Friday, September 23, 2011

A few questions of my own for candidates

I have a few questions I am asking candidates to identify their fundamental ideas about rights, politics and government.  If I get any responses I will post them.

1. Currently, the market in health care services is severely restricted by government monopoly.  Do you believe doctors have the right to run their own business, choose their own patients and charge their own fees?  If not, what is the moral principle you rely on to restrict the natural rights of doctors?

2. Do you believe citizens have the right to use their own money in exchange for any health services they want and can obtain in a free market?  If not, please identify the moral principle you rely on to deny citizens this right.

3. Do you believe citizens have the right to own their own property, free of all encumbrances and charges that others may wish to impose, no matter how large the group?   If not, what moral principle do you use to override the right of individuals to property.

4. Do you believe it is moral for the rights of individuals to be overridden by whichever group can assemble a majority vote?  If so, please identify the moral principle you rely on to support your position.

5. Do you believe individuals have the a natural liberty to peacefully pursue their own goals in life, so long as they respect the same right of others, and the right to keep all of the values they produce through their own efforts?  Please elaborate as much as possible.


  1. Hi Dave,

    I'm not responding as a fellow candidate but as a voter that is a little confused/curious about the "choose their own patients" part found in question one regarding how a doctor would run a business in a free market. I am not providing a response to the whole question from a different point of view but am seeking clarification regarding what you mean. I've provided below how I interpret "doctors choose their own patients" to see if we're on similar wavelengths.

    I'm unclear on how the doctor would choose their own patients when an individual/potential patient would be seeking out and choosing a doctor in a free market because they are sick, want a general check up, etc. I understand that the doctors would advertise/compete for patients or possibly directly seek out/ask individuals if they consent to being a patient. The latter seems to be the implied method of how the doctor would "choose their own patients". The only other method that currently comes to mind with respect to a doctor "choosing their own patients" would be by turning patients needing health care away, which doesn't seem to be a very moral principle for the doctor to live by (leaving the doctor, possibly, with a bit of a reputation of being un-compassionate towards some individuals needing health care); the exception being the doctor is just too busy to provide health care to all the patients paying him/her a visit. Furthermore, if not too busy, it doesn't seem to be a very rational move by a profit seeking individual business.

    I agree with the two other parts of question one, private doctor businesses and ability to set their own fees.

    Best Regards


  2. Thanks for the comment. You are on track when you state that doctors would advertise and compete for patients as is done in any free market. It is immoral to force a doctor to accept or treat any specific patient against his will or for any particular price. It is simply immoral to initiate force against doctors or any other innocent person. If we accept that force is acceptable against doctors then we have enslaved them to the wishes of others to the degree force is used. This is not the way to have more and better doctors in a society.

    On the other hand, doctors in a free market will recognize the few people who are in desperate situations and often treat them with lower or even no compensation. This is called charity. In a free society benevolence and charity is abundant since the conflicts between men that are created by a controlled economy are eliminated. In present society, many charitable functions have been taken over by government force and so we cannot see that they would otherwise flourish.

    Here is a quote from Atlas Shrugged that is on the topic at hand.

    "I quit when medicine was placed under State control, some years ago,” said Dr. Hendricks. “Do you know what it takes to perform a brain operation? Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill? That was what I would not place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity to spout the fraudulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing their wishes at the point of a gun. I would not let them dictate the purpose for which my years of study had been spent, or the conditions of my work, or my choice of patients, or the amount of my reward. I observed that in all the discussions that preceded the enslavement of medicine, men discussed everything – except the desires of the doctors. Men considered only the ‘welfare’ of the patients, with no thought for those who were to provide it. That a doctor should have any right, desire or choice in the matter was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to choose, they said, only ‘to serve.’ That a man who’s willing to work under compulsion is too dangerous a brute to entrust with a job in the stockyards – never occurred to those who proposed to help the sick by making life impossible for the healthy. I have often wondered at the smugness with which people assert their right to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscience, to stifle my mind – yet what is it that they expect to depend on, when they lie on an operating table under my hands? Their moral code has taught them to believe that it is safe to rely on the virtue of their victims. Well, that is the virtue I have withdrawn. Let them discover the kind of doctors that their system will now produce. Let them discover, in their operating rooms and hospital wards, that it is not safe to place their lives in the hands of a man whose life they have throttled. It is not safe, if he is the sort of a man who resents it – and still less safe, if he is the sort who doesn’t."

    1. Hi David,

      Your welcome and thanks for the informative reply i found it quite interesting. I do have an ill-informed follow up question: Do most of Ontario's medical doctors share the same or similar views as Dr. Hendrick's views in Atlas Shrugged?


  3. I am certain that only a very small percentage of Ontario doctors have a view similar to the one expressed in Atlas .Shrugged. Most of our present doctors have been raised within the current socialized system and so have no concept of what a free system looks like any more.You would have to go back before the 1960s to see a system prior to the implementation of Canadian Medicare. At the time of its implementation the medical Association was a strong opponent of the system but in the end they caved in to the government. I have read of several independent-minded and strong-willed doctors who have a clear and consistent philosophy, but I believe them to be in the small minority. One of them is former CMA president Brian Day.

    I fully understand that within present society the idea that a government could serve the sole rule of protector of individual rights represents a radical departure from the status quo. Thus I have to consider my platform a radical one in the sense that I am a radical advocate for individual rights and freedom. Some people use the word radical to indicate only a negative outcome but in fact it simply represents a degree along a spectrum: you can have something that is at the far end of the spectrum and is radically bad and something that is at the other end of the spectrum and is radically good. I see my platform as the latter. Opponents of freedom will often use pragmatism as a way of destroying ideas, meaning they refuse to take a strong and consistent position on any particular question, instead hedging their position in providing an answer that seems like it will attract enough positive feedback. The word "extreme" is .another example of this.