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No blogger is an island

The other day, while discussing the hike in the minimum wage, one critic posed a fairly heavy question to me. It was a lengthy comment, but I'm going to reprint here the key part:

Jay, you are a very smart man. That is obvious. What I don't understand is WHY people like you are so willing to advocate for a political system that works against your best interests. What's so attractive about conservative ideology? Why do people in your position cheer when Rush says "Roosevelt is dead. His policies live on, but we are doing something about that." Why is that attractive?

You've got health issues. A smart guy like you should be making more than mid 20K's. Are you stuck because you don't want to risk a move and lose insurance? So, why fight democratic healthcare reform? If you had a severe problem and were unable to work, wouldn't you go bankrupt? Most people go bankrupt because of health reasons, not wild credit spending, like the meme. Why do conservatives cheer when bankruptsy laws are changed so if anything medical happened to them, they'd have no protection?

If you're making in the mid 20Ks, and you have an appartment, you've got to be spending perhaps half of your net income on housing. Add to that insurance, food, utilities... Can't be much left. Are you socking away what you need for retirement? If you have investments, it's been a great couple of years, but you don't have dividend income. Or probably much in the way of stocks that you've purchased. Don't you want to be able to depend on Social Security for your retirement? Why don't "conservatives" complain about the constant borrowing from the Social Security fund to make the budget numbers look more positive? There would not be a "Social Security crisis" in your lifetime if we were not removing surplus from the fund.

I don't get it... I just don't get it. Why does a smart guy like you, in your position, argue for a political ideology that works against your best interests in almost every way?

Could you please explain that to me?

John, it's quite simple. Although I have repeatedly espoused my agnosticism, but that doesn't mean I don't have my own ethos that I try to adhere to. And I don't have an overarching name or theme for it; it's just something I can live with.

One part of it is that I abide by what I judge to be "right" or "wrong," regardless of how it will affect me personally. You're quite right, John, a lot of the things I oppose would benefit me greatly.

You cited the minimum wage. I actually make well over double the present minimum wage (presuming the raise hasn't been implemented yet), but if for some reason this job goes belly-up, a raised minimum wage would benefit me.

You mentioned my health issues. Right now, I have a fairly mediocre health plan, but it's better than nothing. If we did institute socialized medicine, I'm fairly sure that my employer would dump (or at least drastically curtail) that plan, and I'd be a bit better off under whatever program gets passed through Congress.

I spend a lot of time writing about the War On Terror. Realistically speaking, I am extremely unlikely to ever be directly touched by terrorism. Nor are any of those I'm closest to. Here in central/western New Hampshire, terrorism is something that happens far, far away to people I will never meet.

I get a lot of spam. Some goes to my private Yahoo account, some to my Wizbang account. I get bent out of shape a bit, even though it doesn't take much time or effort to just delete it as it comes in. (With the notable exception of the ones in foreign alphabets, which always take FOREVER to load before I can delete them.)

So here are a bunch of situations that won't ever affect me, or actually might benefit me. Yet I take strong positions on them. Why?

It's not because of any religious beliefs. I have none. I acknowledge the possibility of a Higher Being, but there's something in my personality that simply won't let me take the "leap of faith" necessary to sign up. (Although my brief explorations into "Deism" have been interesting.)

It's not out of concern for "leaving a better world for my children." I won't have any. Several years ago I looked at the genetic nightmare that would be my medical legacy, and said there is NO way in HELL I would inflict that on another generation, and had a certain operation to guarantee it.

It's because I decided, very coldly and logically, that the best way I could leave my "mark" on the world would to find certain issues where I could make a strong moral and ethical stand, and fight those causes. And in each and every case, I would weigh both sides of the issue, see which one would be the more honest, the more fair, the one more likely to promote individual rights, and freedoms, and responsibilities, and take that stand. Even if it meant screwing myself over, in some way.

I believe that raising the federally-mandated minimum wage will help some people in the short term, but in the long run hurt far more. It reinforces the inappropriate (in my opinion) power of the government to intervene in what should be a matter between private individuals. Further, I have noted that with astonishing consistency, whenever the government meddles in the free market, it makes things worse. Recall the "luxury tax" of several years ago that virtually destroyed the domestic luxury boat business. How many highly-skilled craftsmen lost great-paying jobs in that attempt to "soak the rich?"

I believe that the assault by Militant Islam on the secular world is quite possibly one of the greatest threats to freedom and liberty in the world today, rivalling Communism in its heyday. I also think that, even if the United States and our allies do everything wrong, it will be years -- if not decades -- before it comes close to directly affecting me. And with my health issues, I'll be lucky to make it another 20-30 years, so I personally should be safe from that.

I worry every day that spam -- defined as "unsolicited commercial e-mail" -- already represents a huge threat to the internet. According to one study, a full 94% of all e-mails sent in December were spam. Sooner or later, the "signal to noise" ratio will drop so low that e-mail itself will be useless. You want proof? Take a look at most web pages' contact info. They've replaced an e-mail address with a form, most often because the spam problem has rendered that format worthless. I've had to "write off" several e-mail addresses I used to own because they simply became unusable -- well in excess of 100 spams a day. And E-mail is one of the most amazing developments of the last 20 years.

I have a few other issues I believe in, but less strongly. I'm pro gay marriage, as long as it's done properly and through legal channels -- but that's for pragmatic reasons, as I've seen first-hand what happens when it's rammed through without the consent of the majority. It devolves into an extremely ugly fight, and usually sets back the cause worse than it was before.

I support the death penalty, because it is clearly sanctioned by the Constitution and does a hell of a job of preventing recidivism. Pragmatically speaking, it also prevents issues like a certain case in Massachusetts, where a murderer already serving life without parole killed another inmate. In that case, it was a scumbag pedophile priest who got snuffed, but there is literally nothing the state of Massachusetts can do to this guy. He's already serving the harshest legal penalty, and as the song goes, "freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." He has literally nothing to lose, so why shouldn't he try to kill anyone he wants? And what if the next would-be victim is a guard, a staffer, his lawyer?

I am pro-choice on abortion, but squishily. I think that it's wrong, but I am not firm enough in my convictions that I want the full power of the government to back up that belief. I think that Roe v. Wade is one of the worst-crafted decisions the Supreme Court ever issued, that it's a hodge-podge of rationalizations and suppositions that reflect "finding the conclusion, then working backwards to justify it," rather than the more traditional. I think that it would be best settled by returning it to the Several States, where it would be decided by lawmakers who are (in theory) far more "in touch" with the beliefs of the people.

I am very much in favor of the right of the individual to keep and bear arms. I think that the 2nd Amendment is the worst-written part of the Constitution, but I believe that the Founding Fathers intended it to be an individual right, not a "collective right" (to use the term the ACLU made up to explain why they won't defend individuals who try to exercise it). But I don't own a gun, never have, most likely never will, and have fired one exactly once in my life.

When I was in college, I took a course in ethics. One thing that has stuck with me is how the professor said that for any ethical system to be legitimate, it had to be universal. The rules had to apply evenly to everyone, or it was not a truly ethical system. In that spirit, I've tried to discount my own personal self-interest when deciding where I stand on an issue.

So yeah, John, sometimes my own philosophical beliefs directly conflict with my own self-interest. That's OK with me. Hell, in some ways, it's reassuring. It tells me that I am not simply taking the most expedient, selfish, easiest way out of a situation.

So sometimes it gets a bit uncomfortable. But it helps me sleep a bit better at night.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference No blogger is an island:

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Comments (40)

Thank you for saying all th... (Below threshold)

Thank you for saying all that, Jay. A lot of people are unaccountably too embarrassed to say, "I have an ethos, and I take it seriously." Yet without one -- and moreover, one that can be applied categorically, without exceptions -- there can be no law, for it takes no more than 2% of dissenters from any given law to render it effectively unenforceable.

Perhaps it's that nasty word "moralist" that's gotten in the way. Liberals have been relentless about using the word as a denunciation. But who would any of us rather have as a neighbor: a fellow who thinks there are no universal standards of right and wrong, and that it would be okay for him to rape your thirteen year old daughter if he could get away with it...or a moralist?

My sister-in-law is from Sw... (Below threshold)

My sister-in-law is from Sweden. Whenever she mentions Sweden's healthcare, her jaw is clenched. Back in the 70's, her father died. She thought if they had had the medical opportunities that this country had, he would be alive today. Recently her brother collapsed on the floor in his home. They had to put the paddles to his chest. He was in and out of the hospital in under 24 hours. It is an understatement to say she is not pleased with the medical treatment in Sweden and looks with alarm at the approaching "universal" healthcare proposed by the dems (and, probably with our stalwart republicans) coming down the pike.

One of C.S. Lewis Ideas is ... (Below threshold)

One of C.S. Lewis Ideas is that our sense of right and wrong comes from God and even logically proves Gods existence. Where do you think your highly developed Agnostic Ethos comes from? Monkeys?You should be making more money with your skills....................
thanks for the post and keeping Wiz interestin........

I experienced the National ... (Below threshold)

I experienced the National Health System of England. My persoonal experience was wonderful, but that was 15 years ago. The truth is that services are rationed.

Given how much money a bureaucracy wastes, that isn't the solution.

Thank you for taking the ti... (Below threshold)

Thank you for taking the time to answer this thoughtfully. It was asked thoughtfully and, while you certainly weren't required to answer it, it was nice that you did so.

I'm not sure that I agree with the premise behind the question though. First, the latter Clinton administration years were supposedly the banner years of economic wealth for all. At the time I was in my second decade of working for a social service agency and the wealth was definitely wasn't trickling down to the poorest amongs us. Sure, some middle class people had dreams of retiring wealthy (which we now know was largely illusory), but those without investment income were not reaping any of the benefits of the "better" economy. Personally, it was the most devastating of economic times that I have experienced in my lifetime. And let's not forget ... for all Michael Moore's complaints about Bush and company, many of his "anti-overseas job loss" documentaries were made during the Clinton Administration.

Second, the plan requires the individual cedes control of their future to the state. I have little faith that those in charge care that much about anyone else's economic health. While they (and by that, I mean politicians from all parties) have great success in translating their own portfolio's into millions, they don't seem interested in doing the same for the common person.

Well said Jay!I mi... (Below threshold)

Well said Jay!

I might add another example...

My car is getting on up there in miles (I average upwards of 36k miles/year). My neighbor's a retired couple who are better off financially than I am. They have a nice new Lexus that's less than a year old. It would be a great benefit to me to go over to their home and take the car through the use of force. I'd have a nice new car. It'd a great benefit to me. And they're better able to afford another car than I.

There's a problem with blindly doing whatever benefits me without considering the morality of it. In taking my neighbor's car, I've violated their right to the fruits of their labor by taking it from them through the use of force.

How does this relate to min. wage or socialized medicine ?

We first need to establish how government operates. The government has only one thing to accomplish its goals - the use or the threat of the use of force. If you violate a law, refuse to pay your taxes, etc, you have two choices either comply or the government will use force (i.e. the police power of government) to force your to comply or to punish you. Further, the government has no wealth. In order for the government to provide/give something to one citizen it must first take it from another (through the threat of the use of force). The government is just a conduit, the middle man.

The only way for government to mandate a min. wage is to say that 'either you pay personX at least this much or we'll use force against you'.

Since the government has no wealth of its own, the only way for government to provide health care to one citizen is to, via the threat of the use of force, take time (from the physician) or money (to pay the physician) from a different citizen.

It's no less morally wrong for me to have the government take my neighbor's car for me than it is for me to take the car myself. It's no less morally wrong for me to have the government take my neighbor's money to pay for my health care (or whatever else) than it is for me to take it, through the threat of force (i.e. steal), myself.

(side note: JayTea - Google mail's spam filter is much, much, much better than Yahoo's)

Great post, Jay.... (Below threshold)

Great post, Jay.

Jay-1) Great post<br... (Below threshold)
Brian The Adequate:

1) Great post
2) With respect to the Spam issue, I am having great results with GMAIL. The Spam filter does a great job discriminating between signal and noise. I have not had a spam message in my inbox nor a real message in my spam folder in a whole year. The spam folder is easy to review and one click delete all spam cleans the folder out in 10 to 20 seconds. 500 spam messages a week taken care of in less than 10 minutes a week.

I with you Jay. I also vote... (Below threshold)

I with you Jay. I also vote on a sense of what is right and what is wrong, even if that vote would effect me personally. I also believe we,as a country, have forgotten how to muster up the courage and fortitude to solve their own problems. In the 50's and 60's, there really wasn't health insurance. Only the very wealthy even thought of getting it. Now, we demand it as a right. If you want to eliminate or at lease severely reduce bankrupcy, eliminate credit except for housing and auto's. Again, in the ealier years, you put something you could not afford on lay-a-way. We collectively caused our own problems and now we want the government to help us out of our irresponsibility. I too have made mistakes finacially but eventually worked it out.

On your agnosticism, I will pray for you to have the peace and confidence knowing there is a GOD and He cares very much for you. ww

Thank you for the above. Li... (Below threshold)

Thank you for the above. Liberals will just not get it. They are too busy trying to extract money from others who have more than they do....it's called Marxism

Excellent way to start the ... (Below threshold)

Excellent way to start the day.

And filter out the "spam of comments" so far ;-)

Well said, Jay.You... (Below threshold)

Well said, Jay.

You make an exceptional point, most obvious when you addressed the gay marriage issue.

There are horribly wrong ways to do undeniably right things.

Nobody would argue that the civil rights movement achieved much-needed goals, but the actions of government are responsible to some degree (a large degree IMHO) for the racial tensions that exist today, tensions that, honestly, weren't particularly prominent in the first quarter of the 20th century.

Similarly, nobody denies that environmental responsibility is a good thing, but a knee-jerk reaction to a "near-miss" at Three Mile Island essentially killed the nuclear power industry in the U. S. and doomed us to decades more dependence upon foreign power sources.

For one last example, and one that directly relates to the minimum wage issue, look at the birth of the workers' unions. Certainly nobody argues that workers should be subjected to the abuses of the "old system" in which their compensation was doled out in company store credits for labor done under grossly unsafe conditions. At the same time, it's hard to get around the fact that the folks building cars these days are making 2-3 times what the folks buying cars these days are getting. That creates a little problem. And, of course, the folks who run those unions ("for the workers" of course) are the ones who genuinely have money to burn.

No matter how "right" a result, there are numerous "wrong" pathways to get there; hence the too-often forgotten axiom, "the end does not justify the means."

It's ironic that a Democrat... (Below threshold)

It's ironic that a Democrat brings up the "Social Security crisis" (and why did he put it in quotes?). Democrats are telling us that there is no crisis. Bush's attempt to privatize it would prevent the removal of that surplus from the fund -- exactly what the writer laments. Instead Democrats are telling us that this is evil.

Republicans attempted to slow the growth of Social Security and they were demonized by Democrats (and very effectively by Bill Clinton).

I see no genuine effort by Democrats to save Social Security. They won't slow the growth of entitlements, they won't stop the surplus spending and the insist that we keep giving them our money that we will probably never see again.

I second mark's comment abo... (Below threshold)

I second mark's comment about C.S. Lewis's observation. If you believe in an objective moral truth, you will inevitably search for the answer to where it comes from.

Jay,Stick with the... (Below threshold)
Phil W:


Stick with the ethos thing. I'm decades older and it served me well as I lived through the 50s, 60, 70s all different cultural eras.

I do not buy the arguement about the politics of selfishness. I take several political positions that do not advance my own self interest. I believe that the Democratic Party is a party of self interest and guilt ridden wealthy. I'm not a fan of the Republican Party but at least I see some positions there that stand for the benefit of America as a country.

I only scanned Jay's post b... (Below threshold)

I only scanned Jay's post because I'm short on time right now, but this sentence got my attention:

"I believe that the assault by Militant Islam on the secular world is quite possibly one of the greatest threats to freedom and liberty in the world today, rivalling Communism in its heyday."

Total apples and oranges comparison. In what ways have Islamist extremists restricted my freedom and liberty to date? Certainly the reaction by the Bush administration to militant Islam has resulted in restrictions and freedoms, but those restrictions are just the result of Republicans reacting inappropriately. Putting those most victimized by the terrorists acts in the position of directing our response to terrorism was a huge mistake.

Comparing a religion, and the criminal acts of militants who practice that religion, to a political and social ideology the likes of communism is really stretching -- and perhaps just another example of the inappropriateness of the conservative reaction to the militants.

Overall, just one mo... (Below threshold)

Overall, just one more example of liberals saying, "If you don't believe my pat arguements there must be something wrong with you."

Believing persuasive rhetoric is just so easy? The topic at hand is super-simple? Symptoms of believing you're smarter than everyone else.

I find it ironic, that weal... (Below threshold)

I find it ironic, that wealthy liberals, who assumably vote for higher taxes, can ask conservatives, why they vote against their "economic" interests. Rich, poor, or middle class, Man does not live by bread alone!

Because we still have peopl... (Below threshold)

Because we still have people who vote the National interest, and for freedom and property rights, and not just for their own selfish interests, we are not a Venezuela.

That's the alternative "John" would wish for.

Jay,Well written. ... (Below threshold)
Anthony Wilson:


Well written. Your position is one of morality, while the liberal's position is immoral. To require one man to live for another is the height of immorality, and that is what he advocate's.

Jay, you may have a commend... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Jay, you may have a commendable romantic disregard for your worldly interests, when taking a personal decision on the public issues, but the Republican Party clearly knows its class interest .When was the last time you heard of the GOP, the party of big businesses, the military industrial complex, the big energy companies, the private health insurance companies, in short the wealthy, Bush`s `home constituency` advocating against their corporate interests in Iraq, or on issues of the environment, war profiteering, corruption, global warming, the reduction of taxes for the wealthy, immigration and so forth?

lee, There you aga... (Below threshold)


There you again, affirming Jay's points with your very first comment.

"In what ways have Islamist extremists restricted my freedom and liberty to date?"

Me, me, me! It's all about me!

Predictably pathetic.

OK, Jaymaster: "In what way... (Below threshold)

OK, Jaymaster: "In what ways have Islamist extremists restricted OUR freedom and liberty to date?"

Flown lately?Have ... (Below threshold)

Flown lately?

Have a position on border control?

Any concern whatsoever that suicide bombers might start showing up at the Mall of America or Rockefeller Center?

bryanD,Here's few ... (Below threshold)


Here's few off the top of my head.

Believers in other religions: must die.

Believers in NO religion: must die.

Homosexuals: must die.

Adulterers: must die.

Women: must do what their husband tells them to do, or die.

And women must cover their bodies in public at all times. And men must grow beards. No alcohol allowed. No modern music. No modern art. No porn. No movies. No non-religious education. Etc, etc, etc. You get the point, I'm sure.

Or maybe you used the word "our" in reference to our country only.

Which is NOT what Jay said, or what I was referring to in my previous comment, BTW.

But if that is truly what you meant to say, then maybe you're just another typical narrow minded, America first! Who needs diplomacy? F-the rest of the world!!!!, bigot. Or maybe just acting like one.

But hey, at least you have still the right to do that.

Steve Crickmore--Hmmmm. Let... (Below threshold)

Steve Crickmore--Hmmmm. Let's see now. Wonder where all the rich liberals get their money? Could it be that they own companies like the GOP rich? Could it be that someone gives them their riches? Could it be that they vote for the samething GOP does to protect their riches? Could it be that the MSM has not reported on companies that making money off the war just as a GOP company is? Hmmmmm Wonder if Pee-looser and Del Monte are friends? So the old and stale aurgument that it's only the GOP rich driving anything holds water like a strainer.

Lee,RE: "In what w... (Below threshold)


RE: "In what ways have Islamist extremists restricted my freedom and liberty to date?"
Your statement is incredibly self-centered and breathtakingly short-sighted.

I live about 45min from Boston. Several individuals at my company died in 9/11. My best friend's neighbor died in 9/11. One of my other friend's brother almost died. Those of us who have family members who live and work with companies in the large financial centers are seeing companies moving their operations out of the big cities because they may be future targets.

I'm sorry. None of that effects YOU.

And, of course, as radical Islamic fundamentalists grow in power, they are killing or silencing moderate voices throughout the world. Their rise in power is a direct threat to the personal freedom if millions of people.

But, of course, that doesn't effect YOU either.

If terrorism succeeds as a method of promoting radical Islamic fundamentalism, attacks that happen in other places will happen in this country. Radicals will start bombing schools, shopping malls, and public transportation.

But, of course, that doesn't effect YOU, NOW. Maybe in the future, but not NOW.
So, what, you're one of these people who won't deal with a problem until it's an crisis?

jhow66, I'm not suggesting... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

jhow66, I'm not suggesting that I'm against companies earning money on the contrary...What I am against is companies at taxpayers expense earning huge profits "Of the $10 billion ( from the American taxpayer) in overpriced contracts or undocumented costs, more than $2.7 billion were charged by Halliburton Co., the oil-field services company once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney."

jaymaster, I tend to just s... (Below threshold)

jaymaster, I tend to just skim Jay's (and the crew's) typing exercises, so you got me there! Yes, I am an America Firster. Not that I haven't traveled: the Orient, Germany, Slovenia, plan to move to Odessa, hopefully. And thank God, they're not like Americans: that would SUCK! (American hospitality is only casual familiarity; in other countries, people Adopt you!) So what's your point? YOU'RE an American, but I'd throw YOU off the boat! See I'm not a bigot! I just tend to make the fake patriots of the Bushbiddy and Chickenhawk varities here nervous. Or hysterical. I get called "bigotted" about every fortnight. So? You're WAY over there keeping yourself "safe", because there are no more risk-averse people than convinced Bushbots. Remington Raiders, Sick Bay Commandos, The Under-bed Reconnoissance Brigades. They're all here in force. And mouthy...hoo-wee!

Jay,Thank you for ... (Below threshold)


Thank you for your thoughtfull post.

Progressives also operate from their sense of their morality. In general everyone agrees that we want our nation to remain strong, our families safe, and our children better off then we were. The only differences we have are in how to get there.

Here's a quick example taken from something WildWillie said;

In the 50's and 60's, there really wasn't health insurance. Only the very wealthy even thought of getting it. Now, we demand it as a right.

WildWillie does not understand his history. From the 1940's through the 1980's most states had laws on the books requiring that hospitals be not-for-profit, and take anyone that came to them. Blue Cross and Blue Shield started off as a not for profit orginization to provide coverage.

Why is not for profit important? It's been said that government is inefficient, but that's not at all true. It runs as a type of not for profit orginization.

In the government run Medicare system, for every $100 spent, 2 to 3 dollars are spent on administration, leaving $97 to $98 to be spent on medical services and drugs.

In corporate insurance programs and HMO's for every $100 spent, between $10 and $34 dollars goes for overhead and profit, money that is not used for patient care.

The fact is a government run, or not-for-profit based orginization (like a University hospital) is FAR more efficient than private enterprise because it's not skimming it's profit of the top.

If you want to see how much profit is at stake, and why Republican resistance is so fierce, google or Wiki HCA, or Bill Frist. Frist's father has made billions for his family by acquiring not for profit hospitals. Under HCA those billions of dollars in profits have ultimatly come from consumers.

New England Journal of Medicine published a study which found that under a government managed single payer program, you could choose your own provider and the cost savings would be great enough to provide cradle to grave medical care for every American.

So is health care a right? Out of the other thirty six fully industrialized democracies in the world, ONLY the United States does not recognize health care for it's citizens as a right.

We have been moving to a progressivly more inefficient model for providing healthcare since the 80's. Today, we have 4% of the worlds population but we spend 40% of the total healthcare dollars.

And after all of that we are now 27th in the world for the quality of health, have 45 million uninsured, and rank 25th in the world for immunization.

Steve C.--Hmmmm. But you di... (Below threshold)

Steve C.--Hmmmm. But you didn't check to see if any liberal owned companies were doing the same. Or check the ones in N.O. deal. Naaw. Might find something.

bryanDumbass--the sooner you move the better. Our coutry will then smell a LOT better. Asshole frigging coward. Any response will be welcome as I could care less what someone of your calibur thinks about me. Piss on you. Does that take care of the bigot part.

"Why would you support poli... (Below threshold)
Tim in PA:

"Why would you support policies that aren't in your own personal interest", indeed. How about trying out "Why should you be allowed to vote yourself access to someone else's wallet"

Just because something is "democratic", doesn't mean it's right.

jhow66...I don`t want to ar... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

jhow66...I don`t want to argue this to strenously since it is really tangentiall but it is just common sense that companies with `crony capitalism` ties to the Administration: oil, war services, defense contractors (in short non `liberal companies),have done very well from the`growth opportunities` as Haliburton have said THAT THIS WAR afforded them, funded by the American taxpayer...Remember IKE`s warning about "THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL" complex..IN HIS LAST PRESIDENTIAL speech

I hope that's not the Reaga... (Below threshold)

I hope that's not the Reagan era "It's your money" meme.

Because it's not true.

This comment,<blockqu... (Below threshold)

This comment,

I hope that's not the Reagan era "It's your money" meme.

Because it's not true.

Posted by: John at February 16, 2007 06:37 PM

was intended to be in response to Tim in PA and not Steve Crickmore.

John:<br... (Below threshold)


Why is not for profit important? It's been said that government is inefficient, but that's not at all true. It runs as a type of not for profit orginization.

In the government run Medicare system, for every $100 spent, 2 to 3 dollars are spent on administration, leaving $97 to $98 to be spent on medical services and drugs.

In corporate insurance programs and HMO's for every $100 spent, between $10 and $34 dollars goes for overhead and profit, money that is not used for patient care.

If you believe that the profit is excessive, your free to start a competing business and operate for less. That's the great thing about having the system in the private sector.

If it's a government run system, you have no alternative and what's worse, it's controlled by politicians.

'Not for profit' is simply synonymous with no financial incentive to improve. I don't know about you, but I'd like to see health care have every incentive to improve... including the threat that someone else may provide a better service than them.

_Mike_atThat's goo... (Below threshold)


That's good in theory, but what happens in practice is corportations conglomerate in order to achieve efficiency. The small players are squeezed out of the market place until only one primary provider exists, at which point they can raise prices in order to manipulate the market. The goal of "free enterprise" players is not free enterprise, but is monopoly.

So the stuff you quoted from me is not for service providers (like hospitals), it's administration, or administration and profit costs for insurance providers and HMOs. Basicaly as a health care consumer, it's stuff you have to go through that is not related to your patient care.

By the way, the executives for all of the health insurance companies each get in excess of one million dollars per year. The big fish get much more. That money has to come from somewhere, and it's replacing money that could be spent on doctors that can treat actual patients.

We already have both a single payer and a socialized medicine program in this country. Both work very well at high efficiency and good customer satisfaction.

Medicare is a single payer system. You see your doctor, medicare pays directly.

The VA system is socialized medicine. All of the VA hospitals are government owned, the employees are civil servents.

jhow666: It's the WORLDWIDE... (Below threshold)

jhow666: It's the WORLDWIDE web. Sorry. (d'uh!)

John: Assuming you... (Below threshold)


Assuming you were holding up VA hospitals as proof that 'socialized medicine' would be better than private, there are a number of strong opinions regarding the administration of the VA hospitals on this thread.


Even if the VA were 'good', the problem with any government run entity is that is overseen by bureaucrats that have no financial incentive to provide a quality of care that is acceptable to their patients. When a private hospital fails to do this, the patient simply spend their money elsewhere. If the government runs the health care system, this cannot be done.

I also note that you bypassed my comments regarding the morality of taking from one person to give to another.

Although this endless C-Spa... (Below threshold)

Although this endless C-Span-like banter about health care is fascinating, I think the core philosophical argument Jay is making needs closer examination.

His moral focus seems to be on "what is right" and "what works." However, I'm not sure he has defined the terms "right" and "work." I would rather see a focus on "what helps people the most." Personally, if raising the minimum wage boosted people's lives in the short run, and then things returned to a nominal situation later, I accept that return. We'll just boost it again later. It's not a panacaea, but we live in a crap world populated with people who are being stomped on in the rat race. If a utilitarian law will make any kind of worthwhile change in people's lives, then I say pass it. Give them a boost in their paycheck, and if problems arise from that, address those problems. Don't be stymied out of helping people because we aren't sure if this will "work" or if it is the "right" philisophical thing to do. People need help. Give Joe/Jane worker an extra couple of bucks, they need it. When Joe/Jane employer gets in trouble, find out why and fix it, and the cycle starts all over again.

It seems that Jay's, and others' commitment to maintaining a system based on market forces sometimes seems to override his desire to see improvement in people's lives. What do you all think? That if we create and maintain the perfect marketplace nobody will ever get stomped on by anyone else? Of course not. So when those people get stomped on, what do we do? Do we robotically do nothing in the name of preserving the pristine market system? Or do we act like human beings and recognize sometimes the solution isn't a massive framework but a significant turn of a cog.

The same thread applies to his pro-choice, pro-death penalty, and (curveball here) anti-spam arguments. Are they made out of legitimate altruism or philisophical consistency? (Or in the case of the death penalty a cheap joke about recitivism and an incomprehensible reference to the harsh conditions in the prison system.) While both altruism and dogmatism can lead to significant mistakes, to my mind, only a consistent eye toward alleviating suffering as quickly as possible is a tenable philisophical platform. Otherwise I think you're fooling yourself into thinking you've locked yourself into a moral high ground by taking a few positions against your own self interest. That simply isn't the case.

And I'm sure there are those out there who will say that my altruism is very well and good, but it's pie in the sky looniness. Sure, whatever. Come at me with your hard nosed "realism," but remember, this is a conversation about a philosophical starting place ... not actual policy decisions. I think all of these policy decisions should be coming from somewhere a centered in a desire to do good, rather than some kind of cynical defense mechanism.






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