Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 538, September 27, 2009

"The plague of authoritarian collectivism"

Previous Previous Table of Contents Contents Next Next

My Response to an Example of Bumper-Sticker Philosophy
by Bill Hartwell

Special to The Libertarian Enterprise

The following has apparently been making the rounds on Facebook lately: "No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day."

It's a nice, pretty idea, until you sit down and consider the implications. No one should die because they cannot afford health care.

Tell me, please, how are you going to provide this health care to people who cannot afford it? Are you going to steal the money from other people and use it to pay for those who cannot afford it? or Are you going to force health care professionals to work without compensation?

You're going to have to do one or the other, unless you believe that charity is enough to cover all those who are too poor to pay for their own health care. The strange thing about charity, though, is that it is, by definition, not coerced. That means that people give freely, to those causes they believe in and wish to support. That does not mean that they are taxed for it (see item 1), or pay mandated fees to support the uninsured (see item 1). Nor do they serve as slave labor (see item 2) for the cause(s) you believe they should support, whether they support them or not.

Charity is about choice: You choose to support a cause you believe in, freely and without coercion. and no one should go broke because they get sick.

Nice image, but how are you going to guarantee that people don't go broke because they get sick? Are you going to Steal money from other people and give it to those who got sick? or Force the sick person's employer to keep him on the payroll, even when he can't do his job and has used up all his contractual benefits?

All right, item 2 on this list is really just a specific variation of item 1, just like item 2 in the first list is really just a specific variation of item 1 in that list, too, although item 2 on the first list is also a specific instance of slavery.

So, all of you who support the original bumper-sticker idea, as it's been posted on Facebook: Did you just not think about the implications of the idea, or do you really have no problem with theft and slavery?

Those of you who know me in person know that I am speaking as the recipient of stolen goods. I am a disabled veteran, who survives on SSDI and Medicare, and therefore am receiving money stolen from able-bodied people at the point of a gun. Does this bother me? Yes! That's why I've been trying to sell my stories ever since I became disabled. If I were as morally upright as I wish I were, I would be living on the street, if not already dead. If I were as good at selling my stories as my friends claim my stories are, I would at least be able to buy mac&cheese with honest money. Yes, it bothers me. Yes, I wish I were not living off stolen money. No, I don't have the slightest idea how to resolve the problem. That does not change the fact that I know right from wrong, and know that stealing money from one person, or group of people, to provide benefits to another person, or group of people, is wrong.

First posted at and Bill's blog at


Help Support TLE by patronizing our advertisers and affiliates.
We cheerfully accept donations!

to advance to the next article
to return to the previous article
Table of Contents
to return to The Libertarian Enterprise, Number 538, September 27, 2009

Big Head Press