The great eneny of nature is utility. Power finds the restrictions nature places on it obnoxious and irritating. Marketers play on this frustration when they present products with “no limits” and other meaningful language. But nature won’t give in. It always wins.
That realization enables one to anticipate developments in health care.
Whether we switch to a gigantic bureaucratic nationalized health plan or we continue to be controlled by the gigantic bureaucratic corporations (who would provide the employees of the nationalized health care plan), we should realize by now that health care is run, not by respect for human nature (i.e. the patient) but by utility.
In time, if not yet, that creates this simple application: Utilitarian health care: efficiency demands letting people who are old die sooner.
However, nature demands reverence, altogether apart from “usefulness” or cost effectiveness. And reverence is particular, not abstract, immersed in context, relationship, love. It constantly screws up the actuarial tables. That is why Burke famously and importantly said:
The age of chivalry is gone. That of calculators, sophistors, oeconomists has come.
So where does that leave us? In a bind that arose when we handed health care to the utilitarians in the first place. Follow this out.
If we don’t revere our elders, what will happen to us? Are dying parents a nuisance or part of what makes us grow up into adulthood ourselves? That would seem pretty useful. Just not utilitarian.
What cures will we never discover because the government directs the health care resources toward their arbitrary and ever changing values, which are always rooted in power politics, not nature? (This alone explains why we need to limit and define the powers offered to our government.)
If people who were invested in the ethics of health care read this blog, I would urge them to debate what nature has to say about health care priorities. But I wonder if the categories would mean anything.