Today, the socialists have taught most Americans to expect lots of things — government schools, government fire and police protection — are and should be “free.”
They’re not. Everything has to be paid for.
Is free health care “a right”? You can’t have a right that imposes an obligation on anyone else. (Jury service is slightly problematical, though because jury service can be — ought to be — voluntary, that needn’t be a problem.)
If I have a right to medical care, do I have a right to put a gun to the head of a doctor and threaten to shoot him if he won’t treat me? Is it more moral for some third party do this for me?
Because no one should starve — any more than they should die of lack of treatment for an illness or injury — doesn’t it follow that food is also “a right”? If so, then as long as I can claim hunger, shouldn’t I have the right to break into my neighbor’s house, hold a gun to her head and make her give me half the food in her refrigerator? Or hire some third party in a government uniform to do this for me?
Why not? What’s the difference?
The socialists duck the question, insisting, “That would never happen. We’ll just send the rich neighbor a tax bill, and use the proceeds of their ‘voluntary’ tax payments to provide food stamps for the hungry poor.”
And if he refuses to pay his taxes?
“Well, everyone has to pay their taxes. The non-compliant person who owes taxes will be sent many notices; they have many chances to have it explained to them why they must pay.”
But if they don’t pay, men with guns will eventually go to their home and evict them, right? And if they resist they might be burned out or shot?
“Oh, that hardly ever happens. Why do you insist on coming up with these extreme hypotheticals?”
The underlying urge of the socialists is understandable, and inherently decent — so long as no one has to confront the real-world coercion it requires.
They keep insisting socialism was never meant to produce the mass killings of Pol Pot or the Nazis (“National Socialists”) or the mass starvation and slave camps of Stalin. They can’t understand why things ever went so far. Just bad executive recruitment, apparently. That stuff would never happen here.
A rich guy has more money than he needs and decides to spend $10,000 on cosmetic surgery he could easily live without. Across town we have a poor woman, a cripple (sorry: a “differently abled person”) who could walk again if only that $10,000 were spent on her surgery instead.
Obviously, a wise and compassionate society would “encourage” the rich guy to forgo his elective cosmetic surgery and instead “contribute” the $10,000 toward medical care for the poor woman, whose life would be improved so much more if the allocation were shifted to benefit her instead of him.
But the darned greedy rich guy just won’t go along with our plan, saying he’s chosen to donate to other charities and has other plans for his wealth, like building some crummy factory that could supposedly “create some jobs.” (Why, they’re not even “green” jobs!) So of course we have to tax his $10,000 away from him to make a better use of it.
He then turns around and declares he won’t pay any more taxes; he won’t show any income from here on in, he’ll just quit work and live off his investments.
Well, we can’t have our wise and beneficent plan stymied by that kind of greedy hoarding and tax evasion, so we also tax the interest and dividends from his investments — investments he made with after-tax dollars.
He tries to evade us again, by moving to Panama with all his money. Hold on there, bub. Can’t have that. You’re going to have to pay an “exit tax” and forfeit any assets you failed to “declare,” assuming we let you leave at all. Gotta pay your fair share. Plan won’t work if we allow folks to hoard scarce resources, to step out of line, to bribe doctors with cash payments. …
But these wide-eyed “reformers” just can’t imagine how Lenin’s well-meaning socialism ever transformed into Stalin’s massive slave camp, with people shot if they tried to escape over the barbed wire in the snow. It was all just a matter of bad personnel decisions, you see.
It’s all set up with the best of intentions to allow us to ration scarce health care to benefit the poor woman who needs it most. How can it be fair to allow one person to grow rich enough to buy whatever he wants for himself and his family, while the unlucky poor person does without? It’s not the unlucky poor person’s fault she went to worthless government schools, bore children out of wedlock, lived in a crime-ridden project built by the government, raised young hoodlums without any male adult guidance, got into drugs …
Have you no compassion? Can’t you see the need to seize away the wealth from those who were simply lucky enough to land and hold jobs, to start businesses, to slave 70 hours a week to create new jobs for others while delaying gratification of many of their wants in order to save for their family’s rainy days?
Why on earth should we assume that if we keep punishing hard work and frugality and savings, seizing money from the ever-smaller number of folks who exhibit those behaviors in order to hand it to those who keep blowing their welfare checks, this will somehow discourage hard work and savings and investment, while encouraging spend-it-now profligacy, with ever more hands out for another check come Monday?
People who suggest that just aren’t being very nice.
Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Review-Journal and author of the books “The Ballad of Carl Drega” and “The Black Arrow.” See www.vinsuprynowicz.com/ and http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/vin/.