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

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