Letter to the editor, 09.28.09

I wrote the following letter, which appeared in the University of Tennessee student newspaper, The Daily Beacon, on September 28th:

By morally defending universal health care in his Sept. 21 column, Amien Essif displays a level of bravery not shared by many members of Congress, who would rather call their constituents racists than rationally defend their own policy positions. Unfortunately, in political debates, bravery is a weak contender against wisdom, and wisdom cannot morally defend universal health care.

Essif challenges himself to minimize his assumptions and employ good tact, then promptly adds, “the most important thing is that everyone in America has free access to good health care.” He assumes the government can provide a very costly service to everyone for free. Any economic genius who makes this assumption will confidently tell you that money is valuable because “um.” Essif imagines a great society: infinitely healthy, happy, prosperous, without worry and completely fictional.

Essif deems his argument a moral one, so let us briefly examine the morality of universal health care. Do not mistake terms. Universal health care is not charity; it is coercion. If a family member, friend, neighbor, fellow congregant or stranger came to you with upturned hands, your help would be charitable. If a person in need came to you with a loaded firearm and demands, your “help” would be coerced; that person would be a criminal.

If the robber’s need is then examined, and a public opinion poll shows that a majority of respondents believe he should be allowed to rob, does this legitimize his crime? This robber is universal health care, an injustice legitimized only by majority rule. That injustice can win the support of a majority is an elementary school fact. It is the reason our democratic whims are limited by the Constitution. If we respect morality and the Constitution, we must conclude that universal health care is immoral and illegal.

Alex Winston

Junior in political science

Letter to the editor, 09.17.09

Obama schoolchildren

This letter appeared, with some cosmetic edits, in the University of Tennessee’s student newspaper, The Daily Beacon, on September 17.

Sam Smith’s friday column, “Criticism of Obama’s speech outrageous,” was nothing if not educational. While reading it, I learned that I am “either a hateful individual or a nincompoop.” I learned that I am “involved in the madness and mistruths,” that my behavior should be called into question, that I should refrain from expressing myself, so that the country can move forward. I learned that I am perhaps an adherent to “the worst sentiments among us like covert prejudice and ignorance.” I learned that I do not accept the fact of Obama’s presidency. I learned that all opponents of the White House’s unconstitutional plans for healthcare and energy are small-minded and petty. I learned that I am a global citizen, although I do not recall accepting the rule of a global government. These revelations say nothing about me, but they speak volumes of the columnist’s attitude toward those who disagree with him.

At the risk of being outrageous, I will criticize Obama’s speech to the nation’s schoolchildren. I take no issue with the speech’s content. It spoke of hard work and self-reliance. It could have been written by a staunch conservative. The speech, however, was not given in good faith; it was disingenuous. It was pure demagoguery. If Thomas Paine was correct in writing that “infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what [one] does not believe,” then Obama’s speech epitomized infidelity. He preached hard work and personal responsibility, but his policies encourage laziness and collective responsibility. If Obama had spoken in good faith, his message to America’s youth would have been: “I hope you work hard for your country, but if you do not, don’t worry. It is not your fault and it should not be your responsibility. I will force your hardworking, responsible neighbors to give you food, cash, cars, homes and healthcare.”

Respectfully,

Alex Winston

Junior in Political Science

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s false mandate

FDR

In my many college political science courses, I have yet to meet a professor who did not subscribe to the belief that Franklin D. Roosevelt was given a mandate by the people to institute his New Deal reforms.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Like many elected since, President Roosevelt attained office through deception.  If the people had known what his plans were, not only would he have failed to win, he would not have received the Democratic party’s nomination.  Roosevelt ran on the promise of less government, but after winning election, he abandoned his rhetoric and his electorate, and instituted a giant bureaucracy that the people did not want.

For proof, I refer the reader to Garet Garrett’s “The Revolution Was”, a pertinent excerpt of which I will provide:

“The first three planks of the Democratic party platform read as follows: We advocate: ‘1. An immediate and drastic reduction of governmental expenditures by abolishing useless commissions and offices, consolidating departments and bureaus and eliminating extravagance, to accomplish a saving of not less than 25 per cent in the cost of Federal government…2. Maintenance of the national credit by a Federal budget annually balanced…3. A sound currency to be maintained at all hazards.’  

Mr. Roosevelt pledged himself to be bound by this platform as no President had ever before been bound by a party document.  All during the campaign he supported it with words that could not possibly be misunderstood.  He said: ‘I accuse the present Administration (Hoover’s) of being the greatest spending Administration in peace time in all American history–one which piled bureau on bureau, commission on commission, and has failed to anticipate the dire needs or reduced earning power of the people.  Bureaus and bureaucrats have been retained at the expense of the taxpayer…We are spending altogether too much money for government services which are neither practical nor necessary.  In addition to this, we are attempting too many functions and we need a simplification of what the Federal government is giving to the people.’  This he said many times.”

So when you hear a self-described intellectual claim that Roosevelt’s New Deal was an execution of the people’s will, or allowed by the electoral mandate, know that you are listening to a person who has no understanding of the 1932 election.

Free market, profit incentive eliminate racism

racism

I relay the following explanation, which I gave to an anonymous friend who believed that the free market fosters racism, and could not understand why he was wrong.

Okay, I will explain, with a preface.  Your hypothetical situation, in which many employers are racists, assumes that free people are, in large part, naturally racist and averse to being near people of other races.  It assumes that employers much prefer white employees to black ones.  If this is true (a big if), the market will tend to eliminate their racist natures.  Simply, here’s how (and remember that this situation is based on your racist assumptions, which may or may not be accurate):

All other factors being equal, demand for a white employee is much higher than demand for a black employee.   Therefore whites tend to be employed at a high wage, and blacks tend to be employed at a much lower wage, if at all.  In this context–which in its results resembles reality–imagine two manufacturers that produce the exact same product, one of which hires based on racial preference.

The racist employer hires an all-white workforce, and pays his employees the going wage for white labor.  The profit-seeking employer hires the cheapest labor, and therefore ends up with an all-black workforce.  Labor costs are much higher for the employer who employs only whites.  This means the price of his product must also be much higher than the price of the profit-seeking employer’s identical product.  Consumers will therefore buy from the profit-seeker, with whom the racist cannot compete.  The racist manufacturer will fail, leaving all of his white employees unemployed.  This unemployment, which must happen many times over if racist employment is prevalent in society, cheapens white labor, and in short order the price of labor is determined by the price or quality of labor–not by skin color.  In this way, the price mechanism, the market, and the profit incentive eliminate racist business practices.