An argument against health care reform: I, Pencil

If you are looking for an argument against top-down health care reform, I suggest you check out “I, Pencil,” an essay by Leonard E. Read. Read writes about the making of a single pencil, and how no one person masterminds its creation. Rather, it takes a group of people, working together freely, to create something as simple as a writing device. This paragraph is especially pertinent:

“Once government has had a monopoly of a creative activity such, for instance, as the delivery of the mails, most individuals will believe that the mails could not be efficiently delivered by men acting freely. And here is the reason: Each one acknowledges that he himself doesn’t know how to do all the things incident to mail delivery. He also recognizes that no other individual could do it. These assumptions are correct. No individual possesses enough know-how to perform a nation’s mail delivery any more than any individual possesses enough know-how to make a pencil. Now, in the absence of faith in free people—in the unawareness that millions of tiny know-hows would naturally and miraculously form and cooperate to satisfy this necessity—the individual cannot help but reach the erroneous conclusion that mail can be delivered only by governmental ‘master-minding.'”

You can read “I, Pencil,” here.

Joe Donatelli
Joe Donatelli is a writer in Los Angeles

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