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Rethinking Universal Healthcare, Part II

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Is the adversarial model, associated with the state of nature and the subsequent transition from asocial to social arrangements, still applicable once we move to consider civil societies? More importantly, perhaps, can we extend the notion of compromise, and that of “taking an insurance policy,” to cover the manner in which most of the human rights have been won? Can we construe other rights and social gains on analogy with how the basic rights, such as the right to life and property, have been secured in the course of the aforementioned transition? Is the model still applicable once we’re past that transition?

The answer to the first question must be an unequivocal yes. Although the state-of-nature construct represents perhaps the direst in asocial arrangements, we also know that the state of conflict never really disappears: the manner of its resolution may become more or less “civil” in the context of civil societies, but the interest in maintaining the status quo by means of the existing power structures and social hierarchy will never wane, of that we can be certain. Indeed, one way of understanding the development of human societies is in terms of a progression from the antagonistic to the more cooperative mode. And the main mechanism of this progression, from societies that are less civil to those that are more so, has been compromise.

The second set of questions requires a more measured response. Here we may start with the Bill of Rights, serving as a prototype if you like. Along with the right to life and property, one could lump all the rights enumerated therein as being fundamental and in that sense, inalienable. There is, besides, a historical reason for doing so, in that all of those rights may be said to define a political community and inaugurate its passage from a pre-social and pre-political stage to a full-fledged polity in every sense of the word. Just as a charter may be said to guarantee certain rights and privileges to all its present and would-be members, be it a group or a social club, in the same manner the Bill of Rights may be said to constitute the foundation of a political community – the United States. Guaranteeing those rights (again, it’s arguable) is tantamount to according them a certain innate, inalienable status – a status which predates the formation of the political community and cannot therefore be construed as though constituting the condition of membership. It’s the other way around, in fact, the Bill of Rights itself being the precondition of the political community, the main reason why the individuals in the state of nature would chose to enter a “social contract” and form a civil society, so they wouldn’t have to fend for themselves and their inalienable rights but be guaranteed adequate protection – by the state.

Oddly enough, the Bill of Rights is conspicuously silent about suffrage or voting rights. Even the Constitution is of little help here. Section 2, Clause 1, for example (Article One), dealing with the House of Representatives and the composition and election of members, simply states that:

the House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

In effect, therefore, the U.S. Constitution does not directly guarantee the right of suffrage to anyone [see Minor v. Happersett (1874), for instance] – the high-sounding phrase, “the People,” being (purposely perhaps) ambiguous and vague. It isn’t in fact until the Reconstruction Era that we finally see a series of constitutional amendments extending voting rights to different groups of citizens. These extensions state that voting rights cannot be denied or abridged based on:

“race, color, or previous condition of servitude” (15th Amendment, 1870);
“on account of sex” (gender) (19th Amendment, 1920);
“by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax” (24th Amendment, 1964);
“who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of age” (26th Amendment, 1971).

Why are voting rights an important example to look at? How do they differ from the rights specified in the original document?

What both situations have in common is the same paradigm – namely, the antagonistic model of a society in the making and the instrument of compromise as the proven method of conflict-resolution. Indeed, the very fact that each of the four amendments (extending the voting rights to approximate the perfect ideal of universal suffrage) came in the aftermath of a bitter struggle is proof positive. [It’s worth noting that the idea of voting as a right was never in question, only its application. What was originally construed by “the People,” to mean perhaps only the propertied class or some such, was extended in time to include more and more “citizens”: former slaves (whether of African or other ethnic origin), women, and so forth, and do away with former restrictions.] Consider the differences, however.

If we construe the rights listed in the original Bill of Rights as a precondition to forming the Union, the history of voting rights suggests they’re a horse of another color.

There is another, though related difference. Whereas the forming of the Union can be viewed as transforming a zero-sum game into a win-win situation [whereby life, property and the existing pre-social arrangements are not only preserved but also guaranteed (see the penultimate paragraph of Part I)], the same cannot be said for universal suffrage which, if anything, tends to undermine the status quo by presenting a challenge.

In the first case, the distinction of note may well be between those rights which we regard as innate or inalienable and those which come with membership – in a group, a social club, or a society at large – which is to say that whereas the first set of rights cannot be said to dissolve with the dissolution of membership and are, in that sense, extraneous to it, voting rights, on the other hand, are an integral part of what it means to be a member, and they’re subject therefore to any number of emendations and changes. In the second? Perhaps it’s only to say that while we’re still operating with an adversarial model (of a civil society), the notion of compromise has yielded to that of . . . concession (or appeasement, if you like).

Civil rights offer another interesting example of member-related rights. Unlike the voting rights, which may be said to constitute the club’s or the society’s charter or its bylaws, they tend to address the code of conduct. They, too, are subject to change, which sets them a category apart from the original, inalienable rights (which are deemed irrevocable). Indeed, the more we move away from the original, inalienable rights, the more it looks as though concession (or forced cooperation) was the main mechanism of conflict-resolution in an adversarial society: a win-win situation becomes a rarity since only some are the winners.

What has this got to do with universal healthcare? It sets the stage for the introduction of yet another concept to our already complex model of a civil society in conflict – that of benefit which accrues to each and every member (and the corresponding concept of social obligation).

In Part III, I shall argue in fact that perhaps the clearest way to think about universal healthcare is not on analogy with rights but with another program already in effect – the Food Stamp Program.

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About Roger Nowosielski

  • jacksmith

    AMERICA’S NATIONAL HEALTHCARE EMERGENCY!

    It’s official. America and the World are now in a GLOBAL PANDEMIC. A World EPIDEMIC with potential catastrophic consequences for ALL of the American people. The first PANDEMIC in 41 years. And WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES will have to face this PANDEMIC with the 37th worst quality of healthcare in the developed World.

    STAND READY AMERICA TO SEIZE CONTROL OF YOUR NATIONAL HEALTHCARE SYSTEM.

    We spend over twice as much of our GDP on healthcare as any other country in the World. And Individual American spend about ten times as much out of pocket on healthcare as any other people in the World. All because of GREED! And the PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare system in America.

    And while all this is going on, some members of congress seem mostly concern about how to protect the corporate PROFITS! of our GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT NATIONAL DISGRACE. A PRIVATE FOR PROFIT DISGRACE that is in fact, totally valueless to the public health. And a detriment to national security, public safety, and the public health.

    Progressive democrats and others should stand firm in their demand for a robust public option for all Americans, with all of the minimum requirements progressive democrats demanded. If congress can not pass a robust public option with at least 51 votes and all robust minimum requirements, congress should immediately move to scrap healthcare reform and demand that President Obama declare a state of NATIONAL HEALTHCARE EMERGENCY! Seizing and replacing all PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance plans with the immediate implementation of National Healthcare for all Americans under the provisions of HR676 (A Single-payer National Healthcare Plan For All).

    Coverage can begin immediately through our current medicare system. With immediate expansion through recruitment of displaced workers from the canceled private sector insurance industry. Funding can also begin immediately by substitution of payroll deductions for private insurance plans with payroll deductions for the national healthcare plan. This is what the vast majority of the American people want. And this is what all objective experts unanimously agree would be the best, and most cost effective for the American people and our economy.

    In Mexico on average people who received medical care for A-H1N1 (Swine Flu) with in 3 days survived. People who did not receive medical care until 7 days or more died. This has been the same results in the US. But 50 million Americans don’t even have any healthcare coverage. And at least 200 million of you with insurance could not get in to see your private insurance plans doctors in 2 or 3 days, even if your life depended on it. WHICH IT DOES!

    Contact congress and your representatives NOW! AND SPREAD THE WORD!

    God Bless You

    Jacksmith – WORKING CLASS

  • Ma rk

    As is usual with Nowosielski articles, I find the tired presumptions concerning human nature and history presented here adequate and necessary only to support and justify the status quo.

    (Rog, can’t your thesis be presented in three sentences rather than three pages — let alone three articles? How about a good graffito to communicate your conclusion?)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Sorry, Mark. I think you’re missing the point. I’m describing a model, not offering any presumption concerning human nature. As to offering conclusions, that would be rather irresponsible, don’t you think? without arguing for them.

    I have a distinct feeling you’re not comfortable with the model, which prompts your criticism.

  • m ark

    You might as well own the model, Rog…perhaps. It is a the base of all of your pieces, thus far.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I do feel you’re taking one heck of a long time to get to the point, Roger, but you do raise a very good question to those who oppose UHC by stating that it is not a right: why do they say this? how do they know?

    Interested to see Part 3, all the same.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, at least I am being consistent.
    Shouldn’t all writing proceed with certain conceptual scheme in mind? Unless of course the scheme is being questioned?
    I am trying to make some relevant distinctions here, Mark, rather than merely spouting out a worn-out ideology. There are times when thinking must proceed incrementally, one step at a time.

    I admit the style is too dense – it should have been the first draft. But the elements are all there (so far).

  • m ar k

    What good are distinctions made within a worn out ideology…it’s like arguing with a doctrinaire Marxist.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    As I just replied to Mark (#5), this was difficult to conceptualize because of the many elements which go into the schema – rights, morality, social benefits and social obligation, not to mention the idea and means of human/societal progress.

    I think it’s possible to argue on behalf of healthcare from another angle – not necessarily that of “human rights” (because to do the latter obliterates certain distinctions). I think the notion of social/ societal obligation is the way to go – especially in the context of what Jordan spoke earlier as a “civilized (and therefore, sufficiently prosperous) society/world.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I don’t consider the concept of “rights” to be anyway near to going extinct. As a matter of fact, one could well argue it’s the dominant concept in modern political theory – in a driver’s seat, if you like.

    Consequently, we’ve got to be clear about “rights,” what kinds are there, and what may be the natural limits of the concept.

    I have no idea what you mean by or refer to when you speak of a “worn out ideology.” If you mean by that anything like the ideals of “liberal democracies,” then I definitely disagree with you. The time hasn’t come yet when we can safely say we’ve seen the best they’ve got to offer and so we should therefore discard them.

    As far as I’m concerned, the ideals of “liberal democracies” still rule the day and will and should constitute the basis of remaking human societies for the better.

  • mar k

    I don’t consider the concept of “rights” to be anyway near to going extinct. As a matter of fact, one could well argue it’s the dominant concept in modern political theory – in a driver’s seat, if you like.

    I understand your point of view as I view the concept of ‘class’ similarly.

    I imagine that the ‘ideals of liberal democracy’ through their present contrary to fact nature indeed will participate in the next ‘evolution’.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, at least we’re clear as to what we really disagree about, and that’s the first step.

    I think the notion of class has been rendered outmoded, especially in the West, by virtue of material progress. To say it differently, because bourgeois values have been bought wholesale. Which isn’t to say that a reversal is not possible, prompted by a severe worldwide crisis, at which time the idea of class may gain in currency. But I don’t foresee that the capitalist societies would allow this to happen.

    Which again, isn’t to say that we shall not undergo a significant social evolution; but as you say, I don’t see how the notion of rights would not figure as a centerpiece.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Roger,

    I think the problem (the worn out ideology) begins with this statement: …the adversarial model, associated with the state of nature…

    It’s a presumptuous model. It makes presumptions about human nature.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Roger, I believe I understand this sentence to imply It’s worth noting that the idea of voting as a right was never in question, only its application. What was originally construed by “the People,” to mean perhaps only the propertied class or some such, was extended in time to include more and more “citizens” Even though this country was founded and framed as a Republic and not a Democracy there was the allowance for change and growth through Amendments and that the United States today is truly for and by all the people,not just white male land-owners…:) Right?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #12

    We’re operating within an adversarial model. Just look around you. It’s not a prediction of what can be – only a description of how we’ve been operating thus far.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    I believe we will have UHC soon

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Jeannie,

    You’re right insofar that in forming of the Union, there had to be a provision as to how we’re going to be electing our representatives. Just like when you join a club, there must be some bylaws concerning the method by which certain officials, like the secretary, the treasure, and so forth, are going to be elected – and part of the process is that the members will vote.

    Same with the USA. So the provision for voting had to be there. Of course, “the People” was rather ambiguous, originally including only the propertied class. But through struggle, the blacks, women and other minorities were included to count as “the People,” given thus the right to vote.

    How did the appointment go, BTW?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Jacksmith has a good plan!Coverage can begin immediately through our current medicare system. With immediate expansion through recruitment of displaced workers from the canceled private sector insurance industry.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Do you have the link? There was rather disappointing news today about Obama caving in. I’ll see if I can dig it up.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    You’re discussing ‘the state of nature’. Capitalism is an adversarial model. What does Capitalism have to do with your ‘state of nature’ argument?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    If I live in a Muslim culture, and I look around and I see Muslims everywhere–does that warrant suggesting that the state of nature is for people to be Muslims?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    But the followinglooks like good news.

    Notice the hypocrisy and how the private insurers are squirming, about to pee in their pants.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Roger, President Obama did not cave in Did you watch his news conference?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “State of nature” was also the most adversarial type of situation – every man for himself. And transitioning to “a civil society” didn’t do away with the adversarial model, only put it somewhat in check, so that you can’t just go and assault your neighbor without incurring (some) consequences. A civil society is “civil” but only compared to state-of-nature – which is the extreme in nastiness. And so it goes for civilization – which is a very thin veneer. When sanctions and social controls cease and are no longer operative, the brute that a human is comes to the forth.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #23,

    Jeannie, I just corrected myself. But earlier on, there was a report to the contrary. I just can’t find it now.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    BTW, Jeannie, I submitted the piece you liked. Hope it will be here soon, just to show I’m capable of a more lyrical style.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    This article reads like a fairytale of presumption. I recommend not reinventing reality. What is the benefit of a model based on false assumptions?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    24

    See, that is a presumption about ‘state of nature’. Where did you get that idea? Can you defend it with factual information? Or is it ‘just a model’, i.e. invented fiction?

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Roger, Have you checked your E-Mail lately? where did you get the link in #22?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It’s not a false assumption to say that people have different and divergent interests and that conflict is part and parcel of human experience. The very fact that every social gain – whether by way of voting rights, civil rights, any kind of right – even the upcoming Healthcare debate – is proof positive to the effect that conflict rather than peace and harmony is the order of the day. It would be a false assumption and an exercise in wishful thinking to imagine otherwise and see the world through rose glasses.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It’s Yahoo News, Jeannie, from Yahoo homepage.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Well Cindy :# and Roger :( I seem to be butting into your conversation here and I don’t think I’m adding very much to it…I need to go change some info now!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Here’s the link I was talking about, in particular, the part when it says (see the end):

    On health care, Obama left open the door to abandoning his demand that people under any revamped system have the option of choosing coverage from a government-funded program.
    “We are still early in this process,” he said. “So, you know, we have not drawn lines in the sand other than reform has to control costs and that it has to provide relief to people who don’t have health insurance or are underinsured.”

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    30

    Please defend your state of nature with some sort of factual evidence. You seem to be both backing up and moving sideways.

    Your claims are very specific (and I may add commonplace). It’s an old argument that seems to be given credibility because it might intuitively seem reasonable.

    It needs to be questioned and challenged. If you can defend it, please provide a proper defense.

    When criticized with claims of being theoretical and non-factual, another theoretical, non-factual rationalization will hardly work. Wouldn’t you agree with that much?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Jeannie,

    You’re not interrupting anything. As far as I know these threads can hold unlimited different conversations at the same time. :-)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    State-of-nature is a construct. In all likelihood, there has never been a situation of total enmity. It’s a construct whose purpose is to account for the socialization process, why people tend to coalesce together and form a community.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It is, BTW, a very commonplace argument. But simply because it’s commonplace is no reason for restating it. Conflict and conflict-resolution are ever present elements in any community. And these basic facts are complicated by a whole array of other concepts such as rights, benefits, obligations, membership, morality, and so forth.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “is no reason for NOT restating it”

  • Arch Conservative

    The NYT times can put out as many bogus polls as they want and ABC can do infomercials for Barry until the cows come home but we’re not going it’s looking like we’re not going to be getting Barrycare anytime soon and if we don’t get it anytime soon we will never get it. Thank god for small miracles.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Roger, Your writing is,shall we say, a little too thick for me. I have been using my dictionary here and wow! It’s very advanced in your thread.
    I’ll just hang out here and read what you and Cindy are talking about…

    A student tonight!

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Oh, look what the cat dragged in.:(

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    35

    It’s a wrong ideological construct. What ‘socialization process’–whatever that means?

    When beginning with an accounting that is wrong, what kind of argument can be made? Just your assertions about socialization processes alone seem biased. I don’t know what you mean by that? Are you suggesting that having the opera and medicine and the X-files on TV is more ‘socialized’ than being an Inuit or an Australian aborigine?

    37

    I did not say merely because it is commonplace is a reason for not restating it. That is the sort of thing you have stated in the past. Remember?

    I’ll reword it. It is an argument that has been taken for granted since it was presented. It needs to be examined and defended on factual grounds.

    To continue to take for granted flawed constructs will not get us anywhere.

    I’m asking for a defense of the construct on a factual, not strictly theoretical, basis. Defend it with history, with anthropology, begin with those closest to living in a state of nature.

    It’s a philosophical construct that is old and tired and has been shown to be flawed by the history and social science that has come after it. Yet, it is used as a model, for what? mythological explanation?

    It is not challenged because it fits nicely with what we are supposed to believe. So, I challenge it as false.

    Can you defend it with anything other than theoretical argument based on your presumptions?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I thorough agree with you about this piece. It took me a week to conceptualize it and it should have been a draft; but I was too tired of it and wanted to see it disappear.

    I should have taken my time and restate the argument in simpler terms.

    All I’m really doing is the lay of the land: we’re living in a society ridden with conflict of interests and desire to hold on to the status quo. And yet, social change is not only possible but a living reality. The UHC that’s on the table now is going to pass, just as the Civil Rights Act had passed and other social gains which benefited all those who were previously disenfranchised.

    So the question is – how come these things happen at all, given that those who hold power and are against any kind of social change are neutralized and have to acquiesce.

    Essentially, that’s what I’m trying to do: provide a general kind of answer to this question – the possibility of social change in an adversarial environment.

  • ma r k

    Rog, you say in #11 I think the notion of class has been rendered outmoded, especially in the West, by virtue of material progress.

    The concept of ‘class’ and the act of classification are fundamental even to your program of ‘drawing important distinctions’, yet you expect me to accept that when it comes to political theory and economics the notion is ‘outmoded’?

    That’s convenient for the owning class.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    we’re living in a society ridden with conflict of interests and desire to hold on to the status quo

    I agree with this.

    For the sake of closure to my objections, I’ll say this: Everything I have studied tells me that the closer one gets to cultures in a ‘state of nature’ the more socialized they are. The more ‘civilized’, the more antisocial.

    Those are my personal conclusions based on information I have looked at so far.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    A construct, by its very definition, doesn’t have to be defended on factual grounds – only in the context of the kind of work it is supposed to do. I has been part of modern political theory, and it’s purpose has been to allow the theorist to define the features of a minimal state. And to the extent that the state-of-nature construct enabled us to thing about the minimal requirements of the minimal state, it was and continues to be a useful one.

    What these requirements are, the fundamental reason(s) why people form a community rather than live in a state of mutual hostility and enmity – I spell out in Part I, as well in a series of past articles on state of nature, the Politics and Ethics series, Part I and II.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “to think about…”

  • mar k

    A construct, by its very definition, doesn’t have to be defended on factual grounds…

    …unless you wish to claim that it explains anything about the world in which we find ourselves.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Mark, #43

    I’m not saying Mark that the notion of class doesn’t have any theoretical value – only that it doesn’t appear to have much cash value in the context of political theory which has the values of “liberal democracies” and the concept of “rights” as their centerpieces.

    If you now want to make a “foundational” move and argue that political theories of that ilk are merely ideologies of the ruling/owning class, you’re free of course to do so. But you do know that that’s not really a counter-argument, and that to defeat the theory of “liberal democracies” you must show it to be inconsistent, incoherent and flawed.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I read your articles. One might say they’re inspirational. Thus, I am challenging what you’re claiming.

    I reassert that false constructions LEAD to false conclusions. Say what you will about ‘not having to be defended’. That is the consensus of the myth-making club, I suppose. It’s nothing more than a sophisticated version of myth creation. (not unlike creation myths)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    State-of nature construct – whether by Hobbes’s, Locke, or Rousseau, take your pick – has done it’s job to enable the theorist to define the minimal state; the fact that you don’t believe in the necessity of the state is no reflection on the usefulness of the construct.

    The ancients did not feel the need to resort to the construct because in their thinking, the state and the political community was a most natural development – not only because of environmental/demographic/economic constraints (such as defending against the enemy, building fortifications, etc) but also arising out of the morality of the individual, resulting thus in formalization of the established rules of conduct and mores via laws to be enforced in the context of the political community.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #44: I don’t understand this:

    “Everything I have studied tells me that the closer one gets to cultures in a ‘state of nature’ the more socialized they are. The more ‘civilized’, the more antisocial.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #49:

    State of nature IS a myth. But the existence of states definitely it’s not. Further, to deny the myth is not to deny the present reality. It would be like saying that because the creation account (as given for example in either Genesis I or Genesis I) is a myth, therefore we don’t exist.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Defining a minimal state? Is that what you are doing in this article?

    That doesn’t seem right to me. It seems to me you are making a justification. You are justifying your argument based on this presumed state of nature construction.

    The state of nature construction seems like a justification for a state. Start with a state then work backwards to justify it. That’s what I see it as.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I am quoting here from page 2, Part I:

    Consider the business of “offering protection,” surely the first if not the foremost concern which would make a person give up some of their “perfect” freedoms and enter a social contract. Prior to these arrangements, it would be up to the individual to protect their life and property. And whilst ‘tis true that any number of individuals so moved would be apt to join forces for the express purpose of protecting their interests – a “mutual protection agency” is the term in use – it’s also true that any such agency and the interests it’d purport to represent could also be challenged. Hence the solution: a “dominant protection agency,” to encompass every member of the society in order to guarantee a nonviolent resolution of all conflicts and offer equal protection to each and everyone alike – in short, a “minimal state” in the jargon of political philosophy (see Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia).

    The proposed solution, the formation of a (minimal) state, is not a result of moral deliberation but is born out of (social) compromise. It’s utterly functional in basis, having nothing to do with what’s right or wrong, only with what’s to everyone’s advantage.”

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    51

    Restated: In reality, cultures without states better serve social needs. Hunter- gatherers are/were better at meeting the needs of the community. States don’t enter the picture because of a social contract. They enter the picture because of some form of domination and protection of assets of those who are dominating.

    P.S. Hobbes and Locke were dead before Darwin was born. Even the apes we descended from had communities. There was never a theoretical human who banded together with others to form a social contract. We were always social.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The notion of “social contract” is also a construct and a myth (that’s why it’s in quotation marks) – a kind of shorthand.

    And yet, even hunters and gatherers form a community – which is based on certain cooperation and to a sense, structure. They hunt and gather together, not in isolation.

    A community is a prototype of a state. It’s a matter of degree and formalization.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m retiring for a stretch. Will respond later.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Yes, hunter-gatherers work/ed together, in community. The state of nature construct presumes everyone against everyone. The social contract is some means of gaining protection from harsh, dangerous conditions.

    It’s backwards. The harsh, dangerous conditions begin with the state, or its equivalent.

    So what do you get by basing arguments on these particular myths? What does it serve? Or whom?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I hope for a response to #43.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    The notion of “social contract” is also a construct and a myth (that’s why it’s in quotation marks) – a kind of shorthand.

    The social contract is just a way of describing something which happens naturally in all societies. Putting a label on it doesn’t create it, it just pins it down for easy reference. And it does exist and is certainly not a myth.

    As for rights, no matter what you may try to argue there are still just the three fundamental rights. Others derive from them and are less absolute. The “right” to healthcare derives from the right to life. But your life cannot be preserved at the cost of the fundamental rights of others. So if keeping you alive requires depriving others of their life or their liberty or their property, then there is a problem and the right to “healthcare” is not really an absolute because it has serious limits.

    Certainly everyone has a right to equal access to healthcare if they can pay for it. But do they have the right to force someone else to pay for their healthcare? A lot of people think maybe not.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “And it does exist and is certainly not a myth.”

    A myth, Dave, in the context of the “fictional” passage from state-of-nature to a political community. Not a myth if we want to talk about the forming of the Union, with the U.S Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

    And BTW, I haven’t argued (yet) that UHC is the kind of right like say, right to life or property. I believe there is a way of arguing on behalf of UHC without invoking that “rights” business. And I intend to do in part III.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Dave,

    And it does exist and is certainly not a myth.

    Please show me my social contract, I’d like to see where I signed it. Dan(Miller) seems to have misplaced it.

    If you cannot show it to me, I will reassert that it is a myth.

    Where do you get the three rights from? And what are the other two?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #43 has already been dealt with in #48, to which I now have the following to add:

    the theory of “liberal democracies” with the notion(s) of freedom and rights as their key, centerpiece concepts are, almost by definition, antithetical if not foreclosing with respect to the “class” concept – if for no other reason that the idea of human rights of a certain kind, specifically rights which are central to the notion of persons, trump and transcend all class and class distinctions.

    Vice versa, perhaps, a political theory that would feature the notion of class as its central concept would in a very important sense trample on or severely limit the notion of rights that are proprietary to the concept of persons.

    Which is to say, these two kinds of theories are essentially incompatible. It would be interesting, however, to see the extent to which they can be integrated, if possible.

    Interesting question in its own right. So here is an assignment for you Mark; and for me, too.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Not a myth if we want to talk about the forming of the Union, with the U.S Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

    Yes a myth even then. I may be mistaken. But do you think it’s right for a few rich guys to decide how the whole country will work?

    Is that a ‘social contract’? A bunch of thieves making a constitution and devising a state to protect their assets?

    Your argument just fell apart. Both of you.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, your fathers and forefathers have signed it on your behalf, in absentia.

    You can renege by stepping outside the society and become “an outlaw.”

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Well, your fathers and forefathers have signed it on your behalf, in absentia.

    Really? Sounds awfully fishy to me that you people are trying to proclaim that humankind makes a social contract based on a few rich people taking over and making a state. (Which is what I have been saying happens.) And that somehow before I was even born I agreed to this social contract.

    You can renege by stepping outside the society and become “an outlaw.”

    That a state is a bully and oppressor has nothing to say about its legitimacy.

    I suggest reading Lysander Spooner’s No Treason.

    He had some different views of social contracts and rule of law (being a brilliant lawyer himself)

    Indeed I

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    The last unfinished line is erratum.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Forget me. How about back then when this contract was made? How about all the people that were in what is the U.S. then, did they all sign this social contract even then? Did the all the people have a say and agree to this? Even then?

  • Bliffle

    Perhaps I missed Daves rationale for this, so I don’t get it:

    The “right” to healthcare derives from the right to life. But your life cannot be preserved at the cost of the fundamental rights of others. So if keeping you alive requires depriving others of their life or their liberty or their property, then there is a problem…

    Why is one persons ‘right’ to healthcare subordinate to another persons right to property? How did we go about ranking ‘rights’? Who decided, and when and where?

    Is the ‘right’ of my squalling infant inferior to my right to spend my property as I please? Shall I dash it against the rocks to stop it’s demands on my purse and assert my superior property right?

    As for the ‘social contract’, perhaps it is not true that any social contract we might devise is superior to the social contract of peoples we might call ‘primitive’.

    This pleasant Alpine Valley that I am staying in for the summer was inhabited by Yako indians for 6000 years. No wars. No interneccine battles. No murders. Hunter-gatherers, they lived off the land, mostly from the abundant Oak tree acorns. They had about a one hour workday. 3000 years ago they had a life expectancy of 45 years while the inhabitants of the Fertile Crescent on the mediteranean and the egyptians had a life expectancy of 24 years. They had no notion of property and practiced birth control so that there were never more than about 60 people in the valley.

    But the ‘civilized’ peoples of the Fertile Crescent, crowded in upon each other by their damned agricultural and personal fertility had to devise property rights and the slavery that goes along with it to survive the incredible overpopulation they unleashed.

    And then…later.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Oh right life, liberty, property. The three universal rights of the universe.

    Dave,

    I was born on this planet. That means that I should get to use it. That’s just natural. If you own it how can I use it?

    You have no right to own land. It deprives all people without wealth and future people without wealth from rightfully using the planet they were born on.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “That a state is a bully and oppressor has nothing to say about its legitimacy.”

    Legitimacy or not, you’re taking all the advantages of being a member. Where you live, the utilities provided, the employees you hire, the fire and police protection you may call upon, garbage disposal – all these are the amenities that the illegitimate society provides for you, the elements of so-called social contract you’re a signatory to, whether you have signed it in person or not.

    There is a way out of course. To check out.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    By that logic prisoners are taking advantage of their living accommodations, meals, you get the picture.

    So, I guess they had a different clause in their ‘social contract’.

    Apparently one that might say they cannot make barrel monsters without taking advantage of the prison social contract.

    This social contract is starting to sound like something a used car dealer drafted.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You’re not a prisoner. Checking out of society is an option that it open to you. And if you’re really convicted, you ought to disavow yourself of all the amenities that are available and you make use of. It’s not like the Eagles’ song – you are free to leave.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    In addition, your continuous presence in the US and your availing yourself of the society’s amenities only adds to its legitimacy. Not to see that is either to live a lie or to persist in a state of denial.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Cindy, property is not necessarily land. Property is more correctly defined as those things acquired as fruits of one’s labor. The argument would be that if you work and establish a value for that work you have the right to keep whatever that earns you. In our society that includes land, which can be bought and sold like any other commodity and to which you have as much right as any other person.

    And whether you like it or not, or choose to opt out or not, you ARE subject to the social contract so long as you willingly accept the benefits of the society in which you take part. I support the idea of allowing you to declare yourself to be outside of the social contract, to set aside your rights, declare open-season on hunting Cindy for sport or enslaving her and all that comes with giving up the social contract, but I bet that when push comes to shove you really aren’t willing to go that far despite your lip-service to the most hypocritical of all political philosophies.

    And it’s not a matter of your ancestors signing on to the social contract. You sign on to it too when you accept the idea that people should not be allowed to kill one another or take the fruits of each others labor or enslave each other. You do believe in those things, right? Well, that’s the social contract at its most basic level.

    Dave

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    This argument starts with the idea that the social contract is some voluntary agreement for the sake of protection.

    When challenged it comes to look like what it actually is. Something that very much resembles the powerful creating a state and gaining cooperation by coercion. Which is what I said. And which it now looks like you are admitting. (Defining it otherwise, but really, look at what your argument is saying.)

    As my prison example demonstrates, I am no signatory to any such contract. That a prisoner eats the food s/he’s fed and sleeps in a bunk doesn’t imply agreement with being imprisoned.

    Before you get to the part about the elements of the contract and law, don’t you think that you have to ask me if I even recognize this law, these elements or this contract as valid?

    Do you know what a contract of adhesion is? Well, based on your argument you don’t even have evidence of that much.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    There are only two options open to anyone who wants to renege: to check out or to set out on a warpath with the society.

    The prisoner analogy does not apply – not as long as “the prisoner” takes advantage of what society has got to offer. True, a guerrilla fighter does make use of the resources available, but he/she is in a state of war with the society/government.

    Becoming a terrorist would be the most natural course of action left open to those who are at war with society and deny it’s legitimacy. Anything short of that is living a lie.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Dave,

    You sign on to it too when you accept the idea that people should not be allowed to kill one another or take the fruits of each others labor or enslave each other. You do believe in those things, right? Well, that’s the social contract at its most basic level.

    That’s not even reasonable. Believing in those things would be the very reason I would not willingly enter into a social contract with the state. This country does kill people. It endorses and advocates taking the fruits of others’ labor, it enslaves people through the wage system and worse it relegates some to conditions where they may as well be completely enslaved.

    It is inhuman at its core. It teaches inhuman values as a rule. You may not think this based on how many people watch It’s a Wonderful Life at Christmas. But to discover this one need only look at how the average elderly person in a nursing home is treated, or how an elderly, sick person in a hospital is treated.

    I am forced into acquiescence not for my own good but despite that harm done. It is coercion by the more powerful.

    Your wilderness where people will hunt me doesn’t exist. Why is the presumption that I would be all alone? (answer: because your whole ‘state of nature’ argument relies on this and it relies on an everyone against everyone scenario) I don’t need this state for protection Dave.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I wonder what would happen if in the middle of the night a bunch of burglars would try to break in. It would really make a heck of a story of the residents refused to call 911 on general principles and just open the doors and welcome the robbers.

    Sounds like a tale from Les Miz when Jean Valjean robbed the good bishop blind. But wait, the bishop invited Jean Valjean to supp with him. And later on, gave him a set of silver candlesticks in order to purchase his soul.

    Shuck, I thought the parable might work, but the analogy broke down.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    77

    Again Roger, you are digging a deeper hole.

    Can you see that if you tell me this:

    I am so ‘free’ in my liberal state, that I will have to become a terrorist or guerrilla fighter not to agree to this social contract.

    That I am clearly NOT agreeing to any social contract at all. I am being held hostage by a coercive state.

    Therefore the argument that people willingly enter into this social contract to form a state for protection is bogus.

    I’m not sure how you see the prisoner analogy as not applicable. Can you explain that?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    That’s not even reasonable. Believing in those things would be the very reason I would not willingly enter into a social contract with the state.

    You seem to be deliberately trying to misrepresent the social contract to try to weasel out of it. Who said anything about a contract with the state? That’s not what the social contract is. The social contract is formed by the consensus of the people. It may play a role in the creation of a state, but it is far more fundamental and has nothing to do with an agreement between people and some arbitrary state.

    This country does kill people. It endorses and advocates taking the fruits of others’ labor, it enslaves people through the wage system and worse it relegates some to conditions where they may as well be completely enslaved.

    So you would argue that the state is in violation of the social contract. I would not disagree.

    It is inhuman at its core. It teaches inhuman values as a rule.

    Why would anyone want to learn values from the state? The state is without morality, or should be. It should function only to fulfill those requirements given to it by the people.

    You may not think this based on how many people watch It’s a Wonderful Life at Christmas.

    The state doesn’t watch Capra films.

    But to discover this one need only look at how the average elderly person in a nursing home is treated, or how an elderly, sick person in a hospital is treated.

    Man’s inhumanity to man. Responsibility in these cases rests with those who are caretakers for the elderly, chiefly their children. Perhaps they should be held accountable.

    I am forced into acquiescence not for my own good but despite that harm done. It is coercion by the more powerful.

    Perhaps, sometimes. But that has nothing to do with the social contract.

    Your wilderness where people will hunt me doesn’t exist. Why is the presumption that I would be all alone? (answer: because your whole ‘state of nature’ argument relies on this and it relies on an everyone against everyone scenario) I don’t need this state for protection Dave.

    You might not be the only one choosing to be outside society, but even if many joined you, you’d still all be alone. And again, this has nothing to do with the state. The state is an artificial construct designed to enforce the social contract and inherently flawed and likely to become too powerful and out of control, especially over time.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It’s hypocritical to be taking advantage of all that society has got to offer and complain you’re not free. Your true freedom consists in disavowing yourself of all those goodies if you really believe everything that underlies it and the social arrangements which make it possible are illegitimate. Not to act in accord with those principles is to fall way short on the scale of personal integrity. And for words to mean something, they must be followed (in principle at least) by actions. People have died for their beliefs; and then we know for sure they were true to themselves. But when words are not followed by actions and excuses are piled on top of excuses, they’re empty. That’s why talk is cheap.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Dave,

    You seem to be deliberately trying to misrepresent the social contract to try to weasel out of it.

    Right Dave, it’s because I want to kill and enslave people, so I’m trying to weasel out of your social contract. It’s probably because I’m a communist. Dave, don’t be absurd! lol

    (I have to go to bed now I’ll answer that one tomorrow.)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Roger,

    I will begin working on living in the air tomorrow. I don’t seem to have any ground available where my living outside your state will be tolerated.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Oh holy fuck! I just remembered , I can’t live in the air! You know it interferes with views and planes and everything! There are laws about the air.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    For Cindy:

    “The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If `Thou shalt not covet’ and `Thou shalt not steal’ were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society before it can be civilized or made free.” — John Adams

    Adams would argue that your opposition to property rights is an opposition to freedom — that by advocating anarchism you advocate a form of tyranny of the mob. And he’d be right.

    Dave

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Dave,

    Capitalism is tyranny. Government is tyranny. Your ‘social contract’ is nothing but a rich, white boy justification for the state of affairs designed to make sure those with wealth can remain tyrants over those without.

    Owning the world, you deny its use to everyone who cannot ‘afford to own’ it.

    What does ‘afford to own’ it mean?

    It’s a rule made by tyrants to convince themselves and their brainwashed automaton, robot, fucking zombies that some people don’t automatically deserve to have access to the earth.

    If I came to this planet as a baby in a poor family. I deserve to use this planet as much as the tyrants who have taken it over.

    FUCK JOHN ADAMS! HE CAN KISS MY ASS! ;-)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Dave,

    Just noticed an error, page 1, last paragraph:

    “Guaranteeing those rights (again, it’s arguable) is tantamount to according them a certain innate, inalienable status – a status which predates the formation of the political community and cannot therefore be construed [as though constituting the condition of membership.] It’s the other way around, in fact, the Bill of Rights itself being the precondition of the political community, the main reason why the individuals in the state of nature would chose to enter a “social contract” and form a civil society, so they wouldn’t have to fend for themselves and their inalienable rights but be guaranteed adequate protection – by the state.”

    I’m referring to the part I just bracketed. I believe it should read: “as though resulting from membership”

    If it’s not too late to make this correction, I’d appreciate it.

    Roger

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    To Dave and Roger,

    Proudhon contrasted the supposed right of property with the rights (which he considered valid) of liberty, equality, and security, saying: “The liberty and security of the rich do not suffer from the liberty and security of the poor; far from that, they mutually strengthen and sustain each other. The rich man’s right of property, on the contrary, has to be continually defended against the poor man’s desire for property.” He further argued that the right of property contradicted these other rights: “Then if we are associated for the sake of liberty, equality, and security, we are not associated for the sake of property; then if property is a natural right, this natural right is not social, but anti-social. Property and society are utterly irreconcilable institutions.” (What is Property?)

    “property is theft”
    “property is freedom”
    “property is despotism”
    “property is impossible”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    If property is not important, why should the poor man desire it? Simply because he doesn’t have it and others do? That’s not good enough reason for wanting something – like you have a toy and I don’t. If property is “antisocial” it’s because people are envious and desirous of what they don’t have.

    I’m aware of course of the standard response: abolish private property and thus change human nature by eliminating the temptation. Only then we’ll live in perfect peace and harmony.

    Good luck!

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    82

    It’s hypocritical to be taking advantage of all that society has got to offer and complain you’re not free. Your true freedom consists in disavowing yourself of all those goodies if you really believe everything that underlies it and the social arrangements which make it possible are illegitimate.

    How condescending of you to presume that your version of reality is the only one or the right one. This society has robbed me and people I care about of much more than it has given.

    How dare you decide what I (or anyone else) should want and what’s good. To even say this to me especially, after you have read what I think about the whole system–education, poverty, consumerism, predatory Capitalism. It’s like you read what I say and dismiss it. It just doesn’t count. That is what indoctrinated people do. They don’t understand it–so they don’t hear it or see it.

    And what it has done to me isn’t a drop compared what it has done to others.

    So Roger, how do I manage to live a life that is conducive to what I deserve as a human being–outside this society?

    Also, you never did say how my prison analogy doesn’t work. (Of course you don’t have to. But I wanted to remind you in case it was an oversight.)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    90

    Roger,

    How are you misconstruing what I say? Who said property is not important?

    (Sometimes the arguments you attribute to me seem actually to come from some assumption inside your head.)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The response is to Proudhon’s argument to the effect that property should be eliminated.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #91

    I do not subscribe to the view that I am in chains. Consequently, I don’t suffer from a kind of existential problem which would put my convictions and beliefs to a test.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I’m aware of course of the standard response: abolish private property and thus change human nature by eliminating the temptation. Only then we’ll live in perfect peace and harmony.

    You’re not thinking. You are so very indoctrinated and unexamined that you can see outside your own bias, not even temporarily. You so take for granted your version of reality you can’t even fathom the very simple ideas I’m trying to get across. You are like a vessel into which your culture has poured its version of reality. You muck around in those ideas…but you never actually question them.

    I thought you were advanced in your thought. I thought you like to think of yourself as someone who is self-examined and has risen above and overcome what others have not. Why then can’t you grasp a simple idea when it challenges your precepts? Not even for the sake of argument do you even try to get it.

    So, which is it? Are you purposely misconstruing? Or just blind?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    You’re wrong. That’s no argument to what Proudhon said.

    Property is not important? You’re kidding me right?

    How is ‘property = freedom’ if property is not important?

    I do not subscribe to the view that I am in chains. Consequently, I don’t suffer from a kind of existential problem which would put my convictions and beliefs to a test.

    You don’t subscribe to a view and therefore no one else is right to? My analogy is wrong because you personally don’t feel harmed or imprisoned?

    Okay then try this: Let’s say it’s not an analogy. (It really didn’t start as one if you look back. It’s just you have no ability to empathize with prisoners–you’re indoctrinated to dismiss them.)

    I am talking about actual prisoners. Actual prisoners take their room and board from society. Because they ‘enjoy’ these fruits of society…have they agreed to your social contract?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    (I’d better go do some work. I hope your ego can take my directness. I trust you are strong enough.)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I don’t see there’s anything to be gained from pursuing this discussion. Try somebody else.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I don’t see there’s anything to be gained from pursuing this discussion.

    We finally agree on something.

    Try somebody else.

    Yeah, best to stick to those who are less ideologically rigid.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The prison analogy doesn’t hold, because if everyone is a prisoner, then no one is. For any term to have a meaning, there’s got to be a viable contrast as regards its absence or negation. So in order to make the notion of everyone’s enslavement by a society intelligible, one has got to be able to present a viable model whereby individuals at large (and not just some isolated pockets of individuals) can co-exist and function without there being any social structure, hierarchy and social arrangements. In short, one has to provide a viable model of an anarchistic society and eventually, an anarchistic world that would be able to sustain itself thus in the long run.

    And no, I don’t care to consider the subject any longer.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    And no, I don’t care to consider your arguments any longer–not that I ever actually did. I just want to keep posting my own. -Roger

    There, fixed up your post for you. Is there someone holding your arm behind your back?

    The prison analogy doesn’t hold, because if everyone is a prisoner, then no one is.

    It is not important to my ‘analogy’ whether one considers everyone or just some people prisoners. So, this is not a valid argument against it.

    Second, setting the analogy aside. What about ‘real’ prisoners?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Sorry, not interested.

  • Baronius

    OK, you two, get separate rooms.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m done with rooms, Baronius.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    lol, Bar

  • Clavos

    How dare you decide what I (or anyone else) should want and what’s good.

    But, Cindy, isn’t that what you do, when you preach to all of us about why we should strive to have an completely egalitarian society?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Not that I see. Unless what you want is something that deprives other people of their rights, you should do what you want.

    No one is entitled to have whatever they want at the expense of the rest of the community.

    If what you want is to sit down to dinner and eat all the food, leaving some hungry, then right, you can’t do that. Oh well. Poor you.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “Unless what you want is something that deprives other people of their rights, you should do what you want.”

    But that’s what freedom and tolerance is about – not to have your rights abridged just because some are better off than others.

    To speak of what’s “at the expense of community” is another consideration entirely, and it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with rights. Some of these may be valid considerations, but they needn’t always address the matter of human rights – perhaps a matter of what’s desirable. Do you comprehend the difference?

    Right there, is a perfect example why conversations with Mark are possible. He wouldn’t be dumb enough to make such categorical mistakes, and he doesn’t. Again, your allowing your idee fixe stand in the way of common sense. A very unrefined mind for all the seeming sophistication – ugly in fact, and I’m speaking in an aesthetic sense. Which is why I don’t really want to engage – I’m repelled by ugliness.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    As all sides of the health care issue continue to contribute to global warming with their hot air — a problem remains. What the hell are we going to do about health care?

    A good place to start would be a complete overhaul of the tort system. Frivolous lawsuits coupled with crippling malpractice insurance rates are a significant part of the problem that rarely gets discussed.

    For those that doubt the ability of the government in administering such a program, take a look at the US Postal Service. To me that agency is quite efficient. Perhaps a former Postmaster General would make a great overseer of the new health care system.

    Insofar as insurance companies playing with our collective minds in this battle, a little warning. Be careful how you predict days of gloom and doom. Stop with the threats. People, do yourselves a favor. Go to the Federal Elections Commission. See where the money is coming in for your respective Congressperson. Then call their district office and ask WHY. Take the pressure off Barack Obama and place it squarely upon the person directly responsible — YOUR member of Congress.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Your conversations are possible, because he’s mild and not blunt. So you can just go on talking to yourself. It’s why you don’t even know what he thinks after 6 months. One pretty much has to club you over the head with one’s opinions to even have the chance they might make it through to your awareness.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    His lack of bluntness reflects reflection, reason and thought. Yes, these are important qualities of temperament which, again, reflect a quality of mind.

    True, I’m not as patient as Mark. But our conversation is possible because we engage in reasonableness. He’s a thoughtful person. You’re nothing of the kind. And leaving your clubbing at home. I’ve told you time and again, I’m not interested.

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    Cindy, I think you have clubbed the head of Roger’s difficulty at receiving – as opposed to his high volume transmitting – quite sufficiently…

  • Clavos

    A good place to start would be a complete overhaul of the tort system.

    Quoted for Truth!

    Limiting awards to medical costs and loss of income (no “pain and suffering” awards) would by itself fix most of the financial problems of the current system by obviating the need for physicians to order excessive and unnecessary tests just to cover their asses as a defense against future litigation. There would also be the added benefit of lowering physicians’ malpractice premiums.

    Almost impossible to accomplish, though, because it would severely limit the personal injury attorneys’ source of revenue, and their various lobbying groups are amongst the strongest in DC, not to mention the fact that an overwhelming number of the Congressclowns are attorneys.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    If you have something to add, Chris, it would help if you were to restrict your comments to substantive issues and abstain from “meta” comments – which is to say, comments about comments. Isn’t it the advice you’ve given me a while back? Well, apply it to your own person as well.

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    Roger, you appear to have forgotten that I am the Comments Editor, which means it is my role to manage the comments space, meta or not.

    It isn’t your role to suggest to anybody how they should participate here, so please don’t.

    You and the site would be best served in practising the art of understanding other people, rather than your current profound over-indulgence…

  • Clavos

    For those that doubt the ability of the government in administering such a program, take a look at the US Postal Service. To me that agency is quite efficient.

    You’ve got to be kidding, Silas!

    The USPS posted a loss of more than $1 billion last year, and is expected to post another loss in the $2 billion range this year. And all this is in the face of steadily rising prices despite steadily diminishing service, including a request to reduce delivery service by another day currently in the works.

    If the law against private carriers carrying First Class mail were rescinded tomorrow, FedEx and UPS would run the USPS out of business in less than a year.

    The USPS is a classic case of an organization hamstrung by the excessive power of its unions, very similar to the auto companies and the UAW. It’s an inefficient, high cost organization that is heavily overstaffed and it’s been on a downward slide for decades.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    No suggestion of the kind was made. The remark was directed at you, and not at the fact of your participating but the manner in which you did.

    There was no violation on either side as regards “personal attack,” your proper area of jurisdiction. So aside from that, being a Comments Editor does not give you any special rights that any us don’t have either.

    In short, if you’re feel that you’re free to pontificate as to who is right and who is wrong like a god from the Olympian heights, and that is without going into the nitty-gritty and getting down and dirty, so can I. And by that very token, I will abstain from “meta comments” provided you will too.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    A good place to start would be a complete overhaul of the tort system.

    Frivolous lawsuits coupled with crippling malpractice insurance rates are a significant part of the problem that rarely gets discussed.

    When I actually looked into this, I found it to be a presumption. There is a very modest average payout when a case can even be made. Even the insurance companies were saying law cases were not the problem and reducing payout would not result in lowered malpractice insurance rates.

    My sister had two such law cases just last year. One she was run over in a parking lot by an elderly driver. Two, a medical assistance put phenol in her nose (instead of whatever should have been used) and caused trauma including burns, scarring and permanent mild disfigurement.

    I fumed in the attorney’s office at how very little she was entitled to for permanent metal plates in her leg, permanent difficulty with walking, and likely a reduction to her time on this earth due to diminished ability to exercise.

    Also, after she was run over, she had to submit to testing for bone density to see how much of the fault for the major breakage was to be attributed to her own bones.

    I recommend asking an attorney how easy it is to get money in such suits. (well not for them they always get theirs–but, for their clients)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    118

    Oh, I might point out, in both cases she was the clear and evident winner.

    She had a case years past where she had debilitating soft tissue injury, for which she was frightened into taking a pittance and ended up paying her own doctors fees.

    A friend fell through the stairs at a home that was for sale. He spent over a year with neck traction devices etc. Soft tissue injury, again he got almost nothing.

  • Bliffle

    Silas says:

    “A good place to start would be a complete overhaul of the tort system. Frivolous lawsuits coupled with crippling malpractice insurance rates are a significant part of the problem that rarely gets discussed.”

    But I’m not aware that torts and frivolous lawsuits are a problem. What are the numbers? If you make the assertion you make, then surely you have the numbers at your fingertips, so please enlighten us. Otherwise it’s just a bogeyman.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    billfe,

    even without statistical support, we do know that “ambulance chasing” contribute to the cost of providing healthcare because of the skyrocketting cost of insurance that MDs are required to pay, unless you want to regard it as old wife’s tale.

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    Roger, I have never met anybody that is both as comprehension challenged and verbose as you.

    I am not here to deal with personal attacks, I am here to manage the comments space.

    You know nothing about my role and responsibility with regard to it except the meagre crumbs of miscomprehension (your true forte) you have invented in between your own copious commenting.

    I am indeed allowed to “pontificate” and you most assuredly are not, nor am I making a deal with you as to what we can and can’t do.

    Basically, for better or worse that means I am calling the shots and you will just focus on trying to understand what is addressed to you and responding to that. Or, you know, shutting up for a while…

  • Bliffle

    The problem with malpractice suits is that the AMA REFUSES to throw out bad doctors that make bad decisions and get justifiably sued. 6% of physicians cause 60% of malpractice suits. But the failures still have a friend in the AMA.

    The rant against ‘trial lawyers’ is just apochryphal propaganda that is gleefully repeated by idiots who have put their mouths on autopilot after reading some inflammatory tract in the wingnut press or after listening to some uninformed fool on the TV.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    A surgeon who operated on me about eleven years ago for cancer became a lawyer and ceased practicing medicine; he was already studying law when he operated on me, so I don’t think that dealing with me had anything to do with his decision to get out of medicine.

    He now specializes in medical malpractice. When I was writing a piece on health care about a year ago, I asked him about medical malpractice. He told me that he does not take cases where the legal fees are likely to be less than $100,000 and that there is no point in taking cases in low recovery jurisdictions such as the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Juries there just don’t give away money. Some jurisdictions are much more lucrative than others.

    He also pointed out that the actual medical malpractice awards tend to be less costly than the administrative and legal costs of dealing with them — lawyers, experts, etc., and that that’s probably one of the reasons why insurance companies are anxious to settle for reasonable amounts.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That’s utter BS, Christopher. As long as I’m not violating the BC comments policy, I am within bounds. Of course, you’re free to say what you will, but so am I.

    And therefore, in any other regard that you may or may not choose to speak, it will mean nothing other to me than your personal opinion. You may call it “calling the shots” if it pleases you, so keep on calling it whatever you will. It makes no difference to me.

    This is a public forum and everyone has a voice. Yours and mine are just some among the many. So be my guest and pontificate all you want. So will I.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Christopher, re Comment # 122: I beg to differ. I always find Roger’s psychological analysis helpful and, best of all, it is free. In these days of expensive medical care, it is comforting to know that such help is just a comment away.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It is free, Dan. You’ve got that right.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Sorry, folks, I stand by my statement. Too many ambulance chasing attorneys are spending millions in advertising dollars. Where the heck do you think the money comes from? All it takes is a couple of whopping payouts and an attorney is set for life. There MUST be caps on how much an attorney may profit from his/her client’s misery. And the legal lobby has to be stripped of its’ financial control over members of Congress.

    Insofar as insurance costs for malpractice, I have personally seen two of my physicians in the last ten years leave medicine directly because of malpractice insurance premiums. Guess what one of them went on to do? Yep, you guessed it, she became an attorney. I don’t give a damn what the press and the industry is telling us. Sit down and talk to a physician. And be sure to talk to a practitioner who is in it for the medicine and not the cash. It’s an eye opening experience.

    Any reform, be it health care, energy or political cannot be achieved until we cripple the lobbyist and his/her ability to wine, dine and sixty-nine members of Congress. Folks, we allowed this corrupt system to spin out of control. It’s up to each of us to facilitate real change. Again, Barack Obama will fail unless the people of this country send a clear, concise message to our representatives. Business as usual will no longer be tolerated.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    By the way, I’m only repaying you in kind, Dan, because your legal analysis is also free of charge.

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    Roger, I am not going to be sucked into yet another of the prolonged and utterly pointless exchanges that you like to clutter up the site with, nor is there going to be a prolonged debate about the comments policy. Any further comments along those lines are going to be deleted, end of story.

    Dan, one of the first requirements of psychology is to listen, something Roger is poor at. He is more like an over-stimulated amateur that thinks he knows best but is actually doing more harm than good. Personally I partially blame his enthusiasm for that most unscientific of sciences, namely philosophy.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Study Casts Doubt on Claims That the Medical Malpractice System Is Plagued By Frivolous Lawsuits

    I realize that it is much more likely that one will learn the truth about anything by simply pondering quietly, without outside interference by distracting like evidence.

    But there you have it. It must be true, I mean it’s Harvard. We all know how impressive Harvard is. Right?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I need a personal editor… sardonic comments don’t have the desired result when they are full of typos.

    …distracting [things] like evidence…

  • Irene Wagner

    Christopher Rose is wrong about philosophy and science.

    Carl Friedrich Gauss, known as the “prince of mathematicians”, named mathematics as “the Queen of the Sciences.” The list of mathematicians who were also philosphers includes Gauss himself, Pythagoras, Bertrand Russell, Descartes, Pascal, Newton…

    IMAGINATIVE speculation (from Gk. theorein “to consider, speculate, look at,”) about abstractions, and what could be, and might be is the basis of both mathematics and philosophy.

    I’m not sure about the current state of philosophy–the current practitioners seem to work within a fairly closed loop whose members alone understand the jargon–but many mathematicians had a philosophical sense of wonder about their work and about the universe in general. Some who study Euler still retain that.

  • Irene Wagner

    I’m trying to think what mathematics has to do with health care.

    We’d all better hope the actuaries agree with your philosophy of health care. Otherwise, we’re all going to be snookered, just as many trusted their fortunes to financial experts who babbled on about “derivatives….”

  • Clavos

    It is free, Dan. You’ve got that right.

    A reflection of its worth.

    The efficiency of market pricing at work…

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I doesn’t take a market to determine the value of brain surgery as performed by Bozo the Clown.

    (Remember Bozo the Clown? I really liked him. I tend toward a fascination with bozos and clowns.)

  • Clavos

    @ #128:

    Again, Silas, I couldn’t agree with you more. I have two physicians in the family (one is my wife’s brother, the other my sister’s husband’s sister), so I know for a fact (not speculation) what they both pay in malpractice insurance.

    One of the medical specialties with the highest malpractice rates is obstetrics. As a result, obstetricians are literally streaming away from the specialty — to the point that many areas have either a serious shortage of obstetricians (like Miami — I read somewhere there are now only 50 for a city of 3.5 million population), or in the worst case, none at all, forcing patients to drive long distances for obstetric care.

    As to how low the awards supposedly are: as Dan pointed out, they vary widely by region. A neurosurgeon who once operated on my wife just lost a $38 Million judgment on a suit brought by a woman whose spinal cord was damaged during an operation, resulting in her becoming a paraplegic. Ironically, the patient is the daughter of a physician.

    $38 million is one hell of an award.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    If Ronald McDonald can become a meteorologist then why can’t Bozo be a brain surgeon?

    Dave

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    Irene, I must disagree. Just because some mathematicians a bazillion years ago also got into philosophy, doesn’t mean philosophy itself is scientific.

    Maths is a pure and beautiful language based on real things; philosophy is just a series of empty speculations, rather like most religions, which is possibly part of your motivation to defend it…

  • Bliffle

    Irene asks:

    “I’m trying to think what mathematics has to do with health care. ”

    The entire discussion of healthcare on BC is about COSTS, lawsuit settlement AMOUNTS, etc. And justifiably so, since none of us appears to have a valid idea of how to do brain surgery, or even to remove a wart.

    It’s all about MONEY! And money is measured in dollars, numbers, percentages, etc.

    Therefore, the BC healthcare discuaaion is all about MATHEMATICS.

  • Bliffle

    Roger makes one of the dumbest statements I’ve ever heard a philosopher make:

    #121 – roger nowosielski

    even without statistical support, we do know that “ambulance chasing” contribute to the cost of providing healthcare because of the skyrocketting cost of insurance that MDs are required to pay, unless you want to regard it as old wife’s tale.

    Oy!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    What’s the matter, bliffle? [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor] You really don’t know about malpractice insurance? Or perhaps you’re not aware that there is a relationship between the cost of obtaining it and how those costs tend to be passed on to the consumer?

    It’d seem to me that you’re the one who is being naive. [Edited]

    Try again.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Maths is a pure and beautiful language based on real things; philosophy is just a series of empty speculations

    Chris, I agree with your general position vis à vis your debate with Irene, but not entirely with these two clauses. Mathematics is emphatically NOT based on real things. It is entirely abstract, even though it does (most of the time, though by no means always) have applications in the real world.

    Philosophy is a lot more than speculation: in fact some of the best work in that field is in logic. Where most philosophers fall down is in the assumptions they make along the way, some of which must necessarily be wrong but which, unlike in maths, can’t be disproved.

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    Rob, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so utterly wrong. Maths is the language that defines and explains everything, so is entirely unabstract.

    If Philosophy is built on false assumptions, it doesn’t matter how logically it builds from there, it is pure nonsense based on nothing.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    This discussion led me to an interesting book on the subject.

    The Rise of Scientific Philosophy By Hans Reichenbach

    “This book represents a new approach to philosophy. It treats philosophy as not a collection of systems, but as a study of problems. It recognizes in traditional philosophical systems the historical function of having asked questions rather than having given solutions. Professor Reichenbach traces the failures of the systems to psychological causes.

    Speculative philosophers offered answers at a time when science had not yet provided the means to give true answers. Their search for certainty and for moral directives led them to accept pseudo-solutions. Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, Kant, and many others are cited to illustrate the rationalist fallacy: reason, unaided by observation, was regarded as a source of knowledge, revealing the physical world and “moral truth.” The empiricists could not disprove this thesis, for they could not give a valid account of mathematical knowledge.

    Mathematical discoveries in the early nineteenth century cleared the way for modern scientific philosophy. Its advance was furthered by discoveries in modern physics, chemistry, biology, and psychology. These findings have made possible a new conception of the universe and of the atom. The work of scientists thus altered philosophy completely and brought into being a philosopher with a new attitude and training.

    Instead of dictating so-called laws of reason to the scientist, this modern philosopher proceeds by analyzing scientific methods and results. He finds answers to the age-old questions of space, time, causality, and life; of the human observer and the external world. He tells us how to find our way through this world without resorting to unjustifiable beliefs or assuming a supernatural origin for moral standards. Philosophy thus is no longer a battleground of contradictory opinions, but a science discovering truth step by step.”

    Much of the book is available online on Google Books.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    A scientific hypothesis, or a fuller version of all such – i.e., a scientific theory – is also an assumption, always subject of verification via experiment and observation. And so it goes.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Maths is the language that defines and explains everything, so is entirely unabstract.

    Can you express a sunset using mathematical formulae, or show me what the square root of 3 looks like?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Not to mention, there is a philosophy of mathematics and different understandings/schools as to what math is – e.g., formalism, intuitionism, and logicism, as per the following, for example

  • Irene Wagner

    Maths is the language that defines and explains everything, so is entirely unabstract.

    Oh please.

    philosophy is just a series of empty speculations, rather like most religions, which is possibly part of your motivation to defend it…

    Of course it’s not, yes rather, and of course it is.

    By the way, not Wolfram’s connection to the MathWorld link. Stephen Wolfram author of A New Kind of Science who posits that the mystery of creation will be able to reduced ultimately to four lines of Mathematica code. He’s both a mathematician and a philosopher, and so was the atheist Bertrand Russell.

    You’ve been pwned by two people on this Mathematics/Philosophy debate, Christopher Rose. And Bliffle has agreed with me on another point of mathematics. I go away happy.

    ****
    PS – Health Care is more of a right than Education is. If you don’t believe in child labor, then I could show you some pretty unhappy teenagers who’ve just had their math graduation requirements increased by two semesters by the state. I say transfer some of the misspent money from education into health care. It’s skin off my nose, because I’d like to be a teacher one day, but I want to teach interested kids, not slaves.

  • Irene Wagner

    pwned by three people I see.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Irene,

    Glad you mentioned Euler. His identity theorem is a thing of beauty.

  • Irene Wagner

    OK I’d better get out before Christopher Rose goes all Basel Fawlty on me. LOL.

  • Irene Wagner

    Amen, Nowosielski.
    Tell Christopher Rose how to see it work on his calculator. If it has e pi and i on it, that is…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m a persona non grata for the time being, Irene, so I shall keep a low profile for now.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    If you don’t believe in child labor, then I could show you some pretty unhappy teenagers who’ve just had their math graduation requirements increased by two semesters by the state. … I want to teach interested kids, not slaves.

    Quoted for excellence! Yay!

  • http://www.EurocriticsMagazine.com Christopher Rose

    Rob, I couldn’t personally, but I don’t see any reason that a sunset couldn’t be described mathematically and, although the square root of 3 is an abstraction, it would be used in a real world context, so your setup, whilst entertaining and even romantic, is bogus.

    Irene, I read the thing on infinity but fail to see how you think that it disproves my point; mind you, someone who can come up with a sentence like “Of course it’s not, yes rather, and of course it is” and has a vested interest in their fake belief system couldn’t really be expected to make a cogent point.

    You may think, with all the sophistication of a teenager, that I have been “pwned”, but I think you’re just pouting because of my lack of respect for your faithism.

  • Irene Wagner

    Christopher Rose, I came back to apologize. I was laughing when I wrote many of those things, but it still sounds a lot like mockery.

    I try not to get into arguments–discussions, yes, arguments, no–about God with people, unless they pertain to human rights violations (concerning which, we folk of faith often are influenced by the world more than by God.)

    The supernatural is a sacred subject to me, and I almost feel the same way about math (not “applied math” which you’re talking about, although that is indispensably useful.)

    I don’t pout at your lack of respect for my faithism. I’m frustrated sometimes; it’s a little bit like trying to get a color-blind person to admit that there’s a possibility that green and red are different. The bitterest opponents between atheists and believers are between people who really aren’t sure of what they say they believe. That just isn’t where I am these days, but I don’t want to be obnoxious about it.

  • Irene Wagner

    That’s just NOT where I am these days, I meant.

    Here’s the keying sequence, Christopher Rose, for your calculator. It’s cool, and has nothing to do with evil manipulations of faithist geeks from the Bible Belt who program for Texas Instruments.

    e^(pi)i [Enter]

    Cindy I’m sure both of us could write VOLUMES about kids and school… :) + :(

    And now I go.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Irene,

    I’m glad you’ve decided to come back. We do have unfinished business, remember?

    (I do like your analogy, BTW, of color-blindness.)

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Chris,

    I agree re the sunset. I chose a bad example. A better one would perhaps have been a mathematical description of your feelings towards your wife.

    As for the square root of 3, I think you and I are looking at this question from opposite ends. Let’s try this: although mathematics can be and is used all the time for real-world events, it is itself abstract. There are plenty of mathematical ideas – Fermat’s last theorem being a well-known example – that have no known or conceivable practical application.

    But more basically than that, suppose I were to ask you to show me the number two. How would you do that? You could write it on a piece of paper, for instance, or produce a pair of shoes. Both these things would represent the number two in different ways, but they would not be the number two. The number two, like any number, does not literally exist.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    What the hell is a pwn, anyway? Sounds Welsh.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    lol Dr.D, It’s ‘pawned’ as in ‘owned’.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    #160:

    Plato would say the number two is a Form (or an Idea).

  • Irene Wagner

    #159 – you’re talking about the three “write you own endings” scenarios I mentioned in a comment I left on Disappearing America? I started one of them I’m going to leave it for the summer, to see if it ripens or rots.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I shouldn’t be saying it, but it’s an extract from my first novel “Memoirs of a Secret Agent: a cautionary tale.” (after Joseph Conrad)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    No, the unfinished business pertains to the genealogy I’d like to forward – so you have something of mine just in case.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Two deaths today, Michael and Farrah.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Two examples of how pitiful this society can make even wealthy famous people.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    That is, it makes them, yet wealth and fame don’t cure it.

  • Irene Wagner

    #167 – That’s something I answered already. I’d be happy to read it if you posted it on your blog or on BC.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I can’t post it on either one.

  • Irene Wagner

    And I won’t give out my email.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’ll tell you what I will do. Early next month, I’ll posted on the blog but only for a short stretch. Pull it out from it then, so I could remove the entry. We’ll have to synchronize it then, OK?

  • Irene Wagner

    No, I’m currently in the process of disengaging myself from commitments to do this or that, to be here at this time or that. I won’t take any more on.

    Post it when you will, and if I happen to be online when it’s there and happen to be reading your blog, as I sometimes read Cindy’s, or Moon’s, then I’ll see it. An appreciation of the power of synchronicity doesn’t seem to be a prominent feature of this evolved system of yours!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It’s up in the air, then. Fine with me.

  • Irene Wagner

    I’ve got to check out for awhile.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    We citizens of the United States (I choose not to use ‘Americans’ as Canadians and Mexicans ARE Americans) need to lighten up. We have a propensity to make things a heck of a lot more complicated than they need to be. And, again, this is a direct result of a Congress that has spun completely out of control in the last 50 years as they sealed the deal with lobbyists and special interests.

    Let me be quite specific on what I think we need to do about health care:

    Education – There are many individuals out there who dreamed of being physicians but could not come up with the financing to get the ‘education’ they needed. So they became the lower rung of the medical food chain ladder. They are nurses, nusrses’ aides, physicians’ assistants and even phlebotomists.

    In my 12 plus years of chronic illness I met many in those fields who I respected for their opinions before the actual physician. These individuals deserved to by doctors. Were it not for these medical professionals who are grossly underpaid and overworked I would not be standing here today completely recovered. Yes, my doctors had their role influencing my course of treatments; however, it was the nurse and the physician’s assistant that got me where I needed to be. They are the models of what health care should be and are the forgotten amino acids in health care DNA.

    We need to insure that any person who has a deep desire to practice medicine and exhibits a talent in the same gets it. Sure there are school loans available but there has got to be a mechanism whereby college educations cost less especially in the so-called Ivy League schools, etc.

    When a place like Brown University gets accolades in the press for all their work, I laugh. Let us not forget that Brown University was built on profits from the Brown family, the leading slave trading family in Rhode Island before the Civil War. Many of the dollars with which that institution was started was earned on the blood, sweat and tears of Africans shipped into the colonies to be subservient to the white imperialist. I know it’s off the beaten path a bit, but it is a point that must be made.

    Medical licenses should be renewable predicated upon a continuing education paradigm for doctors. Graduating from medical school and serving an internship does not a doctor make. And no candidate for a license should be given one unless they complete a course of testing that places the practice of general medicine at its core. Specialization should only come in long after graduation and internship. Just because a candidate studies plastic surgery doesn’t make him/her a custom butcher.

    Tort Reform – While frivolous lawsuits may be few and far between, it does not take away from the fact that there are many awards out there that are just way over the top. If patients are well informed before a procedure it should be the patient who takes personal responsibility. The only exception to that would be when there is a clear case of negligence on the part of the practitioner. And in the event of gross negligence, there should be a criminal penalty associated with the civil action, period. Unfortunately, we fail to realize that a comprehensive overhaul of our health care system requires the same for lawyers AND insurance companies.

    Preventative Education Again, we are a reactionary society. We eat junk, our bodies become junk. WalMart sells cheap and the nutrition value of the snack foods, beverages and other processed foods has a direct effect on our health. Michelle Obama tried to get the message across with the planting of the garden. Main stream media looks at the “cute” side of a story and consistently fails to deliver the ultimate message. In my mind it is complete disrespect for Michelle Obama, the woman. They are just enamored by her style of being First Lady and in her glow they have completely lost sight of her message.

    Pharmaceuticals Not last, and certainly not least, is the focus of the globe’s pharmaceutical companies. The successful performers on Wall Street are the ones who manufacture creams for thicker eye lashes, breast implants and age reducing drugs & creams. Forget about gay marriage, the evolution of the pharmaceutical industry as a key player on the global economic stage is immoral. These corporate power mongers aren’t in it for humanity, they want cash, period.

    Case in point I am aware of a drug that shows incredible promise in putting a certain chronic disease into remission. The reason why this drug can’t even get out of animal trials is that it is projected to be too cheap to manufacture. How screwed up is that? A drug that shows promise in the treatment of a chronic illness/disease will never be developed because the pharmaceutical companies won’t make a killing. That’s warped. That’s immoral. And, in the United States, there should be an outrage.

    That’s it. Simple and to the point. A restructuring of the health care system has to be wholesale not customized to make a certain sector of the economy happy. And how do we fund such a project? Well, take a lesson from history. The defeat of Mexican cartels and the bootleg Mexican economy was the repeal of Prohibition. Legalize pot. Let’s get some of the nation’s farms producing hemp for medicine, cosmetics, cooking, fuel and fiber. Ladies and gentlemen, there’s more money for the pharmaceuticals as long as pot is illegal.

    Remember the ending of The American President when Michael Douglas’ character gave that impassioned speech about the direction of his Administration and the country? That’s exactly where we are at. Only the facilitators of change must be the individual from a rural hollow in West Virginia; the liberal trust fund baby at Harvard; the laid off auto worker from Detroit; and to the drag queen in San Francisco. Regardless of our religion, race or sexual identity we have a common bond. We are citizens in this great political experiment called the United States. Obama can’t accomplish a damn thing unless he gets a solid message from the people. This is a grass roots effort. IF you don’t want to get involved, so be it. Stop your bitching and move to another country. This isn’t time for complacency.

    We now return to special programming. The deaths of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett garner more interest than the future of the Republic.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Silas,

    You are a character. I know you’re on BC radio, but have you considered it as a career, your own show?

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    Haven’t been on BlogTalk radio in a while, need to schedule it in, Roger. My schedule has been nuts lately trying to get our business to the next level. By the fall I want to be doing an hour long talk show once a week to coincide with another project we are working on. I’m really hot on next year’s elections because the 2010 election will define not only the Obama Presidency but the direction we choose to drive this country. We have more at stake in these elections than ever in our history and we don’t even realize it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    If you have a good speaking voice, you should try a wider reaching market. Democracy Now! perhaps.

    You’ve got the ideas. They need to be heard.

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    I’ve called Dave Nalle’s show and I think one other. I think I have a half way decent voice. It lacks the grit of Limbaugh but exceeds with the resolve of Reagan.

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Silas #177 just said it all!

    If only people would listen!

    *First lady Michele Obama is trying to bring nutrition back to the school lunch program; this is the same school lunch program that lowered it’s nutritional standards during the Reagan administration…

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Dave Nalle has a radio show? When? I would like to call…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Just sent it to you, Jeannie: “And I Will Remain.”

  • http://jeanniedanna.wordpress.com/ Jeannie Danna

    Yes! I just replied..