Is State Monopoly or Cartel Health Care Slavery?

From an anarchist perspective, there are a huge number of problems with Senator Rand Paul, who’s obviously no anarchist — but when he’s at least partly right, he’s at least partly right. Paul is currently the focus of some controversy for a remark in which he equated statist “universal health care” with slavery.

Anarchists don’t have to be fans or supporters of statists, such as Rand Paul, in order to acknowledge when they might be correct about a narrow point. Rather, such presents an opportunity to drive a wedge into the conversation and expand that narrow point into a discussion of the merits of complete liberty — anarchy.

When one says people have a “right” to something, one is saying that they may justifiably compel others via force to provide it. Thus, the only authentic rights (from a libertarian or anti-slavery perspective, anyway) are those to what’s called “negative liberty“, which ask only that one be provided with tolerance by the exercise of forebearance, rather than provided with material goods and services. Otherwise, one is contending that one may justifiably use force to compel others to provide one with goods and services. That’s slavery and taking note of that is not so much a point of ideology so much as just straightforward semantics.

But the grave flaws of a statist social-democratic or corporatist approach to health care provision are only part of the story. Ignoring the rest of the story, as Rand Paul does, does a disservice to his own efforts to argue against statist approaches to health care provision. Why? Because such leaves open the question of how the manifest injustice of unaffordable health care (or similar problems that advocates of “positive liberty” point to) can be addressed.

It doesn’t have to be that way, because the answer is actually quite simple. Systemic social problems, such as unaffordable health care, derive from existing infringements of negative liberty. They can be addressed by a more comprehensive embrace of the ideal of negative liberty — by moving away from statism, not toward more.

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3 thoughts on “Is State Monopoly or Cartel Health Care Slavery?

  1. Somalia is a good example of stateless society. Good luck and please let me know how that went. (Sorry for the poor intelectual argument but I still can't alienate myself from reality in order to produce nice circular arguments).

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  2. Perhaps the answer to his proposition is to offer that all the doctors that disagree with the idea of being "forced" into practice is to change professions or to stop taking government controlled money and accept alternate forms of currency. While this may not immediately take hold and remove the "negative" liberty it may provide for the positive liberty to eventually overwhelm and out-compete it. The basic idea should be to provide for a positive model thus giving consumers a choice and to provide that choice at a better price and/or a better product/service thus showing how the state is wrong in their endeavors(no matter how well intentioned). Perhaps one day we shall see so much competition in the "black" market that the arguments against the state are no longer necessary as the counter-economy will just remove the state out of just being sheer better at providing anything the government fails in attempting to provide. Amirite?

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