Note: According to this article, Ayn Rand took money from the taxpayers to fund her cancer treatment. If true, she may have been a hypocrite. She would also have lacked a proper analysis of the world in which we live.
Collecting welfare of any kind when you don’t need it, or deliberately making yourself in need of it, is immoral. But taking it when you have fallen on hard times is not wrong at all. We do not live in anything approaching a world of free markets. Running your life as if you lived in a free market society will, in many cases, land you on the scrapheap of life.
I turn to the case of the NHS. The private market is not free. It is very heavily regulated – professional barriers to entry, professional behaviour codes, drug safety and availability laws, patents, and all the rest. These regulations drive up the price of medicine beyond ordinary reach. If you fall sick, what are you supposed to do? Grin and bear it when your private insurance goes about a tenth as far as it would in a free market? Or take whatever “help” your government offers? I have private insurance. This buys me certain advantages I have never yet needed to test. But I am under no illusions regarding the willingness of my insurer to keep me dosed up through a chronic illness or a long decline.
Welfare is a drug handed out by a ruling class that has monopolised the means of production. You don’t abolish the first until the second has been addressed. Get rid of the NHS, by all means – but not until after the medical cartels have been disestablished.
More fool Ayn Rand and her followers for preaching otherwise.[Sean Gabb]