The Objective Eye

"Every movement that seeks to enslave a country, every dictatorship or potential dictatorship, needs some minority group as a scapegoat which it can blame for the nation's troubles and use as a justification of its own demand for dictatorial powers. In Soviet Russia, the scapegoat was the bourgeoisie; in Nazi Germany, it was the Jewish people; in America, it is the businessmen."
- Ayn Rand, "America's Persecuted Minority: Big Business" (1961)

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Location: Los Angeles, United States

Monday, September 17, 2007

Achtung! You Vill Haff Health Insurance! Or Else! Obey!

Now Playing: "Ibland" from Bla Kongo (more frostbitten musicians - this time from socialist Sweden, newly threatened with peaceful Islamic violence for...publishing cartoons.)

Today Hillary "Dolores Umbridge" Clinton announced the 2008 repackaging of her proto-fascist health care nationalization scheme. Its most shocking aspect is its core element: forced participation under the Orwellian euphemism "Individual Mandate." The rest of it, similarly, consists of ramming a large-bore weapon up the nose of every business owner in America, demanding compliance with a panoply of new government edicts to make Mussolini weep.

This may come as a shock, but Clinton's latest effort to expand #21 of the infamous "25 Points", is of significantly less importance than the thing that enables such an intellectual atrocity in the first place:

Republican Default.

Yeah, that again.

I presume that most are familiar with that Burke quote about "all that's needed for evil to triumph is the silence of the good." Whether they're cognizant of the fact or not, the GOP "leadership," the entire 2008 roster of GOP Presidential candidates, and the most dialed-in talk radio pundits, have all taken an entirely defensive/passive/roll-over-and-play-dead posture on American Medicine.

Aside from opposition to Democrat ravings, which is the simple part, and a few vague mumblings about "cost control measures" and "tax deductions," not a single one of them has proposed a principled, aggressive antidote to the Clintons' (and before them Lyndon Johnson's) militant statism. Not - a - one - of - them.

Hello? GOP? Is there anybody out there? Your proposals, please?

Well, somebody's got to do this...

~PSSST! LOOK! RIGHT HEEERE! => Here's what you do to unravel the mess that is American Medicine ca. 2007-08:

You take a tip from the late, great Ronald Reagan - plus eight or ten brilliant but ignored giants of economics - and you...


What I'm talking about here is taking the offensive, seizing upon the precise, polar opposite of Clinton's and Edwards' neo-fascist lurch and using that stark contrast not only to prevent a calamity but to illuminate the vast gulf between the Democrats' authoritarian nightmare and the ethics of individual liberty, and to restore freedom to a vital, shackled industry.

Instant analogy: The Airline Industry.

Recall the pre-Reagan decades: Air travel was heavily regulated and generally the sole province of people of considerable wealth and/or businesspeople on expense accounts. The price of even a routine "milk run" flight, in real dollars adjusted for inflation, ran well into the thousands.

By the time Reagan left office, air travel had become inexpensive enough to be routine transportation for everyone from business travelers to middle class teenagers and blue collar working stiffs.

And so it continues today, even with the massive blow that the 9/11 atrocity dealt to the airline industry, and the cancer that is the "TSA" that was subsequently dealt to it (and us,) by the Federal government. In the intervening years we've seen half a dozen new "budget" airlines take root in turf formerly only trod by industry giants, offering an ever-expanding variety of choices. Some have failed, but most have prospered and expanded operations. Airline safety stats have shown vast improvement over that same period as well.

The same results have been replayed in every arena in which regulated businesses have been deregulated - and that is an economic no-brainer. The market, when left alone, regulates itself: Costs plummet, efficiency and plenitude expand dramatically. And this is just the pragmatic side of the issue.

* * *

The root cause of the current health care mess - also at the pragmatic level - is best illustrated by a little historical perspective and the question philosopher Leonard Peikoff asked in his seminal lecture "Medicine: Death of a Profession"[paraphrased]: "Why was it possible for a person of modest means to afford good health care [50] years ago, but not today?"

A quick glance at a graph of aggregate medical costs in America over the last century would show something very curious beginning in the late 1960s - namely, a cost spiral into the stratosphere. And what happened in the mid-'60s? Why, the wholesale invasion of America's once-free health care industry by government, that's what.

As Peikoff correctly noted, initially Medicare/Medicaid was a big hit: (using the analogy of a food subsidy program,) everybody loved being able to eat steak & lobster every night on the government's dime.

And then the bills started rolling in.

And then the frantic cost-control mechanisms were imposed, which translate as: comprehensive micro-management of an entire industry by a vast bureaucracy.

Which is why we have the mess we have today.

Naturally, the initial, disastrous consequences did not prompt the bureaucrats to scrap their intrusions into the medical market, but rather to pile on more and ever more regulations to compensate for the havoc wrought by the previous regulations, etc. ad infinitum. This is how leviathan government metastasizes. In 1947 Ludwig von Mises wrote an indispensible little book about it, describing this upward-ratcheting statist mechanism in detail, but he was ignored.

* * *

All Mrs. Bill Clinton's latest power-grab represents is a gargantuan pile of new regulations designed to smooth over the wreckage caused by the previous ones (which are blamed on private industry,) thickly wrapped in sunny promises of goodies for all. All that's needed in exchange is your individual liberty, your willingness to ignore the entire concept of Ethics, and your willingness to ignore a century worth of theoretical and practical proof of collectivism's vicious falsity.

On the other hand, all that is needed to "fix" American medicine - that's: actually solve the problem - is...the sole antidote that not one candidate, Democrat-Socialist or, most conspicuously, Republican, will breathe a word of:   A program of full deregulation and divestiture of all government involvement in American medicine, a program at least as aggressive as the nationalization agenda of the Clintons and Edwardses. To boil it down to a catchy one-liner, you demand - and fight for, without compromise - a complete Separation of Medicine and State.

But....not a peep.

And then there's the Litigation Lottery - just don't get me started.

On that too...not a peep.

So - is there a Republican running for President somewhere out there?

Here's some essential reading on the root cause of the medical crisis in Ethical principle.

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P.S. - Sign the petition to the Swedish government in support of the cartoonist and editor threatened by al-Qaida.

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