Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 739, September 29, 2013

Make no mistake: the only reason that
they want to take your guns is so they
can do things to you that they can't
do if you keep your guns.

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Separation of Medicine and State
by L.Neil Smith

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

If there is a single thing that stands as both the signature and trademark for the Presidential Administration of Barack Hussein Obama, it is a willingness to rule against the clearly expressed will of the people.

It's interesting to note that, from the viewpoint of the victim, there's no practical difference between a "progressive" politician who expresses a desire to take care of you, and thinks he knows better what you need than you do, and a jackbooted fascist thug who demands that you do what he tells you or he'll kill you, because he's the boss.

If there is a single thing that stands as signature and trademark for what passes as opposition to that kind of thinking, it is a base, testicularly-challenged, craven, chicken-hearted, cowering, gutless, lily-livered, pusillanimous, spineless, weak-kneed, yellow-bellied, cowardice.

Put them all together, they spell Republican.

It's infectious, this kind of cowardice, it's a contagion. A guy elected by rock-ribbed conservatives, or swept into office on a tide of Tea Party enthusiasm, will nonetheless, after only a few months of contact with Republicans of the soft, worthless variety we've all come to detest, lose his resolve and become as ideologically flaccid as the low, belly-crawling, boot-licking, pee-in-the-pants wimps surrounding him.

Since my first national political involvement, the Barry Goldwater Presidential campaign of 1964, I've spent pretty close to five decades wondering how and why this kind of travesty happens. Barry was the Ron Paul of his day; like Ron, he suffered vastly greater injury at the hands of back-stabbing fellow Republicans—mostly wealthy, powerful, completely unprincipled figures like Nelson Rockefeller, Henry Cabot Lodge, William Scranton, and George Romney—than from anything that the liberals of their day and their slave-media could have done to him.

More recently, in what's known in my family as a flash of the blindingly obvious, it occurred to me that the problem is no more complicated than this: Republicans, by their very nature, can only _react_. They are conservatives who, despite all of their talk about God, moral certitude, and sacred tradition, have no real underlying principles of their own, but merely drift with the tides of time, struggling to conserve everything their fathers and grandfathers, opposed.

They always let the other side, so-called liberals, determine what the debate will be about. The idea that Republicans should initiate any kind of plan or program of their own is completely alien to them. Genuine innovators within their ranks are treated like the nail that sticks up: hammered down flat until they're indistinguishable from the rest. That's why conservatives need libertarian help so desperately. New ideas are not tolerated within their movement (to abuse a noun) they must arrive from outside or not at all, so they can be reacted to.

This unflattering truth has never been more clear than in the struggle against the many tyrannies inherent in so-called Obamacare. Unable to find or create some viable alternative, Republicans have crouched and frozen like frightened rabbits, able only to attack those few among their number who are not satisfied with committing political _seppuku_,

The best they have offered anyone is to modify this thuggish takeover of a major fraction of the economy—and the most intimate portion of people's lives—or to write an imitation of their own, as if it hurts less when we do it to ourselves—which has traditionally been the policy, of course, of the National Rifle association—but I digress.

Sometimes, all you need to effect change is to put a name to things. Thirty-odd years ago, we noticed that one state has no laws forbidding—or allowing—the carry of concealed weapons, and that this state has the lowest violent crime rate in America. Clearly this was an idea that needed to be spread around, but I knew, given the way the human mind works, that it would never get anywhere unless it had a name.

So I coined the term "Vermont Carry".

Republicans find themselves high-centered now in the mud-pit of Marxist medicine, for no better reason than this: although they know perfectly what they don't want, they don't have a name for what they do.

Please allow me to assist: the phrase they're looking for, the words that everybody needs to wake up from this Stalinist nightmare, are:

Separation of Medicine and State.

Normally, a phrase like that wouldn't occur to most conservative Republicans, the only context where anything like it can be found is with regard to the First Amendment. Despite the evidence of history, despite the testimony of the man who wrote it and the man it was written to satisfy, conservatives busy themselves tap-hysterically dancing around it, attemping to deny what it really means, exactly the way "progressives" desperately try to make the Second Amendment go away.

Separation of Medicine and State.

This, however, is a concept that conservatives can support with a joyful heart. It means that the relationship between an individual and the health professional he chooses is a completely private, personal, market-oriented thing. Moreover, it would restore to that relationship the same standard of confidentiality that has always been appropriate between a attorney and his client, or better yet, a minister and his parishoner.

Separation of medicine and state.

It does mean a politically difficult end to programs like Medicare and Medicaid, but that shouldn't be impossible to explain to voters: they were fatally flawed to begin with, and they are now far beyond repair. Two relatively simple changes—the elimination of all taxation of anything even remotely related to medicine or medical practice, and the institution of "loser pays" tort reform to put an end to stupid or crooked lawsuits—will make it possible for almost everybody to afford proper treatment. Any gaps that do remain can be easily filled by churches and foundations eager to justify their existence.

Separation of medicine and state.

It also means that the government, at every level from national to municipal, will be compelled to divest itself of every hospital that it owns or controls. Anybody who has ever had anything to do with the Veterans' Administration hospitals will breath a deep, ragged sigh of relief.

Separation of medicine and state.

Make no mistake: medicine was an enormous and increasingly expensive mess in this country long before Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton shoved their long, pointy communist noses into everybody's business.

In the 1960s, during the Kennedy Administration, like a nightmare straight out of Ayn Rand's _The Fountainhead_, physicians were subjected to supervision of their practices by a committee of their competitors—as if the individuals who make Pepsi, Royal Crown and Shasta had anything legitimate to say about how Coca Cola runs its business.

Medical second-guessing and elbow-jogging became a way of life.

For decades, to keep doctors' incomes as high as possible, the American Medical Association used its political power to restrict entry into the market, keeping the supply of doctors artificially low. (Under separation of medicine and state, their income might fall, but it could not be taxed, more than making up the difference; tort reform would would arrive as a kind of bonus.) Yet when it came to protecting their doctors from the violent intrusions of the government, the AMA—which is run by the same kind of minds as the NRA—perversely chose to fight a slow retreat, rather than take the offensive against collectivism.

Meanwhile, relying on lies about events like the Thalidomide disaster, the Food and Drug Administration imposed testing procedures that made lifesaving medicines outrageously expensive, while hundreds of thousands of individuals died, waiting for those medicines to be approved. The villainies of the pharmaceutical industry under this regime would provide material for an essay—or a book—all by themselves.

As prices inevitably rose under stringent, complicated government regulation, medical insurance became more and more important, until, in the end, it wasn't their customers—sick people—that doctors found themselves working for, and ordered around by, but the issuers of insurance policies who determined, among other things, that no physician should spend more than fifteen minutes with each of his patients. In time, we would inevitably have had these outfits telling us how to live every second of our lives, simply in order to save them money.

The horrible truth is, overall, that the system itself , crippled as it was by government interference, was begging for something like Obamacare.

The one cure is to get rid of that interference altogether.

Separation of medicine and state.

More doctors, lower prices, more and better medicines, perfect privacy.

Separation of medicine and state.

There's your program, Republicans, there's the "meme" that can pull you out of the political quicksand you find yourselves flailing in.

Separation of medicine and state.

Guts, spine, and gonads.

Separation of medicine and state.

Now go do something about it.

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