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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Caplan on Socialized Medicine

Bryan Caplan, one of my favorite bloggers, will sometimes write a short review of a book he has read with a small snippet. Whenever the book involves communism, it is always a treat. His latest post, on Nothing to Envy: The Ordinary Lives in North Korea, is no exception.
Socialized medicine is like a love potion. The government can treat you like dirt, but as long as it slips a little of this potion into your drink, you'll probably think "How wonderful - the government loves me so much that it takes care of me whenever I'm sick without asking for a thing in return." And who would be vile enough not to love such a government back?

My point: Whatever you think about socialized medicine, it's not that great. It's not remotely enough to, say, redeem North Korea. The fact that anyone would imagine otherwise reveals a strong human tendency to judge socialized medicine like a bad boyfriend - with our hearts instead of our heads. When someone says, "Dump him - he's just not good for you!" we really ought to calm down and listen.
Sadly, the sentiment matters more than the results in most politics.
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  1. What the hell? Who cares what happens in North Korea relative to healthcare? It isn't representative of anything other than North Korea. Geez!

  2. I always wondered why the USSR put such an effort into saving Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's life from cancer when he had already been doomed at Novy Jerusalem's brick-making plant and later at the gulag in Book 3. It puzzles me to this day.