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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cross the river, burn the bridge

The great Mark Steyn, on "health" "care" "reform": Cross the river, burn the bridge

Gentle Reader will wish to read this.

Edit --

Here's a good essay from Reason Magazine (even libertarians can have moments of sanity, especially when money is involved): There Ain’t No Such Thing As a Free Lumpectomy

This week Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared that his chamber’s health care bill “demands for the first time in American history that good health will not depend on great wealth.” Reid said the legislation “acknowledges, finally, that health care is a fundamental right—a human right—and not just a privilege for the most fortunate.”

Since more than four-fifths of Americans already have medical insurance, and even those without “great wealth” have been known to enjoy “good health,” Reid was laying it on a little thick. But his premise, which is shared by President Obama, explains the moral urgency felt by supporters of the health care overhaul that is making its way through Congress. It also reveals a radical assault on the traditional American understanding of rights.

The Framers believed the Constitution recognized pre-existing rights, protecting them from violation by the government. The common law likewise developed as a way of protecting people from wrongful interference by their neighbors. If people have rights simply by virtue of being human, those rights can be violated (by theft or murder, for example) even in the absence of government.

By contrast, notwithstanding Reid’s claim that government-subsidized health care is a fundamental human right, it does not make much sense to say that it exists in a country too poor to afford such subsidies or at a time before modern medicine, let alone in the state of nature. Did Paleolithic hunter-gatherers have a right to the “affordable, comprehensive and high-quality medical care” that the Congressional Progressive Caucus says is a right of “every person”? If so, who was violating that right?

During his second presidential debate with Republican nominee John McCain, Obama said health care “should be a right for every American.” Why? “There's something fundamentally wrong,” he said, “in a country as wealthy as ours, for us to have people who are going bankrupt because they can't pay their medical bills.”

According to the president, people have a right to health care because it is wrong to charge them for medical services they can’t afford. Which is another way of saying they have a right to health care.

That is, if you or I have a "right" to health care, then we have the "right" to force someone else to give it to us ... and any government which aspires to be considered moral has the "right" and and the duty to use force and violence to ensure that our "rights" are met. For, after all, is not the purpose of a morally grounded government to protect and enforce the rights of the human beings which are subject to it? Or, failing the protection and enforcement of those rights, to exact vengence upon the violators?

While liberty rights such as freedom of speech or freedom of contract require others to refrain from acting in certain ways, “welfare rights” such as the purported entitlement to health care (or to food, clothing, or shelter) require others to perform certain actions. They represent a legally enforceable claim on other people’s resources. Taxpayers must cover the cost of subsidies; insurers and medical professionals must provide their services on terms dictated by the government.

A right to health care thus requires the government to infringe on people’s liberty rights by commandeering their talents, labor, and earnings. And since new subsidies will only exacerbate the disconnect between payment and consumption that drives health care inflation, such interference is bound to increase as the government struggles to control ever-escalating spending. Rising costs will also encourage the government to repeatedly redefine the right to health care, deciding exactly which treatments it includes.

If The People are willing to swallow the lie that there exists a "right" to health care, then we all become slaves to The State ... which, after all, has all along been the "liberal" project.

If you will not see the truth that it is your very Liberty, and that of your children forever, being demanded of you by the damned "liberals," then see the problem in "selfish" terms -- it there exists a "right" to health care, irrespective of the wealth of either the individual or the nation, then all those poor people in Third World hell-holes (who are, after all, so poor and in such hell-holes because of their "liberal" governments) have the right to use governmental force and violence, unto death, to take what you have for themselves.

If health care is a fundamental right, equality under the law would seem to require that everyone have the same level of care, regardless of their resources. That principle was illustrated by the case of Debbie Hirst, a British woman with metastasized breast cancer who in 2007 was denied access to a commonly used drug on the grounds that it was too expensive.

When Hirst decided to raise money to pay for the drug on her own, she was told that doing so would make her ineligible for further treatment by the National Health Service. According to The New York Times, “Officials said that allowing Mrs. Hirst and others like her to pay for extra drugs to supplement government care would violate the philosophy of the health service by giving richer patients an unfair advantage over poorer ones.” The right to health care is so important, it seems, that it can nullify itself.

The "liberals" don't give a damn about improving your life; they simply want power over you.


kh123 said...

"That is, if you or I have a "right" to health care, then we have the "right" to force someone else to give it to us ... and any government which aspires to be considered moral has the "right" and and the duty to use force and violence to ensure that our "rights" are met. For, after all, is not the purpose of a morally grounded government to protect and enforce the rights of the human beings which are subject to it? Or, failing the protection and enforcement of those rights, to exact vengence upon the violators?"

Hits the nail on the head. There's no form of government to uphold the progressive utopia other than enforced morality, via legislation, obscurantism, and (ironically enough) the gun. All the fixins for another fascist outing to the beach.

This is a very unusual time, where the actual birth of a dictatorial (I hate to use German, but) Zeitgeist is so well documented within a country, via the sentiments of the cultural tide, the press/media, and the Unis, all of it being recorded for international posterity. I don't think there's ever been a precedent like this - where a fairly universal language and an almost instantaneous form of information transfer have shown the world the fundamental transformation (soft revolution) of an Empire, from the inside out.

Hopefully this will be checked in its tracks. But in case it doesn't - record these times, friend.

Wakefield Tolbert said...

I too hope this will be checked in the tracks, but the sordid history of government...well...anything, indicates this is generally not the case. This is not to say we shouldn't fight the Euro-Canadian-Socialist glop.

There are matters of principle here.

It's better to go down in flaming wreckage than have on the conscience that a large part of us just stood by while, as Steyn pointed out in the above article, this "government option" health care (being more about government than heath care per se) goes on to foster dependency. That is the worst part. The cost, yes. The damnable cost of trillions for lackluster service. Yes, a grave concern that our grandchildren will pay for even if the CBO says this is all "deficit neutral", blah blah.

Of course, the Magic Money Tree will handle that, we guess.

And yes, it is true though not commonly acknowledge, that the whole design here about "competition" in the "marketplace" (since when did these marxian warlords turn libertarian money-bag capitalists???) is crap.

It is about taxing the premium, "Cadillac" benefits (almost all the half-baked ones that actually pay) at rates up to 40% and forcing small and large business accountants to cut costs and sucked into this nasty maw/vortex. It will ALL be the "public option" at some point a few years down the road.

It is therefore about control, and what better way to force people into compliance than "health" issues and forced rationing?

I agree with Steyn that just as with Medicare, Medicaid, SS benefits, and an alphabet soup host of other government agencies and outfits and shakedown, this kind of thing NEVER goes away. It is like plutonium. It may as well be eternal.

Thus the phrase for the urgency here Steyn uses about crossing that bridge in haste and then burning the rickity bamboo things. Nontheless the scaffolding for adding on more glop to the bill later is set up.

But beyond this government control over very private fundamental issues in our lives that freeborn adults should field but are now outsourced to the Nanny State. This dependency turns us into Europe. Whiny, albeit wrinkly, teenagers with their hands out and no other concerns BUT this issue to make sure the bills get paid on time. And that will be the limit of horizons for most of us next.

Once government gets into the business of healthcare, that's about all it does, and as with most large domestic concerns this will trump, as it does in Europe, foreign policy issues and things like terror and EU-styled decisions. I give you the European Union's unelected body of vetoes over the power of the citizenry.

Do we really want that? I think not.