Thursday, November 13, 2008

When Do We Call It 'Socialism'?

One of my favorite things to observe in the jubilant Left these days is an unwillingness to embrace the possibility that the first 100 days of Democratic rule might be socialism.

I think The Left knows well enough that socialism is not going to be broadly embraced, but I think it also knows that given bits and pieces of socialistic policy here and there, especially if dressed up with different words, like 'benefit', can make for broad enough an embrace.

My greatest fear is that we will be treated to socialized medicine in the first 100 days. If I learned anything from Mitch Daniels' first term, or Bill Clinton's, it's that you do the controversial things very early, and then you spend the next three years doing innocuous things. Well, it also helped that in both of these cases, the response to their first year was that they lost their parties' legislative majorities and returned to divided government.

When I mention this to my Obama-supporting friends, I get a heap of resistence, pooh-poohing the idea that there are any socialistic intents, just an improvement of benefits, or increasing access, or something, anything besides socialism.

I'd like to see how some of you would define socialized medicine.

Here's a definition I consider useful, from the Cato Institute, in a recent publication:
Socialized medicine exists to the extent that government controls medical resources and socializes the costs. Notice that under this definition, it is irrelevant whether we describe medical resources (e.g.,hospitals, employees) as “public” or “private.” What matters—what determines real as opposed to nominal ownership—is who controls the resources. By that definition, America’s health sector is already more than half socialized, and Obama’s health care plan would socialize medicine even further.

There is one main reason I oppose socialized health care. I believe it inherently unjust to involuntarily cause one person pay for any good or service consumed by another person.

I've always been mystified by The Left's gigantic blind spot, willfully or otherwise, on this point. How can one oppose involuntary servitude, or involuntary conscription into the military, and yet accept involuntary responsibility for the cost of another's health care? In any of these cases, an individual is denied the full decision of the allocation of his resources. They are taken by the state, against the will of the individual, and given elsewhere, on the basis that the state has first claim, and knows best besides.


Robert Enders said...

I have two polls on my own blog. One asks if people support higher taxes to pay for universal health care. The other asks if they support requiring healthy adults to donate blood. As far as I'm concerned, it's hypocrisy to give a different answer to both questions. So far, nobody has responded to either poll.

Rex Bell said...

"The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of 'liberalism' they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened."...Norman Thomas