The media are outraged: The Ryan plan would take health care away from twenty-four million people. Yes, it is outrageous: That’s far too few people kicked off the dole. To grant even one person the “right” to money coercively extracted from others makes a mockery of the principle of rights.

But if you accept the moral code of altruism, you have to view things in reverse. To an altruist, cutting off the flow of tax money becomes an act of theft: The needy have a right to have their needs met (met—by whom? We are not allowed to look too closely into that).

Nancy Pelosi was acting as an apostle of altruism when she protested that the Ryan bill would transfer money to the rich. In reason and logic, the bill is aimed at ending certain transfers: A sum of money would no longer be taken out of the pockets of those who earned it. . . .

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