On my Facebook page, I posted this image:
To which, I offered my reasoning for posting that photo:
“The way I understand this photo (and why I shared it) and the overall point is this: Not everyone should go to college. I don’t think as a culture, it’s a good idea to propagate that idea. I think nuance is always welcome and the nuance should be, “Go to college, if it’s a right investment for you.””
To which, I was met with two retorts I found terribly fascinating. 1.) We have no control over where I taxes go. 2.) Government’s duty is to provide for the health of its citizens. Puzzled by these two lines, I posted this response, which I felt made this worthy of a blog post since I went on quite long…
-I find the admission that one cannot choose where their taxes go an interesting one. Yet, government is benevolence? Government is a force for good? They take my money and redistribute it without my say-so to things I may find morally reprehensible; i.e.: bombing brown children overseas. But, hey, if they also happen to redistribute it to subsidizing insurance for those without it (in a nice boon to the insurance companies — gotta love crony capitalism, well, I guess only when it’s for things you like), then I guess, okay? Take the good with the bad? Is this democratic? If so, no thank you. Is this representation? If so, no thank you. Is this moral? If so, I question one’s morality and ethics.
-With respect, I can’t think of too many more repugnant phrases in the English language than, “I think it’s the government’s duty to protect the well being of its people.” Let’s unpack this statement and its implications. If we’re going a constitutional argument — the thing that supposedly binds the government — the chief duties of the government is to quite literally not fuck with us. Not our freedom of speech, our freedom of expression, our freedom of religion, our right to bear arms, to not force soldiers into our homes, to not inflict cruel and unusual punishment upon us and you get the idea; the Bill of Rights. These are its chief duties. To ensure it’s not doing that which infringes upon those things. But I don’t like the constitutional argument because it quite clearly does not in fact bind the government, as the historical and modern record bears this out. So, what does it mean for the government to “protect the well being of its people?” How far does that concern for my personal safety and health go? Can they regulate what I put in my body? What I do to and with my body short of harming or infringing on another person’s safety and health? Oh, they already do, you say? And this is good? If the government is charged with my health, by definition, they get to regulate that which is deemed by them unhealthy. As for “its people,” that’s manifestly paternalistic. I’m absolutely okay with “looking out for your fellow man,” but I see no reason to introduce the government into the equation, which brings me to my third point.
-Let’s side aside all the reasons why the government ought not be charged with the duty of “protecting the well being of its people.” Things like their inefficiency, their corruption, their cronyism, their inability to have feedback mechanisms, the forced taxation, their regulation over my body and what I do with it, and a myriad other pragmatic reasons government generally is shit at running anything. Morally speaking, why is it considered more moral to suggest that the way to take care of people is to come to my house with the threat of imprisonment or death, and force me to pay for my neighbor? Would not the more moral scenario be a society that volunteers? Would not a more moral scenario be the society that takes care of its own free from coercion and force? Would not a more moral scenario be the society where I don’t by force pay for immoral things?
-Finally, my last point, the part that most seems to hang up progressives and other proponents of government provided health care. In advocating us not embracing this, I’ll be charged with the following two morbid, hyperbolic things: 1.) I want people to die in the streets due to inability to get insurance. (To this, I’d be curious to know who in America has actually quite literally died on the streets due to an inability to get medical help.) 2.) I must hate poor people and going back to #1, want them to die in the streets. These are the charges I’ve heard against people that argue my position for the longest time. To which, I have two retorts: 1.) I do not support the status quo — what we had before Obamacare. However, the status quo beforehand where millions are unable to get insurance and the other way, Obamacare, are not the only two choices. Odd as it is since politics gets us to think so narrowly between a Republican-offered option and a Democratic-offered option, there is another choice. 2.) Republicans generally suck on this issue.
I then added the smaller version of the above:
I personally prefer a health care apparatus wherein the consumer (me) and the doctor are closer together, rather than separated by bureaucracy and lorded over by the government’s cronies without the requisite ability to know which decisions are best for me.
Also, we should dispel with this notion of “free.” Free health care, free community college, free this or that; it’s not “free” in any sane sense or understanding of the word.