Obamacare: Quintessential Socialism

By: Thomas E. Brewton

The overriding characteristic of President Obama’s National Socialist healthcare is forced equality of consumption, a major step in the direction of egalitarian distribution of income. Emphasis is upon the word forced.

As we see with the widespread town hall protests against the President’s proposed National Socialist healthcare proposals, people do not willingly surrender the fruits of many years’ labor to the government in the name of an undefined abstraction called the common good. Particularly is this true when it is liberal-progressive bureaucrats who decide arbitrarily what constitutes the common good.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed essay, Martin Feldstein, Harvard economics professor and former chairman of President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisors, sums up Obamacare: it’s all about the raw power to decide who gets what treatment, while cramming everyone into identical little boxes in order to eliminate any efforts in the direction of individuality. And the bureaucratic mechanism for eliminating individuality is rationing medical care.

Despite the repeated lies by the President and his spokesmen, as Professor Feldstein writes, the National Socialist healthcare bill passed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi clearly contemplates rationing.

Many supporters of Obamacare argue that healthcare already is rationed by money availability, because Medicare, Medicaid, and insurance companies will pay only certain amounts for care and will refuse to pay for some specialized treatments or prescription drugs. This ignores the obvious fact that individuals are free to make choices to pay for such care themselves and that it was individuals who selected the insurance payment programs they have.

Under Obamacare, all private insurance would eventually be compelled to offer exactly the same scope of insurance as the so-called public option. Everybody will be compelled to have the same coverage program, whether he is old, young, in poor health, or in good health.

The argument that medical care already is rationed also reflects a deep-rooted aspect of the liberal-progressive-socialist paradigm: the idea that individuals possessing more money than others is an inherently unjust social condition.

Michael Walzer’s analysis of that paradigm is typical. Professsor Walzer, one of liberal-progressive-socialism’s most prominent theorists, is co-editor of Dissent, a leading socialist journal.

Walzer contends that possession of money amounts to power and that such power is both unjust and unjustly used. It enables the rich to purchase every sort of social good. Why should these goods be distributed to people who have a talent for making money? This, he says, is morally implausible and unsatisfying.

Nor would it be better if we gave money to people on the basis of their intelligence, strength, or moral rectitude. There is no single talent or combination of talents that entitles a man to every available social good.

In the socialists’ view, all that should count is need. If people need certain things (leaving aside how that need is determined), they should simply be given them, without regard to their ability to pay. This is what is meant, in Professor Walzer’s sense, by social justice. Whenever equality in this sense does not exist, we have a kind of tyranny in which the strong, the well-born, and the wealthy get social goods in amounts that have little to do with their personal qualities or needs.

With respect to medical care, Walzer believes that it should be distributed only to those who are sick, without regard to wealth, intelligence, or righteousness. But in America today, it is closely follows the income curve. “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs,” would, however, be a fine slogan for medical care, he says. Taxes paid by all of us should pay doctors and other medical care providers. This, says Professor Walzer, necessitates a national health service of a sort to which Obamacare inevitably leads.

It isn’t that every man should get what he deserves, as in the old definition of justice. The new standard is egalitarian, that is, everyone should have free and equal access to all the goods and services produced by our economy.

Liberal-progressive-socialists’ goal is to restructure our political system to make a society of equals that is worth having. The starting point must be to end the tyranny of personal wealth.

A good doctor deserves society’s praise, according to Professor Walzer, but that is no reason to pay him any more than any other worker. Why should a steelworker have to work much longer than a doctor for the money to have a home or an automobile? There are rewards intrinsic to the doctor’s job, like the pleasure of using his specialized knowledge for the common good. That ought to be enough. There is no meritocratic defense for differences in pay.

As liberals like Professor Walzer see things, the rewards of the good life are social goods that the rich have habitually taken for themselves, without regard to any personal merit. They are merely the rewards that the upper classes throughout history have been able to seize and hold for themselves. Affirmative-action quotas are a way of redistributing these rewards by redistributing the social places that conventionally get the rewards. National Socialist healthcare is another.

Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.

His weblog is THE VIEW FROM 1776

Email comments to viewfrom1776@thomasbrewton.com

About The Author Thomas E. Brewton:
Thomas E. Brewton is a staff writer for the New Media Alliance, Inc. The New Media Alliance is a non-profit (501c3) national coalition of writers, journalists and grass-roots media outlets.

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