Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Goal of Government Health Care

Here are the first two paragraphs of New Mexico Senator Tom Udall's response to an e-mail urging him to vote "No" on the health care bill presently before the Senate:

"This past weekend, the Senate took an important step toward providing quality, affordable health coverage for all Americans by voting to begin debate on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This bill is a solid foundation for debate and I'm confident that it will save lives, save jobs, save money and save Medicare.

"This reform will provide the help that the one in four New Mexicans without health insurance so greatly need. And not only is it fully paid for, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office analysis of this bill shows it will actually reduce the federal deficit by about $130 billion over the first ten years."

This is a typical instance of how politicians respond to constituent's communications---and what they reveal about their own goals.

The Senate did indeed take "an important step." What is the goal of that step?

Senator Udall claims that government health care provides "quality, affordable health coverage." But it has been well documented that under government health care, medical quality declines and research stagnates. Medical professionals become over-loaded with work. They are crushed with fatigue and mind-stultifying paper work. Performance suffers. Improvements in techniques, procedures and medicines slow, eventually to cease. Similarly, the long lines, the postponed treatment, the uncertainty of being able to obtain proper treatment, the anxiety attendant upon being forced to trust those one has not chosen, affects patients deleteriously. The "quality" of government health care will be poor.

Is poor health care the goal of the Senate's "important step?" Most people in poor health do not have much physical or mental stamina. It is difficult to focus one's mind on one's work and plans---let alone cultural problems---even when one has a bad cold. That difficulty increases drastically when one is in seriously poor health. But surely politicians do not really want to impose poor health upon Americans. Do they?

Let's see. The government produces nothing. It earns no money. Its notion of "affordable health coverage" means stealing from those who have earned their money and giving it to those who have not. But those stolen dollars do not go to the medical professional. It goes to bureaucrats and politicians who dole out medical services by pull and favor. Meanwhile, medical professionals will be forced to work for less than their skills deserve. Mr. Obama has said, he will decide what doctors are paid.

What does this do to a mind that must focus on complex procedures, weigh scores of variables, examine dozens of possible avenues to solve a medical problem? How long can a mind accept such injustice? Will it be rendered malleable under such duress? Does over-work kill one's capacity to protest such an invasion of one's life and work? Is this the goal of politicians' "important step?"

Udall claims that government health care "will save lives, save jobs, save money and save Medicare." How does one save Medicare by cutting it drastically and adding 30 million more patients to its rolls? Certainly, government health care will save politicians' lives since they will be exempt from it. It will save politicians' jobs, too, since Americans will be legally prohibited from refusing government health care. We can't hold them responsible if we break the law. The jobs of politicians will not be threatened. Ours will.

Government health care will surely result in more money for politicians. The more bills passed, the more politicians will rake in money from bribes, deals, extorted sums and lucrative favors. This could be construed as "saving" their money. Is that the goal? To control our pocketbooks?

Think again. The working of your mind is the motor that earns your income. Your income pays for your food; so, any regulation on what you earn is in effect a regulation on your mind. Regulations on your health choices and preferences are of the same kind. That is the goal toward which politician's "important steps" are taken. And that is what government health care is all about. It is about control of you and your choices, i.e. your mind.

Mind control? No. What is happening today is not a matter of some injection that overrides your mental functions. It is an attempt to control your actions, which are the result of your thinking---or lack of it---by making you think that government health care is "helping others." Senator Udall states that government health care will "help . . . one in four New Mexicans without health insurance [they] so greatly need."

You've been taught ad nauseum that helping others is vastly important; so, you might forget that Americans are the most generous people on earth. They have the most charities, philanthropic organizations, foundations and free clinics. You might also forget to ask about the other three New Mexicans who will be forced to pay for that one. Why must others fork over their paycheck to provide him with coverage he either doesn't want or need?

Senator Udall claims government health care "will actually reduce the federal deficit by about $130 billion over the first ten years." This is a lie. The present Medicare program shows that government health care increases costs and spending. A $898 billion health care plan cannot reduce a deficit. One cannot reduce one's debt by increasing one's spending.

Come 2010, such politicians as Udall on every level must be swept out of office.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Comment on Rational Egoism

Rational egoism refers to an entire ethical system originated by Ayn Rand. The system rests on the recognition that man's means of survival is his mind. It identifies the ruling values a man should hold and the virtues his life requires.

In essence, rational egoism recognizes that in order to support his life, man must think. He must figure out what he needs (his values) in order to live, and how to gain them (his virtues). The rational egoist is the individual who recognizes that he must exert intellectual and physical effort in order to survive and that it is good and right for him to keep and dispose of the result of his efforts as he chooses.

An essential aspect of Ayn Rand's ethics is the nature and meaning of the self. Miss Rand's view of the self is revolutionary. For millennium all religions and all ethical systems, have viewed the self as born sinful, evil by nature and pre-determined. The self, it was asserted, must be whipped and controlled by the state or religious authorities in order to curb, if not crush, vicious thoughts and demonic actions. Such a view of the self is in essence the Nietzschean brute, the only difference being that Nietzsche said such a creature is good, while other ethical systems said such a creature is bad. In all cases, the self was commanded to live for others in order to be moral. And if one did not choose to live for others, the state and/or the church saw to it that one was forced to do so. The initiation of force, inherent in any advocacy that man must live for others, was thus made into a moral good.

Miss Rand, in contrast, showed that the self is that aspect of the individual that thinks and judges and chooses and acts, and that the self is formed by one's own choices and actions. One's choices and actions reflect the thinking one has done, or has not.

Concern with one's choices and actions is concern with one's own interests, which means one cares about one's life and its quality. To be concerned with one's own interest on a fundamental level is to be concerned with one's own estimate of the moral stature of one's self, which is egoism. To evade such concern is to be guided by other's say-so, which is anti-egoism, or as Miss Rand's coined description: the second hander.

A fascinating dramatization of the essential qualities of the rational self is Howard Roark in The Fountainhead. The abstract meaning of the self is neatly summed by Gayle Wynand, in the same novel, during the battle over Cortland Homes.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"A republic if you can keep it."

At a recent activist training session an 18-year old said, "I'm here because I want to do something about the antipathy among my own age group."

A work-at-home mom said, "Forty-five times I've written to my Congressman asking questions. He will not answer."

To a Tea Party worker, the manager of a car dealership said, "Congress is out of control. We have to stop them."

Volunteering to help raise money for protest rallies, an insurance office worker said, "I've never demonstrated before against my government. But now I must."

A preacher said, "Today I received the thirty-seventh form letter from my Representative."

Most congressional members continue to ignore their constituents. Although Americans have loudly and persistently registered their opposition to health care, the latest Pelosi/Obama 1,990 page monstrosity is now in the Senate under consideration as if Americans' opposition to it is irrelevant.

Congress evidently believes we have no say in the matter. We have sent them letters, e-mails, faxes and telephones messages. They turn off their phones, shred the incoming faxes and emails and ignore our letters. On their web sites, their idea of responding to our opposition to government health care is to send long, boring canned letters that have nothing to do with anything except their own plans.

They do not answer our queries. They do not answer our complaints. They do not address our concerns. They do not vote the way we want them to vote on the dozens of bills they write aimed at taxing us more and listening to us less. They do not admit that they are violating our rights, that their countless regulations are onerous, the taxes they impose burdensome, their corruption outrageous. They evade the fact that we pay their salaries in return for which they do little more than posture.

Much of that posturing revolves around repeated announcements that they create jobs. They do not. Businesses create jobs. Businesspeople have an idea, figure out a way to make and sell it, hire others to help them. That is job creation. It increases employment and general productivity. Job creation necessarily leads to product improvement---one cannot remain static in any business. Product improvement leads to improved sales, which expands business, which raises salaries and results ultimately in raising the standard of living.

Every businessperson is aware of the process---from small to large businesses, from the manufacture of common nails to complex computers, from the making of cheese to the design of satellite sensors. We know who creates jobs. It ain't the government.

One does not create jobs by taking money from one person and giving it to another. One does not create jobs by commanding company bids for infrastructure work, ordering that helicopters be built for politicians, or agreeing to pay $200 for a toilet seat. One does not create jobs by regulating established enterprises, taking them over, making deals with unions, or ordering banks to lower their mortgage and credit card rates.

Such actions depend on the goods being there in the first place, and are violations of individual rights. But individual rights are the foundation of our culture and the basic meaning of a republic. Congressmen who ignore their constituents do not sustain a republic. They reveal a preference for a different type of government organization: statism, which is collectivism, which means ultimately totalitarianism.

What's to be done to stop Congress' stampede toward statism? What's to be done to counter this massive infringement of our individual rights? What's to be done to end this flagrant invasion of our lives and property? How can we terminate congressional dismissal of our opposition to government health care, to energy controls that guarantee shrinkage of agriculture, mining and fossil fuel production, to business and professional regulations that are suffocating our economy, to strangling taxes?

Must we move to Washington, stand on the Capitol steps and grab each Congressman by the arms and shake them to register our disagreement with what they're doing? Would that help?

What can one person do? You can organize. You can vote.

The Tea Party is one type of organization that has brought together hundreds of thousands of grassroots Americans. Many such organizations have been formed across the nation. Most of them have a plan. And most of the plans are identical: vote out of office every single representative coming up for re-election in 2010.

The plan is already in operation. The mayoral and a city councilman race in Albuquerque, New Mexico started the drive. Virginia and New Jersey followed suit. New York gave it a shot. More races are taking place in 2010.

But there is more to the plan than voting out of office every current incumbent that has ignored our choices. The grassroots is no longer sitting on the couch and cursing. They've jumped to their feet and are taking part in politics. They are finding ways to enter primaries. How great a part they are taking is being revealed as more Americans realize that Ben Franklin was right.

If we want a Republic, we have to work to keep it. Now, more than ever, more Americans realize the truth of this and are taking action. We will succeed. As one Albuquerque Tea Party member recently said, "I will never give up. Never. We will take back our country." Yes, we will. It's up to us to restore and keep our republic.

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