Monday, July 13, 2009

Insuring Our Destruction

If you regularly read the Chronicle's editorials, you would think that Houston and Texas are the absolute worst places on earth. Whether it is restrictions on signs, or banning trans fats, or saving the planet, or insurance rates, the paper consistently comes out on the side of more government and less individual liberty.

On Sunday the paper called for more government scrutiny of insurance companies:
The current Texas system for handling insurance rate requests is a game unfairly stacked in favor of the insurer. Companies should not be able to charge higher premiums until state regulators have weighed the financial data and found the increases to be justified. If the state rules them excessive, insurers should not be able to keep pocketing their ill-gotten gains while fighting lengthy delaying actions in court.
In short, the Chronicle wants the state to determine what rates are "fair" and what profits are "excessive". But if this applies to insurance companies, why shouldn't it apply to all businesses? If it is proper for the government to determine what one industry can charge for its services, why shouldn't the government make similar determinations regarding all industries? What do you think the paper's position would be if the government declared that the Chronicle's rates and delivery area would be determined by a government agency?

I suspect that the Chronicle would object to such controls over its operations. I suspect that the paper would claim that it has a right to print what it chooses. I suspect that the owners would argue that the Second Amendment protects that right. I suspect that it would claim that it should be allowed to charge a price that allows it to make a profit. And the paper would be correct on each of these points.

The same rights apply to every other business, no matter the industry. Just as the owners of the Chronicle have a moral right to use their property as they choose, in the pursuit of their values, so do the owners of every other business.

In calling for more controls and regulations on other industries, the paper defends its position with a myriad of arguments based on a common principle. For example, in supporting a ban on trans fats the paper said:
It takes just a quick trip around the grocery store perusing the signs on display cases to confirm what you already knew: “No trans fats!” “Zero trans fats!” No doubt about it: Trans fats are bad for us.
According to the Chronicle, since trans fats are bad for us, the government should protect us from our own decisions and actions. In other words, we are too stupid to make decisions for ourselves. And because the decisions of one individual impact others, government must step in and protect the "general welfare". Force must be used against individuals for the alleged benefit of all.

When it comes to saving energy, the government must force some individuals to pay for upgrades to the homes of others:
Here’s the concept: Local governments and nonprofits provide free energy-efficiency upgrades to people who otherwise couldn’t afford them.
According to the Chronicle, one person's need is a claim on the property of others and government may properly use force to compel some individuals to provide energy upgrades for others.

When it comes to signs, well, they are just plain ugly (according to the paper) and should be severely restricted. According to the Chronicle, if enough people find something ugly, government should use coercion to prohibit it.

No matter the issue, no matter the cause, the Chronicle consistently proposes the same solution--use force against the "offending" parties. According to the Chronicle, if you engage in activities that are unpopular, you should be made a criminal and subject to fines, imprisonment, or both.

In calling for greater government controls and regulations, the paper is endorsing the very policies that have created our current economic crisis. The paper is calling for an even greater dose of the poison that is wrecking our economy. Cyanide is not the antidote to arsenic. Government controls, mandates, and prohibitions are not the solution to government regulations, dictates, and restrictions. To believe otherwise is to insure our destruction.

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