Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Times have been growing more and more hectic as the threat of socialism hangs above the United States more menacingly than it ever has in the monstrous form of that which is now on the house floor. Michelle Bachmann's grim insight into Pelosi's plan unsettled me some yesterday. Not much remains left to be explored, explained, or debated about the topic before the legislators. Both sides have explained what we are doing, and no educated nor open minded person cannot see the beast beneath the mask. The only question that remains is that, does enough opposition exist to this disastrous course that loud voices, and the threat of the ballot box and unemployment can sway the most liberal legislature in American history away from the path of government determinism? One can only hope and lend one more voice.
I have thought in recent weeks of this old argument: Two men long dead, both cordial and contemporaries, had a difference of opinion about the destiny of humanity and society. They were driven to think of and discus this, and I can only imagine that they discussed the issue at length while they lived. Being men of learning they penned their disagreement into two competing books that became two competing philosophies: Plato's Republic, which became the original blueprint for a state structured society ruled by elites, and, Aristotle's Politics, a vision of a free humanity self governing, self determining, free to explore all the potential of the human species. In the subsequent 2000+ years since this original disagreement, both sides of the argument have argued viciously; blood has been spilled both in mass quantities and more than one occasion over this difference in destiny's vision. What arose here on this land, was a people and society dedicated to Aristotle's vision of a free people. And with short time and huge success convinced a world over to sway to freedom for the first time. But, not I fear, for too long, as the warm glow of opportunity and freedom became taken for granted, as the sun on a summer day, the juvenile tendency in the world turned it's attention to the harsher reality in freedom: Responsibility. And in wishing to alleviate all forms of risk, consequence, and ultimately responsibility, they have peace meal traded that warm bright glow of freedom for the bitter cold of soft tyranny, whilst they remain wrapped in their state provided security blankets, now too timid to venture outside. We, here, have remained the last of the free. As Plato's idea's of government determinism eroded every state on our borders, and across our seas, it has also seeped into the soil here, such that you can start to feel the bright sun dim and the cold wind blow, just as it started with so many states that used to be free. We must, as the bitter wind blows first and fresh, resist the urge to take a blanket and stay inside, or we too will be doomed to black skies and darkened horizons, imprisoned in a limited life by meager securities we dare not leave. The sun is low, and perhaps this time it is setting, and we are faced today, you and I, with what may be the extinguishing of the light of freedom, for who knows how many generations to come. I think of critical stands when I think of this fight, Marathon seems appropriate, Athens having been the primary example of Aristotle's philosophy; the forces of oppression now on our beaches, we few have but this critical singular chance to hold their advance on freedom's home, and if they proceed from this shore all will be lost. Eleleu!
Sunday, August 30, 2009
You can read it at the American Thinker website. It actually started as an answer to a question. Which was essentially: Barring cost as a separately debatable topic, why not socialize the delivery of health care? The government already provides a number of critical services, such as fire departments, police and national defense. Why not socialize health care?
By constraining my response to not include a discussion of cost, I was actually able to focus on a number of social and philosophical reasons why it is a bad idea. My answer below.
Healthcare is a personal service, not a group service such as National Defense, Law Enforcement, and Fire Suppression. Each of those entities do not serve the individual, they serve the community as a whole. The police are under no obligation to protect you personally; if you need that, you need to hire someone. Fire departments suppress fire for the good of the area; if your building needs to be sacrificed so be it. Should you need better protection, again, you need to have your own equipment and staff. The Armed Forces? Well, 9/11 should tell you that even with their protection from foreign threats you are far from personally protected from harm. And should an armed force actually fight on US soil, you would find quite quickly, the fight is not about protecting you personally or your personal property, but protecting the freedom and sovereignty of the US as a whole.
Health Care as a group service is the horrifying tale where the individual becomes subservient to the greatest good of the state, just as in the above examples. The vexing problem with a socialist system for distributing health care is twofold. First each of us, should we not be killed suddenly, will reach a point in our lives where the health care we need to continue to live is either too costly, or does not yet exist. This establishes the paradox of an impossible question.
Philosophically the health care we need to survive cannot be a right if we all must face not having it and dying. The follow on part of that thinking then establishes a question, in the case where cost is the limiting factor: who determines if the care is too costly?
This is the second aspect of the problem. In the socialized system, eventually, someplace, somewhere, sometime, a government representative apathetic to your individual fight for life, will with a rigid budget and rules, make the decision that your life is no longer worth the peoples' effort to support it.
You will argue that private insurers make that call all the time, that statement while having the color of truth is completely false. Who decides what insurance to buy? I do. And in doing so I decide what is covered and what is not, and what limits if any are on the care provided. So the level, scope, and cost of my plan are completely at my disposal. So if I reach a point in my own care that lies outside my coverage, I can look only at myself and the agreements I made. But all is still not lost even in this case, should I decide the cost is worth it, and my assets sufficient, I can personally fund the care. Or I can make the decision to stop, if I decide the inevitable was upon my doorstep. See all of those 'I's in private care?
That is one true dread of socialized medicine. It robs the impossible question of the only humanity that can be offered, that it be I or my family, those most impacted, those emotionally vested, and those that must bear the cost, who make the decision of when to stop. I fear that decision to be made by the apathetic government bureaucrat, regardless of qualification. Again robbing from the most merciless point in life the comfort of choosing my own fate.
We walk this Earth not as ants with collective minds set to one purpose, but as conscious individuals, each physically, emotionally and mentally unique, with unique dreams and plans. The one size fits all egalitarian approach to medicine is itself a poison to this uniqueness, pretending that every life can have the question of physical care answered with one set of rules. It places within the providence of government the care of the individual's body, giving the former complete jurisdiction over the latter. If you accept the government has such juris dicta to speak what parts of your body might receive replacement or healing care, you must accept that your body is no longer your belonging, and also be ready to accept your caretakers instructions on how you might use the vessel they maintain. What foods you are allowed to eat, what activities you may participate, and for the utterly unscrupulous government what you may say and think.
No egalitarian goal of more equal distribution of care (note I will not say equal, because elitists will always have care far and beyond that of the peons beneath) is worth robbing health care of its humanity and individuality, a mirror of the humans it serves, as care of the mortal coil should be, personal and private.
Monday, August 17, 2009
If you have not drawn a clear picture of what I’ve put to words; it is clearly the United States of America, and a brief evolution of public education.
We entered on that path with the concept of a greater benefit for society and a value of egalitarianism echoed in the words that all were created equal. All would be given the chance at greatness then, only they had to stand up and take it. We reasoned that it was not a simple act of forced charity, because with such opportunity and education we would have a better citizen for participation in government, and a more productive person for participation in society. Now we stand with a similar circumstance, with a similar question. It would behoove us to ask ourselves some very difficult questions here. First examine our experience with our last great egalitarian effort. How did it go? How did it start? Where did it end in final form? What were our ultimate accomplishments across the board toward our goals in relation to what we had spent? What did we give up in the process?
We then need to look at our current debate and what our options are. A public option, would we ever expect it to stay “optional” given our experience with education. What of universal care; what is the payment back to society that justifies society’s indiscriminate outlay for a personal service. What level of involvement would we expect our government to have, today, tomorrow, and the next generation? Are we as comfortable with politicians deciding which medicines get purchased and what treatments are approved, as much as we are with them deciding which textbooks are approved, and what material must be taught? Though we might have been created equal it is not long after such we certainly become unique individuals; do we expect a one size fits all system of medicine to fare better than the same did for education? Or is diversity and choice far more valuable then homogenization and egalitarianism in this case?
In the end we must all face the impossible question. The moment when the care we need to survive falls as either, sufficient care does not exist, or is far too expensive. Our current system offers this moment, this question, the only humanity that can be offered. When I am approaching that moment, that horrible moment, it will be I or my family, those greatest impacted, who will answer that question. That is the only humanity that can be offered to death. It is what makes me different than my dog, I get to decide when I’m put down. It sounds horrible, but a horror story like none either Lovecraft or King ever penned is a government man behind desk and papers, with a big red stamp reading unapproved, arbitrarily administering a sentence of death.
Monday, July 6, 2009
As I pulled the necessary philosophical references, I quickly found myself fully embroiled in an argument thousands of years old; Politics arguing with The Republic; Communist Manifesto arguing with Two Treatises of Government arguing with Utopia. Within the philosophers pages I think I have found my answer, and it comes in two parts, desire and dissent.
Within the individualist philosophy lies a hope for the future. It surmises that philosophically man is incomplete but that he can improve. That a better future is possible as not only mankind’s expanse of knowledge widens, but also as we, as individuals, evolve in thought and manner to higher understandings. It harnesses man’s innate individuality as a driving force not only for individual growth, but also as a source of uniqueness for truly new thought and ideas while desire becomes the motivational force for societal growth. The progress of society is dependant on a diverse spectrum of new ideas and points of view and the ambition to see them realized. Diversity of thought and desire are not only wanted but needed.
The collectivist Utopia however takes a radically different approach. It sees human desire in a far dimmer light, and essentially personal desires are either animalistic in nature or a result of pride, arrogance, or greed. This demonization of desire places human uniqueness at odds with society. For once all animal requirements are met by food, water, clothing and adequate shelter, and fear from want eliminated by assurances of future yield, human’s should then have no other desire other than service to the society which provides for them. Other desires, personal interests and the like, are again pride, arrogance, greed. This system of collectivism not only wants but requires homogenization of thought. Dissent from the collective harms it and can destroy it. So in both philosophical model and in practical application we see the totalitarian hallmark as collectivism evolves mechanisms to homogenize thought and silence dissent. Plato proposed censorship, strict control of education, dissolving the family structure, and execution of those with an “evil soul”, to practically deal with uniqueness. More’s Utopia simply ignores the idea of dissenting from his perfection by the rational person, controls advanced education by only offering it to the selected few chosen to govern, demonizes desire, and regulates all who don’t follow his society’s rules as criminals and therefore slaves. Marx too ignores rational dissent, focusing only on forcefully deposing the upper class whose only protest again originates from greed. The philosophers here seem to have a common point; rational dissent to their vision of the perfect society is not conceivable.
Here is displayed the source of the problem, once collectivism is explained, in the mind of the collectivist, the only possible dissent stems from greed or fear due to lack of understanding. Since the system of collectivism cannot tolerate dissent, this sinful self interest is actually standing in the way of a successful society. Dissenters from collective thought, through their own selfishness or ignorance, prevent a better world. In effect collectivism supports diversity in every superficial way while discouraging the one way that really counts, diversity of thought; mankind’s great free will, now his greatest enemy. As if we could un-eat the apple and return to ignorant bliss.
This outlook allows collectivists to dehumanize individualists as persons, justifies their scorn, hatred, intellectual elitism, and every other immoral act they take to silence our arguments. They view us only as base animals, stupid, fearing, greedy, deserving only to be herded for our own good and the betterment of society; A barking dog standing in their way, treated with no less caution, and no more respect.
So with the issue exposed what is the remedy? My best prescription is the last thing in the box. As individualists, we must regain our humanity by clearly showing that we too want a better future for everyone, and that we too have a philosophy and a plan that leads to a better tomorrow. However, unlike our censurers, we don’t believe we need to leave what makes us human on the shores. We believe every individual, their uniqueness, their imagination, their passion, can help us get there, with just some freedom and time. Desire itself is no inherent evil, in fact, it’s the stuff that dreams are made of.
…We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.-WS
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
I find three things apparent about this.
1. Mankind flourishes the most when the above implements are reduced to the smallest reasonable degree.
2. Not many problems lend themselves to effective solutions with the above implements.
3. When we cry "Please oh wise, powerful, and benevolent government, solve this problem which so vexes society" we, as a people, should not be surprised when the government shows up with guns, bureaucracy, and heaps of our money, ready to implement a plan that represents a patchwork sewn together by several hundred career politicians.
Friday, April 10, 2009
The first freedom of every human is freedom of the mind, the great free will. Essential to this is education. Mankind must accept education as an individual responsibility. Turning over the responsibility for your personal education to another is to surrender your free will. By controlling what you can learn, others control you as neatly as a shepherd herds sheep. If mankind cannot accept the personal responsibility for self education, then I am wrong and mankind deserves to be treated as sheep, both shorn and slaughtered, while in the interim herded by a few smart dogs that lick the shepherd’s hands.
The second freedom of every human is to rise up against oppression, whether it comes from the lowly hands of a common thief or from the high hands of the so called sovereigns.
All of the other great gifts of freedom start here, the headwaters of liberty.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Socialism on its face has very laudable goals. However, the theory ignores what we know about natural law, and presupposes, to loosely borrow from those smarter than I, that men are angels. It assumes that those who are capable and have found success redirect some major portion of the fruits of their labor to support those who have not yet found success. It also assumes that those who have not found success are doing their earnest best to make sacrifices, make good decisions, and work toward success (eg contribute meaningfully to the economy/whole). The success of socialism depends on a near uniform acceptance of these principals, and positive action to follow. Natural law for dummies, states that men are not angels, and while many do not, many act only in their own self interest of either greed or laziness; either of which spells an end to uniform socialism, at least in the voluntary state. So a “voluntary society” based in socialism is unobtainable, at least for now for the flaws in mankind. The fact that Utopia is still out of reach for our own imperfections should not be a surprise.
Enter involuntary socialism, or government mandated socialism. The simple premise of which is, government, who acts based on coercion by force over the governed, now forces the above two principals to be followed if not believed. This vests a large amount of power with those who have shown repeatedly not to be angels and act repeatedly not in the interests of those governed but in the interest of consolidating their own power. The result is invariably (shown with numerous historical examples of any socialistic enterprise that has substantial size that had to cope with diversity of thought) a very large tax burden on enterprise or government control of the means of production, and a loss of liberty of the underclass. Class mobility becomes nonexistent, the underclass, now non-responsible, revert to a more childlike mentality with government as a parent, industry stagnates beneath taxes and regulation or the bureaucracy of government control, and overall economic conditions worsen. The usual result of which is further government intervention to control education, civilian activity and industry. The means define but three paths for socialism to follow.
- Dissenting opinion is eliminated; all thought is homogenized behind the socialistic ideal through “education” campaigns that ignore the validity of any contravening philosophy.
- Population and industry are largely or completely controlled by government.
- Utter economic failure.
One and two constitute and end to freedom as we know it. Three is just a disaster. So while “socialism” is not a bad idea per se. Government mandated socialism is a disaster for a free society. With those overlooking who were so brave as to say “give me liberty or give me death” can we not struggle through economic crisis without begging our government to take our freedom?