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The Benevolence of the Aristocrats

People who cite history need to display at least a veneer of intellectual honesty when referencing historical arguments. This is particularly true in a modern America, where much of our population is ignorant of history beyond last week.

A Forbes article from last year is again making the rounds. It involves moves the US government made to force sailors in the late 1700’s to purchase private health care: Forbes Article

The US was a more rigid republic in 1798. Only white male landowners voted. It wasn't until somewhere in the 1800's when that began to truly change… with the exception of an occasional lucky widow. Interestingly, even foreigners who were landowners were allowed to vote on occasion. That, however, is another debate for another time.

No common sailor in 1798 was going to be a landowner and voter. Nor, therefore, was any sailor really thought of as a first-class citizen. The literate, voting aristocrats who managed the country’s businesses, possessed basic literacy, and comprehended basic math made complex decisions on behalf of those who possessed no such perspective.

Here's your punch line. Even with the god-like power these aristocrats had over the system and the non-voters in 1798… our benevolent aristocrat masters still didn’t go so far as to enforce a mandatory lifetime purchase edict on every sailor. This is despite the cited “national security” import of our maritime trade at the time. Even the sailors on which aristocrats sought to impose the mandate could endeavor to escape the burden by changing either their station or their employment... and when their employment ended, so did this mandate.

The aristocratic voters of the time did not levy such mandates on each other. Shocker. Similarly, the wealthy de-facto aristocrats of today will be able to ignore whatever tax is imposed here as an annoyance. They’ll privately pay for whatever care they wish, outside whatever massive bureaucracy is created by this new mandate.

So I offer this tidbit for your consideration.

Flash forward 200 years. How has a permanent, universal, inescapable private health care mandate passed down from our special-interest dominated aristocrats magically become less tyrannical and more progressive? Has progressivity simply come to mean, “via the tyranny of a larger mob”?

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