At times, rule by the demos leaves me feeling desperately frustrated. Especially when their instincts are entirely wrong. Take healthcare for example. How could any political party – even if they wanted to – stand up for radical reform of healthcare in this country and expect to be elected? The people are some way from voting for this, despite the manifest failures of the NHS.
What rational person could disagree with the following statement?
Unlike government coverage or coverage purchased through employers, private coverage purchased directly by individuals encourages people to choose between health coverage and all other goods. It controls health spending by pricing individual risk, encourages substantial variation in plan design to accommodate differences in individual risk tolerance, and provides incentives for cost minimization.
And yet, there appears to be a pervading collectivist approach to health care that is not accepted in any other facet of human relations in this country.
Murray Rothbard once made a great speech arguing for the power of ideas to change the world. The work of libertarians across the world is driven by this premise; great men and women have devoted their lives to this end and people in this country are as yet not ready to hear the truth.
With top-ups, the strictures of a national health service are slowly being overcome. Yet it will take a sea change in popular feelings towards the institution before radical reform can take place. Given its increasingly visible costs and failures, this is only a matter of time.