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Monday, July 02, 2012

OT-P: July: Obamacare Decision as Baseball: the Runner is Safe, so Now What?

My favorite play in baseball is the second base steal. In the play, the base runner watches the pitch, and at just the right moment, he sprints toward second. The catcher snatches the pitch, springs up and rockets the ball to the second baseman who snags it and tries to tag the runner as he slides into the base. As the dust clears, all eyes are on the second base umpire who, in a split second, calls the runner safe or out. When the play is over, the players dust themselves off, and the game goes on.

Some on the field may disagree with the umpire’s call.  However, the umpire’s decision is final, and arguing can get you ejected. To stay in the game, great teams simply adjust their strategy based on the umpire’s call.

 

Morty Causa Posted: July 02, 2012 at 02:26 PM | 4025 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: politics, special topics

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   201. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4172164)
Are you conceding that it is a medical issue?


No. Racking up huge gambling debt is a stupidity issue, not a medical one. I've stated my views on so-called "addiction" here before. Nobody agrees with them, and all it does is derail the discussion, so we'll just leave it at that. I'm not going to address it further.

It is not an issue of insurance. It's an issue of not being able to earn the same income that the person did before.

So a debt caused by a reduction in income stemming from medical issues isn't a debt caused by medical issues?


You're being disingenuous. If a person is physically unable to work anymore because of an illness, it's not a debt caused by insurance. It's nothing that Obamacare will fix. Obamacare will give the person insurance; it won't give him back his job if he's physically unable to handle the job anymore.
   202. Dan The Mediocre Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4172165)
IMHO if someone feels so compelled to gamble that they completely destroy their finances, that person should be sterilized and prevented from passing on their genes...

In no fecking way should such people be enabled in their destructive behavior by being told, "there there it is not your fault, you're sick you can't help it."


How is treatment that deals with the issues to prevent the behavior considered enabling?
   203. Dan The Mediocre Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:29 PM (#4172169)
You're being disingenuous. If a person is physically unable to work anymore because of an illness, it's not a debt caused by insurance. It's nothing that Obamacare will fix. Obamacare will give the person insurance; it won't give him back his job if he's physically unable to handle the job anymore.


You do realize that people, when they lose their job, also lose the insurance tied to the job, right?
   204. Spahn Insane Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:30 PM (#4172170)
Providing health care to people may or may not be desirable, but it's not really an issue comparable to a free rider problem unless we're only requiring health insurance to cover health issues that are easily communicable to an unwilling third party.

Or those that require "emergency care" which must be provided irrespective of the patient's ability to pay, the cost of which is borne by those who pay into the system. (Speaking of which, I'm still waiting for an answer [from anyone] as to why so many conservatives are OK with this system, while bashing ObamaCare as the greatest threat to Freedom and Liberty™ we've ever seen.)
   205. Spahn Insane Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:33 PM (#4172175)
I was going to write something about that, but I figured it was so obviously irrelevant that nobody would need it pointed out. Yes, wildfires present an entirely different scenario than house fires.

Awesome. Because god knows individual house fires can't possibly turn into wildfires if left uncontrolled.

The fun part is that he honestly has no idea how bad an argument this is.


Indeed.

   206. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4172184)
Regardless, reducing the cost of health insurance by a little is only going to help around the margins. The real problem (one of them, anyway) is that there are some people who can't support themselves any way you slice it. They can't afford health insurance - or rent, or a car payment, or food - not because these things cost too much or are "unaffordable," but because the people ended up in a place - for whatever reason - where they cannot financially provide for themselves and their families. In that case health insurance is just one of a number of things they can't pay for. And so the problem is not the cost of health insurance per se. Now, the ACA forces everyone to pay for them. Fine. But I reject out of hand the notion that the core problem was the cost of something that the vast majority of people were affording.


Helping around the margins is still helping (and for the record I think millions of uninsured getting sub-optimal health care and clogging up emergency rooms is more than a margin). Who said it was a "Core Problem". It is a core health care problem, and now it has started to be addressed. It is an important (millions of people) problem. It is a problem that the US spends more than any other industrial nation and gets less value.

Is it the only problem? No, but we don't have to solve every problem with one bill. That is setting the goal post way way too high. ACA is trying to solve some specific problems, and it will hopefully do that, now that it is the law of the land.

I am all for solving the "poor people are poor" problem though. Any thoughts?
   207. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:38 PM (#4172185)
Providing health care to people may or may not be desirable, but it's not really an issue comparable to a free rider problem unless we're only requiring health insurance to cover health issues that are easily communicable to an unwilling third party.

Ummmm, like the free rider's spouse or children?

In this case, the free rider problem is the artificial result of creation of legislation to make a free rider problem - if we pass laws stating that every time someone wants a pie, they can go to a government bakery and get a free pie, the free rider issue comes from the law mandating this, not something inherent in pie consumption that creates a free rider.

As such, it's not comparable to the fire insurance or car insurance or military comparisons unless we're talking about, say, influenza or chickenpox treatment. Bill's house fire can spread to Rick's house, Bill's car can crash into Rick's car, and the army's actions necessary to protect Bill's house also protects Rick's house,


But what if Rick doesn't want his house to be "protected"? What if Rick is young and healthy and thinks he can handle the Iraqi insurgents on his own if and when they ever make it over here and storm his house? Shouldn't those people who feel that their houses are actually being protected by a war in Iraq be the ones who pay the bills? Ray ducks this question every time it's asked, but may you can answer it.
   208. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:39 PM (#4172188)
Not that I'm defending the policy, but the fire department showed up and watched this guy's house burn (to make sure the fire didn't spread to other, participating homes). IIRC, the homeowner offered to pay on the spot, and the fire department refused. (That I have a problem with. Just charge the guy cost and a penalty if you're committed to the program.)
Crosby, the problem is that the penalty would have to be very high to make up for the fact that the guy hadn't been paying all along. And (a) how's he supposed to pay, and (b) how are they supposed to collect? Even assuming he has the ability to pay after his house burns down (*), a court is rather unlikely to enforce a promise to pay such a large sum of money. Seems like classic duress.


(*) Note that when they put out the fire, you're still likely to end up losing much of your possessions.
   209. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4172195)
Yeah, then the fire department would be Evil for trying to collect a large sum from this guy after he had just lost many of his possessions and suffered fire damage to his home.

Sometimes, you have to live with the consequences of your decisions.



   210. Spahn Insane Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4172196)
how are they supposed to collect? Even assuming he has the ability to pay after his house burns down (*), a court is rather unlikely to enforce a promise to pay such a large sum of money. Seems like classic duress.

No no no--it's unjust enrichment!
   211. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:45 PM (#4172198)
Crosby, the problem is that the penalty would have to be very high to make up for the fact that the guy hadn't been paying all along.


Yes. The liberal answer to this is to not allow people to opt out. The conservative (libertarian) answer is to have people suffer the consequence of opting out.

I think people's houses burning down unnecessarily because they are idiots and bad at risk analysis is bad, because enough of that sort of destruction hurts society as a whole (and it is morally repugnant). That is a value judgment.

Now that it is constitutional (back to ACA) the only real arguments are over the morals of it and if that sort of destruction does harm society as a whole or just the people directly impacted.
   212. Lassus Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4172199)
Have you never seen a suburb?

Gee, despite my best efforts, I think so. In fact, here's the google image page for "suburb". Can't imagine how one house fire left unattended due to the rules of the free market might not cause problems elsewhere.


Yeah, then the fire department would be Evil for trying to collect a large sum from this guy after he had just lost many of his possessions and suffered fire damage to his home.

High five!

   213. formerly dp Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:48 PM (#4172202)
I've stated my views on so-called "addiction" here before. Nobody agrees with them, and all it does is derail the discussion, so we'll just leave it at that. I'm not going to address it further

I missed what I'm sure was a gem of a discussion, which was probably filled with all sorts of evidence- and fact-based reasoning, so I'll assume your view on so-called "addiction" are similar to my views on so-called "cancer".
   214. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:53 PM (#4172208)
For now, the courts deem the ACA to be constitutional. When Ginsburg has to retire midway through Gary Johnson's first term as president, and she's replaced by someone who cares about freedom, then the Court will change its collective mind. And since the Constitution won't have changed in that time, one of those two Courts will have been wrong, by definition.

If you insist on your ideologically-loaded interpretation as The One Truth. All texts require human interpreters. Your definition of "freedom" is highly subjective and ideological. Your understanding of the Constitution is similarly charged. Pretending otherwise, and then expecting others to play along with the charade, is a rhetorical strategy masking itself as an argument.
Not remotely responsive to what I wrote; just taking potshots at me. Whether my interpretation is right or wrong is secondary here. Of two contradictory interpretations of the same document, one of them must be wrong. That you don't understand this is... bizarre.

Nobody's saying that court decisions can't be subjectively "wrong", according to one's various premises.

This is gibberish. What on earth does "subjectively wrong" mean?


This is the part where you recognize that others have different opinions, David, and you have to coexist with them. This is something everyone but Libertarians learned when they were growing up.
Once again, non-responsive. Libertarians of course know that others have different opinions. It's just that those opinions are wrong.
"Wrong according to your interpretation of the text and the values you're bringing to bear on it" = "subjectively wrong"

That you want there to be an objective truth beyond your interpretation doesn't make it so, no matter how many times you repeat it.
And yet, there is. Your nihilistic approach to constitutional interpretation simply leads to the question: why have judicial review at all? There's no reason why Ruth Bader Ginsburg's interpretation of the Constitution should be privileged over George Bush's views on the treatment of terrorists, or over the Arizona legislature's, on handling immigrants, if it's all just subjective. If all she's writing is, "Well, from my perspective the Constitution doesn't allow it, but from your perspective it does, and there's no actual right or wrong here," then there's no point to any of this.
   215. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 03, 2012 at 12:59 PM (#4172212)
Once again, non-responsive. Libertarians of course know that others have different opinions. It's just that those opinions are wrong.


Quoted without comment.

Your nihilistic approach to constitutional interpretation simply leads to the question: why have judicial review at all?


Hey now we are arguing there is no "platonic" truth regarding the constitution, but that the SC does determine constitutionality and that is the point of the SC. I thought we covered all this in June. One can believe there is no absolute truth and still acknowledge the need for a final arbiter to decide so society can move on.
   216. BDC Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4172224)
Of two contradictory interpretations of the same document, one of them must be wrong

The whole history of rhetoric (let alone poetry) would seem to indicate otherwise. To take just the most obvious example, there are multiple contradictory interpretations of the Bible, and multiple viable religions built on them, none of them obviously "wrong." The same would be true of Moby-Dick or the Fourteenth Amendment. The difference would be that in the case of the 14th Amendment, you can't have a functioning government unless someone has the "final" (albeit always provisional) say on how it should be currently put into practice.
   217. formerly dp Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:09 PM (#4172225)
Not remotely responsive to what I wrote; just taking potshots at me. Whether my interpretation is right or wrong is secondary here. Of two contradictory interpretations of the same document, one of them must be wrong. That you don't understand this is... bizarre.

So wait, we've established they don't teach Wittgenstein in law school, but I figured they'd at least teach Habermas. Guess not.

Once again, non-responsive. Libertarians of course know that others have different opinions. It's just that those opinions are wrong.

OK. Take your ball and go home.

And yet, there is. Your nihilistic approach to constitutional interpretation simply leads to the question: why have judicial review at all? There's no reason why Ruth Bader Ginsburg's interpretation of the Constitution should be privileged over George Bush's views on the treatment of terrorists, or over the Arizona legislature's, on handling immigrants, if it's all just subjective.

Saying there's no such thing as Absolute Legal Truth does not lead to nihilism, it just recognizes the fundamental fact that all laws are grounded in discourse, and all discourse is bound up in the necessarily-changing context of the participants. "Constitutional" truth has to be discursive, rather than metaphysical, because the Constitution is a product of human discourse. Welcome to 20th century philosophy.
   218. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4172228)
OK. Take your ball and go home.


Is this a new drinking game? You keep repeating it.
   219. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4172229)
Someone who feels so compelled to gamble that they completely destroy their finances obviously suffers from a bit of mental illness. That would be a medical issue.
No, it would be bad behavior.

(Someone who votes to have the government raises taxes is suffering from mental illness.)
It also included lost income due to illness, which - though related to health - doesn't make any analytic sense.

It makes perfect sense. They can't work because they are sick? Why, I do believe that is a medical issue!
It has nothing to do with health insurance, though, which was the point of Warren's study. Health insurance doesn't replace lost income; it pays medical bills.
   220. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4172236)
The whole history of rhetoric (let alone poetry) would seem to indicate otherwise. To take just the most obvious example, there are multiple contradictory interpretations of the Bible, and multiple viable religions built on them, none of them obviously "wrong." The same would be true of Moby-Dick or the Fourteenth Amendment. The difference would be that in the case of the 14th Amendment, you can't have a functioning government unless someone has the "final" (albeit always provisional) say on how it should be currently put into practice.


You're suggesting that their holy writ is just another piece of literature, albeit one of a uniqueish sort. This is heresy. The Constitution can't be just another text written and read by men. It's The Law. And The Law is sacred.
   221. BurlyBuehrle Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4172237)
Having read most of this thread, and generally lurking here, a couple points stand out to me:

(1) In the post LBJ/Great Society & Nixon (who was much more domestically liberal than people think) years, you have to give credit to the Reagan Administration for fundamentally changing the public discourse. Government suddenly was almost never viewed as a solution or positive actor in a given scenario. The debate surrounding Obamacare suffers from occurring in this environment. Why are liberals/progressives even engaging folks like RDP/DN in debates as silly as what "affordable" means, or whether this is wealth redistribution? Of course it is wealth redistribution...but why aren't we standing up, and proudly proclaiming, for all to hear, that yes, this is wealth redistribution. And why are we doing it? Because, from a philosophical/social standpoint, access to basic healthcare is a human right. We don't care about libertarian the market this, the market that nonsense. It is a human right. You live in our society, you get healthcare. Period. And in this political climate, this is the best way (for now), we know how to go about achieving that goal.

(2) Libertarian arguments are very rarely called to task for the "what now?" aspect that they completely ignore. Assume for a moment that we can somehow configure a society where opting out of, say, fire control, only puts your specific property at risk. (Put aside the inanity of that assumption.) A family makes the choice to opt out and pocket the savings. Their house, with all their worldly possessions, burns to the ground. *What Now?* The libertarian response might be "tough." But is that the society we want to create and inhabit? And, what about the collateral damage -- the children of that family didn't have the agency necessary to participate in the decision to opt out, and yet, they will be harshly penalized. *What Now?* A very similar argument can be made for healthcare. The Hobbesian fantasyland where there are these isolated choices that don't affect others simply doesn't exist. We live in a society, where your choices affect me. Deal with it.
   222. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:19 PM (#4172238)
Those cited in the Warren study as having had medical bankruptcies had an average net worth of -$44,622. Their out-of-pocket medical expenses had been an average of $17,943, but for uninsured filers it had been $26,971, which of course doesn't include those still-unpaid bills.
Yes, it does.
Somehow I don't think that the issue here was expenditures on designer shoes.
Somehow I don't think that your out-of-context factoids that you cut and pasted from a magazine article about a study are actually that useful. Note that "average" (that's mean, not median) tells you little about how much most bankruptcy filers actually racked up in bills. Note that these numbers are over the entire course of the illness, which could be over many years. (In the original 2005 study, in which the average was a somewhat lower $11,854, that was just $3,686 in the year preceding the bankruptcy.) The bottom line is that the study in no way looked at whether bankruptcies were "caused by" medical bills; the study looked at whether bankrupt people had any medical bills. (The cutoff they used, in order to inflate their numbers, was $1,000 in out-of-pocket medical bills.)
   223. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4172242)
(The cutoff they used, in order to inflate their numbers, was $1,000 in out-of-pocket medical bills.)


It's a conspiracy, see. A conspiracy! They're out to get me! AT GUNPOINT!
   224. CrosbyBird Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4172245)
Crosby, the problem is that the penalty would have to be very high to make up for the fact that the guy hadn't been paying all along. And (a) how's he supposed to pay, and (b) how are they supposed to collect? Even assuming he has the ability to pay after his house burns down (*), a court is rather unlikely to enforce a promise to pay such a large sum of money. Seems like classic duress.

The penalty doesn't have to be very high if it's added on to the actual cost. Someone who pays the $75/year gets free service from the fire department. Someone who doesn't is billed for the true cost of the service, and perhaps a token penalty.

He pays (and they collect) the same way that uninsured people pay when they use emergency room services. He'll receive a bill, and he'll pay it or he'll face the typical consequences of dodging one's financial obligation. It is no worse an issue of duress than the man without insurance who goes into a hospital and needs to have his appendix removed. Would a court be "rather unlikely" to enforce a promise to pay for necessary surgery? You're likely to die if your appendix bursts and you're not treated; you can live without a house even if it's unpleasant.

Some people will end up paying much more than they would have if they had bought in. Some other people will get free service but end up destroying their credit rating. A small portion of those people won't be legitimately incapable of paying but won't care: they get to "beat the system". That seems to me to be a very hollow victory, because most people that share the society with these people don't have a lot of respect for freeloaders.
   225. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4172249)
Saying there's no such thing as Absolute Legal Truth does not lead to nihilism, it just recognizes the fundamental fact that all laws are grounded in discourse, and all discourse is bound up in the necessarily-changing context of the participants. "Constitutional" truth has to be discursive, rather than metaphysical, because the Constitution is a product of human discourse. Welcome to 20th century philosophy.
The phrase "bunch of mindless jerks who will be first against the wall when the revolution comes" comes to mind.
   226. Brian C Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4172251)
BurlyBuehrle in #221 is making a lot of sense, especially in paragraph 2.

CrosbyBird in #224 also makes a lot of sense. And at any rate, I think it's pretty clear that a system in which houses are allowed to burn to the ground is a poorly designed system. There's simply no benefit to anyone in such a system, but there is a possibility of severe harm to many.
   227. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4172253)
221 is a very well thought out and reasoned post.

The libertarian response might be "tough." But is that the society we want to create and inhabit?

Speaking for myself, no, and I daresay that I'm speaking for the overwhelming majority...


To take just the most obvious example, there are multiple contradictory interpretations of the Bible, and multiple viable religions built on them, none of them obviously "wrong."


oh, some are pretty obviously "wrong,"
   228. zonk Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:47 PM (#4172267)
Somehow I don't think that your out-of-context factoids that you cut and pasted from a magazine article about a study are actually that useful. Note that "average" (that's mean, not median) tells you little about how much most bankruptcy filers actually racked up in bills. Note that these numbers are over the entire course of the illness, which could be over many years. (In the original 2005 study, in which the average was a somewhat lower $11,854, that was just $3,686 in the year preceding the bankruptcy.) The bottom line is that the study in no way looked at whether bankruptcies were "caused by" medical bills; the study looked at whether bankrupt people had any medical bills. (The cutoff they used, in order to inflate their numbers, was $1,000 in out-of-pocket medical bills.)


It continues to amuse me to no end that people provide studies when David asks for them, but never demand he supply any data of his own... I'm developing a very strong suspicion that I might be finally getting to the bottom of the Six Sigma fad...
   229. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4172273)
Because, from a philosophical/social standpoint, access to basic healthcare is a human right. We don't care about libertarian the market this, the market that nonsense. It is a human right. You live in our society, you get healthcare. Period.

And you're free to feel that. That's a matter of opinion. Period. Period. See, I said period twice, which makes the argument three times as strong rather than merely twice as strong, so I win.
   230. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4172274)
The phrase "bunch of mindless jerks who will be first against the wall when the revolution comes" comes to mind.


At least you're becoming more comfortable in letting your Leninist flag fly.
   231. Steve Treder Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:54 PM (#4172277)
#221, FTW.
   232. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:54 PM (#4172278)
(1) In the post LBJ/Great Society & Nixon (who was much more domestically liberal than people think) years, you have to give credit to the Reagan Administration for fundamentally changing the public discourse. Government suddenly was almost never viewed as a solution or positive actor in a given scenario.
To be sure, I am grateful to Reagan for some of what he did in that area, but you have to ask yourself: why could he do that? And the answer is because the Great Society was already viewed as a failure. He was nurturing what people already felt, not brainwashing them.
The debate surrounding Obamacare suffers from occurring in this environment. Why are liberals/progressives even engaging folks like RDP/DN in debates as silly as what "affordable" means, or whether this is wealth redistribution? Of course it is wealth redistribution...but why aren't we standing up, and proudly proclaiming, for all to hear, that yes, this is wealth redistribution. And why are we doing it? Because, from a philosophical/social standpoint, access to basic healthcare is a human right. We don't care about libertarian the market this, the market that nonsense. It is a human right. You live in our society, you get healthcare. Period. And in this political climate, this is the best way (for now), we know how to go about achieving that goal.
You're not standing up and proudly proclaiming for all to hear that, yes, this is wealth redistribution because most Americans don't like the idea of wealth redistribution. So you have to obfuscate.

As for your 'human right', first, the whole 'access' thing is already obfuscation. Just say "healthcare," not "access" to healthcare. Second, to say that you have a "right" to have someone else provide services to you is -- well, I'll let Andy tell you what it is. What could possibly be the origin of a "right" to someone else's labor?
   233. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4172281)
It continues to amuse me to no end that people provide studies when David asks for them, but never demand he supply any data of his own... I'm developing a very strong suspicion that I might be finally getting to the bottom of the Six Sigma fad...
What are you talking about? I didn't ask for any study. I pointed out that a particular statistic was crap because it was based on a study that was badly designed and didn't say what people are saying it said.
   234. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:58 PM (#4172286)

It continues to amuse me to no end that people provide studies when David asks for them, but never demand he supply any data of his own... I'm developing a very strong suspicion that I might be finally getting to the bottom of the Six Sigma fad...


Why should he? If I bring up the point that I feel x law is good because of y condition, the burden's on me to prove that y condition actually exists. David's argument stems from first principles, not some particular study that says that bankruptcies are *rarely* due to medical bills - in fact, it's irrelevant to his beliefs so there's no reason for him to require any such study.
   235. zonk Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4172287)
The libertarian response might be "tough." But is that the society we want to create and inhabit?



Speaking for myself, no, and I daresay that I'm speaking for the overwhelming majority...


I think that's been the curse of the American experience since the nation's founding -- we tend to forget that the radicals of our revolution were either cast aside (Paine), changed their minds (Henry), or found their original radicalism in support of revolution incompatible with actually governing the result (Jefferson)... but still, we have significant segments of the population that still believe there's some escape from an interconnected society that yes, does have plenty of dependencies on the trappings of society. There's a lot of fear of a changing world; but I think if you'd have asked the hallowed founders, they'd have said their was a lot of fear of a changing world in their time, too.... so they created standing armies, and federal governments, and taxation, and all sorts of things they, too, were skeptical of at the outset of the grand experiment.
   236. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: July 03, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4172288)
The Hobbesian fantasyland where there are these isolated choices that don't affect others simply doesn't exist. We live in a society, where your choices affect me. Deal with it.

I agree with almost everything in 221, but I thought this comment was funny. Wouldn't a "Hobbesian fantasyland" be a place with a powerful central authority that enables us to live in peace with our neighbors and promotes the collective good?
   237. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:00 PM (#4172289)
#221, FTW.

221 is a very well thought out and reasoned post.

BurlyBuehrle in #221 is making a lot of sense, especially in paragraph 2.

CrosbyBird in #224 also makes a lot of sense.

I agree with almost everything in 221, but I thought this comment was funny.

It's returned.
   238. Brian C Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:02 PM (#4172290)
To be sure, I am grateful to Reagan for some of what he did in that area, but you have to ask yourself: why could he do that? And the answer is because the Great Society was already viewed as a failure. He was nurturing what people already felt, not brainwashing them.

Well, the people that voted for him conspicuously did not also vote for a Congree who would implement Reagan's rhetoric. Maybe your political analysis here needs to be revised somewhat.
   239. formerly dp Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:03 PM (#4172291)
Wouldn't a "Hobbesian fantasyland" be a place with a powerful central authority that enables us to live in peace with our neighbors and promotes the collective good?

I thought it would be an amusement park whose signature ride is a sprawling roller coaster with a very obvious name.
   240. Zipperholes Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4172293)
Because, from a philosophical/social standpoint, access to basic healthcare is a human right. We don't care about libertarian the market this, the market that nonsense. It is a human right. You live in our society, you get healthcare. Period. And in this political climate, this is the best way (for now), we know how to go about achieving that goal.
You can't declare a good or service a "right" and then force private actors to provide it. If you want to treat is as a "right," fine. Make the system entirely public.
   241. zonk Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4172294)
Why should he? If I bring up the point that I feel x law is good because of y condition, the burden's on me to prove that y condition actually exists. David's argument stems from first principles, not some particular study that says that bankruptcies are *rarely* due to medical bills - in fact, it's irrelevant to his beliefs so there's no reason for him to require any such study.


Ahhhh... so some principles must be founded on data, while others can stand alone on mere principle?


And you're free to feel that. That's a matter of opinion. Period. Period. See, I said period twice, which makes the argument three times as strong rather than merely twice as strong, so I win.


And if society's opinion as a whole diverges from yours? The ship on the question of healthcare sailed 30 years ago -- if not 50, going back to Medicare (and you can make some bit cases that it goes back even further).

   242. Brian C Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4172295)
David's argument stems from first principles, not some particular study that says that bankruptcies are *rarely* due to medical bills - in fact, it's irrelevant to his beliefs so there's no reason for him to require any such study.

I'm confused, because it appears to be offered as a defense of Nieporent. But saying that actual facts are "irrelevant" to his position seems pretty damning to me.
   243. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4172296)
OK. Take your ball and go home.

Is this a new drinking game? You keep repeating it.


Well, the liberals did once try and have a drinking game based on libertarians repeating any of their stock clichés, but they had to shut it down, because it was too much of a drain on the public health services.
   244. Brian C Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4172298)
You can't declare a good or service a "right" and then force private actors to provide it. If you want to treat is as a "right," fine. Make the system entirely public.

And of course, plenty of people want to do exactly that.
   245. The Good Face Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4172299)
Of course it is wealth redistribution...but why aren't we standing up, and proudly proclaiming, for all to hear, that yes, this is wealth redistribution. And why are we doing it? Because, from a philosophical/social standpoint, access to basic healthcare is a human right. We don't care about libertarian the market this, the market that nonsense. It is a human right. You live in our society, you get healthcare. Period.


Because on the one hand, the people whose wealth will be redistributed won't be happy about it. And on the other hand, people don't like having their status of "charity case" rubbed in their face. Even beggars can have pride. Thus the constant obfuscations on the part of liberals... to speak plainly about this stuff would doom them with the public. Good example of bubble thinking above as well; "Why are we hiding this? Everybody agrees and knows that what I say is right and proper!"

Healthcare is no more a human right than yacht ownership or dating a supermodel. Governments may choose to provide it until the money runs out, but it's a category error to confuse government entitlements with human rights.
   246. Zipperholes Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4172300)
And of course, plenty of people want to do exactly that.
Fine, but the comment above was supporting the current law.
   247. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:12 PM (#4172301)
What could possibly be the origin of a "right" to someone else's labor?


An innate Kantian moral sense?

When I was a teenager, I jumped into a pool to save a drowning child, who had fallen in by accident and didn't know how to swim. I wasn't employed as the pool's lifeguard, and the kid's mom didn't slip me a sawbuck so that I'd drag her boy out of the water. I just jumped in and swam because my conscience told me that it'd be wrong to stand by and let a helpless kid drown, when with a small effort I could save him. In that sense, the kid had a "right" to my labor, even though he neither provided nor promised compensation for my efforts.
   248. Brian C Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4172302)
Fine, but the comment above was supporting the current law.

It's possible to both want a public system, and to support the current law as better than the status quo. This is the position of many, many liberals.
   249. Randy Jones Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4172304)
Fine, but the comment above was supporting the current law.


You included this part in your quote, but maybe you didn't read it?

this is the best way (for now)
   250. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4172305)
You live in our society, you get healthcare. Period.

And you're free to feel that. That's a matter of opinion. Period. Period. See, I said period twice, which makes the argument three times as strong rather than merely twice as strong, so I win.


Actually, it's not a matter of opinion, it's a matter of law. Period. Period. Period to infinity.

P.S. We have the bigger guns.
   251. Guapo Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4172306)
When I was a teenager, I jumped into a pool to save a drowning child, who had fallen in by accident and didn't know how to swim. I wasn't employed as the pool's lifeguard, and the kid's mom didn't slip me a sawbuck so that I'd drag her boy out of the water. I just jumped in and swam because my conscience told me that it'd be wrong to stand by and let a helpless kid drown, when with a small effort I could save him. In that sense, the kid had a "right" to my labor, even though he neither provided nor promised compensation for my efforts.


Why do you hate freedom?
   252. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:16 PM (#4172311)
Ahhhh... so some principles must be founded on data, while others can stand alone on mere principle?


If you use data as the basis for your opinion, then yes, you have to actually provide the data.

But if you believe that someone providing your health care in an inherent right, then data that supports whether or not it is a financially beneficial idea is irrelevant to your position. But if your position is that it's a financially good idea rather than an inherent right, then data that supports whether or not is a financially good idea.

I'm confused, because it appears to be offered as a defense of Nieporent. But saying that actual facts are "irrelevant" to his position seems pretty damning to me.

If you're confused, that's pretty damning on your part. I support the right to free expression, freedom to practice religion, freedom to freely engage in a variety of acts with other freely consenting adults in a wide variety of acts, from sexual to financial. I support these rights, as a matter of first principles, regardless of whether or not there is data proving that these rights are beneficial to society based on some financial bottom line.

Whether the right to free speech increases or decreases GDP is absolutely irrelevant to me. Whether allowing gay people to contract with each other to pool their financial resources is beneficial to the moral fabric of society is absolutely irrelevant to me. Whether allowing people to worship some cracker transmogrifying semi-diety that probably lived in the middle east 2,000 years ago is beneficial to humanity as a whole is absolutely irrelevant to me.
   253. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4172312)
What about the pool's right to drown that child?
   254. Lassus Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4172314)
Edit: hadn't refreshed.

Edit #2: I think attacking #1 of #221 without addressing #2 of #221 is taking the easy way out, Dan and David.

   255. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4172316)
When I was a teenager, I jumped into a pool to save a drowning child, who had fallen in by accident and didn't know how to swim.
...and that child grew up to be Hitler. Thanks a lot, jerk.
I wasn't employed as the pool's lifeguard, and the kid's mom didn't slip me a sawbuck so that I'd drag her boy out of the water. I just jumped in and swam because my conscience told me that it'd be wrong to stand by and let a helpless kid drown, when with a small effort I could save him. In that sense, the kid had a "right" to my labor, even though he neither provided nor promised compensation for my efforts.
Now you're misusing the term "right." That is not a "sense" in which the kid had any "right" to anything. You voluntarily did it because you wanted to. That's perfectly fine, and anyone from libertarian to Randian to conservative to socialist would applaud you for it.
   256. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:19 PM (#4172320)
Healthcare is no more a human right than yacht ownership or dating a supermodel. Governments may choose to provide it until the money runs out, but it's a category error to confuse government entitlements with human rights.


Please describe some of these human rights, especially those the government does not have to spend any money on to help provide.
   257. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4172322)

Actually, it's not a matter of opinion, it's a matter of law. Period. Period. Period to infinity.


I can say this about a lot of things that liberals don't like, too. Period. Period. Period. Period. Period. (Don't want to waste all my Periods. in one specific argument).
   258. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4172324)
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The text is perfectly clear: we have an inalienable right to life, and therefore healthcare.
   259. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4172325)
Can you offer your opinion why you think it's not as opposed to fed-up snark?


I'm simply speaking in the lingua franca of this awful thread, both liberal and libertarian.
   260. The Good Face Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4172327)
Please describe some of these human rights, especially those the government does not have to spend any money on to help provide.


Is it your contention that all services provided by a government are human rights?
   261. Lassus Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4172328)
Reposting a very late edit:

I think attacking #1 of #221 without addressing #2 of #221 is taking the easy way out, Dan and David.


I'm simply speaking in the lingua franca of this awful thread, both liberal and libertarian.

Edited that, hadn't refresed, sorry.
   262. Brian C Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4172329)
If you're confused, that's pretty damning on your part. I support the right to free expression, freedom to practice religion, freedom to freely engage in a variety of acts with other freely consenting adults in a wide variety of acts, from sexual to financial. I support these rights, as a matter of first principles, regardless of whether or not there is data proving that these rights are beneficial to society based on some financial bottom line.

All fine, except Nieporent argues endlessly as to whether various "liberal" policies are in fact beneficial or not. He's argues against their usefulness as well as his "principled" objections.
   263. Zipperholes Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4172330)
I just jumped in and swam because my conscience told me that it'd be wrong to stand by and let a helpless kid drown, when with a small effort I could save him. In that sense, the kid had a "right" to my labor, even though he neither provided nor promised compensation for my efforts.
OK, so the "right" to your labor, derived from the individual conscience of you, the person who provided the labor. The people who have a "right" to health care derived from the good conscience of fellow individual citizens can likewise help themselves to health care from those particular citizens.
   264. zonk Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4172331)

If you use data as the basis for your opinion, then yes, you have to actually provide the data.

But if you believe that someone providing your health care in an inherent right, then data that supports whether or not it is a financially beneficial idea is irrelevant to your position. But if your position is that it's a financially good idea rather than an inherent right, then data that supports whether or not is a financially good idea.


OK, fair enough... I believe its a right and I really don't care whether we want to term it a 'human right granted by god' (as I think Paul Ryan is now insisting is the definition of a 'right') or a right granted by the government.

So where does that leave us? Seems like, in a nation like ours, it's just a matter of going to the ballot box and the chips falling where they may.
   265. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4172333)
The text is perfectly clear: we have an inalienable right to life, and therefore healthcare.


Then why would we pay anybody at all for it? Let's just have Carousel pick 5% of the population to be medical provider-slaves, and another 5% of the people to be manufacturing-slaves to collect the raw materials necessary to provide the medicines and devices the medical provider-slaves require to provide this inalienable right?
   266. zonk Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4172334)
OK, so the "right" to your labor, derived from the individual conscience of you, the person who provided the labor. The people who have a "right" to health care derived from the good conscience of fellow individual citizens can likewise help themselves to health care from those particular citizens.


Is there a right to practice or otherwise right to insure at an unspecified profitable rate health care? We have all sorts of 'professions' that one is NOT allowed to practice, including the obvious 'world's oldest'.
   267. Zipperholes Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:29 PM (#4172335)


You included this part in your quote, but maybe you didn't read it?

this is the best way (for now)
OK, point taken. I just don't think a discussion of health care as a "right" makes any sense in a discussion of a system with private insurers and providers.
   268. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:31 PM (#4172338)
So where does that leave us? Seems like, in a nation like ours, it's just a matter of going to the ballot box and the chips falling where they may.

I'm a pragmatist, so it's the most practical solution we have. But if someone's going to argue that their personal views are superior to mine because Period, I'm going to get pretty hostile. And if someone's going to whip out the compassion card against me, I'd be happy to whip out my tax returns for some good ol' fashioned charitable dick-measuring.
   269. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4172339)
A couple of people wanted this responded to:
(2) Libertarian arguments are very rarely called to task for the "what now?" aspect that they completely ignore. Assume for a moment that we can somehow configure a society where opting out of, say, fire control, only puts your specific property at risk. (Put aside the inanity of that assumption.) A family makes the choice to opt out and pocket the savings. Their house, with all their worldly possessions, burns to the ground. *What Now?* The libertarian response might be "tough." But is that the society we want to create and inhabit?
Yes.

(See why I didn't think it was necessary to respond to this? It was a rhetorical question.)
And, what about the collateral damage -- the children of that family didn't have the agency necessary to participate in the decision to opt out, and yet, they will be harshly penalized. *What Now?* A very similar argument can be made for healthcare. The Hobbesian fantasyland where there are these isolated choices that don't affect others simply doesn't exist. We live in a society, where your choices affect me. Deal with it.
Unless you propose taking people's children away from them and raising them in state homes, children will always face the consequences of their parents' decisions, good or bad. The government can't equalize all of that.
   270. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4172345)
You voluntarily did it because you wanted to.


No, I didn't want to do it. I got soaking wet and I ruined my cell phone. I did it because my inner moral sense told me it was the right thing to do, in spite of the fact that I didn't want to do it.
   271. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4172347)
Is it your contention that all services provided by a government are human rights?


You stated Health Care was not a right. Then you brought up Gov spending money. I am curious as to what these human rights are.

What is the difference between spending money to protect my right to not be robbed or killed (assuming this is one of your rights) as oppossed to spending money to provide my right to health care? Or spending money to protect my right to a yacht (again if such is considered a right)?

I don't think discussion of human rights has much to do with spending money, but you brought it up, so I am curious as to what are rights (if health care is not one) and what is the connection to spending money in your mind?
   272. Brian C Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:40 PM (#4172352)
The libertarian response might be "tough." But is that the society we want to create and inhabit?

Yes.

At least until your house is burning down, and you run outside to beg the fire department to save it.
Unless you propose taking people's children away from them and raising them in state homes, children will always face the consequences of their parents' decisions, good or bad. The government can't equalize all of that.

Maybe not "all" of it, but the question is, how much can we equalize, and what is our obligation to do so? I think we all agree, for example, that the government has an obligation to intervene on behalf of children who are victims of extreme abuse/negligence at the hands of their parents.
   273. Lassus Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4172355)
But if someone's going to argue that their personal views are superior to mine because Period, I'm going to get pretty hostile. And if someone's going to whip out the compassion card against me, I'd be happy to whip out my tax returns for some good ol' fashioned charitable dick-measuring.

And what if I want to talk about how my awesome my public school teacher parents were at their jobs? ;-D
   274. The Good Face Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:44 PM (#4172359)
I don't think discussion of human rights has much to do with spending money, but you brought it up, so I am curious as to what are rights (if health care is not one) and what is the connection to spending money in your mind?


All of your examples center around government action/expediture. Do you believe that humans have any rights that do not stem from the government?
   275. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:44 PM (#4172360)
so they created standing armies, and federal governments, and taxation, and all sorts of things they, too, were skeptical of at the outset of the grand experiment.


and replaced the Articles of Confederation (which did not WORK) with the Constitution (which did and does)

here is my favorite part of the Articles:

XI.
Canada acceding to this confederation, and adjoining in the measures of the United States, shall be admitted into, and entitled to all the advantages of this Union; but no other colony shall be admitted into the same, unless such admission be agreed to by nine States.



of course Canada never "acceded" to the US, and so we had to invade them in 1812-1814...
   276. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:46 PM (#4172362)
OK, fair enough... I believe its a right and I really don't care whether we want to term it a 'human right granted by god' (as I think Paul Ryan is now insisting is the definition of a 'right') or a right granted by the government.


Do you believe that health care is a right, if it turned out that providing health care to those that can't afford it reduced the health care of those that could by a greater degree? Not saying it does, but if it did, would you still think it was a right? If you did, then clearly, your belief about that right is derived from your first principles, not the data, so the data itself would be irrelevant to whether you think it's a right or not.

As I said, if someone proved that free speech reduced the GDP of the country by 1% of the year, I would be in favor of free speech. If someone proved that free speech increased the rate of heart attacks by 15%, I'd be in favor of free speech. If someone proved that free speech increased crime by 25%, I'd be in favor of free speech. If someone proved that free speech doubled the rate of depression, I'd be in favor of free speech. If someone proved that free speech doubled the odds that humanity will destroy itself in the year 3000, I'd be in favor of free speech.

So, if my belief in free speech as an inherent right is not predicated on the notion that it has a positive effect on GDP or heart attacks or crime or depression or oblivion or anything one can measure, why would it be necessary for me to justify that it does? If a right is truly inalienable, it means we allow it whether or not the overall effect on some slice of society is positive or negative, so the data is truly irrelevant, unless we're conflating "good idea" with "right."

I think helping others is a great idea - I've never made 100K in a year and never donated less than 5K in a year. I think organizations that provide medical care are great (my fees for ZiPS in last year's ESPN Magazine preview went to Doctors Without Borders). I think donating your time to your community is a great idea. But I do not think that good ideas become rights and bad ideas nullify rights. I abhor someone who uses their wealth to, say, fill up a swimming pool with dollar bills and lounge on them. I would think the person in question is a horrible, stain on mankind. But I do not believe that I have any inherent right to prevent that person from doing otherwise.
   277. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4172364)
Then why would we pay anybody at all for it? Let's just have Carousel pick 5% of the population to be medical provider-slaves, and another 5% of the people to be manufacturing-slaves to collect the raw materials necessary to provide the medicines and devices the medical provider-slaves require to provide this inalienable right?


was that a Logan's Run reference in there?
   278. zonk Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4172365)
I'm a pragmatist, so it's the most practical solution we have. But if someone's going to argue that their personal views are superior to mine because Period, I'm going to get pretty hostile. And if someone's going to whip out the compassion card against me, I'd be happy to whip out my tax returns for some good ol' fashioned charitable dick-measuring.


OK - but I do think it's a fundamental misread of the liberal mindset to imagine that our 'principles' are founded on feelings of personal compassion or superiority of such an attitude. I suppose there are certainly liberals who do lean heavily on their principles as some sort of crutch to prove to others or themselves their inherent moral superiority -- but I have no doubt that there are also libertarians who would be able to stand in for the liberal strawmen of them without too much costume needed.

Speaking solely for myself, I consider my liberalism more than anything else a pragmatic approach to guiding the health and growth of a society. In many cases, I suppose that I'd actually say my liberalism is born out of a certain amount of selfishness... I mean, I read disclosures, I comparison shop, but let's say for something like banking -- if a bank, with an enormous amount of inhouse resources, consultants, and attorneys at its beck and call wanted to essentially screw me and steal my money -- absent government oversight and regulation, they probably would be able to do so. It matters not all to me that they'd eventually go out of business because people would stop going to the bank that essentially takes your deposits and then says "what deposit?" - I'd still have lost my money.

Ditto healthcare -- I have an employee-sponsored plan.... but I have absolutely no idea how good the plan is because (knock on wood), I've never had to experience a major health care event under it. I do know that if I got cancer and became too sick to work, my company would find a way to cut me off the rolls, I'd eventually lose my insurance, and once my savings were gone -- I have no idea how I'd pay for say, chemotherapy, etc.
   279. Lassus Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4172366)
I do think that a lot of the arguments against libertarianism are lost in the details vs. the overall inherent philosophical problems all the details come from.

It does make those on our side ("our side" being "libertarianism - not really so great for a society trying to move forward") seem a lot pettier than they need to be in the discussion, I'll freely grant that.

And, as usual, I find Szym to be the most compelling spokesperson for libertarianism I've probably ever heard, despite all the troubles I have with the philosophy.
   280. booond Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:49 PM (#4172371)
You're not standing up and proudly proclaiming for all to hear that, yes, this is wealth redistribution because most Americans don't like the idea of wealth redistribution.


http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/11/six-in-10-support-policies-addressing-income-inequality/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/26/two-thirds-americans-wealth-distribution_n_1032400.html

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/nov/08/opinion/la-oe-norton-wealth-inequality-20101108
   281. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4172376)
Freedom in its purest form does in fact mean the freedom to make horrible tragic mistakes and live with them. Obviously the idea of a safety net is to limit the downside of the risks, which does cost money. Since money comes from somewhere, acquiring this money does in some sense detract from the freedom of the collective since they are missing money they "should have" and are now deprived the full consequences of their actions.

From an economic standpoint there is a strong reason to have that safety net though. Some amount of risk taking is important for a society’s progress (this is why capitalism works, btw). A reasonable safety net encourages some risk taking, which results in some failures 9and cost) and hopefully enough successes so that society is better off having the safety net and paying the cost. This is (at least partly) a reason for (among other things) bankruptcy laws.

Obviously this does not influence the first principles crowd (on either side) but for pragmatists it matters. The key is what is the right level and implementation of that safety net, where do the tradeoffs come in. Since pretty much every industrial nation in the world is to the left even of where the US is post-ACA I for one feel pretty comfortable ACA is a step in the right direction.

As an aside I am amused that many love markets and marketplaces, and love the states being free to try things out and let the best ideas win. But they never look to see what ideas are winning in the marketplace of nations. American exceptionalism I guess, but I think the world has stuff we can learn from and we have things to teach the world.

   282. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:53 PM (#4172379)
Actually, it's not a matter of opinion, it's a matter of law. Period. Period. Period to infinity.

I can say this about a lot of things that liberals don't like, too. Period. Period. Period. Period. Period. (Don't want to waste all my Periods. in one specific argument).

Of course you can. Doesn't make your initial statement any more correct though.

However, what you cannot do is out-period a period to infinity.

I'm a pragmatist

That's incompatible with being a libertarian.
   283. Brian C Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4172381)
That's incompatible with being a libertarian.

Or at least someone who proceeds to loudly proclaim that he doesn't care about the real-world outcome of his policy preferences.
   284. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:55 PM (#4172382)
But they never look to see what ideas are winning in the marketplace of nations.

Free speech is losing in the marketplace of nations. I couldn't care less vis-á-vis an inherent right to free speech.
   285. zonk Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:56 PM (#4172385)

All of your examples center around government action/expediture. Do you believe that humans have any rights that do not stem from the government?


History would say unequivocally no... The Vatican can claim otherwise with various myths and I'm sure other religions have theirs, too -- but since the dawn of time, only governments have been able to guarantee them.

Do you believe that health care is a right, if it turned out that providing health care to those that can't afford it reduced the health care of those that could by a greater degree? Not saying it does, but if it did, would you still think it was a right? If you did, then clearly, your belief about that right is derived from your first principles, not the data, so the data itself would be irrelevant to whether you think it's a right or not.

As I said, if someone proved that free speech reduced the GDP of the country by 1% of the year, I would be in favor of free speech. If someone proved that free speech increased the rate of heart attacks by 15%, I'd be in favor of free speech. If someone proved that free speech increased crime by 25%, I'd be in favor of free speech. If someone proved that free speech doubled the rate of depression, I'd be in favor of free speech. If someone proved that free speech doubled the odds that humanity will destroy itself in the year 3000, I'd be in favor of free speech.

So, if my belief in free speech as an inherent right is not predicated on the notion that it has a positive effect on GDP or heart attacks or crime or depression or oblivion or anything one can measure, why would it be necessary for me to justify that it does? If a right is truly inalienable, it means we allow it whether or not the overall effect on some slice of society is positive or negative, so the data is truly irrelevant, unless we're conflating "good idea" with "right."

I think helping others is a great idea - I've never made 100K in a year and never donated less than 5K in a year. I think organizations that provide medical care are great (my fees for ZiPS in last year's ESPN Magazine preview went to Doctors Without Borders). I think donating your time to your community is a great idea. But I do not think that good ideas become rights and bad ideas nullify rights. I abhor someone who uses their wealth to, say, fill up a swimming pool with dollar bills and lounge on them. I would think the person in question is a horrible, stain on mankind. But I do not believe that I have any inherent right to prevent that person from doing otherwise.


I think that's a hard question to answer -- but I guess that I'd say even under your health care scenario, yes, I still think it's a right.

A better parallel might be the 'right to bear arms' -- beyond 2nd Amendment/legalese -- do you accept that as a basic right? Personally, I suppose I don't 'in theory' -- but I accept it in practice as a right that our nation has granted. No, I don't have any numbers -- but I highly suspect that the prevalence of guns in our society does more harm than good. However, since it's a 'right' - I accept that we can't just get rid of all guns. We accept some downside -- and enforce some reasonable limitations, just as we do with 'free speech' -- with something we consider a right.

So yeah -- I would accept the possibility that there might be some manner of care less available to me in exchange for broader health care coverage. Again - as with the 2nd amendment/RTBKA - I think it's a scale that we as a society can employ.
   286. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:56 PM (#4172386)
All of your examples center around government action/expediture. Do you believe that humans have any rights that do not stem from the government?


Because we are talking about government and health care, and you brought up expenditures. I am interested in what human rights you were refering to. What differentiates them from health care as a right? How is it a category error?

I never said anything "stem from the government", I have only asked you about your thoughts on these rights, of which health care is not one.
   287. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:56 PM (#4172387)
Or at least someone who proceeds to loudly proclaim that he doesn't care about the real-world outcome of his preferred views.

Complete non-sequitur. Everyone has beliefs that aren't derived from data proving their specific effect on an arbitrary measure of society. If you spend an hour talking about politics on a baseball site rather than, say, working at a soup kitchen, by definition, you've chosen to believe something (that arguing politics on a baseball site is a better use of your time than spending the same time helping the less fortunate) that also shows a lack of care about real-world outcomes.
   288. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4172388)
So where does that leave us? Seems like, in a nation like ours, it's just a matter of going to the ballot box and the chips falling where they may.

I'm a pragmatist, so it's the most practical solution we have.
I'm with you on this one. I enjoy reading these discussions — I often learn quite a bit from them — but they're ultimately completely academic. Don't like the ACA, think it's wrong? November's coming up. Knock yourselves out.

But if someone's going to argue that their personal views are superior to mine because Period, I'm going to get pretty hostile.
I think that's a pretty universal trait. I think I speak for the pro-ACA side of the argument that Ray and David's insinuation that we hate freedom is more than a little insulting, so hostility ensued because hostility always ensues when differing philosophies clash.
   289. BDC Posted: July 03, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4172390)
I too agree with BurlyBuehrle in #221. It's interesting to me, though, that so much public response to Obamacare still seems to center on the phrase "socialized medicine." Opponents of the ACA slap that label on it with aggressive energy. I was having a conversation last weekend with an otherwise non-insane conservative friend of mine who had the strange opinion (her health insurance currently being paid for by her employer, the state of Tennessee) that Obamacare would somehow result in some kind of weird system of rationing services where you would have to stand in line for ten days to get antihistamines, or something. The irony is that my friend turned 66 today, and if she weren't still working for the state she'd be covered by Medicare, a far more "socialized" program than anything Obama has ever proposed. This, to me, is weird; but then, as I've noted, all rhetoric is weird. It is not about logic or correctness.
   290. DA Baracus Posted: July 03, 2012 at 03:01 PM (#4172392)
Healthcare is no more a human right than yacht ownership or dating a supermodel.


Not if you elect me President. A yacht and a supermodel for all. Beats 40 acres and a mule.
   291. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 03, 2012 at 03:03 PM (#4172394)
No, I didn't want to do it. I got soaking wet and I ruined my cell phone. I did it because my inner moral sense told me it was the right thing to do, in spite of the fact that I didn't want to do it.
Unless you suffer from multiple personality disorder, your "inner moral sense" is you. You wanted to do it, notwithstanding any ambivalence.
   292. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 03, 2012 at 03:05 PM (#4172397)
The libertarian response might be "tough." But is that the society we want to create and inhabit?

Yes.


At least until your house is burning down, and you run outside to beg the fire department to save it.
Since I'm responsible, I pay for things like fire protection. So of course they should save it.
   293. zonk Posted: July 03, 2012 at 03:06 PM (#4172400)
NM- doublepost
   294. Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim Posted: July 03, 2012 at 03:06 PM (#4172401)
Since I'm responsible and I can afford it, I pay for things like fire protection. So of course they should save it.
FTFY.
   295. Brian C Posted: July 03, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4172403)
Complete non-sequitur. Everyone has beliefs that aren't derived from data proving their specific effect on an arbitrary measure of society. If you spend an hour talking about politics on a baseball site rather than, say, working at a soup kitchen, by definition, you've chosen to believe something (that arguing politics on a baseball site is a better use of your time than spending the same time helping the less fortunate) that also shows a lack of care about real-world outcomes.

If someone proved that arguing politics on a baseball site reduced the GDP of the country by 1% of the year, I would be in favor of arguing politics on a baseball site. If someone proved that arguing politics on a baseball site increased the rate of heart attacks by 15%, I'd be in favor of arguing politics on a baseball site. If someone proved that arguing politics on a baseball site increased crime by 25%, I'd be in favor of arguing politics on a baseball site. If someone proved that arguing politics on a baseball site doubled the rate of depression, I'd be in favor of arguing politics on a baseball site. If someone proved that arguing politics on a baseball site doubled the odds that humanity will destroy itself in the year 3000, I'd be in favor of arguing politics on a baseball site.

You see, I'm a pragmatist.
   296. Dan Szymborski Posted: July 03, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4172410)
You see, I'm a pragmatist.

Most of the laws we're talking about don't involve right vs. non-right, but watered-down right vs. slightly different version of watered-down right.

And I should note that your right to talk politics on a baseball site, by being able to seek other consenting parties to offer you a computer, internet service, and a baseball site on which to talk politics is inherent. But the baseball site owners also have the right to not allow politics on their baseball site - there's no inherent right to speak politics *on BTF's property* and that the privilege has been granted is a result of the partner who is willing to allow it having a greater voting share than the partner who is not willing to allow it.
   297. Kurt Posted: July 03, 2012 at 03:14 PM (#4172414)
Since I'm responsible and I can inherently afford it, given my ownership of the house, I pay for things like fire protection. So of course they should save it.

FTFLAEHoA.

Seriously, wasn't the quote given earlier in the thread $75/year? Any homeowner, or anyone with enough possessions to be worrying about fire protection in the first place, can afford that.
   298. Poulanc Posted: July 03, 2012 at 03:17 PM (#4172418)
Any homeowner, or anyone with enough possessions to be worrying about fire protection in the first place, can afford that.


Unless, of course, something unexpected happens - like the loss of a job or an unexpected illness.
   299. zonk Posted: July 03, 2012 at 03:18 PM (#4172419)
Most of the laws we're talking about don't involve right vs. non-right, but watered-down right vs. slightly different version of watered-down right.


I think this probably why RTKBA probably makes a bit more sense to discuss in the context of health care as a right than does free speech... Both right and left are pretty loud about supporting free speech (and both love to accuse the other attempting to squelch it). We also have a number of limitations upon free speech, some universally agreed with (fire in crowded theater), some not (I suppose certain harassment or perhaps incendiary speech laws).

   300. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: July 03, 2012 at 03:18 PM (#4172421)
I agree with almost everything in 221, but I thought this comment was funny. Wouldn't a "Hobbesian fantasyland" be a place with a powerful central authority that enables us to live in peace with our neighbors and promotes the collective good?


More correctly, Libertarians live in a Lockeian fantasyland. Hobbes was far, far more correct than Locke on the merits. It all comes down to Locke's incorrect conception of the state of nature.
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