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Obama’s Medical Collectivism

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William Anderson
Campaign For Liberty
Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Despite raucous town hall meetings, marches and other acts of opposition, the medical plans of President Barack Obama and his Democratic Party allies continue to march, if not in lockstep, at least in some sort of close cadence. Despite the fact that government-run medical care elsewhere has caused serious problems of quality and availability, nonetheless the Usual Suspects continue to march down the same blind alley and insist that we follow.

One would hope that reason prevails over socialism, but, as Ludwig von Mises wrote many years ago, socialism really is a revolt against reason, and an emotional revolt at that. It becomes an article of faith that the band will march through the wall at the end of the blind alley, even when it becomes utterly apparent that the wall is there to stay.

If I can put the whole thing into one word, it would be “collectivism.” Collectivist thought begets collectivist policies, and collectivist policies always are doomed to fail, yet there always are people out there to demand them.

For example, the recent death of Sen. Edward Kennedy, who was a champion of socialism (except where his private finances were concerned) has been turned into an orgy of “win one for Teddy,” and his “from-the-grave” letter to the president is being used as a rallying cry to make the unworkable workable. Not surprisingly (or perhaps surprisingly, given Ted Kennedy’s personal morals), he declares the entire crusade to be morally-based:

“But you (President Obama) have also reminded all of us that it concerns more than material things; that what we face is above all a moral issue; that at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.”


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Elsewhere, self-appointed guardians of the moral sphere are making similar statements. Jim Wallis of Sojourners Fellowship, who once openly supported Mao in his most murderous days, declares:

“We in the faith community have a special role in that process of change — to help the nation make the spiritual choice of hope rather than fear, and to believe that the way for all of us to move forward as a society is to make that choice.” (Emphasis his)

Beyond the simple fact that all medical care falls into the “scarce goods” category, which has all sorts of implication, and beyond the simple fact that taking from some people by force in order to give to someone else (what the ancients once called “plunder”) is the fact that all of the moral appeals for universal medical care are collectivist in nature. The belief is that only collectivism can be moral in scope, which is another way of saying that there are no individual rights. In this viewpoint, all rights are collective.

Once collectivism is established as the operational ethos of medical care, then each medical decision becomes nationalized and every medical choice becomes tied into the morass of “national goals” and the like. In case one thinks I exaggerate, take the following statement from Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the brother of Obama’s chief of staff and an important figure in Obama’s medical plans for the rest of us:

“. . . it seems there is a growing agreement between liberals, communitarians, and others that many political matters, including matters of justice and specifically, the just allocation of health care resources — can be addressed only by invoking a particular conception of the good.”

And what is that “particular conception”? It is a view of medical care as a collective good in which the state determines who is to receive what kind of care and how it will be administered. Because the state is a political entity, it stands to reason, then, that every medical decision under such a plan would be a political decision. In the end, we know that that means; politically-connected people receive the best care, and everyone else is relegated to the shadows.

Lest someone thinks I am exaggerating, Constitutional Lawyer Michael Connelly has read all of the proposed law, “The Affordable Health Care Choices Act of 2009,” and has this to say about it:

“To begin with, much of what has been said about the law and its implications is in fact true, despite what the Democrats and the media are saying. The law does provide for rationing of health care, particularly where senior citizens and other classes of citizens are involved, free health care for illegal immigrants, free abortion services, and probably forced participation in abortions by members of the medical profession.

“The Bill will also eventually force private insurance companies out of business and put everyone into a government run system. All decisions about personal health care will ultimately be made by federal bureaucrats and most of them will not be health care professionals. Hospital admissions, payments to physicians, and allocations of necessary medical devices will be strictly controlled.”

He adds this ominous note:

“However, as scary as all of that it, it just scratches the surface. In fact, I have concluded that this legislation really has no intention of providing affordable health care choices. Instead it is a convenient cover for the most massive transfer of power to the Executive Branch of government that has ever occurred, or even been contemplated. If this law or a similar one is adopted, major portions of the Constitution of the United States will effectively have been destroyed.”

These words certainly contrast with what we have heard from Wallis and others who insist that we are going to have “free” and “moral” medical care. Indeed, given the track record of government, we have to ask why the outcomes from this proposed legislation would be any different than the outcomes of other government actions, from the establishment of Medicare more than 40 years ago to the reasons given by the Bush administration for invading Iraq.

As we now know, Medicare costs more than 20 times what its supporters claimed it would cost and the U.S. Armed Forces never did find “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq. Nonetheless, we are expected to believe that this time the government predictions will come true. Somehow, I have my doubts.

This article was posted: Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 9:42 am

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