Notes From Babel

Change Isn’t the Solution to Our Problems—Change Is the Problem

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Something occurred to me reading E.D. Kain’s latest post on why he likes the health care bill that looks poised to pass the Senate. That is, the never ending urge to meddle with things.  Meddling is fine when you’re an inventor or an entrepreneur or some other member of productive society.  But when it comes to bloggers and pundits and politicians who don’t have a productive bone in their body, the prospect is much more frightening.

As E.D. points out, the proposed package will be good because “it answers the question about coverage,” and this is important because “the [reason] that drives my own thinking on this issue the most, is that more people who need healthcare will have it.”  Now, this is just plain “to each according to his need” type thinking.  Well and good.  But it’s got no roots in the American constitutional framework.  Politics is dangerously similar to religion.  We demand rational bases for most things, but we often forget to ask—a rational basis for what? Liberty is a good one, and, not coincidentally, is also anchored in our Declaration and in just about every piece of political philosophy that influenced our founding documents.  So is a hard-nosed protection of individual rights and property. But a right to have things at a cost I want to pay?  No sir. Didn’t see that in my last jog through Locke.

I get it.  Lots of hip young power bloggers out there now feel just so strongly about health care.  But so what?  Liberty and property and a sound philosophy of rights were felt strongly by our founders.  They read and wrote scads about these ideas to justify them through the light of reason and natural law, enshrined them in our founding documents, and then established them in blood.

Tossing up some op-eds on WaPo somehow lacks the same effect.

The “hope change” jargon is not just a bunch of throw-away slogans.  The sad fact is, lots of contemporary Americans, particularly the younger ones, are more concerned about the mere fact of changing things than anything else.  There will always be imperfections in any social-political arrangement.  For those of us who lack a deep appreciation of principles rooted in history and philosophy and the study of human nature, the desire to start monkeying around in changing the content of these established terms like “rights” will be too much to resist.  [As Richard Weaver put it:

A conviction that those who perform the prayer of labor may store up a compensation which cannot be appropriated by the improvident is the soundest incentive to virtuous industry.  Where the opposite conviction prevails, where popular majorities may, on a plea of present need, override these rights earned by past effort, the tendency is for all persons to become politicians.  In other words, they come to feel that manipulation is a greater source of reward than is production.  This is the essence of corruption.]

As recently pointed out in the WSJ:

So why the stubborn insistence on passing health reform? Think big. The liberal wing of the party—the Barney Franks, the David Obeys—are focused beyond November 2010, to the long-term political prize. They want a health-care program that inevitably leads to a value-added tax and a permanent welfare state. Big government then becomes fact, and another Ronald Reagan becomes impossible. See Continental Europe.

Government is a one-way ratchet.  Once big government health care gets started, there will be no stopping until it finally completes the loop and pulls in all sorts of unexpected facets of our lives into the giant sucking whirlwind of subsequent regulation and legislation.  [And, in fact, the Senate bill locks it in even further with a super-majority requirement to change regulations imposed on doctors and patients by the Independent Medicare Advisory Boards.]

Besides, has it gone unnoticed that the irrepressible urge to monkey around with politics is what we have states for?


Written by Tim Kowal

December 23, 2009 at 11:19 pm

Posted in Health Care

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