing. They won't give up their comfortable corruption without maximal lethal violence when the chips are really down. They'll make the war, and we will have to destroy the war by destroying them and their state sponsors. That's what it comes down to.