Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 6/30/17

1. Traffic here is cratering in the run-up to the 4th, guaranteeing that for one of the few months in Ethics Alarms history, June 2017 will have seen significantly less traffic than its previous year’s equivalent. 2017 and 2016 are now in a dead heat.

I have some theories: by this point last year the campaign was heating up, and I was being sufficiently critical of both parties and candidates to make everyone happy. Ethics Alarms also started getting a lot of those paid Hillary shills commenting; I banned more commenters in 2016 by far than any other year. Also because of the campaign, there were an unusual number of posts shared by hundreds and even thousands of readers, as well as a record number of the anomalous posts that double or even triple the daily average. Those, I have found, are completely unpredictable. What I consider important or especially astute essays almost never attract readership; the runaway posts are usually about something relatively trivial.

On the other hand, the blog has many more followers in 2017, more consistently high-quality comments, and, as my life partner continues to remind me with dagger glances, revenue is holding steady…

2. There was another Ethics Hero tale to tell yesterday, though the only one I had time for was the group in Texas that bought a car for a young fast-food worker.

Major League Baseball umpire John Tumpane, assigned to a Pittsburgh Pirate home series, was walking from his hotel to the ball park across the Roberto Clemente Bridge when he saw woman climb over the railing to the outside of the bridge. He decided to approach her, and in response to his queries, she told Tumpane she just wanted to get a better view of the Allegheny River below.

The look on her face and the tone of her voice told Tumpane otherwise, so he grabbed her and refused to obey her demands that she let her go…and jump. Another  bystander saw what was going on and joined him, grabbing the woman’s free arm. A third grabbed her legs through the railing as Tumpane implored the gathering crowd to call 911. The three men held on  until emergency responders arrived.

“Once they were able to secure her, we were able to talk her back to help us out and we got her back on this side,” Tumpane told reporters. “After that I went up to her, she said, ‘You’ll just forget me after this’ and I said, ‘No, I’ll never forget you.’ This was an unbelievable day and I’m glad to say she can have another day with us and I’m glad I was in the right place at the right time….This isn’t about me. I appreciate this opportunity, but this is just for her, and people care about her, and I’m just glad that this is a positive story and not a sad story today. I just happened to be there. I think I’ve been a caring person in my life. I saw somebody in need, and it looked like a situation to obviously insert myself and help out.”

Stories like this make me think about chaos. If Tumpane had taken a phone call or stopped to chat with someone on the way to the park and been a few minutes later on his route—or if cameras and computers had already replaced baseball umpires as I fervently hope they will— the woman would be dead, and her son who grows up to save the world from Skynet would never be born….

3. Ethics Scout Fred just registered this: After the same  Ohio addict had to be revived  by Nalaxone 20 separate times by police after overdosing, a politician in Middletown, Ohio suggested that law enforcement stop responding to opioid overdoses because it was too expensive, setting off the debate about the duty to rescue, and focusing on the duty to of society to rescue and pay for useless, drug-addled jack-asses who have rendered themselves a burden on everyone else.  Or in the terms of #2 above, when do you let the woman jump?

You don’t.

Middletown City Council member Dan Picard, living up to the worst stereotypes about Republicans, said that the man  “obviously doesn’t care much about his life, but he’s expending a lot of resources, and we can’t afford it,” as he noted that the town would spend at least $100,000 on Narcan this year after only budgeting $10,000 for 2017.

To create an ethical society, there needs to be sufficient negative reinforcement for those who abuse the community and harm everyone else by using a disproportionate amount of the community’s resources while not contributing anything approaching a fair share of those resources. At some point, and 20 overdose rescues is over the line whatever that reasonable point is,  part of that negative reinforcement has to include being charged by the city.

Another indispensable component part is shame.

4. The various misconduct by other teachers and professors got in the way of my posting on this jaw-dropping story: At California’s Vista Murrieta High School, the company that handled the student elections (wait: schools need to have outside companies handle elections now?) discovered that fraudulent votes determined the winners of the races for the 2019 class president, 2019 secretary and 2018 class president.

Said the school’s principal while announcing that the actual winners would now replace the students installed by voting fraud, “This is a very unfortunate and disappointing situation, and I regret the impact it has had on the students involved and the student body as a whole.”

Are the Russians fixing high school elections now? No, the truth is even worse. A teacher, Denise Marie Peterson, fixed the election while serving as associated student body adviser. She apparently messed with the vote totals to make sure that more liberal candidates were elected, at least in the case of one race involving a member of a group of conservative male students who had run in a previous school election.

The Murrieta Valley Unified School District spokeswoman said that Peterson  resigned her advisor role but remains employed as a teacher, saying,  “Obviously, it was a serious lapse in judgment, and the school is committed to righting the wrong,”

Let me repeat that: Peterson resigned her advisor role but remains employed as a teacher.

After all, she was doing the right thing to undermine a conservative’s effort to gain power, she just got caught, that’s all. She needs to confine her efforts to indoctrination, like the rest of the teachers in Southern California.

5. A long-time friend, a retired Washington journalist of some note and a reflex progressive on all matters , opined on Facebook that he believed health care was a right, attracting the predictable Facebook echo chamber seal barking and clapping in the form of “likes.” Asked (by me, of course) to square that position with any rational definition of right, my friend posted an op-ed evoking Jesus.  Jesus represents the ultimate appeal to authority, and a cop-out extraordinaire. It’s great and inspiring to espouse pure values, but if the policies that flow from expressing those values are unworkable, unaffordable, and have failed repeatedly, attention must be paid. Jesus never had to balance a budget or run a business, and frankly, his views on social policy have abstract value only, and limited practical relevance. How things should be and how things can be are often very different, and while it is fine to dream, important to aspire and essential to always strive to do better, policies divorced from financial and practical realities are not ethical. They are irresponsible.

 

 

 

178 Comments

Filed under Character, Education, Ethics Heroes, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Religion and Philosophy, Rights, U.S. Society, Workplace

178 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 6/30/17

  1. “as my life partner continues to remind me with dagger glances, revenue is holding steady…”

    Good one, always nice to begin the day with a guttural guffaw! As my Dear 92 year-old Father says, a good laugh is better’n a pill!

    “June 2017 will have seen significantly less traffic than its previous year’s equivalent.”

    CNN has an…um…unique approach to traffic, when it’s not actually there, just create it. For most, it seems the mere appearance is enough.

  2. Inquiring Mind

    Breaking my hiatus…

    But 4 speaks volumes to the state of this country. We had someone who felt that the conservatives had to be out of power by any means necessary. In this case, she rigged an election. Sound familiar?

    From the November 8 to January 6 timeframe (two months), there were three efforts to try to reverse the election that Donald Trump won. There were the Jill Stein-backed recounts. There was the attempt to get electors to flip or to not vote Trump. Then there was the last-ditch effort to have the electoral votes of several states thrown out.

    What is that if not a declaration of civil war? I want Ace of Spades and Dennis Prager to be wrong about America being in a cold civil war, but I cannot convincingly refute their hypothesis any more. Not when I look at the actions of California, which is clearly engaging in nullification, and acting against the civil rights of those who espouse conservative causes.

    Number 5 also speaks to the Left. If you’d raised any objection to that guy’s post in a comment, Jack, you too would have been accused of being complicit in the murder of thousands in the eyes of the Left.

    That has been going on, in one variation or another, for over two decades. I remember watching CSPAN in college and seeing John Lewis compare those who wanted to fix an obviously broken welfare system “Nazis.”

    You wonder why people like Ace figure restraint is not working? How long do I need to put up with such slander before it’s finally okay to punch back?

    Furthermore, the characterization of the Republicans as mass murderers for not backing single payer/Obamacare, or as Nazis, or anything else you’ve heard the Left call them helps them justify stuff like in item number 4 – and much worse, like what we have seen in Berkeley, Middlebury College, and elsewhere.

    • (Don’t forget also at Republican baseball practices)

      • (easy to forget, because unlike alot of mass shootings, this one was barely touched by the media)

        • Chris

          (easy to forget, because unlike alot of mass shootings, this one was barely touched by the media)

          You’re joking. Stats on that?

          • It is early yet to tell, but we had reminders in the media for years referring to Newtown and Aurora, usually as a ploy for gun control or other progressive political agendas. I am betting that less will be said in the progressive media simply because of who the shooter was, why he did it, and who the victims were. This is their standard operating procedure, given past experience.

            The progressive media has already started the victim blaming on this. Bringing it up allows their opposition to remind them just how the shooting happened, and that gets in the way of the agenda. It would not surprise me if Tex is eventually right.

    • Chris

      From the November 8 to January 6 timeframe (two months), there were three efforts to try to reverse the election that Donald Trump won. There were the Jill Stein-backed recounts. There was the attempt to get electors to flip or to not vote Trump. Then there was the last-ditch effort to have the electoral votes of several states thrown out.

      What is that if not a declaration of civil war?

      What a hysterical, idiotic comment. Recounts and attempts to change mind are not violence. A declaration of war is an act of violence.

      Popehat recently had a series of tweets about how many on the right are adopting the idea that has become popular among campus leftists that speech is equivalent to violence. Thanks for providing an example of that.

      • Joe Fowler

        “A declaration of war is an act of violence.”
        No it isn’t. It’s an annoying metaphor in most cases. An affectation used to impress upon the reader or listener just how darned seriously they ought to be taking something the user deems important, i.e.: the War on Poverty; the War on Drugs; the War on Women.

        • Inquiring Mind

          Joe, what else can you call what the left has been doing since November 8, 2016? Take your best shot at disproving Prager and Ace… if you can.

          • Joe Fowler

            The left has become…Progressively unhinged (can’t resist that pun) since the election. My point above is about crappy metaphors and their use, as well as the left’s propaganda line of calling everything ‘violence’, which I felt that Chris was doing. What the left is doing is trying to undermine the legitimately elected President any and every way that they can, and they can’t believe it when he won’t shut-up and take it.

      • Recounts and attempts to change mind are not violence.

        But they were an attempt to take over a nation’s government by means other than following the rules, Chris. They were all an attempted coup, and some were not so bloodless (look at the the riots.) ‘Attempts to change mind’ of electors to break their vows is a coup attempt against a duly elected government. Cold civil war is not so far off the mark when looked at that way.

        You are whitewashing a bit here. Progressives acted exactly how they said Trump supporters would act, had the election gone the other way. Not accepting the results of an election was castigated by the left… until they did it. Then suddenly is was the right thing to do. At least have the integrity to own those facts, Chris.

  3. Asked (by me, of course) to square that position with any rational definition of right, my friend posted an op-ed evoking Jesus. Jesus represents the ultimate appeal to authority, and a cop-out extraordinaire. It’s great and inspiring to espouse pure values, but if the policies that flow from expressing those values are unworkable, unaffordable, and have failed repeatedly, attention must be paid. Jesus never had to balance a budget or run a business, and frankly, his views on social policy have abstract value only, and limited practical relevance. How things should be and how things can be are often very different, and while it is fine to dream, important to aspire and essential to always strive to do better, policies divorced from financial and practical realities are not ethical. They are irresponsible.

    Did he evoke Jesus when arguing why same-sex marriage must be banned?

    • People using the Gospel as a political cudgel don’t understand the Gospel. People using the Gospel as a political guide may understand the Gospel but are in extreme danger of abusing it and what it offers (and expects).

      I notice a lot of Lefties use Jesus’ life as a cudgel to imply one can say, impose the Sermon on the Mount life via legislative fiat, or impose some of his aphoristic calls to a holy life via legislative fiat. I’ll see many of Christ’s aphorisms that have a more “squishy & touchy feeling” shade to them used as a guilt trip to lessen the need for higher standards in society all while completely ignoring Christ’s call to live to a higher standard in society.

      It’s like a message that is heavy on the “judge not” and heavy on the “love your enemies” but incredibly light on the “your righteousness must exceed that of the pharisees” and light on the “Even now the axe is laid at the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

      • valkygrrl

        Beats the hell out of Leviticus as legislative fiat. Your state does still ban the sale of marital aids does it not? http://web.archive.org/web/20070525044229/http://www.klbk13.tv/news/default.asp?mode=shownews&id=2259

        • Is there a relevant point here?

        • No valkygrrl, that is an irresponsible smear against Texas (meet you in the town square at high noon, cobber!) These laws have been obsolete and rescinded for quite some time (like my adult life)

          You had to search historical archives to get a link with which to smear us. What does that tell you about your bias?

        • Huh? I must be living in a Parallel Houston, then. My law office is about 4 miles from my house, outside 610 Loop West, down Richmond Avenue west just past Hillcroft. By my account, there are at least 4 adult ‘novelty; stores, and at least 3 ‘smoke’ shops selling all sorts of marital aids and other assorted merchandise.

          jvb

      • Exactly right, tex.

        One thing that is often overlooked is how often Jesus is invoked to justify government doing something, but that is so blatantly not what Jesus preached about. He spoke about personal, interior disposition, and the actions we should take personally. It is “whatsoever you do to the least of these, that you do unto me,” not “whatsoever you vote for the government to do so you don’t have to yourself…”

        This is what bothers me about the health care debate. Let’s grant that health care is a right. But health care being a right does not directly translate to the government providing health insurance for everyone. First, health insurance is not health care. It can be a means by which we get access to health care, but a guarantee of insurance is not a guarantee of health care. It is like food stamps. They can be used buy food, but if there is no food available, those food stamps don’t really avail anything.

        Second, the government is not the only entity out there that can provide funding for health care, and we can argue whether the government should even be an entity involved in such funding. My personal view, and the reason I think it so important to recognize that Jesus is calling for interior conversion and personal action, is that entrusting the responsibility for health care to the government practically equates to personal abdication of responsibility in the matter. If someone in front of me needs help paying for health care, it is actually incumbent upon me to aid that person. But if the government is going to cover that person, what need do I have to bother? What need do I have to even pay attention?

        Moreover, the consolidation of power in the government speaks of a lack of trust. The rich must be hoarding their wealth and cannot be trusted to be generous with their riches. Therefore the government has to pry their fingers open and wrest from them what the poor need. This in turn has two impacts on interior disposition. First, it fosters resent, which harms the goodwill toward the people in need. Second, it encourages sloth. If the expectation is that I’m going to be a greedy bastard, and I’m going to be treated as a greedy bastard no matter what I do, it is hard not to live down to that expectation.

        One last thing comes to mind. Jesus’ focus on interior disposition really hits a jarring chord in the story of the widow’s mite. The widow who places two coins of minuscule value in the collection, according to Jesus, contributes more than the rich because she gives out of her substance, while they give out of their excess. I think we all struggle with this because we can’t help but see in absolutes. A million dollars is worth more than two cents. What more is there to say? Moreover, which would we want to collect for someone in need? A million dollars of a rich man’s excess, or two cents from someone who is squeezing every penny to get by? Logic would say that the former should be the win-win situation. Yet Jesus would have us believe otherwise, because it isn’t the amount that is important, but the spirit underlying the donation.

        And when we’ve seen recently that a politician can raise $23 million from average contributions of $50 from all across the nation, and a stranger can raise $5500 in 30 hours from tin-can rattling to buy a car for a young man in need, I’m inclined to believe Jesus on this one.

        • Ryan,

          Excellent comment.

          “This is what bothers me about the health care debate. Let’s grant that health care is a right. But health care being a right does not directly translate to the government providing health insurance for everyone.”

          That is my problem with the health care/insurance debate as well. Somehow the right to see your doctor got translated into the right to have the citizenry pay for your right to see your doctor. If the SCOTUS’ opinion can be taken to its logical conclusion, why isn’t auto insurance a fundamental right? Everyone would agree that uninsured motorists are a constant source of problems for other motorists, in terms of car crashes, personal injury, and other issues. If the government can force the purchase of health insurance, then it should be able to force the purchase of auto insurance, no?

          “Moreover, the consolidation of power in the government speaks of a lack of trust. The rich must be hoarding their wealth and cannot be trusted to be generous with their riches. Therefore the government has to pry their fingers open and wrest from them what the poor need. This in turn has two impacts on interior disposition. First, it fosters resent, which harms the goodwill toward the people in need. Second, it encourages sloth. If the expectation is that I’m going to be a greedy bastard, and I’m going to be treated as a greedy bastard no matter what I do, it is hard not to live down to that expectation.”

          Excellent point. The assumption that the rich are greedy and made their money off the sweat and backs of the poor is really insulting.

          jvb

          • But essential to the next step in the socialist play-book, which is rationalization taking their money and property and giving it to those who “have a right to it.”

          • Chris

            If the government can force the purchase of health insurance, then it should be able to force the purchase of auto insurance, no?

            The government already does force the purchase of auto insurance.

            • The government already does force the purchase of auto insurance.

              I disagree. I think the equivalent would be requiring someone who doesn’t even have a car or any other vehicle to buy auto insurance, in the expectation that someday that person might have such a vehicle.

              • deery

                I mean, I disagree with the individual mandate. But pretty much everyone has a body which requires some healthcare at some point. Unless you die way too early and swiftly to need it. But that’s not exactly a triumphant storyline to bet on.

                • There are some people who literally choose death over going to see a doctor, and some of them do live long lives. That’s the main reason I disagree with Chris. If I personally opt never to use a health care system, or if I do choose to use a doctor, but I pay out of pocket every time, then I’m like the person in my analogy who doesn’t have a vehicle and never intends to get one.

                  • deery

                    Some rare people out there do that. But even that rare person, if out for a stroll pitches over clutches their chest and bystanders call an ambulance, may still find themselves using healthcare, even with no intent on their part. And someone would still have to pay for it.

                  • Chris

                    John was originally referring uninsured motorists, so it sounded like he was saying auto insurance isn’t legally required for drivers.

                    There are some people who literally choose death over going to see a doctor, and some of them do live long lives. If I personally opt never to use a health care system, or if I do choose to use a doctor, but I pay out of pocket every time, then I’m like the person in my analogy who doesn’t have a vehicle and never intends to get one.

                    No, because you still have a body and are still at risk of needing healthcare. People who choose not to see a doctor when they need one pose the greatest risk, because they will be more likely to need emergency care and less likely to be able to pay for it.

                    • I was thinking he meant that the reasoning would go, “Since there are uninsured drivers, make everyone who doesn’t have auto insurance get auto insurance, whether they have a vehicle or not.” But, since auto insurance is mandated at the state level, not the federal level (if it makes any difference, it is not mandated at all in New Hampshire), maybe John was referring to a federal law requiring auto insurance.

                    • My analogy was clumsy and inarticulate – it was really brilliant while it was bouncing around in my Dr. Pepper-fueled mind. My apologies. Ryan and Chris have rightly pointed out the flaws of my reasoning. In fact, I think Ryan’s clarification is more succinct – requiring those who don’t own or drive a motor vehicle to purchase auto insurance.

                      jvb

                    • Chris

                      Can I just say how wonderful it is to be a part of a community where people admitting they got a point wrong is the norm, and not at all unusual?

                      There are times when I feel like certain posters should concede a point that they don’t. And I know lots of people here feel like I won’t back down even after they have, in their view, proven me wrong. But still: comments like john’s here are extraordinarily rare for the Internet at large, but not at all rare for this particular blog.

                      It’s such a small thing, john, but it speaks well to both you and to this blog as a whole.

                    • Sue Dunim

                      The auto insurance mandated for those who don’t have cars is an excellent argument against having a fulltime military, paid for by all taxpayers.

                      There are many who are pacifists, yet are compelled to pay foraircraft carriers anyway. There are more who don’t think the US putting more money into armaments than any 10 other countries put together is an appropriate use of their tax dollars.

                      There is nothing more Socialist than a professional military.

                    • Bad analogy, SD. The military protects everyone, and the whole country. Pacifists are would-be freeloaders and phonies: War exists, enemies exist, threats exist, and “Give Peace A Chance” is a bad song and an excuse to duck shared responsibility. The fact that pacifists pretend that they can wish war away doesn’t make it so. Auto insurance is required to protect me from bad drivers. Why am I responsible for the health care of chain smokers, dare-devils and alcoholics? How is that fair?

                    • Chris

                      Let’s try a simple cut-and-replace on that comment, Jack:

                      Universal healthcare protects everyone, and the whole country. Opponents of universal healthcare are would-be freeloaders and phonies: Disease exists, accidents exist, illness exists, and “Pull Yourself Up By Your Bootstraps” is a bad song and an excuse to duck shared responsibility. The fact that opponents of universal healthcare pretend that they can wish the fact that some people cannot get necessary care away doesn’t make it any less true. Health insurance is required to protect me from the cost of serious illness, and a mandate is required to protect the nation from freeloaders. Why am I responsible for the choices of world leaders to engage in petty wars? How is that fair?

                      Hm. You could be right that it’s a bad analogy. But your comment only strengthens it.

                    • Universal healthcare doesn’t protect everyone, though. That’s like saying free food protects everyone. Everyone doesn’t need the government’s management of health care equally. Many don’t need it at all. Many plan their expenses better Many live healthier life styles. Many spend wisely on preventive care. This is a false pretense that everyone is in the same situation, or equally unable to take care of their own needs.

                      Absolutely NOT the case with the military. National defense is a core government function, and no amount of planning, smart living and responsible action will allow a single citizen fight off the invading Chinese while his neighbor is being conquered.

      • I also note that these people never appeal to Islam.

        • Chris

          Why would they? Christianity is the dominant religion in the United States; the majority of politicians and citizens who oppose same-sex marriage are Christian. The majority of bakers who have refused to make gay wedding cakes are Christian.

          If the same were true of Islam in the U.S., we’d appeal to Islam.

  4. Regarding Number 5

    The right to free speech means that the government can not interfere with speech nor punish yhou for it. It does not mean that third parties have a duty to provide a megaphone or a printing press.

    The right to keep and bear arms means that the government can not punish you for peaceful possession of a firearm. It does not mean that third parties have a duty to provide you with firearms and ammunition.

    The right to life means that the government can not take away your life without due process of law. It does not mean that third parties have a duty to provide air, water, food, or health care.

    The Supreme Court, in fact, noted this . It stated that
    “[t]here is a basic difference between direct state interference with
    a protected activity and state encouragement of an alternative
    activity consonant with legislative policy.” Maher v. Roe, 432 U.S.
    464 at 475 (1977) In Maher, the Supreme Court upheld a state’s refusal to pay for people’s abortions, on the basis that the right to privacy only meant that the state could not interfere with abortion in the first trimester, it was not obligated to provide the means for an abortion.

  5. Re #4. Wow. So many levels of problem: teacher, the school that continues to employ her, the insecure voting system which one suspects the school paid a lot of money to employ… And by no means least: “Wade Sine, a Vista Murrieta parent, told the paper Monday he helped uncover voting irregularities after obtaining data indicating times votes were cast as well as the IP address used to log into the voting company’s website.” So how did that happen? Unless he works for the voting company or is a member of the school board or something and just happens to also be a parent, there’s no way he should have had that access.

    There’s also a story a couple of clicks deep about a student five years ago at a different school in Orange County who was suspended for hacking into the school’s computer system and discovering that at that school, too, a faculty advisor had managed to alter the results of a student election. And then the student retroactively appealed his 5-day suspension by arguing that allowing that blemish to remain on his record would “not be conducive to [his] academic success.” Well, no, kid, being busted for hacking the school’s computer is unlikely to look good. You’ve got a point, there.

    Just… wow.

    • Rich in CT

      >> (wait: schools need to have outside companies handle elections now?)

      It looks like they just used a website to conduct the election, rather than take time out of class for everyone to stand around in the cafeteria and cast a paper ballot.

      >> “Wade Sine, a Vista Murrieta parent, told the paper Monday he helped uncover voting irregularities after obtaining data indicating times votes were cast as well as the IP address used to log into the voting company’s website.” So how did that happen?

      It appears he was part of the “probe”: “Sine told the Press-Enterprise he attended meetings with Peterson during the probe and identified Peterson as the adviser.” There must have been something obviously fishy about the results if the PTO or something were looking in to it.

      >> Let me repeat that: Peterson resigned her advisor role but remains employed as a teacher.

      She would loose her stipend, so there is some real penalty of several thousand dollars; but the school expects her to be taken seriously?

      ‘Ello, Comrade Peterson!

      • Chris

        I don’t even understand what the point is of fixing the election for a “more liberal” candidate at a high school. What possible difference could political views make for a high school president? Are they debating whether vending machines with sodas are a fundamental right?

        • “what the point is of fixing the election for a “more liberal” candidate at a high school.”

          Neurosis on the part of the ballot stuffing teacher.

        • The Wednesday Woman

          So the “more liberal” candidates could put their offices on their college applications and get into schools that train “more liberal” candidates for real offices? Or is that too much logic?

  6. Other Bill

    Re 5 above: The substitution of fealty to orthodox Liberalism and the Democratic party for participation in organized religion is a big problem and, to me at least, a totally unexpected development. Liberal politics and policy have become so fervent and irrational, they’ve replaced faith in people’s lives. And “Social Justice!” has replaced “Faith, Hope and Charity” in churches. Bizarre, ironic and unhealthy. Whatever happened to “God is Dead?” as per Time Magazine when I was a kid? I’m beginning to think He’s not dead, He’s come back to Earth as Bernie Sanders or Barack Obama bringing single payer health care rather than salvation and eternal life. What a muddle.

    • wyogranny

      If this is true He might prefer to stay dead. It used to make me laugh a little when Obama was compared to Jesus by saying Jesus was a community organizer.

      • “Obama was compared to Jesus by saying Jesus was a community organizer.”

        A couple other historical notables got their start in “Community Organizing: Fidel Castro, Benito Mussolini, Pol Pot, Mao Tse Tung, and that failed artist from Austria.

  7. deery

    I think we on some level believe that health care is a right. We may disagree on the level of health care, or what form the payment takes, but functionally, we do believe there is a minimum standard of healthcare that everyone is owed.

    Hospitals are not allowed to turn away patients who are experiencing a health emergency and cannot pay. They must take those indigent patients, and get them stabilized to the point where they can be safely released or transferred. Who pays for that? We do. In the form of higher hospital bills and through our taxes with Medicaid/Medicare. Very few people believe or would withstand the thought that hospitals or doctors should first ensure that the patients can pay before treating that gunshot, insulin shock, or heart attack.

    So after that, it’s a matter of whether our policies are efficient in accomplishing our goals. Is there a better way to get people a minimum standard of care than the way we are doing now? And thus you have the health care debate. But I have a difficult time seeing how healthcare isn’t considered a right in America. Mostly we disagree on visible the funding for it should be.

    • “I think we on some level believe that health care is a right”

      I think you mean to say “rendering immediate aid in an individual capacity is an obligation”. An argument you turned purple fighting against a few threads ago, but that’s tangential to the topic.

      But yes, you are correct, we do believe those who can render aid are ethically obligated to do so when an emergency & life threatening situation presents itself.

      When non-emergencies or non-immediately life threatening situations present themselves we’re no longer discussing that scenario, but now merely a service within the greater market that is of value to an individual but presenting no obligation on the part of the community.

      • deery

        No, I’m not talking about individuals, I’m talking about systematically giving people healthcare. That is why we have Medicare and Medicaid after all. We do believe there is a minimum standard of care that people are owed (a “claim right”). After that, we mostly disagree on what the minimum is and how visible the funding for that minimum should be.

        • If you aren’t talking about individuals then you aren’t talking about rights…

          I thought you were talking about rights.

          • deery

            Well, one could have group rights, in theory, at least.

            But that’s irrelevant here. The individual has the right to healthcare. But the right is implemented systematically by institutions in this case, not an ad hoc, “just happen to wander across someone on the side of the road in need of assistance ” fashion.

            • You have yet to prove a right to ‘healthcare’ because you have yet to define what ‘healthcare’ is or what component of it actually justifies being called a ‘right’.

        • :”After that, we mostly disagree on what the minimum is and how visible the funding for that minimum should be.

          By the way, is there a point to acknowledging this? Only hyper-Libertarians make the argument for a fully free market solution.

          I find when Lefties make these kinds of “well we all agree that to a certain level we ought to do this”, they immediately follow with a “so we ought to do it whole hog socialist”.

          Is that you’re ultimate purpose? Because if it is, I don’t think you’re approaching this discussion with good faith.

          • deery

            By the way, is there a point to acknowledging this? Only hyper-Libertarians make the argument for a fully free market solution.

            Well, the premise was, “there is no such thing as a right to healthcare.” I disagreed with that statement, mostly by demonstrating that there is already a right to healthcare, even if we do not think of it explicitly as such.

            I find when Lefties make these kinds of “well we all agree that to a certain level we ought to do this”, they immediately follow with a “so we ought to do it whole hog socialist”.

            Well, we are already doing it “whole hog socialist.” You are already paying for other people’s healthcare, in one way or another. That ship has sailed a long time ago. The only question that remains is whether we are doing it in an efficient manner, with best outcomes, or if there are better ways to accomplish the same things.

            • No see, the term “health care” is a hugely broad term and fully inappropriate for the topic “right to health care”.

              It may include WITHIN the spectrum of services items which could be viewed as RIGHTS. But if a rational person, thinking they are agreeing to that limited set of obligations as rights, says “Sure, there is a certain right to health care”, the avid Lefty will say “AHA! then ALL health care items should all be paid for by the government!!!”

              I have merely attempted here to get you to adjust your terminology to being less overly broad and more into “what within the nebulous term ‘health care’ actually could be considered a ‘right'”.

              My suggestion in that regard is what we already obligate medical providers to handle: Immediate, Emergencies of an immediately life-threatening nature.

              But even then, that in no way obligates the community to pay for those procedures even though “as the ship has sailed”, we are doing it that way now.

              “That ship has sailed” arguments are lame and academically lazy. If an argument is good enough and an objective is ethically defensible enough there’s no such thing as “too late to try”.

              • deery

                But even then, that in no way obligates the community to pay for those procedures even though “as the ship has sailed”, we are doing it that way now.

                Functionally, how else would that work? You are obligating people to provide a service, with no regard to the persons ability to pay. Therefore, in cases where the person has no ability to pay for the service, the provider must absorb the cost, either personally, or more likely, passing it along to others in the community. It’s an unfunded mandate. But the expenses don’t just disappear.

                • It’s like health care hysterics forget that systems for payment over time exist in our modern society just as soon as someone mentions that receiving a medical service before payment doesn’t obligate the community to pay for it.

                  • deery

                    And when the person can’t pay for the 100k bill for their heart attack, no matter how long the installments, what then? When the homeless person treated for hypothermia dies before he’s even released from the hospital? When the mom can’t pay for her 50k c-section, as she’s not working? What good are installments then?

                    • Heart attack victim: bankruptcy or pays it out
                      Hypothermia victim: provider or community, depending on facility
                      Mom: bankruptcy or pays it out

                      Note that health providers will accept $25 per month payments if that is all the patient can afford. I know: my mom could not afford her cancer treatments, but stayed current by making $10, $15, and $25 dollar payments until she was better able to pay. Those providers were willing to take such payments for years.

                      Bankruptcy means higher costs for the community, granted. But I submit they are lower than what we have with socialized medicine.

                      Not saying there are perfect answers, they just ARE the answers. They all would have likely died had this happened any time in history prior to about 1950. So the privilege of survival has a cost to them.

                      Survival ALWAYS has a cost. Farmers have to work in the field to survive: that is a cost. Hunter Gatherer tribes had to move to find food and shelter: that was a cost. I drive to an office every day and fix inane situations for a paycheck: that is a cost.

                      ‘Fair’ does not play into it, and anyone who uses that argument is juvenile.

                    • deery

                      Bankruptcy means higher costs for the community, granted. But I submit they are lower than what we have with socialized medicine.

                      Well, you hit the nail on the head. Yes. Bankruptcy. The costs still exists, they are still spread to the rest of us. You assert without evidence that this alternative is less than the cost of (more explicit) socialized medicine. Perhaps that is the case. But I would love to see the numbers on that, versus someone , without any expertise stating this.

                      I agree that any decision will have a cost, and it will have externalities. It is a matter of weighing the costs v the benefits, and what kind of externalities we are willing to live with.

                    • Oh, gosh! Because the use of extreme cases is sufficient to undermine an argument!

                      I am defeated! I lay slain at the feet of supreme reason!

                      Woe is me! Woe to those of us who do not consider the extremely rare cases!

                      Woe to us to don’t take into account the extremely high costs some may incur (costs by the way inflated due to anti-market forces).

                      Woe to us who come face to face with deery’s incessant rush to point out extreme cases!

                      We surrender to the sublime profundity.

                      I see now that single payer it the only viable solution because sometimes a situation may arise where actors (sellers AND buyers) on a free market may find a need to come to a different financial agreement and sometimes the buyer absolutely CANNOT pay and yet somehow every other industry manages to accommodate these outliers!

                      Woe woe woe!

                  • Chris

                    It’s like health care hysterics forget that systems for payment over time exist in our modern society just as soon as someone mentions that receiving a medical service before payment doesn’t obligate the community to pay for it.

                    It’s like you forget that plenty of people in our society cannot or do not manage to pay into these systems on time, and that some die before their debt is paid in full. Meaning the community pays.

                    • The community does not necessarily pay, and when it does, it’d only be a partial payment. No doubt institutions will recoup as much of their losses as possible. These scenarios certainly exist.

                      I find it interesting that you think it less expensive for the community to create a bureaucratic solution that saddles the community with ALSO paying for administration and regulation to ensure that the institutions recoup any their losses.

                      That math doesn’t work out.

                    • Chris

                      I find it interesting that you think it less expensive for the community to create a bureaucratic solution that saddles the community with ALSO paying for administration and regulation to ensure that the institutions recoup any their losses.

                      That math doesn’t work out.

                      I think that because every other industrialized country in the world does it that way, and spends less than we do. How does the math not work out?

                    • Considering that I advocate for a more free market solution (which is not what we currently have, nor have had for a while), I’m not sure how your rebuttal isn’t a massive pushing of the goal posts. But I’ll go ahead and charge headlong at them anyway.

                      1) Your European demi-gods you think have such a great system, don’t.

                      2) As soon as they bother trying to foot the bill for their own defense instead of relying on OUR spending on OUR military, I’d love to see how solvent their ‘health’ care systems are.

                      3) When your policies break the system and turn it into a colossal Frankensteinian mess and make it way more expensive than it ought to be, it’s dishonest to pretend like that’s a fair basis to say “universal health care” is the best solution.

      • “but now merely a service within the greater market that is of value to an individual but presenting no obligation on the part of the community.”

        Sheesh! That casts a certain gloom over things, does that mean I have to personally bankroll the necessary procedures to make me look like that handsome…um…Devil, Zoltar Speaks!?

    • The right to free speech means that the government can not interfere with speech nor punish you for it. It does not mean that third parties have a duty to provide a megaphone or a printing press.

      The right to keep and bear arms means that the government can not punish you for peaceful possession of a firearm. It does not mean that third parties have a duty to provide you with firearms and ammunition.

      The right to life means that the government can not take away your life without due process of law. It does not mean that third parties have a duty to provide air, water, food, or health care.

      The Supreme Court, in fact, noted this . It stated that
      “[t]here is a basic difference between direct state interference with
      a protected activity and state encouragement of an alternative
      activity consonant with legislative policy.” Maher v. Roe, 432 U.S.
      464 at 475 (1977) In Maher, the Supreme Court upheld a state’s refusal to pay for people’s abortions, on the basis that the right to privacy only meant that the state could not interfere with abortion in the first trimester, it was not obligated to provide the means for an abortion.

      • deery

        Yes, that is the difference between a claim right and a liberty right. Healthcare is in fact, a claim right. Think of it as akin to the right to have an attorney. In the United States we do think there is a minimum of legal representation that one should have when dealing with the court system. We believe in this so much, we provide attorneys to people who could not otherwise afford one.

        • Because America was founded on Rule of Law & Due Process, that before the government deprives a person of life or liberty they should be run through Due Process with as much of the process in their favor as possible.

          America was not founded on *Guaranteeing* that Each Individual Can Avoid the Inevitabilities of Nature.

          The two provisions are not analogous.

          • deery

            Lovely strawman. Truly top notch.

            • It’s not a strawman. It literally addresses the comparison you’ve made.

              Lovely diversion. Truly top notch.

              • deery

                No One has asserted that the healthcare in question is about “*Guaranteeing* that Each Individual Can Avoid the Inevitabilities of Nature.” As far as I know, healthcare in general is not about that. You may as well assert that the right to an attorney is about ” guaranteeing that people avoid responsibilities for their actions and avoid going to jail.” It’s not a good faith argument. Do better.

                • If you are trying to make it analogous to state appointed attorneys, you are saying it’s about guaranteeing access to something (in the attorney’s case, a right to a fair trial), in health care’s case a “right” to medical treatment. Whatever that means.

        • (PSSST! You don’t have a right to have an attorney. Your right to liberty includes no haveing life, liberty or property taken away from you by the government, so you have a right to an attorney when being prosecuted in a criminal matter.)

          • A claim right is a non-right people claim as a right to avoid making a persuasive case that it is a right, apparently.

          • deery

            So you do have a right to an attorney then? Just not in every single situation. But no right is absolute, or functions in every situation.

            • You have a right to not lose your liberty to government power unless you have breached the social contract by breaking the law. That’s the right. Not to have a lawyer, which is incidental to making that right viable.

              • deery

                Cool. So mostly semantics then. We have pretty famous court cases which the police are literally obliged to tell people that they have a right to an attorney, and that if they can’t afford one, one will be provided for them.

                Furthermore, just because one right has its roots in another right does not somehow render the secondary right somehow not a right. Otherwise nothing is a right except the right to life. So perhaps this is a definitional disagreement? I’m operating off of this definition: Rights are entitlements (not) to perform certain actions, or (not) to be in certain states; or entitlements that others (not) perform certain actions or (not) be in certain states. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/rights/

        • Those lawyers you are using for comparison get their paychecks from the government. They’re overworked, understaffed, and have minimal resources and time. I’m sure you are right that we can provide a minimum level of healthcare service.

        • The claim right to an attorney is triggered by state action- namely, police interrogation. See Escobedo v. Illinois, 378 U.S. 478 (1964). If the state were to drop the criminal charges, the entitlement to an attorney is dissolved.

          What state action would trigger an entitlement to health care?

    • Let’s start at the beginning. We need to define the phrase “healthcare is a right”.

      A “right” is a protection or entitlement we collectively decide to give to people at the expense of our some of our freedoms because we think that society will be more robust, sustainable, able to advance, or generally pleasant to live in as a result. That’s very similar to the basis for ethics, as far as I can tell. A right is a meta-law, a limitation on what laws can be made. Rights may be conditional. Note that a right isn’t something we owe people just because they exist. It’s something we decide we owe them because we want to live in a world where people have that right–because it’s safer for us, or because it means the world will still be there for our descendants, or because it allows civilization to progress to something better, or because we want others to be happy, or all of the above. This will be important later.

      Therefore, when we say, “healthcare is a right”, what we mean is “in order to make society more robust, sustainable, able to advance, or generally pleasant, we choose to sacrifice some of our individual freedoms to provide everyone with healthcare.”

      We’re half done. Now, what is “healthcare”?

      Let’s actually distinguish it from health insurance, because we’re smarter than Congress. Health insurance, like any insurance, is a gamble, in which people periodically pay a small amount of money to an insurance company, which will pay them back a larger amount of money (whatever is necessary, to the limit of what they are insured for) if the person’s health is in danger in a way that neither of them can predict. The idea is that the insurance company can’t predict who needs the money, but they can predict how many will need money and how much, statistically, so they accept enough money from people that they can afford to pay the people who end up needing more money.

      The whole insurance model is based on two assumptions: 1) The money people can collectively afford to pay the insurance company, averaged over time, is greater than the total amount of money people will collect from the insurance company, averaged over time; 2) neither people nor the insurance company knows what misfortune will befall an individual person.

      This second point is what people get mixed up. Ignorance and chaos are a fundamental part of insurance. If people knew they wouldn’t need insurance, they wouldn’t buy it. If the insurance company knew that they would have to pay out for a particular person, they wouldn’t do business with them. That means that people with preexisting conditions will not be able to get insured for those conditions, which is perfectly fine, because only a great fool would try to try to implement socialized healthcare through the insurance industry, as opposed to keeping it separate. (Would separate socialized healthcare affect the insurance industry? Yes, the companies and their customers will make different decisions based on its presence. That’s economics, and that’s alright. Forcing insurance companies to pretend they don’t know things and distorting their premiums and payouts just needlessly complicates an already complicated system and prevents both the insurance and the socialized healthcare from functioning effectively.)

      So, if health insurance is its own thing and should be left alone, what’s healthcare? Healthcare is external assistance by medical professionals to maintain or improve the health of an individual (physical, mental, et cetera). Let’s keep in mind that we have technological limitations on healthcare. We can’t stop people from dying of certain things, including senescence (old age). Some people have very expensive injuries or diseases. We are faced with a problem of limited resources and how best to allocate them: a cost-benefit analysis. This would be impossible if we declared that healthcare was a right because everyone inherently deserved it. Of course everyone “deserves” healthcare: “X-person deserves to receive Y” means “the world would be a better place if all people with the relevant qualities X has received Y”. Yes, the world would be a better place if everyone received healthcare. The real question is, seeing as how we can’t provide healthcare to everyone at this time, how much better can we make the world with the healthcare we can provide?

      For starters, we might be able to agree under the Veil of Ignorance that we don’t want people to be randomly burdened at birth with the expenses of medical conditions, so we could distribute the cost across taxes. This sounds easy. The hard work comes in when we have to decide how much we’re willing to pay, how serious a condition has to be before we decide to collectively pay for it*, how poor a person has to be before we chip in, what sorts of procedures we’re willing to cover (taking into account their probability of “success”, which requires expert knowledge that is sometimes cutting-edge and subject to change), et cetera. That’s all up for debate; my job is done when people start talking intelligently about the issue.

      Ultimately, “healthcare is a right” becomes “in order to make human society more robust, sustainable, able to advance, or generally pleasant, we collectively choose to sacrifice a certain portion of our income in order to improve people’s quality of life by providing them with certain medical assistance for certain purposes to maintain or improve their physical or mental well-being even if they cannot afford said assistance and are not or cannot be insured for it.” That’s something I think practically everyone can get behind. All we need to do now is hash out the details with clarity and negotiation.

      Are there any questions, objections, counterpoints, or addenda?

      *See also Quality Adjusted Life Years (QUALY), a concept in effective altruism used to compare the effectiveness of charities.

      • Chris’s comment reminded me of the issue of mandatory insurance. For my next trick, I’ll analyze that. Stay tuned for round 2.

        • As I mentioned above, forcing people to buy insurance they don’t want for the purpose of subsidizing people with preexisting conditions (whom the insurance companies are forced to accept) is a convoluted way of socializing healthcare that only causes problems. If we agree on a level of socialized healthcare and administer it independently from insurance, that reason for forcing people to buy insurance goes away entirely.

          There is another argument for making health insurance mandatory, though: making sure that people pay for themselves. It’s the same reason we require people to wear seat belts. If a person chooses not to be insured when they could have afforded it, and subsequently becomes injured or develops an illness, either we let them languish or we pay for them. Paying for them would force taxes to go up for everyone, and since we accept seat belt laws as reasonable (which make cars more expensive–turns out making crash test dummies drive cars into brick walls costs money), a similar argument could be made in favor of requiring people to obtain their own health insurance, as a kind of customizable tax. Maybe we don’t need to outright require people to buy insurance, but we could make them jump through a few hoops with waivers to discourage it.

          We could also use peer pressure on them: “Even if we don’t raise taxes and just let you suffer, it would lead to unhappiness in the world for a number of reasons: you will be less productive and may die earlier, your friends and family will be sad, and you’ll use up charity dollars that could have gone elsewhere. But no, you had to have that extra money for a bigger house. That’s what the charity is really paying for: shortsighted greed and irresponsibility.” To tie into one of the other threads here, I think we’ve found another effective use for shame.

          • Chris

            I nominate both these comments from EC as a collective COTD.

          • John Billingsley

            “It’s the same reason we require people to wear seat belts.”

            You have raised a point that I almost never see mentioned in these discussions. If I have a right to health care, do I not also have a responsibility to preserve my own health to the best of my ability? We have the “click it or ticket” laws mandating seat belt use with a ridiculously low fine in Florida of $30 for a violation, $60 if it is an unrestrained child. But there is no penalty in terms of health care cost to the individual covered by Medicaid who does not wear a seat belt and instead of needing some bruises and maybe a broken arm treated after an accident is in a coma for weeks, needs neurosurgery, and is then a nursing home patient for the rest of their life after flying through the windshield. That one individual may cost society millions of dollars.

            Just to look at a few other examples. A patient with diabetes who does not follow diet and take medication properly and ends up killing their kidneys requiring very expensive dialysis for the rest of their life. Patient with multiple respiratory problems continuing to smoke and making repeated ER visits and requiring multiple hospital admissions. People requiring multiple admissions for drug and alcohol related problems. There are endless other examples of situations where an individual runs up huge health care costs because of a disease they basically gave themselves or exacerbate with their lifestyle or incur because of lack of simple things like not wearing their seat belt.

            I have seen patients in severe respiratory distress leave the ER to go out and have another cigarette. I had a patient who had smoking induced respiratory problems requiring supplemental oxygen who set herself on fire twice smoking with her oxygen on. How long should society foot the bill for people who are so irresponsible in caring for themselves? Is there a point at which society can ethically refuse them further treatment or do all of us have to keep supporting their bad choices as long as they live?

      • deery

        Agree with every bit of your analysis, EC.

      • Yes there are, but I’ll save them for when I post this as a Comment of the Day.

      • “A “right” is a protection or entitlement we collectively decide to give to people at the expense of our some of our freedoms because we think that society will be more robust, sustainable, able to advance, or generally pleasant to live in as a result.”

        I don’t think so. My freedom of speech isn’t a right that imposes one iota against your liberties. My right to bear arms doesn’t impose one iota against your liberties.

        I think you are literally discussing entitlements and benefits solely.

        The extent to which we can *exercise* our rights are limited at the barrier where that exercise imposes on another’s fundamental rights to Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness insofar as their enjoyment of those don’t impose on my enjoyment of them.

        I don’t blame you for this confusion, one of the essential strategies of the Leftist worldview is to recast entitlements and wealth redistribution as a “right”. But at their essence, those definitions are dishonest.

        “It’s something we decide we owe them because we want to live in a world where people have that right–because it’s safer for us, or because it means the world will still be there for our descendants, or because it allows civilization to progress to something better, or because we want others to be happy, or all of the above.”

        I think that’s just a verbose rewording of Utopian idealism…the kind of utopian idealism that requires central planning and ends in gulags, secret police, and misery.

        “Therefore, when we say, “healthcare is a right”, what we mean is “in order to make society more robust, sustainable, able to advance, or generally pleasant, we choose to sacrifice some of our individual freedoms to provide everyone with healthcare.””

        No, it isn’t a sacrifice of individual freedoms to do so, it’s a redistribution of wealth. And yes, societies must collectivize some of the services essential to that society – namely those services that wouldn’t ever develop naturally in a free market in the time frame necessary for the service to fulfill the demand. This is why militaries are collectivized. This is why fire and police are collectivized.

        I might be amenable to arguments that there is a societal need to collectivize the costs for *immediate*, *life threatening*, *emergencies* ONLY. But it would have to be well argued and if accepted would have to be ever on guard against scope-creep as more and more arguments are made to include more procedures as “life threatening” or “immediate”, when one or both characteristics don’t actually apply.

        • I think there’s some semantic confusion based on our different definitions of “freedom”. Starting from scratch: “freedom” just means a lack of limits on my behavior. Apart from the laws of physics, biology, and logic, my freedom could be limited by the threat of other people retaliating against me for things that I do. The government can enforce my freedom to do certain things by limiting the behavior of others, punishing them if they act to retaliate against me for things that I do.

          For example, in a lawless society, I have the de facto freedom to punch a person in the face and get away with it, if they have no friends. In U.S. society, we legally give up that freedom by agreeing to ascribe to people the right to not be punched in the face. I can no longer expect to remain unpunished after punching someone in the face even if they have no friends. We are all no longer legally free to punch people in the face, but we are free to do things without fear of being punched in the face. (The Nazi-puncher from a while back apparently didn’t understand why we make this sacrifice.)

          Some governments have the freedom to suppress speech. Our government has sacrificed that freedom in the process of creating the right to free speech, putting legal limits on what the government can tell people not to do. Same with the right to bear arms. It’s not my freedoms that are restricted here, but those of the government. Or, if you prefer, we create minority rights by taking away the freedom of the majority to simply take over the government and impose its collective will, through the tyranny of the majority.

          I’m actually not reframing entitlements as rights. I’m going the opposite direction, reframing the so-called inalienable rights as entitlements that we agree are indispensable for the world we think is ethically best. Some people think that blasphemy brings the wrath of a deity down upon the whole community, and therefore according to their worldview, it is most ethical to suppress such speech. I think their worldview is inaccurate, but the fact that they choose not to give people the right to free speech is ethically consistent with what they believe to be true.

          “I think that’s just a verbose rewording of Utopian idealism…”

          No, it’s just the intent to make the world a better place. Utopian idealism happens when insufficient thought is given to the practical implementation.

          “No, it isn’t a sacrifice of individual freedoms to do so, it’s a redistribution of wealth.”

          Again, semantics. In this case, it’s the freedom of “doing whatever I want with this money instead of paying it in taxes.”

          I can see the argument for the government not socializing healthcare at all, and letting private charities take care of those who can’t afford their medical costs. I’m just pointing out to both sides that we are not inherently obligated to socialize healthcare, but neither would it be unreasonable to choose to do so anyway. Fundamentally, it’s a question of relative values. To navigate this issue, we need politics mindset, which deals with negotiation, compromise, optimizing solutions based on the feelings and priorities in a system of people, and aligning people together to support the outcome.

          Does that make more sense?

  8. To clarify 3., the 20 overdoses by one person are in Dayton. The financial issues relate to Middletown, though. I’m all for charging most people who get emergency assistance, to the extent they can pay. I’m very doubtful, though, that significant monies can be recovered from opium addicts in general. Involuntary commitment has to be part of the answer here – twenty overdoses is probably 18 too many.

  9. Spartan

    I read all about this opioid story. The epidemic is hurting rural and small town America the most because these are the same areas that are struggling financially. People who are struggling often turn to drugs, and opioids are cheap. It often is accompanied by mental issues, and most psychiatrists agree that drug use should be treated as a mental disorder. So, I disagree with your comment of “[a]nother indispensable component part is shame.” These people already feel shame Jack — that’s one of the reasons they turned to drug use in the first place. And no one believes that we should be shaming people with mental health problems. Are people supposed to be ashamed because they have depression or bi-polar disorder? Regarding the latter disease (which unfortunately has hit several of my friends), they have access to excellent health care and prescription drugs. And, even with these resources, it has been a very hard road for them and they sometimes “fall of the wagon” regarding their treatment. We don’t treat them with shame when this happens. We treat them with respect while at the same time thanking God that we aren’t battling this invisible illness. People that don’t have these resources end up on the street — I run into them frequently in DC. Should I be treating them with shame or compassion?

    The fact is that people are going to die if they don’t receive these shots when they are overdosing. I acknowledge however that these small towns cannot afford to keep treating them like they are now. They just don’t have the money. And billing them is ridiculous Jack — these addicts don’t have any ability to pay. We need another plan. I have to believe that if we are going to attack this successfully, then we need to treat this as a public health crisis. Addicts shouldn’t go to jail, but they should have to go to mandatory treatment facilities on the national dime. So, hospitals with locked doors I guess. There will have to be due process hearings before they are committed (to avoid abuse), but I think this is the only immediate response. That, combined with education. Very few people in my generation smoke and drinking/driving is something that is not tolerated. We can have a similar campaign with drugs.

    And when these people get out of treatment? Well, then they owe the state/federal government back in volunteer time.

    • Jack may correct me, but I think that the shame he’s talking about would commence long before the person was abusing. The community has to express that it’s disgraceful to break the law, and disgraceful to misuse drugs for recreation.

      • Spartan

        It should never be about shame. There should be education about why you don’t do this in the first place and stressing the point that many (most?) people who turn to drugs are doing it because of untreated mental illness. There are better ways to attack these problems.

        My generation didn’t smoke or drink/drive because we were taught about the consequences of what would happen if we did.

        • Do you get that when you say, “It should never be about shame,” you’re necessarily saying that there’s no such thing as shameful behavior? In absence of the free will to choose to do right or wrong, everything is just untreated mental illness.

          • Spartan

            I don’t pretend to be an expert on drug use, but there are a high percentage of them who are mentally ill. So yes, I am saying that shaming them is pointless, counter-productive in fact, and just plain mean.

            Then there are the stupid or careless people in life who decide to take drugs, but there is no mental illness involved. Do you think shame will work on them? Personally, I think education goes a long way. I was a stupid, careless youth myself — but smoking was not something I did, because I didn’t want to die of lung cancer. Shaming me would have made me rebel more.

            • As I said above, the process would have to start long before a person was abusing drugs (or doing anything else that’s antisocial). Young people should be taught that there are expectations for how they treat family and community, and that they should feel bad when they don’t meet those expectations.

              I think that the above example of smoking is just a cost-benefit analysis. Obviously, it’s to a person’s benefit not to smoke. A healthy sense of shame will operate in areas where there’s no tangible downside to antisocial behavior. For example, you find a wallet with money in it, no cameras around – do you turn the wallet in or take the money? Cost-benefit leads you astray, but healthy shame sustains you because, if you take the money, the next you won’t feel like you’re the same person, or you’ll feel like you’ve let down your parents, or you’ll feel like a fraud in the community.

        • Spartan,

          Not necessarily disagreeing with you, but you have gotten me curious:

          …the point that many (most?) people who turn to drugs are doing it because of untreated mental illness.

          Can you source that assertion?

          I have unscientifically observed that society tends to over diagnose mental illness for choices individuals make, making them victims and not personally accountable. Another case is diagnosing typically rambunctious boys as mentally ill (Attention Deficit, Autistic, etc.) and medicating them instead of using ‘shame’ and punishment, as historically has been done. (Again, I am not advocating a blanket return to 1940; just making a point)

          This is an interesting discussion, as I have an Autistic child and am on the spectrum myself.

          • Spartan

            “[R]ambunctious boys as mentally ill (Attention Deficit, Autistic, etc.) and medicating them instead of using ‘shame’ and punishment, as historically has been done.”

            I am against medicating small children for these issues, and I have a child on the spectrum too. But do you think shame and punishment work? I have my kids at a private school where they have multiple recesses and can move around the classroom. That helps my ADHD, SPD, anxiety-ridden kid a ton.

            Plus, these are not mental health issues. I am not an expert, but it is pretty well known that many drug users are self-medicating mental problems.

            • Fair enough… I was not picking a fight. I hoped you had a source, as I could not find a reliable one.

              We agree as to how kids should not be medicated. However, as a child the threat of negative consequences (usually an old fashioned butt whoopin’ when I was small) and societal peer pressure (shame) forced me to overcome my autism, to channel the urges and cope with them. I developed lists of ‘to do’ or ‘to remember’ and repeated them internally over and over. Punishment and shame were how such boys were corrected at that time. Not a pretty picture, but there it is.

              My son is worse, (further along the spectrum) and such a method would not have worked with him. In the past, those like him would have been considered ‘dim’ and expectations would have been lowered, despite his extremely bright intelligence and powerful ability to focus. This is not a great answer, either.

              ‘Many drug users’ medicate for mental problems, given. I am just not sure that an alcoholic, for instance, or a weed smoker, has a true mental health problem, at least at first. They made a choice, it seems to me.

      • It would work better to use peer pressure in a positive manner, to encourage people to deal with problems constructively. I concur with Spartan’s approach to dealing with drug abusers. “You’re doing bad things and you should feel bad” works for mischief and rudeness, not self-destructive spirals.

    • wyogranny

      If we want this to be a productive discussion we should probably define shame. I think everyone commenting here is defining it differently

      • Shame? Feeling genuinely badly about oneself, including guilt and remorse, about engaging in conduct that society has deemed damaging, harmful, selfish, irresponsible or criminal, and sufficiently so that one resolves to behave differently.

        I’ve been on unemployment twice. It’s something I’m entitled to, but I was humiliated by every check, works enough both times to off-set the benefits, and the last time I was eligible, didn’t apply, though I could have used the money. And we have been building a culture where others feel no shame living on public assistance, having children without the money to support them or a stable home environment, taking jobs they are not qualified for, and making themselves into anchors on the rest of us by becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol.

        That doesn’t work. People who are ashamed of their conduct try to change it; people who are not are less likely to. Our society has been shaming those who are able to to take care of themselves, and making them the villains…which is not only unethical, it’s deadly to societal ethics.

        • wyogranny

          Thank you. I agree completely. Remorse leading to a change in behavior are key. So, in some of the examples here are not about shame, but pathology.

          • To expand on this, I think there at least three or four types of standards that can be violated that lead to this sort of remorse. These would be standards set by self and community (with family sitting somewhere in between these two), the standard set out in a book of philosophy or religion, and the formal standard embodied in the law.

  10. ”they owe the state/federal government back in volunteer time.”

    GREAT idea! But something tells me not everyone will agree.

    10 or 15 years ago in Madison, WI a proposal came before the CommonSenseless Council that physically able people (without small children) who were drawing benefits should complete 20 hours of Community Service per month.

    No big deal, right? Wrong! It got shot down faster than you could say “Hempen Homespun.”

    • Spartan

      Well, the test can’t be ANY benefit. I get a mortgage tax deduction each year — do I owe that time back in community service?

      • Getting to *keep* money that was yours already is not a benefit…

        What a window into the Leftist world-view.

        • Spartan

          Well, maybe you have a point Tex in la-la land where the entire tax code is thrown away, but right now it is written so that I get substantial money back from the government for my house, whereas someone who makes the same salary as me gets zero because he/she lives in an apartment. Otherwise known as a benefit. But, I am looking forward to you explaining to me how it is not. But first, please let me make some popcorn.

          Please don’t respond immediately. I’m looking forward to a lengthy treatise. Bonus points if you quote yourself as an authority.

          • “where the entire tax code is thrown away”

            Wow. As long as you are going to play juvenile games like running to an extreme when I make a valid objection to your verbiage, I’m not going to respond to anything that might have had substance.

            • Spartan

              It wasn’t a valid objection. I just explained how it was a benefit and you called me a juvenile.

              Still waiting….

              • Taking a stab at this: A benefit is something you did contribute in the first place. Welfare is called ‘benefits.’ A parking space at work is a ‘benefit.’

                What you get for your mortgage is a rebate of money you paid into the system, paid to you because you are overtaxed in the first place as relative to the apartment dweller. Individuals owning houses have (different) tangible benefits to society and government, not the least of which is providing a lucrative tax base to pay governmental salaries.

                • Spartan

                  My example has an apartment owner making the SAME salary and thus being taxed at the same rate. Please identify how the home owner is giving additional benefits to society.

                  Anecdote to share — which has nothing to do with the housing benefit. I just came from lunch with a friend who is childless. (She and her husband tried for many years.) But, they are very involved with their nieces and nephews. And, they volunteer a lot more than me, and I mean, a lot. And I realized why — they have a lot more time on their hands because they don’t have young children to raise like me. I am providing a benefit to society obviously because I am raising two children, giving them a world class education, teaching them to be model citizens (which includes charity work). But she also is providing a different benefit above and beyond me. Good for her.

                  In the hypothetical where you have two identical families who make the same salary, and one lives in an apartment building and the other in a house, it strains credulity that one of these families is owed a tax break where the other is not.

                  • In the hypothetical where you have two identical families who make the same salary, and one lives in an apartment building and the other in a house, it strains credulity that one of these families is owed a tax break where the other is not.

                    One of the families is paying more in taxes directly to the government, Spartan, at all levels. This is a rebate in recognition of that, in part. We can agree that the apartment dwelling family is paying indirectly. Why not a rebate for them?

                    The mortgage rebate is also an incentive to own property. Property owners have more ‘skin in the game,’ and a vested interest is combating societal ills that impact that property’s values. Apartment dwellers can walk away from a crime infested neighborhood: the owner cannot without losing value on their investment. This is a societal plus.

                    The owner is taking a risk, in other words, that your apartment folks are not. Risk should equal rewards, or why take a risk?

              • “But, I am looking forward to you explaining to me how it is not.”

                Because it was already your money…

                …that you are getting to keep…

                …not given to you…

                …from someone else’s pocket…………

                • Spartan

                  But why shouldn’t the apartment dweller get a similar tax rebate? They spent the same amount of money on taxes.

                  • I’m not saying they shouldn’t, but the theory was that stable homes are healthier, build communities, and strenthens the nation and the economy. And that buying was a good long term investment that people needed some extra incentive to commit to. It’s a defensible position. The idea wasn’t to subsidize all residences, but to accomplish broader long range social and democratic goals.

                    • Spelcheck strangeness. Fixed.

                    • Right. Damn WordPress spelcheck…

                    • Spartan

                      Wow. You’re sounding like a socialist Jack. You know what else is a good long term investment? Keeping people healthy so they can not drown in medical debt, go back to work, pay more taxes, start a family, buy that house, and get that tax refund on their mortgage.

                      I’m not against the housing tax credit. I’m against .. I’m not even sure what to call it … hypocrisy or maybe willful blindness? Of course, the government should be interested in furthering “long range social and democratic goals,” but many on the right ignore the fact that they benefit from government policies too or, even worse, they think the government should ONLY care about taking care of them.

                    • It’s not the government’s job to “keep me healthy,” it’s my job. It’s job is to make sure what I eat and buy don’t make me sick without me having the information to make the trade-offs a choose to make. It’s job is to allow research and medical developments be profitable, and not to allows systems and regulations and restrictions to make medical care artificially expensive. It’s also my job to prioritize my resources. What gave you this idea that it’s the government’s job? Building a community makes everyone better off, protecting the right to the pursuit of happiness, prevents crime, allows kids to thrive. Taking away my discretionary income to pay for other people’s health care means that I can’t risk starting a business, or run a theater company, or do other things that enrich society and the culture. You end up with Cuba. If someone wants that, they can go to Cuba. This country was made to allow people to chart their own fate and make their own priorities.

                      If your priority is smoking two packs a day and driving a motorbike, great! But don’t tell me I have to pay for your bad choices. I’ve got better ones, thanks, and my own life to live.

                    • Spartan

                      GI Bill = government program. Those vets should have paid for their own damn education, right?

                    • Earned benefits packages are not quite apples to apples for the point you are trying to make.

                      Of course, it can be debated to what level we should compensate our soldiers, but whatever level we choose to compensate them, understand it is an *earned* compensation.

                      This is a weak argument.

                      charlesgreen raised this objection years ago. Lemme find that discussion.

                    • GI Bill=compensating men who gave up 2-4 years of their lives when they would have otherwise been in college, work, advancing in life, for minimal pay in order to save the US and the World.

                      I can’t imagine a sillier or more desperate comparison.

                    • It is compensation for their services.

                    • Spartan

                      No need Tex. I remember the arguments. I wasn’t convinced then, still not now.

                    • You don’t see the difference between granting someone other people’s money based on a passive condition and granting someone other people’s money based on a service that person provided to the other people?

          • Sparty, you owe me a keyboard…

            Getting my popcorn ready too

      • You paid for it already by putting your money into the economy, supporting the home-building and real estate, and using it to make a thriving and stable family while raising future productive citizens.

        That was the theory. Not a bad one, either. You’ve kept your part of the deal.

        • Spartan

          I can have a thriving and stable family in an apartment too. Lots of people do it.

          People who live in apartments are making the same contribution to society — it’s just that the person who owns the apartment building/house gets the tax benefit.

          • Not a benefit, just a rebate.

          • I still haven’t figured a way to build my deductions (including my primary mortgage interest) in a way that surpasses the Standard Deduction. If an apartment family is taking the standard deduction, how much more are you able to deduct that makes it that big of a difference?

            • Junkmailfolder

              Unless you donate a lot of money, have a huge amount of medical bills, or have a very large mortgage, you generally won’t beat out your standard deduction. Obviously there are a few other potential sources of itemized deductions (business expenses), but those are the major ones for most people.

            • Try giving to charity or your church. Tithing is 10% alone, should you be moved to do so.

      • “Well, the test can’t be ANY benefit.”

        Agreed.

        ”do I owe that time back in community service?”

        Don’t think so, but your call. I’ve established my own program (picking up never-ending oodles of trash, Block Captain, “go-to” guy for neighborhood elderly, etc.), and I figure the over $8 large (on a middlin’ abode!) we pay in property taxes should go in the ‘plus’ column too.

  11. Frank Stephens

    As a retired pastor your comment caught my attention. The problem with your friend’s Jesus is that he has tamed Jesus and made him a safe wimp. What I mean is that his version of Jesus will not challenge his political beliefs at all. For him Jesus isn’t Lord but the handmaiden of progressive politics.

    My conservative politics are always challenged by Jesus’ call to care for the widows and orphans, feed the hungry, and visit the imprisoned, as they should be. If I don’t feel any tension between my ideology and my theology, then my faith has become too narrow. My concern for your friend is there appears to be no tension at all between his political ideology and theology. Both will eventually suffer.

    Both leftists and conservatives are guilty of using God as a kind of cheerleader for their side. The end result is that believers stop thinking about how the church should respond in society and instead focus their attention on how God would have us respond to issues we see as important – even if God does not.

  12. What was the objective of the school election rigging? I am highly curious as to what it was supposed to accomplish. Do students have that much power over school policy that their political affiliation would have any significance before or after an election? Why would the students even mention their political affiliation during the campaign? I thought student elected officials just took care of event logistics. Does it actually matter who gets elected?

    The only point to it I can think of is that the former advisor wanted to teach the student body a “lesson” that liberals are the dominant majority and conservatives will be rejected regardless of whether their beliefs have any bearing on their ability to do the job.

    • Chris

      That was my question. I simply can’t imagine how a student’s politics would be relevant at this level. College? Yeah, I can see why someone would care. But not high school.

  13. brian

    If health care is literally a right, then slavery is necessary. Receiving health care requires someone else to use their resources on me. If I have a right to that care, then I have a right to their time and effort. Their resources are legally mine, thus they are a slave.

    This is a fairly straightforward logical argument, I don’t understand why this ‘Healthcare is a right’ nonsense continues, especially among intelligent, educated people. I suppose it’s likely a motte-and-bailey argument ( http://slatestarcodex.com/2014/11/03/all-in-all-another-brick-in-the-motte/)

    • deery

      Hospitals are already obligated to provide emergency care to people, regardless of their ability to pay. Stores are obligated to sell items to all types of people, even if the owner really doesn’t like black people. Public schools are obligated to teach children. Welcome to slavery. It’s hell.

      You have also made a fine argument against taxes in general as well, you realize?

      • Yes, taxes are unethical. How can we change that?

      • brian

        “Stores are obligated to sell items to all types.”. How does this make the store owner a slave? No one is claiming to have a right to their merchandise.

        “Public schools are obligated to teach children”. No one is claiming a right to a teachers time. The teacher is paid and can take their skills elsewhere if they are unhappy with that transaction. But if the teacher refuses to teach at the school, the state does not force them to teach.

        “Taxes in general”. The government does not own my labor. My time and energy can be spend how ever I feel I should spend them. If I want to fish all day I can, if I want program a computer I can do that. The government is not asserting a right to me time, but if I choose to engage in certain activities on my own then they will collect taxes.

        “Hospitals are obliged to provide emergency care”. This is exactly what I mean by the motte and bailey line of argument. It’s perfectly reasonable for hospitals to treat emergency cases prior to working out all the details surrounding payment, lest the time taken to ensure insurance providers leads to death. Additionally many of the requirements to provide care are contingent on medicaid participation. So while it can be framed as ‘they must’, the reality is more inline with normal Federal arm twisting, i.e. ‘if you want medicaid dollars then you must’. Again, not quite slave labor, although certainly coerced.

        Deery, I have read a lot of your comments, and a lot of them are deeply thoughtful, although generally not in agreement with my reasoning. However, this one was weakly reasoned.

        • deery

          Wait, are you arguing against me or yourself here? That is precisely my point. But even in cases where the patient explicitly cannot pay, the hospital *must* treat the patient. Individuals in the hospital may not have to, as they are under no obligation to work in the hospital in the first place, but once they make a decision to work in the hospital, they may indeed be obligated to provide care to some people. The individuals in the hospital might be compesented, but the hospital won’t be. I fail to see how that equates with slavery. Healthcare is a claim right, though not one against a specific individual. There are some instances where one individual has the entitlement against a specific person and that person isn’t compensated (childcare and support immediately spring to mind), though that isn’t slavery either.

          • brian

            No, I am arguing that emergency services must be provided regardless of payment ability is a misnomer in two ways.

            First, because it is a weird way to frame the legitimate problem of which should be done first, treat this medical emergency where seconds matter or figure out if they can pay first. No one is going to say as a rule the hospital should confirm payment prior to stabilizing a patient, because that is INSANE. So the reason they provide the service regardless of ability to pay is not because they are a slave, it’s due to practical considerations regarding emergency medicine. The non-payment issue arises out of the specifics related to emergency medicine, not because they are slaves.

            Second, it’s a misnomer because most of the ‘must provide service’ is not really must provide service. It’s, if you want to receive federal medicaid dollars then you must provide services. So, in a lot of cases where hospitals say they, ‘can’t turn away a patient’, it’s due to trade offs between medicaid participation, again not because they literally can’t turn away the patient and are thus a slave.

            “Healthcare is a claim right”. How does that not lead to slavery. The claim eventually is against a person. If I, simply because I exist, have a claim on another human’s time and resources, such that I legally own a piece of their time, then they are a slave. That’s literally what it means to be a slave – a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them.

            • deery

              You are stretching here. But ok. Even in instances where it is absolutely known the patient cannot pay, let’s say they just left the hospital, stating they could not pay, and collapsed right in front of the sidewalk, the hospital must still provide emergency services.

              Second, it’s a misnomer because most of the ‘must provide service’ is not really must provide service. It’s, if you want to receive federal medicaid dollars then you must provide services.

              So basically every hospital in the United States then? Ok.

              “Healthcare is a claim right”. How does that not lead to slavery. The claim eventually is against a person.

              The right to a public education is acclaim right. How does that not lead to slavery? Easy. As you noted, no one is obligated to be a teacher, and may quit at any time after becoming one. Similarly, no one is obligated to be a healthcare provider, may quit after becoming one, or even simpler, don’t work in a hospital. Also see, the right to an attorney for another example of a claim right which somehow has not devolved to slavery.

              • brian

                Again, no you do not have a right to a public education. You have a right to a public education when the state creates a public education system. But if your state does not have such a system, you can not sue the government to them force someone to teach your children. Same applies here. If the state wants to make basic health care available for the public it can not discriminate against you. But your negative right to not be discriminated against is much, much different than your positive right to goods or services.

                • deery

                  Great. Then you and I are in agreement. If there are no hospitals and doctors in your state for whatever reason (pause), then there is no right to force the state to create one. But if they exist, then people do have the right to seek healthcare services from them, regardless of their ability to pay.

                  • brian

                    Deery, did you by chance click on the link to Slate star codex I provided above? Scott is part of the rationality community and I think you might really enjoy a lot of his writing. He’s closer to your position on a lot of issues, has a lot of very interesting and in depth analysis, and is quite thought provoking. I have greatly enjoyed his writing while disagreeing with him politically. Needless to say, his motte-and-bailey logical fallacy nicely explains the conversation we are having now.

                    Briefly the outline is that an argument like this has a defensible version (the motte) and a much more extreme and indefensible version (the baily). Healthcare is a right is the indefensible version (bailey), and is not actually meant when people say it. When you attack the bailey position, the defenders walk it back into the defensible position. What they mean is much more akin to health care is extremely important and we should as a community agree to pay for basic health care for people who are to poor to pay for it themselves. We have already created a complex system of laws and regulations which guarantee a low level of care via tax transfers and coercive federal regulations. We have rightly created this system because it’s moral, valuable, and decent, and we should acknowledge these facts and push forward with ways to streamline the system so it’s more efficient and cost effective. To which I would agree, but again, one set of arguments is reasonable and defensible and the other is not.

                    Person 1 – Health care is a right

                    Person2 – Health care can’t be a right because it leads to slavery

                    Person1 – Well yes, while literally true, but we have an oblifation to care for those in our communities who are two poor to pay for their own basic healthcare. We already have a complex system of laws and regulations which create a low level of universal health care where everyone can be covered in some way. Health care is critical to everyone and at a basic level is also widely available because as a society we have decided it’s important to provide.

                    Person 2 – Yes, I agree with the scaled back version of your arguments, and agree that we should do more to provide access to care.

                    • deery

                      See upthread. I think we are disagreeing on the definition of “right” more than anything else. But yes, healthcare is a right, and we already treat it as such. Now people mostly disagree on where the “floor” should be set on this particular right.

          • brian

            I realize my other two posts are explaining a lot and your specific question may be lost, so I am putting it in a separate post.

            You wrote, ‘the hospital *must* treat the patient’. This is not true. In most cases, the hospital *must* treat the patient if the hospital receives medicaid payments. The ‘must treat’ is contingent on a separate decision the hospital has also made about health payment acceptance, such that the hospital could decide to not accept medicaid payments and then would legally be under no obligation to treat the patient. Again, currently, as it exists in this country, it’s not a right and the service providers are not slaves. It’s a choice the hospital makes when they decide if they want to accept medicaid, are they also willing to treat all people who come in the doors.

            I hope that helps clarify your confusion.

            • deery

              Sure, as I noted above, pretty much every hospital accepts Medicaid/Medicare, most could not operate without it, so in practicality, every hospital *must* treat patients without regard to their ability to pay.

              Plus, and I’m not sure if I already noted this, but hospitals are not people. They cannot be enslaved. People work in hospitals, but that is a choice they are free to make.

              • brian

                Correct, most hospitals operate in an environment where they must treat patients because accepting medicaid outweighs the costs associated. This is a much different statement than ‘Hospitals are already obligated to provide emergency care to people…Welcome to slavery’. Once you acknowledge the agency involved by the hospitals it can’t be slavery.

                But again, I would draw your mind out further to this idea that when people say Healthcare is a right, they don’t literally mean it’s a right. They mean something much more defensible and in line with, healthcare is as important to the human condition as things we have recognized as rights, things like freedom of speech, trial by jury, voting, etc. As such we want to elevate the status of healthcare so that it’s inline with those things which are negative rights in an attempt to help public policy create a system that ensures all people, regardless of ability to pay, have access to health care on the grounds that it’s as important, if not more important, to their well being as their right to peacefully assemble. So we say Healthcare is a right because it’s shorthand for a larger argument and it correctly elevates, status wise, healthcare consist to it’s value to the human condition.

                This is the motte and bailey way of arguing. I’m merely pointing out that healthcare can’t literally be a right if we also outlaw slavery. But don’t assume I’m attaching the more defensible argument. I also honestly believe that we would have less political acrimony if people generally did not engage in the logical fallacy, and instead argued there actual positions, but identity politics and politics as tribe require this sort of bullshit.

                • deery

                  I’m not sure if I am following your logic, so bear with me.

                  Let’s take the right to vote. It is also a claim right. If the government holds elections, it must allow people to vote. I guess, in the realm of theory, a government does not have to hold elections, but that’s about it. How does this differ from healthcare? The state still is obligated to provide people to run the elections, count the ballots, etc. Is this slavery?

                  Similarly, pretty much any hospital is obligated to take money from the federal government. They cannot operate without it. Their agency in this matter is nonexistent. And rather irrelevant either way, since a hospital cannot be enslaved either way.

                  Perhaps if I understood what your definition of a “right” is, with some more examples, I could follow your argument a bit better. But things like a trial by jury are another example of acclaim right, which you assure me will lead to slavery. So I’m simply not getting it.

    • I have bookmarked that posting, as it is perfect to describe some of the back and forth on EA

  14. All of this back and forth started my thought process back to when I saw it first posted on FB – to which I engaged in the discussion there. One of my more interesting thoughts stemmed from “What if we made health care a right?” from a literal perspective. Forget the hand-out side of the equation for a second and consider the addition of the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “Congress shall make no law limiting a person’s ability to care for their health or seeking treatment for their health.”

    Now litigate this law before SCOTUS and let’s imagine the things this Amendment 28 could wipe out. Reply with your imaginative responses and dive deeper on previous ones stated, I’ll start us off:

    1) Drug Patents keep prices high, ergo – access is limited.
    2) FDA required trials unnecessarily burdens those who might benefit from the drug NOW, not later when it’s proven safe.
    3) Cannabis has medical benefits, so the Schedule of Drugs is now unconstitutional.

    What else would you litigate under the 28th Amendment?

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