Thursday, March 12, 2009

Socialize Not That, But This?

I am rather surprised. A good measure to require that wounded veterans pursue private insurance is being met with lots of criticism.

To be clear, the reason why this is a good measure* is because veterans, regardless of which conflict they served in or their soldier status, do not have a right to use the money of tax payers (money which is taken without the tax payer's voluntary consent) to pay their healthcare expenses. The majority of them have voluntarily chosen to serve and have thereby consented to all the risks and consequences imposed on them. As for the Vietnam veterans that did not serve voluntarily, the proper course of action would be to criminally charge the politicians that have gone so far as to violate their right to life, not guarantee compensation at the taxpayers' expense.

Whether or not the veterans can afford private insurance is an invalid consideration as well. It is all a matter of the fact that people are simply not entitled to other people's money unless on voluntary trading terms. If it is the case that many veterans cannot afford private insurance, we not need worry much; given the criticism we can see there is lots of support for those that have served, so if the government insurance is canceled then people may use their freed dollars to help run a charity to support them, which is the appropriate course of action. To force those dollars out of hands will not benefit us any; as I have said before, stealing is not healthy for anyone.

We can perceive here an inconsistency in principles. Given the state of our culture, if presented with a proposal to blatantly nationalize the entire economy, the overwhelming majority of people would oppose it and reject such a measure. Obama, or any politician for that matter, cannot go up to the podium and say "I am going to socialize healthcare" or "I am going to nationalize all businesses", instead they have to sneak it in little by little and under new terminology so that people do not see where they are heading or deny that they are heading in that direction at all. What we hear instead is that Obama is going to "give everyone healthcare" and that the businesses merely need government "supervision."

Americans would reject socialism outright if presented to them in total overnight, but they are willing to tolerate it here and there. Case in point: veteran government-funded health insurance. Americans would reject socialized medicine, but it is okay, they say, to have guaranteed insurance for veterans. And children. And the elderly. And so on.

The point is that whether it is in part or total, socialism is bad in all amounts, and even small amounts may later lead to the all-subsuming version. If socialized medicine is bad for everyone, then certainly it is bad for individuals. To explain in this context, veterans' health insurance funded by the government is bad because it destroys wealth and violates rights. The wealth is destroyed in two ways:

  1. Transfer: In the time that it takes for the government to take funds from one person and transfer them to another person is time in which wealth is destroyed because what could have been created has now not been allowed to come into existence. As the old saying goes, "time is money."
  2. Capital: The person that has been taxed now has less capital to invest. What wealth he can create is now limited because he has fewer resources to work with.
With the wealth destroyed, the result is a poorer living standard for everyone, and that means a poorer quality of health care for the veterans, along with higher prices. One may not actually see health care quality or the standard of living actually decrease, but remember that it is what could have been that is lost. What capital that could have been used to fund medical innovations, resources, and researches for cures has instead gone to the taxman, and what could have benefited the veterans has not been allowed to come into existence, or will at least be delayed into being realized at a later date.

We must choose our principles as absolutes and exercise them in total. Those that we would find to be harmful to practice in total will certainly be harmful in part as well and must be rejected in total.

*One, of course, may be quick to point out that Obama is not well-meaning with this measure, that he intends this as merely a way to reduce his own budget expenses, but that is beside the point.

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