Roundup

Randy Alcorn on fasting — talking about fasting always makes me hungry.  I really need to try this.

Albert Pujols is one of those guys who makes a consistently great witness for Christ.  I’ll pray that he keeps it up.

I know Steven Crowder’s Canada health care video has been around a lot but it is definitely worth watching.  And see the Wintery Knight’s comments as well.

Sarah Palin on Cap and Trade – good stuff. 

The ironic beauty in this plan? Soon, even the most ardent liberal will understand supply-side economics.

Saw this good reminder at the Humble Offerings (he was the primary encouragement to start my own blog, so blame him!)believerjerk

71 thoughts on “Roundup

      • Ryan,

        I’d be glad to dialog with you on the matter of health care, but do be aware that any application of logic and reason to the matter will quickly demolish any pro-obama position you may hold.

        Logic and reason are utterly incompatible with ObamaCare.

      • I’m not “pro” any politician. I’ll judge each of Obama’s actions on their own merit. There are many issues on which he and I disagree.

        My son is the recipient of millions of dollars worth of socialized health care, so you’re not likely to sway me on this. One’s ability to receive health care should never ever ever have anything to do with the amount of money he has.

      • And if Obamacare passes, one’s ability to receive health care paid for entirely by one’s neighbors will never have anything to do with one’s personal decisions.

        For example, in Ontario, Canada, sex changes are 100% taxpayer funded, as are abortions.

      • You should really spend more time comparing what is NOT funded in each country, rather than the things that ARE funded yet don’t fit with your personal ideologies.

        In Canada, there are user fees for some small things, like some drugs, and casts and stitches and ambulance rides, but if you are afflicted with a major disease, or anything that threatens your life, you are taken care of 100%, so you can worry about getting better instead of paying your bills. With non-emergency things, sure, there is some bureaucracy, and there are certainly some cost cutting measures than affect people. Are you saying that the insurance companies should be the ones that get to decide who gets treated? What do you have to say about my wife’s cousin? Her son died of cancer at 4 years old, and because that rare type of cancer can be genetic, not a single insurance company will insure her, or her other children. In Canada, she and her children would get extra care due to their higher risk, and in Canada, she would not have lost her house to pay her dead son’s bills.

        Private health care works great for the people who can afford it.

      • If you think that you will get more care for rare conditions under socialized medicine, perhaps you should try citing some actual data. I noticed there was none in your comment. You made a lot of statements, but you didn’t cite the average waiting times cited, for example.

        Here are some wait times for Ontario.
        http://www.health.gov.on.ca/transformation/wait_times/wait_mn.html

        Average MRI wait time in Ontario: 110 days
        Average knee replacement wait time in Ontario: 187 days
        Average hip replacement wait time in Ontario: 162 days

        Here is some raw data from the NHS in UK:
        http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article4597174.ece
        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-373669/Alzheimers-drug-expensive-NHS.html
        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1559188/Arthritis-drug-too-expensive-for-NHS.html

        There is an answer to rising health care costs, and I wrote about it here:
        http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2009/07/15/understand-the-right-way-to-reform-health-care-with-short-podcasts/

      • Why is it that the health care comparisons always come down to orthopaedic procedures, many of which are important, but elective. If you do through the site you sent me, you’ll realize that in many areas the wait times for knee replacements are just a few weeks.

        As for MRIs, those stats are for diagnostic MRIs for orthopaedic procedures. If you need an MRI for an emergent condition, you can get one in less than an hour. My son got an MRI done (for a non life threatening procedure) the same day it was requested. My wife got knee surgery 2 weeks after diagnosis for a torn ligament.

        I wish some procedures were done faster, and yes, I have actually been in a situation (with a cut finger) where an emergency room was too busy to help me, and I would blame that on under-funding. That’s the government being cheap, and it could be better. Do you think that insurance companies never cut costs?

        But here is the bottom line. If you are sick, you will never have to pay to get better. If you get hurt in a car accident, you’ll get all the procedures you need immediately. If you are elderly, and feel a heart attack coming on, you never ever have to worry if your family will be burdened with a bill.

        Health should not be bought and sold.

      • If you think a young premmie is going to merit millions in health care in a rationed socialized system, you are simply mistaken.

        That story you linked to happened because one particular hospital was filled up. So the government of Canada paid to have the treatment provided in the US. This is a story about a full hospital which needs more funding, not a socialized medicine problem. Whay

        My son was the smallest preemie ever to survive in my city. He had very little chance of surviving. 5 years later, with 33 operations and counting, ongoing intensive therapy, and in house service from medical professionals weekly, we get to take him to kindergarden this Fall.

        All with absolutely no cost to us. We actually got a call last week saying that we are eligible for reimbursement for the gas we use driving him to kindergarden, since we thought the best school for him is one across town.

        Health care is rationed in every country in the world. There is always a line to draw somewhere in determining the appropriate amount of care. In Canada, that line is not contingent on your ability to pay for the service.

      • Reread the story. it was for the entire region.

        Rural hospitals in towns of 50,000 in the United States have better medical care than major medical centers in metropolitian city centers in Canada.

      • “Rural hospitals in towns of 50,000 in the United States have better medical care than major medical centers in metropolitian city centers in Canada.”

        Let’s pretend that’s true for a brief moment. Is every one of the 50,000 people able to access that care whenever they need it. Do they ever decide not to access the care because they can’t afford it?

        Did you completely ignore my story that proves preemies get care in Canada no matter what the cost? Would you like to hear about the surgeon who was flown from Atlanta to help restore my son’s vision, since he was the leader in the field? All free.

      • “But here is the bottom line. If you are sick, you will never have to pay to get better. If you get hurt in a car accident, you’ll get all the procedures you need immediately. If you are elderly, and feel a heart attack coming on, you never ever have to worry if your family will be burdened with a bill.”

        OR, like in the countries where health care is rationed, it will be decided for you if you deserve to get better.

        Let us consider the case of Isabella Stinson.

        http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=481030

        The neonatal quota had been met in Canada, but fortunatly they were able to send her across the border to the United States.

      • I’m not sure that healthcare is an inherrent right, as is freedom.

        BTW, in a materialist worldview, in no way can you justify his continued survival.

      • Cut the crap about “the materialist worldview can’t justify X”.

        Your superstitious worldview can’t justify anything either. Healthcare isn’t a right? That shows a lot about your “worldview”. I bet you think guns are a right though, don’t you?

      • Once again Ryan–

        What is a right?

        Where do rights come from?

        Where do they exist?

        Was healthcare a right in 1809? 1709? 1609? 909?

      • Nice little change of direction there, LCB. Ryan, when they give up the content of the argument and revert to the “but who cares anyway in a materialist world” we should take that as a concession speech from now on.

      • It isn’t a change of direction.

        I’m asserting that there is no basic right to health care in the way that Ryan is asserting.

        We must define the term, establish where it comes from, where it exists, and if it was always the case.

        If rights are an evolutionary thing, as Ryan asserts, then they either existed 200 years ago, or we evolved that specific right in the last 200 years.

        Applying logic and reason shows his argument lacks substance.

      • I am asking a specific question about the “right” to health care that Ryan is mentioning.

        By the way he applies the term, and the foundations he gives for its use, it’s clear that his argument doesn’t stand on much. I’m trying to make sure I’m not misunderstanding him.

      • I think it’s very simple really. Should heakthcare be provided only on the basis of the ability to pay, or should it be available to anyone, regardless of their ability to pay?

        To ask the question another way, should healthcare be means-tested?

        In Ireland, my family qualifies for a medical card, which entitles us to free GP visits, and free emergency treatment. This is means-tested, we have to re-apply every year. I had a serious accident three years ago, without this assistance I would be in debt for the rest of my life.

        I’m not sure why you feel th” and “healthcare”.e need to investigate the origin of every word, phrase and construct. I think the average person understands what is meant by “rights

      • Racing,

        I absolutely disagree that the average person understands the meaning of the word “rights” ESPECIALLY in the American context.

        That’s why i challenge to define the word. Let’s not presume we’re using it in the same way, because we aren’t.

        As for healthcare, we can obviously debate the different approaches to distributing the finite supply of healthcare resources available, and establishing if it is, infact, a right, is essential to that debate.

        And let’s be clear, when we talk about “healthcare as a right” we are also talking about “what other people should be forced to do and pay for us, even if they don’t want to.” Since we are actually discussing obligations placed on other people for our own ends.

      • 85 million is an untrue number.

        The most common number trotted out is 40 million.

        And that includes 20 million illegal immigrants.

        So we’re actually talking some 20 million persons without healthcare insurance, of which about half lack health insurance by choice.

        So we’re actually talking about somewhere in the range of 10 million individuals, or about 1 in 30, who don’t have health insurance but presumably would like to.

        Then we have to talk about what is meant by health insurance. Health coverage, for many people, has come to mean “I don’t have to pay for my medicine, doctors visits, or any tests.” Whereas the classic definition and design of health insurance in America was to cover major medical expenses and emergencies.

        And now when we talk about the remaining 10 million, we may be talking about individuals who have access to major medical coverage, but would rather have total everything covered medical coverage.

        The issue is a lot more nuanced than some in the media would portray it, especially when one considers that US law requires all ER visits to be treated, including emergencies.

        As a result, we’re talking about a number of different issues. To recap, among them are who should be forced to give me things, who should be forced to work against their will for me, who should be forced to pay for my wants and needs, and how the finite amount of healthcare resources available should be distributed.

        Then there are a whole host of secondary issues, like what impact this will have on medical care overall, what criteria will be used for rationing, who will decide who gets what (for example, will party affiliation be looked at? Campaign donation records?). Finally there is the serious issue of medical innovation. The free market system of medical treatment has allowed for massive medical innovation, innovation which has been stiffled in Europe and Canada.

        Then thirdly there is the matter of how can the US treasury possibly pay for this program? Who shall administer it? If doctors will be making less money (as is almost assured), how can a tax increase on doctors based on their current incomes possibly fund the program when their incomes are sure to fall?

        And of course, this all goes back to the issue of “rights.” What are they, where do they exist, what do they consist of, and where do they come from?

        Where did this magical right to health care, to people giving me things for free, suddenly come from?

        And, if rights can magically appear, can they also magically disappear?

      • You haven’t yet answered my question; I appreciate the issue is complicated by many factors; I’m asking you, in principle, do you think healthcare should be provided to all, regardless of their ability to pay? Of course this implied state funding, are you saying that shouldn’t happen? That the state has no obligation?

        I’m asking you: Do you think healthcare is a universal right, and if not, why not? What other rights would you also deny? Clean drinking water? That may not be an issue in the US, but it certainly is in Africa. Education? What are your priorities for government spending during a very bad economic downturn?

        You seem to have all the answers for everything else. Go on, lay it all out, tell us who gets what and why.

      • Totally Agree RB. I’ve given specific examples in my life that I feel show why I feel healthcare should be a right, and now they want the definition of right. My anecdotes mean nothing to them because I don’t “ground” them i God. It’s a self righteousness that I can not even comprehend.

        LCB, you have morals and I have morals. You believe they only exist because God says so. I think they exist because our species has evolved to have the ability to feel empathy, and to take care of one another.

      • Was there a right to health care 200 years ago, or have we evolved that right in the last 200 years?

        If we evolve to have rights, can’t we evolve to lose old rights?

      • We didn’t evolve to have rights. We have evolved to think and ponder. The better we got at hunting, and other daily tasks, the more time we had to sit around, think about our existence, invent ways to make our lives better, and think of rules to help us all get along.

        We rely on the wisdom of the masses for many things, including developing consensus for human rights.

      • So rights are based only on consensus?

        If there is no consensus, there are not rights?

      • No, actually I don’t agree that all rights should be based on consensus, but it’s the best we have. Fortunately there are enough people with the wisdom to understand that the rights of the few should not be tramped on by the masses, and the eloquence to convey it to the masses.

        Please stop asking questions – it is clear that you are trying to back me into a corner. I’m not going to play that game, so if you have some wisdom of your own to pass on about where our rights come from, and who, in your mind, deserve to be taken care of when they fall ill, please share.

      • Ryan,

        When you get to the point where you don’t want questions asked about your positions, it is hard to take those positions very seriously.

      • I don’t mind the questions in general, I just wish they weren’t always leading to where I think rights come from. I still answered you.

      • Ryan, I’m not sure why you post comments like that. They prove nothing and don’t advance the conversation. We draw conclusions about your worldview based on its premises. Saying, “Cut the crap,” is not an argument.

        And reverting to calling our worldview “superstitious” says nothing. Ridicule is not an argument.

        Yes, guns are a right in the sense that people should be allowed to own them. People have a right to defend themselves. They aren’t a right in the sense that the government should take money from some people against their will to provide guns to those who can’t afford them. Big difference.

      • Don’t you see that I deal with the same types of arguments against me though? If I were to launch an LCB argument against that I would say “But where is your right for a gun grounded? Why do you have the right to self defense? Does your right to a gun extend to your right to install ground to air missiles in your backyard? If you can afford a Comanche chopper, should you be allowed to drive it to work? Did people have the right to a gun 1000 years ago?”

        That’s what I deal with when I make a statement, and you don’t criticize him for it. You guys can state that people should have the rights to carry a gun, but I say that they shouldn’t. If Jesus was a live today, would he be packing heat? I think he would prefer to turn the other cheek. You only agree with his teaching when it suits you.

      • Ryan, if you think that “turn the other cheek” means to let people beat you up (or to let them beat up others) then you don’t understand the passage.

      • So do you think Jesus would have you use violence to protect yourself? I don’t have a problem with you protecting yourself or your family by any means available to you, but I don’t think that’s what Jesus would have taught.

        In high school, I had an English teacher who was one of my favourite teachers of all, which is strange, because I did not like the class at all. But he was fantastic. An amazing teacher that could make anything at all interesting. I found out later on he was a devout Christian, and although he was very private about that in class, he would talk to us about it afterwards if we wished. He was not preachy in the least, he just let us know what he believed. He was a quiet man, and absolutely against any violence of any kind whatsoever, without any exception. He told us that if he was being mugged, he would give the mugger everything, and wish him a good day. He said if he was being robbed at gunpoint, and the robber dropped the gun, he would reach down and hand it back to him. That was just what he believed.

        I suppose he took that passage quite literally. Who’s to say what was meant? It’s just words, and much of it is up to the reader.

      • If you can show me the verses where Jesus said we should be punching bags for anyone else, let me know.

  1. I watched the Crowder clip over at Wintery Knight. I must say that I was depressed afterward. My favorite part was when the doctor/nurse told him (I paraphrase) that he was young and to go ahead and get on the list now.

    Unless this can be stopped, I was looking right at my family’s future. There is good news however. Neither Obama, nor the congressmen that vote for this junk, will have to worry about waiting for anything. That should put a smile on everyone’s face; right?

  2. I have not seen anything about the great economic possibilities of national health care.

    We are already experiencing a little of this with medicare. I was not aware of this until my mother’s recent illness, but there is a small black market of things you can’t buy if medicare won’t allow it.

    Think of the potenial for this black market to grow under national health care. Of course, it will be a cash business so there won’t be any taxes involved; but the profit potential is enormous.

    If anybody can come up with a plan to justify this morally I might consider investing.

    PS I did say justify, not rationalize, I can do that for myself.

  3. Racing Boo,

    I’ll link this post above, since I’m starting a new line of posts. Let me quote your post in full:

    “You haven’t yet answered my question; I appreciate the issue is complicated by many factors; I’m asking you, in principle, do you think healthcare should be provided to all, regardless of their ability to pay? Of course this implied state funding, are you saying that shouldn’t happen? That the state has no obligation?

    I’m asking you: Do you think healthcare is a universal right, and if not, why not? What other rights would you also deny? Clean drinking water? That may not be an issue in the US, but it certainly is in Africa. Education? What are your priorities for government spending during a very bad economic downturn?

    You seem to have all the answers for everything else. Go on, lay it all out, tell us who gets what and why.”

    You’ve asked a lot of questions, so I’ll just tackle them in bullet point numbered form.

    1) “I’m asking you, in principle, do you think healthcare should be provided to all, regardless of their ability to pay? ”

    No, in principle, I do not think healthcare should be provided to all, regardless of their ability to pay. Healthcare is a broad term in the United States, and includes many elective activities.

    As is currently the law, an individual can not be declined treatment in an emergency room, even if they lack the ability to pay. No one is denied immediate life saving care, even if they can not pay.

    2) “Of course this implied state funding, are you saying that shouldn’t happen?”

    To be specific, this implies federal funding. I am indeed saying that shouldn’t happen, as it is radically outside the purview of the Federal Government. If an individual state (such as Massachusetts is currently doing) wishes to engage in state funded health care, it is at their discretion to do so.

    3) “That the state has no obligation?”

    Again, I sense (especially since you are Irish, I believe you’ve indicated) that you mean state as in “The nation, on the federal level.” Allow me to be clear, the federal government indeed is no obligation in this matter. It is not expressly within the purview of the government as provided by the Constitution, and is far beyond anything ever envisioned or intended by the Founding Fathers. If a change to the Constitution is wished, there is a clear mechanism for changing it (multiple mechanisms, actually).

    The individual state also has no default obligation, though obviously can become involved to whatever extent it wishes and the citizens permit it.

    4) “Do you think healthcare is a universal right, and if not, why not?”

    An observant reader will note that this question is substantially different from question one. At this point the philosopher and theologian in me will be kicking into high gear, so fair warning, the words I’m using here are used incredibly precisely. I will mean exactly what I say, no more no less.

    By healthcare I will mean “General medical treatment necessary for full functioning in society.” This encompasses things like vaccinations, various doctors visits and medical treatments, and emergency treatment.

    All individuals have a right to healthcare. That does not mean they have a right to universal healthcare run by the state and provided at no cost. it does mean that all individuals should have equally opportunity to access the finite health care resources. For a person to be denied the ability to access those resources (say, due to race) would be immoral, as the denial to ability to access functions as a form of dehuminization.

    That statement (that all individuals have a right to healthcare) is a statement of principle. Individuals may agree on principles (which are abstract things) and disagree on the best application of the principle. Example: In general, individuals should be free to express their political opinions. In specific, individuals may disagree if flag burning constitutes a legitimate exercise of that freedom (I think it does only under controlled circumstances like in a metal barrel, because fires have this nasty habit of spreading).

    So let’s review: a universal right to healthcare does not mean a right to universal healthcare, those two are very different things. One is a principle, the other is an application of that principle.

    5) “What other rights would you also deny?”

    I do not deny a universal right to healthcare (as explained above, free access to the finite resource).

    6) “Clean drinking water? That may not be an issue in the US, but it certainly is in Africa.”

    Individuals should have free access to the resources available within their society. In a society that has clean drinking water in abundance (in our case, via technology) individuals should have free access to it.

    7) “What are your priorities for government spending during a very bad economic downturn?”

    For the Federal Government? Absolutely limited to what the Constitution describes and funds, namely the three branches and associated offices, the common defense, regulation of interstate commerce, etc.

    As for the 50 state, each state is free to prioritize as they see fit. My priority is slashing government spending, slashing taxes, and allowing economic activity to grow and proceed free of the oppressive yoke of high taxation.

    8) “Go on, lay it all out, tell us who gets what and why.”

    My job is not to tell you who gets what. Those that advocate for universal bureaucracy controlled health care are the ones who are attempting to decide who gets what, when, why, and how.

    The reality is this: there are finite economic resources available. Everyone can not have everything, and this is true with health care. The proposal set forth by the Obama administration strains logic and credulity by its attempt to create a functioning system out of thin air when the Federal Government has shown a complete inability to effectively run smaller health care programs, with money that the National Treasury lacks, in a way that was never envisioned by the Constitution or the Founding Fathers.

    Further, the activity would function as a severe infringement upon the rights of doctors. So which doctors will be forcibly retrained, against their will, to provide services that we currently lack the doctors for? Or instead shall we lower the standards at our medical schools to allow sub-par doctors to practice so as to meet some government mandate?

    And who shall ration the new healthcare units? Political appointees? So access to health care can change each time an administration changes, with political supporters getting access while political opponents don’t?

    Not only does the Treasury lack the funds for this project, but it is proposed that the project be paid for by taxing some individuals to pay for the elective health care of other individuals? We’re not talking about ER coverage here. We’re talking about full elective medical coverage. We’re even talking about procedures that some are incredibly morally opposed to, like sex change operations and abortions.

    And of course, if the doctors object to the procedure, will they be forced to do it anyways?

    The unfortunate reality is that health care is a finite resource, and we lack the resources to provide it to everyone on the highest possible level. That simply can’t be done, no matter how much wishing some folks would like.

    Other nation-states, where the people are viewed as serfs and do not having the blessings of liberty that we have in America, may choose to engage in universal healthcare coverage. And if that is how the people of those nations wish to apply the principle of individuals having free access to resources, that is their choice.

    But universal healthcare coverage is a uniquely un-American concept. It violates the spirit, principle, and letter of the Constitution, which is supposed to be the highest law in the land. It attempts to, through act of law, to make something that is impossible possible. No law can do that.

    If the oppressive high tax governmental regime taxed less and was less bloated, many more individuals would have health care.

    The federal government created this problem. The solution is not more federal government. Having the 2nd highest business tax rate in the industrial world, staggeringly high personal income tax rates, and nearly unfathomable government waste prevents individuals from having the money to freely take full advantage of the healthcare available in this country.

    The solution is less federal government, not more of it.

    I hope that the above helps sketch out my view on the matter a bit for you, and am glad to further explain why it is an absolutely awful proposal for the United States of America.

    • Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions in full. I do appreciate that. Btw I’m not Irish, I just live there (I’m one of those horrible immigrants :-)), I’m South African with British citizenship courtesy of an English-born father.

      It’s clear that we have some fundamental ideological differences. I do not believe that the free market should be allowed to take complete control of finite resources. That goes for drinking water in Africa, or healthcare in the US. Under your regime, an American multi-national could be selling the available water, and due to the high demand they could set the price at the optimum profit level; those who could not afford it would just have to go without and put up with cholera or bilharzia. And the water supplier wouldn’t necessarily be free of political motivation.

      Having said that I’m not a raving marxist either. Pure ideological socialism annoys me as much as laissez-faire capitalism. I share your enthusiasm for lower taxes, both personal and corporate, but I don’t share your optimism that a completely free market will ensure healthcare for all. And I’m not talking about elective procedures, I certainly would not expect the state (by this I mean the governing body responsible for such things, whoever and whereever they may be) to stump up for sex change operations or abortions. If this is happening anywhere, then it is a disgrace.

      Allow me to comment on some of your points:

      So which doctors will be forcibly retrained, against their will, to provide services that we currently lack the doctors for?

      I’m not sure why you feel doctors would have to be re-trained. I can only speak from the experience of the two countries I’ve lived in:
      In South Africa, private and public healthcare are completely separate, different hospitals and doctors. You even have private ambulance services. Private care is very expensive, but you get what you pay for. Public care is grim and desperate, but at least it’s there. The income bar (to qualify) is set very low, but that’s probably as it should be for that country. Middle-range income families (as we were when we lived there) cannot afford the insurance without considerable hardship, and we don’t qualify for the free care either. If I had had my climbing accident in South Africa, I would be facing debts for the rest of my life.

      In Ireland, private and public care is provided at the same hospitals by the same doctors. Consultants in private practice are obliged to spend a certain number of hours per week caring for public patients, and they are paid for this (far too much, in my humble opinion, but I don’t begrudge them this). As a single income family with three children we qualify for the state medical card, which entitles us to free GP visits, free prescriptions and any non-elective treatment. This is comprehensively means-tested. We only just qualify for this, in fact it is probably only because I live 50 miles from my workplace (and thus have travel expenses) that got us over the bar. My treatment, which involved two weeks in hospital, a five-hour operation to my spine, and two operations to my wrist, and many follow-up consultations, cost us zero. But my wife, who broke a tooth after slipping on a wet floor, has to wait until we can afford a proper crown (rather than the temp one she has now), as this is seen as cosmetic and therefore not essential. We have no problem with this at all.

      And who shall ration the new healthcare units? Political appointees? So access to health care can change each time an administration changes, with political supporters getting access while political opponents don’t?

      That’s just blatant scare-mongering. You guys have a functioning democracy, right? Do your army generals change when a new administration comes in?

      The unfortunate reality is that health care is a finite resource, and we lack the resources to provide it to everyone on the highest possible level. That simply can’t be done, no matter how much wishing some folks would like

      It can’t be done? Even if you get rid of some of the “unfathomable government waste” you speak of? The free market will make a hames of it too, no matter how much you (and I, for that matter) may wish otherwise.

      Other nation-states, where the people are viewed as serfs and do not having the blessings of liberty that we have in America, may choose to engage in universal healthcare coverage. And if that is how the people of those nations wish to apply the principle of individuals having free access to resources, that is their choice

      A strange argument. I’m not sure how to respond to that, or if I even want to. I have this image in my head of someone recovering in hospital after a car accident being handed a bill for several hundred thousand dollars, and the registrar saying, “Aren’t you blessed with liberty now?” and giving him a small flag to put up above his bed.

      But universal healthcare coverage is a uniquely un-American concept.

      Fair enough, if that is your view then I won’t try to argue with that. This comment gets to the root of your arguments, and is 100% ideological in nature. I’m not qualified to say what is and isn’t American, although I’m tempted to ask you to define your concept of “American” and see if other Americans agree.

      The solution is less federal government, not more of it.

      I couldn’t agree more. What, for example, is the relative expenditure on defence as opposed to healthcare? What makes up the “unfathomable waste” you referred to?

      • Racing Boo,

        1) The state paying for all elective procedures is precisely the foundation of Obama Care. This explicitly includes abortion coverage.

        2) Included in Obama Care is a ban on new private insurance, and a mechanism for rolling existing private insurance into Obama Care. It is setting up a single-payer system that includes a ban on any treatment outside that system.

        3) Due to government interference, many doctors in America decide to become specialists. Though many doctors indicate they would prefer general practice/family medicine, the government programs in place create incredible burdens on family practice (I could detail these if you like, they are quite absurd).

        If the remaining uninsured individuals are suddenly insured, there is the practical matter of “who shall be their doctor.” Considering we don’t have enough general practice doctors (and according to Obama, we have too many specialists), we must contend with the matter of forced retraining to meet the new need. This can be hard or soft.

        A hard way would be directly forcing retraining. The soft way would be, under the new single payer system, to simply ration the amount of specialist care available nationwide and inform selected doctors that this year’s ration doesn’t include them getting to be an XYZ-ologist, so enjoy the year vacation since we’ve rationed you out of business (BUT we do have this nifty retraining program… if you’re interested in not losing your home).

        4) There is a strong indication that Obama Care would cover all illegal aliens in the country, further taxing the system

        5) You write, “Consultants in private practice are obliged to spend a certain number of hours per week caring for public patients.” This is America. We are a free people. Government may never under any circumstances do this. It is unfortunate that you live in an unfree society.

        6) You write, “That’s just blatant scare-mongering. You guys have a functioning democracy, right? Do your army generals change when a new administration comes in?”

        We have a functioning Republic precisely because it was structured so as to avoid allowing such political favoritism to take over. I have 0 faith in Obama’s administration to not use health care as a weapon against political enemies.

        Giving a government massive amounts of power and then trusting them to use it in a benevolent fashion is a bad idea. The government should never under any circumstances have that level of power.

        7) “It can’t be done? Even if you get rid of some of the “unfathomable government waste” you speak of?”

        No, it can’t be done with current technology. The Mayo Clinic, and Johns Hopkins, only have so many beds to treat patients. The best doctors in the world can only see so many patients a day.

        8.) This leads in to point 8, which is that the free market system is the most conducive system to advance medical technology and encouraging individuals to become the best doctors they can be. There is a reason that America is the driving force behind worldwide medical innovation.

        Remove the financial incentive and you lose the innovation. Pure and simple.

        9) You write, “A strange argument. I’m not sure how to respond to that, or if I even want to. I have this image in my head of someone recovering in hospital after a car accident being handed a bill for several hundred thousand dollars, and the registrar saying, “Aren’t you blessed with liberty now?” and giving him a small flag to put up above his bed.”

        Simple.

        Under Obama Care I am not free to not participate, and I am forced to pay for other people against my will.

        Live free or die. This is a country that started a revolution over sales tax on tea.

        10) “What makes up the “unfathomable waste” you referred to?”

        For starters– Mountains of foreign aid to Europe in the form of stationing forces in Europe in such a way that we are responsible for much of Europe’s military defense. American largess is the only thing that makes the European welfare state a possibility, and our free market system has filled the Treasury to pay for it for decades.

        One of the current government run healthcare programs is Medicare, which registers over $70 billion in fraud each year, and that covers only a fraction of the population.

      • You write, “Consultants in private practice are obliged to spend a certain number of hours per week caring for public patients.” This is America. We are a free people. Government may never under any circumstances do this. It is unfortunate that you live in an unfree society

        Perhaps I should have added that it’s only those doctors who have a contract with the HSE (under which they are paid €220 000 per year) and are allowed to treat their private patients in the state-owned hospitals, although the numbers must be limited to 20% of total patient number. Yeah, that’s a terrible deal. Poor them.

        For starters– Mountains of foreign aid to Europe in the form of stationing forces in Europe in such a way that we are responsible for much of Europe’s military defense. American largess is the only thing that makes the European welfare state a possibility, and our free market system has filled the Treasury to pay for it for decades.

        It’s ok to make leaps of logic (if this happens, then that could happen) in theology and philosophy, but this way of thinking has got the better of you here. Your ideological passion shouts louder than the facts, and in doing so you insult not only the European taxpayer, who is every bit as burdened as you are, but also the defence forces of nations such as Britain who have held America’s hand tightly of late and suffered because of it.

        American forces would not be in Europe at all if it were not in America’s best interests. Be more gracious to your hosts.

        Perhaps while you’re about it you could learn a thing or two from the French healthcare system, which is funded by the working population (of France). High taxes, high social security, the sort of thing your worst nightmares are made of. I don’t hear the French complaining though. Please note I’m not suggesting the US should adopt the exact same system; what works in one country does not always work in another.

        We have a fundamental difference of opinion over this. I’ve lived in one country where the colour of my skin put me in an undeservedly privileged position. I was quite happy to pay taxes over and above the odds to help rectify that imbalance. I now live in another where I receive in benefits far more than I pay in direct taxes, although VAT at 21.5% probably recovers much of the difference. I don’t make the worlds best liberal; there are times when this situation doesn’t sit well with me.

        If you are convinced that in your land of the free there are not some who are more free than others, then that’s great, you’ve nailed it. But last year your voters were clearly expecting something to change.

  4. I also linked to the Crowder video at my blog. The only response thus far is from someone claiming there is no plan to copy the Canadian system. My response to that will be to request he explain what he thinks the plan WILL require, and what makes him think the plan won’t eventually become something like the Canada plan, or any other socialized system from any other country in the world that has one.

    There are a lot of areas in the current system that cry for improvement. I don’t trust that the feds, especially the group that now comprises that group, have the brain power to “reform” the system adequately. In fact, the whole thing scares me to death. There is no way these buffoons are taking the necessary time to do it right, and they totally lack the both the will and resources to make sure it works as planned, no matter what plan they work.

    Health care is already universally accessable in this country. ANYONE can partake of it as needed. For those who haven’t the money to take of themselves, that’s what charity is for. Most of us have sacrificed for the purpose of providing as best we can those things each of us needs. Health care is currently not cheap, but gov’t inteference has much to do with that.

    I have no problem with emergency rooms mandated to accept anyone who enters, but I don’t see why they just can’t bill people without insurance. If it takes forever to pay, or even if the people never pay it all, at least they are paying their way as best they can. That’s a lot better than forcing the rest of us to pay instead.

    • Health care is already universally accessable in this country.

      Excellent points, Marshall. Medical care is accessible to all, so the question is what is most efficient. Obama’s plan is not.

      A friend who is a hair stylist needed medical care when her kids were young that her insurance didn’t cover. It took her years, but she paid it all back. What a concept.

  5. Ryan,

    I don’t have an opinion about America’s Health Care system or Gun control laws simply because I don’t completely understand them. I am from a different country so these things really are not things that would concern me. But as for the passage you quoted from the Bible about Jesus asking us to show the other cheek, it IS contextual. Are you quoting it because you heard about it or have your read the Bible personally? ‘Cause if you have you’ll find a particular passage where Jesus is slapped by one of the High priest’s guards and Jesus DOES NOT show His other cheek. Rather He asks the guard why He was slapped if He did not say anything wrong. In short, He defended Himself. So you see, the context in which Jesus said that is, not that we should allow ourselves be trampled upon. Because if that’s what He really meant, most Christians wouldn’t even be pro-life, what with Jesus saying we shouldn’t object to be subjected to violence. We have a right to defend ourselves and God does not deny us that right. The previous passage was said so that we shouldn’t be vengeful at heart. There’s a huge difference. As for the defending with violence question, the intent here is to protect my family and NOT necessarily to hurt the offender!

    • Shalini, that is an excellent point. Most people quoting the “turn the other cheek” passage ignore the context in Matthew and also ignore or aren’t aware of the High Priest interaction. Ironically, they are the biblical literalists.

      • Just throwing this out there, haven’t glanced at the Bible in many moons but: do y’all think Jesus (or else the character, “Jesus”) was generally fond of vivid hyperbole? Which would make him a man after my own heart. “Offer him your other cheek! … Cut off your hand if it offends you! … Take no thought for the morrow! … Unless you hate your father and mother, you can’t follow me!” Do you think he had a personality which took pleasure in radicalism and outrageousness? I don’t mean a malicious pleasure necessarily; it could be a compassionate exhilaration in shocking people into new possibilities, larger life.

      • Jesus makes extensive use of hyperbole to make his points, but the cheek issue is not one of those times. It is located in a long dialog of specific instructions to the disciples, and contains very concrete specific information.

        If you’d like to discuss this or other passages in depth, I’m glad to do so.

        The starting point for that discussion is, of course, which cheek?

      • Thanks LCB, interesting background on the turn the cheek bit. What I’m most interested in when I ask about hyperbole and radicalism, though, is how y’all think about Jesus as a man, since you consider him identical with God. I can’t imagine someone producing some of Jesus’ fine and outrageous turns of phrase without taking pleasure in it, some sense of benign mischief, exhilaration. They sound too well-loved to be only indifferent instruments of a larger purpose. Does God have fun, a sense of humor, enjoy the ride? Does he have time for it when he’s caretaking all our souls at every moment? Seriously, I’m curious; we can assume the disclaimer that your speculations will fall far short of the reality.

        You know if Jesus were God incarnate, I could have written a much more fascinating account of him than what the Bible contains. Why didn’t the gospel writers rhapsodize about his person (instead of just his doings and sayings)? He would have been utterly hypnotic and seductive to watch. Self-consciousness and hesitation not just absent but *impossible*. His smallest gesture infinitely natural and at peace with itself, in calm and in vigor. His big toe bespeaking fearless love for everyone he met. No thought preceding any speech or action, but rather taking form only and perfectly *in* that speech or action: a see-through person. No calculation, no *possibility* of misrepresentation. An intuitively perfect response to each individual. 100% untroubled, 100% inviting, 100% authoritative, 100% alone. He would look, frankly, rather like Ramana Maharshi, maybe a bit more vigorous: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dj_ECWCjgXI. Ramana just putters around the ashram being most ordinary, but if you’ve got eyes to see, the undividedness of his being and the untroubledness of his love are breathtaking. He’s a space alien.

        Those of you who think Jesus is God, why do you think his speech is so consistently marked by hyperbole when God’s other utterances aren’t? Does he have an independent personality?

      • “Does he have time for it when he’s caretaking all our souls at every moment?”

        Sure. His public ministry is only 3ish years, and even in that time he goes to weddings (festive occasions), visits friends, cries over their deaths, etc.

        Jesus is 100% God and 100% Human, 2 natures, 1 person.

        There was a serious discussion during medieval eras (I can’t remember when or by who) that asked– was Jesus the best at everything? The best artist, the best cook, etc? The conclusion was no. His human nature was a normal human nature, like us in all ways except sin.

        One of the things revealed to us by Jesus is the holiness that the human nature is capable of reaching when assisted by God.

        If you read the Gospels closely you’ll find that, in his interactions, Jesus has the ability to ‘read souls’ and say exactly what needs to be said in a profound way. Humor is also very present in the Gospels, if you know how to look for it. As for why the Gospels didn’t write a modern biography of Jesus, well, because that’s not the literary form they took, and what wasn’t important to the Gospel authors. They were more interested in giving an account of who Jesus was (portraying His identity), what He did, and what He taught.

        The Gospels are documents that were primarily written for people who already believed, people who already knew Jesus intimately through prayer and conversion.

      • Re Jesus being all man and all God: that would be a worthwhile revelation if it meant that all is God, the ordinary is the transcendent, limited men and women are the only infinite, that sort of thing. As it is, he’s forever the exception, so what good is he? What encouragement? The exception seems only to prove the rule more rigidly, that God is something apart from man and man is something apart from God. Whereas the only vision of divinity I’ll ever understand is the one where nothing’s left out, where the whole workaday world just as it is reveals itself in an infinite light. When anything at all is left out in the cold, seems to me, what you’re seeing must be much, much less than divinity.

        How do you imagine him? You must try sometimes just for fun, right, even knowing you’ll fall far short?

        I could imagine a line here or there in the gospels about how people responded to Jesus, about what was uniquely attractive about him, that would fit just fine with the matter-of-fact style. Of course my own style of description is far outside the literary mode and era. But since God wrote the book for all time, and since for myself it would be some of the most essential and inspiring information, I wish he’d found a way to include it.

        My point is obviously pretty subjective, hardly a knockout debunkment for formal debate. I just look for little ways to suggest how bizarre to me is the idea that the book couldn’t be any better.

        I’m glad Jesus joked and mourned, thanks. What about God the Father, does he have a sense of humor do you think? Of the familiar infinite and unchanging dimensions?

        (I do worry, on winter midnights, whether anything can *really* be funny without God. In my nothing-to-molecules-to-man worldview, at what point, exactly, did humor enter the picture? When all that truly exists is grim matter in motion? Sometimes I’ll be overwhelmed by my hypocrisy right in the middle of telling a joke, I’ll find myself unable to finish, overwhelmed by nausea).

      • As it is, he’s forever the exception, so what good is he?

        Are you even trying to understand Christianity? He offers eternal life.

        1 John 5:11-12 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

        Whereas the only vision of divinity I’ll ever understand is the one where nothing’s left out, where the whole workaday world just as it is reveals itself in an infinite light. When anything at all is left out in the cold, seems to me, what you’re seeing must be much, much less than divinity.

        Sure, if you are making up your own God you can make all sorts of statements like that.

        I’m glad Jesus joked and mourned, thanks. What about God the Father, does he have a sense of humor do you think?

        (I do worry, on winter midnights, whether anything can *really* be funny without God. In my nothing-to-molecules-to-man worldview, at what point, exactly, did humor enter the picture? When all that truly exists is grim matter in motion? Sometimes I’ll be overwhelmed by my hypocrisy right in the middle of telling a joke, I’ll find myself unable to finish, overwhelmed by nausea).

        All good things come from God, so yes, He has the ultimate sense of humor.

        I appreciate your candor. We talk a lot about spiritual things but humor does seem to be rather odd in a materialist worldview.

        Maybe that is how God uses his humor — to make you see how it makes so much more sense when there is a God?

      • Sorry Neil, I wasn’t being candid there, just joking around.

        I didn’t mean Jesus is the exception in enjoying eternal life, I meant he’s the exception in being all holy and all ordinary at once.

      • I actually agree with Seas in general. Yes, the creator of the universe was completely within his rights and was not being illogical when using hyperbole.

      • Cool, I’m glad everyone sort-of agrees. It makes for a juicier (fleshier?) appreciation of Jesus.

      • I’m convinced that Jesus was deliberately trying to shock people. Like when he spoke of “giving the children’s crumbs to their dogs.” Either he was a racist (as many of my fellow atheists would have it), or he was being deliberately controversial. On the balance of all the other things he’s meant to have said, you’d really have to go with the latter.

        And he did it so much better than Ann Coulter.

      • It may seem like Jesus was deliberately trying to shock people, probably because Jesus was deliberately trying to shock people.

        If you look at almost every parable, you’ll find that they absolutely blasted through and violated all the social taboos of the era. It isn’t surprising that the authorities wanted Jesus dead.

        Many of these don’t translate well into our current culture, because we don’t have anything that shocks us anymore. But there is 1 example that tends to work:

        Imagine of Jesus said to a group of US soldiers, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who flies a plane into a building.”

        It goes against every cultural standard we have, and turns all our understandings utterly on their heads (which is a major technique in the Gospels, Divine Inversion).

        The “turning of the cheek” is similar in that it is radically shocking, but it is not hyperbole, rather it seems to be part of a concrete set of instructions. Which is why i go back to the question, “Which cheek is mentioned?”

      • Yeah I know, right cheek, which would need to be hit with a left hand, which is unclean. Correct? So if you drop a bible in a community with no concept of that culture, would they be expected to understand it, or do you think they would get a completely different impression?

        This is used all the time to justify the idea that Jesus was a pacifist. I have read the Bible cover to cover (even the Saul begat Abraham, who begat Homer, who begat Bart part), and I’ve read the New Testament probably three times. I tend to think Jesus was a pacifist, according to the New Testament, but who knows, the way his teachings are conveyed is really up to the writer, and the language that is chosen.

      • “which would need to be hit with a left hand, which is unclean. ”

        Nope.

        Rather, it would indicate an insult was being delivered.

        In the 1st century Mediterranean basin, including in the province of Judea, honor was the highest cultural value.

        That may not seem like much to us, but such a challenge to another person’s honor could very quickly result in murder, or the person’s wife being raped. When one reads the text carefully, one finds that Jesus sketches out a new system of community living (in the 1st century world all living was community living) that places a focus on God and being honored by God instead of man.

        As for “dropping” the bible in, 1) That’s bad evangelization and 2) You’d be surprised how will a lot of scripture would be understood. Most agrarian based societies have an honor/shame structure in place, have group-collectivist based identities, and have some variation of the “paterfamilias” principle in play. Provided they could read what was on the page, and knew what order to read it in, they can interact with the scriptures fairly well.

        As for Jesus being a pacifist, it is clear that he rejects unjust violence in all its forms. There are many early martyrs who were martyrd because they refused to engage in violence.

So, what do you think?

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