In my post of 11/19/08, I recounted my commentary at Opposing Views on the topic of Universal Health Care. A response to one of those commentaries has been posted by Socialistbetty. Her comments are based upon a premise that is diametrically opposed to mine, and exposes once again the fundamental choice America faces…collectivism or individualism.
Following are quotes from her post and my responses. This represents a more comprehensive statement based upon my comments left in reply at Opposing Views.
I’m glad to see Socialistbetty disclose that she is open to reason, so I’ll take her at her word. For the purpose of understanding the essence of this debate, a rather lengthy response is required for clarification.
But first, let me state that I am not “a follower of Ayn Rand”. I ascribe to the comprehensive philosophy of Objectivism, which Rand originated. Philosophy guides one’s actions, whether one knows it or not. I have determined consciously and by my own rational judgement that Objectivism is the set of principles proper to living life as a human being. The most fundamental principle of Objectivism is to think independently, which means to be guided by one’s own rational faculty-and to never accept any idea on faith. An Objectivist is not a follower of Rand or anyone else, in the sense of accepting as truth an idea because she said it. In fact, the term “a follower of Ayn Rand” is a contradiction in terms, as anyone who actually understands her philosophy would know. Any opinion expressed by me is a result of my own rational, independent judgement based upon my own observation of the facts of reality.
Is not the notion that all men are created equal a direct affront to anti-socialists? …there is this lie that has been believed that it is wrong to accept the enslavement of a small group…
No, but distorting the meaning of that glorious phrase is. The equality of all men (and women) refers to the unalienable rights of each individual to his life, liberty, property, and pursuit of his own welfare and happiness. Those rights are possessed equally, at all times, by all people, under all circumstances, protected equally by government; they can be forfeited only by violating the same rights of another. This does not include a guarantee of the material success of any individual, only the right to take the actions that one deems necessary to achieve material success through one’s own productive efforts and in voluntary association and trade with others. The equality of all men under the law is the essence of capitalism.
Since all rights are unalienable and held equally and at all times by everyone, the violation of the rights of one single person necessarily negates the same rights of everyone else, including each and every individual member of any group such as the “collective”, the “herd”, the “masses” and “society”. And if no one possesses rights, then the state is all-powerful. This is the totalitarian premise, the ultimate logical consequence of which is Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany. If this is the ideal Socialistbetty is going to embrace, then she should have the courage to openly admit it, rather than claim the lie that “the masses” can benefit under a slave state.
At least, though, I give her credit for acknowledging that “universal healthcare” is slavery. No other advocate of socialized medicine that I know of has ever admitted the obvious fact that they are calling for “the enslavement of a small group”…the doctors, among others.
How does any nation overcome the tyranny of the ruling class under which the masses suffered?
By adopting laissez-faire capitalism, the only social system based upon the above-mentioned guarantees of the equality of all men. Laissez-faire capitalism means a wall of separation between state and economics, just as with religion. There can be no rulers, exploiters, or enslavers under capitalism, since everyone…including all individual members of the so-called “masses”…possess the same unalienable rights to freedom of action, so long as they respect the same rights of everyone else. The “tyranny of [any] ruling class” is impossible under capitalism because the tool of the rulers-by-brute-force, the rights-violating initiation of physical force, especially government-initiated force, is prohibited by a government-limiting constitution based upon individual rights.
History has also shown us that those who control those supposed "markets" of what is strictly a need are also the ones who can afford to exert such power and the abuse they reek upon the rest of SOCIETY.
History has never produced a completely free, laissez-faire capitalist society. America’s first 125 years or so came the closest…especially the period between the Civil and First World wars…with spectacular results.
Under capitalism, because of the “wall”, no one can control any market, in the sense of coercively preventing competing entrants. Every member of “society”, being equal in rights, is free to enter (and create) any market through his own productive work. The creation of valuable goods and services does not constitute “power and…abuse” by the producer, but an expansion of a nation’s wealth that all can potentially benefit from. The supposed “control” to which Socialistbetty refers is only possible through the acquisition of political power by economic interests, which occurs in the kind of mixed economy such as we have now, not a capitalist one. Coercive market control is a logical impossibility under capitalism.
It is reasonable to assume that health care is a need and a right.
A right is a natural, moral requirement of human nature and survival. There is no right to the product of another person’s work, whether one calls it a want or a need, aside from what one can obtain through the voluntary means of production, trade or private charity. For a comprehensive explanation as to why there can never be a "right" to any man-made product such as healthcare, see Leonard Peikoff's essay.
Capitalism is fine for the things that we want, but do not need. It is what promotes the middle class and tears to pieces Marx's theory.
Whether one calls them “wants” or “needs”, all wealth is produced through a process of individual thought applied to productive work. The same natural laws of economics apply to both. A free market in medicine would achieve the same results as has occurred in the (relatively) free “wants” markets.
There is, however, a sinister element to this line of thought. If someone chooses to produce something for the “wants” market, such as a new video game or nail salon, they should be left free. But if that same person produces a medicine, or becomes a surgeon or family doctor, then his rights are to be trampled and his profession turned over to the control of government bureaucrats. To punish a person for producing a higher value (a need), because he produces a higher value, is pure evil and is the essential nature of altruism (which should not be confused with voluntarily extending a helping hand to a person one values as an act of good will and generosity, in a way that one can afford.)
But history has shown us what occurs when what humans need is held up for sale to the highest bidder and those who can afford it.
Human need is a fact of nature, just as every living species has needs that it must fulfill in order to survive. Human needs cannot be “held up for sale” by anyone. Only the products and services produced to meet those needs and offered in the market through free and uncoerced trade to mutual advantage can be “held up for sale”. What collectivists and altruists object to is having to pay for the necessities of life by offering a value which one has produced, in exchange for the values produced by others. What they object to is free and voluntary trade. What they object to is justice.
The elevation of “need” into a license to loot and enslave anyone who produces the means to satisfy those needs is the essence of altruism and has been the bane of mankind. Only capitalism protects the rights of all to produce and trade, free from human exploitation and predation. It is only capitalistic freedom that can lead to widespread prosperity, as history has clearly shown us, because it protects everyone, including the most productive.
We have survived as a species by working collectively.
All knowledge is discovered by the work of the minds of individuals choosing to think. All knowledge is spread by the individual efforts of anyone willing to acquire that knowledge. There is no such thing as a “collective” effort. There is no such thing as a collective. The human species is not an ant colony. All team efforts such as erecting a building is not a ‘collective” effort, but a series of individual efforts bound together by voluntary cooperation and a common goal. As a construction tradesman, I can tell you that it is the individually acquired knowledge, skills and work of each member of the team…from the architect to the tradesmen to the construction supervisors to the inventors and producers of the tools and materials…that makes that building possible. Each person involved is working to further his own self-interest by his own efforts, with no one being sacrificed to any other. The same is true concerning the building of an advanced industrial society. The subordination of the individual mind to some collective effort reverses cause and effect, and destroys the source of knowledge, ideas and, thus, human achievement.
We have survived as a species in spite of all forms of “working collectively”.
The medical profession is not a collective “small group [that] holds power over the needs of the masses”, but instead exists because of the voluntary choice of individual people to acquire the knowledge and training required to becoming a doctor, drug developer, or other medical professional. In a free market, they are legally forbidden to use force against anyone, and no one may legally use force against them. These are the most valuable people in the current debate, and anyone concerned with his health has a vested self-interest in protecting their rights, based upon the principle that “all men are created equal”. Any effort to hamper, shackle, enslave, or destroy these medical professionals who possess the capacity to satisfy one’s needs is illogical, immoral, and suicidal.
…it is the small group who holds the power who holds the masses enslaved to their own desires.
This statement is a rebellion against nature and reality. Every person faces a basic choice…to work or to starve. Those who call this basic fact “enslavement” are evading the facts of life (as well as making a psychological confession). Those who seek to enslave the “the small group” in the healthcare field for the great virtue of making their knowledge and talents available to all through trade in the market, in order to escape the personal responsibility of earning one’s keep which nature itself imposes on all of us, cannot claim “reason and observation” (or concern for anyone’s well being) as the basis of one’s thinking.
It is reasonable to assume that it is affordable, and well within our collective means.
There is no “collective means” except in the mind of a thief or power-luster who claims the right to dispose of the earnings and lives of other people.
Socialistbetty’s reply to my commentary exposes the fundamental philosophical choice America faces…collectivism or individualism.
The abandonment of the tenet that “all men are created equal” embodied in the doctrine of unalienable individual rights is what makes any collectivist goal unaffordable, because it destroys the very social conditions that make production and trade possible. The view of man the individual (my view) as the standard of value is an historically recent discovery that is consistent with the metaphysical facts of nature and, thus, leads logically to capitalistic freedom. The collectivist premise (her view) is a primitive, mystical doctrine that dismisses actual, individual human beings as valueless, sacrificial fodder for the “needs” of some "higher power". Modern collectivism merely replaces a supernatural God as that power with some group called the “proletariat”, “society”, “the masses”, the “master race”, etc., to which the individual is subordinate, and which leads logically to totalitarianism.
Reason and observation will show you why it's a good idea to have a healthy society of free individuals, not a collectivized slave state.