Shoot The Doctors

Nasikabatrachus, the author of the weblog The Amphibious Anarchist, makes a fresh (to me, at least) argument against coerced health care, and coerced provision of goods in general, in the comment thread to this post by my recently discovered bizarro clone:

You say there's a right to live "at any cost". Doesn't that lend itself more towards the enslavement of doctors than taking money from people to pay doctors? After all, it's the doctors who refuse to work below a certain amount of money who are denying people treatment, not the people who aren't paying the doctors on behalf of others.

Imagine, for instance, that someone has just beaten you up. Who do you go to to seek restitution? Do you steal money from your neighbor down the street, or go to the one who beat you up?

Similarly, if the fact that a doctor is allowed to choose not to treat you is a violation of your rights, who do you go to? The doctor who doesn't want to treat someone for less than X dollars, or do you go stick up some random guy down the block and make him pay? Obviously, the latter is a sheer absurdity.

Don't make an argument from morality if you don't like the consequences.

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I've made that argument

I've made that argument quite often, it rarely works. People who argue for positive rights don't believe in individual rights in the first place but in collective rights, in that sense there is no such thing for them as an individual enforcing his own positive rights.

I'm confused

So my patient feels it is immoral for me to refuse to see them. But who made the moral choice to become a physician and on what basis. Presumably there is a social, psychological, physiological [something, anything] reward to satisfy the choice.

But then why did my patient choose not to become a doctor in the first place? Perhaps a physician can get into the game and decide the risk reward equation is unsatisfying, and so choses to write screenplays for a living (apologies to Michael Crichton).

My choices are not subject to such contradictory morality. I suppose that is one physician exerting his own individual positive right.

Thank you for the mention,

Thank you for the mention, Micha. It's kind of cool to see someone mention my little ranting corner of the webbernet. Especially when someone is calling me an author.

Both when I wrote that comment and to this day, such arguments as I was attempting to confront on that thread seem completely bizarre to me. Healthcare problems? Steal from someone to pay the doctors. Mothers can't buy milk for kids? Make the capitalists increase their wages--ignore the farmers and even the grocery stores (and make sure the kids can't earn a wage besides). Crime problems? Take guns away from the people least likely to commit them.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think there really isn't any way such positions can be derived rationally from reasonable premises: it's received cultural bias and willful emotional position-holding. So it's no wonder that Arthur B., and many others, observe that this and similar arguments don't work, because the intended audience is not operating on the basis of rational argumentation.