Saturday, May 29, 2010

When the Means destroys the Ends

In studying the history of how we have paid for health care in the United States, I am struck by two significant aspects of the growth of government involvement:

1) the laudable goal of providing quality medical care for everyone

2) the growing acceptance of the use of government force to achieve that goal

In our compassionate desire to help the less fortunate, we have progressively abandoned private, voluntary charitable action in exchange for the expansion of the welfare state through coercive wealth redistribution.

But employing an immoral means (the initiation of force) to achieve an end completely nullifies any potential benefits, no matter what the intention.

Attempting to provide medical care for others through force instead of through voluntary means destroys the very beneficence which is claimed as its justification.

The presence of consent or coercion defines the moral status of all human intercourse.

Without consent, "making love" becomes rape, and "caring for others" entails enslavement.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually, provision of health care for all is more of a gray area than you indicate. Friedrich Hayek believed that one of the ligitimate functions of government was to provide the physical, philosophical and legal infrastucture necessary for free competition to occur. In "the Road to Serfdom," if I recall correctly, he alluded to universal healthcare as part of that function, in that is provides a healthy workforce, which is a necessary ingredient for free market capitalism.

My problem with the current healthcare reform is the question of how we are going to provide stae of the art healthcare for all. Additionally, I question the basis for anti-trust exemptions for insurance companies. Personally, I think a good practical solution would be to have a two-tiered system, as I'm told Spain has. Those of means (money or insurance) would have access to current state of the art medicine and pharmacy. Those without means could avail themselves of care provided "free" or on a basis of ability to pay. This care would be state of the art circa 1980, which was damn good care and probably exceeds the current standards in most of the world.