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A Couple Specific Questions on Politics/Ethics

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NateTheGreat
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Hey guys! I have a couple questions that I believe I have a fundamental understanding, but not an in-depth or grounded understanding of. If you guys could help, that would be appreciated. Also, I may not respond but that doesn't mean I haven't read responses, so don't be discouraged. :)

In The Virtue of Selfishness on page 95 under the essay “Collectivized Ethics” Rand discusses Medicare. She was quoting the altruist’s claim that the rich “indulge in profligate material luxury on the premise of ‘price is no object’” then stated that “the social progress brought by today’s collectivized mentalities consists of indulging in altruistic political planning on the premise of “human lives no object.” She states that out of context, certain public goals sound good: the ends. But these advocates must keep a very foggy cloud around the means: human lives. She then goes on to state that Medicare is a perfect example of this. She states this fog “hides such facts as the enslavement and, therefore, the destruction of all medical science, the regimentation and disintegration of all medical practice, and the sacrifice of the professional integrity, the freedom, the careers, the ambitions, the happiness, the lives of the very men who are to provide that “desirable” goal- the doctors.”

My question is: How does Medicare harm medical practice or doctors? My second question is why she stated how this impacted doctors instead of the taxpayers or the younger generation.

Something that Ayn Rand must frequently argue is that any selfish man will not use force, meaning he will not destroy the man using reason to further his own and other’s lives, because without them we would all be dead. She argues that even a small breach of principles means the government can simply take advantage of the hole and expand it (How can we be sure 9-9-9 won’t turn into 15-15-15?), which I would probably have to agree with. However, it must be mentioned that most often this downward spiral happens slowly, not quickly. The farmer collecting subsidies may eventually have all of his property taken, since to collect a subsidy is to abandon property rights, but this need to confiscate property will probably come years down the road- probably even after he is dead. What is you guys’ take on this?

Much, if not all, of Rand’s arguments stem from the value life. Rand reasons that because man does not have an automatic means of survival and because life is preserved and furthered through material possessions, man has the right to property and should be self-interested. However, a non-Objectivist could very likely argue that life is sustained and fathered because of society. While an Objectivist may point to a survival show as evidence of man’s use of reason to survive, his opponent may point to it as evidence of what happens when society disappears. My question is this: How would an Objectivist tackle someone using the social contract theory?

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1a. Medicare is a significant contributor to increased medical care costs through the intrusion of federal subsidies and regulation into every aspect of medical care. Over a third of all medical care is administered under federal Medicare and Medicaid programs. The bureaucracy that follows this intervention has added immense complexity and expense to the practice of medicine. There are elaborate diagnostic and treatment codes that require doctors to follow bureaucratic rules for medical care. Any deviation from this regime can be regarded as a serious felony charge. It is illegal for a doctor to charge anything other than what the government decrees for Medicare patients, even if the patient agrees, thus many doctors just refuse to accept Medicare patients, or just treat them for free.

1b. I think Rand was worried about the producers and providers of medical care being driven out of the industry due to increasing governmental control. She always had an eye toward the men of ability, the people with the knowledge and skills who are being counted on to do perform at the point of a gun, which she sees will be the case if the government gains total control over giving out "free" medicine.

2. I think the component of short-range versus long-range would be enough to explain why taking an action that may appear to have good consequences in the short run, but has bad consequences in the long run is not a reliable strategy for successful farming.

3. It doesn't follow that because interacting with other people is a benefit to me that I owe other people some kind of moral subjugation. As for the social contract, you could start by asking them to show it to you, show where you signed it or agreed to it, and of course there is none. They will likely bring out some "tacit" or "conceptual" agreement, but this too falls short of explaining anything in non-arbitrary terms. It's designed to make it look like you agree to something that you didn't actually agree to, so it's an example of arbitrary assertions and concept-stealing that denies its own basis (the idea of a contract.) There's a social contract thread on here which covers most of the usual arguments and objections.

http://forum.ObjectivismOnline.com/index.php?showtopic=21124

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My question is: How does Medicare harm medical practice or doctors? My second question is why she stated how this impacted doctors instead of the taxpayers or the younger generation.
I have to re-read that article, if I ever read it (that's right: I have never read VOS since I did not find it necessary to delve more into it, or rather, I am pretty certain of ethics and I don't think I can be englightened much by another book about it).

I assume that if there is a "right" to medicare, then it is a physician's duty to serve any ill or miserable person.

Rather than a brilliant scientist, a doctor turns into a slave of the mob.

And then, as soon as the government obtains a monopoly over medicine, he will have to obey its rules and work under their conditions (just to make it clear: A government is independent of supply and demand, so you can only evaluate how destructive it is).

His private work will be nationalized for the sake of anyone but himself.

Of course, it doesn't mean that most doctors do not accept it---most of them are there due to altruism, but this just makes it worse and more unfortunate.

As a tragic illustration, suppose that somebody found a cure for cancer. But he would sell for his own interests; he would not tell what it is or how it is made.

Consider what would happen at this stage. My guess: He would be tortured until revealing it, and then any Iranian savage woman would enjoy his product, in which he invested so much effort.And that, by the way, would be a great point to mark as the beginning of the short-term crticial state of the world.<p> As for your latest sentence: That's not an "either-or" case. The higher the livelihoods are---the more the taxpayer is looted, and the vice versa: The more of what a person has created is legally recognize as his, the less other productive people (I am talking, of course, of a monopoly, where doctors have no chance but turning to the governmental service) may earn. There is no objective solution within the range of the welfare-statist premises, although I would suggest that that the latter is the favorable, since it is still possible to choose what job one takes.

How would an Objectivist tackle someone using the social contract theory?

To begin with, Objectivism rejects the notion that man exists with a permission of Society or that, in any variant, the group has primacy over its individual entities.This idea is mathematically false; much further, it is metaphysically false.Consciousness is conscious, man possesses volition, you, individually, independently, apart, are fully aware of the reality perceived by your very senses.Secondly, factually, there is no contract and nobody is singed. Suffice to honestly observe reality in order to comprehend it. It is clearly a floating abstraction and a sloppy metaphor, as the Marxist concept of "exploitation" or the religious concept of "Judaism."It is impossible that "society," whoever it is, charges prices for staying in the territory and interacting with people either, because these are my natural rights anyway (as long as the land's owner and the specific people one wishes to contact).Finally, what remains is the economic calculations and facts: The taxes you pay and the services you get are really nonidentical, and those services are similar to Mafia "services" in the sense that they are not chosen. Moreover, the governmental services that I use are mostly monopolies; in fact, without those monopolies I could have purchased much higher-quality products.So, to put it briefly: A bunch of nonsense.P.S.THIS EDITOR SUCKS!One can barely believe to the amount of time that had passed until I could have posted this reply, at last!Also, please accuse it of the confused paragraph structure of this post. (I use the newest version of Firefox.)
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Tomer,

"I have never read the book".

I'm unsure whether this is meant as a statement of independence or arrogance.

I am all for working things out in one's own mind, but this is incredible.

If there is only one non-fiction of Rand's that MUST be read it is The Virtue of Selfishness.

You will find that it "enlightens" you further, after reading and re-reading.

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Tomer,

"I have never read the book".

I'm unsure whether this is meant as a statement of independence or arrogance.

I am all for working things out in one's own mind, but this is incredible.

If there is only one non-fiction of Rand's that MUST be read it is The Virtue of Selfishness.

You will find that it "enlightens" you further, after reading and re-reading.

Whether I have or haven't read enough, I am not interested to discuss.

At any rate: what ethical knowledge do you think I lack?

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