It’s popular on the fringe to mock democracy, pointing to the endless supply of examples where “citizens” sign up for idiotic causes. The simple fact that 50% of people are below average in intelligence should be enough to shake anyone’s faith in democracy. As I’m fond of putting it, find the dumbest guy you know and give him a veto over your life. That’s democracy.
That said, the alternatives are not much better. If your system of government permits the deranged, insane and berserk to get control of the levers of power, eventually they will and you will be ruled by lunatics. Charles VI was king of France in the 14th century. He also thought he was made of glass. Christian VII of Denmark was a chronic masturbater who would randomly slap people in the face (with his hand) for no reason.
The great check on this for most of human history was scarcity. Human societies were a bad harvest away from serious unrest unless the people in charge were on top of things. That motivated the ruling class to police themselves. That was best done by killing off the deranged, the insane and the unpredictable. If the king’s son was a dangerous nut, then he would die in a hunting accident before he became a problem.
I’m exaggerating for effect, but the point is valid. When misconduct or misjudgements by the rulers had catastrophic consequences, the people in charge had no choice but to be prudent. This limited innovation and stifled technological progress, but it kept lunatics from gaining too much influence. Plus, burning heretics at the stake was fun.
In the current age, the people in charge can be reckless. We live in a post-scarcity time when even big mistakes by the rulers do not threaten our survival. At least it seems that way. We’re certainly testing the theory by allowing anyone with a crackpot idea to get a shot to try it out on the public. This story about health insurance in Colorado is a great example.
With Colorado’s shaky Obamacare exchange in peril, some health care advocates are calling for voters to scrap it and replace it with something far more ambitious.
Proponents of a statewide single-payer health care system have submitted 156,107 signatures, far more than the 98,492 required to qualify for the November 2016 ballot, to the Colorado secretary of state’s office for verification.If the measure qualifies, Colorado would immediately become ground zero for a national debate on the concept of steep tax increases in return for guaranteed health care coverage for all residents, all against the backdrop of a pivotal presidential race.
The program, called ColoradoCare, comes with a steep price tag: $25 billion, which would be raised with a 10 percent payroll tax increase. At the same time, the plan would provide all residents with Medicare-style health care coverage and allow the state to dump Obamacare.
Whether Colorado voters would agree to take on that kind of tax hike is another question — two years ago, they rejected a comparatively paltry $1 billion tax increase for education — but there is no doubt that the “no-more-Obamacare” argument resonates with certain segments of the population.
“For some people, I say, ‘It gets us out of Obamacare,’ and some people cheer,” T.R. Reid, a spokesman for ColoradoCareYES, said during the signature-gathering campaign. “It’s a purple state, and we have this purple plan that can appeal to both sides.”
The premise of this proposal is that the people who screwed up the old system with the central planning thing called ObamaCare now want to “fix” it by replacing it with an even nuttier government plan. They are not hiding from this or even sugarcoating it. It’s right there. The solution to government run health insurance is government run health insurance.
Of course, most of the people behind this are not insane, but many of them are. They are convinced that if you arrange the laws just the right the way, two plus two will equal five. The trouble is the cynical backers who seek to profit by having the crazy convince enough of the stupid to go along with another robbery. This can only happen when the people in charge are no longer policing their ranks.
Even in a post-scarcity age, the iron laws of supply and demand apply. There is a finite amount of health care. That means it must be rationed and the only way that ever gets done properly is through price. Even Chinese Marxists get this basic reality. For essentials like basic health care, food, shelter, etc., charity steps in so those with extra can help those in need.
You never hear anyone say this in public. Instead, pols from both parties come up with plan to summon the good spirits of plenty to vanquish the evil spirits of want. They don’t put it that way, but it is what they are saying. The fault is not that some people believe this. The trouble is the people who know better encourage this sort of reckless nonsense. At some point, the tab for indulging the reckless and stupid is going to be paid.