Government Medicine vs. Contract and Property Rights, by Scott Lazarowitz (From March 21, 2010 Blog Post)
In light of President Obama’s shackling of Americans even further with government medicine that will mirror the old Soviet Union, it is important to understand the differences between the current dysfunctional socialist system and the moral and practical superiority that a free market system would provide. If current proposals for government takeover of health care become law, we will have further collective intrusions against the individual, and both patients and doctors—all citizens—will be serfs of the state. This is part of why people defected and fled from the Soviet Union.
The American Founders saw the difference between private and public ownership of property. The Founders believed in the sanctity and inviolability of private property, and that individuals have inherent, inalienable rights to life and liberty.
Associated with the idea of the inalienable right to life and liberty is self-ownership. Among the individual’s private property rights is the right of ownership of one’s own life, one‘s person and the fruits of one’s labor. Individuals’ right of association and contract includes the right to be free of any government intrusions into private associations and contracts—including the relationship between doctor and patient—and the right to be free of any government involvement in private health matters. Fascists Barack Obama and Nancy Lugosi do not understand this.
In economics, while over time there have been differing definitions of these terms, here are the generally accepted definitions of capitalism and socialism:
- Socialism is public or collective ownership and control of property and the means of production;
- Capitalism is private ownership and control of property and the means of production.
Fascism “allows” for private ownership of property but control is seized by the state, and communism is the culmination of gradually increasing socialist policies to the point of complete state ownership and control of its population and property.
In reality, socialism is a system in which some people may use the armed power of government to take wealth and property from others, as well as dictate to people the terms of contracts and use of property.
On the other hand, capitalism is a system that protects the individual’s right of sovereignty over one’s own life and property, and protects the sanctity of voluntary associations and voluntary contracts. No one is forced to associate or contract with anyone else, and no one may take wealth and property from others. Sadly, this system has never been realized in America, or anywhere in human history. Philosopher Ayn Rand referred to capitalism as an “unknown ideal.”
Unfortunately, since the Founding, America has been a “mixed economy,” a system combining some capitalist freedom and some socialist policies.
However, with the socialist aspect of America, the individual and the fruits of one’s labor are essentially owned by the collective, or the community. Whereas in a truly capitalist society, in which intrusions of the individual and private property would violate absolute moral laws against theft and trespass, in a socialist/fascist society such as ours the artificial, man-made organization we call “government” institutionalizes such intrusions.
In the old days, No Trespassing and Mind Your Own Business were common phrases. There was no Social Security number, and there was no IRS demanding personal information that was none of the neighbors’ business. The Founders would not have approved of any of those things, and would have rejected without discussion proposals for a National ID card or fingerprinting! The Founders’ principles of the Presumption of Innocence and The Right to be Left Alone are moral principles.
As part of his Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote, in reference to the British ruler from whom the Founders separated:
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
There has been a common misunderstanding that if a privately owned company is large, then it is less privately owned, and therefore the public has a right to impose arbitrary demands and intrusions on such a company. However, to the American Founders, laws against theft and trespass must be absolute, and individuals with justly owned private property (real estate, material property, business assets, etc.) have an inalienable right to be free of violence, theft and trespass by others. Suggesting that private property rights and freedom of association and contract exist only to a certain extent inevitably leads to making it acceptable to steal and trespass “just a little” in the name of some desired social good. In terms of absolute moral law, however, no well-intentioned end justifies immoral means. That’s moral relativism.
Economist Murray Rothbard wrote in 1994, in reference to then-First Lady Hillary Clinton’s universal health care proposals:
Whereas the free market is a peaceful cooperative place where everyone benefits and no one loses, when government supplies the product or service, every consumer is treated as using a resource only at the expense of his fellow men. The “public service” arena, and not the free market, is the dog-eat-dog jungle.
The problem with starting a business such as an insurance company is similar to any other line of work that is regulated and controlled by government. In fact, it is the regulations, licensure and taxation and other government-imposed restrictions that have made the medical industry so costly. What needs to be done is repealing each and every health- and medical-related regulation and control implemented by the federal government, removing licensure, and getting rid of the FDA and the entire Health and Human Services bureaucracy. Strictly enforce laws against fraudulent insurance company practices and policy holder claims. Freeing insurance companies of costly regulations will make it possible for them to add special programs to help the truly needy. And freedom would enable an individual or group to start a company or charity with the intention of helping others.
And Licensure does not protect patients from bad doctors. On the contrary, licensure protects bad doctors from prospective competitors in that market, just as tenure protects bad teachers in the education area. Any kind of protectionist law that restricts freedom of contract restricts liberty and choices, and creates monopolistic cartels.
With freedom from government intrusions and coercion, medical professionals’ and consumers’ actions will benefit themselves and others, and the private relationship between doctor and patient will remain private. People who don’t want health insurance shouldn’t be forced to have it. No more government restrictions on pharmaceutical drugs—let Americans be responsible for their own choices. But when you put people in chains and bondage, as our socialist/fascist government has been doing for many years now, the bureaucrats, politicians and special interests are the beneficiaries of wealth that is forcibly expropriated from the citizens.
When government officials intrude in private contracts and associations with the use of force and coercive mandates imposed by the IRS and police, those are criminal violations of life, liberty and property, and should be treated as such.
Citizens should step up their protests against government officials’ poking into the most personal aspects of citizens’ private lives. They might also consider calling their representatives in Washington and ask them to vote against further health care proposals.