Sunday, May 6, 2012

Save Souris Dialysis, a critique

Following is the description from the FaceBook group 'Help Save Souris Dialysis'. It is a well-written representation of the popular view of healthcare and deserves a libertarian response.
The purpose of this facebook group is to help show our support to the 11 patients (who are also citizens of Souris and surrounding areas) who may be losing perfect access to their dialysis sessions. These people have NO choice about their treatments, because this is to sustain their life, not because they feel like sitting in a hospital 3 days a week for 4+ hours a day. This is our right as a rural community to have access to healthcare just like everyone else on this Island. We are taxpayers and we ALL deserve nothing but the best healthcare. Spread the word, because for those of us who care- we have one hell of a fight ahead of us. Thanks in advance for all of your support.
help show our support to the 11 patients

The idea of 'support' is taking on a very narrow meaning. 'Support' has come to mean pressuring the government to give money for your project, though never considering where the government gets the money. All government resources are collected through coercive means: taxes, inflation (stealth taxes), or borrowing (deferred taxes). Like the charity events that have been promoted on Liberty PEI there are many creative ways to raise funds without coercion. There seems to be no attempt in this group to collect money or other donations directly from those who claim to support the 11 patients.

These people have NO choice

All thinking people have choices. Even around the question of death, there are choices. You would likely balk at a parent that chose to save their own life rather than that of their child's; while it would be perfectly understandable and even encouraged for a parent to willingly choose death so their child could live. This is merely to say that saving your own neck is not automatic, it is a choice.

Let's even assume that saving people is our goal. End of life care is notoriously expensive when compared to earlier interventions. End of life care often costs thousands of dollars per year of life extension. For an alternative use of those same dollars consider a community garden. For a few thousand you could give a community access to garden-fresh produce, encourage activity and community spirit. The benefits are harder to quantify, but they seem to go well beyond an extra year of life.

This is our right... to have access to healthcare

There are two main types of rights. There are 'rights from,' like free speech, also called negative rights or liberties. Then there are 'rights to', like healthcare, also called positive rights or entitlements. The moral problem with entitlements is that they require the unjust taking of resources from those that created them and the giving to those that 'deserve' them. No matter how noble the intention or how much these patients deserve their treatment, it is unjust to coercively tax my property to provide it.

If they deserve their treatment then convince me and ask for a donation. Doesn't this seem like a more moral arrangement than having the men with guns threaten me with jail if I don't go along with their plans to treat the 11 patients.

we ALL deserve nothing but the best healthcare

Words have meaning and the above quote means that we should all get all treatments available. Even if all of the communities resources paid for nothing else, no food, no shelter, no roads, and all of that money was put into healthcare there would still be treatments that we could not afford. So then let's even take away the hyperbole and revise the statement to read, 'we all deserve the healthcare we can reasonably afford.' Assuming you could find a bureaucrat with enough 'reason' to handle my money wisely (I won't hold my breath), this still fails morally because of coercive taxes, and still has to be shown to be the optimum method of saving lives.

--Ashley Johnston
hat tip to  Marlee

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