Friday, July 31, 2009

Natural Law and Government Health Insurance

1. Bureaucrats in the federal government aren't going to take as good care of your health as you and your personal doctor, unmolested by federal interference, would do. The government will waste much more of the wealth inserted into this system than the private sector would. It's wrong to overlook these things and to nationalize the health care system. They are so as a matter of natural law.

2. Outside of contracts, there is only one positive right: the right of the innocent in dire straits in your local community or vicinity to be given simple assistance. Other innocents in dire straits in more geographically and socially distant locations have much less claim to your assistance, but they have some. It diminishes as we move outward until the duty is gone at some distance.

This point of view is treated with contempt by libertarians who think that even your good neighbor who, through no fault of his own, lies badly injured before you has no right to your administering first aid, calling an ambulance, or any other action. The libertarian will agree that you would be rightly branded as callous, mean and wicked; but he balks when it comes to the question, "Did your neighbor have a right to your help?" But the fact is that you would have done wrong by your neighbor and he would have had a right to simple assistance. The censure may be appropriate punishment, but it is punishment for wrongdoing and all wrongdoing violates another's rights.

This position also angers leftists, who believe that you ought to have your wealth redistributed to the destitute, no matter what their social and geographical distance to you. At least libertarians are respectable. Leftists, on the other hand, are rich and give little to the poor, even while maintaining that it is a strict duty to redistribute the wealth. They oughtn't to be taken seriously, especially since there is not a single good argument for their strange position.

But I digress. The point is that #2 is correct and it reflects natural law. The alternatives do not and are not correct.

3. When forced to pay a fixed fee for unrestricted access to a good by a large national government, people will be unrestrained in their use of the good and the system will go bankrupt unless the fee is raised very high or the access severely restricted. The fee will be lower and the access less restricted if the good is provided by the free market at prices set by market forces. It is wrong to overlook this and cause our society to switch from private to public provision of goods. This is so as a matter of natural law.

Morality has contours impressed upon it by its conformation to human nature. There may be other moralities on other planets for other species of people with other natures. Not everything goes, as the meanings of "right" and "wrong" are not utterly ambiguous. But there is some flexibility to these terms across species and, within species, across societies. Yet within any given species, constraints of its nature obtain, rendering certain moral stances untenable. Foolishly running against human nature usually results in calamity. Nor is it that the fool's morality - his communism or what have you - better while we are by nature unable to attain to it. It is not better. It is wrong. It may be right for a species of people with utterly different motivations but it is not right for us.

Yet the lust for power renders one able to fool the foolish and hoodwink the ignorant. Human nature gives us constraints on what is morally suitable for us but it unfortunately does not usually give us the wisdom to be able to maintain our values within those constraints unmolested by the power-hungry and their useful idiots. I can't prove that 1, 2, and 3 reflect natural law here. The proof is in the collective historical wisdom of a society, conserved against the odds and grasped only partially by any of its members, some more fully understanding it than others. If you are unaware of any reason to think that the big-government welfare state isn't made more likely to be disastrous and the free market more likely to produce flourishing by natural law, then you are an example of the imperfection of human nature when it comes to practical wisdom. As a result of this ignorance, innocents will die from having health care withheld from them by the government. And vast sums of wealth will be taken from those who rightfully own it against their will and put into the black hole of government.