“District 12: Where you can starve to death in safety.”
― Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games
“Happy Hunger Games!” Effie Trinket, the escort of the District 12 tributes, said. “And may the odds be ever in your favor.”
In The Hunger Games novels, an “advanced” and morally corrupt ruling class forces an annual display of mass murder on the children of the lower classes.
Everyone is encouraged to watch this patriotic display. It is necessary, after all. It is good for society, they’re told. It promotes peace. It promotes equality.
The ruling class uses this Orwellian doublethink to justify (to themselves, mostly) their suppression of independent thinking and their brutal perpetuation of the statist quo.
The ruling class obsessively engages in extravagant and pointless displays of gross excess out of boredom. Its members are gregariously gluttonous, voraciously vain, slanderously slothful, wretchedly wrathful, ghastfully greedy, lidlessly lustful and perniciously proud.
The lower class, meanwhile, lives in destitution, famine and sickness. They are powerless to lead their own lives. They are little more than tinpot subjects to a high-tech dictatorship based on surveillance, mass-media indoctrination, police oppression and radical inequality.
Poor children murdering one another is a spectacle, a circus for the rulers-that-be. Boys and girls selected to participate in the Hunger Games are “tributes,” not unlike blood sacrifices to the Gods which speckle human history. Not unlike the ancient Carthaginians who sacrificed infants to Moloch.
Hunger Games Healthcare
We were reminded of the Hunger Games novels when we came across the story of Great Britain’s Charlie Gard, a ten-month old who suffers from a rare genetic condition.
When all treatments failed, Charlie’s parents crowdfunded 1.4 million pounds to bring him to the States to undergo an experimental therapy.
Unfortunately, they were told they couldn’t do that. The British doctors refused to release their son. The European Court of Human Rights sided with the doctors and said no, too.
The authority figures had already made their minds up. Little Charlie would die. And they would pull the plug. Let Charlie die, they said. Let him “die with dignity.”
And thus the risk of a State-managed healthcare system becomes horrifyingly clear: If the State were to manage all healthcare resource allocation (through, say, a single-payer system, perhaps), parents would certainly be allowed to kill their babies before they’re born. But, after that, good luck trying to keep them alive if the State says no.
Dignity Death Panels & Medical Kidnappings
Colleague and free-market healthcare advocate Judson Anglin has been warning people about this for years. Death panels, where the State gets to decide who lives and who dies, are not just a minor risk. They are inevitable in fully State-managed healthcare.
Save for an all-knowing, all-loving, utopian artificial intelligence, the “knowledge problem” of centralized decisionmaking will rear its ugly head and lead to shortages, breakdowns and absurd levels of rationing.
The reason you can afford a supercomputer that fits in your pocket and has more computing power than NASA did in the late ‘60s is the result of market forces, not government management. It is the result of decentralized, competing innovation — not redistribution of wealth and centralized control.
The government is in the business of making such innovation slow, cumbersome, unipolar, monopolistic and, as a result, extremely expensive. The government is in the business of not caring how much things cost because, after all, it’s not their money. And they can always just raise taxes or print more.
Sustainable behaviors and restraint, be damned.
(Remember when the U.S. government spent BILLIONS on a website I could’ve had Janeesh Bhudar from Bangladesh hook up for tree-fiddy on Fiverr? Madness.)
But, the price tag for government “protection” goes beyond just increased rationing and stacks on stacks of State-sanctioned toe tags. In such a world where power in healthcare is completely centralized, Moloch’s blood-curdling reach will extend far beyond just the decision of whose lives are sacrificed for the “greater good” — or, better yet, for the sake of “dignity.”
There could come a time when the State overtly (rather than quietly and sparsely, as it does now) decides whose lives are expendable as lab rats for the “greater good.” Not unlike an elite being able to choose what lives are justified to use for their personal pleasure or as “blood boys.”
The case of Charlie Gard is only one example of what horrible things can happen when impersonal State actors believes State power supersedes parental rights.
Although it’s grossly underreported, what some Bostonians call “parentectomy” is a microcosm of what might happen if the State flexes virtually unlimited powers over parental rights.
[See also: “Medical Kidnap”]
May The Odds Be Ever in Your Favor
“The way things are headed in Europe,” Matt Walsh writes in TheBlaze, “a parent may have some jurisdiction over the minor minutia of daily life, but when it comes to the major issues — how a child is to be educated, how he is to live, what he is to believe, when he is to die — it is increasingly up to the State to determine. As a ‘medical ethics’ expert at Oxford put it, parental rights are ‘at the heart’ of most big medical decisions, however ‘there are limits.’
“Chris and Connie apparently reached the ‘limits’ of their parental authority and now must sit back obediently while their son dies in agony. ‘Limits,’ you see. You’re only a parent up to a certain point, and then your relationship to your child doesn’t count for anything anymore. That’s how things are in the U.K. — and the U.S., as always, is close behind.”
If a centralized power were to manage all healthcare resources, it would, over time, begin to see human life as a matter of resource allocation.
It would become the singular arbiter of life and death.
If that happened, expect a society which begins to see little fundamental value in life — and an increasing incentive to raise the value of death.
“That’s why,” says Walsh, “you’ll hear these people speak more often of the ‘dignity’ of death than the dignity of life. They preach about the ‘right’ to die but not the right to live.”
Once the right to die becomes more important than the right to life, Walsh writes, “death will continue claiming new ground and eating into life more and more. Death is a destructive force. What else can it do but consume?”
In The Hunger Games world, death and destruction are placed higher than life and creation. In such a world, this philosophy infects the minds of everyone — even, out of necessity, the heroes.
In this scene, Katniss and Rue have just planned to destroy the supplies of their forced enemies, making it impossible for anyone in the Games to use them.
“Destroying things,” says Katniss, “is much easier than making them.”
Managing editor, Laissez Faire Today