Monday, June 15, 2009

Clarification on Definitions and a Multitudinouts AOTW

I was planning to be a little more light to begin with (as AOTW has less humor), but there was something that I need to clarify after some sparring with the venerable (and deluded) Truth101 when I challenged his (clearly and obviously fallacious) premise that there is a "right to health care." The discussion was over the definitions of "rights" and "privileges," Which means I have to clarify a few things.

First of all, there are three natural rights: Life, Liberty, and Property. That's it. All the rights listed in the Bill of Rights are derived from these three.

The two relevant definitions (of 62) of a right (from Dictionary.com):
18. a just claim or title, whether legal, prescriptive, or moral: You have a right to say what you please.
19. Sometimes, rights. that which is due to anyone by just claim, legal guarantees, moral principles, etc.: women's rights; Freedom of speech is a right of all Americans.
Now rights are not absolute, as they extend as far as infringing on another's rights. And they can be taken away through due process for breaking laws (laws being codified protection of individual rights, and prescribed penalties for infractions). Most importantly, a right does not require taking from another person for someone to claim it.

Side by side with rights are privileges. Privileges are permissions granted by the government for certain things. Some may be based on a right, but controlled based on laws, regulations, or the ability to pay.

To apply this to health care, we have the right to seek health care, doctors have the right to make a living from providing it, but have a privilege to practice medicine (as they must seek degrees and licenses (which they have the right to pursue)). However, getting specific care from specific doctors would be a privilege, because you must have the doctor agree to treat you and you must agree to pay the fee.

For health care to become a "right," you would be able to get it at any time of your choosing, from wherever you chose, for no direct cost out of pocket (you don't pay to exercise a right). However, this would mean that doctors would have to be compelled to provide service for everyone equally, with the government controlling the payment to the doctors.

So while I'm willing to have a discussion of whether or not the United States should provide health care (or any other service) is a discussion we should have, confusing that which is a privilege with what is a right is an exercise in political dishonesty (a little redundant, I know), and serves only to confuse the dumb masses (which explains why the majority of election results in my lifetime).

And on that note of confusion, let's rip the dum (intentional misspelling). And I'll start with the words of Rahm Emmanuel, who said something along the lines of: Never let a good crisis go to waste. If he holds true to that, then he's included in this week's award:

Opportunists that Take Advantage of Tragedies are Asshats of the Week!

(This, by the way, is inspired by the aftermath of the murders of George Tiller, and the attacks on the recruiting center and Holocaust Museum.)

When tragedies occur, there is often a discussion as to why it happened and what could be done to prevent it. That's fair, as we have to learn from our mistakes. However, too many advocacy groups use the tragedy to push their own agendas.

For example, the Tiller murder brought out pro-choice groups who tried to paint this as the norm rather than an aberration (and the antithesis of pro-life), as well as liberal bloggers who started hammering those that flipped out over . With the attack on the recruiting office, I'm sure some group is blaming the Obama administration (and another's blaming Bush). And I've even heard left wing groups are blaming Rush Limbaugh for the Holocaust museum attack because they're both racist white supremest or something (even though the guy's an anti-Semitic, anti-government, anti-Christianity semi-Marxist (none of which describes Rush)).

Stupidest of all, though is PETA (nod to PCC for this). These fucktards are using the discussion sparked by the Tiller murder to promote their anti-meat eating agenda.

And the worst example of this? The sad bastard Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Inbreds, who use fallen heroes to promote their hateful vomit.

And it's the same old, same old. We heard calls for gun control in the wake of Columbine (when there were lots of laws broken for them to pull it off in the first place). We hear calls for police investigations and firings whenever they crack down on a riot (or conversely don't because they got chewed the last time). And whenever someone black gets the shaft from someone white, the race whores are out in full indignation, even if the scumbag who got the shaft (who coincidentally happens to be black) deserved it.

Now of course I don't advocate banning anyone from speaking their mind, or reacting with honest and justifiable outrage when necessary. But when there are bodies on the deck, can we at least show some decency and respect for the dead before we open our pieholes and start venting the bile? And can we use some common sense when people are emotionally charged?

If you find yourself unable to do so, just imagine you had a daughter that was married and lost her husband. Then imagine some sleazy guy comes in in her emotional state, fucks her, drains her bank account and gives her AIDS. That's the level the Pheps pukes operate at. Would you even want to be the equivalent of the one that uses the hurt of the funeral to bone her?

Keep that image in your head and see if it makes you all full of empathy. It'll be good for you.

16 comments:

TRUTH 101 said...

We agree that life liberty and the pursuit of happiness are "rights."

And you agreed with me that these are protected by law through government. Also speech, free press, assemble, etc. And all of these are guarenteed by government.


Government must be funded to operate. You agree with that Patrick. You also agreed that it's fair those who benefit the most from the largesse that our Nation provides pay a larger share.

You even agree that the poor who need health care should not be denied Patrick.



Then why do you not agree that those that may not qualify as poor should not also be entitled to health care under a system in which everyone must contribute.


National health insurance is not a government give away. It's a Nation working together to make all our lives better.


You quoted the Declaration of Indepence in your fine post illustrious One. Then you must agree that we are also "One Nation Under God" as said in our Pledge of Allegiance. Health care is too important to let petty divisions in social or monetary status stand in the way of impoving everyone's life.


I do give a shit about you and your kids Patrick. National health insurance removes the burden of health care costs from your employer and spreads it to all of us. As a conservative, you must appreciate programs that reduce the costs business bears.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Why is giving citizens health care only a problem in the US and not in other industrialized nations? Why is it somehow wrong for us, when it works so well, increases lifespan and quality of life and keeps the workforce healthy (and thus productive) in other countries? Will the whole system somehow fail because it crosses a national border? Will the same strategies that give other countries a decided advantage over ours in healthcare somehow, due to some bizarre cosmic influence, fail once they cross into US territory?

What the fuck is wrong with this country?

Jennifer said...

Fred Phelps....I don't think even you could come up with a name suitable for him. Then again, you can be pretty creative. Fred Phelps is just one example of the groups that use tragedy to push their point. That kind of disgusting propaganda is not limited to which political side you are on. I think they make perfect AOTW!

While I agree that every person should have health care, I gotta agree with Patrick here, I don't see it as a "right." Don't get me wrong, I think it is important and something should be done to fix the health care system because I think we can all agree it is definitely broken.

I would love to ask those from Canada, UK, etc just how they feel about their health system, because I don't think the grass is necessarily greener on the other side.

Shaw Kenawe said...

"However, getting specific care from specific doctors would be a privilege, because you must have the doctor agree to treat you and you must agree to pay the fee."

Tell that to those thousands of docs across the country who are Emergency Room doctors. Do you really believe they would refuse to treat car accident victims, shooting victims, accidental poisoning or near-drowning victims unless they had insurance?

We already have a free health care system in this country, it's called the Emergency Room where people who have no insurance are treated and then the cost of that treatment is passed on to you and your children.

How can one have the "right" of life, liberty, and property, if you're too sick and too poor to get medical treatment? IMHO,the first and foremost right should be the right to be healthy, all other rights follow from that. I've read that 75% of all bankruptcies in this country are caused by enormous medical bills that average families just can't cope with, even when they have insurance.

It's difficult to pursue life, liberty, and property when you're bankrupt and ill.

Jennifer,

I have relatives in Canada, and they love their system. There was a program aired on PBS last year that covered national health insurance in, if I remember correctly, 5 countries--Canadian,European and Asian, all with national health care. In each instance, the system worked, and the people were happy with it.

I would say we already have a national health care systsem--Medicare and emergency room care for poor people.

Patrick M said...

For clarification, I'm not trying to debate the merits of National Health Care here. My objection specifically is about enshrining it (and all these other entitlements) as "rights".

101: Then why do you not agree that those that may not qualify as poor should not also be entitled to health care under a system in which everyone must contribute. [emphasis added]

Very simple. We place value in this country on the individual, not the group. We don't live under a system that says 'from each according to his ability; to each according to his need.'

That's why I oppose any attempt to make health care a 'right': You take away the self interest motivation of the individual. This is counter to human nature itself. And it's why Marxism, as stated above, as idealistic as it may be, will not work. Because we don't work that way.

Now I'm all for improving everyone's life (although we disagree on how to do it). But to get back to my point: You can't have an honest discussion on the merits of an issue when one side wants to make it a "right," as this precludes argument on the issue to begin with.

Saty: What the fuck is wrong with this country?

I could come up with a list, you could come up with a list, and our lists would violently disagree. First on my list would be redefining things to fulfill political agendas, followed by growing government power and control over everything.

But to answer your other questions: Because we can't afford it, the premise of your questiton is loaded (and incorrect), yes because we have the numbers and so many socialized medicine countries and poor countries look to us for our health care, and again you fall back on the fallacious premise that other countries are perfect with health care while we have people dying in the street (we do, but so do they).

Jenn: I'd compare Phuckhead Phelps to Kim Jon Il, but then I'd be conflicted who to apologize to (usually it's the person I compare Kimmy to).

Your 'grass is greener' comment reminds me of the stories I keep hearing about people crossing the border to pay to get health care here. It'll get a lot harder (and more exclusively a rich man's pursuit) if everyone has to fly to the Bahamas to get good health care. Or maybe Mexico will get some good private hospitals for us.

TRUTH 101 said...

C'mon Patrick. Just how many doctors are going to move to Mexico?

As it stands now, a big oercentage of those treated in emergency rooms and hospitals don't pay. That means we pay with tax dollars. Higher costs and premiums. Not to mention the billions each year hospitals have to write off as uncollectable. A single payer system in which we all contribute ensures health care providers get paid.


You're blinded by all the right wing claptrap about "socialism" and other blather my friend.


And I was in New York last year for a family reunion. I saw Niagara Falls and watched my nephew play baseball. The kid's a stud. But I didn't se any Canadiens lined up to pay for health care at the clinics I drove by. Were they all feeling well that week? But I did meet several that went to Canada because they couldn't afford treatment in the good old USA.

Patrick M said...

Shaw (as you commented while I was writing my above screed):

Do you really believe they would refuse to treat car accident victims, shooting victims, accidental poisoning or near-drowning victims unless they had insurance?

No. But there's a difference between helping people first, then worrying about the payment (which is something we as a society should do) and the free exchange of services for cash.

While it is noble work, not every doctor wants to be an emergency room doc. And national health care, in essence, does just that. And can you honestly say that the emergency room is the ideal?

It's difficult to pursue life, liberty, and property when you're bankrupt and ill.

Yes. And yet, people have done that throughout the history of our country, without the government paying for everything. A right does not imply government support if things go south in pursuing it. It sucks, but what you're implying involves trading away lots and lots of freedom for some government-supported security.

I think Benjamin Franklin had something to say on that.

101: You're blinded by all the right wing claptrap about "socialism" and other blather my friend.

I could say something similar about you and your confidence that a Big Brother government would be the solution to all ills.

Just how many doctors are going to move to Mexico?

Not enough. Some will, and others will get out of the business and find something that pays better. And others, who see it as a calling, will toil away for the rate the government sets.

A single payer system in which we all contribute ensures health care providers get paid.

Perhaps, but they get paid what the government decides they get paid, not the market value of their work.

One of the biggest problems with health care is the cost. Part of that is because of malpractice insurance costs (which the government may have to provide to keep doctors in business if they're also controlling payment). Part of this is because of the CYA medicine to protect from lawsuits (and subsequent higher malpractice insurance). And another is that the person paying cash is paying for the cuts negotiated by insurance companies and forced bu government (Medicare, Medicaid). And when you don't know how much something costs (about $175/half hour for speech therapy for example), it's easy to nod and spend someone else's money.

So I oppose making health care a "right" because it requires taking from one person to provide the "right" to another, and I oppose nationalized health care, because the responsibility for spending the money well falls to government bureaucrats who, as we all know, are never wasteful in the least, like with that wholly stable and never-collapsing thing we call Social Security.

Which in the private sector is called a Ponzi scheme.

TRUTH 101 said...

Which millions of Americans thank God and FDR for every day Patrick my friend. And remember it was your buddy Nixon that started raiding the Social Security trust fund to pay for Vietnam.

No argument with you about malpractice reform.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Patrick,

There's nothing fallacious about the fact that we have more preventable deaths per 100K than virtually every other industrialized nation in the world. There's nothing fallacious about our quality of healthcare being appallingly low compared to other countries'.

We have been through this a billion times. When you acknowledge the "RIGHT" to life, that means that people have the "RIGHT" to access those things that promote life.

Health care, regardless of what you might think, is simply not accessible for a large percentage of our population. To deny people access to healthcare in essences denies them their right to life.

We've been through this.

dmarks said...

Truth: "You're blinded by all the right wing claptrap about "socialism" and other blather my friend."

Stalinizing health care through the "single-payer universal health care" proposals is indeed a move toward socialism. A move toward a sector of the economy being controlled by the rulers instead of the ruled. It's quite questionable if the word "socialism" applies to increased regulation, or a government health-care safety net only for the needy. But the word "socialism" sure applies the idea of a wholesale government takeover of the entire system.

SDD asked: "Why is giving citizens health care only a problem in the US and not in other industrialized nations?"

Because in the US, there is a common adage of "question authority" and people laugh at the idea of "We're from the government, and we're here to help you". In ways like this, Americans more than Europeans tend to question the proposals that rulers put forth in order to grab more power from the ruled.

Patrick is very correct to point out "Perhaps, but they get paid what the government decides they get paid, not the market value of their work."

Things don't work well when no consideration is given to the real value of things. When many competing options that strive to serve the people are all abolished in favor of a government health-care monopoly. In that, there is no choice at all.

Patrick M said...

101 [Social Security,] Which millions of Americans thank God and FDR for every day Patrick my friend.

And people my age and younger will be cursing FDR for when it crashes and burns. And it's a bipartisan screw job on this one.

Saty: Health care, regardless of what you might think, is simply not accessible for a large percentage of our population.

Bullshit. I didn't say it was easy. I didn't say everybody would get health care. But we possess the ability to access it. It may involve cash, it may involve finding a free option, it may involve falling back on safety nets (which I don't necessarily have a problem with). But with someone determined, there is a way. Ultimately, when the decision is in the hands a a bureaucrat, you CAN be denied access. The roadblocks that sometimes appear in optional private insurance are proof enough of that. Take away the option, there goes freedom.

I'd prefer to live free and die hard (yuk, yuk) than get yoked further to the government.

Satyavati devi dasi said...

Because in the US, there is a common adage of "question authority" and people laugh at the idea of "We're from the government, and we're here to help you".

Okay.. so even though we know that other countries' healthcare beats the shit out of ours, we're just stubborn jackasses who won't do what it takes to improve our system. That's basically what you're telling me here.

Patrick:

Once again: we have so been through this. I think you just like to hear me talk. (You're not the only one, so don't feel bad.) You cannot pursue options you don't know exist. You cannot make an informed decision if you don't know what your choices are. You cannot expect everyone to have the same level of education as you do. And you cannot say that people have access when they can EITHER have medication or electricity, but not both.

dmarks said...

"Okay.. so even though we know that other countries' healthcare beats the shit out of ours"

It doesn't. That's why people from all over the world to go hospitals like Mayo.... in the US.

"we're just stubborn jackasses who won't do what it takes to improve our system."

Improving the system? A great idea. Ruining it by destroying it in favor of a federal health-care monopoly? Not so good.

What I'm telling you is that this is a bad idea to do this, and it is good that this country isn't joining the lemmings.

Health care is way too important to leave entirely to the government.

What can the federal government bring to it other than the cost-effectiveness of the Pentagon procuremant system, the speed of the USPS, the lines of the DMV, and the customer service ethic of the IRS?

Satyavati devi dasi said...

t doesn't. That's why people from all over the world to go hospitals like Mayo.... in the US.

The United States RANKED LAST in preventable deaths.

We have SHIT healthcare, people. The delusion we seem to have that we're so much better than everyone else is deadly.

And I do mean deadly.

dmarks said...

The delusion that stalinizing the system would make it better is even deadlier. Reform, don't ruin.

Patrick M said...

Saty: We have SHIT healthcare, people.

That's because most of the people you see have gone to shit medically. Most of the rest of us are not having this catastrophic problem.

But since this is too much of a subject to leave lie, I'll work on a post and we can argue over it there.