Cassandra raises the Moral Obligation question with respect to health care. She's linking Dave Schuler. Schuler's framing, emphasis mine:
Is is possible to make a coherent argument that government-provided healthcare is a moral obligation but that our obligation doesn't extend to people in Zambia? I don’t think it is but I’m willing to listen to the arguments.One aspect of the question is one of scope. If you picture authority as forming a hierarchy, in the US we have Federal, State, and Local government. You can also argue individuals 'govern' themselves.
Another aspect of the question boils down to authority/responsibility. Governments have you trained to play along with taxation, asserting legal action, or, ultimately violence if you resist too heavily.
What is the scope of a moral imperative? Does it extend beyond the individual, or voluntary associations, i.e. a community of faith? This would depend on the definition. I'd argue that moral imperatives (e.g. stay sober) are subjective ones, voluntarily acceded.
Ethical imperatives (e.g. don't kill me) would seem the low common denominator that we comfortably apply universally, as objectively as possible. They tend to have legal backing.
So, is there a law stating that we owe medical care to Zambia? No. Should there be? If there was going to be, I'd need a thorough argument showing me how the scope of the obligations up the chain of sovereignty command supports the notion.
Ponder the psychology of the assertion (based upon Schuler's)
Government-provided healthcare is a moral obligation, and our obligation extends to people in Zambia.You've explicitly argued a unified world government at that point. That's problematic. Also, the 'moral obligation' is a tough nut. You can't morally obligate me except through my faith, which the US Federal Government is explicitly precluded from establishing in the First Amendment. Then you'd have to have a single world religion to cast that 'moral obligation' everywhere. We can't even maintain a single language spoken globally. A religion? *snort*
The question is transcendental, and anyone on the left who raises it probably needs a boot to the head:
Commenter K raises an excellent "why isn't it theft?" question. Here is the intellectual laundry process:
- From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.
- If I can't have it, you can't have it. Your possessions are 'unfair'.
- You have, therefore you stole.
- Since you're both unfair and a thief, we can liberate property from you via government proxy and feel good about it.