[cross-posted at Liberty & Power]
The transcript from last night’s GOP debate is now online.
My favourite Ron Paul quote of the night:
Well, we’ve had managed care, now, for about 35 years. It’s not working, and nobody’s happy with it. The doctors aren’t happy. The patients aren’t happy. Nobody seems to be happy – except the corporations, the drug companies and the HMOs. You take care of poor people by turning the medical care back into the system where people have some choices. Now, we have a mess because we have – a lot of people are very dependent on health care. But I have the only way we can afford to take care of people now, because we’re going broke, with $500 billion going to debt every single year. And we have a foreign policy that is draining us. I say, take care of these poor people. I’m not against that. But save the money someplace. The only place available for us to save it is to change our attitude about running a world empire and bankrupting this country. We can take care of the poor people, save money and actually cut some of our deficit. So you don’t have to throw anybody out in the street, but long term you have move toward the marketplace. You cannot expect socialized medicine of the Hillary brand to work. And you can’t expect the managed care system that we have today, which promotes and benefits and rewards the corporations – because it’s the drug companies and the HMOs and even the AMA that comes to us and lobbies us for this managed care, and that’s why the prices are high. It’s only in medicine that technology has raised prices rather than lowering prices.
I’m sick of hearing people – both defenders and critics of socialised medicine – talking as though the U.S. system represented a free-market approach, and comparing the merits of U.S. and European approaches to health care as though they represented the merits of state-socialist and market-based approaches respectively. In reality the U.S. system is a fascist/corporatist system; as John Graham notes (conical hat tip to Tom Ford), “Nobody is talking about a free-market approach in health care. The spectrum today is between fascism and Communism.” Nice to see Ron Paul get that right.
My least favourite Ron Paul quote of the night:
My personal belief is that marriage is a religious ceremony. And it should be dealt with religiously. The state really shouldn’t be involved. The state, both federal and state-wise, got involved mostly for health reasons 100 years or so ago.
I agree, of course, that the state shouldn’t be involved with marriage (or anything else, for that matter). My gripe is with the historical claim that state involvement in marriage in the U.S. dates from only a hundred years ago. Is Paul unaware of the state’s massive involvement in marriage during the 19th century? Has he never read of the enormous struggle that was waged against such state involvement, and the relentless legal persecution that was suffered by dissidents? What of the various legal restrictions that were imposed on the wife (such as loss of freedom over her property, her children, and her own body), or on both parties (such as denial of the right to divorce), in consequence of the state’s recognition of their marriage? What of the Mormons, who were forced at bayonet-point to abandon their religious commitment to polygamy? What of free-love activists Lillian Harman and Edwin Walker, who were thrown in jail in 1886 for daring to undergo a marriage ceremony not approved by the state? Throughout the 19th century (and of course well before) the state defined the terms of the marriage contract and punished all deviation therefrom.
In other news, good for the New York cabbies! This is one strike that even my right-libertarian friends should be able to approve of.