Quick Roundup 305

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Anti-Life Premise of Government Rationing

Paul Hsieh and Amit Ghate point to a New York Times story about government rationing of medical care which so perfectly illustrates the thoroughly anti-life premise behind socialized medicine that there is no such thing as bringing it up too often:

Officials said that allowing Mrs. Hirst and others like her to pay for extra drugs to supplement government care would violate the philosophy of the health service by giving richer patients an unfair advantage over poorer ones.
In other words, the animating philosophy behind socialized medicine is not seeing to it that as many lives as possible are improved or saved, but that nobody gets more of anything good (i.e., life-sustaining) than anyone else.

Coincidentally, I learned from Dismuke (who is blogging actively again) of an even more intrusive and blatant application of this premise. Hugo Chavez, the socialist dictator of Venezuela, is seeing to it that families can't purchase "too many" daily necessities:
[I]n the planned network of large (PDVAL) and smaller markets (PDVALitos) run by the PDVSA subsidiary, they will keep a register of all purchases, limiting purchases to once a day. Moreover, they have done the studies of how much food a family may need and purchases will be limited to those amounts. They will have a "file card" (read rationing card) to register purchases so as to avoid repeats and people exceeding the limits. [bold added]
I guess if you starve the peasants, they won't "need" as much medical care, either. The death premise of central planning does have a way, I must admit, of simplifying things.

I will take the complexity and joy of life as a free man any day.

Early Greek Lawgivers Reviewed

There is a short, positive book review of Early Greek Lawgivers by John Lewis over at the Bryn Mawr Classical review:
The book has some good suggestions for further reading, divided into a general section on sources, histories, and modern discussions of Greek law (pp. 85-88) followed by a chapter-by-chapter list (pp. 88-92). Some useful questions for further study are given on pp. 93-94, followed by a glossary of technical terms (pp. 95-96) and a short index (pp. 97-100).

There is a lot in this short book, which is succinctly written, stimulating, and introduces to students earlier lawgivers as well as the better known figures of Draco, Solon, and Lycurgus, who all too often are the only ones studied in courses.
The review calls it an "excellent introduction" to its material and it strikes me as good for a general reader. Although I could not find it at the Ayn Rand bookstore (which does stock Solon the Thinker), it is available through Amazon for $20.00 new.

Holland -- or Bangladesh?

Galileo Blogs draws the following excellent analogy pursuant to a recent Ayn Rand Institute press release on calls by global warming panic-mongers for global dictatorship:
The proper image of our future, should the global warming dictators be successful, is Bangladesh, a poor and authoritarian country where thousands of people die every few years from floods. Contrast Bangladesh with Holland. Thousands of Dutch have lived below sea level for hundreds of years, yet they are safe from floods, protected today by a multi-billion dollar system of dikes, high-tech sensors and dams. However, the real protection of the Dutch against floods is their wealth. The Dutch can afford to protect themselves from floods.
And this would be if they are right that the earth is warming. Otherwise, our lives will still be nasty, brutish, and short, but other methods than flooding will have to put us out of our misery. See the first section of this post for details and note that the global warming hysterics want human beings to have no "unfair advantages" over the inanimate environment.

Comedy on Both Sides of the Pond

When I was young, I was introduced to British comedy, which I really enjoy, by my mother, who watched Fawlty Towers on PBS and would later introduce me to Mr. Bean and the ingenious Keeping up Appearances. (Come to think of it, between my Mom's comedy and my Dad's Soccer Made in Germany, we could have just about gotten by on one channel!)

In any event, I found the thoughts of Briton Valda Redfern on the difference between American and British humor interesting, and feel somewhat vindicated by her take on Seinfeld.

It will be interesting to see what I think of the British Office. I am planning on renting it at some point having exhausted the American series DVDs some time ago.

-- CAV


Ryan O. said...

The british version of The Office is hilarious! Far more subtle than the American version and uniquely disturbing-the office manager's awkwardness makes you wriggle in your seat with embarrassment for him. I think you'll enjoy it.

Gus Van Horn said...

Good to hear, especially if this means that the boss is more subtle, too. My biggest grioe about the American version is that Steve Carrell is a little too over-the-top.

Anonymous said...

"inexorable logic of the way each episode develops a trivial event into an absurd crisis."

That's almost Seinfeld to a "T," but I would add:

The inexorable logic of the way each episode develops a series of seemingly unrelated trivial events into an absurd crisis, usually as a result of the refusal of the characters to handle situations in an honest and adult manner.

That show was poetic justice and dramatic irony taken to a high art form. It was positively delicious to me.


Gus Van Horn said...

I'd say you're right.

I liked the characters, too.

Oddly enough, my wife can't stand Seinfeld or the Office, so I usually watch them alone. A couple we're friends with is the same. He likes the Office and she hates it.

Galileo Blogs said...

You guys might like Curb Your Enthusiasm, created by Larry David, who is the co-creator (?) of Seinfeld. It has the same quality of seemingly unrelated absurd situations reaching an outrageous climax, except it is even more "over the top" than Seinfeld. I don't like every episode, and in the most recent seasons, Larry David is often just nasty, but most of the episodes are quite funny.

FYI: Curb Your Enthusiasm appears on HBO. As a result, one other virtue is that it is uncensored. The ribald language and R-rated situations make it even more hilarious.

Gus Van Horn said...

I don't have HBO, but I see that you can rent it through Netflix!

I'll take a look. Thanks!

johnnycwest said...

Ahhh - British humor - Monty Python reached Canada far before the U.S. I spent much of my time in high school reciting sketches with my friends. Python actually performed live at our local concert hall where they had a screen installed to show film clips and animation from Terry Gilliam. After three rabid encores our hands were practically bleeding trying to coax them on stage once more. After a few minutes of fruitless applause, a giant "PISS OFF" flashed up on the screen and the house lights immediately came on. Brilliant.

Gus Van Horn said...

You know you've been a great audience for Monty Python when they tell you to piss off! Great story!