What Collectivists Want

What the collectivists (Leftists, Progressives, whatever they call themselves at the moment) want is not health care reform.  Nor is it to fulfill the wishes of the American people.

What they want is control.  Health care reform (or health care insurance reform) is merely one vehicle they see as likely to get them more control.

Control of others is important to them because they feel incapable of dealing with the world on their own.


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Greater Good, Lesser Evil

Often, when justifying someone’s action, you hear the phrase, “for the greater good.”

It took awhile for me to realize that the proper question isn’t “greater than what?”  The proper question is, “greater for whom?”

The phrase is used as an unanswerable justification for an action that would otherwise be judged as bad or evil.  It’s as though if something is done “for the greater good,” it is unquestionably virtuous.

Think of the alms for the poor that religions have demanded from their congregations for hundreds of years, threatening hellfire for disobedience.

Or, consider the justification given for funding welfare programs through taxation.  There are people in need; those who are meeting their own needs must provide for them.  If your question about the good is, “greater for whom?” the answer comes easily; at least, it does if you’ve read Ayn Rand on altruism.  The “greater good” means what’s good for other people, as opposed to what is good for an individual.

The “greater good” is given as a Christian way of dealing with the “problem of evil”.  This latter is often raised in discussions about the existence of God.  How can the Christian god exist when there is so much obvious evil in the world?  Evil becomes less problematic — it can even be seen as necessary —  if it contributes to bringing about the “greater good” of fulfilling God’s wishes.

What unites the religious “greater good” with the political “public interest”?  They both based on the premise that sacrifice is good.

“The greater good” fits right in with the Christian duty to self-sacrifice.  It also fits in with the political Left’s maxim that the good is whatever benefits the most people.  Thus we get “the public interest”, which is said to justify the sacrifice of the productive to the “needy”.  So, what might be thought of as “bad” or “evil” for some thus becomes a “greater good” for other people.

In essence, sacrifice is the giving up of something you value for something you value less or not at all.  Christianity expects you to do so in order to have any chance of reaching Heaven.   Leftist politicians exhort you to forego your own interests for:  future generations, or the poor, or the environment, or health care for everyone or — fill in the blank with whatever goals they may currently specify.  (Conservative politicians agree with most of their goals, but differ in their methods.)

The flip side of the “greater good” is the “lesser evil”.  Lesser evil is necessary for there to be a greater good.  (That’s what it’s greater than.)

The sacrifice entailed by the “greater good”, then, turns out to be the standard of morality. But how can something that’s admittedly evil — sacrifice of your values — be a moral standard?  There is a contradiction here.

As always when encountering a contradiction, the principle is: check your premises.  The premise that sacrifice is good contradicts the premise that values are good.

The alternative to the Christian/Leftist call for self-sacrifice?  Rational egoism.  Your responsibility is to yourself; not to any god nor to everyone else.


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Email To My Congressman

I sent the following to Walt Minnick, a “blue dog” Democrat who represents my district:

I cannot state more strongly than I already have how THOROUGHLY I am opposed to any form of government health care.  The latest travesty is Ms. Pelosi’s 1900-page health care bill.

My political thoughts:

1) ObamaCare is a political loser.

Recent polls consistently show that a majority of Americans are opposed to the Congress’ health care “reform plan:


2) Free market health care reforms would be a political winner.

A CNN poll from earlier in 2009 shows that 8 out of 10 Americans are generally happy with their health care but are (legitimately) concerned about the rising costs:


If we adopted some of the free market reforms, as in the John Mackey WSJ OpEd from this fall, it would lower costs, while respecting individual rights and preserving health care quality:


Hence, free market reforms would be a political winner.


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Instructions to Congress

Dear Congressman Minnick,

My $.02 on the health care reform and insurance issues:

1. Do NOT authorize ANY increased government involvement in health care OR in health insurance. The idea of compromising on a “public option” is a red herring — vote against ANY bill that calls for more interference in health care or insurance.

2. Use your energy and influence to work toward reducing regulatory laws and bureaucratic agencies presently involved in health care. This nation was founded on the idea of individual rights. STOP restricting our rights!

Yours, etc.

I sent similar messages to Senators Crapo and Risch, both Republicans.  Like many others, I’m getting damned tired of the ever-increasing government controls on our lives.


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Letter To My Senator

Dear Senator Risch:

You responded with a form letter to my expressed concern about health care.  Thank you for replying.

My hope is that you understand that we protestors want the government out of the health care arena.

I want to implore you not to accept any compromises with the reform advocates, such as simply dropping the “public option” but keeping the rest, as recently floated by the President.  The only way Congress can now help the health care system to improve is to begin to deregulate health care, with the eventual goal of getting out of it entirely.

We are not asking Congress to “advance health care reform with caution and concern related to cost, choice, quality and access,” as your form letter states.  We are asking — demanding — that the government be restrained from any involvement in health care.

I am glad you do not approve of the creation of a new government-run “public” health care system.  I am glad for your focus on freeing consumers and health care providers from government interference.  Since the current problems with health care can be traced to previous government interference, it would make no sense to mandate further intrusion into such an important area of our lives.


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Lately, I haven’t been able to turn on TV news without the talking heads therein telling me the country’s financial state is terrible because of deregulation. The Republicans, it is alleged or explicitly stated, deregulated the financial sector, and those greedy businessmen and bankers took full advantage. Now, the bottom has fallen out of the stock market and financial institutions are having to be bailed out by the government.

Then, what to my wondering screen should appear, but the following:


The heart of the matter:

“The Federal Register, which lists all new rules, ran to 72,090 pages in 2007. This was down 3.8% from 2006. The record year was 2004, which saw 75,676 pages.

“Out of more than 60 federal departments, a mere five accounted for 45% of new rules. The departments of Treasury, Commerce, Agriculture, and Homeland Security, along with the EPA, instituted a combined 1,741 new rules in 2007.

“Some rules cost more than others and deserve special attention. Of the new rules, 159 are “economically significant,” meaning they will cost at least $100 million a year. ”

So, it’s difficult for me to see just what has been “deregulated,” and how it’s caused all this financial destruction.


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Church and State

Since I have nothing but scorn for religion, you can be sure that I abhor its recent creeping entry into government in the United States. I had intended to blog on this subject; however, Diana Hsieh is doing such a superlative job with the new Coalition for Secular Government that I can do no better than to direct anyone interested to:


An ongoing blog examines various relevant topics:


Be sure to read the position paper by Diana and Ari Armstrong, linked in the URLs above.


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To the Republican Platform Committee

In a fit of pique, I submitted the following to the Republican Platform Committee. I don’t expect a great return for the effort, unless …many others express the same ideas as emphatically as they are able:

“My family has always voted Republican. The Party has changed in recent years.

“The important issue: the Republican Party must stand for strict separation of church and state.

“But the Party has now allied itself with the religious right, with such pet issues as anti-stem-cell research, anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage.

“I will not vote Republican under such terms. Protection of individual rights is the most important political issue. Citizens have the right to indulge in their religion, but only privately. There is no right to force one’s religious views on others, as the religious right hopes to do through the Republican Party.

“My hope is for the Party to get back to issues of individual rights, national defense, and free markets. Leave the “social” issues to Americans’ free choice. Until then, the Party will not have my vote.”


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Harry Reid and the “Voluntary” Income Tax

One Jan Helfeld interviewed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada). The interview can be seen here: http://tinyurl.com/5az366

Mr. Helfeld argues that the U.S. income tax is not voluntary, because it is backed up by the threat of governmental force. Reid insists that it is voluntary.

In trying to sort out Reid’s reasons, I find three arguments.

1) In many other countries you would never file taxes. Especially in European countries, your government makes the employer deduct all taxes before you get paid.

2) Here, we have lots of — oops; not loopholes — ways that people can get deductions, such as on mortgage payments, health, etc. Reid calls these, “incentives for people to do business.”

3 ) In resposnse to Helfeld’s assertion that there is force involved since if you don’t pay you go to jail, Reid responded, “You don’t go to jail. Some people go to jail…” but we have civil penalty alternatives.

When I come upon someone who uses words equivocally — as Sen. Reid does — and who does not change when this is pointed out to him, as Mr. Helfeld did several times, I consider that person to be either stupid or dishonest. I include Reid in the dishonest category.

Words have meanings. When pinned to the wall, Reid acknowledges that government force is used in tax collection by saying that “ultimately, you can’t cheat on your taxes.” So he (barely) recognizes what “voluntary” means. But immediately thereafter he continues to insist that our income tax system is voluntary because it’s different from those of some European countries.

The concept “voluntary” refers to the distinguishing characteristic of an action, in this case the action of handing over money. Throughout history, governments have forcibly taken wealth from those who produced it, and that’s what is called taxation, of course. It is the opposite of what’s meant by “voluntary”, which denotes action one takes willingly, of one’s own accord.
Now, it is taken as a truism that all politicians are dishonest. Usually, that means that they all make campaign promises that don’t subsequently get fulfilled. But Harry Reid’s dishonesty is more blatant. He wants to make us believe that words don’t have meanings, really, that they can mean whatever the speaker wants them to mean. Thus, by destroying our language, do our leaders try to destroy our minds.


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Dr. Geeta Shroff

Imagine having a paralyzing spinal cord injury. Imagine being unable to move your arms or legs, or even to breathe on your own. Then imagine that a physician has developed a treatment using injected embryonic stem cells which can actually improve your condition, allow you to, say, breathe again without mechanical aid. Or begin to regain some use of your limbs, and find yourself on the road to recovery.

Such treatment now appears to be on the horizon for sufferers of heretofore incurable conditions such as SCI, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.

Every now and then, I run into a new candidate for the title, “a hero of mine.” It’s too early to tell, but I may have found another.

A medical researcher in New Delhi, India, Dr. Geeta Shroff, is reportedly doing wondrous things with embryonic stem cells. She has been called a “maverick,” already an attractive description in an age of regulated conformity. The reason for the appellation: her fierce determination to do her work under her own terms and in her own way.

This means that Dr. Shroff did her research without any government financial assistance. As with the early Bill Gates, she at first worked out of her garage, where she set up her own small lab.

She first became famous in the early 90’s for developing a technique for determining the sex of a fetus in the womb, without taking a scan. After regulators curtailed that practice, she worked at treating couples for infertility problems.

She began her controversial work on stem cells in the late 90’s. At present, she has two hospitals in New Delhi, where she treats people who have terminal conditions or incurable diseases. Her patients have mostly been countrymen, but lately she has been approached by many international patients from Britain, Australia, America, and other countries which tightly control the use of embryonic stem cells.

Dr. Shroff gets criticism from the conventional medical establishment because she doesn’t publish on her research and technique. Instead of publishing, she has applied for a patent in order to stop competitors from copying and profiting from her work.

Dr. Shroff is to be commended for steadfastly being her own person in an era when such independence is frowned upon. She will have huge forces aligned against her: the medical profession’s disapproval and consequent ostracism, condemnation by religious “pro life” groups, castigation by self-styled “ethicists”, censure for insisting on making her own use of her discoveries rather than giving them away — the list goes on.

It’s too early for me to tell whether this remarkable woman and her breakthrough methods are for real, or a flash in the pan, but I have to say, I like her style.

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