Yasha Levine and Mark Ames have uncovered a particularly egregious example of right-wing hypocrisy:
Charles Koch, billionaire patron of free-market libertarianism, privately championed the benefits of Social Security to Friedrich Hayek, the leading laissez-faire economist of the twentieth century. Koch even sent Hayek a government pamphlet to help him take advantage of America’s federal retirement insurance and healthcare programs.
But there’s also a second example of right-wing hypocrisy buried in this example: right-wingers have attacked Obama’s Affordable Care Act on the grounds that mandatory health insurance undermines individual rights. However, their own champion, Hayek, in his 1960 opus, The Constitution of Liberty, actually defended the idea of compulsory insurance:
There is little doubt that the growth of health insurance is a desirable development. And perhaps there is also a case for making it compulsory since many who could thus provide for themselves might otherwise become a public charge. (p. 298)
Hayek did, in fact, criticize Social Security and national health schemes, mostly on the grounds that they were based on a single government institution (rather than various private schemes), the government entity charged with the responsibility of funding retirement benefits and healthcare services advertised its benefits through pamphlets and other schemes (of the sort Koch sent to Hayek), and of course they became the means for redistributing income. But Hayek did think a case could be made for the very idea attacked by contemporary conservatives, that health insurance of the sort proposed within “Obamacare” should be compulsory.
When Texas Governor Rick Perry, a front-runner in the Republican primary for president, derides Social Security as a “Ponzi scheme” or a “monstrous lie,” that rhetoric can be traced back to the work of Hayek and Koch. And yet we now know that in private practice, Hayek was perfectly content to pay into Social Security and that Koch encouraged him to draw upon both Social Security and Medicare. Did they really believe what they wrote? Or were these attacks just scare-talk meant for the rubes, for you and us, “the public”?
And do right-wingers today actually read the basic texts they cite and claim to be guided by or do they simply oppose, in the name of something called freedom, any and all forms of government intervention, even those programs their intellectual mentors supported?