Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My Activism-The Health Care Debate

I have signed up to participate as a commenter at Opposing Views, a website dedicated to reasoned debate on the issues of the day. The comments below are related to the debate question, "Should the U.S. Have Universal Healthcare?”

The verified expert answering no is FIRM (Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine). I have chosen to take to task two supporters of universal health care…one a verified expert and the second a commenter.

The National Physicians’ Alliance, an Opposing Views verified expert declares that "It is the moral thing to do”.

Here is my response:

Moral, On What Basis?

"Morality ends where a gun begins"- Ayn Rand

On what basis does one call government-run "universal health care" "the moral thing to do"?

It is only the morality of altruism...the creed that holds individual human sacrifice for a "higher" purpose as the standard of the good...that can sanction any proposal to force others to act against his own will, judgement, and self-interest. But altruism is really an anti-morality, which offers a person no moral guidance on how to achieve the values required for his survival and happiness, but rather simply declares that he is moral only to the extent that he gives up his values for the sake of others...any others.

That is why altruism is always the justification for all forms of tyranny, including government-imposed "universal health care", which is merely a health care dictatorship in disguise. A consumer's right to decide for himself whether and what type of health insurance to purchase; An insurance company's right to determine what insurance products it will offer, based upon its own market judgement; A doctor's right to choose his patients, the treatments to pursue, and the price he will charge; The rights of consumers, insurance companies, and doctors to negotiate and contract voluntarily with each other to mutual advantage; The rights of all people to decide whether, when, what type, and what level of voluntary charitable giving to offer others...these are all merely selfish concerns, according to altruist principles, of no consequence next to a government takeover of a major industry.

It's quite all right for the government to trample and sacrifice the rights of people acting in their own self-interest. It's quite all right to sacrifice the earnings, the healthcare decision-making, the careers, the goals, the personal judgements, and the business decisions of private citizens. It's quite all right to hand enormous coercive dictatorial power over other peoples' lives to "altruistic" central planning bureaucrats. It is quite all right to bestow unearned benefits obtained forcibly from the sacrificial victims of an altruistic state on those who did not earn them, but for whom it is apparently o.k. to selfishly accept their stolen property.

Well, the game is nearing an end. Tyrants, "social justice" totalitarians, humanitarians with a "good cause" in one hand and the lever of a guillotine in the other, and all manner of politically-connected do-gooders have been riding the altruistic gravy train long enough.

All of the "should be" goals listed by the National Physicians' Alliance are desirable when taken out of context. But a government that attempts to achieve those ends can only do so through the power to loot and enslave, which ultimately leads to the opposite results. It is an immoral government. So now let it be said. No one who would use initiative physical force, including "democratic" or "legislative" force, against his fellow citizens to achieve his ends…no matter how worthwhile…can wave the banner of morality. That banner belongs only to people who renounce the initiation of physical force, and turn instead to respecting and protecting individual rights...everyone's rights equally and at all times.

And that means, in the field of medicine, pursuing the moral goal of phasing out the current crumbling government-hampered system, and establishing a completely free market.

Now that would be the moral thing to do.

- Mike Zemack November 16, 2008 4:59PM

This commenter, alisaterry, starts off quoting statistics concerning infant mortality rates in countries with socialized medicine, then goes on to touch upon other thoughts.

Here is my response:

Setting the Record Straight

There are some facts about those infant mortality statistics that perhaps you should consider...namely, the criteria used to compile them. For example, Dr. Linda Halderman shed some important light on this. /

In this article, Dr. Halderman documents the myriad differences from country to country in the methodology.

Adjusted for these differences, infant mortality rates in the U.S. are no worse than other countries, despite the large number of illegal immigrants living here, as well as a less healthy lifestyle. Of course, mere statistics never justify the violation of anyone’s rights. As for the level of neo-natal care in America, I can attest to its high quality. My granddaughter was born at 25 weeks and 1.4 pounds, and is now a healthy, thriving 5 year old.

Cuba? Cuba is a dictatorship. That means the flow of all information is strictly controlled by the government, and there is no free, investigative press or freedom-of-information laws. But just the fact that you use a dictatorship to support your call for socialized medicine is quite telling.

When did " a society" decide on government-run schooling? It evolved from a flaw at our founding…the failure of the Founders to protect freedom of education from political intrusion, in the way that religious freedom was protected behind the “wall of separation” between church and state. I fully and passionately believe that a proper education for every child is one of a parent’s most solemn responsibilities. But I oppose government-run schools, for the same reason as I oppose government-run healthcare. It is immoral, impractical, and a violation of individual rights. But I guess, as an independent thinking human being, I don’t qualify as a part of this “society” that you claim makes these decisions. What’s interesting here is that you would actually use the example of public education to justify socialized medicine. Public education is beset by exploding costs, and deteriorating quality...just what one would expect from a coercive political monopoly. American medicine is heading down the same path, due to massive government interference and controls. A complete healthcare dictatorship, rather than a return to freedom in medicine, is the wrong solution for anyone who values quality, readily available health care.

An "American caste system" is exactly what would result from putting the state in charge of all economic decision-making…which is apparently what you want to do. In a free market...which we now have only in bits and pieces…everyone is free to act on his own judgement, and to advance as far as his ability and ambition will carry him. If one wishes to increase his pay, he is free to increase his skills, work longer hours, seek another job, or create his own job by starting a business. What he is not allowed to do, in a free, rights-respecting society, is force job-creating businesses to pay him more than they are willing to pay through government-imposed minimum wage laws. If you don't like the fact that a particular company hires people you don’t approve of (moving jobs across seas), you are free to protest by refusing to buy their products. If you don’t like a company's "benefit" policy, then again, you are free to move on. You see, when you are free, you control your life...which means you are not at anyone’s mercy. That is what the "free" in free market means. When government regiments the economic life of a nation…when we are at the mercy of government officials...then actual individuals are locked into a cast, having become dependant on government favor.

But I agree with you that " 'Entitlements' aren't just lazy people trying to rip you off." They are also big businesses seeking government subsidies, bailouts, and other favors. They are middle and upper middle class earners seeking "affordable" this or that, and then demanding that government force someone else to provide it. They are workers seeking "living wages" that they are not qualified for or that no one is willing to voluntarily pay them. They are residents of wealthy towns seeking to keep out lower-income "undesirables" in order to preserve the "quality" of "their" communities through restrictive zoning and planning practices. And, yes, they are also "just lazy people trying to rip you off." They come in all shades, classes, and regions.

And the entitlement mentality engulfing this country is made possible by one single common denominator…the government’s power to hand out economic favors to some at the expense of others. A universal healthcare entitlement is a lose-lose proposition. You hand over your money to a central planning bureaucracy, and in return you give up the right to make your own health care decisions.

- Mike Zemack November 16, 2008 4:09PM

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