What is Your Life Worth?by Stephen Littau
No, I didn’t ask you about your net worth but what dollar value would you say that your life is worth to you. Most of us would not be able to come up with a figure or might say that putting an exact dollar amount on one individual’s life (especially one’s own) is impossible to quantify.
If you cannot come up with a figure no need to fear, the federal government has come up with a dollar value for your life on your behalf (isn’t that nice of our government?). Actually, the worth of an individual’s life varies from one government department to the next. The Associated Press reports that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the government agency which has the highest dollar figure for a human life, has dropped the value by $1 million to its current appraisal of $6.9 million* (in today’s dollars).
Why is this important, aside from the immoral, collectivist, big government, notion that it is morally justified to sacrifice the few or the one for the good of the many? Well…nothing! As the AP article points out, government agencies make decisions based on this arbitrary figure:
Consider, for example, a hypothetical regulation that costs $18 billion to enforce but will prevent 2,500 deaths. At $7.8 million per person (the old figure), the lifesaving benefits outweigh the costs. But at $6.9 million per person, the rule costs more than the lives it saves, so it may not be adopted.
Putting aside the fact that many of the departments, programs, and regulations are completely unconstitutional to begin with, I find it very disturbing (but not at all surprising) that my life could be shrugged off if I find myself in too small of a class to “matter” to government bureaucrats. This is the ugly reality that altruist/collectivists such as Barack Obama and John McCain speak of idealistically when they call for Americans to “sacrifice for the good of the community” and “serve a cause higher than self.”
Many people find sacrifice is a wonderful and noble thing, particularly if someone else is offering the sacrifice. If Obama or McCain needs to sacrifice the life, liberty, or property of an individual to serve his political/policy desires, each is quite willing to make that sacrifice (what’s $6.9 million in the federal budget anyway?).
Unfortunately, the age of reason, self reliance, and individual liberty did not survive much longer than Paine, Jefferson, and Madison. Our anti-Western, Judeo-Christian, “mob rule,” culture has conditioned generation after generation of Americans to think this way. Children are taught in government schools and their churches that America is a democracy rather than a constitutional republic, the rule of men rather than the rule of law, and to put “God, family, and country” before self. Obama and McCain are only reflecting this sentiment.
Not that these same politicians are not willing to pander to vocal minorities for votes. Obama and McCain will consider every minority group but one: the smallest minority.
The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.
So what is my life worth to me? To quote John Galt (the protagonist of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged) “I am the man who loves his life.” My life is not for sale because to me my life is priceless. There is no need for me to set a price for something for which no one has the ability to pay me.
*6.9 million? What an insult!