Thursday, October 23, 2008

Disease Control

"Your Candidates. Your Health" has sent me a candidate's survey, asking how much money I'm willing to take from you and give to government health care bureaucrats, like the "Center for Disease Control," in charge of protecting our "health and safety."

Who is "in charge" of preventing widespread starvation in America?

Answer: nobody.

But if Americans all starve to death, what good is "disease control?"

Don't we need a government department of groceries and proper eating to make sure American idiots don't starve to death?

Why do we need the federal government to oversee "health and safety" if the greater task of preventing ourselves from starving to death is left to the unregulated Free Market?

Consumers will buy health and safety just as they buy food. Businesses will compete to sell it to them.

"But how?," the government-minded will ask. "How will we have public health and disease control without the government providing it?"

I'm reminded of Murray Rothbard's depiction of the soviet citizen who first hears the proposal of allowing a free market in shoes:

"How could you? You are opposed to the public, and to poor people, wearing shoes! And who would supply shoes to the public if the government got out of the business? Tell us that! Be constructive! It's easy to be negative and smart-alecky about government; but tell us who would supply shoes? Which people? How many shoe stores would be available in each city and town? How would the shoe firms be capitalized? How many brands would there be? What material would they use? What lasts? What would be the pricing arrangements for shoes? Wouldn't regulation of the shoe industry be needed to see to it that the product is sound? And who would supply the poor with shoes? Suppose a poor person didn't have the money to buy a pair?"

Somehow, we all have shoes.

More shoes, better shoes, prettier shoes, more durable shoes, a wider variety of shoes, than the sad people who live in nations where the government is in charge of shoes. And we have to work fewer hours to be able to afford them.

The lowly housewife, pushing her shopping cart through the grocery store, has no idea how vast structures of industry have been created and work around the clock, bowing down before her, lavishing aisle after aisle of conveniently-sized hygienically-packaged groceries at her feet, along with fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy, and meat, seeking her approval. These same powerful, global, industrial forces will be marshaled at her bidding to provide health and disease control if she is given the freedom to demand it, instead of government telling her which diseases will be controlled, and which will be subsidized.

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