When I was first seriously thinking about the concepts of liberty, I was focused on and fascinated by how well freedom “works.” You know the drill: tax cuts actually increase federal revenue, competition actually benefits the poor as this results invariably in a lowering of prices. While I continue to find this interesting to some extent, this approach to liberty, one which I now consider sophomoric, continues to be promoted as the justification for its own existence. In other words, examples of how free markets result in far superior utilization of resources, lets the promoter of liberty off the hook at a dinner party for having uttered such unmentionable concepts as the free market and capitalism.
But here’s the rub. It doesn’t matter what wonderful deed is accomplished with money taken by force from one individual and given to another. The confiscation of the property in the first place is wrong. Someone’s rights have been violated. For me the argument stops there. Folks argue about the advantages of this or that government program. People talk non-stop about the efficacy of one program or another. If you believe in property rights, you see this as nonsense, all based on the false premise of the legitimacy of theft.
The endorsement of any level of government involvement in health care is an endorsement of property confiscation. Even when government health care is at a minimal level, the principle of inviolable property rights has been surrendered, and only the matter of degree is left to quibble about.
Thinking about the proper role of government in terms of property rights helps to identify and avoid the distraction of whether some “greater good” can be achieved with stolen property. The ends never justify the means. So when you hear someone drone on and on with their trumped up statistics about how “we are the unhealthiest people on earth,” or “the health care here is the worst on the planet while simultaneously the most expensive,” or “countries with single payor systems have the best health care in the world,” or “we have the highest infant mortality in the world,” or some such, just before they use these “failures of capitalism” to justify some government intervention, remember that whatever they are about to propose is essentially a robbery. This just flat makes it wrong, in my book, no matter what they have to say after all of the other noise. If the individual you speak or spar with does not respect your or anyone else’s private property, I don’t think you owe them a hearing of what they plan to do with your stuff.
G. Keith Smith, M.D.