Liberals on Libertarians on the Liberty Interests and the Affordable Care Act

March 30th, 2012

Andrew Koppelman–much like the Solicitor General and Dahlia Lithwick–is incredulous how libertarians can view the ACA as an infringement on individual liberty:

The moral outrage that the law has provoked is weird. It’s a tyrannical intrusion on your liberty if government makes you pay for health insurance before you get sick and demand treatment! But if millions of people die from preventable diseases, or are bankrupted by medical expenses, no problemo. Libertarians focus obsessively on threats to liberty from the state, but there are lots of other things that threaten your ability to live as you like. Getting cancer and not being able to afford chemotherapy, for instance. (No, you can’t get that at the emergency room.)

This is the same argument as the SG’s bit about securing the blessings of liberty. Libertarians have a negative conception of liberty. Liberals have a positive conception. This disconnect seems really, really hard to bridge.