Wednesday, February 27, 2019


Kevin D. Williamson has it made; during his time of trouble the conservative intellectual establishment turned out to sing his praises, and they are apparently disinclined to revisit that evaluation (because who would that leave, Ben Shapiro?), as Williamson has been just churning out bile-burps at National Review ever since. Dig this lede:
Senator Bernie Sanders, gamely making the case for socialism on CNN, offers a familiar argument: that access to health care and other goods like it should be understood as a “right.” 
Properly understood, that claim is literally nonsensical, having the grammatical form of a sentence but no meaningful content, inasmuch as it is logically meaningless to declare a right in a scarce good. (I am using scarce here in its economic sense rather than in its common conversational sense.)
Does his lofty dudgeon leave you unconvinced? Brace yourself, here comes the argument:
For example: If you have twelve children and six cupcakes, the possibilities of division remain the same even if you declare that every child has the “right” to an entire cupcake of his own. Goods are physical, while rights are metaphysical, and the actual facts of the real world are not transformed by our deciding to talk about them in a different way...
[Several irrelevant slurs later]
When a politician declares a “right” in a scarce good, it indicates either that he is a simpleton or that he believes you to be, and one’s as good as the other, that being another defect in democracy.
Health care is a limited resource like the hypothetical twelve cupcakes -- you cannot create more health care by, say, having a rich nation that drops trillions on wars and billionaire tax cuts spend its money instead on training and employing doctors and medical facilities, any more than you can make more than twelve cupcakes.

The rest is almost as bad:
Senator Sanders points to the Scandinavian model as an example of what it means to have health care as a right. Senator Sanders has traveled widely in his life — he found much to praise in the Soviet Union while honeymooning there, and said so — but he is, like many American progressives, almost completely parochial.
I'll spare you: Williamson is not dumb enough to repeat the much-ridiculed conservative argument that Scandinavian healthcare is not socialist and we can't have it here because that would be socialism. He does come close, though; he tells us Scandinavian healthcare is not socialist -- for example, "private out-of-pocket spending on health care is proportionally higher in Sweden... than in the United States," though you don't hear as much about Swedes being left homeless or doing without life-saving medicine due to cost as you do in the U.S. due to their, um, not-socialism. He also admits U.S. health care sucks.

So why, then, can't we have what Sweden is having? Williamson's trick answer -- and this will surprise no one familiar with his contempt for dying hillbilly communities-- is that the Swedes are morally superior to grasping Yanks:
[Swedish] citizens are understood not as baby birds with open beaks being fed by the state, but as having primary responsibility for themselves. “It has the connotation that you have the social obligation to be competent,” Sanandaji says. 
Not a right, but a duty...
Get that through your fat heads, leeches!
In the United States, we have a poor and diminished notion of citizenship, that citizens are only “taxpayers” and “voters.” Good citizens, in the inescapable contemporary formulation, are those who “play by the rules and pay their taxes.” That’s the real individual mandate: Pay and obey. The progressive proposition is that, in exchange for this obedience, childlike citizens are to be provided for by government in loco parentis, and that their role in this is almost entirely passive: submit to taxation, follow the regulations, receive the benefits. Hence the rhetoric of health care as a right. 
A fuller and more mature notion of citizenship would be one that holds, as ours once did, that among the first duties of the citizen is to provide for himself and look after his family so as not to burden his neighbors unnecessarily.
In other words: Swedes understand what their taxes pay for, and are thus worthy to have their cancer treated, while Americans are all weak-willed socialist moochers who must have socialized medicine forcibly held back from them by bigbrains like Kevin D. Williamson.

It's not that you can't have it because it's socialism -- you can't have it because you suck. Vote Republican!

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