. . . or, rather, with all proposals for increased government involvement in health care, is what I call The National Endowment Fallacy.
Back in the 1990s, during the fights over National Endowment for the Arts funding for Robert Mapplethorpe and other arguably obscene artists, the unasked question was, "Why do we need the NEA?"
What are the premises of the arguments for the existence of the NEA? Why not end this debate over which artists should or should not receive NEA grants and, instead, elimate the NEA altogether?"
The NEA didn't even exist prior to 1965, which means that the United States managed to survive without federally funded art for 189 years. But did the lack of federal funding mean there was no art?
Of course not. Yet if you criticize the NEA, you will be accused of being anti-art, as if "federally funded art" and "art" were coterminous categories and, without federal funding, art would cease to be produced.
Similarly, if you listen to Obama or other liberals discuss health care, you will soon discover that they have smuggled into the argument the hidden premise that no one can receive health care without health insurance. Therefore, the 40-odd-million "uninsured" represent a crisis, and government is the only solution to this crisis (or to anything else liberals consider to be a crisis).
Thus, the argument involves a false dilemma: Either the federal government must take action -- involving expenditure of tax dollars and various coercive regulations -- or else there will be no health care, at least for the "uninsured" who constitute the canary-in-the-coal-mine of the liberal argument against private-sector provision of health care.
Government is already massively involved in health care -- not merely via Medicare and Medicaid, but also by numerous federal regulations -- so then all that we are currently arguing about is whether government should become even more involved.
Remember that Medicare and Medicaid, like the NEA, didn't even exist until 1965, so it isn't as if government provision of health care were an absolute necessity. Our nation existed and flourished for many, many years prior to any significant federal involvement in health care.
Why, then, in 2009, are we being lectured that "doing nothing is not an option"? That there are problems in the system, any reasonable person would grant. But is the only alternative to "doing nothing" a massively expensive Rube Goldberg contraption like what is now being debated in Congress? Must we either endorse doing this or be labeled advocates of "doing nothing"?
Am I anti-health? If I criticize the federal food stamps program, am I anti-food? Or, rather, pro-hunger?
What we have here is not so much a failure of health care, but a failure of logic. And I resent being lectured by people who always base their arguments in such fallacies and false premises.
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