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Category: Collectivism

This Bill Maher and Ben Affleck Exchange Is Incredibly Important For Liberals and Conservatives

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Let me first just say that I’m not sure if keeping score on something like this is good for anyone… But Bill had a strong point to make, but so did Ben actually.

Wow… I love a good debate, and this really was a huge debate to watch. On one side you have the liberal force of “tolerance” so that we don’t lump groups in a distortion of their true character (represented by Mr. Affleck), and on the other side we have the liberal cornerstone of an activism that has zero tolerance for any social and economic oppression subjugated by any ideology (represented by Mr. Maher). This article sums up a good portion of how I feel, but I think there is more to it. I think that what Bill was saying is incredibly important, and I think that what Ben was saying is crucial to actually solving the problem. Bill was pointing out that renouncing your faith should not be cause for being put to death, which it is perceived to be for many people. He quoted that something like 90% of Egyptians felt that leaving Islam should result in capital punishment, and I thought I’d heard the same about Saudi Arabia. That is astounding to me, and assuming that the polling is correct I am left terrified of how we might bridge the divide in our cultures.

Ben however, was taking a firm stance that you can’t just throw entire regions and cultures out like this – which I find admirable in terms of how we may ever have to address this problem. Where I find myself frustrated on this front is the double standard between the Middle East and the Heartland of America. Liberals like Ben (and maybe not him more specifically) almost predictably take this stance of not throwing the baby out with the bathwater on people and their cultures, until it comes to the Christian coalition (not the necessarily the actual organization with that name) of people across this country who are reamed constantly by the media for having faith. Some groups and individuals who call themselves Christians probably deserve some harsh feedback, but we don’t usually hear this same kind of nuanced approach with Christianity in America.

If someone wants to go after religion they don’t necessarily hurt my feelings – society needs people like that so you don’t end up with a population that thinks we should kill people who don’t believe in what we believe in and can’t prove. BUT, if you are going to do it you should remain consistent, and nuanced in your value judgements of these differing groups and their ideas. I wish Bill wouldn’t be so willing to throw people out like he does, and I wish Ben would clarify his standard, as well as recognize that what Bill was saying is scary. If those poll numbers don’t scare you then you must not be paying attention…

I will actually be taking a trip in November with my good buddy Gavin to Egypt, and I just want to say that I can’t wait to meet these people who are often villainized by the media – and who like me don’t have the world figured out yet. I’m sure we could come up with some astounding polling from the United States over the last century, so to side with Ben for a second I hope that we can work on finding our common ground so that maybe we can work on exchanging our best ideas, and not just harp on our differences.

So, here is the exchange, and below is a very interesting article about the whole thing. Please feel free to give me your feedback:

And due to neither of these men being representatives of Islam I figured we’d throw in this Reza Aslan interview that would most support Ben’s thinking for before you read an article about why Bill is right:

The Daily Beast
 

Bill Maher 1, Ben Affleck 0

The Real Time host’s spat with the Gone Girl star gets to the heart of a major and longtime problem within contemporary Western liberalism

Every once in a great while, something happens on television that you know while you’re watching it: Well, this is unusual. Those old enough to know what I’m talking about when I say “Al Campanis”  will remember that that was one of your more extreme cases. The exchange between Bill Maher and Ben Affleck on last Friday’s Real Time wasn’t a Campanis moment, but I knew instantly—watching it in, well, real time, as it were—that this was going to spark discussion,  as indeed it has.

In case you missed it, the two—both committed and thoughtful liberals—got into it on the question of whether Western liberals can or should criticize Islam. Mentioning freedom of speech and equal rights, Maher said: “These are liberal principles that liberals applaud for, but then when you say in the Muslim world, this is what’s lacking, then they get upset.” Sam Harris, the atheist author, agreed with Maher and said, “The crucial point of confusion is that we have been sold this meme of Islamophobia where every criticism of the doctrine of Islam gets conflated with bigotry towards Muslims as people. That is intellectually ridiculous.” Affleck, as if on cue, challenged Harris: “Are you the person who understands the officially codified doctrine of Islam?” And then: “So you’re saying that Islamophobia is not a real thing?” Right after, Affleck said that such criticisms of Islam were “gross” and “racist” and “like saying [to Maher] ‘you’re a shifty Jew.’”

It was cracking good TV, but it was more—it hit home because they were describing one of the most important debates within liberalism of the last…10 years certainly, as pertains to Islam, but 40 or 50 years as relates to arguments between the developed and the developing world, and close to a century when it comes to discussions of how culture should affect our understanding of universal, or as some would have it “universal,” principles. Reluctance to criticize the failures of other cultures has been a problem within contemporary liberalism, with negative consequences I’ll go into below. So this liberal is firmly on Maher’s side, even as I recognize that his rendering is something of a caricature.

Here’s some quick history for you. First, the Enlightenment happened, and humankind developed the idea of universal rights. ’Round about the 1920s, some scholars in the then-newish field of cultural anthropology started to argue that all rights, or at least values, were not universal, and that we (the West) should be careful about imposing our values on societies with traditions and customs so removed from our own.

A big moment here came with the debate over the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which asserted the universalist position without apology and which was pushed mostly by mainstream political liberals (Eleanor Roosevelt most notably). There were many critiques of the declaration from what we would today call “the left,” but those voices had little juice in those days, and when the UN adopted the declaration, it was a great victory for liberalism.

Fade in, fade out. Then came the anti-colonialist uprisings of the 1950s, Frantz Fanon, postmodern political theory, Vietnam, the Israeli occupation, the intifada, et cetera et cetera. All of these and many other kindred events seeped into the liberal bloodstream, still rich in universalist cells but now also coursing with the competing cells of cultural relativism (invariably a pejorative these days, although it wasn’t always).

And so, yes, we have seen in recent years from liberalism, or at least from some liberals (a crucial distinction, in fact), an unwillingness to criticize the reactionary aspects or expressions of other cultures, expressions that these liberals would have no hesitation whatsover in criticizing if they were exhibited by, say, Southern white Christians.

The most obvious example that comes to mind is that of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Muslim-African-Dutch-and-finally-American feminist intellectual. She of course is famous, now mostly for some of her more incendiary comments, but recall how she first became so: She and her collaborator, Theo van Gogh, had made a film critical of the oppression of women in the Muslim world. He was murdered, and she received death threats. She fled to the United States.

Now, here was a key moment: When she came to America in 2006, where was Hirsi Ali going to plant her flag? As she tells the story in her book Nomad, she met with liberal and conservative outfits. She says the liberal ones were “tentative” in their support for her and her ideas, but the conservative American Enterprise Institute embraced her totally, even though on certain issues (like abortion rights) she’s no conservative.

Hirsi Ali, of course, has subsequently gone on to say, quite controversially, that not just radical Islam but “Islam, period” must be “defeated.” But here’s the question: Before she started talking like that, why was she unable to find a home within American liberalism? It should be, and should have been, a core part of the mission of liberalism to support secular humanists and small-d democrats from all over the world, but from the Muslim world in particular. Most of these people are themselves liberals by Western standards, and they are desperate for the United States to do what it can to oppose the theocracies and autocracies under which they’re forced to live.

Maher, and certainly conservative critics, overstate the extent to which liberals fail to make common cause with such folks. Christian evangelicals who do work on, say, genital mutilation (which Hirsi Ali suffered) get a lot more attention in the media, because it’s more “interesting” that white conservatives give a crap about something happening to nonwhite women halfway across the world. But as the writer Michelle Goldberg pointed out in a review of Hirsi Ali’s Nomad for the journal I edit, Democracy, numerous women’s organizations and feminist groups do work to advance women’s rights in the Muslim world.

Goldberg wrote: “A few years ago, I visited Tasaru Ntomonok, which is the kind of place Hirsi Ali would probably love—it’s a Kenyan shelter that houses and educates girls fleeing female genital mutilation and forced marriage. Among its supporters are the high profile feminist Eve Ensler, the feminist NGO Equality Now, and the United Nations Population Fund, a bête noire of many conservatives. There are similar grassroots organizations working toward women’s liberation all over the world.”

Even so, Maher has identified a problem within Western liberalism today. Debates about multiculturalism are appropriate to a later stage of development of the infrastructure of rights and liberties than one finds in some other parts of the world. That infrastructure has existed in Western countries for a century, and it is the very fact that it was so solidly entrenched that opened up the space for us to start having debates about multiculturalism in the 1970s and ’80s.

But in much of the Arab and Muslim world, that infrastructure barely exists. So—and how’s this for a paradox?—to insist that our Western standards that call for multiculturalist values should be applied to countries that haven’t yet fully developed the basic rights infrastructure constitutes its own kind of imposition of our values onto them. A liberated woman or a gay man who lives in a country where being either of those things is at best unaccepted and at worst illegal doesn’t need multiculturalism. They’re desperate for a little universalism, and we Western liberals need to pay more attention to this.

via Bill Maher 1, Ben Affleck 0 – The Daily Beast.

This Man Was Given 2 Years To Live With ALS In 1963, And He’s Still Alive… And That’s Not Even The Most Interesting Thing About Him.

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Stephen Hawking has ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Did I just blow your mind? Discovering this bit of information was actually somewhat exciting for me, as I have always thought of the disease to be an absolute guarantee of death within a few years. I realize that a lot of people that I know do not like Mr. Hawking, and you don’t have to (no one can make you), but it is probably worth at least learning his story, and what makes him significant (other than the fact that he’s survived having ALS for half of a century). It will probably comfort a lot of my friends at least somewhat to know that Mr. Hawking isn’t as militant an atheist as some. He has actually been quoted saying:

“An expanding universe does not preclude a creator, but it does place limits on when he might have carried out his job!” – Stephen Hawking

 

The recent ALS Ice Bucket Challenge campaign has been unbelievably successful. Much of the success of this campaign is probably correlated with the fact that there seemed to be a very simple, and kind of fun activity that tangibly allows people to at least do something, other than give money. The other side of the campaign that is probably responsible for having raised $94.3 million, in less than a month (as opposed to $2.7 million in the same time period the previous year) is the outpouring of personal stories. I recently read the book “You Are Now Less Dumb”, and in this book David McRaney attempts to establish that the most basic of human instincts is to have a narrative – we must make sense of it all. He tries to explain how we tell ourselves simple lies sometimes just to make sense of our environment. It might seem like I’m bringing this up to say that religion is an opiate, but that is not my intent. I simply want to describe the importance in the human condition of relating to others. This is what Stephen looked like before ALS took over his body:

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SO, here is my challenge to you: I challenge you to watch this and try to address your prejudices against Mr. Hawking, be they ideological or biological – or simply watch it and enjoy it. I believe there is a God, and that in principle is why I would want to hear as much from someone like Hawking as possible. If you don’t have time for the video I at least urge you to read about some of Mr. Hawking’s discoveries and theories, he is a pretty smart fellow. Now I think I’ll go listen to the audiobook for his record breaking best selling book “A Brief History of Time”.

via Hawking 2013 – YouTube.

The very real impact of Obamacare opposition, in one map – Vox

*Below there is a video, and an article which is much more informative than I. So if you don’t have much time please skip what I wrote and go straight to that.

The following video, and the article below it, were made by Ezra Klein (and whoever else Ezra works with). It describes some of the cost patterns associated with regulation and participation within the healthcare marketplace. Ezra describes the very real effects of people being able to opt out of a system that automatically promises to treat them (via: at the least Emergency Rooms). While I agree with virtually everything about this video (and I usually find him to be very informative), this is a Very complex topic, and thus there are items that could be essential information while considering cause and effect of the health care industry – in particular the cause and effect of prices. As people begin to debate what causes our nation to pay such an incredible amount (16.9% of our GDP, the highest in the world), and yet we aren’t even close to the healthiest.

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I support business leading the way on development, and infrastructure as much as it can, but some great ideas have been midwifed by our collectivist society through our taxes. And something that I can’t seem to explain well enough to some of my friends is that free markets, and libertarianism is based in access. Do people have access to what they want? That is one measure of “free market” capitalism – but within our markets we regularly build levies and dams to protect us. Debating regulation specifics, rather than whether or not we should have any regulation is really what this country needs.

The regulation changes over the last few years have been labeled a handout to insurance companies, and in while that is true in many ways the real catalyst in terms of our prices being so inflated in comparison with the rest of the industrialized world is our administrative cost from having a privatized system that so heavily supports the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the networks of hospitals with virtually no accountability on many levels. These arguments cannot be made against the entire healthcare industry, but they should be made against certain portions of it.

I don’t know which approach we should take exactly, I don’t love “Obamacare”, but it’s in many ways an improvement on what he had before. The following might help in understanding the most controversial part of the ACA (Affordable Care Act), the Individual Mandate (invented by the Heritage Foundation in the 1990’s).

-Grady

Vox’s Ezra Klein explains exactly how the individual mandate works

The individual mandate is the provision of Obamacare that requires most Americans to purchase health insurance coverage. It exists to encourage people who are unlikely to buy coverage — mostly healthy people who think premiums are a waste of money — to go ahead and do so. This is necessary, many health economists believe, in order to keep premiums low.Some people do get an exemption from the individual mandate, because they can’t find an affordable plan, for example, or have a religious objection to health coverage. But, by and large, most Americans are now required to carry health coverage or pay a penalty.The penalty for not carrying coverage in 2014 is $95 or 1 percent of income, whichever is larger, and it goes up the next year and year after. The federal government recoups this penalty via the tax filing process. So someone who decided to go uninsured would file that information with the Internal Revenue Service, along with their income. They could have the penalty deducted from their 2014 tax return — the one that they file in the spring of 2015.Though the individual mandate was originally a conservative idea pushed in response to Bill Clinton’s 1994 health care plan, it became the subject of a lawsuit Republican attorneys general mounted against Obamacare’s constitutionality. The Supreme Court ultimately ruled in June 2012 that the mandate was constitutional under the federal government’s taxing powers. You can read the decision here.

via The very real impact of Obamacare opposition, in one map – Vox.

Skin In The Game: High Stakes on High Temps

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When there is a big debate I love to hear “the facts” as we know them, but I also love hearing about the passion with which those in close proximity to the item in question conveys their perspective. Does the person speaking have anything to gain or lose in this debate? Like when I hear people talk about the gospel: the most compelling argument (to me anyway) that Jesus was who people say that he says he was is that his disciples, who lived among him, were almost all reportedly tortuously murdered still claiming what they had been sentenced to death for proclaiming. They had “skin in the game”, and it didn’t shake their resolve. This matter of course still requires faith, just as many consequential aspects of life can require faith in planning, but they had first-hand experience with something and they were willing to die horrifically for that thing (or so it is told, and believing in these events does require faith).

This video describes multiple groups with “skin in the game” (whether it be professional, financial, or actual physical skin) in regards to the climate of our planet possibly changing – and they believe that the climate is experiencing change. One thing about “free markets” is that they can indicate much about items unknowable, yet consequential, and how those with skin in the game estimate they should act. Can we guarantee that people in the United States will continue to gain weight, and keep paying for care which allows them to experience less indigestion but maintain too much weight? No, but if you were to bet on it how would you bet? Billions of dollars are bet every year, by people who don’t like losing money, on the idea that people are not going to lose weight, and those people make a lot of money. If you were an insurance company would you haphazardly put billions of dollars at stake for something that is “laughable”? Well, those companies which have the opportunity to bet on whether or not the climate is changing detrimentally to some degree are making the bets that would indicate that they think we have a problem with the health of our little planet’s climate. I guess if the free market can’t inform some conservatives then I’m not sure that it’s going to happen anytime soon.

This speech from Senator Whitehouse is from December of 2013, and it seems to have just recently picked up some more traction in the social media world. He is speaking against Oklahoma Senator (and apparently very nice guy) Senator Inhofe. I have had multiple friends work for Inhofe, and the reports seem to be that he’s sincere, but that doesn’t mean that he’s right.

Mayor Mick Cornett’s New Ted Talk Is A Must See For Okies – TedTalk Tuesday

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I know that I haven’t very consistently posted on Ted Talk Tuesdays, but this was a great one to start it back up again. Over the last five or six years I have found myself loving Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett more and more. I actually even had the chance to meet him, well three times, but one time I got to talk to him for a solid five minutes. I really appreciate his more moderate approach to governance, which really just means that he believes in being fiscally responsible, but he also believes that sometimes societies must invest in themselves. As the Republican Party is trying to find new leadership that is also marketable may I suggest looking for people like mayor Cornett? He has administrative experience, and he shows himself to be very pragmatic. If your are an Okie like me I encourage you to share this video, as I think that our state has a bright future ahead of it and it’s time we start talking about the ways that we intend to keep improving ourselves.

Mayor Mick Cornett was at the OMBA Conference today. Probably my favorite governing Republican.

A post shared by Grady Carter (@gradycarter) on

The Giving Pledge: a new club of billionaires who want to save the world

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I thoroughly enjoy a good philosophical debate/discussion about how things should be, but I also find it inherently necessary to discuss what is. It would be wonderful if a lot of that which ails people of this world were to be easily eradicated with some hard work, some good sleep, and a maybe a little Robitussin. The reality of life for many in this world is that they just don’t have the resources to save themselves, or their loved ones. I am someone who has skepticisms about government in general terms, but I also think that it has a place in pooling resources to help those in need. I would prefer that private charity could always cover these deficits, but they just don’t, and thus we need some public service help in my opinion.

As we’ve watched the rich become richer, and the poor become poorer over the last 4 decades we have had to ask how do we maintain a balance of taking care of those in dire straights, but maintaining boundaries that would encourage people to work hard. A lot of the changing wealth gap can be attributed to growth in technology and travel which have given jobs to robots/computers, and people who are willing to work virtually for free in many parts of the world. With our nation and world facing so many growing challenges it seems that it is going to take some very big and dynamic fixes to combat our obstacles. So, while our elected leaders and our electorate seem to fail to provide a reasonable forum, and/or platform for real significant change there is now a relatively new and somewhat unexpected group of people who plan to give away at least half of their wealth to make a difference – and they happen to be the wealthiest people in the world.

 

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What Will We Say About President Obama’s Legacy in 20 Years?

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Pres. Obama’s future legacy continues to be hotly debated and estimated, as it has been over the last few years. Considering how the pages of his biography will read is a fascinating to me. His first big policy agenda was about Health in America. This healthcare policy has been debated, is being debated, it likely will be debated for a long time. What seems important to note however is that one way or another this will reflect in large part how he is to be remembered.

What seems to many to most likely to be the next major policy battle is immigration reform. I think it will be interesting to watch with both parties reshuffling amidst some rather chaotic times – primarily the Republicans however with the splintering factions in the party. It seems possible that The Republican Party might find a rebound from struggling lately by sponsoring and helping to pass some type of immigration reform, but I personally don’t see this as likely with this new generation of warlike primary season. I suspect that the Democrats will probably push to pass this legislation, and I would imagine it will be the second half major legislation of this president’s term. I would love to see the Republicans talk about governing on this, because they care about border security, and that’s okay. So this is just my guess, but I think this is what we’ll be talking about next.

With all of that said what I think is a fascinating topic for us to be completely skipping over his guns. With 90% of the population seemingly supporting legislation for universal background checks it was blocked by a a minority in congress. Now hear me out my conservative friends, just hear me out. While I think securing our borders is important last year we had net 0 (people) with illegal immigration… and we can talk about the effect of immigrants and society, but that is unless the debate the mass violence in this nation. People are the talking points about guns, it is very sensitive subject – well I know it is in Oklahoma at least… one thing that we must all recognize though is that we always brag about how great America is, but we are killing each other with guns more than any other nation in this world. We need to have a grown-up discussion about this, especially with their having been so many mass shootings in the last few years. It’s finally on our minds, these deaths happen all the time, but when it’s one there, anyone there, and three there, nobody cares… We need to have some serious discussions from serious people about what we can do as individuals to make a difference.

I don’t know that we should pass more gun laws, I think we probably should (although I don’t know what they are), but I don’t think we can sit here and do nothing. Maybe we should get some friendly feedback and ask others around the world why they think we have so much gun violence and they don’t. It’s what you would do if you thought you had something in your teeth, you’d ask a friend to give you some feedback really quick so you don’t look like an idiot. And of course more people are killed by other means than gun in very poverty-stricken parts of the world, so that seems probable to skew the data pool. We’re the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the history of mankind, but to the world it seems that with these challenging issues we can’t stop hitting ourselves in the face.

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One reason that the gun debate has become so divisive is the attachment to the racial divide. Some people consider it to be a conversation about race bating, but while I think that race is a part of the conversation it’s not about one race against the another, other than the blind eye that we seem to turn towards gun ravaged communities in the inner-city. There is no question that “black-on-black” gun violence is the most prevalent gun violence in our nation, but we have to ask the tough questions about how we can change our inner-cities. Even with marginal improvements in many areas of the country we are still the most violent gun nation in the world, at least on record… That just doesn’t seem acceptable to me. The main problem seems to lie with hand guns. So outside of outlawing them how can we make a dent in this situation where people can so secretively be armed with deadly force?

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The unbelievable decorum, and disrespect in the public square is really astonishing. Maybe take this opportunity to think of someone who you disagree with, and will probably never agree with on something and you let them know that you love them. You know why? You should do it because they probably mean it too when they express their beliefs, and that alone is worth something. They probably earnestly care about and fully believe in the things that they say, even if it seems ridiculous to you. Tell them why you think they’re wrong, and ask why they believe what they believe. If they freak out move on, at least you tried, but remember there were defensive because they care about something. Just let them know that you’re interested in why they believe what they believe. If you find that your discussion isn’t getting anywhere it’s okay to move on, but there’s nothing wrong with trying to get to know someone a little better. Plain and simple the sooner we start learning how to engage with others who have different beliefs the sooner we can stop being the guy sitting in the corner pulling our own hair out.

I don’t think that I’m superior because I’m an American, but I think we have a great country and we can set a good example for the rest of the world. The way that we shoot each other, and the way that we govern each other we have to ask what kind of an example we are setting for the other 95.5% of the world. Well whatever is written in the history books it will seemingly fall on the shoulders of President Obama in the minds of many, or at least that’s how it’s worked in our past. So hopefully: healthcare will become less expensive as we become healthier, will figure out how to start having the conversation about immigration reform as adults should, and we stop shooting one another. Of course there are many other things that are on the table, but the seem especially pertinent. I hope that our president end’s up with a positive legacy, because that means that we will have done well.

 

I’m including a great investigative report by VICE about guns in Chicago “Chiraq”.

How Does The Affordable Care Act “Obamacare” Shift Who Pays For Our Rising Health Care Costs?

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Incase you don’t have time to read this whole post here are the high points of what we’re talking about:

– The ACA (Affordable Care Act / Obamacare) primarily raises funds through the individual mandate
– The individual mandate was invented by Republicans
– As a society we already seem to have decided that we won’t let the least among us die without emergency care
– Emergency care is less affective and more expensive then preventative care
– The idea is that we get “free-loaders” to pay something instead of nothing by offering partially subsidized insurance plans
– The insurance plans would hypothetically provide for more preventative care, and less emergency care, and they are still through the private market
– The private insurance mandate is designed to shift the cost back to those who are getting care (ei: the “free-loaders” who will go from paying nothing to something for the care that they are already getting)

There is more to all of this, so if you’d like to I encourage you to read the rest, but these are the basic ideas behind this post.

I have differing feelings about the government being involved in our lives. With that said, I think that when it comes to more integral parts of our society surviving as an organism we must take care of our health as a whole. I don’t think that people should be rewarded equally for unequal work, and I consider myself to be a genuine capitalist, but it is important to ensure that when it comes to the health of our societal unit (like our health) we must consider the true cost of living in a society that allows it’s weakest to die and blame it on their own sins. That’s essentially what we are doing when society as a whole allows people to die with negligent resources at their disposal, which do exist. Ineffective healthcare is part of the result of a system where those who can’t afford care are only patched up in the emergency for extreme problems, when they might possibly been more easily treated for less money at an earlier date.

Scarcity is when a society has been depleted of a resource that it desires, and thus the resource becomes more important and valuable amongst those seeking it. Every resource has a degree of scarcity, and many of them vary over time. One of the most unchanging “Price Inelastic” resources (and it really is too small to call it a single resource considering it’s enormous scale and scope into our lives) is healthcare. We as a society want to be healthy, and thus the demand in the market is high for healthcare – we demand “adequate” healthcare. By adequate I essentially mean that anyone can get emergency care, but not preventative care because that is for people could afford “real” insurance.

So we seem to have decided that by some means people need to have basic emergency healthcare, but that’s it. And whether or not it should be that way it is that way. Some people do not pay for their healthcare. I think that a large number of people would really enjoy the idea of getting some of these people who are having trouble paying for private insurance to have an option to at least pay something, to maybe receive partially subsidized insurance policies (as Obamacare allows for). In essence, the same people who are generally getting free healthcare, and thus driving our insurance premiums up, would be required to pay for some of their health costs. People would of course have to qualify, much like on food stamps (which I know a lot of people who I know hate), except instead of giving them something that they wouldn’t already have this policy incourages them to pay for some of what they’re already getting for free. It actually has the reverse affect of that of food stamps financially. I still have my questions about whether or not it’s a good idea, but as of now I think that it makes economic sense. With that I would like to remind everyone that this philosophical idea of mandating insurance was invented by (the heritage foundation), and first implemented by (Gov. Romney of Massachusetts) Republicans. I’m not 100 percent sure that it’s a good idea, but the outrage against it has really seemed to be just another of tribalism and group think that is the inverse of critical thinking.

This has been a bit of a rant, and I really didn’t intend to let that happen, but we need to simplify for people what it means to be governed as they are governed. There needs to be better explanations about what it means to require citizens to have health insurance, and discuss whether or not we should ever subsidize insurance, or anything for that matter. I tend to think that there might be a few things worth subsidizing, and those things are usually linked to survival and health. A large part of the care that is being mandated will not be subsidized, and that will be part of what helps fund the system that is already costing more than it’s taking in to our society. Calling for healthy people (at least currently healthy) to pay into insurance pools is designed to bring premiums down. Now whether it will truly work or not seems yet to be a mystery. And we would do ourselves a favor if we were to admit that there are multiple variables that are being changed in this experiment, not just your standard 1 for a real scientific experiment.

So, Obamacare, or at least an enormous facet of it, is underway and I’m curious what will happen. I’m pretty sure that the only way for this to work is if people who would be candidates to sign up for subsidized insurance will find out and sign up. Ezekiel Emanuel said recently on Real Time with Bill Maher that they have estimated that if at least 7,000,000 people sign up for this Obama that it will be considered a success (I’m not sure exactly what that is defined by however), and with over 8,000,000 people clicking on the site to sign up on Tuesday when it opened I’d say that number doesn’t sound all of that out of reach. Let’s also not forget that this is run through private companies being bid on and having their market produce their price.

So, here we are with a front row seat to government interventionism… How Does The Affordable Care Act “Obamacare” Shift Who Pays For Our Rising Health Care Costs? To be honest I don’t think we fully know. But having about 18% of our GDP (gross domestic product) going towards healthcare, and most of the nations that are healthier than ours pay about 7% to 10% of theirs – we pay the most for our healthcare in the world, which runs counter to a free market providing the cheapest price for the product in demand. Finding out whether or not taking the “at least have everyone pay something” approach with subsidized insurance is a good idea or not will probably take a while, and I doubt it will go away for a long time. How this program works out really will affect the future of our nation, and the world.

David Christian: the history of the world in 18 minutes – Ted Talks

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I always enjoy hearing very smart people simplify things. Mr. Christian in this talk does an exemplary job of just that. I truly appreciate people who consider themselves more so individualistic than most, however I tend to appreciate more the collectivist. I don’t know if it’s my empathy bone, or that I paid attention to what Jesus said when I was in Bible class on Sunday mornings, but I love the idea of people collaborating to make things better. This talk is about history, but of course we talk about history so that we can plan for the future.

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