The insurance compulsion

Venezuela is the latest global disaster caused by socialism. Over the last couple of hundred years, virtually every variety of socialism has been tried — from communism to national socialism (Nazism) and fascism, to various varieties of “democratic socialism” — with one common characteristic — they all failed. Despite the economic failures, loss of liberty and the tens of millions of deaths resulting from the socialist experiments, it has an enduring romantic attraction. Bernie Sanders and millions of his followers call themselves socialists, without embarrassment, claiming that next time they will get it right. Many countries still have socialist parties. How can so many be so ignorant of the never-ending misery socialism has brought?

Many of those who advocate socialism not only suffer from real or studied ignorance, but a fear of not being able to fend for themselves. They fear that they cannot make a living on their own or pay their own medical bills. They fear competition. When some political type says, “The state will take care of you and give you food, shelter and medical care,” for many it becomes easier to accept the words as truth without thinking through the history, costs and consequences of such promises.

Life is scary and uncertain. Children fear the loss of their parents to protect and care for them. Part of becoming an adult is taking on the responsibility for taking care of ourselves, which means insuring as much as possible against life’s risks. Responsible adults take certain actions, such as insuring against unemployment by deferring immediate gratification and spending time, effort and money to obtain more education and job skills. Responsible adults buy medical insurance, auto insurance and homeowners insurance to protect themselves, at least partially, against events they may not be able to control.