Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Price of Freedom

During the Republican debate tonight, there was a horrible display when Wolf Blitzer asked Ron Paul who should have to pay for the medical care of a hypothetical 30 year old who chose not to get insurance and ends up in a coma, and Paul did the typical libertarian thing of keeping things vague while never actually explaining the implications of his words.

And it was all about freedom and assuming responsibility and evil socialism, and not about blood and comas and an actual human being in a hospital bed; let alone lost wages, from both the young man and the people who care about him and all kinds of costs associated with this man being allowed to suffer and die.  These things really happen, yet Ron Paul was talking about it as if it were a movie or video game.

And Blitzer presses him for specifics, trying to get Paul to give a real answer instead of the nonsense he'd be spewing; asking directly if Paul thinks people should just die if they don't have insurance, and to my dismay, many people in the crowd shout that he SHOULD die.  That everyone who doesn't have insurance should just die.  They not only apparently believe this, but feel quite strongly that such people should die.

Unfortunately, I don't have Paul's full response to this, as I'm too lazy to look up the rest of this, but it seems quite obvious that Dr. Paul couldn't give an obvious "No, we shouldn't let people die" when asked the question.  Seriously, the man's a doctor, yet he couldn't even give a direct answer to a question about whether or not we should let someone die if they can't afford healthcare.  Watch it yourself.

But here's the thing, he doesn't really mean this.  He doesn't think we should let people die just because they can't afford healthcare.  And I'm quite positive that he really would support mandatory healthcare, if only he thought he could.  Because he's just making excuses and if he TRULY believed this stuff, he wouldn't have any problem answering the questions.  But he's just trying to be ideologically consistent, and while I suppose that's some achievement, it forces him to say a lot of stupid things he doesn't really believe.

And if nothing else, I'd like you to learn that lesson from this: People don't always believe what they say they believe, and just because someone says something doesn't really mean they believe it.  More often than not, people say stupid stuff they don't believe because they imagine it makes their argument better.  And if you can't do any better than to get beneath their rhetoric and find out what they REALLY think, you'll never be able to communicate with them.

Freedom Ain't Free

And what REALLY got me started on this was a post about this on Facebook, in which someone posted a link to that video, and a libertarian tried to defend Paul by saying that they weren't cheering for the guy to die, but only for him to have his freedom to die...or something like that.  He also went on to condemn the EGREGIOUS practice of trying to protect idiots from car accidents by making them pay money if they don't wear seatbelts.  And so I wrote the following comment:

Nice try, Arthur, but we all know what happens when these people go to the hospital. Hint: We don't let them die. Instead, we pay for their healthcare, in the least efficient way possible. Same goes for idiots who don't wear seatbelts. Even if they have insurance, we all end up paying for their stupid decision. That's the very nature of insurance, as it's shared risk. 
And so the question is: Do we want to allow idiots to go without medical care, even missing regular checkups while ignoring early symptoms, so they can show up at the emergency room and make us all pay for their foolishness? Treating diabetes is a lot less expensive for us than amputating their foot; and that's exactly what we're talking about: People losing their feet because they don't have proper healthcare. 
As I said in my last comment, I'm a liberal because I'm selfish. I know that I'm going to end up paying for the uninsured and the idiots who don't wear seatbelts, so I'd rather do so in the least expensive way possible. Sorry Arthur, but there truly are no free rides in life and we're all in this together. Anyone who doesn't like it can go to the craphole countries that don't have these protections and see how truly shitty it is

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