The More Things Change … the more they stay the same


I was circling back on a few articles that I had filed away in my personal news archive, I use a product called Pocket, it is a great service. I recommend them. I found this gem and instantly remembered why I flagged it!

A few weeks ago there was an interview on NBC between the host and an economist professor from MIT, his name is Jonathan Gruber. The topic surrounded the fiasco of the Affordable Care Act and the mechanism based on the Massachusetts healthcare law. This individual was involved in both foundations and his perspective was alarming to me. There is a quote from the interview:

The only way to end that discriminatory system [health insurance] is to bring everyone into the system and pay one fair price. That means that the genetic winners, the lottery winners, who’ve been paying an artificially low price because of this discrimination now will have to pay more in return.

Dr. Gruber’s tone struck me has profoundly arrogant and almost holier-than-thou. It is another classic case of the self-proclaimed elite deciding where the line shall be drawn to be “fair” and to ensure the equality of outcomes. I wanted to investigate this further; my logic lead me to something called Social Darwinism. It takes the “survive of the fittest” mentality and applies it to social situations and with any good statist, this would mean the application to every situation. Darwin’s theory has been profoundly taken out of context and applied falsely in ways he, himself, might not appreciate. His theories were based on nature’s basic toughness mechanism. We [humans] have decided that we are smart enough to help nature along in this “purification” process. In one way or another we have applied this technique and returned a less than favorable result each time. The most blunt and sinister application of Social Darwinism is Eugenics; the active culling of the undesirable humans by any means necessary. The evils committed under these precepts are numerous; Nazis Germany, the genocides across central Africa, applications are prolific around the world.

This particular application is certainly of a milder manner but I would like to expand on its darker underwriting. I have a series of rhetorical questions. If indeed there are people who are naturally healthier than others – is it the government’s business to balance this? Do they have any authority to punish, through the force of a positive right for the benefit of another? If a person exercises and eats healthy – are they politically (civilly and socially) bound to another’s behavior? Does this create an atmosphere to promote the general welfare or are we consuming ourselves? What is the chance that more people will behave in a way that punishes them for that behavior by paying into a system, by force of law, that they will not get a return? It is a progressive tax on healthy people – there is nothing fair about it.

The most absurd notion is that government can eliminate discrimination. Discrimination is elemental and essential. We are all created differently and uniquely. We all have strengths and weaknesses – government’s charter is not to conform all of us into a uniform Utopia. Every time it tries – government fails. The unfortunate consequence is seen cost of human life but more often the unseen costs of capital – both human and economic. The more things change – the more they stay the same; man’s rule over man will always be a cycle.

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