Friday, July 23, 2010

Hsieh PJM OpEd: Berwick, Gun Control, and Paternalism

The July 23, 2010 PajamasMedia has published my latest OpEd, "Donald Berwick, the Pro-Gun Control Lobby, and Paternalism".

My theme is that both Donald Berwick and gun control advocates share a flawed view of human nature and a disdain for the rationality of ordinary men. This explains their paternalistic desire to restrict our freedoms.

Here is the introduction:
Q: What do Donald Berwick and gun control advocates have in common?

A: Both distrust ordinary Americans' ability to exercise individual rationality and responsibility. Instead, they believe that the government should restrict our freedoms for our own good. And if they have their way, we'll end up paying the price.

Dr. Donald Berwick is President Obama's newly appointed head of Medicare and an unabashed supporter of socialized medicine. He has repeatedly praised the British National Health Service as a model for the United States to emulate.

The Wall Street Journal recently published a selection of Berwick's public statements on health policy. Two in particular stand out because they are such naked attacks on the efficacy of individual choice and rationality:
1) I cannot believe that the individual health care consumer can enforce through choice the proper configurations of a system as massive and complex as health care. That is for leaders to do.

2) The unaided human mind, and the acts of the individual, cannot assure excellence. Health care is a system, and its performance is a systemic property.
Hence, Berwick has explicitly called for doctors to relinquish their "clinician autonomy" and instead follow standardized government treatment guidelines. Patients should forgo using their "unaided human minds" and instead let their "leaders" decide what kind of medical care they should receive.

Many gun control advocates display a similar disdain for the rationality of ordinary Americans. This can be seen most clearly whenever a state considers allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed firearms...
(Read the full text of "Donald Berwick, the Pro-Gun Control Lobby, and Paternalism".)

Update: Thank you, Instapundit!