Quick Roundup 290

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Support Yaron Brook!

Chances are, you've already encountered Yaron Brook's excellent article against socialized medicine in Forbes Magazine through Noodlefood, but if you haven't, you should take a look at it and, more importantly, consider leaving a comment in his support.

The solution to this ongoing crisis is to recognize that the very idea of a "right" to health care is a perversion. There can be no such thing as a "right" to products or services created by the effort of others, and this most definitely includes medical products and services. Rights, as our founding fathers conceived them, are not claims to economic goods, but freedoms of action. [bold added]
Appallingly, a majority of the commenters oppose Mr. Brook.

Consider what this means in light of the comment in bold above. Most of these commenters support the enslavement of physicians. This can potentially affect your health later on and, because it could set the precedent for members of other professions to be enslaved once enough politicians think their services are needed for "the common good", socialized medicine represents a direct threat to the freedom of everyone.

Politicians who read or hear about the reaction to this article -- as well as the editors of Forbes and other magazines -- need to know that there is sympathy for pro-freedom viewpoints.


Mike N has been writing about self-reliance lately and makes the following observation.
[T]o surrender any responsibility for our own survival is actually a surrender of our freedom and those to whom we surrender that freedom will necessarily control that part of our lives.
Indeed. And in support of his point, he points to a rather disturbing article about parents who are alarmed about the fact that "their children in school are being screened for mental illnesses, some, without their (parent's) consent".

Galileo on "Bush Bulbs"

I may have coined the phrase, but Galileo does it justice. He has actually tried them!
They do not work in dimmer fixtures, which I recently installed throughout my apartment.

They do not turn on quickly.

Their spiral shape is ugly.

Their light is cold and disturbing, reminding me of a sterile office. This is not the feeling I want when I am in my home.

They are extremely expensive.

Their light flickers.

It causes headaches in some people.

The bottom line is that I don't want them.

I tried them once, way before legislation was passed to make them obligatory. That is when I discovered most of these unpleasant characteristics. I am not alone in my opinion, as evidenced by their paltry market share.
And all this builds up to a very fitting conclusion.

I bet "none of the above" isn't a result.

Bothenook points to a quiz, "Select a Candidate 2008", that beautifully concretizes what's wrong with the political milieu today, not to mention public opinion polls. One need go no further than the first question!
Iraq: What is your opinion on the war in Iraq?
  • Decentralize Iraq by dividing it into regions of separate governments.
  • Draw down the U.S. troops and decentralize Iraq by dividing it into regions of separate governments.
  • I favor immediate and orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops.
  • There should be a timetable for the removal of U.S. troops.
  • We are going to be in Iraq for a long time, as a support force for the Iraqi government and forces.
  • U.S. forces need to stay in Iraq for as long as it takes for Iraqi forces to take over.
Importance: Not Important Very Important [This is a four-point scale on the quiz. --ed]
I don't see "Use Iraq as a base for annihilating Iran, Saudia Arabia, or both -- or leave", as one of the choices. The closest approximation to a correct action would be the first choice, but that is not entirely accurate (and the usual reasons people give for withdrawal would make me look very dovish when in fact I am much more hawkish than any of the candidates).

And if I take the quiz anyway, do I truthfully say that this issue is "very important" -- or do I try to minimize the impact of this question's failure to include the right option by saying it is "not important"?

And finally, no matter which candidate this spits out, I know that it will be someone who does not agree with me that taxation and the welfare state are morally wrong and should be abolished, and that he will see our military options in the current war as ignominious retreat in the face of Islamic barbarism or, even worse, the continued sacrifice of American wealth and lives to the brutes who populate the Middle East.

The philosophical ideas that presently have the greatest currency in our culture wrongly circumscribe the terms of the political debate and consistently produce unacceptable candidates for public office.

You can't vote your way out of such a mess. You have to work so that the public will eventually make it possible to begin digging itself out -- by spreading better philosophical ideas. This means working to understand these ideas, arguing for them, and supporting those who do.

And no, I don't know who the quiz spit out for me because there is really no way for me to take it. It is just like confronting me with a math exam full of questions like:
2 + 2 =
  • 5
  • 4.01
  • 3.995
  • 22
  • blue
Importance: Not Important Very Important
Even if you answered all of the questions, what would this quiz tell you about your ability to perform calculations? Zero.

-- CAV


: Corrected link to Brook article.


Resident Egoist said...

Yo Gus, long time no see! Happy new Year! (I've always been reading though, just not commenting.)


You'd thing that the portion of Dr. Brooks' op-ed that you quoted/highlighted would be enough for an honest person to, at the very least, question his assumptions about health care. I doubt many of those commentators even managed to read down that far once they figured out that Dr. Brook was arguing for non-intervention. Most people's "self-interest" (free access to the unearned) just doesn't permit much self-reflection.

This is mostly why I haven't blogged in a long time, and haven't participated even once in an online debate forum for two years. Fortunately, I've come to realize lately that the intention of changing others' minds is not a very good reason to get into blogging. Whew!

Having to restate nearly the same thing on an almost daily basis is rather stressful. This is why I very much appreciate and applaud your endurance, and that of others who never tire in the act of beating some sense into a sea of utterly senseless herds.

I seem to be going for a rant, so I'll just say keep up the good work.

Gus Van Horn said...



Actually, I found myself with a few spare minutes and went over there to make a point of highlighting that comment. Sure enough, someone on the pro-slavery side, completely unfazed, posted a rebuttal.

The thing about attempting to further the cause of intellectual movements is that most of the time, you will not change anyone's mind about anything important, although you can more often be moderately successful in helping people who have decent premises to connect the dots about something really bad. As I've said before, it's a two-front war.

The greater perspective is that most people don't really count in the war of ideas. They don't have active minds. They'll muddle along until they die, never questioning what they accreted from the more intellectual elements of the population.

But some of the more intellectual people are honest and capable of changing their minds, and some even do. I have helped that happen a few times.

Fortunately, I am doing more than re-stating the same thing on a daily basis. Over time, I've made new connections on my own and have learned quite abit from interacting with others I've met through blogging. I like thinking about how ideas affect history, and luckily, I blog just as much for that as for intellectual activism.

Thanks, as always, for following my blog and for your other support over the years!


Resident Egoist said...

You are right Gus. Most people do not have active minds. They go through life just drifting, and never seeming to question anything fundamental. I witness this on an almost daily basis, and sometimes these are otherwise very intelligent people!

As for "re-stating the same thing every day", it's certainly not an intention to belittle your efforts. I would have better said "re-stating the same THEME".

I agree that there are definitely personal benefits to doing this: interacting with other like-minded people is alway a pleasure ($5 on debit Master Card), thinking about how ideas affect history is nice, too ($10 on DMC), and making those new intellectual connections all by oneself is just ... pricele$$.


Gus Van Horn said...

"... not an intention to belittle your efforts ..."

No worries. I didn't take it that way at all. I will say that it does sometimes FEEL that way, but that's part of the territory.

Clay said...

wrt the new lightbulbs.

While I don't think people should be forced to use them, I personally like them.

I like the spiral design.

And I discovered by accident that using the "Sunlight" bulbs makes my house really, really bright.

And mine don't flicker, so I don't know what that's about.

Gus Van Horn said...

Fair enough.

Incidentally I was and am thinking of a pair of Bush Bulbs for the bathroom, which has a light fixture that's a real pain in the Dubya to change, and where a fluorescent light would be least objectionable. I'll keep "Sunlight" in mind to see whether I can stand the light quality.

But even if I find I'd like the bulbs on their own merit, they're Bush Bulbs until the day I can purchase them by choice.

And I guess we should start calling incandescents "Edison Bulbs".

Adrian Hester said...

Yo, Gus, you used the phrase, "a real pain in the Dubya..." That's quite good, though on a purely visual basis it's more like a pain in the lower-case omega. Which, alas, has nowhere near the same oomph. (And when you think about it, Dubya's turned out to be much more of an omicron--a little zero. But then that makes me think of vapid sorority chicks going, "Oh mih CRON!", and I start thinking I might should seek counseling.)

Burgess Laughlin said...

"... where a fluorescent light would be least objectionable. I'll keep "Sunlight" in mind to see whether I can stand the light quality."

My first purchase of a Bush bulb, a year or so ago, was a fiasco. Recently I purchased another, but with great care in selecting the wattage (much lower than I am accustomed to) and especially the light color. I love the one I have now for my desk. It is a delightful sunlight color. I don't see it as fluorescent at all, although technically that is what it is, I suppose. It isn't like the horrible old-style office overhead bulbs that rattled and hissed and flickered, all with a bleaching effect on colors.

Now, if my new bulb lasts three times longer to make up for the much higher cost, it will be perfect.

Gus Van Horn said...

Burgess and Clay's tastes in lighting not being too unusual, then the light bulb manufacturers contemptibly used government intervention in lieu of advertising, at best.