While recently perusing topics that may interest me on the closest free market solution to peer review and peer accreditation that we currently have, I came across a question that asked Europeans whether they preferred the European/UK health care systems, or the United States’ system. Of course, the answer from the Europeans were varying degrees of snide and condescending, which I only note because my non-condescending answer was accused of such, in full disregard of how one of the Europeans’ answers began: “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA”.
The question about socialized medicine can easily be boiled down to one simple question: Would you rather have an expensive cancer cure now, or a free* cancer cure in eighty years? Despite fears that the United States is going to lose its technological and biotechnological edge, the numbers are in, and there’s actually been a 7% increase in the recent years. Beyond that, the United States alone is responsible for forty percent of all biomedical research papers. In fact, the United States produces more medical research papers than the next five countries combined.
One might be inclined to think that this is only possible if the United States is producing junk papers, yet this also is proven untrue by the numbers. American research papers are the most cited by an enormous margin, far outstripping even the 40% production line. While there isn’t a direct correlation between “medical research papers” and “medical advancement” there obviously will be some correlation, and it certainly serves as a valid metric for determining biotechnological research in the United States.
Take the Charile Gard case for example. This poor infant had a disease that was fatal. Doctors in the UK could do nothing but provide comfort for the child as he died. Doctors in the United States had a treatment–a long-shot treatment, but I will remind everyone that every new procedure initially begins as “a long-shot treatment.” Once upon a time, heart valve replacement surgeries were on the cutting edge of medicine and the last hope of the desperate. The first aortic valve replacement was done only 57 years ago, and I’ll give you one guess in what country this took place. If you said anything but “The United States,” then you might be out of touch with reality.
Even among the diehard European Socialists who jizz over their system, there is widespread admittance that medical care in the United States is top-notch. They simply add the caveat “if you can afford it.” Well, allow me to introduce you to a little device we call…. the television. Of course, the first television was demonstrated in San Francisco in the 1930s (yes, before Hitler attempted to show German might by making the first on-air broadcast). Adjusted for inflation, this television that cost $795 in 1948 with a 16 inch screen would cost $8,202.50 today.
That. For that. Can you imagine paying $8,202.50 for that? “Hell to the naw!” you might be saying. That’s what I said, so ridiculous is the idea. What sort of television will $8,000 get you today?
But you and I don’t have one of those, and neither do we want one. No, instead, we buy televisions in the $200 to $500 range. So what does a $200 television get you today? A standard 32 inch 1080p HDMI television. If we were to assign “Degrees of Awesomeness” to each machine, where the 1948 television was a 1 and the behemoth I just posted is a 100, then the ordinary television you have in your home is going to be around a 35 or 40.
Innovation & Competition Drive Down Prices
Why is it that, in 1984, you bought a tiny screen television for $650, yet today you can get a multitudes better television for merely a third of that price, and why is this almost exactly the opposite of what we see in the health care industry? Because the government didn’t really get involved in television manufacturing to grant monopolies to this coalition or that coalition. Many companies rose that wanted to sell you a television, and how could they entice you to buy theirs? By making one with better quality, by making it cheaper, and by selling it at a lower price.
Let’s rip on the Affordable Care Act for a moment. Even if you happen to live in a state that presents you with multiple options (Mississippi only has the one option), they’re all effectively the same. It doesn’t matter which you go with, because they are all required by law to offer the same things as the same prices to everyone. It’s obvious that this is bad for business. If this had been imposed on the television industry in 1948, we’d all be watching television on 16 inch black-and-white screens with monaural sound. There’s no competition in the health care industry today, so there’s no need to try to offer an enticing package to customers.
The Affordable Care Act: A Boon to Insurance Companies
Insurance is a relatively simple thing, although its formulae are complicated. The idea is this: you insure people against unexpected disasters. If those disasters happen, you pay for them. If they don’t, then you keep their money. It’s immediately obvious that, for this to be a viable business model, you need 100 customers who routinely go one month without any accidents if they pay you $1 per month and if the average cost of an accident is $99. We’re using simple numbers just to make the point. If the cost of whatever you’re insuring will be $100, and you have 100 customers each paying $1 a month, then if two accidents happen in a single month, you lose money.
This is the entire premise of insurance, and it’s why many rightly refer to it as gambling–it is identical to the casino industries. You might be that one person to actually go to the casino and win $1500, but if everyone went in and won that amount of money, they’d go out of business. It only works because most people lose money in system. Like gambling, insurance only works because most people don’t have vehicular accidents regularly. Some math people crunch the numbers and figure out how many customers they need at what monthly rates against x% of likely accidents in order to stay profitable.
Now imagine the absurdity of contacting your insurance company for the routine checkup on your vehicle. Imagine how broken the system would become if you invoked your insurance every time you had your tires rotated, or your spark plugs replaced. If the insurance company allowed these claims (they certainly wouldn’t), they would increase your monthly rates considerably. But imagine that the government has laws in place explicitly preventing them from increasing your monthly rates if you invoke your insurance too often, and other laws in place that will prevent insurance companies from denying your claims, no matter how mundane and predictable they are.
Within a few years, we’d have a completely broken auto insurance industry, with people clamoring for more government to fix it, when it was government that broke it in the first place. This is what has happened in the United States. People use their health insurance for every little thing: routine doctor visits, checkups, physicals, flu shots, penicillin prescriptions, you name it. And we do have laws on the books that prevent them from dropping people entirely for this, and from increasing their rates for such ludicrous behavior.
Moreover, you have people like me who exercise regularly and take pretty good care of themselves, are young and in good shape, and who simply have no need of health insurance. What can the health insurance company do to entice me to buy insurance from me? They could offer me lower rates and better benefits, right? Similar to how life insurance companies offer you things like “Pay us $12 per month for this $300,000 life insurance policy, and your monthly rate will never increase!” because they have calculated the odds, and they know that a person who does this every month, based on average life expectancy, will give them a profit. They’re not in this to lose money. Life insurance companies want you when you’re young, and so they offer you very low rates and offer to lock them in, no matter what.
Yet laws prevent them from offering me health insurance below certain thresholds. And even if they could do so, the system they have set up with doctors and hospitals ensures that, if I go in for a broken arm, I’ll be hit with 47 tests that I don’t need and be slapped with a $19,000 bill. Young and healthy though I am, they can’t profit from that. They created that bed, though. The horrific cycle began when insurance became common enough that doctors began running tests on everyone who had it, whether they needed it or not, producing huge markups for them and enormous profits. And the insurance companies didn’t really care, because they weren’t the ones paying for it–the healthy, young people who didn’t ever use their insurance were the ones paying for the $900 bag of saline. What did the doctors care? They could instead pocket the $870 profit. What did the insurance company care? The doctors were literally helping them by inspiring more people to get insurance in order to pay for these exorbitant costs. Hospital visits went from $200 a night to $4,000 a night, so many people sighed and said, “Well, I have no choice… I need to get health insurance, or I’m not going to be able to afford to go to the hospital.”
Bam! The insurance company got a new customer, thanks to the doctor, and the doctor got to run more tests, because now someone else had insurance. Everyone got to make more money.
What happened next was predictable. Tons of people like me–ordinary, healthy young people–saw this ridiculous state of affairs and decided that we had no reason to take part in it, because we were the ones being exploited to pay for this bullshit. If we refused to play, then they couldn’t be paid. And, again, what happened next was predictable:
The Affordable Care Act. A law forcing us to buy health insurance that the doctor/insurance company circle jerk could continue.
Europe & America
The American system has problems primarily because of government intervention. Contrary to what they believe, though, the European system has problems, too. If the two existed in bubbles, then by the year 2117, the United States would be, on average, eighty years ahead when it came to medicine. The only reason the European System has not stagnated entirely, as its research steadily slows, is that it is literally benefiting from research being done in the United States. We’re not selfish assholes, contrary to what the rest of the world thinks. When we finally cure AIDS, who is going to benefit? Everyone. We’re not going to refuse to teach the Europeans, Africans, and Asians how we did it. We don’t keep our ground-breaking research to ourselves. We share it with everyone, even those who demonize us and are too uninformed and too stupid to realize that the entire reason we have this ground-breaking research is that we allow our pharmaceutical companies to become very, very wealthy.
It’s true that if a cancer cure was developed tomorrow it would be extremely expensive, just as the television was in 1948. Almost no one would be able to afford it. But look around today! Most people have at least two televisions in their homes, and some people have a television in every single room except the bathroom. The microwave oven, the refrigerator, the cellular phone, the home computer… All technology follows that same arc where it begins very expensive, as a reward to the innovators who created it, and steadily gets cheaper as time goes on. Yet that reward, that possibility of hitting this tremendous breakthrough and the next Must Have item or medicine is precisely what motivates people to do these things in the first place! If you take that away, then… Well, you’ve taken that away, and the tech development stagnates. We’ve seen it time and time and time again.
Venezuela’s president recently put forward, no joke, the idea that the people of Venezuela should breed rabbits for food.
That’s the end result of eliminating competition and the profit motive. You get this Looney Tunes suggestion that even Trump would be embarrassed to admit he came up with as a legitimate and serious plan for addressing the starvation. This always happens. It has happened every single time the state has a monopoly over something. Monopolies are stagnation, and socialism is social stagnation, because it gives one group a monopoly on the whole of society. Medical stagnation is the predictable and obvious result of socialized medicine. Rationing is the first symptom, as too little supply is stretched over too much demand, like we see in the UK with its grave doctor shortage.
Even with our assistance, the European system will stagnate. It is already beginning to do so. The end result is inevitable: a drastic decline in the quality and quantity of health care. Who will they blame next? Ah, we know what they’ll say.
“It wasn’t real socialism.”
* Obviously, it isn’t free–it’s socialized. If everyone pays 10% of their wealth for the next 40 years for that cancer cure, then it was most certainly not free.
While there are obvious similarities between the Universal Basic Income and the Minimum Wage, there is also a difference that causes the former to be immeasurably more stupid than the latter. The MW, of course, is a legal guarantee that one’s labor will have a certain value; the UBI is the guarantee that one’s existence will have a certain value.
It’s absurd, stupid, and another example of how our confused species has enjoyed luxury so great that we’ve forgotten we live in a universe where it’s an organism’s responsibility to secure its own survival.
I voluntarily provide my cats with a UBI. I’m not kidding, and anyone who thinks I’m kidding has missed the point. Nothing is required of them, and each day they’re provided with food, water, air conditioning, medical care, and a roof over their heads. This is precisely what the UBI is meant to assure people.
While I’ve undertaken this as my responsibility, the fact remains that they are subsisting entirely off my productivity. My labor acquires food, and so they don’t have to expend their own labor hunting mice in the surrounding fields. That I refill their water bowl means they don’t have to chase down water sources. Whatever else is true, it costs me to do these things, and it requires no more effort from them than to get their fat asses to the food bowl.
Even so, I don’t owe this to anyone. There are millions of cats to whom I give nothing, simply for practicality’s sake: if I spent all my time chasing down stray cats to take care of, I’d have no time to secure the money I use to buy the stuff they need. And though it really doesn’t take long for me to buy a can of cat food, it remains true that someone has to put in the effort to get my cats something to eat. It’s easier for me to work a few minutes and buy what they need than it is for them to go out and find dinner, water, and a place to stay; moreover, they are incapable of getting health care for themselves. It also remains true that food is not going to magically appear for them.
This isn’t true of humans. It’s no easier for me to go to college and establish a career than it is for anyone else to do it. The ease with which I, being a human, can acquire the stuff my cats need and want means less energy is expended when I simply take care of it. Additionally, it’s an obligation I chose to take on voluntarily, because I like them and they’re my friends.
In the grand scheme of things, I actually had a harder time securing a college degree and a career than the average person. Yet advocates of the UBI don’t care. Part of my productivity should, they argue, be siphoned off and used to secure things for other people. After all, manna doesn’t fall from the sky. My cats may not realize it, but their food bowl isn’t magical–I have to actually expend effort earning the money to buy their food. It’s not free food. It’s just free to them.
So let’s drop the bullshit for a moment and call things what they are.
It’s Socialism. It’s entitlement. It’s this notion that one is entitled to the necessities of survival, and that it’s okay to enslave other people and command them to provide one with food, water, and other things.
Bullshit. It’s backward. It’s called “slavery.”
There is no escaping this. That food, that water, that electricity, that doctor, that pharmacist… All of that stuff is other people’s labor. The doctor is a human being, not a mechanical dispensary of diagnoses. The farmers, the biochemists, the nurses, the coal miners–these people are all entitled to be paid for their labor. They must be, because the idea that it’s okay to make them work for free is unequivocally called slavery. If you can put a hundred people to work in a nightmarish coal mine and then not pay them because no one has paid you for your coal, then you don’t have a hundred employees–you have a hundred slaves, and you are simply the Enslaved Slave Master, enslaved and commanded by others to command other slaves. You’d be the ultimate Uncle Tom: the slave given a prestigious position and power over other slaves.
It can be taken a given, then, that the owner of the coal mine and the coal miners should be paid for their labors. “But it’s so useful to the function of society!” can’t be used as an argument to justify refusing to pay them, because people once said the very same thing about cotton as a justification for slavery. “Cotton is critical to the function of society and to the economy!” people claimed [which, it’s worth mentioning, if this was truly the case, then people would be willing to pay enough for it to keep the industry alive without slavery]. Perhaps doctors do provide a service to society that is so extremely useful, but it doesn’t matter–the utility of the service a person provides cannot be used as an argument for their slavery.
Someone has to put in the productivity to earn the money to pay the coal miner, the doctors, the farmers, and everyone else. Again, this is because manna doesn’t fall from the sky. We live in a universe that pretty much never stops trying to kill us. Life is born with an expiration date. That expiration date can be pushed back by eating, drinking, and taking care of oneself, but it cannot be postponed indefinitely. The only thing a living being is entitled to… is death.
It’s easy to forget this, especially in western nations, where food and water are so abundant. A newly born infant, however, is going to die in just fewer than 48 hours if someone doesn’t provide it with food and water. We could certainly justify making the argument that it’s the parents’ responsibility to provide the helpless infant with the necessities of survival, much in the same way that my choice to take in two cats came with the responsibility to ensure their well-being, but the entire reason the parents may be required to provide the food and water is because the infant will die if it doesn’t get it. By being born at all, the infant is sentenced to death, and it becomes the responsibility of the parents not to ensure survival but to postpone death until such time as the infant is old enough and capable enough to postpone their own death.
Attrition is part of the universe. We are mortal beings. Starvation, malnutrition, disease, dehydration, and countless other things are literally trying to kill us around the clock. The very moment we lapse in our responsibility to stave off these bringers of death is the very moment they overtake us. Life itself is trying to kill you right now. It’s the reason you’ll become hungry and thirsty today. It’s the reason you might catch a cold. At this very moment, life is trying to kill you, and it requires effort and energy to stave off its victory. If you do nothing–if you simply sit there and do nothing–you will die, with 100% certainty. Our efforts to eat don’t assure immortality; they postpone mortality.
Energy must be expended. Someone must use their labor to keep you alive. Ideally, that person is you. No one has to take care of me and ensure that I have food, because I’ve gone out and secured my food in the way that any healthy, sane organism has to be able to do because the very essence of life is constantly trying to kill that organism. This is true of literally everything in our universe. The passage of time ensures the destruction of everything and everyone, from planets to humans, and the best anything and anyone can do is expend energy to postpone that moment. Stars expend this energy through nuclear fusion; humans expend this energy by taking jobs. These are the most basic aspects of our reality, and they cannot be ignored with good feelings that are meant to obfuscate systemic slavery.
Effort is required simply to stave off one’s own destruction, because the universe is trying to kill everyone, and because if that energy isn’t expended, then death is imminent.
The Sword of Damocles constantly hangs over our heads. This is literally what it means to be mortal, to have a finite existence. We must strengthen the string by which the sword hangs, because the moment we fail to is the moment the sword will fall and kill us. If we choose to just lay there, then gravity and friction will take over, the twine will tear, and the sword will break free. Only by constant effort can we prevent that, and only temporarily with our very best efforts.
The universe doesn’t owe us anything, and I certainly don’t owe anyone anything. I expend my energy keeping my sword from falling. Coming up to me and demanding that I use some of my energy keeping them alive so that they don’t have to is parasitism, slavery, and statism. That’s exactly how we ended up with the state in the first place, and how it became our responsibility, as productive members of society, to provide ancient kings and lords with food so that they didn’t have to toil in the fields.
People call this UBI shit progress–it’s quite clearly not. Having a class of people who sit in their homes with another class of people bringing them food and water? We’ve been down that road before: it’s called serfdom. In feudal times, that lord had to eat, after all. Someone had to work in the field to grow the food. The lord, who didn’t want to do it, instead used force and violence to force people who did work in the fields to bring him food. To say today that we should revisit this idea is the opposite of progress. Whether it’s someone who calls themselves a lord using knights to force everyone to give a portion of what they have for the lord’s benefit, or someone who calls themselves a progressive using police and the state to force everyone to give a portion of what they have for the progressive’s benefit, it’s still just feudal serfdom, and we’ve been down that road before.
Having a larger part of the population make up the unproductive parasitic class of lords, whose defining feature is that they use force to acquire necessities from productive classes, hardly constitutes progress. It simply means that the lowly peasants who are productive must pay the lords a greater tax, because now there are more lords. Whereas feudal times saw fewer than 1% of the population being titled lords parasitically siphoning resources from the productive classes, modern UBI times would see huge sections of the population setting themselves up as lords parasitically siphoning resources from the productive classes. Instead of a member of the productive class paying 65% in taxes to sate the lord’s greed, the member of the productive class has ten times the number of lords and has to pay 95% in taxes.
Progress down the Road to Serfdom, but that kind of progress won’t take us anywhere else.
The system is currently in a tizzy and can’t decide what to do–it is every bit the proverbial dog that finally managed to catch one of the cars it’s been barking at and chasing for years, now sniffing around the tires and just generally trying to find out “What the fuck.” After pointless gestural votes showing their support for repealing the Affordable Care Act, House and Senate conservatives now have the ability to put some actual weight behind those votes, but instead are seemingly doing everything in their power to not do that.
I discussed that idea briefly in this podcast:
It’s a long one, at nearly an hour, so get comfortable. Also be aware I’m not doing any more podcasts in that voice, because I inexplicably sound angry, due to how I edit out most of the silence. While recording, I actually speak almost exactly like Obama did, and when you remove the gaps the result is what sounds like a continuous angry rant.
Anyway, that’s just there if you’re interested.
It’s a little weird that I have the solution to America’s health care crisis, but the people we’ve elected to solve such problems have no idea what to do. Actually, it’s not weird at all: the solution is for them to do nothing, because they’re absolutely useless anyway, and we have this strange idea in the United States that the government should do stuff and try to solve problems. Politicians don’t just believe that bullshit; they are the primary peddlers of it, because if people knew that politicians can’t solve problems, then politicians would be out of a job and out of power. It’s far better for them to look like they’re doing something productive–such as repassing the Affordable Care Act under a different name–than to do nothing at all and run the risk of the masses figuring out that a law wasn’t necessary in the first place.
Imagine, for example, if computer problems had the observable habit of fixing themselves. To be clear, they don’t–they may be intermittent problems, but a computer problem does not just go away or fix itself. However, let’s pretend that they do. My job, of course, is to fix people’s computer problems. It’s in my best interest to do anything that I can to attempt to fix the computer problems, and it’s obviously against my best interest to do nothing: if I do nothing, then your computer problem will fix itself, and you’ll realize how unnecessary I am to the process. Ideally, my tinkering with the system would actually make the problem worse–fixing one problem by creating two more–and then you’d need me to fix those two new problems. Would you ever notice that you would have been better off if you’d never gotten me involved? Perhaps once the one problem had morphed slowly into nine hundred and sixty problems, you would be raising your eyebrows.
In the real world, it wouldn’t get anywhere near that far. If you called me out to fix your computer problem, and I temporarily resolved it, only for it to return a little while later and be even worse than it was before I touched it, you’d only give me a few more chances to actually fix the issue before you called someone else. “You were supposed to fix my Internet!” you might say. “Now Outlook doesn’t even open and my computer crashes five times a day! Fix it or I’m calling someone else!”
Imagine, though, that you couldn’t call someone else, because I was in charge of all computer problems and fixing them–there was no one else to call. If I implemented a solution, then no one could undo that solution and no one could work against that solution–if they did, their act of working against that solution would be illegal, and they would face fines and incarceration for doing it.
Do you see how, in this scenario, I have you by the balls? I can do anything I want to your computer, and you can’t do anything about it. Perhaps every four years we have a vote to either give me the power to fix your computer, or to give another person the power to fix your computer, but when it comes time to vote everyone always chooses me or this one other person. Neither of us ever actually fix your computer, and your computer goes from “working but with intermittent issues that fix themselves” to being a total clusterfuck of contradictions and problems. And there’s nothing you can do about it, because you’re not even allowed to call someone else or to keep us from tinkering with your computer.
That’s the government.
We can’t just call another government to fix our health care system–we only have the one, and whether that government currently consists of Republicans or Democrats doesn’t much matter as far as the health of your computer is concerned. Whether we’re Republicans or Democrats just determines how we screw up your computer; it determines the fixes we attempt to implement, and the mechanisms we use to make the problem worse. Believe it or not, our analogy also gets worse than what I just outlined.
The government isn’t just trying to fix your computer. No, quite bizarrely they promise that they can fix everything in your life. They can fix your house, your health care, your vehicles, your electricity, your food, your computer, your fridge, and any other problem that you might have. At least with a dedicated specialist, you could ask for their qualifications and shop around until you found someone who you felt was qualified to fix your problem. In the case of government, we have people who realistically know almost nothing about these areas attempted to fix problems in those areas.
No one is capable of repairing a fridge and a computer, monitoring a coal or nuclear power plant, and determining how much rubber a vehicle’s tires should contain. No one enjoys such a sweeping array of specializations and talents. We all know this intuitively. If your fridge repair guy offered to disassemble your motor and replace your head gaskets, you’d probably be a little hesitant about letting him do it, and if he then offered to provide you with recommended [mandatory] regulations for the plumbing in your home, you’d definitely be cautious and unlikely to take him seriously. But when it comes to government, it’s “Nope. These guys and girls can do everything, because they know everything.”
This is why we hate it so much when a politician dares reveal to us that they don’t know something. Our entire system is built on the assumption that politicians are omniscient and omnipotent. When Gary Johnson asked, “What is a leppo?” people turned against him more than if he’d said, “I just think that we don’t need government telling us that we can’t marry little kids.” How dare Gary Johnson reveal that he didn’t know something?! That’s unacceptable to western society. We make a token effort of criticizing Politician’s Answers, when they go on lengthy tirades about something unrelated to anything that was asked of them–just watch the presidential debates and count how many times Trump brings up Isis or immigration while answering a question that has nothing to do with either, and how many times Hillary brings up Russia while answering a question that has nothing to do with them. We’ll accept anything except “I don’t really have the answer to that.”
Saying “I don’t have the answer to that” would destroy a candidate’s chances of winning, and that’s because we need that conceit. We need to believe that our politicians have all the answers, because somehow we’ve convinced ourselves that government has all the answers.
So what about health care, then? What is this solution that I profess to have?
It’s simple: get the government out of it. Repeal every law and every regulation.
And that’s a kneejerk reaction. Clear your mind of that emotional reaction, and then proceed.
Unsurprisingly, most people aren’t really sure what laws and regulations are even on the books, so they have no way of knowing what the effects would be if those laws were repealed. It’s beyond the abilities of anyone to give a comprehensive list, but here are some things that would go away:
Pharmacies would no longer be regulated and could fill prescriptions written by anyone, and could even pass out “prescription drugs” without prescriptions.
Doctors would no longer be required to be certified–rubberstamped–by the government.
Doctors would no longer be required to attend 8+ years of school.
Anyone with the startup money could open up a medical practice or a pharmacy.
The doctor could purchase drugs directly and fill your prescription instead of sending you to a third party.
I haven’t so lost touch with the average person that I’m unaware of how horrible all of that sounds. Each of those sounds like a terrible idea. This, too, is a kneejerk reaction that only focuses on the negative consequences. I don’t deny that there would be negative consequences. There would also be positive consequences.
If anyone could open a medical practice, then we would have quacks opening up doctors’ offices in their basements and garages, and then attempting to diagnose people and write them prescriptions. We would have pharmacies who were willing to give anyone just about any drug in exchange for money, with no hesitation about turning people into drug addicts. We might even have people dying because the quack they went to see misdiagnosed their pneumonia as a common cold.
Let’s take those in reverse order. It’s not exactly hard to diagnose pneumonia. A stethoscope is all that’s necessary, and anyone can watch a YouTube video to learn what pneumatic lungs sound like–they have fluid in them, which is pretty easy to listen for. If you went to a doctor because you had pneumonia and he didn’t even take the time to listen to you breathe, and then he told you that you had a cold, you would almost certainly ask to see that doctor’s credentials. If he couldn’t provide them, you’d probably request a refund and would go see another doctor. We even do this today, with our spiderweb of regulations and oversights meant to eliminate quacks, because often we don’t trust a doctor’s diagnosis and want a second opinion.
A pharmacy that would sell anyone whatever drugs they want is nothing more than a drug dealer with a brick-and-mortar building. That’s… not really a problem. Trying to keep people from securing drugs they want to take has observable and severe consequences. It has also never worked. Prohibition has never worked. If you eliminate someone’s ability to do something openly, but they still want to do that thing, then they will invariably find ways to do that thing in secret. Alcohol Prohibition didn’t stop the manufacture, sell, and consumption of alcohol. The regulations and laws didn’t keep me from getting addicted to pain killers. Marijuana prohibition hasn’t stopped people from smoking pot. Abortion Prohibition didn’t stop people from getting abortions–
And let’s discuss that last one for a moment, shall we? Because we know it for a fact, and it’s an argument in liberals’ toolkits in favor of legalized abortion. Even the most diehard liberal will admit that prohibiting abortion didn’t prevent abortion from happening; it merely chased it into the black market, into society’s shadows, where standards of safety and decency were non-existent. Prohibition doesn’t work.
So this pharmacy develops a reputation as being a drug dealer, and that causes them to lose the business of the “respectable people.” The soccer moms, Catholics, and other “upstanding citizens” wouldn’t be caught dead going into that pharmacy, because anyone who saw it would say, “Oh… She’s a drug addict?” and the gossip and rumors that would result would sink that person’s reputation. This is an observable thing already. “Why is our youth minister cruising Brooks Road at midnight? Is he seeing prostitutes?”
Who cares that drug addicts will have an easier time getting drugs? That’s a good thing. And it would be even better because the addicts could just buy heroin, crystal meth, crack, and whatever else from a pharmacy, out in the open, and not in danger. They wouldn’t have to worry about the person running off with their money when they were supposed to be right back. They wouldn’t have to worry about heroin laced with lethal chemicals to kill them because they were suspected of being informants, because there would be no one to inform to. See? These “negative consequences” that people inherently have a kneejerk reaction to… are actually positive consequences.
These are all good things. We may or may not like it that the coke addict up the street suddenly has an easy and affordable way to get his fix, but that coke addict was getting his fix anyway. Our laws and regulations weren’t stopping him. And even if we did bust him and send him to prison, there are a thousand more ready to fill his place. I shouldn’t have to go into the inherent dangers of the black market, and how it creates violence and people like Al Capone. When was the last time Budweiser was in the news for breaking the kneecaps of its competition? When was the last time that Bayer was in the news for putting fentanyl in its hydrocodone to punish people for buying from Watson?
Never, that’s when.
And it’s an observable fact: black market drug dealers don’t ask for an ID. I never met a drug dealer who told me that they wouldn’t sell to me because I wasn’t 18 years old. Legalizing drugs reduces the number of teens using drugs. If we had a pharmacy repeatedly being called out for selling percocets to fifteen year old kids, that community would rally together and shut down that pharmacy quickly.
And what of the people who have no qualifications at all for treating people’s illnesses? Well, we have those already! There is no scientific evidence to support homeopathic medicine, acupuncture, and similar things, but they exist today, and have ardent defenders who fight tooth and nail against attempts to restrict them. We do have people dying because they think they can pray their illness away, or pierce it away with needles, or flush magical toxins from their body with enough fucking wheatgrass. These people exist already, and not only can you not protect them from their bad decisions, they resist every attempt for you to protect them from their own bad decisions. They don’t want you to tell them that they’re being idiots and playing with their health.
Neither do you have the right to. As loyal as I am to scientific methodology, and as much as I reject homeopathic medicine, the Placebo Effect is a real thing, and something that we have only begun to understand. We know that it’s possible, if someone believes that drinking carrot juice will cure them, they may very well walk away cured. This is why every drug ever synthesized stacks its effectiveness against the Placebo Effect, and things like aspirin provide a noticeable improvement in headache reduction over placebos. But this doesn’t mean that a person can’t take Vitamin E and have their headache cured. If the Placebo Effect and homeopathic remedies [sic] are enough to cure them, then let them have the cure they want.
Besides, we don’t have the right to tell other people what they can and can’t do. This gets murky when we’re talking about children, but I’m not even going to touch that one, because the issue persists today and would continue to persist regardless. This means it’s irrelevant to the discussion at hand.
We don’t need the government breaking into people’s homes and arresting people for using hair dryers in the shower to prevent people from using hair dryers in the shower. If they’re irresponsible and reckless enough to do that, then it’s senseless to try to spare them the consequences. It can’t be done, and attempting to do it means that everyone has their homes broken into by the police several times a day in the attempt. Liberty and privacy are destroyed for everyone in our misguided attempt to protect reckless people from the consequences of their own poor decisions.
If someone is reckless enough to just take the word of an unqualified and untrained doctor, we can’t protect them from that. Worse, it could very well be the case that there are people out there more than capable of diagnosing the flu, the cold, pneumonia, and other things, but who lack any formal training. These people obviously wouldn’t be able to charge as much as a doctor with an 8 year degree. If they came across something that they couldn’t diagnose, they would direct you to someone who was more qualified.
You know, like what already happens today.
“I don’t know about that mole,” your general practitioner might say. “It’s irregularly shaped. You should go see a dermatologist about it.”
Obviously, the dermatologist will charge you more than the general practitioner, because the dermatologist is better qualified. So the girl with a two year degree in Physical Fitness and the guy with a four year degree in Human Physiology may not be able to diagnose your cancer, but they would be able to diagnose a lot of things, and they would not cost nearly as much money.
And that is the key.
No one would pay $150 per visit to go see a doctor whose only qualification was a 2 year degree in physical fitness. They would, however, pay that doctor $20 for a visit, to get a yearly physical and checkup, or to get a prescription for their pneumonia or whatever. Neither would anyone pay $150 per visit go see a doctor with a 4 year degree, but they would probably pay $50 to get a more accurate assessment and physical, or a diagnosis.
This increases our options. It’s no longer just “I need to go see a doctor over this relatively minor thing, but each one is going to charge between $100 and $150 for a visit, so… I’m just screwed, I guess. Let’s see, that’s www.webmd…”
I know lots and lots of people who abuse the Emergency Room precisely because they refuse to pay $150 to have their flu diagnosed and to receive a few prescriptions. This not only increases ER wait times, it’s always a loss for the hospital, because those bills never get paid. The hospital can’t turn people away, and they didn’t turn people away before we made it illegal; doctors and medical people have always taken the Hippocratic Oath seriously, and it wasn’t until we forced them to that they began shirking it. A fair number of these people, however, would spend $20 to be looked at by someone capable of diagnosing the flu.
The system would work just fine.
Sure, there would be occasions when someone died because they went to see a quack, or because they believed in homeopathic medicine that proved incapable of treating their leukemia. Lawsuits brought by family members against these reckless institutions would be in order, and those who were reckless would quickly be put out of business. If you die because I told you that you had the cold and you had pneumonia, then that’s on me for overstepping my qualifications, for putting my arrogance and desire for money above your life, and your family has a legitimate lawsuit against me for recklessly playing with your life in pursuit of profit.
This doesn’t do you any favors, but your family should have tried convincing you to go see someone else about the time you started coughing up blood, too. Let’s not deny your own responsibility to your health, or your family’s responsibility to talk some sense into you.
But if you let this fear of the consequences motivate you to let the government try to fix something with a law, then this health care mess is the result. Why are doctors so expensive? Because they’re protected from competition by people who could easily compete with them at lower price points. A doctor can charge you $125 for a visit because I can’t undercut him by saying, “You don’t need to go see him and pay that much. I can diagnose the flu, and here’s the 4 year degree that proves I’m probably capable of diagnosing such a common illness. Pay me $40 and I’ll take a look at you.”
Voila! We reduced the cost of your visit to the doctor from $125 to just $40. We cut out two-thirds of the price. And we didn’t need the government for it to happen. We didn’t need insurance companies to jump into bed with one another and with doctors and pharmacies and drug companies. We didn’t need price controls. We didn’t need monopolistic insurance industries. All we needed was to get the government out of the way and let people be free.
I meant to post this several days ago. I’m sorry that I didn’t. This one focuses on using Obamacare as its example, and I’m posting it without looking at it further. Keep in mind my addendum to the previous entry in this series–these were written as I was still fleshing out my ideas on anarchy and free market principles. Basically, I know more now than I did then, about how economy works and how it is merely the result of humans acting, hence why Mises called his magnum opus “Human Action.”
I did fix the links, though. And just wanted to say… “Ah. The days before I had a consistent policy for using bold and italics, and occasionally went a bit overboard on emphasis… Good times. ;)”
Before we get too deeply into this, we must first discuss a few very basic [I promise: they’re basic] economic principles regarding Supply and Demand, because the Affordable Care Act (colloquially, Obamacare) relies on your ignorance regarding basic economic laws. If the masses understood these basic economic principles, the Affordable Care Act would have no chance of reaching the American People, because it can be demonstrated in just a few minutes that sound and proven economic principles predict with certainty that Obamacare will be a complete failure. It has no chance of success, because, in order to succeed, Obamacare requires that these basic, sound, and proven economic principles be wrong–and they’ve been known for a very long time to be right.
These four basic laws are:
If demand increases and supply remains unchanged, a shortage occurs, leading to a higher equilibrium price.
If demand decreases and supply remains unchanged, a surplus occurs, leading to a lower equilibrium price.
If demand remains unchanged and supply increases, a surplus occurs, leading to a lower equilibrium price.
If demand remains unchanged and supply decreases, a shortage occurs, leading to a higher equilibrium price.
I truly hope you understand these 4 principles, because there isn’t much I can do to explain them. They’re self-explanatory, and it’s very difficult to explain things that are self-explanatory. If the demand for health care increases (i.e., more people want to go to the doctor) and the supply of health care remains the same (i.e., there aren’t any new doctors added to the health care system), then a shortage occurs and prices rise. If there are 100 people who want to go see 10 doctors at $100 per visit, then if we increase those 100 people to 150 people (increasing demand) but leave only 10 doctors in the system, then there are still only 10 doctors to go around the increased number of people. Instead of 100 people using 10 doctors, there are now 150 people using 10 doctors. So what will happen as a result of this increase in the Demand? If supply does not increase, then Doctors will raise their prices. This is because higher prices lower demand, another foundational principle of economics. There may be 150 people wanting to see a doctor if they only have to pay $100, but if they have to pay $200 to see a doctor, some portion of those 150 will decide they don’t want to see a doctor–Demand will, therefore, lower.
If, however, no new doctors are added to the system (supply does not increase) and doctors cannot raise prices to offset the increased demand, then a severe shortage occurs, because there is now a Price Ceiling in place, and Price Ceilings always create Shortages and invoke the rationing of the good in question. When during World War 2, the Government fixed the price of Gasoline, gas station owners could not raise their prices and had to consider selling gasoline at prices lower than what the Market demanded because of the increased Demand and the decreased Supply. Since the same amount of people still wanted gasoline but the supply of gasoline had lowered, the only free market course was to raise prices, but the Government made doing that illegal. People continued buying gas, since higher prices didn’t decrease demand, and there were shortages as a result of the Price Ceiling (“You can’t raise the price beyond X!”).
Now–I know what you’re thinking. “What the fuck, I/E? Your blog is supposed to be accessible!” But I promise that the graph isn’t as complicated as it initially looks. First, there is the blue curve–S. Obviously, that’s the Supply line. There are two red lines–D1 and D2. These are the Demand curves. We’re assuming in this graph that the Demand for the good increases. Let’s use Pringles as an examples. For whatever reason, the Supply of Pringles cannot increase except on the Supply line. It cannot increase as a result of increased Demand; there cannot be a shift in aggregate Supply (sorry about that; the term was unavoidable). So the Pringles factory can only produce a number of Pringles that falls on the Supply line; the Supply line cannot move.
Now we’re going to look at Demand1–many people want Pringles. But, suddenly and because of a new hot flavor of Pringles chips, the Demand for Pringles increases (adding a new flavor does not increase the Supply of Pringles, because in order to make the new flavor, they had to decrease the amount they were making of other flavors).
Look back to the graph at P1 and Q1. At x amount of Demand, as demonstrated by D1, the Price of Pringles will be lower and the Quantity sold by the Pringles company will be higher (because Demand is higher and because Supply can only increase along the curve–adding new factories would shift the curve, and that isn’t a possibility at the moment). This makes sense. Demand increases, so Pringles sells more chips and they also raise their prices. We’d all expect this to be the case.
And when we increase the Demand by moving to D2, the Supply increases according to the Supply curve. Note that these are notstraight lines. They are curves, which means that the Supply will never increase exactly in proportion to the increased Demand. Supply will always, because of the arcs, decrease less than would correspond to the increase in Demand. If these were straight lines, then if Demand increased, Supply would increase by an amount exactly in proportion to the increase in Demand. But economics never deals with straight lines, because straight lines require that conditions be perfect, that the amount of unutilized resources simply pop into existence the moment they are needed and back out of existence when they are not. This is never the case in the real world (one of the main flaws of Keynesian economics is that it, more often than not, requires absolutely perfect market conditions that are never reflected in the real world). The Supply increases on a curve because, if 50 people can produce 5000 cans of pringles, it doesn’t necessarily mean that 60 people will produce 6,000 cans of Pringles–it is far more likely that increasing the labor force to 60 will only increase the “cans of pringles” by 800 or so. As size grows, previous levels of efficiency become harder to maintain and it becomes impossible to get the same Input>Output yields.
This is why economics often deals with Marginal increases and Marginal decreases. It is the observation that, if 50 people make 5000 cans of Pringles, then it isn’t true that 60 people will make 6000 cans of Pringles; it’s true that 60 people will make between 5000 and 6000 cans of Pringles, and the number they actually make will fall in the upper range of averages. If, however, we double the workforce it also doesn’t mean that 100 people will make 10000 cans of Pringles; in fact, because increasing Input doesn’t decrease Output proportionally, we would predict that doubling the Input (via doubling the workforce, which isn’t exactly “doubling Input,” but let’s keep it simple) won’t necessarily double the Output; we’d expect 100 people to make about 8000 cans of Pringles if 50 people make 5000 cans.
Has this gotten too complicated? I’m worried that it has.
Back to the graph. So we find that even if we can increase Supply along its curve (by introducing more workers to the Pringles factory), it won’t raise in an amount exactly in proportion to the increase in Demand. If Demand doubles from 5000 people wanting Pringles to 10000 people wanting Pringles, if 50 workers produce 5000 cans of Pringles and we know that doubling the input to 100 workers will not yield 10000 cans of Pringles, then we know that to offset the increase in Demand, we must do more than double the Input. If 50 workers make 5000 cans and 100 workers will make about 800 cans, then we’ll actually need to roughly triple the workforce to 150 people to produce those 10000 cans.
Suddenly Pringles is paying three times the amount they were to meet a Demand which has only doubled. If Pringles pays each worker $10 an hour, then they were paying out $500 to an hour to meet Demand1. But when Demand doubles to D2, Pringles will need roughly three times the number of workers (actually, between 2x and 3x, but we’re using 3x because anything over 2x becomes a loss) and will need to pay out $1500 an hour to make a Supply which equals Demand2. But Demand2 doesn’t earn them enough money to meet the increased expenses of tripling production to meet an increased Demand–for obvious reasons. If Pringles has to suddenly pay 3 times the amount of money they were paying before but they’re only earning 2 times the amount of money they were before, then Pringles is suddenly losing money.
So it’s not only impossible, along given Supply curves (without the Supply line itself moving, which we’ll look at in a moment), for Pringles to meet an increase in Demand, it’s also not even economically viable. Pringles would lose money if they attempted to please everyone by meeting the increased Demand by a corresponding increase in Supply. Instead, the Free Market would have the price per can of Pringles rise, the Supply of Pringles increase somewhat, and the quantity of Pringles sold to increase. But because of the increased Price, Demand will actually go back down, as many people don’t want to try the new flavor of Pringles badly enough to pay $3 per can when the old price was $2.25.
That’s the best I can do in explaining this. I hope you grasp it.
An Increase In Supply
Calm down. It’s the same thing as the previous graph with the difference that there are now two Supply lines. Here we are assuming that Pringles isn’t restricted to its current amount of “resources” (which we exempted the labor force from in the previous example, allowing that Pringles could still hire more workers to satisfy moving along the Supply curve–there must be some resource which is currently underutilized in order for anything to move along a given Supply line); we are asserting that Pringles can do whatever it takes to increase its supply, which is, I hope you’ll see, a much more accurate reflection of the real world. Pringles can hire new people, invest in new production technologies, open more factories, and do all sorts of creative things to meet an increase in Demand. In short, in the real world, Pringles isn’t restricted to a given Supply line; they can move the line. And, moreover, because we’re allowing that the Supply line can be moved, you’ll notice that we are now using straight lines. We’re assuming that Pringles won’t run out of potatoes, land on which to build new factories, or workers to be hired. These assumptions may or may not be accurate, but we’re going to assume that all resources Pringles would need currently exist and are plentiful but underutilized.
Let’s imagine that Demand increases from D1 to D. Let’s also assume that Pringles can rise to the challenge presented by this increased Demand and do whatever is necessary to meet it. You’ll see that the old level of Demand (D1) meets the old Supply (S) at a Price lower than P and at a Quantity lower than Q. This means that, with the old Demand, people aren’t buying as many Pringles (which makes sense, as the Demand is lower) and that the price of a can of Pringles is also lower (which also makes sense, as people don’t want them as badly). When we increase the Demand and keep Supply the same, we move to using the D line but we still use the S line; we do not use S1. This means that the price per can of Pringles will go up and the number of cans of Pringles sold will go up.
In order to meet the increased Demand, though, Pringles would move its Supply from S to S1–since doing so would increase the amount of money they were making (meeting a Demand yields money, after all). When S changes to S1 and D stays as high as it was (having already moved from D1 to D), the quantity of cans sold becomes an amount almost exactly in proportion to the quantity of cans sold at the old price, the old supply, and the old Demand. You’ll notice, however, that Q1 passes just slightly to the left of the nexus of D1 and S; the price per can is just slightly higher than an exact proportion to the nexus of S and D1 and the number of cans sold is just slightly lower than an exact proportion to the nexus of S and D1. This is why we don’t have to curve lines when we can freely move Supply and Demand; it happens naturally. Just as, in our previous example, doubling the workforce won’t necessary double the number of cans produced, so will moving the Supply line to account for the increased Demand not necessarily result in a price that is exactly in proportion to the old Supply and Demand. Maybe a can is now $.35 per ounce while originally it was $.32 per ounce.
In short, buying a can of Pringles won’t be “as good a deal” as it was before the increased Demand and Supply; it will be a slightly worse deal. And what would happen if we shifted the Supply from S to S1 while staying on the old Demand of D1? What would happen if Pringles suddenly opened new factories, hired new workers, used a new production technology, or some other method of “moving the Supply line” but they did this of their own accord and without any change in Demand?
We’re now looking at S1 and D, but we’re also assuming that D won’t move along its line, that no matter what happens, the Demand for Pringles won’t change at all. We’re not assuming that more people can be made to Demand Pringles (through marketing, word of mouth, and advertising), and we’re not assuming that people can be made to Demand Pringles more than they already do (also something that would be accomplished through marketing, word of mouth, and advertising). Instead, we’re assuming that a certain number of people want Pringles a specific level of “badly” and that nothing is going to change that. D meets S at this location, where the Supply corresponds to the Demand. But Pringles has suddenly increased the supply without regard to Demand. What happens? We have to move the Demand line to account for this, and we’d have to shift it to the left, so we’re now looking at a line not on the graph. Demand hasn’t changed, but the Supply has, so we must shift the Demand line to the left. We can use D1 for this.
As you can see, Pringles fucked up majorly. In order to sell the increased Supply, the price must be lowered substantially. Basically we have to shift the Demand line to the left. Don’t think of D1 as a change in Demand; think of it as the Demand staying the same but its proportion to the Supply changing. If Demand is 50 and Supply is 100, then the ratio is 1:2. If Demand stays at 50 but Supply changes to 150, then the ratio is 1:3. Demand hasn’t changed, but its relation to Supply has. That is why we must move the line to the left. This is also why we must move the Supply line, as done above, when Demand increases–the ratio between Demand and Supply has changed.
OMG, I’m So Bored
Sorry. I don’t know–I find this topic interesting. I’ve noticed that it’s a tendency of people to become bored with a topic when they do not understand the topic. I’ve noticed that when people become bored with Physics discussions, it’s usually because the conversation has become too advanced or too technical for their grasp; I’ve noticed that when people become bored with Economics discussions, it’s usually because the conversation has become too advanced or too technical for their grasp. If this stuff bores you, I recommend you either taking a few Economics classes at your local college or reading a few books on the subject. And if what you find bores you, start smaller and simpler. Don’t discard the subject entirely; it’s interesting enough to have fascinated numerous people to the point where they devote their entire lives to the subject. There must, then, be something interesting about it.
What the Fuck Does This Have To Do With Obamacare?
In some ways, Obamacare has no impact on Supply and Demand. Obamacare won’t suddenly make anyone want to go to the doctor and it won’t suddenly increase the number of doctors in the system. It will, however, increase Demand for health care because it is making health care a viable option for some 30,000,000 people. We dealt with much smaller numbers above, but it doesn’t matter. What happens when you increase Demand by 30,000,000 but don’t change Supply to account for the increased Demand? That’s right: prices rise. If, again, we have 100 people wanting to go to the doctor now and we have only 10 doctors, then the ratio is 10:1. If we increase it to 150 people wanting to go to the doctor without adding even ONE new doctor to the system, then we have changed the ratio to 15:1. And then prices must rise.
Increasing the amount of people wanting to go to the doctor by thirty million without adding even one doctor to a system that already is known to have too few doctors will only raise the cost of health care and will only decrease the health care’s quality. I never mentioned quality above because “the quality of Pringles” isn’t really an issue; Pringles are mass-produced. Health care is not. Quality can vary wildly from one doctor to the next, and if you increase the Demand without increasing the Supply, it is impossible for any doctor to maintain the Quality they were able to maintain with the old Supply:Demand ratio. Price is not the only thing impacted by an increase in Demand without an increase in Supply. For all services (this is also true of many goods, particularly those that aren’t mass produced), an increase in Demand without an increase in Supply will result in higher prices and lower quality.
All of Duck Dynasty’s duck calls are made by hand. Let’s consider for a moment that they cannot hire new employees to reflect that we can’t simply manufacture new doctors. We can’t. The best we can do is motivate people to become medical doctors, but that is an eight year investment, resulting in an eight year lag between a rise in Demand and a corresponding rise in Supply, and that is if we somehow managed to entice people into becoming medical doctors (which we can’t and won’t do). So we have to assume that they cannot simply bring in new people to meet an increase in Demand (for Duck Dynasty, perhaps there aren’t any more bearded rednecks to hire).
Basically, we cannot increase the Supply of health care. We can’t. Doctors are already known to be overworked and stretched too thin–hence people waiting in Emergency rooms for hours at a time. …Actually, we can increase the raw Supply of health care, but we can only do this by drastically lowering the Quality of healthcare received. We can only increase the Supply of health care by changing doctors from 5 minute visits which charge you $120 to 2 minute visits that charge you $180. We can only increase the Supply of health care, without adding new doctors, but having hospitals and general practices behave exactly as the DMV: draw a number, “NEXT!”
Anyway, so let’s say that someone suddenly wants the Duck Dynasty guys to multiply their orders by ten. This actually happened in one episode, and they responded by enlisting the help of the community. They increased their Supply to correspond to the new Demand by bringing in help. But let’s assume that this isn’t possible, since, after all, we can’t simply “bring in help” to increase the Supply of healthcare–the best we can do is entice people to become medical doctors which will, obviously take 8 to 10 years to yield any results (and by then Demand will have increased even more, since Populations are always growing, though this also theoretically increases the Supply at a given ratio… but since we’re in the process of fucking up that ratio with Obamacare by increasing Demand and not changing Supply, this whole parenthetical statement is irrelevant).
So what do the Duck Dynasty guys do if they need to increase their production 1000% and they can’t bring in any help to do that? What happens when the amount of productive resources (labor) they have stays the same but Demand increases by a factor of 10? They can’t simply speed up their conveyor belts (though they tried this in the episode, and it worked until they reverted to their Kindergartener mindsets… I swear to god one of them got in a canoe on the conveyor belt and fully intended to ride it off the edge–he almost certainly would have broken something if the CEO hadn’t come back there and stopped them). They can work faster and harder, but can they work faster and harder enough? Probably not. To assume that they can increase production by a factor of 10 is to assume that they are majorly underutilized, and if they were that inefficient, then the Free Market would have put them out of business long ago. It should be noted that the demand for duck calls, the handmade products, did not increase by a factor of 10; the random shit like t-shirts, mugs, and stuff did–the mass produced items had their Demand increased by a factor of 10; I don’t think the demand for duck calls changed at all… In fact, I’m not convinced that they sell very many duck calls at all. They don’t seem to earn much money from their actual duck call business; they make most of their money from the show and from related merchandise like t-shirts. Just go to Wal-Mart sometime. Duck Dynasty is the new Angry Birds.
Anyway, if they do have to increase their production of handmade duck calls by a factor of 10 and they can’t bring in any outside help to do that, what happens? They work much faster to try to meet the increased Demand. Unless they were horrendously inefficient and underutilized in the first place (which they are, but not in a way that their productivity isn’t 10% of what it could be–I would wager it’s more like 30% of what it could be). To assume that they are underutilized to a degree of 10% is to make an absolutely ridiculous assumption; show or not, the free market would have crushed that level of inefficiency long before they ever became millionaires. The Free Market, which achieves its ends through competition, abhors inefficiency.
To suddenly make 10 times the amount of handmade products which they were previously making, the quality on the products would have to decrease. They wouldn’t have time to carefully test each one. They wouldn’t have time to carefully craft each one. They’d work at a break-neck pace and quality would suffer as a result. Do any task. Now attempt to do that same task ten times in the same amount of time it took you to do it once. Yeah.
The only way to increase a supply to meet an increased demand without bringing in new resources is to raise prices and lower quality. Snap your fingers 60 times in one minute. Now snap your fingers 600 times in one minute. Were you able to do it? How “good” were your snaps when you attempted to snap your fingers 10 times as fast as you were before? If you had to snap only 60 times in one minute, then you could produce nice, loud, and ringing snaps, one per second. But if you had to do ten times that, you’d have to snap your fingers 10 times per second. If you somehow managed to do that, by the time you were 30 seconds in, you’d be exhausted. Economic principles are not difficult to understand.
Many people try to make them out to be very complicated and difficult to grasp, but this is intellectual dishonesty; these people want to deliberately mislead you and keep you ignorant so that you don’t realize that what they’re proposing is absolute nonsense.
And, believe it or not, snapping is a good demonstration of the economic principles we’re discussing. We have a Demand for snaps, and I want 60 of them by the end of a full minute. So you Supply those 60 finger snaps, and generally give me good quality snaps of your fingers.* But if Demand increases… A factor of 10 is a bit unreal. Let’s increase it only by a factor of 3. Snap your fingers 180 times in a minute. Demand has increased to 180 and you, without bringing in any outside help (someone to snap with you, adding to your total to “give me”), are trying to increase the Supply to meet that increased Demand. If you manage to do it, the quality of your snaps will still be substantially lower than the quality of your slower, more careful snaps.
And it’s HEALTH CARE of which we’re lowing the quality. We’re not lowering the quality of duck calls or someone’s snaps of their fingers. We’re lowering the quality of health care at a time when the quality of health care is already abominable. What good will it do these 30,000,000 to be given health care when the quality of that health care has decreased to the point of barely being useful? Already we wait for hours in Emergency rooms. Already we wait for an hour in the lobby of a doctor’s office, then an hour in a room alone, then we have about 5 minutes with the doctor–who writes us a prescription for some combination of: painkillers, barbituates, and antiobiotics–and then we leave, having paid the doctor roughly $100 for that “service.”
Increasing the number of people going to the doctor will only increase the time we spend waiting in the lobby, increase the time we spend waiting in a room alone, decrease the amount of time we spend with the doctor, and increase the amount of money we have to pay to experience the whole bizarre process.
Yeah, But… Those 30,000,000 People NEED Health Care, I/E. We Can’t Let Them…
No, we can’t let them go without health care. We can’t let them die of diseases that could have been prevented because they couldn’t afford a doctor visit to receive the vaccine. We can’t let them die of chronic illnesses that could have been curbed if the illness had been discovered sooner. But how is increasing waiting times, decreasing the amount of time with the doctor, and raising the prices for virtually everyone else (and raising insurance costs–my sister’s health insurance cost more than DOUBLED because of Obamacare…) going to help?
It isn’t, and this is tragic because there are better solutions. There are much better solutions.
Yes, I believe that individuals should have the right to seek health care.
No, I do not believe that we have the right to force individuals to seek health care (except in the case of child abuse and negligence).
No, I do not believe that we have the right to force doctors to lose money by not charging enough or by making them treat people who can’t pay.
Yes, I’m aware of the Hippocratic Oath and the tendency of Doctors before the existence of Medicare and Medicaid to give discounted treatment to the poor and to volunteer their time at free medical clinics.** Before State-run health insurance schemes, almost every doctor gave discounts or free treatment to the poor and elderly–just like most corporations have a 10% Senior Citizen’s discount even though the Government isn’t forcing them to…
Yes, I worry that it’s only a matter of time before corporations mentioned above are being forced to give 10% discounts to Senior Citizens. It may very well come to pass that the Government steps in and forces businesses to do this. A generation or two later, everyone will have completely forgotten that this law isn’t necessary and that most corporations gave a 10% discount long before the Government stepped in and forced them to do it.
No, I don’t think that the Affordable Care Act is going to do any good to help a system that is already primed to collapse, and this blog demonstrates the unimpeachable economic principles for me thinking this. If you want to demonstrate that the Affordable Care Act can be successful to any degree, then you must demonstrate how we can increase Demand without increasing Supply and Prices and lowering Quality. This, however, cannot be demonstrated because it’s absurd in the highest degree. It’s impossible and it flies in the face of everything we know about economics.
The State is relying on the ignorance of the masses regarding basic economics. If the masses knew anything about the basic laws of Supply and Demand, then the masses would understand that Obamacare has no chance of succeeding in “helping” the health care crisis in our nation. The first 4 principles found at the start of this blog demonstrate unequivocally that the Affordable Care Act cannot work. It literally cannot. Not “will not.” CAN not. It is an economical impossibility. And this is obvious. If we were taught Economics in high school, then the Affordable Care Act would have had no chance of being passed.*^ Actually, a lot of things would be and wouldn’t be if we had been properly taught Economics in high school instead of four years of grammar and English classes. Fuck, man. Once you start the First Grade, you’ll have an English class every year until you graduate high school. Considering how infrequently most people write, this is obnoxious, especially since we could spend that time with BETTER and more important subjects. English III and English IV should have been electives, and a full-year Economics class and a full-year Newtonian Physics class should have replaced them. If you don’t have the English language down by the time you’re passing the 10th grade, then two more years of the same subject is NOT going to help you.
We wouldn’t allow the EPA unilateral power, and we wouldn’t allow it or any other government or pseudo-government organization to be filled with non-elected officials. We wouldn’t allow a fiat currency. We wouldn’t allow the government to give us worthless sheets of paper, tell us they’re valuable, and then systematically steal all our money via inflation and the devaluation of the currency. We would require that Congress do as the Constitution commands:
The Congress shall have power… [t]o coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures… [emphasis added]
Nowhere in the Constitution is Congress given the power to delegate its powers and responsibilities to other organizations. The Constitution does not give Congress the power to give a coalition of privately owned banks the right to make our money. And this is common sense. Just think about it. If your wife gives you permission to have sex with her, you can’t delegate that privelege to someone else. You can’t say, “Well, you gave me permission to have sex with you, but… I’m going to let Bob here do that.” Things just don’t work that way. Your wife would divorce you if you tried some shit like that. And we’re the wife, giving Congress the permission to have sex with us–and Congress said, “Well, you gave us permission, but we’re going to let someone else do it.” “Um, no,” the wife would say. “I didn’t consent to that.” Neither did we consent to allow Congress to delegate its powers to non-elected organizations, especially not the power to make our money, which necessarily controls our entire economy.
Plus, the Constitution gives Congress the power to “coin” money. We are not arguing semantics here. Congress was not given the power to print money, and “printing money” is not the same as “coining money.” The Founders would never have consented to allowing Congress to print money, because the dangers and problems of paper money have been known for thousands of years. Every nation that has used paper currency has experienced hyperinflation, has overextended its reserves, and has promptly collapsed. There has never been an exception to this. Nations that existed for centuries using gold and silver coins of specific weights collapsed shortly after switching to a fiat (paper) currency. Worse still, though many Americans do not know it, we are NOT on a gold standard. The Dollar is NOT backed by gold or silver. It is JUST a sheet of paper. It has no value external to how much of it is in circulation and whether anyone will accept it as payment.
The reason Congress had the power to regulate the value of coins and fix the standards of weights? To prevent people from making coins that are of a lower purity and to prevent people from clipping off small portions of coins to stretch them further (although, to some extent, this would be an acceptable and legitimate practice, as long as one didn’t try to pass off a “clipped coin” as an unclipped coin). Congress had the responsibility of making gold and silver coins for us to use and fixing (and making it known) the value of those coins by “fluffing” the coins out with less-precious metals. We would end up with a $1 coin not because we had a tiny little coin of gold but because we’d have a tiny amount of (real) gold covering a nickel-based coin. How much gold a $1 coin contained would be fixed and, if the coin was valued as a “5 gram gold coin” rather than being valued as a “$1 gold coin,” then inflation would be impossible. After all, 5 grams is always 5 grams.
This is why people advocate not just a return to the gold standard but a return to a commodity currency which has no arbitrary value attached to it. We advocate the use of gold and silver coins that are measured by the weight of the precious metal they contain, not some random value. We advocate using a coin that has 5 grams of gold, a coin that has 5 grams of silver, a coin that has 10 grams of gold, a coin that has 10 grams of silver, a coin that has 50 grams of gold, and so on… And the amount of grams of silver it would take to equal 5 grams of gold would be decided explicitly by the Free Market, not by Congress (as any attempt to fix this price manually would be price fixing and wouldn’t ever work–just like Congress’s attempts to fix the price of gasoline have never worked). If Congress set the exchange rate too high (requiring too much silver to get a certain amount of gold), then no one would ever want the silver coins because we wouldn’t consider them as valuable as gold coins. If Congress set the exchange rate too low (requiring not enough silver to get a certain amount of gold), then no one would want the gold coins because we wouldn’t consider them as valuable as the silver coins. Congress would have to hit the Goldilocks proportion perfectly, and since the amount of coins in the system would change constantly and could change drastically very quickly, the exchange rate would constantly be out of balance, making gold coins better one day and silver coins better the next and then gold coins much better the next… It wouldn’t be consistent and people would hate it. That’s why only the Free Market can do these things. People will automatically set an exchange rate that automatically corresponds to real-world conditions, and Congressional attempts to manually set an exchange rate would always be lower or higher than the one the People would set according to the Free Market, resulting in the imbalance and silliness I described.
But by using coins that are fixed as weights that demonstrate the purity of the coin, we don’t have to worry much about inflation. A five gram gold coin will always be a 5 gram gold coin and a 100 gram gold coin will always be a 100 gram gold coin. The only way that inflation could happen using commodity currencies is for the amount of that metal to actually increase, and there’s a limited quantity of gold and silver in the world. We would reach a point where inflation could no longer happen. And ALL economists have stopped spouting the nonsense that “Some inflation is good.” That argument has been thoroughly shredded and debunked, and if I remember correctly, that’s why Friedrich Hayek, the incredible successor to Mises, won the Nobel Prize in 1974.
Inflation is bad because if you insert more money into any given economy, it makes all the money in circulation worth less than it was before. If there are $1000 in circulation in a town and we suddenly put $1000 more into circulation, then every single dollar is worth half of what it was before; each dollar will only buy half of what it bought before. If a loaf of bread cost 25 cents before the inflation, then it will cost 50 cents after the inflation. This means that people who have retired and who have no way of gaining more money just had half of all their money stolen by inflation. This is the main reason the elderly in the U.S. are suffering so much: many of them have had to get jobs in order to bring in money because a portion of the money that had in their retirement account was stolen by inflation. I’ll never forget the first time I saw a 70ish year old woman working at a Wendy’s. FOR SHAME, AMERICA.
Do something about this. We’ve forced the elderly to come out of retirement and get low-paying, degrading, and humiliating jobs to cover the losses they incurred by monetary inflation and by the shenanigans which caused that inflation. We should be ashamed of ourselves. People who don’t have an income are those who are most affected by the effects of Inflation. That’s the elderly, America. When we debase the currency, we are hurting our grandparents and great grandparents more than we’re hurting anyone else. We should be thoroughly ashamed of ourselves for allowing this to happen.
Protect our elderly. And we can protect them by allowing them to accrue money that can’t be devalued and stolen by inflation. If you want to talk about supporting Medicare and Social Security to “help the old people,” then you should recognize that the single best thing we could do for the retired and for the nearly retired–and for everyone, really, since everyone is going to retire on money they saved up eventually–is use a currency that cannot be inflated to cover up the shenanigans of giant corporations. The bailouts hurt Gran-Gran the most. Gran-Gran had to get a job because of the bailouts. Shame on you. Fucking shame on you.
Obamacare and Economic Growth
Okay, I went really far off topic. But my point in all of this is that we cannot legislate our way into a growing economy. So often during Romney’s campaign I heard people say, “I agree with Romney. What we need to do is grow the economy.” And they had no idea what in the hell they were talking about. In general, they were discussing “growing the economy” as a way to negate the harmful effects of inflation, but the only way they could “grow the economy” would be with subsidies, grants, bailouts, and other attempts to pour resources into the system by pouring more money into the system.
There are only two ways to “grow an economy.” One can do nothing and let the Free Market and competition create wealth. Or one can give out subsidies, grants, bailouts, and other things in attempt to “jumpstart” the vehicle. But the vehicle broke down because of all the subsidies, grants, bailouts, and other things that we poured into it. Inflation caused the Recession; inflation was at the root of the housing bubble and is collapse, at the root of the derivatives market, and at the root of the toxic asset bubbles. Because the Fed held the interest rates on their loans (and loans from one bank to another) so low, it created the illusion that wealth was plentiful and no one minded loaning out money; in fact, loaning out money was a positive thing for banks. Because of the Fractional Reserve System, every time a bank loans money, 90% of that is created out of thin air. This causes inflation.
In a Fractional Reserve System, a bank only has to keep a certain percentage of its assets; it only has to have a certain percentage of assets to back up its debts. In the U.S. System, that percentage is only 10. Did you see the film, “It’s a Wonderful Life”? This is what allows runs to happen on banks. Banks loan out the money you give them, so when everyone panics and demands their money back, it is learned that the bank… doesn’t actually still have your money because they loaned it someone else. If a bank has had $2,000 deposited into it, then it can loan out $18,000. Obviously, the bank doesn’t have $18,000. It literally just creates it out of thin air the moment the money is loaned out. That is a fact which even the Federal Reserve admits. That’s what Fractional Reserve means; that a bank must hold a fraction of its assets in reserve. So after the bank loans out this $20,000 and keeps the $2,000 in its ledgers (because of withdrawals from accounts, the bank will occasionally have to borrow money to make up the difference and bring its reserve back up to 10%–the bank borrows this money from another bank, and that other bank–you guessed it–simply makes that money up out of thin air, too), one thing comes to mind. People have to pay back money they borrow. And they do. The bank has loaned out $18,000 and has kept $2,000 (occasionally borrowing from other banks, which are doing the very same thing), and now the people they loaned all that money to have paid it “back” to the bank. So the bank now has $20,000 (more, actually, because the bank also charged Interest on the loans). What can the bank then do with that $20,000? Keep it in reserve and loan out $180,000!
We’re literally paying banks “back” money that they didn’t loan us because the money did not exist until we paid it back. Banks have been sued over this–and the banks have lost the case. When the First Bank of Montgomery foreclosed on Jerome Daley’s home, he got a lawyer and sued the bank, saying that the contract he had with the bank required both parties to put up a legitimate form of property–Jerome would put up the house and the bank would put up the money. But Jerome alleged that the bank did not put up a legitimate form of property and that the bank didn’t put up anything at all–it just made up money out of thin air, said that it had that money, and gave Jerome this money that didn’t exist. And Jerome won the case. The judge decreed that the bank did not put up a legitimate form of property and that the bank did simply create the money out of thin air. Now, since this happened decades ago, there’s no doubt that the banks learned from the case and modified their contracts accordingly, to prevent anyone else from refusing to “pay back” money that they “borrowed.” So this almost certainly wouldn’t work today, and I wouldn’t recommend trying it. Especially since banks are much more powerful and entrenched than they were in Jerome’s day, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a judge who will give you a fair ruling. You also won’t find a judge who will give you a fair ruling if you fight the IRS, even though the IRS requires you to give up your Fifth Amendment right, even though the IRS is illegal, even though the Sixteenth Amendment was never ratified, and even though there is no law on the books which requires anyone to pay taxes. These are all facts, and they will all be discarded by judges, so I don’t recommend not paying the IRS either… Though you shouldn’t, because it’s illegal and unconstitutional for them to make you give up your Fifth Amendment right and since the Sixteenth Amendment was never ratified, thus the Federal Government cannot levy any direct or unapportioned taxes like the Income Tax. But don’t try it. I’m not encouraging you to fight the system in this matter; I’m only saying that the system is cheating.
None of these things can cause real economic growth. They can cause the illusion of economic growth, and certainly some investments can yield pay-offs and rewards. If investment didn’t work, the stock exchange wouldn’t exist. But the Government has no right to steal from us to invest in this thing or that thing, especially since We the People won’t be given any pay-off or reward from the investment. But the Government isn’t supposed to be in the business of trying to make a profit… Moreover, all of these “investments” are paid with money that is created out of thin air and then repaid by the American People. The Government doesn’t make Dollars; the Government borrows money from the Federal Reserve Bank. Don’t let the name fool you; it’s no more part of the government than is Federal Express. The Federal Reserve Bank is a coalition and cartel run by twelve privately owned banks and receives no oversight from Congress, reports to Congress only a few times a year and isn’t accountable for anything, and has never been audited. The restrictions placed on Congress in examining the actions of the Federal Reserve are insane when you consider how powerful the dollar is and how much of an impact it has on our daily lives. In “End the Fed,” Ron Paul notes that the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 shows that:
Audits of the Federal Reserve Board and Federal Reserve Banks may not include:
Transactions for or with a foreign Central Bank [because we did pass a law a few years ago that allowed us to marginally audit the Fed, we learned that the Fed (short for “Federal Reserve Bank”) had been propping up the dictator of Libya], government of a foreign country [we also learned that the Fed was propping up numerous other dictatorial governments], or non-private international financing organization [such as the WTO and the World Bank];
Deliberations, decisions, or actions on monetary matters [which is 99% of what the Fed does…], including discount window operations, reserves of member banks, securities credit, interest on deposits, and open market operations [basically, we can’t audit anything they actually do];
Transactions made under the direction of the Federal Open Market Committee; or a part of a discussion or communication among or between members of the Board of Governors and officers and employees of the Federal Reserve System related to clauses (1) — (3) of this subsection [basically we can’t wiretap them even if we get a warrant… The Fed’s privacy is better protected than the privacy of Americans].
So other than the minute pieces of information the Fed voluntarily gives at its Congressional reports, which is a very small part of the actual information, we generally have no fucking clue what the Fed is up to. We have given them full power over our currency, and then we relinquished any authority to keep tabs on them.
Money Is Not Wealth
Pouring more money into any economy will not create wealth. As I mentioned above, if a gallon of milk costs 25 cents when there is $1,000 in circulation, then putting a total of $2,000 in circulation will not create wealth–it will only devalue the existing $1,000 and make the lives harder of anyone who has retired or who has no income. It certainly won’t create wealth.
A currency is just a system of measurement. It’s critical to remember this. A currency is how we measure the value of our productivity and the value of our resources and products. That’s all it is. Changing the value of a dollar won’t create wealth, and this is all that pouring money into an economy does; it only changes the value of a dollar. If you’ve got a pile of wood, then no matter what you measure it with, you won’t ever have more or less wood. The measuring system which you use will have no impact on how much wood is actually there. You could use inches, centimeters, yards, or a system you make up–none of it will change the amount of wood in the pile. You can even increase the “value” of an inch by doubling an inch’s size–but that won’t change the amount of wood in the pile. You can decrease the “value” of an inch by halving an inch’s size–but that won’t change the amount of wood in the pile. Ultimately, people who think we can grow the economy with grants, subsidies, and bailouts believe that we can change the value of an inch and somehow get more or less wood. But the amount of wood never changes. The only way to change the amount of wood is to get rid of some of it or to add some more wood to it; changing your measurement system will not change the amount of wood.
And the way we change the amount of wood in the pile that is our economy is by letting competition take over. Competition creates wealth. Competition creates efficiency, skilled workers, incentives, creativity, problem-solving, and, ultimately, wealth. The only way to “grow the economy” is to allow competition to be enhanced. And how can we enhance competition in the United States economy? Simple: we get rid of the primary factors that are detrimental to competition: Government Regulations. We let the Free Market take over. If a company pollutes too much or offers bad service or any other thing, then, in a Free Market, people would stop using that company. If there was competition, they wouldn’t be forced to use that company and “voting with their wallet” could actually MEAN something. But as long as we’re limiting competition with government regulations, voting with a wallet has no real impact. We don’t need the Government to make Texaco stop polluting (I don’t know if Texaco has a problem polluting or not). Society and the Free Market can do that all by themselves by not using a company that pollutes excessively.
Take the power that you should, as an American Citizen, have. Don’t let the Government tell you that you are powerless or that you need them to have your power. No, man–fuck that. You, in a Free Market, would have the power to regulate companies and businesses. Naturally, the State doesn’t want you to have that power; they want to have that power. So you’ve been told all of your life that they’re the only ones who can do it, that we need them to have that power, and that we shouldn’t or can’t have that power. But the same power we’ve given the Government…? It came from us. It’s OUR power. We can not only use that power–we can use it more effectively than the Government ever could.
* This was originally “clapping,” but I changed it because it sounded really bad to say “generally give me good quality claps” with the Clap being an STD.
** It should be noted that we now generally force doctors to volunteer their time at free medical clinics. We wouldn’t allow this in any other industry. We wouldn’t allow the government to force I.T. companies to spend one weekend a month working on the networks of schools (I’m scared to say that, since the wrong politician may read that and decide that we should do it). We wouldn’t allow the government to force Wal-Mart cashiers to spend two days each month working at the DMV. As I’ve stated before, we have no authority or justification in forcing people to do what we think is right.
*^ Actually, I took Economics in the first semester of my Senior year. It was a one-semester class (I don’t remember what I took the second semester because I… didn’t go back, so I didn’t take anything the second semester of my senior year) and it taught me nothing. It didn’t teach anyone anything, because the guy who taught us Economics was one of the football coaches and he knew nothing about the subject. All he did was have us read passages then answer the questions. There no lectures, no creativity, and no attempt to foster understanding. Moreover, Economics was an elective; I took it only because I like learning things and always have. But it certainly wasn’t a requirement of the curriculum. It should be.
Because Obamacare is about to hit us (unless the GOP performs a miracle for the wrong reasons), I focused this blog on the law in question and also went into some basic economics, the Federal Reserve, and again into Free Market Principles. As you can see from the final paragraph, this ultimately comes back, as did the previous two blogs, to Individual Responsibility. We have the power to use the Free Market to regulate corporations and businesses. We’ve simply lent that power to Government. And they’ve bungled the job, crushing the Market, and creating numerous problems. It is high time we took that power back, because we’re the only ones who can use it effectively. All the Government can do is fuck things up more.
I meant initially to focus this blog on “What is Anarchy? How does it work?” But I decided that, before I get into that, I must first go back into the Free Market and the power which Individuals hold. YOU are more powerful than any Government could ever be. Accept that power. Do not hide from it.
If you want to know more about the Government, what we created it for, and what function it has in our Society, misidentification of the Self as the State, and a demolition of the notion that a “Society” actually even exists, then read Anarchocapitalism, A Review Of: Part the Second. If you’re curious about the Free Market, Representative Governments, the failures of Welfare, the counterproductive nature of Social Security, Medicare, and other programs, and how the Free Market and voluntary principles can handle all of these things more effective, then read Anarchocapitalism, A Review Of: Part the First. If this paragraph is the first time you’ve seen the word “anarchocapitalism,” then go to Part One and then come back here.
Hopefully, I will actually address the meaning of Anarchy in Part Four. But no promises. This stuff must be addressed incrementally. As always, if there is something in this blog that is not adequately explained or which you do not understand, please comment seeking clarification. I want this series to be easily understandable.
I’ve said a lot since the Stossel Debate in support of John McAfee, and I’m going to continue doing so, because there aren’t too many things that are more important than the right of individuals to exist and be who they are. It typically surprises people to learn that I’m a young transgender lesbian and I’m not a liberal, and I could go into a long rant about everything that’s wrong with the left. Indeed, I have done exactly that several times:
During my analysis if the second part of the Libertarian Debate, I said that John McAfee is real, and I meant that in two ways. Obviously, I meant that he is a real Libertarian. We can demonstrate this objectively, and I’ll come back to that. More importantly, I mean that… I don’t know how to say this without talking in cliches. But that’s a real motherfucker. Being a real motherfucker myself, I can see it in his eyes. The moment he speaks, it becomes clear. It’s the difference I’ve talked about before when I got into the fight in the parking lot at the pizza place: we don’t talk shit. We act. And we’re not people to cross, and definitely not people to double cross. It’s hard for me to really explain this without placing myself on the same pedestal, but there is only one way to recognize a real motherfucker, and that’s to be one yourself. If you’re not a real motherfucker, then you won’t comprehend what I mean when I say that McAfee is a real motherfucker.
When I was at a party in the 7th grade, a kid who was 17 pulled out a 9mm and put it to my temple. Then he said, “Get on your knees and beg for your life.”
I told him, “You’re just gonna have to shoot me, because I’m not doing that.”
I was held at gunpoint for a few hours (I no longer remember exactly how long it was, and I suspect my memory has inflated the amount of time it lasted) and had to drive a dude to a different state. But once we reached the interstate, I ordered him to put the gun away, because his life was just as much in my hands as my life was in his. He couldn’t shoot me while we were on the interstate at 75 miles per hour–it would be instant death for us both. And if I thought he was going to shoot me and that I was going to die anyway, a flick of my wrist would kill us both.
He put the gun away.
I’ve been around a couple of times. That’s my point. And I know the look in someone’s face when they’ve been around a couple of times. It’s in how they talk, perhaps. Was McAfee manufacturing drugs in South America? No. Because he wouldn’t lie about it if he was–he’s a freaking Libertarian, and was in a Libertarian Debate. Among the many personal choices he could make for which he wouldn’t be criticized at a Libertarian Debate, manufacturing drugs is one of them. We don’t care about that sort of thing. Wanna cook some meth? More power to you. The fuck do I care if you want to destroy your brain, body, and life? That’s on you, not me. Just don’t use the state to force me to pick up the pieces by incarcerating you, feeding you, clothing you, providing you health care, and all this other shit. Reap your consequences. It truly does not matter to me. But no. If he says he wasn’t manufacturing drugs, then he wasn’t, because there’s no reason for a Libertarian to hide that. He may have been–I’m not speaking definitively–but since I don’t care anyway, it’s a non-issue.
Besides, his story makes far more sense than the notion that he was manufacturing drugs. He fled Belise and returned here penniless. That’s not something that would happen to a drug dealer, because drug dealers at that level always have stashes of cash and drugs. Always. McAfee clearly had no stash. So… C’mon. If I was selling drugs in the order of millions of dollars, the first thing I’d do is hide a duffel bag of heroin and cash somewhere. Every drug dealer would. The events correspond perfectly with McAfee’s claim that he was targeted by the government there for refusing to pay $2.5m in protection fees.
But we don’t care about any of that, do we? We’re Libertarians. We don’t care what he gets up to in his free time.
I’d almost bet that’s a Phillipines-made Firestarter 38 Special. I have one of those, and that looks identical to my 38. Of course, snubnose 38s all kinda look the same, so who knows, but look at those eyes. Yeah. That’s a real motherfucker.
I’d vote for him on that picture alone.
Okay, that’s not true. But still. That picture says quite a lot more than an initial glance would suggest.
On to the Issues
The Libertarian Platform is pretty simple:
People have the right to do whatever they want to do, as long as they don’t forcefully inhibit anyone else’s right to do whatever they want to do.
To return to Johnson, we can immediately spot a violation. Johnson thinks we should be able to force businesses to not act in accordance with their religious beliefs. The Libertarian Party recognizes that it is okay to use force to stop force, of course, but there’s no force here. A business owner saying “You’re not welcome in my store” does not involve force. If the person is told to leave and refuses, then it becomes a matter of trespassing (a violation of private property), and force is a suitable reaction at that point. But the act itself of saying “I don’t want to do business with you” doesn’t involve any force. Johnson’s attempt make it illegal to do that does involve force, and thus is counter to the principles of Liberty:
Don’t harm people.
Respect private property.
Keep your word.
Johnson violates it in two ways. First, he fails to respect the private property of the religious business owners. That property does belong to the person who owns the business, and they therefore have the right to sell it or keep it; they do not have to do anything with it. Johnson disagrees and says it’s okay to force them to sell it. This act of forcing people to do things they don’t want to do is a violation of their sovereignty and thus constitutes harm.
Petersen is pro-life, a position I’ve already dedicated enough time to ripping apart, so I won’t do it again here.
It occurred to me recently that I simply assumed that McAfee was pro-choice when I made a Tweet a few weeks ago, and that it never crossed my mind that he might be pro-life. Everything he said during the Stossel Debate showed unequivocally that he understands Libertarian principles, that he understands and values Liberty, and so I made the leap that he was pro-choice. Unsurprisingly, I was correct. That’s because it’s not hard to figure out what someone’s position will be if you know their principles.
Based on what you know of my principles, what would you say is my position on immigration?
If you said:
Who fucking cares? If they want to come here, then let them come.
… then you’d be correct.
I think it’s fair to say that I understand the principles of Liberty–so much so that I’m an honest-to-god anarchist. The only difference between an anarchist and a Libertarian is that a Libertarian accepts that some state is necessary in order to protect liberty. Being a fan of Rothbard, I dispute that it’s even possible for a state to exist for the purpose of protecting liberty, and I view Libertarianism as the first step on the road to anarchism, just as Pantheism/Agnosticism/Deism are the first steps to atheism.
No, our species is not “spiritually” ready for anarchy. That’s just the reality. At this point in our growth, we are only a century from having 4 year olds being permanently maimed by working in glass blowing factories, only a century or so from Company Stores and coal miners, from Wordsworth’s The Chimney Sweeper, the Chicago Fire that killed so many people because the company didn’t want to pay for fire exits… These are real aspects of our history that we cannot simply forget. We are not ready to unleash the kraken, so to speak. I accept that, and thus I accept that Libertarianism is what’s needed now, not anarchy. We’d only make a mess if we had anarchy today.
No, Anarchy is the goal for the year 2500. Libertarianism is the goal for 2016. We’ve become so dependent on the state that we can’t even fathom the idea that there are other ways of doing things–just view all the “But who will build the roads?” and “Who will build the schools?” questions. People forget that we had these things long before the U.S. government got involved with them. The idea that we can have roads without having the government put a gun to our heads and help itself to our wallet (a tax payment yesterday that I’d forgotten actually overdrafted my account and has left me $71 in the negative… Fucking thanks, Uncle Sam. I really, really needed the money in my account. You know, for food and stuff. Seriously–that was my food my money. I’ll be okay and I’ll come up with something, but that doesn’t change the fact that the government literally just stole money from me and left me unable to even buy food. Moreover, this was so that people can “get back” $3000-$10000 tax “refunds”) is inconceivable to them.
That doctors would obey the Hippocratic Oath without basically being forced to by the state is something they cannot imagine. Yet the Hippocratic Oath predates state interference in health care by centuries. Moreover, it is exactly the interference of the state that is currently allowing doctors to spit on that oath that they took. I have a friend who has a staph infection that needs surgery, and the surgeon refuses to do it because she doesn’t have the money to pay for it. While I wonder how that surgeon will look his kids in the eyes knowing that he is allowing a human being to suffer real physical pain over money, it’s also just a flagrant violation of the oath he took. I’m certainly not saying that he should be forced to do anything he doesn’t want to do, but his feet should still be held to the fire. But they won’t be; they can’t be. Because we accept it as normal. Instead of raging at this surgeon, “How dare you allow a human being to suffer because they lack money! How dare you extort their physical health for money!” we are saying, “Health care is too expensive! We need the government to pay it!”
There’s really nothing more that I can say about John McAfee. The whole thing is really very simple. We know the principles of Liberty (I’ve outlined them above). We know the candidates’ positions. All we have to do is compare their positions to what we would find if we applied the principles to various issues. John McAfee is the only one for whom there is no contradiction, no hypocrisy, and no violation. It is now up to Petersen and Johnson to demonstrate that they are Libertarians, but evidence is to the contrary. This is not a No True Scotsman argument, because the Libertarian platform is set in stone. It’s not really up for debate, and not much of it is open to interpretation. It’s like saying Mormons aren’t really Christians because they don’t actually adhere to the Bible (and they don’t)–it’s not a fallacy to say “These are the principles. People who agree with these principles are x. Therefore, people who don’t agree with these principles are not x.”
We can’t allow people who violate the principles of liberty to claim the Libertarian nomination.
P.S. I’ve seen a lot of people say “But Johnson has done more to advance the cause!” and things like that. Sigh. Don’t be stupid. It doesn’t really matter who has done what to advance the cause. Hitler did a lot to advance the cause of democracy, but I wouldn’t want to nominate him for anything. After all, seeing how bad Hitler was sent a lot of people away from totalitarianism. So by that measurement, it would be good to elect Hitler again, to push even more people toward democracy.
See? That argument just doesn’t hold up. It’s a silly position, made by someone stretching hard to find reasons to support a statist.