Wednesday, September 19, 2018

From the Left to the Outer Darkness

Intolerance and political correctness is the poison pill of the political left, the road out from some political viewpoints, many of which I am inclined to support, into the outer darkness of totalitarian thinking. 

Christians are terminally politically uncomfortable. Every ideology has a poison pill. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Socialism and Health Care

Let's do a little history. While he was still an actor, Reagan did recordings for the American Medical Association fearmongering about socialized medicine, but if you listen to them carefully what he is talking about is was for people over 65, so what he was objecting to was what eventually became Medicare. I'm old enough to remember opponents of Medicare were condemning that a socialized medicine. I remember hearing Rush Limbaugh complaining about Bill Clinton's health care proposal by saying THIS IS SOCIALISM. The s-word was used to scare everyone away from the plan, which, of course, never passed even through the Democratic Congress he had at that time, and the fear of socialized medicine was a major talking point for the Contract with America in 1994. Opponents of changing our health care system kept insisting that we have the greatest health care system in the world, even though it left millions of people uninsured and uninsurable. When Obama came along the Affordable Care Act was a compromise. It was originally proposed with a public option. Trump began his campaign by saying that everyone should be enabled to have health insurance, but called Obamacare a disaster and joined the chorus who wanted it repealed and replaced. He was challenged by Ted Cruz at one point for his comments at some point in his past in favor of single payer, but he denied that he supported that. It is hard to know what he believes about health care (if he believes anything at all coherent), but he does seem dedicated to destroying the works of Obama. Nevertheless the Administration has supported bills that would take health insurance away from millions of people. Even now they repealed the individual mandate and support state lawsuits that challenge the constitutionality of the ACA. Republicans have sometimes insisted that they want a market-based solution to the health care problem. But what does that mean? Markets are things you can be priced out of, otherwise they aren't markets. If it's a market-based, the insuring that everyone gets health care is like insuring that everyone gets, if not a Cadillac, at least a Hyundai. Health insurance companies won't make a profit insuring people like me, unless the government does something to make it profitable for them in insure people like me. It seems that there are two things you can say about the situation I was in for all that time. One is that the previous system, while it left me in an unfortunate situation, was part of the prince we pay for a free society, which means a free market. It's an argument that could have been used, and was used, against Medicare. Health care isn't a right, it's a commodity, which means that if it is unaffordable, that may be unfortunate, but it's not an injustice, and that Obama and the Democrats were wrong on principle for trying to fix it. Or, they can admit that Obama and the Democrats were right in attempting to redress that injustice, even if they didn't go about it in the right way. (Republicans, or course, are going to insist that single payer is not the right way either). Which makes it incumbent upon them to show us what the right way is instead of just objecting to what was actually passed. Republicans need to answer the in-principle question clearly, so that we can understand what, in fact, they want to do.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

On Cadillacs and Health Care

I could never get affordable, or even any, health insurance until Obamacare was passed, since I was diagnosed with a chronic illness at the age of 23 and never worked for a big enough employer to get health insurance through them. But some would argue that people not being able to afford a good health insurance policy is like some people not being able to afford the car or house they would like to have. Sure, it would be nice if everyone could have a Cadillac, but in a free market economic system, some can afford it, and some can't. We'd bankrupt our country if we went socialist in such a way that we tried to give everyone who wanted one a Caddy. Besides, who would work hard if Cadillacs were distributed in accordance with need. What goes for Cadillacs, should go for health insurance. It is an individual's responsibility, not government's, to take care of our health. If we go socialist to the extent that will be necessary to make sure everyone has health insurance, we will end up with economic failure like they have in Venezuela. 

This is not an argument I buy, by the way. 

Where were you?

Alan Jackson's famous song is here.  I know where I was. I was in the shower. My wife came in, and I thought she was just trying to tell me to hurry up. Then I learned that the unimaginable had happened.

Saturday, September 08, 2018


 Let me pose the general question of when a candidate's moral problems ought to cause a voter either to vote for someone who is further away from you on the political spectrum that that candidate, or at least withhold support from the candidate closer to you and so, by default, help the candidate further away to get elected. The issue is complicated. It has to do with the extent to which a) the candidate's moral failures, or the discovery thereof, are going to affect the performance of their duties or cause a voter backlash which will benefit your ideological opponents in the long run, and b) whether you think the candidate in the other party isn't just someone who disagrees with you on some things, but in fact embodies an ideology you consider to be simply evil. A liberal, on those grounds, might, knowing what we know, vote for Mitt Romney in an election against John Edwards , because of Edwards' willingness to violate campaign rules to escape the consequences of an illicit affair, if he thinks conservatism to be an ideology with whom he merely disagrees. If he thinks it's the embodiment of evil, he may vote for Edwards anyway, because Romney's conservatism is too evil not to vote against. NeverEdwards is silly in light of that, they might argue.

On Edwards, here.