Thursday, October 16, 2008

Liberal where necessary

Dogma is bad.

Which is why I believe that sometimes individualism should be replaced with statism, even though more often than not I am an individualist.

For instance, it is the duty of every civilized society to take care of our weak, our sick, our handi-capped. Neglecting them is only slightly better than the attempts at exterminating them during the fascist years.

So Obama was correct when he said that health care is a right. It is, lest we deem ourselves barbarians.


Dave-o said...

Agreed that society has an obligation to take care of the weak and needy. But your argument is for the state to care for them, not society.

This is an important distinction. This notion that the state and society are one and the same is a core tenet of fascism: "All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.” -- Mussolini

So be careful about throwing around accusations of what is and is not fascism, and consider that solutions may come from outside the state.

Also, even if I could agree with your silent substitution of the state for society (and I don't), your extension of the argument into "health care is a right" is on even thinner ice. A right is absolute, inviolable. But health care depends upon the work of another human being. So if you have a right to health care, you have a right for a medical professional to involuntarily work on your behalf. You may counter that the medical professional should get paid, but by "society". But, similarly, this means that someone in need of healthcare has an automatic right to my wallet in order to pay someone for that health care. The truth is that no one has a right to health care any more than they have a right to taxi service or that TV they saw at Best Buy or to your lawn mower.

Again, let me be clear that I agree that society has an obligation to care for the weak and needy. But there are many ways to do this, and not all involve the state. And none of them involve "rights".

E.D. Kain said...


All good points. I think there is room for society outside of government to do great good. I support faith-based programs as they are by far the most effective. However, I think we do need a better health care system. The one we have is arguably as expensive as socialized health care. I think there is a middle ground, somewhere between private and public efforts to bring health care not just to the needy, but to the working class, who may have health care one day, but lose it the next, or fear to leave a job they hate because they may suddenly be temporarily without health care.

There has to be middle ground on this. The free market cannot do it alone, nor can the state. But America was always best at ingenuity, and I'm sure we'll come up with something...