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Rand Paul and Unpopular Principle

20 May

Some are giving Rand Paul a hard time for his position that business owners should be free to govern their private business as they see fit, even if they choose to discriminate based on race. Many in the mainstream media are highly critical of Rand Paul’s position, but these are the same people who belong to the ACLU. Now the ACLU actively defends the free speech rights of racists and child molesters, yet this is not criticized by the media. The mainstream media has (correctly) bought into the idea that free speech is only meaningful if those whose views you find repugnant are also free to express their opinions. This is good, but for Libertarians speech isn’t the only principle worth defending.

There is also the principle of the free market and the belief that consumers should be empowered to make decisions with their dollars rather than having the government dictate behavior. This principle is radical because it trusts individuals to be the final arbiters of what is right and wrong. They trust the people to not spend money at establishments that they find morally repugnant. They trust that the same spirit that encourages PETA members to not buy from companies that support cruelty to animals exists in all people. They believe in the people enough to trust that they will make moral decisions with their dollars and not frequent businesses that engage in racist practices.

Free speech advocates believe that good speech will triumph over hateful speech, because of human nature. Likewise, many Libertarians believes that good business practices will triumph over discriminatory practices because of human nature. Both principled positions are rooted in a belief in freedom and a trust in the judgment of individuals. The difference lies in the fact that the belief in free speech is safe, as a widely held principle, within the mainstream media, while the belief in the free market is not. In the movie The American President free speech saw one of its most moving defenses:

“America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You’ve gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say, ‘You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.’ You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms.

Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.”

If you truly trust the people, why doesn’t that trust extend beyond free speech? Government should not be allowed to discriminate and Rand Paul is not advocating that. He simply believes that trust in individuals can and should extend to private businesses and their patrons.

A Request

14 Dec

Anyone that frequents this blog regularly (what? There could be one person that does) would be doing me a huge favor if they would follow this link and read the post. Times are tough all around and it’s asking a lot, but it’s a worthy cause and I hope you’ll donate a little something if you can. The loss of the Lakewood officers in Washington is a tragedy and I can’t imagine what their children must be feeling as they face this holiday without the parent that was ripped from them. There’s not much we can do to ease their pain, but we can do our part to make sure they have a chance for a bright future in spite of all they’ve lost. Thank you and Happy Holidays.

From My Cold, Dead .. OUCH!!

3 Sep

middle-finger

So a clearly malnourished lefty protester decided to snack on the finger of a rival protester. While this is disturbing, it’s also rather surreal. The offending cannibal has yet to be identified, but there are suspects. The list includes the usual culprits including Mike Tyson and Bono. I personally believe the most likely culprit is Rahm Emanuel. Rahm lost half of a finger years ago and I don’t put anything past a politician that will send a dead fish to a pollster.

Some on the left took this as an opportunity to highlight the virtues of medicare. Let’s hope this strategy does not spread, because I’d hate to be stabbed just so the left could praise the speedy response of the ambulance. Obviously this incident does show us that medicare is a truly great program. I mean who hasn’t had their finger bitten off by a crazed lefty and wished the government was there to help?

I truly cannot wait to discover the identity of the finger biter. Speculation remains rampant as to which group he may be with. It really doesn’t matter which lefty group the biter belongs to, because they’re all pretty much flesh eating zombies.

The question remains as to why the lefty screwball decided to snack on the older gentleman. I like to think things went down like this…

Older gentleman opposed to Obamacare: Listen here, kid, you can have nationalized health care when you pry it from my cold, dead hands.

Lefty Nutbag: *chomp*

Older gentleman opposed to Obamacare: Jesus Christ, you stupid little shit, I’m not dead yet!

Lefty Nutbag: It tastes like … CHANGE

A Masterpiece

30 Aug

I’d first like to extend a Hat Tip to IronyCurtain and the great folks at iowntheworld.com. I highly recommend you become a follower/promoter of that great site.

The following video, by Tim Hawkins, is pure awesome wrapped up in a candy shell of sweeet!

It is through videos such as this that some healthy skepticism of government as the first solution can begin to get beyond the usual filters of a pop culture dominated by affective “progressive” thinking.

A Note to Arthur Frommer

26 Aug

you suck

On August 19th, 2009 Arthur Frommer posted a piece concerning guns in Arizona as he had witnessed on a news report. In it, Mr. Frommer stated the following, “I will not personally travel in a state where civilians carry loaded weapons onto the sidewalks and as a means of political protest. I not only believe such practices are a threat to the future of our democracy, but I am firmly convinced that they would also endanger my own personal safety there.” The following is my response to Mr. Frommer.

Dear Mr Frommer,

Your irrational response to this situation is both disheartening and disturbing. You are disturbed by the sight of guns being carried in the open, but you’ve never expressed such concern over violent crime in the cities and states with stringent gun laws. Perhaps if you would engage in rational thought rather than affective thinking you would realize that gun restrictions, that you appear to be concerned with, only create the illusion of safety. A rational person would examine the statistical data and realize that gun laws do not have an appreciable effect on crime. This is because gun laws ignore the fundamental truth that criminals commit crimes. If an individual is willing to break the laws concerning assault or murder, it is irrational to believe that a law concerning gun possession would somehow cause them to abandon their criminal mentality and become a law abiding individual.

What you, and most other gun control activists, engaged in was an emotional reaction to a stimulus that you’ve been conditioned to associate with death and violence. I would recommend that you try a little exposure therapy and actually spend some time at your local NRA supported sportsman group and get to know the true face of lawful gun ownership. I’m a lifetime member of the NRA, a proud gun owner, and somebody that has never violated the law. You’re an elderly gentlemen, Mr Frommer. If you should be afraid of anything it’s a government run health care system that, burdened by debt, forces bureaucrats to ration health care services to those who are deemed less valuable.

While I find the actions of those brandishing weapons to be imprudent, they have every legal right under our constitution to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights responsibly and peacefully. You may find the free exercise of an individuals rights under the 2nd Amendment to be disturbing, Mr Frommer, but I’m far more disturbed by the Obama administration. An administration that created a program which advocated for private citizens to inform on those that challenged the presidents legislative agenda. Perhaps you should consider the effects of a powerful government targeting individuals, when it comes to the future of our Republic, before you overreact to a handful of misguided individuals.

Free Radical Thought on Health Care

17 Aug

free radical thought

The government run insurance option will enjoy the benefit of not having to operate like a real business. Like all government programs it will be able to supplement its continued operation through tax payer subsidies. This will put private insurers at a disadvantage and will eventually put them out of business.

Any federally run insurance option will likely run a mild deficit at first, but this early drain will be nothing when compared to the massive costs that will result when private insurers are no longer able to operate. At that point there will be 300+ million people under the government insurance program and it will not be able to sustain quality coverage. The costs will simply be too high, like they are for European nations and Canada, which will result in cost savings measures. These cost saving measures will include rationing of health care services, because government programs never cut the superfluous jobs of union protected bureaucrats.

Once cost savings measures are required there will be increasing push to standardize universal care in order to reduce costs. This is dangerous in medicine, because health care is highly personal and runs contrary to cold impersonal touch of government run bureaucracy. With private insurers driven out of business, there will be no alternative to those who are victimized by the new system. Without the US, where will victims of Canada’s health care system go to as a last resort?

Quality of health care will decline, because the high cost of going to medical school will not be worthwhile if the doctor turns out to be no better than a civil servant. This system will all but guarantee that the only individuals who can afford to be doctors in the US are those who were educated in developing nations. There are talented doctors from overseas, but it is naive to think there wont be a noticeable differences. This has been demonstrated in the UK where they increasingly rely on foreign doctors and nurses to provide health care services for their population. Obama’s plan to subsidize education costs is a horrible response to this situation, because it does nothing to reduce the actual cost of an education. It simply redistributes the burden of paying for that education. This doesn’t put pressure on schools to operate more efficiently and keep costs down. It’s no coincidence that as we’ve seen government backed grants and loans explode, so has the cost of a college education.

Compared to the US, the UK and Canada are rather healthy. This is due to their lifestyles, which differ greatly from ours. If the UK and Canada, with largely healthy and homogeneous populations, cannot successfully operate a nationalized health care system then it is certain that the US, with our rather unhealthy and heterogeneous population, cannot.

None of the above implies that the current insurance industry is functional. There is not enough competition in medicine and far too much overhead. There needs to be greater flexibility for insurance providers to operate in all states and significant pressure on the broader insurance industry to stop using government regulation to undermine competition.

Health care reform is not complicated. A simple reintroduction of free market forces into the insurance industry is all that is required. Currently the insurance industry has utilized government regulation to protect their profits and undermine sources of competition. This has been a role that government has been far too comfortable playing for far too long. If legislators were interested in driving down health care costs, they would take a page from organizations like CATO and REASON. These groups would recommend returning insurance to its proper role as a protector against the costs of catastrophic care. By limiting insurance to this role, it would return consumers to their rightful position as the force that pressures health care providers to reduce costs and improve efficiency. In order to retain their customers, and their bottom lines, health care providers would be forced to become efficient, innovative and responsive. This would make routine medical care more affordable, which would increase access for more Americans.

The same forces could be used to accomplish the goals of reforming the insurance industry. By forcing insurance companies to compete with rivals in other states, the market for insurance would expand and efficient practices would gain broader adoption. With the adoption of efficient operation and reduction in the bureaucratic burden, health insurance would become more affordable and available to lower income Americans. A segment of the population would likely remain that would be unable to afford care and this could be addressed with vouchers that would allow the individual to shop for their own insurance, while not disrupting the market.

These reforms do not require the creation of a new government bureaucracy or regulatory agency. As a result, they will likely not be adopted. Legislators know that the way to gain support from influential unions is to expand their ranks by creating more bureaucrats. This can only be accomplished by establishing new government agencies that can employ workers via bloated administration structures. The most effective lobbyists these days are government agencies and those they employ. It’s little wonder that no federally operated government agency ever accomplishes the task it was created for and shrinks. At the most, they simply change their name periodically. The health care reforms Democrats have proposed are largely concerned with creating busy work rather than actually improving the health care system and expanding health insurance coverage. Real reform isn’t complicated, but it takes courage to do what’s in the interest of the American people rather than the insurance industry and unions.

No Return – No Deposit

12 Aug

ObamaPiggy

Those on the left are demanding a “public option.” They demand that the Congress establish a federally run provider than will compete with for profit insurance companies. We all know that this is inherently unfair due to the advantages enjoyed by government, given that the government will set the rules that regulate everyone. If the left is so confident in the efficiency of the federal government, and believe that insurance companies are gouging customers, why not put that theory to the test?

I suggest mandating that any federally operated public option plan be forced to operate as a for-profit entity. I further suggest that all profits from the public option be used to pay down the national debt. The law would have to establish a minimum benchmark by which the public option would create a return for the taxpayers who are investing in this plan. The minimum return should be based on the average rate of return that private for-profit insurance companies can deliver. The return seen from the public option entity would be used to pay down the national debt, which would benefit all Americans.

If the federally run government plan cannot operate at a profit, while providing the same care as private insurers, then it is clear that it is not as effective as private insurance and cannot be considered a solution to the rising cost of health care. There would also need to be provisions that would prevent the Federal Government from raising taxes in order to meet their profit. Laws would also need to be enacted that would prevent the Federal Government from borrowing against projected returns. If they cannot lower costs, as they claim, they are no different than the private insurance companies. If there is no difference between the performance of private and government run providers, there is no reason to switch to a single payer system that would undermine competition and threaten further medical innovation. If the government run option, after ten years, cannot meet it’s required profit targets it should be abandoned for a real solution to the cost of health care that actually works. For once, let’s make the Federal Government play by the same rules as everyone else.