Ed Hudgins

Al Capone–Style Health Care

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Al Capone–Style Health Care
by Edward Hudgins

March 10, 2010 — The Obama administration wants no one to focus on the process involved in the production and passage of its health care takeover—not that it wants us to focus much on the substance, either. After all, politics always involves some trade-offs and even a little bit of arm-twisting. Like making sausage, it's not nice to watch but the products can be mighty tasty.

But the process in this case is very relevant to the policy because it highlights exactly what sort of regime this administration would inflict on Americans. Consider two aspects of that process.

Naked power

Recently resigned New York House Democrat Eric Massa alleged that Obama chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel helped push him out of office on ethics charges because he, Massa, wouldn't back Obamacare. Massa said that Emanuel "would sell his mother to get a vote. He would strap his children to the front end of a steam locomotive."

As evidence, Massa offered: "I was in the congressional gym, and I went down and I worked out and I went into the showers. . . . I'm sitting there showering, naked as a jaybird, and here comes Rahm Emanuel not even with a towel wrapped around his tush, poking his finger in my chest, yelling at me because I wasn't going to vote for the president's budget. Do you know how awkward it is to have a political argument with a naked man?

Emanuel has a reputation of being a nasty, thuggish, intimidating character. "So what?" you might ask. There are probably nasty, thuggish, intimidating Republicans as well, though perhaps not as deserving of getting punched in the face in the shower room as Rahm.

The Emanuel story comes on top of nearly a year of House Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi using hardball politics and arm-twisting to get her fellow Democrats to vote for Obamacare as well as Obama's heavy-handed environmental regulations. Again you might ask, "So what?" After all, former Republican House Whip Tom DeLay didn't get the nickname "The Hammer" for being a laid-back softy.

Purchasing power

But consider the second revealing aspect of the process of passing Obamacare. It was with the "Louisiana purchase," $300 million in extra Medicaid funding, that the plan's supporters bought the vote of that state's Democratic senator Mary Landrieu. It was with the "Cornhusker Kickback," exempting Nebraskans from paying an extra $100 million for the cost of putting millions of new beneficiaries on Medicaid, that they bought the vote of that state's Democratic senator Ben Nelson.

Florida 's Democratic senator Bill Nelson secured for his state's 800,000 beneficiaries of Medicare Advantage exemptions from cuts in that program. And high-valued labor union health insurance policies were exempted from a new 40 percent tax, allowing senators in the pay of such unions to vote comfortably for the Senate bill while railing against fat-cat businessmen with "Cadillac" insurance plans.

You get the point. Obamacare has brought vote-buying to a new, outrageous level.

Process of decay

Again, you might ask, "Why harp on process? Isn't it the end product that counts?"

Obamacare's end product—bringing one-sixth of the American economy under tighter control of the federal government, degrading our medical care, limiting our liberty—is indeed horrible and should be defeated on those grounds. But consider what the process of passing such laws presages.

For better or worse—usually the latter—government entitlement programs are supposed to be administrated in a fair and impartial manner. Individuals who qualify for specific, defined benefits are to receive those benefits regardless of political influence or affiliation.

For course, in the case of the legal bribes used to secure the Senate votes, benefits do depend on whether an individual lives in a state with a politically influential senator. If you want to keep your Medicare Advantage benefits and you live in Arizona rather than Florida, you're out of luck.

While we can hope that such provisions are declared unconstitutional, the process of producing Obamacare highlights the politicized nature of the regime favored by statists and paternalists. Our system of government is decaying into a new kind of klyptocracy based on raw power. It will make limited government, the rule of law, and individual liberty casualties in a war of all against all.

The paternalist fist

And what about Rahm Emanuel's Al Capone tactics? Surely they'll be confined to securing passage of legislation.

To begin with, remember that the current government regulations of health care are enforced with an iron fist. Physicians have suffered fines and even jail for innocently running afoul of incomprehensible Medicare and Medicaid rules. Government agents with guns have taken their money and their freedom. Obamacare would subject both healers and we the patients to an even harsher regime.

Rahm's rough Chicago gangster ways remind us of the nature of the goals and the souls of statists and paternalists. While posing as our benefactors, they lust for power. They are obsessed with the need to control our lives. And such control is ultimately predicated on the force of government.

Under their regime, bribery and threats rather than free exchange between individuals determine who gets what. The nature of the regime that statists and paternalists are creating was perfectly manifest in the process of producing Obamacare. And this is why the welfare and entitlement state must be challenged not just on the particulars of any given policy, but on a fundamental level, lest America become one big gangland run by the likes of a Rahm Emanuel.
------
Hudgins directs advocacy and is a senior scholar at The Atlas Society, the center for Objectivism in Washington, D.C.

For further reading:

*Walter Donway, "The Road to Rationing." August 10, 2009.

*Bradley Doucet, "Why on Earth—Is Health Such a Low Priority?" September 23, 2009.

*David Kelley, "Is There a Right to Health Care?" January 8, 2008.

*Judy Kopulos, "Medicare—The Mammoth in the Living Room." October 13, 2009.

*Stephen Moses, "The Inherent Individualism of Insurance."Navigator, November/December 2002

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The latest awful idea is no vote will be taken but the House will be deemed to have passed the Senate bill. Powerline made the comment that if this is done the House will after November be deemed to be in GOP hands. This idea is called the Slaughter option after a Congresswoman from New York.

Edited by Chris Grieb

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A further reminder that Boss Obama and his crew play by Chicago Rules.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Ed, I am glad that you didn't try to use the word, "moral" on the starting post of this thread to defend your assertion.

That's the spirit. My biggest peeve with "Objectivists" is their use of the word, "moral" to defend their assertion, instead of attempting to explain, "the cause" and "effect" of the issues.

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Ed, I am glad that you didn't try to use the word, "moral" on the starting post of this thread to defend your assertion.

That's the spirit. My biggest peeve with "Objectivists" is their use of the word, "moral" to defend their assertion, instead of attempting to explain, "the cause" and "effect" of the issues.

The actions of the Obamanistas in many ways are immoral. We are concerned to determine what the effects or ends are of various causes or means--our own actions, public policies--because we prefer some effects to others. (I actually maintain that the ends in part are constituted in the means.) And the standard by which we should determine which effects or ends are to be preferred is a moral standard. There, I got morality into the thread!

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The actions of the Obamanistas in many ways are immoral.

We are concerned to determine what the effects or ends are of various causes or means--our own actions, public policies--because we prefer some effects to others. (I actually maintain that the ends in part are constituted in the means.) And the standard by which we should determine which effects or ends are to be preferred is a moral standard. There, I got morality into the thread!

First of all, who is this "we"?

Second of all, does this "we" decide what is moral across time and space for all humanity?

And the standard by which we should determine which effects or ends are to be preferred is a moral standard.

Ed, who provided and/or articulated the standard by which "we"(as you used it above) should determine which effects or ends are to be preferred?

Edited by Red Grant

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The actions of the Obamanistas in many ways are immoral.

We are concerned to determine what the effects or ends are of various causes or means--our own actions, public policies--because we prefer some effects to others. (I actually maintain that the ends in part are constituted in the means.) And the standard by which we should determine which effects or ends are to be preferred is a moral standard. There, I got morality into the thread!

First of all, who is this "we"?

Second of all, does this "we" decide what is moral across time and space for all humanity?

Well, if you have no preferences for happiness or misery, health or sickness, life or death, if it's all the same to you, then there's really nothing to discuss is there?

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And the standard by which we should determine which effects or ends are to be preferred is a moral standard.

Ed, who provided and/or articulated the standard by which "we"(as you used it above) should determine which effects or ends are to be preferred?

Edited by Red Grant

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Editing error

Edited by Red Grant

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The actions of the Obamanistas in many ways are immoral.

We are concerned to determine what the effects or ends are of various causes or means--our own actions, public policies--because we prefer some effects to others. (I actually maintain that the ends in part are constituted in the means.) And the standard by which we should determine which effects or ends are to be preferred is a moral standard. There, I got morality into the thread!

First of all, who is this "we"?

Second of all, does this "we" decide what is moral across time and space for all humanity?

Well, if you have no preferences for happiness or misery, health or sickness, life or death, if it's all the same to you, then there's really nothing to discuss is there?

Where did I say or imply that I have no preferences for happiness or misery, health or sickness, life or death?

....if it's all the same to you, then there's really nothing to discuss is there?

....but I neither said it nor implied it. Why are you trying to put words into my mouth something I neither said nor implied?

I'm merely asking you to clarify what you meant by "we"?

...and whether does this "we" decide what is moral for all humanity across time and space?

Edited by Red Grant

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That's an easy question!

We are the ones we've been waiting for and

and we will

Take each one of these 535 to the nearest lamp post and ...

Adam

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I want to thank Ed Hudgins for his contributions to The Atlas Society.

Red Grant and Adam Selene are not “We Objectivists.” Red Grant came here and immediately asked for the moderators definition of “Bullying.” I would consider this before responding, and his supporter, Anarchist Adam Selene is not an Objectivist. Well, I would respond, if they say anything of interest, which is possible, but not probable. I would not appreciate coming to an Objectivist site and then discover I am being challenged to debate, Rand 101. That is not why I support this site.

I want to thank Ed and everyone else who had a hand in writing the latest issue of The New Individualist. I especially want to say to Executive Editor Sherrie Gossett, “Outstanding!” It is the best issue ever, from the quirky caricature of Ayn on the cover to the sparse poem, “Telamon,” on the last page. It has a review of Jennifer Burn’s new book, “Goddess of The Market,” and also a review of Anne Heller’s “Ayn Rand and the World She Made.” Great job. You guys have convinced me to buy both books, and contribute early to The Atlas Society. (Is there any chance of going back to the name, TOC, The Objectivist Society? I liked that better.)

Every time we think Obamacare is dead it is revived like Frankenstein’s Monster. The Blue Dog Democrats are the key. If they can be bought or intimidated, then it will pass. Whether it passes or not, 2010 and 2012 will be Tea Party years. Unfortunately, in the short term, many of the Blue Dogs may think, “I am going to lose my next election anyway so why not just go along with Reid and Pelosi?”

Semper cogitans fidele,

Peter Taylor

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Peter:

Being declared by someone like yourself as not an "O"jectivist begs the question.

What is an "O"jectivist?

Adam

wondering if their is a formal excommunication procedure enshrined in the High Temple of "O"bjectivism which must be that decaying structure that you can occassionally see as the light from Wyatt's torch flickers in the winds of history...

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Adam wrote:

. . . wondering if their is a formal excommunication procedure enshrined in the High Temple of "O"bjectivism which must be that decaying structure that you can occasionally see as the light from Wyatt's torch flickers in the winds of history...

end quote

You really tick me off. A hero like Ed Hudgins deserves a better reception here. That was an interesting analogy so I will answer. Your depiction of ARI Objectivism as a decaying structure speaks of your inner rot. They are growing, and growing, thanks to those invitations in Ayn Rand’s books.

There is no formal ARI excommunication procedure. It is not a religion, though some of us can be dogmatic. Those dogmatic people are moral. You are not, in an intellectual sense. You are like Kant, though more openly vicious. Virtually all ARI Objectivists that I have known really have thought it through. They just won’t speak to you.

I am growing weary of Anarchists who use Ayn Rand as an inroads to “decent society” while at the same time besmirching her. I am weary of Anarchists who use the freedom and prosperity of America as a launching pad to destroy America.

Rational Anarchists are perched on Rand’s statue like a sickly pirate’s parrot, crapping on her philosophy. She shrugged you off long ago, but you keep swooping down.

To use a euphemism from the TV show “Caprica,” “Frack you! Get lost, Creep.”

Semper cogitans fidele,

Peter Taylor

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Peter:

You are just sooo emotional!

I, as a follower of Ayn's ideas, and as a supporter of Ed and the Atlas Society and a proponent of open objectivism, find your categorizations of my positions as irrational and very un-Randian.

Emotional outbursts are not arguments. You can employ pathos to enhance a rational argument, but you cannot make ad hominem screeches a substitute for facts and reasoning.

Nevertheless, my discussions and arguments about anarcho-capitalism are not anarchist arguments. You are employing what Ayn despised:

As Merlin just pointed out, package-deals. I do not think you will hit this link, but you will be informed of an important part of Ayn's ideas that you seem to really need to learn.

If you would now try, I know you know how to try, to answer my question in my post that you ranted about which was:

What is an "O"jectivist?

Or, by your definition, what is an Objectivist? I removed my snarky big "O."

Adam

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The actions of the Obamanistas in many ways are immoral.

We are concerned to determine what the effects or ends are of various causes or means--our own actions, public policies--because we prefer some effects to others. (I actually maintain that the ends in part are constituted in the means.) And the standard by which we should determine which effects or ends are to be preferred is a moral standard. There, I got morality into the thread!

First of all, who is this "we"?

Second of all, does this "we" decide what is moral across time and space for all humanity?

Well, if you have no preferences for happiness or misery, health or sickness, life or death, if it's all the same to you, then there's really nothing to discuss is there?

Where did I say or imply that I have no preferences for happiness or misery, health or sickness, life or death?

....if it's all the same to you, then there's really nothing to discuss is there?

....but I neither said it nor implied it. Why are you trying to put words into my mouth something I neither said nor implied?

I'm merely asking you to clarify what you meant by "we"?

...and whether does this "we" decide what is moral for all humanity across time and space?

Ed, does this [your refusal to reply to a few questions relevant to your posts on the context of this thread] imply that

..either you do not know "who decides what is moral for all humanity across time and space"?

or

you do know, but refused to enlighten the people who are interested in Objectivism on the nature of who decides what is moral for all humanity?

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Red Grant and Adam Selene are not “We Objectivists.”

Peter, are you implying then, "We Objectivists" decide what is moral for all humanity across time and space?

Red Grant came here and immediately asked for the moderators definition of “Bullying.”

Do you consider my question as you related above objectionable?

If so, then why?

I would consider this before responding,....

Are you implying that I am a bully? If so, then why?

I would respond, if they say anything of interest, which is possible, but not probable. I would not appreciate coming to an Objectivist site and then discover I am being challenged to debate, Rand 101.

Okay, so you regard articulating what is moral and who decides what is moral (according to Objectivist morality) for all humanity across time and space, not of interest?

That is not why I support this site.

So why do you support this site?

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I want to thank Ed Hudgins for his contributions to The Atlas Society.

I want to thank Ed and everyone else who had a hand in writing the latest issue of The New Individualist. I especially want to say to Executive Editor Sherrie Gossett, “Outstanding!” It is the best issue ever, from the quirky caricature of Ayn on the cover to the sparse poem, “Telamon,” on the last page.

We are concerned to determine what the effects or ends are of various causes or means--our own actions, public policies--because we prefer some effects to others. (I actually maintain that the ends in part are constituted in the means.) And the standard by which we should determine which effects or ends are to be preferred is a moral standard. - Ed Hudgins

Peter, do you see the irony above?

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Red,

I just caught this thread.

I think you are making too much out of Ed's use of the word, "we."

I don't think his intention is to set himself up as a prophet for Objectivism or anything of that nature. I think he is just saying "we" as human beings in general. Here. Let me paraphrase Ed's statement, replacing "we" for "human beings" so you can see what I mean. Don't forget that the idea was to mention morality.

The actions of the Obamanistas in many ways are immoral. Human beings are concerned to determine what the effects or ends are of various causes or means--the actions of human beings, public policies--because human beings prefer some effects to others. (I actually maintain that the ends in part are constituted in the means.) And the standard by which human beings should determine which effects or ends are to be preferred is a moral standard. There, I got morality into the thread!

Does that make sense to you? It does to me.

If you are in doubt about the intent of Ed saying that, all I can say is that I have met Ed several times. What he said is a typical quip Hudgins-style. You said, "Ain't no morality," and Ed said, "Here, have some." I can almost see the twinkle in his eye as he wrote that. A friendly poke in the ribs...

As to not answering you, I can't speak for Ed, but I do know he does not engage in aggressive online posting. I imagine he did not answer you because he thought the discussion was going off into a heated area over nothing.

As it ultimately did.

Ed's one of the good guys. And a helluva nice guy.

Michael

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Red,

I just caught this thread.

I think you are making too much out of Ed's use of the word, "we."

I don't think his intention is to set himself up as a prophet for Objectivism or anything of that nature.

No, that wasn't my impression, either. I thought he was being a little careless with the use of words, and when got caught at it, didn't have enough fortitude to acknowledge it.

I think he is just saying "we" as human beings in general.

That was my speculation as well.

Here. Let me paraphrase Ed's statement, replacing "we" for "human beings" so you can see what I mean. Don't forget that the idea was to mention morality.

The actions of the Obamanistas in many ways are immoral. Human beings are concerned to determine what the effects or ends are of various causes or means--the actions of human beings, public policies--because human beings prefer some effects to others. (I actually maintain that the ends in part are constituted in the means.) And the standard by which human beings should determine which effects or ends are to be preferred is a moral standard. There, I got morality into the thread!

Does that make sense to you? It does to me.

In that case, he could have qualified his statements, with "based on my moral standard".

Too often, people try to hide behind "we", "Morality" as "short cuts" (implied as if it "Morality" stands for universal morality across time and space for all humanity, instead of "morality" being their individual preferences) to psychologically blackmail others and/or for the purpose of intellectual masturbation.

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Red,

LOL...

Do you really think Ed Hudgins is capable of "psychological blackmail" "for the purpose of intellectual masturbation"?

Dayaamm!

I'm trying... I swear, I'm trying...

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL...

(tears streaming down)

Sorry... I just can't take that one seriously...

:)

Michael

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Red,

LOL...

Do you really think Ed Hudgins is capable of "psychological blackmail" "for the purpose of intellectual masturbation"?

No, I don't think that was his purpose. Like I said, I think he just got a little careless.

When I said, "Psychological blackmail", "Intellectual masturbation", I meant some of my past detractors who hid behind "We", "Morality".

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Thanks Michael, your evaluation was right on the mark! I'll add that I spend a lot of my time writing the articles and commentaries and thus less time posting about them on websites (or reading lots of threads for that matter) unless some really good issues are raised.

And in any case, I just assume that a crafty James Bond villain would do deep opposition research and eventually find and read Rand's "Objectivist Ethics!" :rolleyes:

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Thanks Michael, your evaluation was right on the mark! I'll add that I spend a lot of my time writing the articles and commentaries and thus less time posting about them on websites (or reading lots of threads for that matter) unless some really good issues are raised.

So you did get careless?

.....and in any case, I just assume that a crafty James Bond villain would do deep opposition research and eventually find and read Rand's "Objectivist Ethics!" :rolleyes:

Why do you assume that I am necessarily in opposition?

I merely asked you to clarify your misused (I think) words. :rolleyes:

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OK

grouphug.gif

Let's have a good ole fashioned Objectivist big hug!

Hmmm

Maybe I am a bit too hopeful for change!

Adam

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