National health systems have been shown to be cheaper per user than private insurance. Refusing them because others would be forced to pay even if they don't want insurance is not acting on self-interest.
It would not be rational self-interest as defined by Rand. The general philosophy is that you cannot take something that is not yours, nor can you compel people to do something just because you believe it advances the "public good." A specific question asked by Rand in Atlas Shrugged: "Who is the public, and what exactly does it define as good?" -- or something like that. Your argument is simply Utilitarianism, a philosophy disproved and discredited in any reputable undergraduate freshman Introduction to Philosophy class.
Is it really? Security systems, at least where I live, are expensive and of dubious effectiveness. Not to mention that according to economists, the false positive rate of alarms is more than 90%, costing billions of dollars to the US economy per year.
Again, you are arguing for expediency rather than what is right. Libertarians and Objectivists do NOT advocate expediency; to do so is to simply say that "the ends justify the means." It is what makes people who believe what you do, and advocate for the things you want, no better than murderous tyrants like the Soviets, or Mao, or Castro. Actually, you're worse than them. At least they admitted to what they really were.
Well, according to most people arguing pro-guns, there's no such thing as "simply buying a gun". They tell me that gun owners undergo extensive and regular training/practice, which is time that could be better spent doing something else, in my opinion.
If you have a family - and particularly children - you should also consider the psychological effects, particularly the fear of having a burglar in the home, possibly witnessing the killing, etc. Not to mention that if you're not at home your gun won't be of much use.
Finally, one should consider the possibility of an accidental discharge; after all, there are thousands of gun accidents per year, and while plenty are no doubt caused by the owner's own stupidity, they don't all just "happen to others".
Your value of your time is not the same as my value of my time. The time-consuming regulations and training were instituted by people like you anyway, so that's a circular argument. It could just as easily be done privately growing up (I didn't have a gun and wasn't comfortable around them, but I certainly want a RIGHT to a gun and as many other means of self-defense as possible that is/are more than a vague abstraction).
If not at home, security system. New ones have video monitoring you can get right on your smartphone, supposedly. Cooperate with your neighbor, maybe he can check into something if the cops can't get there. And the psychological effects? I'm pretty sure my kid would be more traumatized (maybe even kidnapped or raped) by the burglar hurting them than me shooting a prowler in front of them. If you are worried about accidents, do you drive? Because there's way more car deaths in this country than gun deaths. Maybe you should just live in a bubble if your argument for not doing something is "an accident might happen." You don't even seem to have a real critique here, just your personal emotions of what you WISH the world were like.
The rest of us have a simple critique: your actions are unjustifiably and immorally causing us harm in the pursuit of your own goals, and we will fight you forvever (to varying degrees).
Typical black-and-white view, and completely not appropriated in rational self-interest, which demands pragmatism.
"We don't negotiate" only works when the other party wants to negotiate - like with kidnappers who ask for ransom - because they only gain something if you do negotiate.
Thieves, on the other hand, won't stop robbing just because you refuse to pay them, because they gain from the theft itself. The situation is completely different.
"If it is now believed that my fellow men may sacrifice me in any manner they please for the sake of whatever they believe to be their own good, if they believe that they may seize my property simply because they need it - well, so does any burglar. There is only this difference: the burglar does not ask me to sanction his act." - Ayn Rand.
There are times I can see where compassion works, but not as a payout. For example, Slate just did a great article about citizens who get swept up in legal dragnets and end up with misdemeanors on their record, which can come back to haunt them later (just Google Slate + Misdemeanor + Article, it should be the first result). So I don't think people should be railroaded by the government - however, I don't think it should be "because they're poor and I feel bad for them" like you, but because I believe everyone should have due process and a presumption of innocence. I don't think anyone should be in jail - a pretty inhumane thing to do to anyone - unless they pose a clear and present danger to society or have committed a very harmful act, but all too often, that isn't what's happening.
But that does NOT mean I give quarter to those who say "Give me stuff or I will be a criminal." Get your own stuff. If you cannot get your own stuff and you try to take mine or someone else's, you deserve the bullet that's coming to you. I don't care about your excuses. Another's needs do not justify your taking anything from them. If you believe that someone can take from others because they need something, want something, or just aren't getting what others are because they don't have the ability to do it for themselves, then by YOUR OWN PHILOSOPHY, you must also believe that rape should be legal. After all, ugly people can't get laid nearly as easily. And that will make them antisocial and depressed and they will cost society money if they don't get some satisfaction. Does that sound ugly? I think it sounds ugly and horrible. But that is exactly the sort of thing you have been arguing for.
Yeah, except accidents happen to young people as well. Disease strikes everyone. As was noted in the Republican primary, the most unlikely to carry insurance are upper-20s lower-30s people. They have not saved enough to survive upon for the rest of their lives. What are you going to do, let them die? Even if you take the compassion out of it, does a society survive when it spends large sums of money to feed and educate someone and then lets them die? Let's put it in a more timely example: You can either force an ambulance to take, and a hospital to treat, everyone who needs it (welfare) or you could insist that everyone prove they have a method of pay beforehand. Ignoring the fact that the poor would obviously revolt over the latter Rand-like choice, how do you practically go about doing it? Everyone with insurance must carry a card? What if they have a heart attack while swimming, or their wallet or purse is lost or burned in a crash? What if you're super rich and self-insure? How do you go about proving that? What if what you think is enough money to self-insure isn't what society or the hospital thinks is enough?
I am not, in any way, legally responsible for young peoples' inability or unwillingness to save. To create a system in which I somehow am, against my will, is an immoral act, and I reject it outright.
The alternative to letting someone die is forcing someone to save them. Now, I think it's lovely that there are people who are noble enough to save others. But it MUST be by choice. I will not surrender that freedom, and so long as I don't have a choice, I refuse to help you or anyone like you. So yes, someone like you, I would let them die. They deserve it for their beliefs.
As far as "treat only the insured," if anyone is responsive and coherent, they can easily show proof of coverage. In a life-saving emergency, it can be handled after the fact. Between technology and being pragmatic, 99% of cases wouldn't even be a problem. The problem with health care is everyone wants the best care money can buy, but that's insanely expensive -- so any socialized system lends itself to rationing and governments dictating what treatments are allowed. So if you're middle class you're double screwed: you lose your ability to get effective treatment, and you have to pay more for the poor.
Here's an example: I take a maintenance medication that's $300/month. If my insurance stops paying, I can still buy it. It would suck, but I could do it. If the government gets involved, they might say I'm not ALLOWED to take it, ruining my quality of life. I do not trust you or them. If there's anything in my life I'm willing to commit immoral acts to keep from happening -- it's that. But people like you are the danger to me, not a corporation that's raking in big profits. Your system is the one in which society would decide what is "enough." It's terrifying, and while it handles BASIC medical care very well, if someone has a serious problem, your system is the one where they are most likely to be told they can fuck off and die unless they're super rich. Your system is me paying more, for less.
Also, if it weren't for many government regulations, health care would be cheaper. Their involvement can only make it more expensive or less effective. There will be no incentive for it to be cheaper and there will be no recourse when they do something wrong (you might only have a 1% chance of beating a corporation, but you have about a 0% chance of beating the government).
Those are certainly options, my question is what happens when it would cost a few hundred dollars to placate a would-be robber versus a few thousand to run a security system. When it becomes rationally smart to just pay because it is cheaper than resist. Another timely example: You are on the street and grabbed and pulled into an alley. "Your money or your life" he says. Now on one hand, a true Randian would be forced to fight, because they don't give in to parasites. But on the other hand, a true Randian is rationally self-interested, and knows that fighting increases your odds of dying greatly. It's self-conflicting. You are absolutely crazy if you think this is not what we do all the time. Not only is it done in our foreign affairs, but even amongst Americans. You just don't think it because you don't view our civil court system as playing a role here, or homeless shelters playing a role here. You don't think it because often the people who stick us up are oil companies and medical establishments. I see I put this phrase largely in the personal crime aspect but I meant corporate crime too.
Well, any libertarian or objectivist is against corporate crime and collusion. We see government agencies as captured by one of two parties: (a) corporations, who write the rules in their favor, or (b) ideologues, who write the rules in order to impose their will on a society of millions. We view both as evil. We're usually more scared of (b) than (a), but we certainly don't approve of either.
Well, a true Randian would rather die than give in to a parasite, especially some low-life criminal. Of course, they'd also have taken practical steps to stop the criminals from having a good chance at hurting them in the first place. And they'd have taken steps to be ready for any lawbreaker who would confront them. If it's a robber and they're not home, they probably bought renter's insurance. So there's nothing self contradicting about this. And while I realize it is done in our foreign policy, often, such as foreign aid, I oppose all such actions on principle. Just because it's being done and is supposedly effective (a claim I doubt), it doesn't make it right.
[qupte]That's right, so the question is: What keeps these people from picking up their ball and going home? You have a system that, when it is working perfectly, prevents 4-5% of the population from holding the one thing that keeps them alive. You cannot systematically rotate these people (that destroys the system) so what do you do to the ones that are chronically not chosen for work? Ignoring the simple fairness that since your system is screwing them over it probably ought to take care of them, how do you propose to keep them in the game? If they were to quit looking, turn to crime, or die, the rest of the system would fall apart, and yet those are the most likely outcomes. Put yourself in the position of the chronically unemployed. The system needs you. Without you the lower rungs don't work hard. If they don't work hard the middle rungs don't work hard. The whole system fails. And yet, some would say these people get nothing. What is your incentive to keep looking for work rather than say, stealing? If you steal and succeed, yay money. If you lose, yay food and shelter. (Or are you suggesting we do away with prisons and just kill everyone guilty of any crime?) What is in his rational self-interest? What is his carrot to keep playing, and who pays for it?[/quote]
I think you misunderstood my point. I was talking about how some industries die and new ones rise up. You don't want the same 4-5% unemployed all the time. Yes, there are problems: our uneducated factory workers are obsolete, and there's nowhere for them to go. It was more profitable for them to collect 99 weeks of unemployment than to take a pay cut. The standards most companies have for hiring have become absurd - not even considering the unemployed? Even I find that completely fucked up and can't explain it. It's not even in THEIR interests to do that, because they're creating a permanent underclass with deep resentment against them. This is one thing that I admit has me utterly baffled, because it makes no sense. I'd love to hire the unemployed. For one thing, I bet they'd be cheaper, and maybe out to prove something (rather than a job-hopper who's only seeking a payday and advancement).
But a pro-growth policy gives them (and everyone) somewhere to go. The alternatives to capitalism remove any incentive to work hard at all. If no matter how hard I work, my life never gets better, why should I work at all?
Governments have not done very well at setting and enforcing the rules for economies, so far. But that is not an argument for playing with no rules, or for letting cabals of businessmen create and enforce the rules. We need something new and better.
I think plenty of us has criticized regulatory capture. The existence of the government apparatus itself is what allows big corporations to skew the rules in their favor. When they aren't running the show, ideologues tend not to distinguish between huge corporations and the little guy, and drive up costs which stagnates growth, killing the golden goose that funds all the things that they want to use the government to do.
If I made a regulatory change, here's one idea: I'd change the FDA from banning things to rating them for their safety. And your product is only as safe as its least safe product. So if Cheerios had lead paint in them, they'd be a zero. That way if someone wanted to take a risk with a new drug, they could -- but they'd be the one choosing the level of acceptable risk. To say "it has costs to others" because you favor a socialized system is a circular argument that misses the point; the people taking the risks should be the ones incurring the losses. I'd prefer that these ratings be done privately, but the FDA's power to ban effectively makes them an agency that picks winners and losers.
Here's another one: base the capital gains tax on the length of time an investment is held. You could kill short-term speculation overnight. Hold a stock/investment a day? Bang, 99% tax on profits. I can be reasonable when it's something like hedge funds, who are basically just gambling with society's money and well-being, and not contributing anything at all, while profiting from it -- and then getting bailouts when they screw up. I completely agree that situation is ridiculous. However, nobody is approaching the problem in the right way - Obama's "drive up the marginal tax rates" isn't going to do anything, and the marginal rate will eventually hit the middle class due to inflation. So we need smarter solutions, rather than things that make people feel good, but have little practical value relative to our severe problems (the entire assets of every millionaire in America would only fund the government for something like 47 days -- so, yeah, it's definitely a spending problem, not a tax problem).
Anyway, I'm not even a pure Objectivist. I'm mostly libertarian, and more strongly a civil libertarian/individual liberty advocate than anything. For me, I do not believe others have the moral right to compel me to act the way they want, merely for existing. I will gladly pay tax on resources, but I consider a tax on personal income from labor to be corrupt and immoral. And I definitely don't owe socialistic people a damn thing just because they want to get their way at my expense. They have a home; it's called Europe. I'd rather simply pay for their one-way plane tickets than for their social safety net. Now there's some rational self-interest for ya. It sure as hell would be a LOT cheaper.