In Britain we can see a perfect example of why socialism doesn't work. Healthcare is "free" in the sense that it's paid for by taxes, but apparently some people (such as fat people and smokers) are putting more strain on the system than it can bear. The government has responded by proposing "healthy lifestyle contracts" that doctors would encourage their patients to follow as a part of treatment.

Naturally, this "oppressive" proposal had fat smokers up in arms.

Claire Rayner, president of the Patients' Association, branded the proposal to ask smokers and overweight people to sign healthy lifestyle contracts as "oppressive and obscene".

She said the implication of the plan was to blame people for their own poor health and suggest that they would have to pay more for healthcare because they had brought their illness on themselves.

Ms Rayner said: "This is a nasty middle class document. It's the Tuscan bread and olive oil set telling people they can't eat pizzas and burgers.

She's right about one thing: this does represent the tax-payers telling the poor that they need to take better care of their health. But, that's unfair! Well, it would be, except for the fact that the tax-payers are paying for the medical care these others consume. If I were paying for my neighbor's car, I would certainly insist that he take good care of it and not waste the money I was spending.

You can't have liberty and socialism. It's just not possible for people to live however they want and have society pick up the tab by subsidizing the cost of dangerous behaviors. Because of economic realities, you have to pick: either you have freedom to make dangerous decisions and bear the cost for yourself, or society picks up the tab for everything bad that happens but also has the authority and power to make many decisions for you.

When a child lives at home with his parents, he necessarily lives under their rules. He can't just destroy stuff or leave food or dirty clothes everywhere because it puts impossible strain on the people providing for him. When a child grows up and lives on his own, he (eventually) learns to minimize harmful behaviours due to the cost of dealing with the aftermath. Same with healthcare and lifestyle, socialized jobs and productivity, you name it. There's a liberty/security trade-off that cannot be avoided.



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