Any proponent of freedom must accept that the individual owns themselves. Deviations from this premise only open itself to a belief that force over another person can somehow be justified. For those who are upset about the recent healthcare legislation that passed, one must also ask themselves if they are upset about many other social services which replace individual decision making with the collective – police, firefighters, post office workers, soldiers, and the like. This may be shocking to conservatives and libertarians who believe such services should be provided by a state because a) markets cannot do this or b) it is the state’s divine responsibility for it to do so like in the Constitution.
The problem with such an assumption is that it violates the principles of self ownership. A human being is either responsible for oneself or is not. There is no middle ground, no compromise, and no justification for anything otherwise. Period. A society cannot claim to respect the rights of individuals while simultaneously stealing money from them and supplying services which ‘provide’ them with things which they themselves should be responsible for. It should come to no surprise to anyone why the State, which was originally founded with this unworkable and compromising philosophy, has only assumed a greater role in coercing individuals into doing things ‘for them’. When such an assumption such as self-ownership is violated, like when the modest state-funded school teacher or postal worker is hired, a society has already adopted a philosophy which inevitably leads to the justification of collective action over individual action.
Individuals act. This action is not limited to the constraints of anything so long as other individuals voluntarily enter into the agreement as well. Realize that we take this concept for granted – humans enter into implicit, voluntary contracts with each other constantly. We are decision making machines which, among many other things, respect and voluntarily abide by the rights of other decision making machines. Rarely do these agreements become involuntary which is why justice must be established and why we have developed a sense of it. When a State enters into this process (the marketplace), there is no negotiation or voluntary agreements with the majority of the people – only force. This force supersedes, dictates, and will even distort the otherwise rational individual into doing things s/he may not otherwise do. Law and taxation are all products of this unnatural force bearing down upon non-consenting individuals in the marketplace. This should leave no surprise why such forces are hated by some (to some degree) and why they will never, ever, ever, ever… ever arrive at a fair and optimally efficient destination that a voluntary agreement in the marketplace could arrive at.
The next time the State passes legislation which may leave a supporter of freedom uneasy, just consider every single thing the State has done thus far to justify its current actions of violating a person’s right to self-ownership (hint: the State must violate individuals by definition). Can we find a solution which would eliminate the unnatural forces enslaving everyone to the arbitrary decision making bureaucrats of society?