Friday, October 25, 2013

Why Obamacare Equals Injustice

The Weekly Standard guys have piece on the Five Deceptions and Disasters of Obamacare.  I think we can use it to illustrate why, necessarily, all big government programs are unjust.

Here are the five Obamacare deceptions:
  • Deception #1: Universal coverage
  • Deception #2: No new taxes on the middle class
  • Deception #3: Annual premium savings of $2,500
  • Deception #4: No increase in the deficit
  • Deception #5: You can keep your plan if you like it
Given that the program was designed to enroll the uninsured through a) subsidies for the near poor and b) fines on the rest of the uninsured, you can see that the deceptions were deceptions pure and simple.  Also, given that the program required all plans to include mandatory prevention and contraception plus provisions to subsidize the old and the sick, the idea that the plan could cost less was a fantasy.

So what is really going on?  Partly it's the liberal fantasy that "there has to be a system."  And there is the liberal assumption that ordinary people just don't have the mental equipment to navigate the health care system on their own, so they have to be "nudged" to do the right thing.  Then there's the political imperative: politicians are people that offer free stuff to their supporters.  That's how you get to 51 percent.

All that is a setup to my three mantras.  No there doesn't have to be a system.  The history of the modern era is that the economy is self organizing.  What we call the price "system" is not a system at all.  If anything, taking off from Heidegger, it is a discourse.  "Discourse is the Articulation of intelligibility," he writes in Being and Time.  What does he mean by that?  Well, with Heidegger, who knows! But let us assert that price is a kind of language with which we communicate our needs and desires.  Let us riff off Heidegger's actual words and say that Price is the intersubjective Articulation of human needs.  In a system, a government system, the intersubjectivity and the articulation are suppressed by the system architects and operators.  Because system is domination.

No, health care doesn't have to be a prize in the political auction of free stuff.  In fact that makes health care into an economic and social good into a political hostage.  You can't have health care unless you have kowtowed to the political machine.  You want health care?  Better learn to go along to get along.  Politics is division, civil war by other means.

No, health care doesn't have to be a government program.  Government is force, and government can only do simple things.  It can't, for instance, pull off a fairly simple website to show health plan alternatives.  So government gravitates to one-size-fits-all, as in Medicare and Social Security and childhood education.  And that one-size-fits-all gravitates towards the convenience of the producer interest, or the bureaucratic interest, or the activist interest.  And it sows conflict, because it forces people to fight each other in a futile effort to get the one-size-fits-all to match their own needs, and to hell with anyone else.

When you mix system and politics and government together, as we are doing with Obamacare, the result is injustice.  Of course it is, if system is domination, politics is division, and government is force.  The whole point of social animals is to reduce rigidity, smooth over divisions, and reduce the need for force.  

I suspect that it's just beginning to dawn on liberals and Democrats that Obamacare is an epic disaster and an injustice that will echo down the decades.

Put it this way.  Democrats dined out for decades on Herbert Hoover, the president that presided over the four years of economic disaster from 1929 to 1933.  I suspect that Republicans will be dining out on Obama and Obamacare for the rest of my life.

Friday, October 11, 2013

War and Force and Division and Government

In the old days human society was simple.  There was the community, within which differences were settled by hierarchy. If you were a high status person you got your way; if you were a low status person you gave way.

Outside the community things were also simple.  All other groups were enemies, actual or potential, because all other groups were competing for land, and land is life.

So in the old days every community was at peace within the community and at war without the community.

But in our world things are more complicated because every community has a government.

Government is force, meaning that government doesn't do anything by consensual agreement.  It does everything by law or by rule.  Not to do things by rule or by law is to commit an injustice because special favors and special allowances for certain favored people amounts to an injustice to all the others.

But who wants to sit there as a judge evaluating rules and violations?  People want action.  And so government gets involved in peoples' quarrels.  Who wouldn't want the government on their side when they have a disagreement with their neighbors, and want to force their neighbor to curb their barking dog or cut down a rotten tree?

So here we have the government with its apparatus of force with nothing to do unless someone has a quarrel.  If there's a quarrel that the participants can't resolve then you have a war on your hands, and you need a war to justify using force.

Thus it is that the men and women that direct government have a special interest in ginning up quarrels and dividing the people.

You can't justify the use of force unless there is a war to fight.  And you don't have a war unless there's a quarrel.  And you don't have a quarrel unless you have a disagreement that two parties won't resolve on their own.

Thus it is that politicians are in the business of division.  They need to divide people to gin up a quarrel.  And with a quarrel they have a chance to gin up a war.  And with a war they have the justification to use force.

And force is what government is all about.

But the whole point of human society is to maximize friendly cooperation and to structure society so that almost all transactions between people can be conducted in a spirit of amity and give and take.  It means that people work with the other rather than work to divide from the other; they work to help the other rather than work to defeat the other.

But it makes sense that the more government the less give and take, the more government the less people are thinking about how to help other people rather than dominate other people.

So the great question in all political affairs should be: How do we reduce government?  Because by reducing government we reduce the zone of force and division, and increase the zone of cooperation and agreement.