The Healthcare Road to Serfdom

by Scott McPherson

COVID-19 hysteria has done more to embolden the power-mad than a massive terrorist attack. Once content to whisper among themselves about the danger of “too much freedom” (any amount, in the final analysis, being too much for them), they slither out of the shadows now to champion every new idea or policy that treats people like bees in a hive. “Mask up,” “lock down,” and “do your part,” these self-proclaimed drill sergeants bark, like propagandists for the Politburo.A government with the power to tax one person to pay for another’s healthcare needs will eventually assume the authority to make people’s healthcare decisions, even the most personal ones.
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Nothing about this is surprising. Those who see in every crisis (real or imagined) an opportunity to expand the size and scope of government power are acting just as we might expect. Authoritarians finally have a very large number of people scared to death over a healthcare “crisis,” so it’s natural for them to push for more policies that control our personal healthcare choices. The left has finally come out for total control.

Half a century (at least) of government interfering in healthcare was all prologue. Individual choice has been steadily eroded by socialist and regulatory healthcare programs like Medicare, Medicaid, licensing laws, price controls, prescription drug coverage, and innumerable mandates imposed on health-insurance providers. Obamacare claimed the power to fine people just for choosing to not have any health insurance at all. One state, Vermont, created a universal healthcare system for its residents (that crashed and burned, naturally). All of this came about because government was going to “fix” healthcare. Now it’s going to fix you.

According to a recent Heartland Institute/Rasmussen poll, an alarmingly high percentage of the population and a majority of Democrats are prepared to jetison the final remnants of personal healthcare freedom in the name of “public health.” Fifty-eight percent of Americans said they oppose a federal vaccine mandate, but over half of those on the political left (55 percent) think it’s a great idea. Additionally, 59 percent of Democrats want the unvaccinated to be “confined to their homes at all times, except for emergencies, if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine.” The decision of individuals and families to get or refuse vaccines has long been held sacrosanct, even on the left. Today, they want you placed under house arrest.

This Stalinist mindset is oozing out to infect other freedoms as well. Almost half of Democrats (48 percent) “think federal and state government should be able to fine or imprison individuals who publicly question the efficacy of the existing COVID-19 vaccines on social media, television, radio, or in online or digital publications,” 45 percent want the “unvaxxed” forced into “designated facilities,” and 47 percent want them subjected to a “government tracking program.” The poll didn’t ask if malcontents should be forced to wear a gold star or tattooed for easier identification, but 29 percent of Democrats do think parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids should have them taken away.

This is crazy on steroids. And don’t think it ends here. A large amount of COVID-related “stimulus” funding has gone to schools to support draconian masking policies, push vaccines, enforce “social distancing” requirements, and generally scare the younger generation right into shackles. Totalitarians have long known that the best way to create compliant citizens is to catch them young. A very disturbing video from Canada, which has slid completely into leftist tyranny, shows pupils, asked about the unvaccinated, reveling in the idea of calling the police and using the government to “cut everything from them little by little until they submit and get vaccinated,” while the adoring studio audience goes wild with applause. One commentor dubbed these students, appropriately, the Hitlerjugand. A poll released by Maru Public Opinion revealed that over a quarter (27 percent) of Canadians would like to see people jailed for refusing the jab.

When CNN interviewed Dr. Peter Hotez, director of the Center for Vaccine Development, on December 28, he accused two U.S. senators – Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) – of “anti-science aggression” (whatever that means) for merely questioning the efficacy of the COVID vaccine. He literally called them “killers.” Meanwhile, Democrats are cheerleaders for actual aggression through policies that will inevitably lead to clashes between citizens and government agents. Fines and imprisonment for people who “publicly question the efficacy of the existing COVID-19 vaccines on social media, television, radio, or in online or digital publications” don’t just violate people’s right to speak freely; they will be imposed by a (fully funded) policing agency backed by the full force of government. An editorial in the Salt Lake Tribune (January 15) called for a “mass vaccination campaign” in Utah that would forbid the unvaccinated from going “well, anywhere” – to be enforced by the state’s National Guard. Armed soldiers on the streets of America, keeping people locked in their homes. What could possibly go wrong!

All this insanity has its roots in government command and control. A government with the power to tax one person to pay for another’s healthcare needs will eventually assume the authority to make people’s healthcare decisions, even the most personal ones. Repealing mask and vax mandates is important, but we should understand that such a “return to normal” is far from ideal. It still leaves government in control of our most basic healthcare choices, through myriad programs and no shortage of other mandates. Repeal all the laws that give bureaucrats power in the healthcare arena, and when the next “crisis” erupts, Americans will have a principled foundation on which to stand and demand that government keep its snout out of healthcare altogether.

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