incite insight   iconoclastic synchronicity  

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Posted to the Amazon community, "Objectivism," in response to someone else's post that included a set of loaded questions addressed to "Liberals/Democrats" starting with, "What makes you think it's my responsibility to pay for your healthcare?"

Why did I even read this community-- Randians are knee-jerk utopian cultists, for the most part? I guess it's only because a bunch of them seem to be running the banking system and their egotistical stupidity has launched us into a significant financial (and undoubtedly social) crisis.

At the very least, my response is probably a bit vitriolic (flamebait)...


I'm neither a Democrat nor a Republican. But I think there are reasons the government should get involved in healthcare that have nothing to do with "fairness."

From a practical point of view, I don't want to live in a world full of sick people. It's in my best interest not to, and yours too.

I happen to think that the government does have a role in forcing people to do things that are in their best interest, when 1) they are too stupid to figure it out on their own, and 2) if they don't, it adversely affects the population as a whole. Do individuals have a right to be stupid? Only when it doesn't negatively affect others.

Maybe you don't mind living through the next global epidemic in a country without a well developed social healthcare system. Maybe you think Typhoid Mary had a right to her freedom and it was inappropriate for the government to try to contain her. But I suspect if she were to move nextdoor to you and your kids started dying off you might be inclined to rethink your position.

Do I think the Dems have a good design for their system? Absolutely not. I think for one thing, that we should stop subsidising the pharmaceutical companies R&D in the form of patent protection-- as far as patents are concerned, your ideas should be yours and yours alone as long as you keep them to yourself. If someone else figures them out too, then that's too bad, the cat is out of the bag. The argument that the pharmaceutical companies need the welfare of patent protection to make their R&D expenses worthwhile is a bogus one, and even if true, we simply can't afford to subsidise their R&D. Plus, there are plenty of rich people who don't want to die who want new drugs developed, and they will naturally be inclined to contribute to such R&D. Far more I'd say, than those who would naturally be inclined to contribute to a collective healthcare system for the poor, as you yourself seem to illustrate.

You'd also no doubt not want to extend healthcare to illegal immigrants. Or perhaps you would, based on your own self interest as I described above, but feel it is a good argument to "rid" this country of them. But given the number of Libertarian or Free Market businessmen who seem to think they have a right to hire them in order to reduce their costs and offer you cheaper products, and given the fact that I'm not a utopian idealist who thinks we are at all able to keep them out (and I'm not even convinced we should), I think we should make sure that the healthcare system can handle them too.

Am I spending your money? Perhaps. But I'd say that's the cost of doing business, the cost of living in a healthy country, costs that you apparently are to dim to recognize. In my opinion, the alternative would be far worse, sooner or later.