The New Clarion

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The Seen and the Unseen

August 13th, 2009 by Jim May · 6 Comments · Uncategorized

Often in debates regarding government programs, the advocates thereof usually fail to account for what is unseen — i.e. for what might have been in the absence of this or that government destruction.

Recently, Stephen Hawking made this error when he said that “he would not be alive if it weren’t for NHS”; he does not account for what would have existed in its place: the superior medical facilities that would have existed in the unseen free market.

The irony of all this is that despite Mr. Hawking’s protestations, the fact remains that one of the things that was very nearly “unseen” by the NHS was in fact Dr. Hawking himself.

(Via Billy Beck)

6 Comments so far ↓

  • Grant

    Yep. That’s the argument that runs as follows: “Why don’t all just stop paying our taxes and all go back to living in caves then!”

    I stop talking when that one comes out.

  • rob sama

    Well put. Good find on Hawking. I knew there had to be more to it than the snide snippets we were hearing.

  • madmax

    If we lived under laissez-faire, Mr. Hawking probably wouldn’t be in the position he is in. His brilliant (but compartmentalized mind) would be transferred to a brand new designer body and he would be living in perfect health.

    Its amazing that a man so smart in one field can be so oblivious in another.

  • L-C

    Statists would think of your scenario as science fiction, madmax, but just look at what the severely hampered private sector has accomplished over the last 150 years.

    Had that progress started earlier and remained unfettered until this day…

  • madmax

    “Had that progress started earlier and remained unfettered until this day…”

    Exactly. I think that if you take Bastiat’s Broken Window fallacy and apply it historically as in “what would have happened if the US was never corrupted by Progressivism and remained largely free economically” you can arrive at the conclusion that we would have been far more technologically advanced than we are today. Would it be at the sci-fi level? I don’t know. But major breakthrough’s in medicine and longevity science may have been made. Of course you can’t apply the Broken Window fallacy the way I described because philosophy is the major factor driving history and there was no way that the Progressive Era could have been avoided given the state of Post-Kantian philosophy.

    Still for a guy with Hawking’s intelligence, couldn’t he be a bit smarter than defending one of the greatest political failures of the last 60 years, namely socialized medicine? Just like Einstein, brilliant in one area and totally clueless elsewhere.

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