By Any Other Name

One of the ideas that I toss around in my - still as of yet and probably never will be written - book, Freedom to Conform, is the idea that we help along our cognitive dissonance on a societal level by creating a system that subsidizes one activity so we don't do another.

Since health care is the big topic these days, we can use it as example.  The thought experiment revolves around the idea as to how we look at socialism.  The idea is that socialism coerces others to pay taxes for something like, health insurance.  It could be - and mostly is in this country - seen as taking away a freedom.  The freedom to not pay, or have health insurance.

But that is inherently the rub.  We already pay taxes for many other things that we can't opt out of.  And more topically, we make rules that are based on our health, as well.  Laws on drugs is a good example of the system having rules, supposedly for your own good.

All that aside, the thought experiment of a "societal subsidy" revolves around this question.  If we have so many other restrictions regarding health, why isn't health insurance mandated?  The possible answers don't leave me feeling super great.

Maybe our idea of freedom is selective and malleable.  And right now, health care, or not having health care, is one of those freedoms.  Or, maybe congressmen feel that everyone does need health care, but they would rather people spend their money on anything else so that it will prop up our consumer driven economy.  Maybe if we were to enact it, it would cause the country to go so much further into deficit that it would practically destroy the country; so, they would rather people just in debt the next generation with unpaid Emergency Room bills.

Come up with a reason; it doesn't leave you feeling great.  But the idea of freedom seems to move around so much that it leaves the user of the word having to explain it every time its uttered.

The point is this, if you're going to argue against universal health care, or a law mandating health insurance, then you need to address all the other mandates and taxes the government enforces.


Collins said…
The people who are opposed to the health care reform have no problem "giving up" freedom when it is under the heading of national security. Be that in the fight against Muslim terrorists or stopping and deporting illegal immigrants (but they are only worried about ones that speak Spanish-or at least look Hispanic).

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