Saturday, March 10, 2012

To Defeat Collectivism, Deny Collectivist Premises

Dr. Paul Hsieh of FIRM has another great editorial in PJ Media, where he is a regular. In this latest piece, Free Market Lessons from Contraception Fight, Hsieh argues that those opposing ObamaCare's controversial contraception mandate should oppose all mandates. Because many critics of the mandate support other aspects of government intervention in healthcare, including other mandates, they lose credibility.

To be effective, Hsieh argues, opponents of the contraception mandate become consistent proponents of free market healthcare. In particular, Hsieh singles out the Catholic Church:

If the Catholic bishops had previously opposed ObamaCare and supported free market health care reforms on principle, they would now have the moral high ground to argue for religious freedom. But having made their earlier deal with the devil to support ObamaCare, they’re now paying the price.

As I also pointed out at The Objective Standard Blog, the Catholic Church actually paved the way for the contraceptive mandate with its long history as a proponent of "social justice." "We must," as Hsieh says, "fight for freedom as a principle."

That leads me to my reply to a correspondent. "Brutus" inquires:

I would be interested however in how the market will achieve the goals of (most) every healthcare system: high patient outcomes, universal coverage, and value for money. Where – in what country – have we seen such a free market healthcare system where these goals are being achieved? What do we do with people who do not purchase insurance? And how do we deal with high risk people or those with pre-existing conditions?

I don’t disagree that the market is generally the solution, but until we are able to answer some of the deficiencies of the market in dealing with the more difficult aspects of healthcare, the Left will continue the drumbeat for the alternative, single payer.

Here is my response:

Brutus: Questions such as “how do we deal with high risk people or those with pre-existing conditions?” is an invalid question because it implies that “we” – i.e. “society,” or the government – have an inherent claim on the lives and wealth of the private citizenry. No such claim exists; morally, logically, or in America, constitutionally. Accepting the collectivist premise that every healthcare problem that anyone may encounter is a national problem, and that “we” may subordinate property rights and freedom to “solving” them, will inexorably defeat freedom fighters, sooner or later.

The “market” does not “achieve goals.” A free market leaves every individual free to pursue his/her own goals in regard to healthcare or any other value. Theory and practice have shown that the natural incentives inherent in a free market – individuals seeking the best quality at the best price from producers competing for their business in a given field – leads to ever-widening availability and affordability of goods and services, healthcare included. In a free market, solutions to problems encountered by some tend to emerge because people are free to solve such problems. If “high patient outcomes … and value for money” is the goal, then leaving people free to pursue them is the only answer.

But there is no guarantee, in markets as in nature, that every individual will solve every problem he encounters. Until we realize that it is not the government’s proper function to enforce “universal coverage” or otherwise alleviate the alleged “deficiencies of the market,” the Left will continue to advance us toward single payer, “with all of its obvious faults.”

Chris Zeh responds:

I’m trying to understand your position on this. Are you essentially saying that looking out for your fellow (disadvantaged) Americans is “not my problem”?

That we shouldn’t try to regulate things like enforcing coverage for pre-existing conditions? Do we refuse medical care to people who can’t pay and just look away while they die in the streets?

Maybe I misunderstand your stance, please help clarify.

My rather direct answer


I’m saying that “looking out for your fellow (disadvantaged) Americans” is a decision that rests only with the voluntary choices of each individual. I’m saying that any individual or group of individual’s who claims the power to make one man’s problem the responsibility of another by government force is a thug and a hypocrite. I’m saying that any individual who claims the right to practice charity at the expense of other peoples tax money and freedom of choice has no right to claim the motive of “looking out for [his] fellow Americans.” I’m saying such behavior is immoral at its core.

From Chris Zeh:

(This is the exact same reason we need something like Social Security, some form of forcing people to save for retirement, because some people left to their own devices will save nothing, then expect society to give them free hand out when they are old. Social Security, while not perfect, helps manage this risk


To elaborate on ChrisS’s point concerning Social Security:

Chris Zeh’s logic behind Social Security – that “some form of forcing people to save for retirement [is needed] because some people left to their own devices will save nothing…” - is the evil that is eating America alive. When you sacrifice the responsible to the irresponsible; the successful to the failure; the wealthy to the poor; the moral to the immoral; the good to the evil; exactly what result do you expect? It is the prescription for poverty and tyranny that ultimately befalls every collectivist society; the placing of the tribe and government outside of the moral law.

Ike nails it: “Governments get their legitimate powers from people and people do not have the right to take money or anything else from other people…” Neither you nor any number of individuals can grant to government that which you yourself do not possess; the right to steal and enslave. America is the first nation to explicitly subordinate society – which means, government – to the same moral law that we as individuals must live by, through the principle of unalienable individual rights. That is the only basis for a civil, humane, and compassionate coexistence among people.

No comments: