- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Capitalist objections to socialistic medicine

Posted by: R Rockliff on September 09, 1999 at 19:01:56:

In Reply to: Medicine and effective demand and some myths posted by Gee on September 09, 1999 at 11:28:38:

Capitalist Objections to Socialistic Medicine

1. In order for there to be a reasonable quality of medical care provided to all human beings who have a reasonable need it is necessary for all human beings to be reduced to penury to pay for it, such that nobody could afford even a plastic laundry basket, and everybody would be carrying their laundry in cardboard boxes. I.e., the world economy cannot afford to provide reasonable care to everybody who has reasonable need, therefore some get it and some do not, and that is too bad, but there is nothing we can do about it.

2. There is no consistent way, philosophically or practically, for one to admit spending money for a plastic washing basket and at the same time to abominate spending money for a blatant extravagance that directly impacts the survival of the poor. I.e., there are an infinite number of ethical gradations between that which is heroically noble and that which is inhumanly vile, therefore, there is no difference between that which is heroically noble and that which is inhumanly vile.

Both propositions are false. The first is economically false, and the second is ethically false (it could only be true in the absence of ethics). Even if the first were true, the second is monstrous. Any vile inhuman deed can be justified on the grounds that it is but one point on a continuum of deeds stretching from divine kindness to demonic cruelty. One can argue that there is no way to draw a line through this continuum that is not ultimately arbitrary, and perhaps this is true. But, are we to conclude therefore that we cannot justly condemn the rape of a woman, the bombing of a hospital, or the gassing of Jews? Capitalist logic requires us to reject *all* notions of ethics, *all* things are permissible, however brutal they may be. The socialist asks only that we draw the line *somewhere.* The line terrifies the capitalist, but without this line, wherever it is drawn, our humanity is in jeopardy.

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