“Theodore Dalrymple” is the pen name of Anthony Daniels, a British writer, and retired prison psychiatrist. He is also a contributing editor at City Journal, and the author of several books, including Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass, Our Culture, What’s Left of It, and Spoilt Rotten: The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality. (I think that you can see from the titles of thee books why I like this guy.)
To celebrate the selection of The Skeptical Doctor as today’s Blog of the Day (right side bar), I present this excellent, cogent refutation of the silly, emotionally-driven belief that there is a “right” to health care, a belief by the way that in case you hadn’t noticed is enthusiastically embraced by our Dear Reader and his merry band of Marxists. I like to say that health care is a “right” in the same way that freshly-picked cotton was a right to plantation owners in the Confederacy in 1850. Or as Dalrymple puts it in this Wall Street Journal piece:
If there is a right to health care, someone has the duty to provide it. Inevitably, that “someone” is the government. Concrete benefits in pursuance of abstract rights, however, can be provided by the government only by constant coercion.
People sometimes argue in favor of a universal human right to health care by saying that health care is different from all other human goods or products. It is supposedly an important precondition of life itself. This is wrong: There are several other, much more important preconditions of human existence, such as food, shelter and clothing.
Everyone agrees that hunger is a bad thing (as is overeating), but few suppose there is a right to a healthy, balanced diet, or that if there was, the federal government would be the best at providing and distributing it to each and every American.
Where does the right to health care come from? Did it exist in, say, 250 B.C., or in A.D. 1750? If it did, how was it that our ancestors, who were no less intelligent than we, failed completely to notice it?
If, on the other hand, the right to health care did not exist in those benighted days, how did it come into existence, and how did we come to recognize it once it did?
Indeed. Wouldn’t you love to force the One to try to answer these questions. He also points out what is obvious to intelligent people who have given any thought to the question of government controlled health care.
Not coincidentally, the U.K. is by far the most unpleasant country in which to be ill in the Western world. Even Greeks living in Britain return home for medical treatment if they are physically able to do so.
The government-run health-care system—which in the U.K. is believed to be the necessary institutional corollary to an inalienable right to health care—has pauperized the entire population. This is not to say that in every last case the treatment is bad: A pauper may be well or badly treated, according to the inclination, temperament and abilities of those providing the treatment. But a pauper must accept what he is given. (emphasis mine)
Read the whole thing. It’s well worth your time.