Archive for the ‘healthcare’ Category

Substituting passion for reason (abortion)

February 17, 2018

I’ve said in the past that I don’t “like” abortion, but I’m not passionate about the issue. People who are passionate about it make me uncomfortable, and anytime I write about it I know I’m inviting passionate people to descend upon me. Thus I don’t mention it often.

I do not believe a zygote has rights– you can’t violate it. I believe a full-term baby does have rights, even though it isn’t capable of exercising many of them yet. I believe those things as strongly as I believe gravity is a real force which I can depend on to be consistent, but I can’t think of a way to prove it so I can’t be 100% positive.

That means I believe somewhere along the path from zygote to blastula to embryo to fetus to baby, this living tissue- the zygote into the future, undergoing continual cell division- becomes a human. Not just human tissue or a unique human genetic thing, but A Human with human rights no one has the right to violate. And I don’t know how to know where that happens so my position would be to err on the side of assuming rights earlier rather than later.

I do absolutely believe pregnant women have every human right.

It seems to me that rights could probably be said to correlate to nervous system function in some way. Yes, I know this opens the door to debating how functional a human’s brain must be before I would say they have rights. And, like all the rest of this, I don’t know.

This lack of knowing is why I can’t be passionate about it. It’s why I’m not going to go hard against others for their opinion, whichever way they believe. I’m not going to argue very hard for my opinion on the topic. Because, no matter how passionate you are on either side, it is an opinion (not based on enough facts) you are passionate about. You don’t know, even if you believe you do. No one does. It depends on subjective definitions and assumptions. It leads to absurd declarations from both sides when passion gets involved.

And, usually, it leads to calls to make something “illegal”. I don’t believe it’s ever right to get government or its “laws” involved in anything.

If you are passionate about the topic, on either side, do what you feel you must. Just don’t expect much support or attention from me.

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February 16, 2018

Someone sent me a video recently, extolling the “character” of a few individuals. On a couple of the cases, I completely agreed. They had character, and showed it.

On one, though, I’m confused as to why it was claimed he had “character” worth celebrating.

What is the definition of “character“? Well, here are those that seem relevant:

3. moral or ethical quality 

4. qualities of honesty, courage, or the like; integrity: It takes character to face up to a bully.  

5. reputation: a stain on one’s character.  

6. good repute.

The person in question is going through terminal brain cancer, and has survived years beyond his “expiration date”. And in apparent good spirits due to his religious beliefs. But that’s where I have a problem. If he lacked those comforting beliefs, yet was still in good spirits, I would be more inclined to praise his character. As it is, it seems to be his beliefs sustaining him, not his character. Or am I wrong?

Are your beliefs the same as character?

In any case, I wish him well. I wouldn’t wish his disease on anyone who wasn’t violating the innocent (but I wish it on all who do violate others as a matter of course, especially when a consequence of “just doing my job”).

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So long, 2017

December 31, 2017

Here it is. The last day of this arbitrary cycle of 365+ days.

I hope the past cycle of days was a good one for you; I hope the coming cycle is better.

I’ve been hosting some lovely influenza viruses who hijacked my cells to reproduce themselves, but I seem to be mostly over it now. So, that’s a good thing.

Onward, into the future.

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Treating vices like crime causes crime

December 3, 2017

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for November 1, 2017)

Are you tired of watching government make the same tired mistakes? At least they could have the decency to make some new and different mistakes for a change.

Which recycled mistake caught my attention this time? The government has decided opioid abuse is a “public health emergency”.

I haven’t seen much mention of making new criminal “laws” yet; just suggestions to use this as an excuse to throw away more of your money. The implication being this prodigal spending will magically fix something.

Opioid abuse is an individual health and psychology problem. Health and psychology professionals need to be left alone to deal with it in an informed way. If this is to be solved, this is how it will happen. Government deserves no seat at the health care table.

But government doesn’t actually want to solve this, and you know this will end up with new and bigger criminal penalties. They never let a crisis go to waste.

If government were serious about solving the opioid “emergency” they would end drug prohibition. Completely; not the deceptive way they shuffled the deck with alcohol prohibition.

Government has zero business regulating vices, because vices can never be crimes. If anyone still cares, every vice is a behavior protected from government intrusion by the Ninth Amendment, because the Constitution didn’t specifically give government the power to meddle in it. It is therefore off-limits– not that they are inclined to obey any limit on government action.

While vices are not crimes, treating them like crimes causes real crime. Every time. The only people who dare wade into the dangerous waters created by the War on Politically Incorrect Drugs are those willing to steal and use aggressive violence. This turned the drug trade into a scene of theft and aggression. Prohibition changed a personal problem into a crime wave.

The drug trade should be carried out in corner shops which advertise their services to valued customers, not forced into the back alleys or hidden from view. There should never be incentive to shoot your customers or competitors, and there wouldn’t be without prohibition. When was the last time Walmart conducted a drive-by shooting against Albertson’s? Drug prohibition ensures crime. It isn’t helping anything.

Well, that’s not quite true. It does help those who benefit from a growing police state and a world-record prison population, and those who enjoy the inflated profits drug prohibition brings. For the rest of us, though, prohibition is part of the problem, not a solution.

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Libertarianism can and does work

November 19, 2017

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for October 18, 2017)

From time to time someone will tell me they really like the idea of libertarianism; they only wish it could work in the real world. This reminds me of someone confessing they like the idea of electricity, if only it could actually work. Because not only can it work, it does.

Libertarianism doesn’t just work; you are surrounded by it all the time. In fact, you practice libertarianism yourself, even if you never realized it. And so does everyone else– other than the noticeably rare, unpleasant monsters. If this weren’t the case, civilization would be impossible, and society would collapse into relentless chaos and death.

Every time you buy something instead of stealing it, you’ve put libertarianism to work. Each time you choose to not punch someone who annoys you, you’ve made the libertarian choice. If you recognize the right of self-defense against people who would injure, kidnap, steal, or vandalize– or threaten to do those things– you’ve joined the ranks of libertarian thinkers. How does it feel to successfully use something people claim “can’t work”?

Libertarianism is nothing more than accepting that you don’t have the right to attack people or take their stuff. You probably learned this as a child. When people say they don’t see how libertarianism can work in the real world, it’s often because they desperately want to allow some exceptions, either for themselves or for others. Especially where certain jobs are concerned.

Any exception is imaginary– right and wrong don’t change depending on your job.

Everyone says they are against bullying, but almost everyone supports the bully they believe is on their side. They dream up excuses to rationalize how this bully isn’t a bully, even as he attacks people. They fantasize that the bully’s gang isn’t a gang, or that his victims deserve it. They claim society couldn’t function without these exceptions.

Almost everyone knows stealing is wrong, but most people try to find ways around this when they want something badly enough. They use dishonest words to make it sound different. So, instead of “theft”, they call it a tax or a fine, a property code or a license fee.

This lack of consistency is the trap which leads people to conclude libertarianism “can’t work”, even as they live the vast majority of their lives by its principles.

Welcome to libertarianism. Feel free to drop the exceptions you’ve been trying to justify, because they are only holding you down. Libertarianism works for everyone.

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Charity, not theft or slavery

October 12, 2017

A new post over at Dispatches from Libertopia.

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Exploring different views worthwhile

June 18, 2017

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for May 17, 2017)

It is important to know where you stand on issues, and why. It’s equally important to understand the position others take. Especially when those positions are the opposite of yours.

To understand the other side, you need to talk to them, and to read things written from their perspective. It might be unpleasant, but it’s necessary.

I don’t mean you should join them to participate in things you know are wrong. Never violate your principles, but learn why they believe what they believe and why they do what they do. It will make you a stronger, wiser person in the long run; better able to defend your position.

I recently read “Wage Labour and Capital” by Karl Marx. His errors were numerous and glaring, and I see how all governments more closely resemble Marxism than anything remotely libertarian– especially the way they interfere in the economy. Governments share many of Marx’s superstitions. They believe the economy is a pie and the size of your slice depends on the size of the other guy’s slice. They imagine people will put in a lot of effort to do no more than break even. They feel individuals are assigned to a particular “class” with no hope for change. They pretend someone can determine value for another. They act as if the right price for everything can be discovered and imposed.

It’s easy to show Marx was wrong; it may be harder to understand why the War on Politically Incorrect Drugs is wrong. Why government interference with, and rationing of, medical services is wrong. It may be harder yet to see why sobriety checkpoints are worse for America than drunk drivers. That liberty is always better than “safety”.

Your only chance to evaluate these things is to read the justifications and excuses of the other side, and make an honest attempt to understand, even though you don’t agree.

You may even change your mind about something, which isn’t as painful as you might imagine. I’ve always found it better to change my mind than to hold a position which can’t be defended honestly.

As a libertarian I have unlimited opportunities to read things from an opposite perspective. Almost all news is written under the assumption that governing others is a legitimate activity, that laws can be beneficial, and that a career in government is a life of service. Almost everyone you talk to believes the same.

It’s harder for those who hold these common beliefs to explore a different perspective. It’s worth the effort.

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Stop poisoning yourself first

June 12, 2017

If you are taking a medicine that is poisoning you– killing you, the smart thing to do is to stop taking it. Now!

There is nothing else you could do that will help you as much as this one simple act. No antidote, no alternative, nothing. Just stop ingesting the poison.

Don’t wait until you find another medicine to replace it with. You can deal with that later, after you’ve stopped killing yourself. If you actually need something else. You may well discover you don’t. You may find your problems stem from the poison you thought was supposed to help.

Well, the State is also a deadly poison, administered into your life through statism– mostly of your own doing. You shouldn’t wait until you find a replacement to stop ingesting more of it. Just stop. Now.

And, yet, so many demand a replacement be perfected before they’ll even consider stopping the poisoning of themselves and their loved ones.

Do they even realize how totally insane this is?

Only addicts fail to realize it, and act on it. How addicted are the statists you know?

Of course, it will be labeled “Miracle Cure. 100% Safe!

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Government shouldn’t be in medicine

June 11, 2017

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for May 10, 2017)

It’s 2017, ObamaCare has morphed into TrumpCare, and it’s still not about “care”. Instead, it’s about government controlling a huge segment of the economy, taking away choice, and robbing people to pay for things they may not want. Government has no business meddling in medicine.

People are also still arguing over whether health care is a right. All rights concern what others have no right to do to you, not what others owe you. For example: no one has a right to forbid you to own and carry a gun– to “keep and bear arms”– but you have no right to demand someone give you a gun to “keep and bear”.

Health care is also a human right. You have a right to do whatever you feel you need to in order to stay healthy, or to get healthy again if you are sick or injured. You have the right to use, grow, manufacture, or buy any and all drugs, services, or practices you believe will help your health, or help you deal with physical or emotional pain.

No one has the right to interfere– not in the name of preventing drug abuse or anything else. No politician’s opinion (often mistakenly referred to as a “law”) can change your rights into crimes. The DEA, and its War on Politically Incorrect Drugs, is wrong even if you approve of their crusade against Americans.  If your choices cause worse problems, you are back at square one and no one is obligated to rescue you.

Although health care is a right, you have no right to force anyone else to provide your health care; to force doctors, nurses, or hospitals to give you their services. You have no right to force pharmacists to give you medicine you need to survive. You have no right to force others to pay for your health care, not with their money nor their time and labor. To pretend otherwise is to promote slavery.

Socialized medicine– any government involvement in health care whatsoever– is unhealthy, whether it comes from Barack Obama or Donald Trump. To quibble over details is to ignore the real issue: you have the right to any kind of health care you can buy or negotiate for yourself, no one can ever have the right to meddle in your choices, but you have no right to demand anyone be enslaved on your behalf. Insist on a separation of medicine and state.

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"Respect" women?

June 3, 2017

I’m somewhat ambivalent about abortion. I always have been, to the chagrin to those fighting on both sides of the argument.

However, when I saw a local billboard proclaiming “Respect New Mexico women“, and listing “Our bodies, our families, our decisions” as the aspects of women I am to respect, I knew it was all, and only, about abortion, and instantly rolled my eyes at the hypocrisy.

But, then I realized I should give them the benefit of the doubt, so I went to their website, and yep, that’s all the organization is concerned with. It’s one of those times I didn’t want to be right.

So, that’s all “respecting women” means to them? Of course it is– to certain political people.

Funny, but I have better ways to respect women, such as committing myself to not archate against them. The exact same way I respect men, or anyone who doesn’t feel they fall into either of those categories. A level of true respect no “law” can ever approach.

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