Working on conservative talk radio, you occasionally get a call from what is known in Internet culture as a “troll.”  From your friendly free Internet encyclopedia, Wikipedia:

“While this sense of the word troll and its associated verb trolling are associated with Internet discourse, media attention in recent years has made such labels subjective, with trolling also used to describe intentionally provocative actions and harassment outside of an online context.”

Usually the best course of action when one encounters a troll in the radio business is either (a) ignore them as though they don’t exist and hang up on them or (b) ridicule them relentlessly, i.e. troll right back. However, sometimes this Modus operandi must be thrown out the window. Though a rare occasion, trolls are sometimes worthy of a serious response.

 

This rare event occurred yesterday. A troll called into the show and said something along the lines of, “I don’t want to live in a civilization where people are left to die on the streets: a place where people are without health care because they can’t afford it! How about that, huh? Do you want to live in a civilization like that?”

 

The show host cut off the caller, as it was obvious where our troll was going with his line of thinking: if you don’t support “Obamacare” or more generally, government run healthcare then it must follow that you want people to die like dogs in the street. 

 

I have heard this line before in many a progressive propaganda publication, and it appears our troll had swallowed this swill hook, line, and sinker; he believes wholeheartedly in government as the savior, a benevolent dictatorship of the majority to vote itself prosperous and secure. I wanted to ignore this guy’s banal line of attack, but something stuck with me. The general question of “what kind of civilization do you want” had crawled under my skin, and in the context of such an important question, this troll’s incessantly idiotic, high-pitched prodding  seemed to be as out of place as a sperm whale in the vacuum of space.

 

Yet, he had made a political point many people will cheer because, well come on, who is not for helping everyone everywhere at anytime? It is this charming and yet domineering aspect of modern progressive thought and rhetoric: to speak in grand moral terms, evoking ideal ends in the face of emotional human problems whose necessary solution (to the progressive) is always and everywhere the imposition of state power and privilege.

 

But as we know, the State, or as I like to call it, the Selfish Institution, is first and foremost concerned with its own authoritative existence, i.e. its ability to maintain a monopoly on predatory force in a given geographic area as the final arbiter in all disputes including those disputes which involve the State as a party. The State, being this self-appointed final judge, jury, and executioner, sees itself standing above the law through its ability to arbitrarily make, enforce, and dispose of positive law as it sees fit. However, a problem for all States is that such unchecked power cannot be claimed outright or through force alone. Though the Selfish Institution is founded upon predation and threat of force, the State must spend much of its time and energy perfuming its own putrid nature.

 

In the case of our progressive troll, the stinking core of the State has here been potpourri-ed by the soothing egalitarian odour of “helping the least of these,” a sort of perverted version of agape love that has dangerously been unhitched from its roots in non-violence. I cannot think of a more chilling ideology than one that charges you to love people for their own sake without respecting their dignity as individuals to be left alone if they so wish. I am even more fearful of an demagogic individual who takes this charge to heart, for here you have the makings of the happy-faced tyranny of a moral busybody.

 

As said before, the larger question of civilization, and in particular healthcare, had crawled under my skin, so I decided to respond to the troll by revealing the rotten nature of the State, including the healthcare “reform” he was hocking over the radio airwaves. I said I would prefer to live in a civilization where people are free. Free to pursue healthcare and free to provide it. I would prefer a healthcare system that wasn’t founded on institutionalized violence and threats of the State. I want an emancipated healthcare system!

 

As Ludwig von Mises pointed out long ago, one government intervention leads to another. As soon as the first government intervention fails it is the free-market and not the State who is blamed, and the State is then commissioned to intervene again and again in a vicious cycle. If you look at healthcare in the United States, this has been exactly the case, as government intervention has priced many people out of the healthcare market as well as causing other “unintended consequences.”

 

People may very well be dying on the streets, but it is most likely because the fists of government have smashed many an opportunity for the opened hands of the free-market to build a peaceful and cooperative health care industry, or more generally, a peaceful and cooperative civilization.