Roar! Hide the children! Hide your wallets! Nans and the Progressives have come to claim your money so that they can magically transform it into health care. Smash. Take that, John Deere. Boom. Take that, Caterpillar. Capitalist swine! We’ll make a Twentieth Century Motor Company out of you yet!* Rawr!
The Progressives (yes, that is what I intend to call them from now on. Cast off these notions of them being for Democracy or [classical] Liberalism) have their health care reform, and now they’re going to reinvent American society via the mystical powers of Turbo Tax Timmy and the IRS. The Progressives want us to engage in the same sort of wishful thinking as them, and believe that the 2.3% tax we’ll pay on medical devices, the 10% tax on tanning salons as well as the plethora of new taxes and regulations will lead to some wonderful world where all health care wishes are fulfilled.
You see, Progressivism is all about sacrifice. [Un]Willingly donating a small portion of your livelihood is a small price to pay for universal health coverage. They’ll argue that this bit of money lost by the privileged and overpriveleged will provide infinitely more happiness to the people who don’t have to suffer under the current “Shut up and die!” system. Certainly you need your money less than some people need their lives (but really now, how many people have genuinely died from lack of insurance? As though hospitals won’t help you if you’re not covered)! If we spend a gajillion dollars to save one life, it will all be worth it.
Progressivism is not a far cry from Utilitarianism, that moral philosophy established by men like Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. Utilitarianism as an ethics is the idea that every action ought to maximize utility [happiness]. And, on the face of it, this is what Progressives claim they want to do. Of course it’s a perverted form of Utilitarianism, however, because Mill’s belief was in a minimal government, which only served to protect and enable people. But why quibble over details?!
But kyoufuu, you’ll ask, isn’t it a good thing if we spend money to save lives? Certainly it is, if it’s your own money and you own life [or your money and the life of someone you wish to save]. But if you want to say that a greater good is gotten from having universal health coverage than is gotten from having the money lost, then I’ll tell you that you’re running a grave risk of being eating by…dundundun… the Utility Monster.
What is the Utility Monster, you may ask? Why, it’s the creation of the great American philosopher, writer and property rights proponent Robert Nozick. Nozick was smart. He was smarter than most members of the Congressional Democratic Caucus combined. He asked us to imagine, in Utilitarian theory, a monster who gets greater happiness from sacrifices than others lose in making the sacrifice. Thus Utilitarianism would require that all members of society (assuming they were Utilitarians), be willing to sacrifice whatever they could to the utility monster so as to maximize his happiness.
Won’t somebody please think of the [utility monster’s] children?
The point Nozick was making is that Utilitarianism, and by extension its black sheep stepchild Progressivism, is not really egalitarian. There are no equal outcomes, no maximized happiness. Of course the Utility Monster is just a though experiment, and cannot exist practically. We must realize that if money [property] is the unit of sacrifice, and government is the one converting, then it is simply impossible for the conversion to be 1:1 or better. This is regardless of what Madame Botox says.
What we have here is not Utilitarianism, but rather a system that will end with the mere addition paradox. What’s that, you ask? Why, that’s a story for another time.
*Yes, I could not escape from inserting a Rand reference. My apologies.