Notes From Babel

Socialized Healthcare — Why Now of All Times?

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Proponents of socialized healthcare argue that healthcare is too important to leave to the market. Implicit in this argument is the idea that government can indeed do a better job than the private sector, to which all anyone needs to do is point up and observe how our North American neighbors are doing with their socialized system. But even assuming that government could pull this one out of its hat, do we really not understand that giving the government such a foothold into our private lives will not stop there? With the government footing our doctor bills, do we really doubt that the nanny laws will start hitting the books in full force? [More]
Indeed, it will be incumbent on the government to do so: I don’t want my tax dollars wasted on dentist bills for people who eat too much junk food — so let’s make with the candy regulations. In other words, the government will all of a sudden have a serious interest in passing all sorts of laws that deprive our liberties in unprecedented ways.

But even more fundamentally, what do we mean to say that something is “too important” to be left to the market? Do we really think that, when things need to be done right, they need to be done by bureaucrats? When has that ever been the case? No, what this really comes down to is an irrational, flailing hatred at corporations, at “fat cats.” (Note all the “Main Street vs. Wall Street” rhetoric during the campaigns.)

The state needs to be abated, not sated. Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor said that Christ should have taken the bread from Satan, because people follow leaders who give them what is important. This is, of course, the opposite lesson. There will always be times when we let things become so important that we will say, “make us your slaves, but feed us.” This desperation was at the root of the rise of the Nazi party. And that was probably more defensible than Americans clamoring for healthcare. At this age, and with all of the economic and technological opportunities we have at our disposal, now is the time we choose to abandon our freedom and give the government an open invitation to regulate our lives? Is a relatively affliction-free 71 year average lifespan so sub-par that we have to demand such a radical and dangerous upheaval of our entire constitutional-economic way of life? To invoke Mr. Stossel: Give me a break.

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Written by Tim Kowal

November 10, 2008 at 1:23 am

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