The Corner

Punching Up Copy

The line is: “The more you socialize the costs of personal liberty, the more license you give others to regulate it.”

I think that’s fairly succinct and quotable as it is (not surprising considering the author), but you could always try something like, “Your mistakes are your own to make — until you expect others to pay for them.”

On that note, Jonah’s column serves as a very nice reminder of the part of government-run medicine that advocates for universal health care like to ignore. The refrain from health-care advocates on the left these days is that conservatives want to “shift the burden of paying for care from the healthy to the sick.” It’s a nice line, but it dances entirely around the question of what to do about the people who are sick or unhealthy not because of unexpected circumstances, but because of choices they’ve made. Once you start forcing the healthy among us to shell out for care of the sick, the options are fairly limited: Either let costs spiral as people choose unhealthy behaviors, knowing that care will be provided, or, as we see regularly in Britain, have the government start clamping down on those behaviors. What with foie gras and trans fat bans, things have already become fairly silly here. But is America really ready to go the full route and, say, ban beer ads that don’t feature fat, balding mean? Somehow I doubt it.

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