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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Gravel on Socialized Medicine

Susan, socialized medicine is government ownership of hospitals, government employment of doctors, government pricing of medicine and insurance, government rationing of treatments, government licensing of care-givers, etc.  Vouchers socialize merely the *financing* of health *insurance*, rather than socializing the entire healthcare chunk of the GDP.  If vouchers are provided only for the poor, they arguably meet Brian Doherty's definition of "libertarian" in that they correct for the market failure of free-riding on the charitable contributions of others.  If they are provided at the community level and financed only with a land value tax that tries to recoup some of the increased land value created by making the community more attractive to those who support that level of safety net for the poor, then they might meet my stricter standard of EcoLibertarian.  I don't doubt that they fail to meet your Rothbardian standard of anarcholibertarian.  There is more than one kind of libertarian. I reject as a false dichotomy the idea that if a sector of the economy isn't completely uninfluenced by the government, then it is "socialized".
You say "it’s talk like this that leads people to associate libertarianism with fascism."  Your leap from vouchers to "fascism" is breathtaking.  Fascism is "a system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism".  It's talk like yours that leads people to associate libertarianism with vacuousness.
I agree with you questioning Michael's comment about the "political center".  Michael, report for a refresh of your Nolan Chart tattoo. :-)   For those who question the notions of left-libertarian and right-libertarian, see the polling data on how libertarians self-identify: