Conservatism and choice

| Forum Editor

“So you just don’t want to pay for stuff for other people? That’s your hang-up with the health bill?” I’ve gotten this question many times. Many who do not share my political persuasions and don’t really understand them simply see universal health care as being, in my eyes, just something else I don’t want to be taxed for. Granted, a big part of economic conservatism is predicated on not wanting to pay for things that we cannot afford and that will provide more harm than benefit; however, that’s only part of the equation. The other half of the issue is one of choice: I don’t like being told what I can or cannot do.

Individual rights are paramount to just about anything else in conservative ideology. The free market and the free man ought to go hand in hand. As individuals, we make decisions to go to the grocery store and buy apples. We decide whether to buy tires for our cars, batteries for our calculators, and doors for our houses. Not so surprisingly, there are no laws requiring me or anybody else to purchase any of the aforementioned items. Conversely, and to the surprise and dismay of many, there is a law requiring me to buy health insurance or pay a stiff fine.

Note that this isn’t the Federal Government giving us health care. That’d be marginally less bad, but still god-awful for different reasons. Instead, they’re telling the nation that it must go buy something it may or may not want. As bad as that may be, the real kicker is that if you buy health insurance that covers too much, you get taxed! Better policies are now the target of fines. I cannot have zero health care coverage, that’d be a travesty. Yet I cannot have good health care either—that’s equally unacceptable. Those with less than some supposedly correct amount of insurance are forced to bulk up while anyone with a little too much gets knocked down to size.

The pro-reform Democrats in Congress need to stop trampling on our freedom of choice. The idea that some quixotic politician who lacks understanding of finance, economics or political philosophy should be using the government to tell me what to do is repulsive. It’s un-American. Why do I not have a right to buy what kind of care I think is best for me? Whether that’s buying the king of insurance plans or just saving money instead of buying anything whatsoever, what right does Congress have to interfere with my financial and health-related decisions?

What’s free about being told what to buy and how much? What if the government mandated that every citizen must purchase a Maserati lest they be fined? Such a proposition would be attacked by just about everyone as being illegal or unjust. Why is health care any different? There are benefits to health insurance reform and there are costs. The same holds true for compulsory Maserati buying.

If somebody does not want health insurance, why are they being forced to buy it? People need to think for themselves these days. While you ought to be free to purchase whatever health insurance policy you want, why can it not also be a right to refrain from buying something that is unwanted? The left touts reform as a fair solution to the problem of health care inequality; this is far from fair. I want the freedom to decide my own way in life. If I think I can spend my money for my benefit better than the government can, then shouldn’t I have that right? If you support the individual freedom to think and act for yourself, then the answer should be yes.

  • student

    I think Markel is counting on not getting sick. Well I guess if he does then he can “die a true American”.

  • Fi-ash

    A question for Markel: you have the choice of $5 or $3 or a govt could guarantee you $7. What do you prefer the govt to do? One situation has more choice, what has better outcome? Democrats want to improve outcomes even if that means minimizes inferior choices