Thursday, August 13, 2009

National Health Insurance and Freedom

Milton Friedman's Capitalism and Freedom argues that governmental control of economic resources eliminates personal freedom. In the Soviet Union, critics of the state could be deprived of work because the state controlled jobs. Friedman argues that economic freedom is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for personal freedom and civil liberties. Not all capitalist states, such as Chile and China, are liberal with respect to personal freedom, but no purely socialist state is liberal. Sweden is a good example even though it is not purely socialist. A good book on that subject is Roland Huntford's New Totalitarians, which documents a very lengthy list of ways that the socialist state in Sweden and Swedish society suppress individual liberty.

The effect of governmental power on freedom is easily seen in the expansion of government-supported universities, which exclude conservatives and libertarians from employment. One hundred percent of the institutions of higher learning in New York, public and private, are government supported, and all exclude from employment professors who disagree with state expansion. I frequently receive mail from professors and/or students that says "if you do not believe in government, then why do you work for a public university?" In other words, the state expands the scope of its power, and dissidents are to be excluded from its operations, ensuring that they are to remain unemployed. Only believers in state power are to be employed by state universities, according to this argument.That is, protest of the state's expansion is to be punished through unemployment.

Advocates of the "you work at CUNY so you should favor big government" position are in essence saying that in a purely socialist economy no disagreement with socialism will be permitted since all jobs would be controlled by the government. How can you work for the government if you disagree with government power? You will either work and survive or you will disagree with socialism. Not both.

There is much clear evidence of suppression of speech in universities, but none as clear as suggested in that argument, which has been made by readers of this blog several times. The advocates of socialism aim to silence and suppress all who disagree with them, and as the state gains power, they will economically punish anyone who disagrees, just as university professors have excluded liberals* from employment.

Now what should we fear from national health insurance? What kind of health care can dissidents in a socialized America expect when academics and officials of a socialist bureaucracy control access to health care? Will personal freedom exist? I think not. Will dissidents receive care in a socialist America? Or will they be compelled to undergo psychiatric treatment as they were in the Soviet Union?

A government-dominated health plan, national health insurance, is a threat to freedom and it should be feared. It should be feared because its advocates, the social democrats in the Democratic Party, are intolerant thugs.

*In case you're not used to this use of "liberal", the true meaning of the word liberal is "libertarian". The concept of "state activist liberalism" is an Orwellian corruption of language. Liberals believe in freedom, in liberalis, in liberalism. They do not believe in big government. That is the ideology of fascism, communism, socialism and authoritarianism and, of course, social democracy.


Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Langbert:
You say:

Advocates of the "you work at CUNY so you should favor big government" position are in essence saying that in a purely socialist economy no disagreement with socialism will be permitted since all jobs would be controlled by the government.

You have twisted the words. My argument is that you have the choice of buying Health Insurance from CUNY. Just give us the same opportunity. You take what you want and deny the rest of us the choice of just considering the option that you have.

Dr. Langbert give up your CUNY healthcare and buy insurance from the market. I dare you.

vakeraj said...

I once got into an argument with a gentlemen about nationalized health insurance. He called me a hypocrite, saying that if I opposed the expansion of governmental power, I shouldn't attend a state university (I was an undergraduate at the University of Florida at the time). I pointed out that, so long as state services exist, and I pay for them through my tax dollars (FL is funded through a sales tax, so my lack of income was not an issue), I am free to use state services as I please. It's worthwhile to point out that the existence of free government roads crowds out the private market for highways. What am I supposed to do, not drive?

Mitchell Langbert said...

Dear Anonymous: I think you were the one who made this comment. Since you and your ideological allies never identify yourselves it is difficult to know:

"Are you willing to give up your privileges as a CUNY Faculty member? Your anti-government positions will have more resonance if you do."

If not, there have been at least five people in the past couple of years who have contacted me with comments and e-mails. Some have said that I should resign from CUNY, some have intimated it and some, as you, suggested that anyone who disagrees with the social democratic party line does not belong at a public university.

The beauty of electronic communication is that you cannot deny what you said.

As far as health insurance, I have worked in corporate firms for nearly 10 years. I worked for "private" universities for 7 years, I have worked for CUNY for 11 yeaars and I briefly worked for the NY State Assembly for about six months. The best insurance I had was at Inco Ltd., one of my first employers, a large mining firm, Dowling College, where I taught in 1994 and the NY State Assembly. The worst is probably at CUNY. CUNY's providing me with health insurance is part of the normal compensation package provided to the majority of jobs in the country. If there are 45 million uninsured, there are 255 million insured, most of whom are insured by private insurers and who work for private companies. The plan at CUNY is barely market competitive.

When you say "give us the same opportunity" are you saying that you have been unable to find a job with health insurance? Because for most of my adult life I have been covered by my employer and and the majority of years that was for private sector jobs.

If you are having trouble finding a job, rather than advocating backward legislation like the Obama health plan, which hopefully will be just another welfare plan, and at worst will be the beginning of government control of health care, I can help you learn how to find a job.

Generally, Americans who cannot find work have been crippled by the government run education system, which teaches that you can get something for nothing; that government creates wealth; and that if you are a failure, it is society's, not your, fault.

I can help you learn how to find a job. There are many good jobs out there, jobs that provide health insurance. You do not need to be a beggar, looking to government to provide you with a welfare plan.

But in order to to what I'm saying, you need a modicum of self respect and you'll need to speak to me in person.