Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dear Leader Dahlia...

But we seem to want to be free from that obligation as well. This morning in America’s highest court, freedom seems to be less about the absence of constraint than about the absence of shared responsibility, community, or real concern for those who don’t want anything so much as healthy children, or to be cared for when they are old. Until today, I couldn’t really understand why this case was framed as a discussion of “liberty.” This case isn’t so much about freedom from government-mandated broccoli or gyms. It’s about freedom from our obligations to one another, freedom from the modern world in which we live. It’s about the freedom to ignore the injured, walk away from those in peril, to never pick up the phone or eat food that’s been inspected. It’s about the freedom to be left alone. And now we know the court is worried about freedom: the freedom to live like it’s 1804.

That would be Dahlia Lithwick's despondent response to libertarians.  Apparently, freedom actually consists of being lead by the nose without complaint by Lithwick and her ilk whenever they decide what is good for us. 

The fact of the matter is, Dahlia, there are many different goods in the world.  There is no one Good in Plato's sense.  I get it, you think universal health care is the bee's knees.  Well, I don't, mostly because I'm young and not doing so well in the Age of Hope and Stimulus.  I need to put that money where it will do me some good (paying loans, food, rent, gas, etc.) rather than health care insurance, seeing as I haven't had a medical expense I couldn't pay out of pocket, yeah, I'm guessing since I was a toddler.  By the way, Scalia was exactly right: people my age are smart enough to make decisions individually about their own health care.  Most of us will not need it now and should be allowed to fund our more pressing needs rather than your health care.  As for those my age that do purchase insurance, they may have the resources or the need to do so; Scalia's entire point is that they would know better about their individual needs than Lithwick or Obama. 

She keeps speaking of obligations to each other.  I don't recall assuming any such obligation.  None of this means that I won't help people voluntarily; I have, I do, and I will again.  I grow so tired of this dishonest argument that conservatives and libertarians don't want the government to help people, ergo they don't want those people to be helped.  That's wrong (Bastiat destroyed it in 1850); there are sentient actors outside of the government who can and do help others on a voluntary basis.  They are called individual human beings. 

Freedom does indeed mean not having to comply with the demands of Dahlia Lithwick.  It should be a surprise to nobody that Lithwick thinks that is wrong, but then, what tyrant doesn't define freedom as "what I want you to do is best"?

UPDATE:  Just got mentioned by the Instapundit himself!  Many thanks, Professor Reynolds!

1 comment:

  1. Yes - we have the freedom to walk away from the sick and injured. Even Scalia pointed out that one has no obligation to stop a blind man from waling in fron of a car. Lithwicks probem id that she mixes up logic with what she really, really really wants. Infantile.