Re: Public Health Care (was Re: More Green Party)

From: Damien Broderick (
Date: Sat Jul 01 2000 - 20:52:00 MDT

At 03:05 PM 1/07/00 -0400, Brian Atkins wrote:

>That's fine if you believe that [compulsory taxation in support of the
>- but what if you didn't believe it?

What if you don't believe in immunisation or fluoridation, or reading and
writing, for your own children? This is obviously a highly vexed question,
and I suppose most people here would fight to the death to allow a fellow
citizen to keep her child as susceptible to disease and caries as possible,
though possible not illiterate. I don't even know what my own opinion is -
I suspect some kind of implicit `social contract' theory might kick in, in
which, naturally, communal reinterpretation of the terms of the contract
should be an on-going process. Humans are critters selected to live in
*groups*, however individualistic we might be. The very language we use to
debate such issues is a collective construct, not an idiographic one
(however much playful wordsters like me might deform it).

>should you be forced to contribute to that system? Why not have an option
>to not contribute and also be denied access to it?

In Oz, people who choose to send their kids to church or other private
schools get a chunk of their tax money back in grants to those schools. Is
it equal to the amount they pay? I don't know - possibly in toto it is,
since it's mostly Catholics who support private church schools and they
tend not to be the wealthy in Australia. On the other hand, the whole
theory of the thing is that those who get side benefits of the system (all
of us; the childless as well as the fecund, etc) also have to pay, just as
law-abiding citizens shell out for the incarceration of criminals; it's
presumably deemed a happier outcome than letting them run loose.

None of this is meant to suggest that there isn't `a Better Way'. But it
does argue that this way of thinking about governance isn't `idiotic' or
evil, or any other similar epithet likely to be heard in this forum.

>It's like the government
>has chosen a religion for you, and you have no choice but to worship it.

I had the strong impression that in the States sanctimonious Xianity
approaches that condition. :)

Damien Broderick

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