Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

It just sounds so good . . . but Logic Fail.

Posted by Lissa on March 2, 2010

Saw this on Facebook the other day:

“When it comes to health it makes sense to involve government, which is accountable to the people, rather than corporations, which are accountable to shareholders.”

Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?  Except . . .

  • corporations cannot demand your business, they must court it.  It’s a business relationship entered into willingly by both parties, or no business is transacted
  • government, on the other hand, is inherently coercive.  Sometimes for purposes I like, often for purposes I dislike, but the fact is that you can’t choose which government dictates you’re going to obey and which ones you’re not.*
  • I think government has shifted away from “accountable to the people” and towards “bribing the people, with the people’s money, enough to get re-elected.”  (Mike adds, “And promising to do it with other people’s money, not your money.”)
  • Last I checked, shareholders were people.  Just sayin’.
  • Mike adds, “Why would that not be true for anything?  If you believe that logic, what is so special about health care?  Wouldn’t it make sense to involve government in everything?”

The quote is from an op-ed from Roger Cohen, here.  Jonah Goldberg had this to say about it:

So, we need health-care reform because it will make going to the doctor more like sitting around waiting to be picked for jury duty! Cohen doesn’t even realize how terrible this analogy is. Never mind that jury-duty service is mandatory and people who try to duck it can go to jail (that doesn’t quite jibe with the feel-good spin liberals try to put on health-care reform). Jury duty is also boring, tedious, and supremely inconvenient. Only refugees from Hands Across America get a thrill from contemplating “linking arms” with 300 fellow Americans just for the sake of doing it. Moreover, no one — and I mean  no one — will feel the thrill of social solidarity when they pay higher premiums, wait on longer lines, or find out that their doctor will no longer treat them.

There’s a shocking amount of condescension involved in Cohen’s sense that everyone would enjoy and benefit from “slumming it” with the commoners as much as Cohen apparently did. I have no problem with the folks who show up at jury-duty waiting rooms, just like I have no problem with the folks waiting on lines at the DMV (the folks behind the counter are often a different story). But this “for your own good” case for health-care reform (it will make you less narcissistic!) is just idiotic. Does anyone really believe this coffee house blather about how  if we don’t want to make our health-care system an analogue to jury duty we’re choosing to “like Narcissus, perish in the contemplation of our own reflections.”

If that’s really how Cohen feels about the issue, the answer is a lot simpler than a total overhaul of the health-care system: Get out more.

*Well, I guess you can, but then the government gets to choose whether to bust your ass, and how hard to bust it.


2 Responses to “It just sounds so good . . . but Logic Fail.”

  1. Not to mention, government _agencies_ (to which Congress “delegates” the power to make rules with the force of law, but not the obligation to go through the usual lawmaking channels) are generally staffed with appointees, not elected officials. As unresponsive and unaccountable as Congress has become, a “national health service” would be fundamentally _less_ responsive and accountable, both in staff and in procedure.

  2. agus said

    Good article and thanks for your information.

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