Archive | December 18, 2009

The Check Is Not In the Mail

writing a check

According to this story (CHT LRC), the first check (or cheque) in England was written in 1659.

Clearly this is false. Nobody would have accepted the first check; indeed, nothing even counts as “writing a check” except against the background of an established practice of check-writing.

Hence there could never have been a first check. And that leaves us only two options.

Either the practice of check-writing must stretch back to infinity – which in turn means that the creationists and the evolutionists are both wrong, and Aristotle is right: the universe and the human race are infinitely old, and we’ve been writing checks forever – or else there has never yet been a check, and all experience to the contrary is an illusion.

Healthcare Con

The following letter appeared in this morning’s Opelika-Auburn News:

To the editor:

To understand the current debate over healthcare, one needs to see past the rhetoric of both parties and look at the policies they actually enact.

Republicans promise to protect us against big government, while Democrats promise to protect us against big business.

"Hey there, corporate parasite" - "Hey there, socialist oppressor"

But in practice, both parties consistently support a partnership between big government and big business, at the expense of ordinary people. They bicker over which partner is to be dominant; but neither party ever seriously threatens the overall partnership.

The healthcare bill is a case in point.

Democrats have portrayed it as an assault on the power of insurance companies – as if those companies won’t benefit enormously from a provision requiring everyone to buy health insurance (with or without the public option).

The Republicans, for their part, portray their defense of the status quo as a defense of the free market. But the status quo in healthcare is no free market; it’s a system of massive, ongoing government intervention on behalf of insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and the medical establishment.

Democrats and Republicans disagree only over the precise flavor of intervention, not the amount. The question is always whether decisions about your healthcare should be made by bureaucrats, or instead by plutocrats – never by you.

A century ago, a vibrant system of health cooperatives, run not by bureaucrats or plutocrats but by the working class, was dramatically reducing healthcare prices and boosting patient autonomy – until government regulation shut the system down. (University of Alabama history professor David Beito documents the story in his book From Mutual Aid to the Welfare State.)

If Republicans really care about free markets, and if Democrats really care about the poor, why doesn’t either party work to repeal those laws and allow the cooperative system to return?

Roderick T. Long

Further reading: See my How Government Solved the Healthcare Crisis, Poison As Food, Poison As Antidote, and Remembering Corporate Liberalism; Kevin Carson’s Meet the New Healthcare Boss and Honest Statism Beats a Fake Free Market; and Gary Chartier’s State Socialism and Anarchism: How Far They Agree and Wherein They Differ Regarding Healthcare Reform.

I’m In an Infinitely Reproducible New York State of Mind

Image removed under threat of state violence

The papers for the Molinari Society’s upcoming IP symposium at the APA are now online. (For those planning to attend, I’ll announce the session location here as soon as I can wrest the information from the APA’s bony fingers at registration.)

I notice that the Ayn Rand Society session at the APA is also devoted to intellectual property. So hours of libertarian IP debate await us in New York! (Well, using “us” loosely; something else I’m committed to conflicts with the Randian meeting, so I will have to miss it. But, y’know, them us.)

Addendum, 9-30-2010:

Ironically, this very post announcing our panel opposing the form of censorship known as “copyright” has today been victimsed by the form of censorship known as “copyright.”

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes