Paul Rahe At Ricochet: ‘What Is Wrong With The Individual Mandate?’

Full piece here.

Rahe responds to a commenter thus:

‘There is a simple answer to the question posed by ParisParamus. Government exists first and foremost for the sake of our protection. Without it, our lives and our property would not effectively be our own. Government exists also to promote our well-being. For its support, however, taxation is necessary, and we have tacitly agreed that, to be legitimate, these taxes must be passed by our elected representatives. By our own consent, we give up a certain proportion of our earnings for these purposes.

The money left in our possession, however, is our own — to do with as we please. It is in this that our liberty largely lies. Romneycare and Obamacare, with the individual mandate, changes radically our relationship vis-a-vis the government.’

Rahe sees Romneycare as an intolerable compromise away from first principles (however pragmatic it may have been for Romney as governor of Massachussetts…as well as for the Republican party to oust Obama).

He concludes:

‘I doubt that anything will be done by this managerial progressive to roll back the administrative entitlements state. If I am right in my fears in this regard, the Tea Party impulse will dissipate; the Republican party will split; the Democrats will return in 2016; and 2012 will be seen in retrospect as just another bump in the long, gentle road leading us to soft despotism.’

Comments are worth a read.

Also On This Site:  Straussians likely see a long fall away from virtue, from Natural right, from the reason/revelation distinction into the flawed logic of moral relativism and the triumph of a post-Enlightenment pursuit of truth under reason alone (addition: and the 1st and 2nd crises of modernity); the successes and dangers of historicism:  From Volokh: Harvey Mansfield Reviews ‘The Executive Unbound’From The Weekly Standard: Harvey Mansfield Reviews Paul Rahe’s “Soft Despotism, Democracy’s Drift”Update And Repost: ‘A Few Thoughts On Allan Bloom–The Nietzsche / Strauss Connection’Some Tuesday Quotations From Leo Strauss

Peter Singer discusses Hegel and MarxFrom Philosophy And Polity: ‘Historicism In German Political Theory’

From The New England Journal Of Medicine Via CATO: ‘The Constitutionality of the Individual Mandate’

From If-Then Knots: Health Care Is Not A Right…But Then Neither Is Property?… From The New Yorker: Atul Gawande On Health Care-”The Cost Conundrum”Sally Pipes At Forbes: ‘A Plan That Leads Health Care To Nowhere’Peter Suderman At The WSJ: ‘Obamacare And The Medicaid Mess’

3 thoughts on “Paul Rahe At Ricochet: ‘What Is Wrong With The Individual Mandate?’

  1. will be reading Republics Ancient and Modern.
    Healthcare in the United States is such a sensitive subject; by saying “I filled my prescription today, $23!” you run the chance of getting into a bitter debate with your fellow.
    As far as I can tell all systems are flawed. There are benefits and hurdles and really it depends on the personal situation of a person how he/she views Obamacare and such.
    Fact#1: There should be %100 healthcare coverage
    Fact#2: There should be QUALITY coverage
    Fact#3: We the People of America have instituted a democratic government whose job it is to protect our collective interests and well being. They need to do a better job of it.

  2. As to:

    Fact 1: Goodness, that’s a high number. Cradle to grave…for everyone? You mean, 100% of people, of diseases? An absurd claim.
    Fact 2: You get what you pay for.
    Fact 3: The job of that government is to secure life, liberty, and property alone, on my view, and I don’t presume to call it a fact.

    It does not follow that because of rising costs and the fact that we treat large numbers of people now….without their ability to pay….that government’s role should be expanded and defined to protect our “collective interests”. As Rahe points out, the mandate will fundamentally change how our relationship to our government functions, giving it much more power than it currently has. It will go to the Supreme Court.

    Sadly, my guess is you would never:

    1. get the wish list you have graciously shared. You would likely get elected officials sitting over a pot of public money doing things that elected officials do with public money. You would likely have some knowledgeable, perhaps even good, hard-working people work in and oversee a a long term fiscally unsustainable health delivery system that by law prohibited the kind of research and risk-taking available now…which drives innovation.

    You would get a lot of bureaucracy, brochures, and crappy public waiting rooms. You would still have a lot of poor, sick people and disease. You would get waiting lists, and some demoralized doctors and some twisted incentives to game the system. You would also clearly see over time that some people (beacuse they have money, or they know the right people) would get better care anyways.

    2. You would never realize just what freedoms you had sacrificed in order to get your plan, simply beacuse you assumed your ideals were universal, and true, and you insisted the world, other people, fit into them.

    See the link at the bottom of the post to The New England Journal of Medicine, it’s pretty well done.

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