Thursday, January 8, 2009

Universal Healthcare and the Waistline Police

Paul Hsieh has an excellent editorial in the Christian Science Monitor with the above title. It is a big deal to have a straight-talking anti-socialism, pro-rights and personal responsibility article in such a major national paper.

Paul has suggested emailing this article to your congressmen and other representatives. You can get their contact info here.

He also suggests writing a supportive letter to the editor of the CSM here. I submitted the following:

"I just wanted to thank you for publishing the excellent editorial by Paul Hsieh, "Universal Healthcare and the Waistline Police". It scares me to see that our government is consistently removing individual rights and therefore discouraging our citizens from taking responsibility for their actions. Please continue to publish articles such as this one that make a rational call for individual rights and responsibility. We need those voices more than ever."

I really like Paul's style, but I think, unfortunately, that this article takes too many steps too quickly for my facebook audience, which is where I post articles that might make my (mostly) liberal friends think a bit outside the box but not make them shut out the ideas. A difficult and sometimes frustrating line to ride...



Anonymous said...

An interesting article in the CSM to be sure and I agree with some of it, but some false conclusions and implications are made.

For example, "universal health care" does not neccesarily imply socialist medicine as the article implies.

Yes, the article mentions some scary stuff. I certainly don't want our citizens carted off to reducation camps to teach them the proper state sponsored lifestyle.

But it all comes down to a sense of balance. A government that tries to over control the lifestyles of its citizens is undesirable.

However the opposite, a totally free market with no government controls, is going to produce problems just as horrific and is equaly undesirable.

Legislating what people do in the privacy of their home is one thing and legistlating what they do in public, when it has an adverse effect on others is another.

Personally I think that a government should pretty much let me live my life. But it does have a right to regulate my behaivior when my life intersects the life of others. It’s a quesiton degree.

And the answer is not in any one form of government over another, nor is the answer no government at all. Rather it can only be a constant battle and struggle to strike a balance between the good of the individual and the good of the greater society. Alas, we are never all going to agree to what constitutes balance.

Gaia said...

Thanks for your comment. The problem with a "sense of balance" type philosophy is that you will end up with a few people who happen to be in power making decision about what is "balanced" or reasonable, and hence making value judgments for others. You and I might agree that smoking is clearly bad and should be regulated but that whether or not someone eats ice cream every night is their business. But there is no clear line there. The only way real way to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is by allowing individuals to make decisions about their lives and to deal with the consequences, good or bad.

Now, I agree that if someone's actions have an "adverse effect" on others, ie. keeps them from being able to exercise their own freedoms somehow, then that is another matter. However, I don't see how having freedom to make your own health choices would keep anyone else from making the same choices for themselves.

Overall, the government's job is to protect our basic rights, not to determine what is healthy for us and what is not.