Oh yeah, I can’t – you have guns pointed at me.
In what might qualify as the dumbest piece ever published, this writer criticizes folks for arguing that health reform is like socialism. Actually, he is nominally correct. It is not socialism, but some god-awful version of Progressive Corporatism on ‘roids – so it is a bit of a red herring to not support it on grounds that you do not like socialism. However, the crux of his argument is not that – for it would be a sensible one. It is rather this, “if you don’t like socialism, then do not avail yourself of the “benefits” government bestows on you.”
So, stop taking the bus, stop accepting social security checks, do not send you children to public school, don’t use unemployment insurance, or food stamps.
All good ideas! I don’t, nor will I, accept any of these.
However, this is where his argument stops. How about YOU stop pillaging my private property? I had roughly $30,000 taken from me involuntarily last year (you can argue that some of that was voluntary based on my residential location choice and shopping choices, but the larger point remains), and untold thousands more via indirect regulations and restrictions. I would gladly opt out of all of the government programs that you mention in exchange for you opting out of my wallet, my home, my savings, my work effort, and the rest of my life.
Where is the moral authority in arguing that I have a Michael Corleone kind of a choice to make:
1. Have my property violently taken from me, but at least get the option of consuming some government services.
2. Have my property violently taken from me, but do not have the option of consuming government services.
Is it really that hard to see? What’s worse however is that the author leaves out two even MORE popular choices that many Americans get to make every day:
3. Do not have property violently taken from them, while consuming government services. (remember that half of Americans do not pay income taxes … and yes, I know they pay other taxes)
4. Do not have property violently taken from them, while not consuming government services (who are these folks)?
The classical liberal worldview is based on the idea of non-coercion. And the logical extension of that is that individuals have the right to exit situations they would prefer not to be in. Our esteemed author seems to misunderstand this tiny little idea.
HT: to the Amateur Economist