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Ted Cruz and Atlas Shrugged Against ObamaCare

Although some of Ted Cruz’s views and positions are contrary to the principle of individual rights and thus wrong, he deserves great credit for his stand on defunding ObamaCare—and high praise for speaking all night last night, urging both Democrat and Republican senators to do the right thing and defund this monstrosity. (ObamaCare should not merely be defunded; it should ultimately be repealed—along with all the other laws interfering with medicine.)

Cruz quoted Ayn Rand at length during his speech (see for instance markers 13:58:00 and 14:12:50 in the C-Span video), including some highly relevant passages on productive work and on morality.

One passage from Atlas Shrugged he did not quote (at least not to my knowledge) is also appropriate in this context. In the novel, a surgeon named Dr. Hendricks says:

I quit when medicine was placed under State control some years ago. Do you know what it takes to perform a brain operation? Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill? That was what I could not place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity to spout the fraudulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing their wishes at the point of a gun. I would not let them dictate the purpose for which my years of study had been spent, or the conditions of my work, or my choice of patients, or the amount of my reward. I observed that in all the discussions that preceded the enslavement of medicine, men discussed everything—except the desires of the doctors. Men considered only the “welfare” of the patients, with no thought for those who were to provide it. That a doctor should have any right, desire or choice in the matter, was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to choose, they said, but “to serve.” That a man’s willing to work under compulsion is too dangerous a brute to entrust with a job in the stockyards—never occurred to those who proposed to help the sick by making life impossible for the healthy. I have often wondered at the smugness at which people assert their right to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscience, to stifle my mind—yet what is it they expect to depend on, when they lie on an operating table under my hands?

ObamaCare puts not only doctors but insurers and patients increasingly under the control of politicians and bureaucrats. It violates the conscience and stifles the mind of everyone who would rather decide for himself how to provide or seek health-related services and how to contract with others for that purpose. Kudos to Cruz for drawing attention to these crucial principles and to Ayn Rand’s vital ideas.

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