Make no mistake. Every time the government offers you any form of safety or security, it takes away your ability to make choices about your own life. No matter how noble, every government safety imposition diminishes your individual liberty. This principle is no more obvious than in the current healthcare reform, which is why there are so many voices in chorus against this “transformation” of America.
When this law is in full force, individuals cannot choose to self insure, no matter how much they may be able to afford to do so. Now, you can be thrown into jail for not complying with the government’s plan for your own safety. This sounds like something out of a Stalinist show trial: “Comrade, you are guilty of “insufficient self protection”—five years in the gulag!”
And speaking of the Soviet model we are slowly adopting, everything that the Soviets did, they did in the name of the people. Unfortunately, they ran out of money, as do all Socialist governments, and their people ended up with the worst environmental safety, an unsafe nuclear program, and terrible healthcare. Besides having a chronic shortage of material requirements for quality healthcare delivery, their physicians were not at liberty to fulfill their Hippocratic Oath to their patients. Our physicians will be similarly constrained. As pointed out by Dr. Vliet of Tucson, who plans on quitting medical practice if this law is fully enacted, physicians are not free to put patients first. The government outlines physicians’ practice parameters. As expected, “guidelines” have morphed into “rules” with the force of law.
To be fair, our elected officials are not the only ones who clamor for the government to make us safer. Many Americans were perfectly happy when Ralph Nader forced government regulation of the car industry. Many pushed for smoking bans. Did seatbelts and air bags save lives? Of course. But at what price? There is virtually no aspect of life that cannot be regulated under the guise of “safety.” One city in California wishes to ban toys at McDonalds, believing that toys with food contribute to childhood obesity. New York is threatening to remove salt from restaurant foods. Onerous building codes and inspections are justified for public safety. Under the rubric of safety we already over-regulate food distribution, driving, hairdressing, building, personal habits, and of course medicine.
The Nazis were the first to ban smoking. They promoted healthy lifestyle and preventive care. Unfortunately, because the Nazi government had no constitutional restraints, this “healthy life” emphasis ultimately led to euthanasia of the “hopeless,” selective reproduction via forced sterilization of those deemed unworthy, and total control, not only of healthcare, but of the whole of society. That’s what totalitarianism is all about, and pursuit of “safety” is a path to total control of every aspect of a citizen’s life.
And, of course, not all government legislation has had the desired effect. The government has pushed ideas that have proved or are proving to be wrong. Giving aspirin for fever in children was touted by the government for years until physicians discovered that it contributed to Reyes Syndrome, a potentially fatal disorder. The government certified Vioxx, only to have physicians point out the problems with the drug. The government food pyramid, with its emphasis on “complex” carbohydrates, has contributed to obesity and type-one diabetes. They pushed vegetable oils over natural butter, in spite of the basic science showing incomplete linoleic acid in vegetable oil as the major component of artery plaques. The final word on mandatory multiple vaccinations is yet to be written, but what is clearly true is that the government’s vaccination program has created a virtual monopoly so that individuals do not have access to some vaccines they deem important.
Politicians believe that any opposition to their “enlightened” policies is a symptom of ignorance: If only the people knew how good this health care legislation will be for them, they would be in favor of it. They cannot fathom that the opposition to health reform is principled. Many Americans are awakening to the fact that in the middle-of-the night congressional deliberation and back-door dealing their liberty has been stolen. Hopefully the love and expectation of liberty that have made Americans unique in the world, will cause enough people to arise and change our nation’s heading. If not, in the words of Mark Twain, “If you don’t change direction you may end up where you are headed.” And we are heading to the gulag.