Sunday, January 26, 2014

Collective Coercion Versus Individual Initiative: The Central Issue

Coercion – Forcing an individual to act involuntarily by force or pressure that violates the free will of that individual.

Initiative – An individual’s action that begins a process , usually without managerial influence.

When I received a call from a publisher asking me to write a book on ObamaCare,   I asked; “Why should I do this?”    He answered,” Because in America, the government can’t force you to do anything.”

He was referring to the ObamaCare mandates:

·         The Individual Mandate, requiring  every American to buy health insurance.

·         The Employee Mandate,  requiring every employer to offer health insurance for employees.

·         The Contraceptive Mandate,  requiring every employers to offer contraceptive coverage without co-pays.

In America, enforcing these mandates creates conflicts and dilemmas because of American culture, its beliefs, and its experiences.  Conclusion?  Collective coercion versus individual initiative is the central ObamaCare issue yet to be resolved.  The  issue revolves around the American Creed.

The American Creed
The American creed is:

One, government is best that governs least.

ObamaCare rests on the proposition that the government that governs most is best.  This calls for bigger government and forcing  individuals to toe the line.   This runs against the grain of American individualism and its desire for choice.  This requires enforcement by government – individual penalties for not buying  health insurances.  This, in turn, means beefing up the IRS with an estimated 16,500 new agents  to back up the law, and hiking up the penalty levels to show the government is serious.

Two, majority rule.  In America, the majority political party rules,  and we only have one President at a time, who serves from 4 to 8 years.   We can change the majority party every 2 years in national elections,  but we have no tradition for changing the President, short of impeachment.    When the dominant political party controls the House, Senate, and the Presidency, it can do what it wants, within limits Constitutional rules, and it did when it passes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.   And it can do this by promising to do it for the Collective Common Good, rather than in the name of Political Power.

Three, equality of opportunity -   Here is where the Individual Initiative enters the Democratic Equation.  The party in power may argue that equality of results for all citizens is the goal.  That is the basis for such  –isms as egalitarianism, idealism  and socialism, with all of their utopian virtues.  The party out of power will counter by saying equality of opportunity is the ism  end game -  individualism,  entrepreneurialism, and  capitalism with all of their faults. It is a recurrent debate which will never be resolved in the minds of its beholders.

There is only way to resolve these differences and dilemmas  short of violence or revolution,  and that is free elections to discern what the majority thinks.   In the end, the people must decide.

Tweet:   America is now engaged in a great debate about the future of ObamaCare,  whether it represents the Will of the People, and whether it will prevail in its present form.

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