"In theory, communism works. In theory." -Homer J. SimpsonAmidst all the rabble about government regulated health care reform, the radical free market capitalists have begun to bang their pots and pans rather loudly. With such blind passion flying around, I have to wonder if they've sat down and thought about their position. Is a free market really the magical answer to all of our health care woes?
I have always thought that the pragmatic refutation of communism is the strongest and it goes something like this: sure, the promise of equality as an end result of a communistic revolution sounds great, but getting there requires gross violations of human rights, a period of violent upheaval, and the unavoidable likelihood of abusive fascism and corruption. So while it sounds good on paper, communism in practice just doesn't work.
Well, the same argument can be levied against radical free market capitalism: sure, maybe at the end of the our little economic experiment, competitive free market forces will have created an even playing field where only the best solutions have survived, but in the meantime, we will have to suffer through unbridled corruption, monopoly, Bernie Madoff, and credit meltdowns.
Free market capitalism is the bastard cousin of the equally malfunctioning philosophy of social Darwinism. The problem with both of these worldviews is that they are fundamentally wrong. Evolution is not a calm, upward march toward progress. It has no direction. It is an arms race, a violent struggle for survival, red in tooth and claw. It is no system for decent human beings to model themselves after, social or economic.
Like most things, the best solution is somewhere between the extremes, a golden mean between too much government involvement and too little. I say bring on national health care reform if for no other reason but to add a little more competition to keep the big guys honest. It'd also be nice if my starving artist friends could just afford to see a doctor from time to time.