Excerpts from “The Real Right to Medical Care versus Socialized Medicine”
For over a century, virtually all proposals for economic or social reform have been based on the thoroughly mistaken philosophical and theoretical foundations of Marxism, and have aimed at the ultimate achievement of a socialist society, in the belief that socialism represented the most rational and moral system of mankind’s social organization. On the basis of this conviction, individual freedom was progressively restricted and the power of the state progressively enlarged. Individual freedom – laissez faire capitalism – was assumed to be a system of chaos and of the exploitation of the masses by the capitalists. The onslaught of the socialists (who in this country call themselves “liberals”) – the step-by-step achievement of their political agenda – encountered virtually no philosophical resistance. Not surprisingly, again and again, the “liberals” defeated their ill-equipped conservative adversaries, who at most could only delay their advance. The victories of the “liberals” were inevitable because it was a battle of men with the seeming vision of a better world that could be achieved by means of intelligent human effort based on a body of ideas (however mistaken those ideas were), against men who, while they valued the relatively free world they saw around them, had no significant philosophical or theoretical knowledge of how to defend it.
The philosophy of individual freedom and capitalism underlying the American Revolution – the philosophy which, ironically enough, was the original meaning of the word liberalism – has been reborn. It has been reborn first and foremost at the hands of Ayn Rand in political philosophy and of Ludwig von Mises in economic theory, both of whom have enormously strengthened it. This philosophy of individual freedom, of the inviolability of individual rights, of the benevolent functioning of an economic system based on private ownership of the means of production and the profit motive – of capitalism – calls for a radically new political agenda. It calls for a political agenda that progressively rolls back the interference of the state and progressively enlarges the freedom of the individual. This is now what political philosophy and economic theory at their highest levels of development recognize to be the essential means of solving social and economic problems. Movement in this direction – in the direction of individual freedom from government interference – is henceforth to be regarded as the standard of what is to be considered progress in the realm of political action.