Obamacare: Oh So Libertarian!

I will go easy on this one.  The author, one Rory McPeak, is perhaps 20 years old.  Not old enough to (legally) drink; I don’t want to be the one to drive him to a life in the bottle.

He has penned (I know, I am showing my age) a piece at Students for Liberty (I said I would be nice, hence not Students for Libertine, Students for less Liberty, Students not-yet-qualified-to-write-about Liberty), entitled Can a Libertarian Support Obamacare?

Of course, the proper two-letter answer would not make for an interesting post; Rory offers more.

I will start with a hearty “thank you.”  Rory has identified that the so-called conservatives were all for an individual healthcare mandate before they were against it:

It was first developed by the Heritage Foundation in 1989.  It was the health care plan signed into law by Mitt Romney during his governorship of Massachusetts.  The earliest incidence of united Republican opposition to the individual mandate seems to have occurred in 2009, when President Obama began pushing for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Rory, Rory, rah, rah, rah; Rory, Rory, sis-boom-bah!

However, that doesn’t answer the question of whether a self-proclaimed libertarian should support the compulsory purchase of health insurance.

However, that doesn’t answer the question of whether a self-proclaimed libertarian should support the compulsory purchase of health insurance.

Sorry, Rory; I didn’t mean to step on your line.

And I doubt that I’ll be able to answer that question in a single blog, since “libertarian” is an umbrella term that includes a wide range of political and economic philosophies.

You must realize by now that Rory is headed for trouble; he could answer the question in a single blog, even (as mentioned) a single word!  It seems to me you can make the range as wide as you want, as long as the non-aggression principle, based on a sound view of property rights, is upheld.

Someone who rejects the very premise of the state, or who only accepts a state that strictly adheres to the non-aggression principle, is not likely to support the mandated purchase of anything, even something as societally beneficial as health insurance.

Rory is confused; let me explain. You see, there cannot be “a state that strictly adheres to the non-aggression principle.”  If it did, it wouldn’t be a “state.”  Rory, consider this my contribution to your education.

In support of Rory’s view that a libertarian can, in fact, support the initiation of aggression, he cites two non-libertarians:

In 2012, Hayek scholar Erik Angner wrote a piece for Politico on this very subject.  While acknowledging Friedrich Hayek’s disapproval of mandates, Angner notes the Austrian economist’s support for redistribution in the form of a guaranteed minimum income…. The piece became the subject of an interview of Angner by Reason’s Nick Gillespie, which also touched on economist and libertarian icon Milton Friedman’s support for redistribution schemes including the negative income tax and the voucher system.

Hayek…and Friedman.

I have often been labelled by other libertarians as a “left-libertarian” due to my cautious yet adamant support for Obamacare along with other redistribution schemes that rely on market solutions to social welfare problems.

Wait a minute…what is a “redistribution [scheme] that [relies] on market solutions”?

However, I reject the label…

That’s alright, Rory – I have many other appropriate labels from which you may make a choice.

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