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The Mackey Backlash

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Whole Foods’ CEO John Mackey received some unexpected backlash for an op-ed piece he wrote for the Wall Street Journal which enumerated “Eight things we can do to improve health care without adding to the deficit”. Before I address some of the points Mackey makes in his piece, I would like to point out that I am the perfect example of Mackey’s biggest customer: a health-conscious, ecologically-minded, post-Boomer consumer who prefers organic and humane farming practices to traditional supermarket offerings; someone who has been touting a “green” lifestyle long before it was de rigeur; and someone who doesn’t mind spending a little more for locally-grown produce or the nice choice of bakery and prepared foods available at Whole Foods.

Mackey’s list reads like the Corporatists' Playbook of Healthcare. Why would he want to alienate his core constituency — humanitarians, hippies, vegetarians, macrobiotic dieters, Budhhists, and well-heeled liberals? Why would he pander to the people who are least likely to shop at his stores? Is this a new marketing strategy?

Mackey described himself in 2005 as “a businessman and a free market libertarian” and has made campaign contributions to libertarian candidates, according to public records. Yet, despite this admission of libertarianism, Mackey has made no comments on record (that I can find after an exhaustive search) that condemn the invasion of Iraq, the continued quagmire in Afghanistan, war-profiteering of companies like Halliburton and Blackwater, or of the TARP bailout last September; all of which contributed exponentially to the national debt and deficits.

He did spend a lot of time on Yahoo chat rooms using an anonymous handle that promoted the financial health of Whole Foods and undermined his target buyout, Wild Oats. Whole Foods procured Wild Oats and eliminated its main competition.

My problem with Mackey is not with his politics, but rather the ill-informed and bad ideas he promotes in order to undermine the single-payer plan Obama and most of the voters want on the table for health care reform.

Mackey promotes Health Savings Accounts (sold in your neighborhood bank), changes in tort laws (pro-business, anti-victim), allowing individuals to get tax breaks on premiums (tax breaks already exist for people paying their own health insurance), making health insurance like “cafeteria” benefits for the consumer to decide “what is covered” and not the law. For example, consumers can opt out of cancer coverage or maternity coverage and then, with bad luck, get cancer or get pregnant and have to pay for all associated care. As a licensed insurance agent, I can attest that most people not only don't read their policies to know what is already exempt or considered a "pre-existing condition", but most don't expect to get seriously ill and are not prepared for the financial consequences if they do.

Mackey writes:

"Health care is a service that we all need, but just like food and shelter it is best provided through voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges."

That’s essentially how medical insurance has worked for the past 50 years, leaving millions uninsured, millions of claims denied, millions of consumers going bankrupt over medical expenses and making health insurance the least competitive, least transparent and least fair product available to us through the free market. It’s not a free market. It’s rigged.

Many bloggers and columnists have expressed outrage over Mackey’s callous plan, a plan that will not be part of any health care bills in a Democratic legislature. But, what is more outrageous than his homage to profit and his ultimately unrealistic worldview is his short-sightedness in alienating his main constituency. Millions of Whole Food customers are now boycotting his store. I hope this is an expensive lesson to Mackey to stay under the radar.

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About Loretta Dillon

Loretta Dillon began her writing career publishing a neighborhood newspaper and handwritten and illustrated books as a child in a Cleveland suburb. Her strongest literary influences were MAD magazine and Mark Twain. When introduced to the internet, Dillon created a blog to showcase her satire that evolved into a popular forum on relationships, recovery and true crime stories, specifically spousal murder. Selected entries were published as a book in 2005 that was honored as a finalist for a non-fiction "Blooker" award. Dillon's comedy play, "The Smoking Diary" was produced off-Broadway in 2009.
  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Loretta, there are many things wrong with your article, but the concluding paragraph is particularly reprehensible. You essentially say, keep quiet if you don’t agree with us, because if you don’t we’ll destroy your business.

    That’s hardly an attitude for a free country where we’re supposed to solve problems by dialog. You don’t want debate on this issue at all, you want to ram it down our throats by fiat and you’ll destroy anyone who dares to object. Sickening.

    You also seem not to understand what libertarians believe. Not all libertarians are leftists. In fact, the socialist-libertarians who fall on the left are probably considerably in the minority.

    Most libertarians are capitalist-libertarians who actually believe in free trade and business and having government serve the people rather than rule over the people. Some of them even believe in a strong national defense.

    As for Mackey, he’s clearly a capitalist libertarian, but he’s a businessman, not a diplomat. Why must he have an opinion on the Iraq war? Not everyone puts foreign policy first. And what do his opinions on foreign policy or lack thereof have to do with his views on healthcare?

    Are we now forbidden to oppose massive government intrusion in our health decisions if we aren’t pacifists?

    Problems don’t just have a single solution. What’s wrong with letting many ideas see the light of day and considering alternatives?

    Dave

  • http://joannehuspek.wordpress.com Joanne Huspek

    I agree, Dave. This whole notion of it’s my way or the highway has to end. That’s not debate, that’s bullying.

    I personally have wondered all these years after paying all these premiums and STILL fighting the insurance companies why the heck we need the insurance companies as middle men?

    In household or car insurance, you pay monthly. But what if your took your premium money and put it in an interest bearing account to save for that catastrophe? You know if your house burns down or your car is cracked up, the insurance company is going to fight paying you.

    For health insurance I know of doctors who can’t stand the system as well. Their hands are tied when they want to do something and insurance tells them no. One I know lives in a rural area and circumvents the company by charging a fair price.

    Why can’t we do this? Do we really need insurance in between telling the hospital to charge $10 for a Tylenol?

    I understand the need for the catastrophic component, but for many people all they want is preventative care. (It’s all I want.) I think it’s unreasonable to have a 15 minute office visit cost $200.

    I agree the entire way the health care industry is set up needs overhauling, but not from government.

  • http://www.retzilian.com Loretta

    Gentlemen, thank you for your remarks, but you’re missing the point. First of all, a public health option would work side-by-side with private health insurance; in fact, private insurance companies could sell supplements to the public plan, just like they do now with Medicare.

    Second, anyone complaining about deficits and spending right now had better have been voicing the same complaints when the spending was out of control for a war that was based on lies, and for bailing out the pirates on Wall Street.

    Be consistent.

    Mackey should be consistent. And my telling him to stay under the radar is good advice for someone like him.

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

    Pretty good article. I agree with much of it.

    And my telling him to stay under the radar is good advice for someone like him.

    Yes, for him, but misguided for the left, unless it was just weak rhetoric. Although, I don’t think it has anything to do with dialogue, as Dave and Joanne say. As right now it is ‘my way or the highway’. (Thanks to the govt of, by and for the people and the corporate raiders who share its bed.) It’s more because, if your house has termites, not seeing them is hardly in your best interest.

  • Clavos

    First of all, a public health option would work side-by-side with private health insurance…

    If you believe that particular bit of administration BS, I have a nice piece of land right here in the ‘Glades for sale…

    Second, anyone complaining about deficits and spending right now had better have been voicing the same complaints when the spending was out of control…Be consistent.

    Actually, I was, but that’s a strawman:

    1. Obama is spending far more than Bush ever even attempted to spend.

    2. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    3. Being against government overspending now, when it’s piled on top of previous overspending, has validity and relevance, even if one did not proclaim their opposition during the Bush years.

  • Clavos

    And my telling him to stay under the radar is good advice for someone like him.

    Good, only if he doesn’t mind being hypocritical, dishonest and not very honorable.

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

    *Waves to Dave* Oh there you are Dave! You must have overlooked the comments I left for you in another thread: 103 & 104.

    Sorry to bother you Dave but, I’m sure this is something you’ll want to know about. It regards some evidence related to your theory. Recognizing how you are evidenced-based and not some ideologue who defends a proposition regardless of reality, I just know you’ll want to figure this information into your perspective.

  • http://www.retzilian.com Loretta

    Clavos, you are wrong about public and private insurance working side-by-side. They’ve been doing that for decades. It’s my profession, I know what I’m talking about.

    And as for HSAs, those are fine if you are very healthy, have healthy kids, have a low risk occupation and don’t intend to get pregnant. That may apply to millions of younger people right now, and that’s fine. It’s like having term insurance.

    But, if you or your children have ongoing health issues or take any medication that is not generic, or don’t want to pay the first $5,000 of your deductible before coverage kicks in, then HSAs are not a good deal for you, and pre-tax savings does not outweigh tax credits.

    And, Clavos, spending money we don’t have is the same no matter who is doing it, but if we have a public health care option that allows people to get preventive care and take action on things when they are in their early stages rather than wait for emergency care, it will be a savings in the long run.

  • Clavos

    Clavos, you are wrong about public and private insurance working side-by-side. They’ve been doing that for decades. It’s my profession, I know what I’m talking about.

    If you’re talking about private Medigap plans, that’s not working in competition with each other, the private sector is merely taking up the slack not covered by the government. Medicare Advantage plans are very unpopular, accounting for less than 20% of Medicare eligible people, mainly because Americans are not stupid, they can see that there’s no “advantage” to them.

    In any case, using Medicare as an example, with its cost overruns and escalating deficits, fraud, etc. kind of ruins your whole argument for government-insured health care. Again, Americans are not stupid, which is why they’re rejecting Obamacare.

    Nothing run by the government — NOTHING — saves money.

    The Postal Service is a prime example of a government-run program which even Obama used (to his regret) as a bad example.

    if we have a public health care option that allows people to get preventive care and take action on things when they are in their early stages rather than wait for emergency care, it will be a savings in the long run.

    Except you assume that people with insurance will not wait, yet many do, even now. And just because they have insurance doesn’t mean people will stop smoking, drinking, eating unhealthy foods, overeating and not exercising.

  • http://www.retzilian.com Loretta

    Maybe people won’t change their bad habits, but the bigger issue is that a public option is not a threat to you at all. If you don’t want to buy in, you don’t have to. If you want to keep your group health (which is still a good deal if you have it), keep it.

    The idea that your tax dollars are going to be wasted is a bad reason, because your tax dollars, or what you pay in taxes (which I would bet are not more than 35% unless you are in the top 10% of wage earners) is not any less wasted on unecessary defense spending, bridges to nowhere, the space program, and the war on drugs – all things I consider monumental waste.

  • Clavos

    If you don’t want to buy in, you don’t have to.

    At first.

    The idea that your tax dollars are going to be wasted is a bad reason, because your tax dollars, or what you pay in taxes (which I would bet are not more than 35% unless you are in the top 10% of wage earners) is not any less wasted on unecessary defense spending, bridges to nowhere, the space program, and the war on drugs – all things I consider monumental waste.

    True. It all depends on whose ox is getting gored, but it appears that we agree that the government wastes money on everything it touches. I see no point in handing them yet another segment (the largest) of the economy on which to waste yet more money.

  • http://www.retzilian.com Loretta

    Clavos, I’d be the first person to make a case for government getting out of our lives if I trusted the private sector to take care of it in an efficient and fair way. But, based on 200-plus years of history, it’s clear that if we leave education, labor, safety, pollution control, health care, and financial regulation up to the private sector, they run it into the ground, kill people, poison our environment, hire children to work for pennies, discriminate, cheat, steal and peform in spectacularly incompetent ways.

    I just don’t trust capitalism as much as you do, I guess!

  • Paul

    Back in 2008, this Whole Foods, CEO John Mackey (how old is this kid?), was caught posting negative comments (trash talk) about a competitor on Yahoo Finance message boards in an effort to push down the stock price. So now I am suppose to take this loser seriously? Please, snore, snore.

    It’s funny we hear Republicans say that they do not want “faceless bureaucrats” making medical decisions but they have no problem with “private sector” “faceless bureaucrats” daily declining medical coverage and financially ruining good hard working people (honestly where can they go with a pre-condition). And who says that the “private sector” is always right, do we forget failures like Long-Term Capital, WorldCom, Global Crossing, Enron, Tyco, AIG and Lehman Brothers. Of course the federal government will destroy heathcare by getting involved, Oh but wait, Medicare and Medicaid and our military men and women and the Senate and Congress get the best heathcare in the world, and oh, that’s right, its run by our federal government. I can understand why some may think that the federal government will fail, if you look at the past eight years as a current history, with failures like the financial meltdown and Katrina but the facts is they can and if we support them they will succeed.

    How does shouting down to stop the conversation of the healthcare debate at town hall meetings, endears them to anyone. Especially when the organizations that are telling them where to go and what to do and say are Republicans political operatives, not real grassroots. How does shouting someone down or chasing them out like a “lynch mob” advanced the debate, it does not. So I think the American people will see through all of this and know, like the teabagger, the birthers, these lynch mobs types AKA “screamers” are just the same, people who have to resort to these tactics because they have no leadership to articulate what they real want. It’s easy to pickup a bus load of people who hate, and that’s all I been seeing, they hate and can’t debate. Too bad.

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

    Welcome to BC Politics, Loretta. I realize it’s not your first piece in this section, so you’re accustomed to this environment. Try to post most often. We need people with a strong voice and who stick to their guns.

  • Clavos

    Fortunately, for all of us, you included, Loretta, the polls seem to indicate that the people are not ready to accept yet more government interference in their lives, at least not without further discussion.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy
  • http://www.retzilian.com Loretta

    You’re mistaken, Clavos, because I profit either way – if health insurance becomes mandatory like auto insurance, I stand to gain; if the public option becomes available, I stand to gain. If nothing changes, I stand to gain.

    So, it’s not my personal profit at stake here – I am much more concerned with what is fair and just – what makes sense for everyone concerned. Maybe that makes me pinko or socialist, but I know what it’s like not to have health insurance, I know what it’s like to have insufficent health insurance, and I also know what it’s like to have great health insurance.

    Right now, the majority of people want good health care and they voted for it last year. Your “polls” do not reflect the real needs or desires of the people who voted last year. Maybe now, the right wing propaganda machine has confused the issue, as is their wont, but it doesn’t create reality for me.

  • Clavos

    But they do reflect the people.

    And the people are speaking.

    Loudly and clearly. And with conviction.

  • http://www.retzilian.com Loretta

    Well, since when do Congress listen to the people? I mean, based on your logic, the Iraq war should have ended, we should have ended the Patriot Act, we should have gotten out of Afghanistan, we should not have illegal eavesdropping, marijuana should be legalized, we should have not bailed out the banks last September, etc. etc.

    I have no faith in Congress, but I still maintain that the majority of voters want affordable, sustainable, fair health care.

  • Clavos

    “…but I still maintain that the majority of voters want affordable, sustainable, fair health care.”

    And 85% of the voters (clearly a majority) agree with you. They have it. And they’re happy with it.

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

    “I am much more concerned with what is fair and just – what makes sense for everyone concerned.”

    And what is fair and just cannot be measured merely in terms of dollars and cents as many our friends on the other side of the issue would like to argue.

    Certainly not if we can afford it. And it’s up to them to show we can’t afford it – whilst our military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan raise no eyebrows.

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

    Paul,

    Mackey (how old is this kid?), was caught posting negative comments (trash talk) about a competitor on Yahoo Finance message boards in an effort to push down the stock price. So now I am suppose to take this loser seriously? Please, snore, snore.

    Oh come on now Paul. The guy was doing what any good Capitalist does. Trying to gain market share by any means. So, he got caught. Does that mean he shouldn’t be admired for trying? He does have an obligation to his shareholders after all. And what’s a little trash talk when his peers are busy raping and enslaving the planet on behalf of their shareholders.

    And, of course we’re supposed to listen to him. He has a lot of money, which makes him an expert on anything. Look at how people ask Bill Gates his opinion on education. One day Bill Gate’s is sitting in his garage, a lonely, broke, computer geek whose opinions are just so much flotsam. Next day he’s a rich guy and suddenly also an education expert.

    How much money do you have Paul? I need to figure out whether I should listen to you or ignore you.

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

    “They have it. And they’re happy with it.”

    Since when the situation has been so rosy. People are still getting laid off, the economy is far from having recovered, the jobs that have been lost are unlikely to materialize again in the near future. Yet, Clavos presents us with an idyllic picture, claiming that a great majority of the American public thinks happy thoughts.

    But perhaps I’m living in an imaginary world and Clavos’s view of reality is right on.

  • http://www.retzilian.com Loretta

    Wow, Clavos – 85%! That’s amazing. Clearly, I am out of touch, I read all the wrong newpapers and blogs, I am completely out to lunch.

    I had no idea.

    If that’s the case, why are we even having this debate? 85%!! Sheesh! I don’t think there is an 85% agreement that the sky was blue, but obviously, I’m just a total idiot.

    Pardon me while I go shoot myself and rid the world of yet another moron.

  • Clavos

    “And what is fair and just cannot be measured merely in terms of dollars and cents as many our friends on the other side of the issue would like to argue.”

    It can when the dollars and cents belong to others and are not yours. Those from whom the money is taken have every right in the world to argue it in whatever terms they choose, which is exactly what we’re doing, and which also is far better than doing these things by fiat, with no discussion, as in N Korea or Iran.

  • http://www.retzilian.com Loretta

    All snark aside, I really don’t think 85% of voters are even insured, much less happy. Based on the unemployment rate, the statistics of people looking for some kind of temporary insurance, the people running out of COBRA coverage, those too young for Medicare but too old to get affordable insurance, the self-employed and the ones who make too much money to get Medicaid but can’t afford insurance amounts to an awful lot of people. So, this 85% figure is simply nonsense.

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

    100% of people who are happy with their healthcare are happy with their healthcare.

  • http://www.retzilian.com Loretta

    And don’t even get me started with this “government by fiat” canard when for 8 years the executive branch of our government ran the country as though Congress and the People didn’t even exist.

  • Clavos

    I’m posting from my phone, Loretta, so I can’t look it up right now. But there ARE polls that indicate that fully 85% of those with insurance are happy with it, yes.

  • http://www.retzilian.com Loretta

    That was not your claim, Clavos (and that’s not true, either, and I’ll cite several sources for what percentage of People With Insurance are happy with it).

    What you said was”

    And 85% of the voters (clearly a majority) agree with you. They have it. And they’re happy with it.”

    So, allow me to dispel you of this myth.

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

    I’m all for argument, especially rational argument that is not coerced by distortions, misrepresentations and scare tactics.

    Let’s argue then the expenditures we keep on incurring for our present military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. If dollars and cents are at issue, let’s start with this baby, and then let’s move on to the domestic front.

    Nothing short of that – a commitment, that is, to a serious discussion of the first-mentioned issue – will convince me that the intention of the nay-sayers is well-taken and honorable.

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

    Loretta is quite a fighter. Good show!

  • Clavos

    @#28:

    So, because it happened for eight years under the Republicans, we’re supposed to accept it now?

    It isn’tt that akin to throwing good money after bad, which is in fact what we’ve been talking about?

  • Tim

    “As a licensed insurance agent, I can attest that most people not only don’t read their policies to know what is already exempt or considered a “pre-existing condition”, but most don’t expect to get seriously ill and are not prepared for the financial consequences if they do.”

    So we should treat people like children instead of expecting them to act like adults? Apparently only the governing class can be trusted with making decisions; commoners are just too stupid.

    “That’s essentially how medical insurance has worked for the past 50 years, leaving millions uninsured, millions of claims denied, millions of consumers going bankrupt over medical expenses and making health insurance the least competitive, least transparent and least fair product available to us through the free market. It’s not a free market. It’s rigged.”

    An odd contradiction. You say that health care has been provided for the past 50 years through “voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges” and then go on to say that “it is rigged.” How can these both be true? It has to be one or the other. I agree that it is rigged, but primarily by the government. What we currently have is essentially a government created cartel. Mackey advocates policies to un-rig the system and return to a free market. “Greedy insurance companies” may be part of the problem, but a truly free market rewards the company that offers the best bang-for-the-buck, not the company that is the most greedy.

    “Many bloggers and columnists have expressed outrage over Mackey’s callous plan, a plan that will not be part of any health care bills in a Democratic legislature.”

    Why is his plan callous? Because it doesn’t play Robin Hood?

    “But, what is more outrageous than his homage to profit and his ultimately unrealistic worldview is his short-sightedness in alienating his main constituency. Millions of Whole Food customers are now boycotting his store. I hope this is an expensive lesson to Mackey to stay under the radar.”

    You are right. If you haven’t bought into the propaganda and group-think, just keep your mouth shut. We wouldn’t want honest debate and reason to get in the way of the populist agenda. The populist agenda always brings liberty, right? I mean, just look at history…

  • http://www.retzilian.com Loretta

    A survey conducted jointly by the Kaiser Family Foundation, ABC News and USA Today, released in October 2006, found that 89 percent of Americans were satisfied with their own personal medical care, but only 44 percent were satisfied with the overall quality of the American medical system.

    (This poll was taken in 2006 – before the crash)

    “““““““

    The most important fundamental is that 68% of American voters have health-insurance coverage they rate good or excellent.

    “““““““““““`
    There’s also the reality that 74% of voters rate the quality of care they now receive as good or excellent. And 50% fear that if Congress passes health-care reform, it will lead to a decline in the quality of that care.

    [another lower number (not 85%) and quality of care is not quality of health insurance]

    “““““““““““`

    WASHINGTON (CNN) March 19, 2009 — Most Americans like their health care coverage but are not happy with the overall cost of health care, a national poll shows.

    President Obama has said that lowering health care costs will benefit the economy.

    More than eight in 10 Americans questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Thursday said they’re satisfied with the quality of health care they receive.

    ““““““““““`

    CBS News – June 20, 2009:

    A clear majority of Americans — 72 percent — support a government-sponsored health care plan to compete with private insurers, a new CBS News/New York Times poll finds.

    ““““““““`
    July 2009, Washington:

    The poll Ignagni was citing actually undercuts her position: By 72 percent to 20 percent, Americans favor the creation of a public health insurance plan, the June survey by The New York Times and CBS News found. People also said they thought government would do a better job than private insurers of holding down health care costs and providing medical coverage.
    In addition, a Kaiser Family Foundation poll last year found that the people who like their health plans the most are the healthy people who use them the least — people who presumably have relatively little experience pursuing medical care or submitting claims.

    ~~~~~~~~~

    Clavis, let’s not confuse “quality of care” with “happy with health insurance.” We can cite statistics all day, I can refute all your claims.

  • Clavos

    Not only am I against both wars (Bush’s and Obama’s), I’m in favor of withdrawing all our overseas troops, bringing them all home, and discharging about half of them.

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

    I hope you understand, Clavos, that it wasn’t a challenge directed at you personally.

  • http://www.retzilian.com Loretta

    Tim asks:

    “So we should treat people like children instead of expecting them to act like adults? Apparently only the governing class can be trusted with making decisions; commoners are just too stupid.”

    The government already treats us like children, and subsequently so does the media. We have to wear seatbelts, we have rating systems on movies, we have the FDA, we have an alphabet soup of regulatory agencies, we have cops with tasers, we have smoking bans, we have a war on drugs, we are supposed to be very afraid of Muslim Terr-ists, we don’t know what’s good for us, we have to take off our shoes in airports, etc. etc. ad infinitum ad nauseum.

    Were you protesting this then? Were you outraged? When did you start feeling offended by this? Where ya been, dude?

  • http://www.retzilian.com Loretta

    Tim asks:

    “Why is his plan callous? Because it doesn’t play Robin Hood?”

    It’s callous because HSAs are not good plans for people with chronic illness, children with health issues, people who need regular meds and people without bank accounts or cash on hand to spend on deductibles, which are as much as $5,000 per family or more.

    Tim snarks:

    “You are right. If you haven’t bought into the propaganda and group-think, just keep your mouth shut. We wouldn’t want honest debate and reason to get in the way of the populist agenda. The populist agenda always brings liberty, right? I mean, just look at history…”

    The problem with Mackey’s op-ed is if he were the VP of Marketing and not the CEO, he would have been fired. Not because his opinions are wrong or because of his politics, but because it was bad for business. It was a dumb thing to do.

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

    Yeah,

    It’s interesting how everyone’s sensibilities are suddenly reawakened when it comes to healthcare debate or some such other momentous issue.

  • http://www.retzilian.com Loretta

    Roger, you and I both know why this issue is suddenly bringing formerly content and complacent people out of the woodwork – because passing a good health care plan during a Democratic administration and majority will seal the Republican’s fate for years to come. They will not likely return to power for another decade or more.

    That’s the bottom line.

    Suddenly, people are worried about deficits and debt when they didn’t make a peep when we went into hock for the wars, worried about raising taxes (most don’t even pay income tax) when they were not even recipients of Bush’s tax cuts, worried about grandma getting unplugged even though poor seniors in this country live like dogs, I know first hand.

    It’s just malarky posing as concern. They don’t care about health insurance, they just want Obama to fail. Simple as that.

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

    Ain’t that the truth (and I am not saying that about each and every debater). Political fortunes come before the well-being of the nation.

  • Clavos

    #45 is nothing but puré left wing BS propaganda and conjecture.

    You have succeeded in bringing the discussion down to a childish level.

    I’m done.

  • Baronius

    Loretta, a word of advice. You’re all over the place. You should present an argument against Mackey’s ideas based on…well, on Mackey’s proposal, not on Obama and wiretaps and the drug war.

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

    31 – Good stuff, Roger. That is the bottom line. Enough stealing crumbs from the poor. Have a look at the military-industrial complex. As I recall some Democrats were in favor of continuing a contract for aircraft (IIRC) that couldn’t even be used effectively, but they didn’t want to piss off their constituents. We have Dan(Miller), elsewhere trumpeting the benefits of everyone having to serve in the military, so they can learn to fix cars or some nonsense. (As if a free school wouldn’t be a better place to teach people whatever they’d want to learn).

    32 – Yeah, I agree. Good show, Loretta! Gotta love a fighter.

  • http://www.retzilian.com Loretta

    Baronious, it’s all related.

  • http://www.retzilian.com Loretta

    Clavos, you misrepresent polls and statistics, you cherry-pick your data, you post “right wing talking points” without supporting your arguments with facts and citations, you defend the status quo on one hand and then claim to want to end the war on the other, and now you say I have reduced the discussion to a childish level?

    Fine, take your ball and go home, Jack.

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

    I hope this isn’t the end of discussion. Clavos is one of the reasonable voices. Is there a common ground there somewhere?

  • Clavos

    Loretta I freely agree that I did misrepresent the one poll statistic, bit I subsequently corrected it, and in any case it was an honest mistake.

    I fail to see any dichotomy between being against the wars yet also gainst Obamacare, Nor am I about to apologize for my libertarian/conservative stance.

    And at least I did not resort to bizarre, puerile speculative mind reading, as you did in your remarks about the motivations (about which you cannot possibly know anything) of those opposed to Obamacare

  • http://www.retzilian.com Loretta

    My interpretation of the motives of some of the right against universal health care is neither puerile nor bizarre.

    Did you rail against the Iraq invasion as much as you are now railing against government-sponsored health care? If so, I am very interested in reading your opinions about that in your blog archives or anywhere else you posted. TIA.

  • Clavos

    Sorry Loretta, but framing the discussion on what a participant did in regard to a totally different issue is irrelevant. I have stated my positions on Obamacare and to a lesser degree, Mackey’s stance, both part of your article. What I think about either of the wars is not germane, and neither is your sophomoric speculation about what motivates those with whom you disagree.

  • Baronius

    Come on, Clavos. Don’t be a spoilsport. This looks like fun.

    Loretta! Do me next! What are my motives?

  • http://www.retzilian.com Loretta

    Clavos, you continue to be disingenuous, so what is the point of discussing any of these issues? You did not correct your misrepresentation. Scroll up and verify for yourself.

    Obviously, if you could point me to where you wrote as vehemently against the invasion as you do public healthcare, you would. Since you cannot, I am supposed to take your word for it.

    My point is, you claim to have been against the invasion in Iraq (it’s not a war), but you cannot show that; however, you are expending time and energy arguing against universal health care. Why? Why should it matter to you? It won’t affect you or your wife in Florida. You are self-employed and soon to be on the most socialist of all medical programs – Medicare; unless you want to turn it down. Are you going to turn it down?

    I’m just asking you to walk the walk instead of just talking the talk.

  • Mark

    (Baronius #52 — getting on Jesus’ good side?)

  • Baronius

    No fair, Mark. This is Loretta’s game.

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

    Mother Mary’s then?

  • Mark

    Rog, we have to be careful with Loretta. She is so naive as to be skeptical concerning the lizard peoples’ domination of our planet.

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

    She doesn’t strike me as naive, Mark. And although comparing the motivation of some in this debate as emanating from a lizard’s brain is rather cold, it’s not that much off target. Although I would exclude Clavos from the bunch.

    I just wish that the disingenuous charge was used less often and only as a matter of last resort because it terminates the discussion. We all should try to win people to our side rather than shut them off.

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

    lol!

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

    Roger? You mean you think Mark was just being amusing? You doubt the existence of the lizard people? Um, okay, never mind then.

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

    He’s been known to pull a leg or two, Cindy. So yes!

  • Mark

    While the lizards might be metaphor, the power structures sure seem to be dominated by those who thrive on suffering.

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

    So they’re vampires as well.

    Did you know, BTW, that the healthcare debate has been going on in the US for almost a hundred years now – going back to Teddy R? There was a segment on NPR, and they closed wondering what the next seventy years of debating will bring. If we last that long.

  • Mark

    They had health care back then? Wow

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

    Well, there were private insurers, but the idea was to “socialize” medicine, along the same lines as the Social Security Act.

    “Socialization” didn’t carry the stigma then as it does today. Speaking of progress.

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

    A metaphor? I think not. The Reptilian Agenda is clear.

    (Sorry for joking. It strikes me that people are almost like a wall to the suffering of others. But, I am in 48rd place in a 9239 player tourney with only 1491 people left. So, I am on a break from seriousness.)

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

    1 Million Strong Against our SOCIALIST Fire Departments

    For too long now, fire departments across the United States have been socialist organizations, resulting in taxes on the American people.

    FACT: Most Americans never use the socialized services of the fire department. The Obama administration has been very clear about keeping the status quo when it comes to taxpayer-funded fire departments.

    It is time to open the fire department up to private industry. We have the best fire departments in the world in the US, but that doesn’t mean that anyone (even non-US citizens) should be able to dial up and have fires put out, etc. There are private companies (Halliburtion, Etc.) who could step in tomorrow and take over every fire department in America and charge the consumer directly.

    This is AMERICA. NO FREE FIRE SAFETY.

    “Better DEAD than fire truck RED.”
    -member D.J. Hostettler

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

    This world is getting crazier but the minute, Cindy. I’ll post some pertinent citations tomorrow (you know by whom!)

    Good luck with your game and all else.

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

    Good deal Roger. Can’t wait to read the book. I’ll do it all at once.

    (Thanks…I just went out in 1085th place to a player with 4 aces–oh well, FH can’t win every time.)

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

    Roger, you and I both know why this issue is suddenly bringing formerly content and complacent people out of the woodwork – because passing a good health care plan during a Democratic administration and majority will seal the Republican’s fate for years to come. They will not likely return to power for another decade or more.

    Loretta, you really have no grasp of the situation at all. You seem eager to repeat talking points without investigating at all. This is NOT a good health care plan. I dispute whether it’s even a health care plan at all. Republicans have made major efforts to address the flaws and every proposal they have offered has been voted down on stright partisan lines. That’s fine. There’s no mandate of bipartisanship, but so many compromises have been made that what they are considering passing now is such a mess that Republicans should be sitting back and letting Democrats pass it unilaterally because it will doom the Democrats for years to come.

    Suddenly, people are worried about deficits and debt when they didn’t make a peep when we went into hock for the wars,

    The people I know who are worried about our current deficit situation were just as worried when Bush was overspending at a marginally manageable level for his wars.

    worried about raising taxes (most don’t even pay income tax) when they were not even recipients of Bush’s tax cuts,

    Bush cut taxes for EVERY tax bracket. Try to keep the lies to a minimum if you want to maintain any credibility.

    worried about grandma getting unplugged even though poor seniors in this country live like dogs, I know first hand.

    So they’d be happier dead? Nice.

    Dave

  • http://www.retzilian.com Loretta

    I can’t be intimidated or insulted by someone like you, Dave. I suggest everyone who reads this comment section click on your name and read your blog.

    I feel sorry for you. God bless. I hope some day you can feel joy and hope and love the world again. Peace.

  • Baronius

    I’m sorry, Loretta; we’re out of time. The answer we were looking for is “concern for the country”. Yes, concern for the country. Any time you’re debating someone about national policy, you should always assume they’re motivated by a good-faith concern for the country. Thanks for playing.

  • http://www.retzilian.com Loretta

    I encourage healthy debate, but I hardly think that universal or single-pay health care is a threat to the country. I’m a 5th generation American and I am appalled at what has happened to our country in the last 10 years, since the latter part of the Clinton administration to today.

    I suggest these so-called concerned citizens put their and energy into examining the atrocities committed right in our own backyard.

    For example, millions right now are unemployed and living on $400 a week, which is the average weekly unemployment check. Millions of jobs have been lost forever, starting with all the manufacturing that disappeared since the early 90s. What is being done to help the homeless or poor neighbors right now? What kind of jobs is Dave creating?

    I challenge you to visit any average senior housing highrise and see how the average 70-yr old making $900 a month on Social Security, paying $100 a month for Medicare plus deductibles, prescriptions and copays lives. I want you to live on $700 a month, $200 goes for rent, $100 to Medicare and $50 for their frickin’ cable TV.

    I want you to be proud of how our government, our people, have left the poorest, weakest and most innocent of our society to live RIGHT now. And then suit up and go to Iraq or send your sons to fight for this war on terror.

    Be part of the solution, Baronius.

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

    Well Baronius’ concern for the country lies more in the area of protecting those with money from the people mentioned above.

    Besides, Baronius is Catholic and Jesus said (somewhere) you don’t have to give people your stuff if you don’t want to. Helping the poor is optional. You can just pray for old people in high rises and hope god likes them enough to help them (somehow).

    Besides, most people are poor because they are lazy. They always seem to have money for vices too. Many spend all their money on drugs (yeah, yeah, so what if it’s heart medicine).

  • Baronius

    Cindy, I hope you’re just insulting me and Catholicism (not a rare thing for you to do), and that you don’t actually believe that I think that.

    Loretta, I do believe that the currently proposed health care reforms would damage our country. It would adversely affect the cost, coverage, and quality of our health care. There are several reforms that I would support. A lot of them are laid out in Mackey’s editorial. As for me going to Iraq to prove my position on health care, that’s just more mashing of issues.

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

    In all fairness, when Baronius spoke of “concern for the country,” I don’t believe what he meant was to contrast the passage of the Obama care proposal with some other good or goods. What I believe he was saying is that the passage of the present bill, as it stands, would be detrimental and therefore not in the best interests (for the country).

    I suppose I can understand some of the reservations about the present bill – so much had been taken out already in the spirit of needless compromise. So the disagreement, insofar as such as Baronius and perhaps Dave Nalle is concerned – has to do with the merits of the bill in question. I’ve got to give it to them, otherwise I have to accuse them of being disingenuous.
    And I think this should be the issue on the table.

    One more thing: the debate over some form of universal healthcare (insurance) has been on the table for over 100 years now (since Teddy R), and thus far to no avail. So perhaps, just perhaps, passing this however imperfect bill should be viewed as a first step in the right direction: for once, something is being done (other than talk); and we can think of improvements later.

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

    I can’t be intimidated or insulted by someone like you, Dave.

    My goal is not to intimidate or insult, it is to inform and try to shake you out of your assumptions and complacency. If you opened your eyes just once and saw how things really are you might stop supporting these statist, inhumane autocrats and think of the good of the people instead.

    I suggest everyone who reads this comment section click on your name and read your blog.

    Why, so do I.

    I feel sorry for you. God bless.

    No need to feel sorry, or to invoke your delusionary need to evade responsibility for your own actions.

    I hope some day you can feel joy and hope and love the world again. Peace.

    I love the world. I just don’t love those who want to enslave the people who live in it.

    Dave

  • http://www.retzilian.com Loretta

    I haven’t read the bill from the House and I understand the Senate version doesn’t even contain a single-payer option; however, if the bills don’t contain a single-payer government option, I hope it fails. I would rather have no change than have a compromise that helps no one.

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

    “What I believe he was saying is that the passage of the present bill, as it stands, would be detrimental and therefore not in the best interests (for the country).”

    Yes, I believe he was saying that. But, in saying what I did about him, I am imagining how he conceives of both “the country” and whose best interests he is considering. If it is in ‘the country’s’ best interest than that means it is beneficial to ‘the country’. So, is it beneficial to the old people in the high rise? Is it beneficial to children who live in the projects? To single parents struggling to work and care for their children? When you get down to it, it is beneficial for some but not others. Now, who is it beneficial for and why?

    “I’ve got to give it to them, otherwise I have to accuse them of being disingenuous.
    And I think this should be the issue on the table.”

    I will give them this: I think they are not being disingenuous.

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

    The single-payer option – which Dave for some reason endorses – was the heart of the bill, Loretta, or at least ought to have been. But they capitulated before growing political opposition. Business as usual.

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

    Then it’s about to Baronius, then, to be clear about his objections (to the proposal), how specifically he regards it as being more detrimental (rather than more beneficial), and what specifically does he mean by “the country” – interests of America as a polity, or the well-being of “the people,” again, taken as a whole or some specific groups of people?

    There is always some trade-off. What may be beneficial to some may be less beneficial to others. So what exactly are we talking about here?

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

    Then it is up to Baronius …

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

    75

    Baronius,

    I am looking at the result of your beliefs. No, and I won’t just look at this issue as if it is isolated. You have a pattern of expressed ideas that allows people to reasonably accurately predict which pov you’ll take on a topic. That means it’s a reliable pattern.

    It’s very important to know the outcomes of people’s choices. Much more important than being able to guess the exact reason for those choices. Whether you believe something or not doesn’t make a difference when the result is the same. The result is suffering.

    What the real problem is, is believing anything that lets you deny the reality of the suffering of others. Whether it’s Jesus, or the free market, or the numerous other beliefs that keep people able to distance themselves from that reality–it doesn’t matter exactly what they are–they all have the same effect.

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

    Beliefs are important, but outcomes should make a person rethink their position(s) and the belief(s) behind it.

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

    There’s another thing, Cindy, two conflicting and competing versions of the modern identity, and I quote:

    “For the utilitarians, the excellence of the good man does not lie in the quality of his desires; these are the same as those of the bad man; it lies in the rationality and control with which he identifies and carries out the desires. But for Rousseau, the important difference lies precisely in the quality of the motivation. The good man is moved by the pure voice of conscience/nature, which truly comes from him; the bad man by heteronomous passions. The motivations of good and bad are not homogeneous, but qualitatively different.

    So living according to nature, version I, means exercising rationality and control to follow the demands of nature, which are themselves of no more than de facto worth. In version II, it is following the voice of nature, a source of pure, higher desire within us, which induces us to act well, Sentiment thus comes into into own.”

    So the is affirmative of the society (something akin to Max Weber’s Prostentatism and the Spirit of Capitalism); the second critical of the society. The first emphasizes instrumental reason and man’s dominance and control of nature – from which he derives “spiritual” satisfaction; the second turns on conscience and search of intrinsic values (in nature, humans, and society).

    Charles Taylor “Legitimation Crisis?”

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

    Should be “Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism”

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

    Roger, I’m looking up some things regarding #85. Meantime, weren’t you planning to post some other things in here?

    I’ll post some pertinent citations tomorrow (you know by whom!)

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

    Give me some time. I’ll try to install a scanner; if successful, I should be able to transmit larger segments via email.

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

    A fairly good account

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

    #87: OK, this concerns “the reptilian agenda” (the first video) and it pertains to the modern notions and mechanisms of social control of the populations at large:

    “The objectifying and domination of inner nature comes about . . . not just through a change of attitude but through training in an interiorization of certain disciplines. The disciplines whof organized bodily movement, of the employment of time, of ordered dispositions of living/working space; these are the paths by which objectification really takes place, becomes more than a philosopher’s dream, or the achievement of a small elite of spiritual explorers, and takes on the dimension of a mass phenomenon.

    But the disciplines which build this new way of being are social: they are the disciplines of the barracks, the hospital, the school, the factory. By their very nature they lend themselves to the control of some by others. In these contexts, the inculcation of habits of self-discipline is often the imposition of discipline by some on others. There are the loci where forms of domination become entranched through being interiorized.”

    Charles Taylor, “Foucault on Freedom and Truth.”

    It’s not the best, Cindy, but it gives an idea of how the doctors and hospitals and clinics have the kind of power and control they have (for the good of the population at large). And so it goes for other institutions, practices, and disciplines which evolved to the point of being able to exercise that kind of control over individuals and the society at large.

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

    Roger,

    The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism is available online. Maybe the things you want to scan are too. What are the titles?

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

    I doubt it, too esoteric, but I’ll look. Anyway, I wouldn’t read the whole thing (have done so already) – important though for some key ideas.

    See if Charles Taylor’s there, Philosophy and the Human Sciences: Philosophical Papers 2 — the two articles I cited from are worth reading.

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

    Roger, you do realize that David Icke really believes that Illuminati and others turn into reptiles, right? He actually made a DVD called The Reptilian Agenda (which I meant, but failed, to link directly to) and believes in shapeshifters. So, I don’t really read/view his stuff and I think that he’s a crackpot.

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

    But it’s even more insidious, Cindy, that apart from whether you believe or don’t believe in conspiracies, these kinds of controls and modes of surveillance are intact and institutionally grounded – apart from the question of there being a human design or some evil genius.

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

    Interesting take by Taylor on Wittgenstein re: the following of rules:

    Another one of his essays is on Wittgenstein’s analysis of rule-following. In the essay “To follow a rule,” Taylor explores why it is that people can fail to follow rules and what kind of knowledge is it that allows a person to successfully follow a rule, such as directions to a party or the arrow on a sign. In the intellectualist tradition we would presuppose that to follow directions to a party that we must have in consciousness a set of propositions and premises about how to follow directions. But how do we know whether or not the directions are adequate, i.e. what prevents skepticism of the arrow on a sign or your friends directions to a party? To an intellectualist, before any rule can be followed, all of these issues must already be resolved.
    Taylor argues that Wittgenstein’s solution is the articulation of a background of understanding. This background is not more rules or premises, but what Wittgenstein often referred to as “forms of life.” More specifically, Wittgenstein says in the Philosophical Investigations that “Obeying a rule is a practice.” Since giving reasons for following a rule must end at some point, Taylor locates this in our embodied understandings of the world, that is in the practical mastery we incorporate into our bodies in the form of habits, dispositions, and tendencies. The parallel would be how we learn to drive a car. Driving a car appears to follow rules, but in fact we never need to refer to rules when speeding down the highway. Rather our attention is elsewhere and we seem to rely on the skills we have embodied to constantly adjust and respond to events that we encounter. Taylor says, “Our understanding itself is embodied. That is, our bodily know-how and the way we act and move can encode components of our understanding of self and world.”
    Taylor’s point is to say that we don’t need to posit the human being primarily as the subject of representations in order to understand rule-following behavior or something like driving down the highway. Following Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Michael Polanyi, and of course Wittgenstein, Taylor argues that it is mistaken to presuppose that we are inherently cut off from the world and that our understanding of it is essentially mediated by representations. When we act, for example, we act with our bodies, whether linguistically or through grasping with the hand. But little of what is involved in our action, whether the goals of action or the rule specifying movement, is consciously articulated. In fact, he argues, it is only against an unarticulated background that representations can make sense to us at all.
    The notion of background helps us approach how it is that we understand in our everyday mode of being. That is, when we walk we have a bodily understanding of where to place the foot, but normally we do not need rules to do this. Rather our ability to walk is a bodily knowledge. Instead, Taylor argues, our ability to follow rules is founded in the relationship between a background of practices and bodily habits. On occasion we do follow rules but Taylor wants us to consider that the rules do not contain the principles of their own applications. As such we need to understand the more complicated relationship between our bodily know-how and the social and historical “forms of life” which explain our actions and of which rules often only supply an after-the-fact explanation and description.

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

    Cindy,

    I found the following synopsis/notes re: the two articles in question – not quite the same, but you might look at it:

    Notes.

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

    Might want to add this to your musical collection:

    “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

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

    Thanks for all the stuff, Roger. We should chat on the phone again, if you don’t mind. I can’t be sure I understand exactly, without asking questions.

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

    What I want to do first, Cindy, is to finish a few pieces and I’ll try to delineate a number of concepts which figure in the current debate, as well as identify the issues which seem to be at stake. So actually, I’m kind of less than prepared at this time to have a definitive take. Give a few days so as to be able to consolidate my understanding of what’s of critical importance. You do have my phone number, I believe, so you can call of course any time – except mornings where I do my readings at Starbucks till about 1 PM. But if you can hold on for two or three days, that would be more productive, because at this point I’m still in a state of flux. Meanwhile, read the article in the Eco’s collection on Foucault and make some notes. That could be the starting point.

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

    Sounds good. (But the book hasn’t arrived yet. Maybe mid-week.) Thanks!

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

    If I get my scanner working, I’ll transmit it tomorrow.

    Look up, meanwhile, on the concept of “narrative” as a way of legitimizing social practices, whether in the political area (such as the capitalist system of production) or the practices of hard sciences. One way to describe the present crisis is that “narratives” are no longer believable. The Project Enlightenment, which is supposed to bring liberation to human kind and the triumph of reason is regarded by many as having been a great disappointment. The validity of human reason itself has come under question. And that’s one main issue, from which different strands of modern thought follow.

    Alasdair MacIntyre should be a good lead; besides, the notion of narrative should have separate entries online.

  • Baronius

    Cindy, I’ve been thinking about your comment #79. I don’t know how to answer it, because the whole premise seems wrong.

    No man is an island. What helps you helps me. At some point in our lives, we’re all in the high rise and in the projects. That’s literally true for a lot of us. For the rest of us, we should expect it anyway.

    I don’t think it’s true to view people as competing interests, classes, races, whatever. It doesn’t provide any insight to think that way. Additionally, such thinking damages the soul (or psyche if you prefer). That’s not to say that our commonality is a fact simply because thinking otherwise makes us less than human, but such thinking does have that effect.

    I think that’s why we don’t communicate well. It’s not that we don’t see the same suffering. It’s something else.

    A man walks into a dentist’s office. He says, “Doctor, help me, I think I’m a moth.” The dentist says, “I’m a dentist, not a psychiatrist. Why did you come in here?” The man says, “the light was on.”

    You say that there is suffering, so we should tear down the predatorial power structure. When I disagree, it’s not that I don’t see suffering. It’s not that I don’t care about suffering. It’s that I don’t agree with your analysis of the problem.

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

    The following can get you started.

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

    The single-payer option – which Dave for some reason endorses

    I endorse the concept of having a single entity like the government collect money and disburse it to individuals to spend exclusively on health care. This is not what any version of the bill has included. The version of single-payer in the now-dead Conyers bill would have left government making all of the health choices for the patient and shut out any role for private insurance or individual choice.

    Dave

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

    Roger,

    I have to look at what ‘narrative’ means in philosophy. In my own thinking, narrative plays a very large part of how socialization and indoctrination take place. So, when I have said the ‘voice’ of the dominant or marginalized culture, that’s what I mean, it’s narrative–the story it tells to explain the world, sell itself, etc.

    So, it’s this narrative (whether it’s explaining what is beautiful or desirable and what people should look like with a Calvin Klein ad, or imbuing the military and war with positive attributes and associations, etc.) that consistently dominates the media, the educational system, and all of the institutions associated with the culture.

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

    OK, Cindy, here it is:

    “Science has always been in conflict with narratives. Judged by the yardstick of science, the majority of them prove to be fables. But to the extent that science does not restrict itself to stating useful regularities and seeks the truth, it is obliged to legitimate the rules of its own game. It then produces a discourse of legitimation with respect to its own status, a discourse called philosophy. I will use the term modern to designate any science that legitimates itself with reference to a metadiscourse of this kind making an explicit appeal to some grand narrative, such as the dialectics of Spirit, the hermeneutics of meaning, the emancipation of the rational or working subject, or the creation of wealth. For example, the rule of consensus between the sender and addressee or a statement with truth-value is deemed acceptable if it is cast in terms of a possible unanimity between rational minds: the is the Enlightenment narrative, in which the hero of knowledge works toward a good ethico-political end –universal peace. As can be seen from this example, if a metanarrative implying a philosophy of history is used to legitimate knowledge, questions are raised concerning the validity of the institutions governing the social bond: there must be legitimated as well. Thus justice is consigned to the grand narrative in the same way as truth.

    “Simplifying to the extreme, I define postmodern as incredulity toward metanarratives.”

    Jean-Francois Lyotard The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge.

    This is a useful usage because it ties neatly to the modern perception that Project Enlightenment (spoken of earlier) has been a failure.

  • http://delibernation.com/blog/3 Silas Kain

    Is it at all possible, Roger, that the great “thinkers” of yore have to be interpreted in the context of their environment at their particular time? Perhaps all these parables, philosophies and such are mere breadcrumbs on a trail guiding us to the ultimate knowledge which will be revealed when we are ready to accept it. Does that make sense?

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

    You’ve got something there, and Foucault, for example, would argue that no two periods of history (along with the set of social practices and mores) are really comparable; there is something to be said for that. But again, Silas, I’m less interested in personal odysseys – because they’re less problematic and offer no theoretical challenge – than in the progress of the society at large.

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

    To analogize, you’re getting there, Silas, insofar as your own understanding is concerned, so no, I’m not worrying about you. But just because you’re about to figure out what’s right for yourself and your fellow men, it doesn’t follow that you’re any closer to solving the problem on the macro level. Unless you want to beat those who don’t go along with your program, enlightened and right-headed as it may be, into submission.

  • http://delibernation.com/blog/3 Silas Kain

    I’m getting there, Roger. Like America, I take a long time to figure things out for myself and I’m with you about beating others into submission. It dawns on me this week that my views are not the final arbiter of things but an enhancement. So I need to learn to back off imposing my views in favor of listening to other views to see if mine should be amended. I’m like the Constitution — I’m ever evolving and occasionally I require a Constitutional Convention.

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

    Now you’re flagellating yourself, Silas, and this response was not at all what I intended. The point really is – even if you had the wisdom of God Almighty – you’d still be hard put to set the society aright. It’s not enlightened individuals that we lack but enlightened society.