Thursday, February 3, 2011

We Stand FIRM: Ryan At The Summit

I've been making precisely this point for years:

The GOP needs to more explicitly challenge the moral argument for ObamaCare, rather than concentrating on secondary issues such as costs.

They need to make the argument that government-run "universal health care" is morally wrong and that free-market health care is morally right.

Americans are very moral people and they passionately want to "do the right thing". So if they accept the premise that it's supposedly right for the government to (somehow) make sure that everyone has guaranteed health care, but gosh this particular way just happens to be too expensive, then the statists will eventually win by proposing some plan that doesn't look too costly.

Whatever statist plan is eventually adopted will inevitably either cost more than originally promised or lead to rationing (or likely both). But sooner or later, Americans will buy into such a plan -- if they think that it is "the right thing to do".

But if Americans can be persuaded that government-guaranteed health is fundamentally wrong on moral grounds, then they'll reject all proposed variants regardless of the specific financial details.

With respect to moral and/or philosophical arguments, Republican sometimes say things that sound promising, such as Ryan's "We don't think the government should be in control of all of this. We want people to be in control."

But they never consistently defend the underlying principle of individual rights, the concept that individual rights are essential to human life in a social context, or the morality of a limited government which leaves honest men free to peacefully pursue their lives and their self-interest.

Hence, the Republicans leave themselves constantly vulnerable to statists claiming that there is a "moral imperative" to implement some new entitlement program, whether it be guaranteed health care, a jobs program, or a Medicare drug benefit. The most they can do is object to the costs of a particular program (or to some other specific implementation details) -- but not to the worthiness of the underlying goal.

In other words, the Republicans often argue that socialized medicine is impractical (or the closely related "it's too expensive"), but they rarely if ever argue that it's immoral.

We Stand FIRM: Ryan At The Summit