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Here is an interesting argument I've heard:

Universal/nationalized healthcare provides everyone with a way of paying for healthcare. This way, a person does not have to worry about how to pay for his/her healthcare and therefore, he/she has the freedom to devote his/her financial resources to other productive activities. Also, taking the worry out of providing healthcare to employees gives employers the freedom to devote financial resources to expanding business. In conclusion, universal healthcare expands a person's freedom to do productive things without having to worry about how to finance his medical bills. The same argument is extended to social security, as it allows a person to spend his money without having to worry about saving for retirement.

So, the question is: Doesn't universal healthcare, or any government program that takes care of a person, expand a person's freedom in some ways?

asked May 27 '13 at 09:47

user890's gravatar image


edited May 27 '13 at 09:49


Ayn Rand, in her writings on government programs, put forth a good question which applies to matters such as this: "At whose expense?"

At the expense of the able, of course, and for the satisfaction of some statist's desire to free 'the little man' from the reality that health care, like any good or service, must be produced and doesn't exist in a finite quantity which the government may distribute on a whim.

This is a good commentary on the nature of universal health care: http://www.theobjectivestandard.com/blog/index.php/2012/07/what-obamacare-means-to-me/

(May 27 '13 at 10:41) AYoungObj AYoungObj's gravatar image

No. Not as the word "freedom" is used in a political context, anyway.

"Freedom, in a political context, has only one meaning: the absence of physical coercion."

"Freedom, in a political context, means freedom from government coercion. It does not mean freedom from the landlord, or freedom from the employer, or freedom from the laws of nature which do not provide men with automatic prosperity. It means freedom from the coercive power of the state—and nothing else."


(May 27 '13 at 12:49) anthony anthony's gravatar image

This is an example of confusing negative and positive liberty. Negative liberty is defined by the absence of force, leaving an individual free to do as they wish. Positive liberty is the abundance of opportunity, so individuals have the "liberty" to do as many things as possible. Collectivists seek the latter. Classical liberals seek the former.

(Jun 11 '13 at 23:28) JK Gregg ♦ JK%20Gregg's gravatar image
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One might just as well ask: "Doesn't the legal permission to rob one's neighbor expand a person's freedom in some ways?"

Well, sure: it makes a person free to rob his neighbor -- free to commit an injustice -- free to get away with doing something immoral and unjust.

The same is true of universal health care. It frees you to rob your neighbor to pay for your medical bills. It is an injustice which the government permits and commits.

Only by ignoring your neighbor's right to his property can you possibly consider universal health care to constitute a net increase in freedom. In fact, though, universal health care is a grand assault on freedom -- the freedom of people to spend their own money as they see fit.

Health care is is an important value which has to be paid for. The question is, why should you be forced to pay for the health care of someone you do not know, and why should someone you do not know be forced to pay for your health care?

Our society has never given an answer to these simple questions -- because there is no answer. There are only myopic rationalizations such as: having free health care increases my freedom.

If I do not know you, I do not owe you anything except to leave you alone. And you owe me the same treatment.

If we live under a government that steals wealth and gives it to "needy" people, they do not become more free as a result, for when the money runs out, the former "needy" will be the new victims of the government.

To steal from one man to give to another violates one man's right of property, and assaults the other's character by turning him into a stooge for looters.

answered Jun 08 '13 at 21:44

John%20Paquette's gravatar image

John Paquette ♦

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Asked: May 27 '13 at 09:47

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Last updated: Jun 11 '13 at 23:28