|Can Conservatives Show That "We Care?"||S-CHIP and Sacrifice|
by Christopher Chantrill
October 29, 2007 at 10:48 pm
MICHAEL Moores SiCKO is opening in Britain this week, but the British are not amused. Anyone can extol the virtues of universal government-furnished health care, they say, when they have never had to use it. Writes Minette Marrin in the London Times:
You would never guess from Sicko that the NHS [National Health Service] is in deep trouble, mired in scandal and incompetence, despite the injection of billions of pounds of taxpayers money.
Not to worry, writes Peter Huber in Cherry Garcia and the End of Socialized Medicine in City Journal. The new age of molecular medicine, of designer drugs for specific genetic defects, is going to break up the current system of government universal health care that Michael Moore so loves.
It all goes back to 1987 when Ben and Jerrys introduced the Cherry Garcia, a monument to unhealthy eating habits. But, writes Huber,
The Food and Drug Administration struck back three months later when it approved the first of a new family of statin drugs that curb cholesterol production in the human liver.
The new molecular medicine will not just curb nasty things in the human body, he asserts. It will destroy the political consensus for universal health care.
Our current health care system is built upon the extraordinary success of the war against germ-carried disease. Water-borne diseases like cholera and airborne diseases like tuberculosis lend themselves to sweeping governmental action and one-size-fits-all programs. After all, Cholera killed a duchess as easily as a flower girl. Sweeping programs of sanitation and vaccination became the stock-in-trade of every politician and bureaucrat.
But in the new health order of drugs and gene warfare things are not so simple.
The designer drugs of molecular medicine are specific and individual. They aim to correct specific genetic deficiencies and compensate for unhealthy life habits. Thus, says Huber:
Disease and its cures now depend on factors too fragmented for conventional insurance pools to contain, too costly for public treasuries to underwrite, and too divisive for public authorities even to discuss, much less manage.
Pretty soon a president will come along and promise to end government health care as we know it.
Maybe she will. But it is likely that first we will test the universal health care system paradigm to destruction.
When things go wrong, political leaders and their leading experts is to resort first of all to compulsion and prohibition rather than letting markets and the consumer decide. Right now they have fatties in their sights.
Morbidly obese people in their fifties are costing the government a ton of money by coming into government hospitals to get bariatric surgery and hip and knee transplants. The obvious thing to do is to stop restaurants and food stores from selling them the evil fatty foods that have fueled their enormity.
Thats why nanny Mayor Bloomberg has forced restaurants to remove trans-fat from their menus in New York City. Reports Tom Elliott:
Bloomberg believes "Public-information campaigns are insufficient. In the realm of public health, law really does the work."
He means that the government wants to force you to be healthy.
No doubt the only sensible course is to privatize health care and allow the market to perform its miracles, as Peter Huber suggests.
But Michael Moore and his slacker-liberal army would fight to the last mockumentary to stop that. They have a right to free and unlimited health care and they know it.
You might wonder why they make such a fuss. After all, Huber writes,
Three-dollar statins in New York in 1996 get 30-cent statins to London in 2006 and three-cent statins to Kuala Lumpur a few years later.
But thats not good enough for our progressive friends. They want three-cent statins now. Anything less is a triumph of greed over human need.
Most Americans are not slacker liberals. But they dont see why they should pay as much in monthly payments for drugs as they do for the family SUV.
They are moderates. That means that they will vote for a moderate amount of compulsion and expropriation to solve the next crisis in health care. Its a practical thing. When they or their loved ones need an expensive procedure or designer drug, they know that cost should be not be a factor, at least not for them.
Thats why it would be prudent not to place any bets on the end of socialized medicine any time soon.
Instead, we should expect it to lurch from one disaster to the next.
Its encouraging to think that Hillary Clinton is uniquely qualified, by education, temperament, experience, and plain dumb luck to be the US leader fated to test universal health insurance to destruction.
After she and her wrecking crew have finished then we can start to build a health care system that really works.
Meanwhile there is always medical tourism.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
Civil Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism
For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008
As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable...
[1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006
No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.
Lord Salisbury, Letter to Lord Lytton
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, The Scientist as Rebel