A Tyrant’s Notion of Competition

On Friday, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “we will have a public option in our legislation to keep the insurance companies honest and to provide real competition.”

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs used similar language when he said on Thursday, “the President believes we have to have choice and competition, thinks the best way to do that is through a public option.”

The Obama Administration has been speaking this slogan “choice and competition” for months now. On July 22, Obama himself said this:

If you don’t have health insurance, or are a small business looking to cover your employees, you’ll be able to choose a quality, affordable health plan through a health insurance exchange – a marketplace that promotes choice and competition.

I have explained, here, President Obama’s tyrannical notion of ‘choice’. In other posts (such as The Tyrant’s Lies Against Capitalism and Fascism: Controlling Capitalists, for Socialist Goals, I have explained other ways in which Obama exhibits the mentality of a tyrant. Now Obama and his Administration exhibit a tyrant’s notion of ‘competition’, an out-of-context notion of forced competition, as if competition is the one productive feature of capitalism and thus the one feature of capitalism worth having.

By this reasoning, the U.S. should never have freed the slaves. Instead, we just should have forced the slaves to compete with each other; imagine how much more productive they would have been if only the best slaves had been fed. And we should have kept the slaves ‘honest’ by forcing them to compete with a master too (a kind of ‘public option’), supported by another team of unseen slaves (like today’s taxpayers).

Ayn Rand defines capitalism as “a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.” (“What is Capitalism?”, The Objectivist Newsletter, November and December, 1965. Reprinted in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, New York: Signet, p.19.) Under capitalism, individuals are free to use their own rational judgment in production, in choosing what to produce and how to produce it. They are free to keep what they have produced. They are free to trade their products with other individuals by mutual consent. These are the reasons that capitalism leads to prosperity—not for everyone—but for those who follow the proper morality of rational self-interest.

A certain kind of competition is implicit in the activity of trade. Whenever a man offers his goods or services for trade, he is implicitly competing against the other choices that his potential trading partner can make. Competition is healthy and good when it arises in the context of free trade. But when a tyrant comes along and deprives individuals of their freedom and says, “This is the product that you must provide (specified health insurance policies and specified healthcare treatments), this is how you must provide it, this is to whom you must provide it (everyone), this is the payment we will allow you, and only the ones who ‘play’ best by these rules will survive,” that leads to a different kind of competition. It is the competition of slaves fighting each other in the Coliseum.

Under this kind of ‘competition’, which has been going on for generations—via the FDA, oppressive income taxes, Medicare and Medicaid, and regulation of the insurance industry—it is little wonder that various groups of ‘competitors’—drug companies, insurance companies, doctors, and patients—have grown to loathe each other. If only these ‘competitors’ would recognize the real enemy: the tyrants in government.

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