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no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics

Is For-Profit Healthcare as Immoral as ‘Death Panels’?

August 16th, 2016

Stethoscope on a printed sheet of paper

My friend Matt notes that while this “isn’t exactly the ‘death panel’ that Fox News was trying to scare you with, [it] most certainly falls in to the category of fallout associated with nationalizing medical treatment”, in response to this Scientific American piece :

Hospitals across the United States are throwing away less-than-perfect organs and denying the sickest people lifesaving transplants out of fear that poor surgical outcomes will result in a federal crackdown.

One reply says:

I don’t disagree with some of your logic here, but I also feel that you would have to agree that healthcare based on profit is equally immoral

No, I don’t and you’re wrong.

In its current state, for-profit health care is not without problems — many of them — but this specific act is active and deliberate evil due fundamentally to the nationalization and which supplants even a person’s ability or willingness to pay, or to take on risk. It is a medical equivalent of cash-for-clunkers, of plowing under the fields even while millions starved during the great depression, or the oft-lambasted regulations which prevent grocery stores from donating produce, etc.

In these cases, there are some quantity of goods which people want and would be willing to take, but which are being deliberately withheld from them (and destroyed).

Now, you may counter that under the price system, some people may suffer or die as well because they can’t afford the service (why it costs as much as it does, and whether it ought to cost that much is a different topic). While you may prefer a different distribution of kidneys than the price system provides, it is absolutely without question that if there are fewer kidneys to go around because the hospitals are literally throwing them in the trash, fewer people’s needs will be met as a result.

I don’t see how death from “I can’t afford a transplant” is any worse, objectively, than death from “some panel at the hospital decided that even though I’d been on the wait list for 18 months, and was ‘next in line’ for a kidney, that someone else’s need was more urgent, so I didn’t get my transplant”. Especially when there will necessarily be more deaths arising from the latter than from the former.

They’re Both Evil

August 2nd, 2016

When I suggest that Clinton and Trump are both evil, I do mean this literally.

By that logic, every president is evil

Well, yeah, I was getting to that.

And by that logic, you’re evil and I’m evil and we’re all evil

Nope (or, technically, sure, but now it’s a matter of degree).

I’m sure you’ve done some bad things and some wrong thing in your life; we all have, but evil is not the same as those. You may have even done some evil things, again, most of us probably have.

But the power wielded by a President is orders of magnitude greater, and thus affords them the opportunity to do many times more evil. It’s absurd to equivocate the moral failings of e.g., cheating on a girlfriend or an exam in high school with the moral failings of bombing children in Syria, overthrowing another country’s government, continuing the abomination that is the war on drugs, mass surveillance of US citizens, confiscation of properties, etc.

Anyone who intends to do the things that they intend to do and on the scale which they are capable of doing them is manifestly and irrevocably evil.

Are You a Card-Carrying Socialist?

November 3rd, 2015

I’ve seen a lot of this meme lately, plastered about the Facebook by the Bernie Sanders Cult.

Card-carrying socialist?

This is supposed to silence anyone critical of “socialism” by demonstrating some sort of hypocrisy of deed or action: You have a Social Security Card, therefore you’re a Socialist, therefore your criticisms are invalid. QED.

Lel. And fuck off. No, I’m not.

Having a Social Security card (or, having been assigned a Social Security Number) doesn’t make anyone a card-carrying socialist. It simply means you’ve been enrolled (probably at birth, by your parents who either thought they were looking out for you, or were ransomed in to enrolling you to take advantage of the tax breaks that dependent children afford them) in what is ostensibly a social welfare program, which you can’t ever opt out of.

Also because words have meanings: card-carrying generally means that you’re registered with some association (which has subsequently issued cards to their members, as a sort of credentialing system), or as an adjective that means you’re dedicated to a particular cause. You can be a “card-carrying” Democrat if you’ve registered with the Democratic Party, or a “card-carrying” member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers if you’ve been admitted to that Union, or you can be a “card-carrying Environmentalist” in the sense that you’re pretty vocal about your support for all things “green” or whatever.

But simply having a government-issued card for a program you probably didn’t sign up for and can’t opt out of doesn’t make you either of those things. So while you may physically be “carrying” the card in your purse or wallet, that is not what “card-carrying” means.

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