A friend had let me know that there was an article on old media today. Normally, I don’t read mainstream media as I try to avoid being [dis|mis]-informed as much as possible. I have enough on my plate to overcome my own biases without saturating my neurons with that pablum. I am a survivor of government run education system with government sanctioned curriculum. I spent my time regurgitating material, instead of learning true value critical thinking skills, until my eyes began to open in my early 20’s. My cousin took me to see retired high school teacher, Tony Centa, present 4 x 3 hour sessions on the JFK assassination. I went numb when I learned to see.

We learned pro-state propaganda, without challenging and/or debating on the need for the state at all, in my teenage years – precisely when the mind is at it’s most receptive state. Garbage in – garbage out. I like to think of myself as “recovering”.

In of itself, the article wasn’t very interesting. The article was about a man challenging the courts on a $110.00 fine he received from the police for not wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle. Cut and dry case? No. The man is a Sikh. He wears a turban. He was making the claim that the law discriminated against his religious beliefs. The court, so far, rejected his case, on the grounds of reducing cost to Ontario’s public health care and the “possible loss of people’s loved ones”. A few points lifted from the article:

Mr. Badesha told reporters he was not particularly disappointed and that he and about 25 supporters who showed up for the decision will lobby politicians to change the law.

The plaintiff does not particularly care about the outcome. However, you can bet that others will, that have nothing to do with his case. If he was not particularity disappointed, why did he launch the case?

“Observant Sikhs are put in the impossible position of choosing between ordinary, everyday activities and observing their faith,” said lawyer Scott Hutchison, who is representing the OHRC. “That is religious discrimination.”

No it’s not. It is up to the individual to make that choice. If they decide that the activity they engage in conflicts with their faith, don’t do it. Don’t paint them as victims of their own choices.

He noted that Sikh soldiers have never worn helmets, and argued that Sikhs should be left alone to make their own decisions about motorcycle gear.

“Who cares?” Mr. Badesha said. “Everybody ends up dead anyway. People die in cars too. In life, you have to take risks, no matter what.”

Under the socialist health care system in Canada, the system requires no personal responsibility be taken for taking foolish risk. The costs of that risk, should it be realized, are transferred to the public via extortion taxes.

Under a private free-market system, you would need to take out a private health insurance policy. If you decided that you wanted to climb Mount Everest, go over Niagara Falls in a barrel, or skydive from a plane, you would either have pay increased premiums or be denied coverage if injuries or death should occur, assuming an insurance company would even provide coverage should you attempt this sort of thing.

The 800 pound gorilla in the courtroom no-one is addressing is the following: “Government provided health care encourages foolishness.” which leads to “Who needs government provided health-care?”. In other words, it may question the validity of a government department. Since the goal of government is to increase it’s size and power, this question will not be debated as it contradicts government’s goal.

Cases like this would not go to court and snarl up resources, if the individual taking the risk was held personally accountable for his/her actions. If they knew that no insurance company would provide them coverage or require a massive un-affordable premium increase if they should engage in such activities, would they do it? Would they pay those premiums, potentially causing financial hardship to their families? Would they risk passing on any financial and/or emotional strain onto their families should they become crippled as negative consequences for taking foolish risk?

The correct answer is to eliminate the taxes that people pay for public health care and go to a private health-care system. With that extra money now in people’s pockets, they can purchase their own insurance policies covering treatment. The insurance companies would charge premiums accordingly to that person’s lifestyle (i.e. drinking, smoking, eating at McDonald’s 3 times a week, etc), and denying coverage for “extreme risk”. If their lifestyle choices lead to prohibitively higher premiums, they would have a self-interest in stopping their foolishness. Their may be insurance companies that are willing to cover extreme risk, but the policy holders would pay a huge premium to do so. There would be a remarkable reduction in foolish acts. People would not drive dangerously as they would not be covered by their insurance policies if they were convicted. If people have the mistaken idea that something is free, they will loot it back to the Stone Age.

There is no limit to the benefit to society if it were required that individuals be held accountable for their actions as it encourages rational behavior. A free-market system does precisely that. A government provided entitlement does not. If the premiums charged by an oligopoly of insurance companies get too high, it would encourage other players to step in and arbitrage their profits back to what the free-market decides. This of course assumes that we are in a free-market, which we are not. But that is another post…

This article leads into questioning the quality of Canada’s socialist health-care system. There are no ends to the horror stories of individuals receiving second rate care, incredibly long wait times, shortages of doctors, inadequate access to MRI’s and CT scans, nurses and technicians being unionized, the list goes on and on. In fact, there are a HUGE number of Canadians who will go to the United States to get the healthcare they require. All of this is a result of not allowing free market forces to determine the required number of doctors and competition raising the quality and availability of care. The government run health-care monopoly ensures this doesn’t happen.

As P.J. O’Rourke said: “If you think health care is expensive now, wait till you see what it costs when it is free.”