Life, Liberty, Reasonably Priced Love

This is a quick throw away post.  I’m not dead, but I am very busy.  However, younger son pinged me on FB and said “Do the dems really think that the right to Healthcare INSURANCE really is a universal human right?  What part of unalienable and natural did they fail to get?”

I told him the left side of the isle DOES indeed believe so.

And hence, this post.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness are the rights listed in the declaration of independence.  And they’re so listed because they’re the rights you have unless the government  takes them away from you.

But Sarah, you say, you’ll eventually die.  And you might end up so confined that you don’t have liberty.  And what about happiness.  You can pursue but you might not catch.

At which point I’m going to tell you that this is the lamest argument since pro-abortion people bring in that one in two pregnancies end in spontaneous miscarriage.  That’s comparing apples to kumquats and doesn’t make it any more “natural” or “right”  or whatever to abort the ones that remain.

In the same way, sure, you were born to die.  And you eventually will.  And sure, your liberty is constrained by the circumstances of your birth and might impair your happiness.  Like, for instance, having a functional body would dramatically contribute to my happiness.

But that doesn’t mean the government has the right to confine you, kill you or prevent you striving towards what you want.

Note the striving in that last one.

It just means that you should take reasonable care to keep them, and that if someone violates them in an illegal manner (murder, false arrest) they should be punished.

Note, btw, that you keeping those rights involves your striving towards them but does not require anyone to give them to you.  Because to have someone assure your life, liberty and pursuit of happiness by necessity means impairing another’s life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

Cue the whining: but life needs food and shelter and health care. What if you don’t have those?  Shouldn’t a just society provide them?

What about liberty?  How free can you be when you spend nine to five at a job you hate?  Shouldn’t you just get whatever you need so you can be free?

What about the pursuit of happiness?  What if my happiness is creating mediocre art?  Shouldn’t others support me while I do it?

Um… what you see here is a difference between the American and the French revolutions.  The American revolution granted you life, liberty and the PURSUIT of happiness.  The French revolution granted you Equality, Fraternity and Liberty.  Whatever the hell that is supposed to mean.  What it mean in practice is that American liberties are hands off liberties.  “We won’t violate your rights to this, and you’re free to keep them if you can.  It is your right to strive to keep them, in other words.”  The French revolution guaranteed outcomes.  “You’ll be equal.  You’ll be free of all restraint.”  I have no idea how they planned to enforce fraternity, so I’m going to assume magic mushrooms or argot or something were involved.

The first one is attainable and it leads to freedom for individuals attaining what they can by their own efforts.  The second…  The second guarantees intrusive government any minute of the day into everyone’s life.   After all, HOW can you ensure everyone is equal, except by hobbling the ones who are faster in the race of life, expropriating anything anyone saves, and generally trying to turn humans into widgets.

And making sure everyone has free health care, means enslaving doctors.  Let me tell you, as the mother of a medical student that the US has quite possibly the craziest and definitely the most expensive health care training in the world.  All the idiots who think that doctors should be paid like teachers fail to get the difference between 4 years undergrad study for teachers, and 4 years undergrad study, plus often these days to make it into medschool, a Master’s (which fortunately son didn’t need.)  Plus four years post graduate training at exorbitant cost in both money and effort, plus seven to ten years internship paid at close to minimum wage.  Now take someone who has devoted ten to fourteen years of his life to becoming a healthcare provider, and pay him like a teacher.  Not only will you see them quitting in droves, you’ll see suicides skyrocket more than they already are among that group.  (And yes, other countries have this.  In Portugal at least MDs get 7 years, total.  Straight out highschool.  I know other countries are closer to Portugal than the US. And still they don’t get paid like teachers.)

Then comes the ridiculous, like, you know, you can’t live without food, so farmers should be enslaved to producing food for you.

Oh, yeah, and your happiness requires companionship, so we get to providing you with someone to give you that and sex, right?

But, you say, the dems actually only want people to have INSURANCE, not health care.

Right.  And let me tell you, the problems with that start with the fact that there aren’t enough doctors to cover everyone who will go to the doctor for a hangnail or because they are bored.  No?  Well, I’m not sure what the arrangement is, but apparently Obamacare covers ambulance rides for seniors COMPLETELY.  This means that when son was a scribe in ER, they spent half the night with the regulars.  I.e. elderly people (the neighborhood we used to live in was more than 50% Catholic and Jewish grandmothers, very useful to keep an eye on the kids) who were bored and called with symptoms requiring an ambulance right then, when what they actually needed was company, a cup of hot chocolate and a doughnut.

Everything the government gives for free introduces that kind of perverse incentive, and we really don’t have enough doctors for people who think they should go to the doctor for every sneeze.

The other stuff, the serious stuff, was already being taken care of.  Sure, it often means crushing bills for survivors.  But there are arrangements already in place for people who can’t pay.  I’ve seen people with cancer and no insurance get top flight treatment.  This is done by the hospitals, because doctors take treating people seriously. It’s why they put up with the bullshit needed to become doctors.  I know the type: not just my son but a lot of my fans would jeopardize their own lives to save others’.  I don’t get it (I’m one of those people who has a horror of illness, even my own.)  BUT it’s who they are. Just like I can’t help making up stories.  Healing the sick is something they were born to do. (Okay, not all of them, but a good number of them.)

So giving everyone insurance is just… well a way to enslave the tax payers to make sure people have a “Right” that not only isn’t natural but might be counterproductive or at least meaningless.  I mean, you can have a right to insurance all you want to.  But no one can make you magically find someone to treat you, when every doctor is busy with seniors taking a joyride to ER.

And yet you’ll be taking money for it from people who could use it to… oh, make sure their sons or daughters can become doctors.  You’ll be taking money from people who could afford to eat better with it, and not get sick.

You’ll be impoverishing others for a cosmetic “gain.”

This is what’s known as ignoring the gift and playing with the wrapper.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness are gifts you bring with you at birth.  Unequal, sure, but we’re all unequal from the moment of birth. You have unique abilities and talents.  There is no way to make you equal to everyone else, except by reducing each person’s ability and capacity.  Because you can’t INCREASE someone’s capacity.  You can’t for instance make me into a ravishing skinny blond.  (Trust me, even without the blond part.  I’ve tried.)  OTOH you can’t give other people my relative facility with language.  Even very smart people.  Trust me, again, I tried.  I used to teach the stuff.

Meanwhile, ENSURING that you have Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness is something no one can do.  There is no way to do it without enslaving someone else to provide you with these things.  Even if what you’re taking is 1/4 of a person’s life, that’s still slavery.  You do not have the right to take another person’s life, liberty or pursuit of happiness to pursue your own.  You can, sure, bargain for those, or pay for those, but not take them.  It has to be a mutually agreed contract, not an imposition by the state.

People who want everything provided for them are not at war with oppression.  They’re at war with reality.

We’re not like onto angels, who can get everything by thinking about it.  The benevolence of governments dictating you must have this or that — free health care, free food, free lodgings — is always a threat of force against those they force to provide you with those.

Which is why such pursuits always end in blood and mass graves, just like the French revolution.

Because humans are apes, and imperfect.  We are born with different wants, different needs, different talents, different weaknesses.

You want to give according to your ability and receive according to your talents?  Good.  This is the path of happiness.  But don’t expect the government or even those nearest or dearest to you to know what those abilities and needs are.  Hell, you might not know them yourself, when you start out.  A lot of the stammering on the road to maturity is that we have no clue who we are and what we can do, or what we NEED yet.

Humans are striving humans.  It is in strife and struggle you find yourself.  If you eliminate struggle from life, you’ve eliminated all reason to live.  This is why aristocrats and people in socialist regimes lose interest in life.

Things that are against reality can’t go on.  What can’t go on stops.

Meanwhile, striving to keep your natural rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is happiness in itself and will make you strong and productive.

Go out there and strive.

201 responses to “Life, Liberty, Reasonably Priced Love

  1. It is impossible to engage in rational discussion of what The Dems actually believe versus what they pretend to believe in order to get citizens to sell their birthright.

    • What can you do with people who believe that gender sex is a social construct?

      People who want everything provided for them are … at war with reality.

      And combating it with surreality.

      • Right your “gender” is as fluid as water on a hot summer day in New England and nearly as volatile as the weather in that situation. Pay no attention to the 23rd pair of chromosomes they and the hormones implied have NOTHING to do with gender.

        Meanwhile, your sexual orientation is clearly determined by a genetic marker somewhere ( Gene/ chromosome/mechanism TBD). This is WHOLLY determined by nature and nurture has no part in it. You are, to quote one of their poet laureates, “Made that way”. Data for this, absolutely none.

        The cosmopolitan progressives are the ones that understand science and use logic? I have two 3 letter statements for the cosmos/progressives/SJWs: WTF? and Feh!

    • Agreed. They preach a lot to substitute for the lack of actual practise.

  2. I have given up arguing with the Progressive Left (of which I have a fair sampling in my extended family) about the principle of Natural Rights. I find I get many more silent pauses and thoughtful looks with the following;

    “Yes, in a perfect world everybody would get the healthcare they needed. And if I saw any evidence that anyone anywhere had ever implemented a heath care system under government administration or extensive regulation, I would let you try your ideas. But it hasn’t ever happened. There Swedish, who are among the most law abiding people on earth, ran their economy into the ground trying. The British system was showing cracks as early as the 1950’s. The Canadian system is such a failure that the VERY Liberal Canadian Supreme Court ruled that the government could not prevent people from buying private health care because it had so signally failed to make its public system work. It. Won’t. Work. And since it won’t work, I decline to stand by while assorted well-meaning fools pound public money down a rathole failing.

    • Ironically enough, according to some of the books that I’ve read, the Canadian health care system has its own system of perverse incentives. Canadian hospitals receive what’s called a “block grant” from the provincial government each year in order to treat patients. So, they get a set amount of money each year in order to care for patients.

      That incentivises hospitals to keep the easy to treat, and therefore less expensive patients for as long as possible in order to keep their beds occupied and make the more complicated, and therefore, more expensive patients go somewhere else.

    • There really isn’t any point arguing with most of them, they cannot be moved by rational means. They’re irrational.

      What moves them is the emotional. Show them how badly they are getting suckered by smarter men. Better yet, show them where somebody is getting something they’re not.

      Envy and pride will push them miles, where mere facts will move them not at all.

      • I was going to make a cute and obvious math pun, but your post is too sensible for me to tamper with.

        And your tactic might work.

        • I’ll make it….

          So they’re the squared root of negative one?

          oh wait, that’s imaginary…

          in some cases, its hard to tell.

    • “The Canadian system is such a failure that the VERY Liberal Canadian Supreme Court ruled that the government could not prevent people from buying private health care because it had so signally failed to make its public system work.”

      As I recall, the exact quote was something along the lines of, “Access to a waiting list is not the same as access to health care.”

      • Access to insurance != Healthcare but govt treats it that way.

        • The government treats a good many things as if theywere something that they are not. Not our governments, now. All governments, ever. If your government isn’t doing something of the kind, it’s time to check and see if anyone in tha Capitol has a pulse.

      • My daughter goes to a considerable expense purchasing health care insurance every month … but she cannot actually afford health care itself. Behold the triumph of Obamacare…

  3. scott2harrison

    Two things strike me about this post.

    First, NO-ONE can take your rights away. They can violate them, but not take them and the preferred result of anyone violating your rights is you violating them, preferably terminally.

    Second, I have been tempted by the “Your happiness requires companionship, so we get to providing you with someone to give you that and sex, right?” argument. After all, for quite a few years I was providing through taxes support for more than one welfare mother and thus funding my own competition in the relationship market, why should I not get some of the benefits of that support? Unfortunately, I know that slavery corrupts everything and everybody that it touches so I don’t want to go there. Still, it pisses me off.

    • You want a 3 day pass to spend time with your wife? Son, the military doesn’t issue you wives and we don’t owe you any time off for them either.

      • I remember people putting in chits for special liberty- “My wife is going to get pregnant and I need to be there for it.”

      • You forgot to add, “now go get me a cup of coffee, before I bust you down to E1”.

      • Feather Blade

        They don’t?

        Is that one of the cost cutting measures from the Defense sequestration?

    • They can too provide happiness.


      Ain’t it a brave new world?

    • First, NO-ONE can take your rights away.

      Or, as the man says below,
      “Cause no one can take away your right
      To fight and to never surrender”

  4. Kevin Williamson (yes, I know that he’s not the most popular chap around here, but here me out) had a good column not too long ago about mistaking a financial product for it’s end result. It was what got the government involved in the mortgage business: we wanted people to be able to afford houses, most people get a mortgage to buy a house, so we subsidized mortgages, which had the result of driving housing prices into the stratosphere. A similar thing happened with college loans. And now we’re in the midst of the same idea with health insurance.

    “This is what’s known as ignoring the gift and playing with the wrapper.”

    Hey, there’s a long and proud tradition of that. My husband and I are currently going through baby-shower gifts, trying to decide what boxes we should save so that she can have a killer fort once she gets old enough to enjoy them!

  5. Thank you, Sarah. About five years ago, I finally shook out the disparate threads of my thought processes into a more or less cohesive philosophy of rights (or, more specifically, “How to tell with 99% accuracy when something is not a right”), and it boils down to what you’ve represented here– except, of course, that your explanations are pithier and more colorful than my dry bullet list.

    Five years ago is not a long time, but in my defense, I’m a bit younger than you, and without deliberate effort in that direction, it takes a couple of decades to clear the youthful cobwebs from the brain and start seeing clearly…

    • A right is that which you exercise unless somebody/thing interferes with it. Look at the Bill of Rights and you see each represents something which the government can protect from infringement but does not have to do anything to provide. The goal of this nation’s founders was to limit tyranny. The goal of those who insist government must provide that which is not inherent in your being alive is tyranny, whether they recognize that or deny it.

      • A right also requires no one else but you to use it. Affirmative rights tend to mean someone else must perform an action for you to receive said right.

      • Exactly. The way I see it, a right must:

        –Be God-given;
        –Inhere at personhood;
        –Be a natural part of man;
        –Only vanish in an individual when he attempts to breach someone else’s rights, and otherwise inhere for all time.

        Plenty of corollaries result from these rules. They imply, for example, that nothing that is scarce (in the economic sense) can be a right. They further imply that no secondary or subsidiary derivation can be assumed to be a right unless it also follows the above standards– hence, “I need food to survive->Food is a right” is fallacious, while “I need food to survive->I will make use of my rights, like my liberty and the property that I hold, to acquire food while acting in alignments with others’ rights” is fine.

        Likewise, “Property” is a right insofar that acquiring and holding property in a way that respects others’ rights is fine; “Property” is not a right in the sense of, “I really want to own that mansion; therefore, it’s my right to have it and the owner had better get packing,” since that breaches the current owner’s right to dispose of his own property as well as staking a rights-based claim on a particular economically scarce resource. And this latter, of course, is just an individualized form of the construct “Everyone has a right to [be given] a mansion,” as opposed to “Everyone has a right to maintain a properly-acquired mansion.”

        Any claim on a scarce resource, including the labor of others, breaches at least one extant right– to dispose of one’s own property (a breach of this is known as “robbery”), to dispose of one’s own time and labor (a breach of this is known as “slavery”), and so on.

      • Eh, there are positive rights. For instance, if you and I have a contract, both of us have the right to have each other live up to the terms or recompense the other for failure to do so.

        What there are not is inherent universal positive rights.

        • I’m not sure that is a right in the technical sense. It’s certainly in your best interest to live up to your end of a bargain, and it’s arguably in society’s interest to ensure that you live up to your end of a bargain. But I’m not sure that I have the right to force you – either directly or through a proxy like the courts – to live up to your end of a bargain.

          • Valid point — there are precedents for contracts being voided by the courts as against the public interest (e.g., a contract to commit an illegal act, such as commit homicide or provide sexual favors) and contracts which any court would rule unenforceable (e.g., sale of an organ.)

            Any action to uphold a contract agreement is contingent upon there being a valid contract and limited as to the remedies available; whether it actually constitutes a “right” is undemonstrated.

            • By that argument there are no negative rights. One can curtail negative rights such as liberty and life as punishment for crimes, too.

              • Contractual rights are derivative of negative rights. No contract (in the English Law system) absent consideration, a transfer of property. The right to be made whole is thus a function of property rights, with the government acting to protect your right to be secure in your person and property rather than having you hunt down the rat b*stard and serving his gizzard up on a platter.

                • Oops – copy editor asleep on the job:
                  No contract (in the English Law system) are valid absent consideration

                  This is also why certain contracts are invalid as a matter of public policy: certain things do not constitute “property” no matter how much the contracting parties might wish them so, and therefore cannot be contractually transmitted nor constitute consideration.

          • That’s why I said you had a right to either living up to your side or recompense.

    • I only developed a coherent political philosophy at 30.

      • I don’t think I have one. Even incoherent might be outside my comprehension.

        • It was rather weird when pieces fell in place. It might have to do with the fact that we’d moved to a town where I knew NO ONE, my car didn’t work, and Dan was working 18 hour days. I got really bored… 😉

      • I’ve always had a coherent philosophy of political behavior (though it has changed somewhat over time from, say, being a libertarian conservative to being a conservative libertarian), but with how terrible I am at thinking on my feet, I would often end up tongue-tied and blabbing when confronted with contrary arguments. Building a set of filters of principle underneath my political views has stabilized my capacity to argue for what’s right. It was sort of like building a foundation below an extant house– slightly painful and difficult, but definitely needful.

        That’s right– beliefs with strong groundings are less likely to be flung away at a whim. Who woulda thunk it?

  6. 10 people, all the same physical capability, all the same mental capability, all access to the same, abundant resources.

    9 choose to do nothing.

    1 chooses to work hard to get something to eat, to wear, to protect himself from the elements.

    It it right for those nine, composing 90% of that society, to demand the 1 provide them with the food, clothing, and shelter he worked so hard for, and they did nothing for?

    Those of us with a conservative or libertarian bent, all seem to agree that such a condition would be insane. The Democratic-Liberal-Progressive-Socialist group fundamentally see nothing wrong with enslaving that one to the benefit of the majority. I’m not sure this is solvable by reasoned debate. You can occasionally convert from the DLPS when one of them ‘accidentally’ starts working for a living and discovers the joys of keeping what they earn, and learns the agony of having said earnings confiscated by the undeserving.

    Anyone know of a parasite that detaches itself to save its host?

    • Government is the strangler fig on the tree of liberty.

    • Michael Houst

      The Screwtape Letters are absolutely brilliant. And I really hate that evaluation of humanity. It’s too damn accurate.

      • Funny you should mention that… Ignatius of Loyola was the subject of a radio show I caught part of today, and they were focusing on when he first started to try to turn his life around.

        Basically, he correctly identified that he had done bad things…and fixated on that, to the point of contemplating suicide until a Dominican smacked him out of it.

        Yeah, the bad is real, but so is the good.

    • Yup.

      I have in fact been in an online discussion where a woman told us all that she had a right to the Obamacare subsidies for her insurance because otherwise she would be forced to get a job with insurance benefits, and that’s slavery.

      Nothing penetrated. Not even pointing out that the Supreme Court’s definition of slavery is being forced against your will to labor for the good of another.

      • “If you don’t work, you don’t eat” is a basic law of life since time immemorial. Even plants and single-celled organisms abide by it.

        • from 2 Thessalonians 3:10 the apostle Paul states:

          “For even when we were with you, we used to give you this command: “If anyone is not willing to work, neither should he eat.” ”

          That statement made it clear to me that everything held in common
          (as the early church did, see Acts) in a style like communism wasn’t ever going to work. Given that the saints of the church couldn’t hold it together what chance did far less devoted folk off the street have of making it work.

          Part of me always want’s to quote this to folks trying to argue that government support is the “christian” thing to do. Although most of them have no idea who Paul is and if they do would excise his epistles from the new testamnet as far too triggering.

          • My maternal grandmother summed it up as “Root, Hog, or die.” (Unless you were scouting her ‘fridge and pantry for snacks, when it became, “Root, hog, and die!” One did not nosh without permission.)

          • Please note that the key term there is “willing” — thus “according to his ability” factors in as a consideration. In healthy human society the willingness to support the less able is present; when it becomes sensed that such willingness is being abused the rot is setting in.

          • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

            While I don’t want to start a religious argument, too many “individuals” think Saint Paul “ruined” True Christianity.

            But of course, those sorts also ignore what the Christ had actually said. 😦

            • Well, yes, of course many individuals think Saint Paul “ruined” True Christianity. My inclination is toward “True Christianity” having been ruined by people who presume to know what “True Christianity” is or ought be.

              When you are attempting to forge and maintain a relationship with the Creator of the Universe a little humility would seem a necessary starting point and a frequent touchstone along the journey. Fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil does not generally grant wisdom, after all. Somewhat the opposite, by my observations.

              • Yup. The person who wondered why more people didn’t accept his view, which was that Jesus was merely a wise moral teacher — without noticing that the small problem is that there is no evidence for it.

                If you want that, you have to throw out the Gospels as a pack of lying liars, and then you have no grounds for “wise moral teacher” because all other writings, regardless of the writer’s religion, even close to the time barely brush on it as opposed to what they found crucial.

                Cherry-picking from the Gospels, of course, means that you can’t derive the view from them, because you are using the rule to evaluate each verse.

            • My favorite was the time that I quoted the Great Commission — “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, ” — and someone loftily told me that if he were a Christian, he would pay more attention to the words of Jesus than of Paul.

              Well, someone else had corrected him by the time I got back to the discussion, so I didn’t have to.

      • What’s perverse is that the only ones with guaranteed medical care were slaves, and that was through economic incentive and social pressure on their owner. It doesn’t take much to see we are guaranteed health care by the state only if we are all slaves of the state.

  7. riteturn / Mac'

    This is too hard for people to understand who are totally absorbed and immersed in their own infantile wants.

  8. “Death turned to leave the room, but stopped when Hex began to write furiously. He went back and looked at the emerging paper.
    +++ Dear Hogfather, For Hogswatch I Want
    OH, NO. YOU CAN’T WRITE LETT… Death paused, and then said, YOU CAN, CAN’T YOU.
    +++ Yes. I Am Entitled +++
    Death waited until the pen had stopped, and picked up the paper.
    BUT YOU ARE A MACHINE. THINGS HAVE NO DESIRES. A DOORKNOB WANTS NOTHING, EVEN THOUGH IT IS A COMPLEX MACHINE.
    +++ All Things Strive +++
    –Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

    Thanks for making me think of this quote today. I definitely needed it. All things do indeed strive.

  9. If you want to know what’s going to happen, just look to the North. If that’s too far a drive, look at the VA. There’s your future.

    The future can be summed up in one word: rationing.

    Peace be unto the various lefties who are now going to get All Upset with me, but that is the endgame and the whole point of socialized medicine. They want to be able to CONTROL who gets what care, and when.

    Because when they can do that, they’ve got your vote locked in like iron forever more. Your very life literally depends on keeping Medicare going.

    Obamacare was always meant to fail. It has to fail, it’s economically impossible. It was designed to be impossible. Because it doesn’t go far enough. It is not sufficient to have Universal Insurance, because then providers are not locked in. They don’t have to play along. They can tell Medicare to go piss up a rope, and they will.

    No, what has to happen is Single Payer Insurance. Otherwise known as the Canadian, North Korean, Cuban and Soviet system where government is the only payer. Now the providers are locked in. You either take the government money, or you don’t get paid.

    That is what government people -really- want. Republicans too. Which is why they didn’t repeal Obamacare on January 21st in a Special Session. They want to find a way forward to Single Payer. That’s the dream.

    I assure you, ignorance is not a factor. Even the Useful Idiots know. They just think it will work to their benefit, because they have Friends.

    • And if you look at Belgium*, the UK, and some worrying developments in Canada, and some US states, you get people being encouraged to commit suicide because it will save the State money. Or who receive a lower tier of care so they don’t linger and cost the State money. Or who are not considered fully alive and worth saving at birth and so are allowed to die. It all goes back to “Who is the customer?” If the State pays the bills, it’s not you.

      *The way things are going, I’m tempted to have a card printed up in English, French, Dutch, and German saying “In case of medical emergency, take me to a hospital in Germany,” in case I’m run over by a beer truck while I’m in Belgium this summer.

      • Germany’s probably a better choice than the Netherlands, where a doctor was recently allowed to kill by poison an elderly patient who didn’t want to die yet.

        • As I recall from the case, they ruled that the doctor acted wrongly. However, they also ruled that the doctor shouldn’t be punished because holding a struggling person down and injecting her with poison while she’s screaming, “I don’t want to die!” is apparently considered the sort of “honest mistake” that anyone might make.

          • I went to a school famous for its pre-med program. In the years I was there I met TWO pre-med students who I would allow to touch me with a stethoscope. The rest? Guillotine bait.

        • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

          Was that the case where the elderly patient’s family agreed with the doctor?

        • Yup strike Germany from the list for places to visit once I’m over 65. Holy Carp that’s seriously scary, deep into Brave New World/ Logan’s Run territory. Those tales are meant as a warning not a guidebook but these folks seem to think otherwise.

      • The same thing happened to government, early on.

        I don’t pay my Senator or Congressmen. They “represent” me, but they pay themselves out of Federal funds.

        So, who is it they’re representing?…

      • When people hear the government promise the lowest cost treatment they tend not to consider that the lowest cost treatment for almost all conditions is euthanizing the patient.

      • Michael Houst

        Lower tier of care is fine, if the patient isn’t paying for it themselves and the bill is being footed by the poor working sods with a gun to their heads, you know, taxpayers.

    • caitliniwoods

      One thing they don’t seem to get is that there’s *always* rationing. Rationing by price is one option; rationing by government priority is another. If you manage to avoid both of these, you’ve probably got either rationing by suck (anyone can have it, if they’re willing to work a full-time job jumping through hoops; see also Soviet bread lines), rationing by pull (you get in by knowing a guy who knows a guy)…

      Unless you’ve got enough of something for literally everyone to have literally as much as they could possibly want, there’s rationing.

      Think hard about why the method you’re (general) proposing is really any more far than money.

    • one of the biggest single payor supporters I know wants it because he refuses to go to the VA (Army Vet).
      ah . . . . yeah
      His wife was much the same way. demanded more than what HillaryCare was supposed to give, because she hated using the Louisiana State medical system (for free for those who could not pay, ran Charity Hospital with Tulane and Loyola at that time)
      That ALL hospitals and clinics would become the same way escaped their reasoning. They figured with Single, they’d get Ochsner quality care for free.
      They did vote Republican once . . . for David Duke (the only time I supported the Dem on the ticket. “Vote for the Crook, It’s important!” was an actual bumper sticker)

  10. I have no idea how they planned to enforce fraternity, so I’m going to assume magic mushrooms or argot or something were involved.

    If you don’t fit into the fraternity the howling mob will see to it that it will no longer be a problem for you.

    • Or perhaps we just assign everyone a set of Greek letters and a group of drinking buddies : – )

      • I don’t drink … or rather, when I do I tend to nod off after a very little consumed.

        Are you familiar with the school chant of the University of Virginia, Norfolk?

        We don’t smoke! We don’t drink! Norfolk! Norfolk!

      • Some of us might be kinda choosy about our drinking companions – and drinks. Last night on the way out of a restaurant I saw what beer (they didn’t list by brand on the menu) they had stocked in the fridge. I found it sad that the “I just want a d@mn beer” I have on hoof is at least a full level better, I think anyway, than anything they had. So I did not feel at all bad about having the tea.

  11. Becoming blonde is the one thing that we could do (at least for a few days) but then you wouldn’t be you.

  12. “I told him the left side of the isle DOES indeed believe so.”

    Can we vote the left off the isle? 😛

  13. HeadDesk HeadDesk HeadDesk.

    The more third parties shove their noses into healthcare the more it screws everything up. Wanna know why self pay is so hideously expensive? Caid (hospital loses money) Care (lose to break even) and private insurance (even to profit) all say they will pay X percent of the billed service or that here is the fixed cost. They self pay rates are what drive those numbers. So break this habit and maybe get some sanity.

    Oh, and Sarah. Those ambo rides may not cost the patient but are not necessarily paid for for similar reasons as above. 911 has 30-50% no pay rates in some places so the $150.00 retail transport (gas, medic and EMT with all coned requirements) with no interventions needs to make 200-300 to break even. And this does not include all the paperwork and vehicle costs atop it.

    Not trying to go off on ya. Just get annoyed that in the northeast 911 loses money. It is the interfacility stuff that make it.

    • In CO those ambulance rides are more like 2k. Why? Because state law says that all medicines in the ambulance, even if not touched, will get thrown out after every ride.

      • What the heck? That just seems wrong. Namely because we carried probably about 2k in retail drugs in just our AEMT jump bag. And no, none of these you want to take. Sadly I can see it being prescribed by state

        • yep. It’s ridiculously expensive. Apparently the state believes you just will tamper with drugs.

          • Again, not my state and numbers seem wrong but I wish it was surprising that it would even be considered

        • clark e myers

          I suspect but do not know that you’ll find it is only unused portions – that is no open containers someplace in section 7 of the regs – that must be discarded. And that by regulation not statute.

          • OK. Open container makes sense and is normal. Reason we carried amps of narcan forever.

    • On the other hand, back when I didn’t have medical insurance . . . and back when I was *allowed* not to have medical insurance . . . I more than once told providers that I would be writing them a check for the full cost, and got offered a substantial discount. Dealing with health insurance companies adds costs, too, and medical providers used to be willing to help you out if you saved them some of those costs.

      • Yep. And when the doc had their own overhead and practice it was ‘easy’ to do.

        • Now, increasingly, the doctor is just another employee of some “healthcare” organization, with no say over how business is done.

          My GP is in his mid-70s. I’ve been looking for another GP for several years now. The handful of independent practitioners in my area haven’t taken any new patients since before then.

          No, I really don’t think a McDoctor at a McPractice is going to fully familiarize himself with my chart in the five seconds he takes to look at it before he sees me for the (probably) only time…

          • Ocare regulations favor group practices attached to hospitals… we lost our doctor that way, and now never rise above being seen by the nurse practicioners. One of them if brilliant, the other is a ditz. This is the one who told me that even though eczema and arthritis often also meant asthma, they couldn’t prescribe me an inhaler. TO REPLACE THE ONE I’D LOST IN THE MOVES. YEP, THEY’D PRESCRIBED THAT ONE. Also, my chart says “Asthma, eczema and arthritis.” Argh.

          • One advantage of McDoctors at McPractices (I favor Doctor King, myself) is that such doctors are far less likely to work extra hours or weekends and holidays the way a GP trying to build a practice was wont to, thus making it much easier to control the hours of physician care available on the market.

            • We have one of those integrated systems where the doctors are the hospital are the insurance. It saves them a hell of a lot of time with the paperwork, and as you say, they can regulate the shifts down to something reasonable for humans, meaning that my doctors are likely to be rested.

              I’m actually pretty happy with mine, since they seem to have good memories (or good notes) and remember the things we talked about six months or a year or two ago. They’ve also never once prodded me on my high-BMI weight, since one look at me can show that a) I’m decently muscled, hence heavier, and b) am built on a sturdy frame, hence heavier. Which is good, because I determined some time ago that I am personally at my happiest and healthiest when my BMI veers into “overweight” territory, because BMI is a crock.

      • I recently went in for my annual physical and was given a 55% discount for paying up front. That is in comparison to the 10% they granted before Obamacare.

    • The thing that has occurred to me more than once is that people who think that abortion is a right (of whom I am one, in the sense of “you have a right to pay for it yourself”) used to say “abortion is a private matter between a woman and her doctor.” Well, now, it’s a private matter between a woman, her doctor, the insurance company that pays for it, and the government agency that regulates what insurance companies can or must cover. And yet I haven’t seen much of anyone who seems to realize that Obama let the camel’s nose into the tent, and that abortion is no longer a private decision—with the loud approval of nearly the entire feminist left.

      • It’s gone from get out of my bedroom to get out but leave the wallet.

      • “Pregnancy is not a disease.”

        • Well, you know, none of my reasons for thinking abortion should be legal rests on the supposition that it is a disease. But I think it’s better that we recognize that we disagree, and not take up bandwidth debating the issue. What I’m remarking on, though, is a different point—that many people who agree with me that abortion should be a private matter are eager to endorse having the government control it financially, which seems like a major failure to think things through.

          • Well, you know, that side is all about private choices being financed by public dollars. Or, at any rate, their private choices. As soon as public dollars start going to churches or charter schools they have principled objections.

    • There was a set-up in Queensland where you paid towards ambulance and firefighter pay… I think in your electricity bill, maybe your water rates as well. It was listed, and didn’t amount to much on a monthly basis. There may have been another as part of your car registration renewal as well.

      The reasoning behind it was, ‘call the goddamn ambulance when you frakking need it, don’t worry about paying for it because you already put toward it, and if you didn’t use it this year, it’s a service for everyone that everyone pays toward. Even if you use it only once in your life.’

      From what I know they don’t have that in NSW or Victoria (I could be wrong on the latter) and that it was a state-specific initiative that was voted on and agreed upon by people living in Queensland.

      I’m not sure if we ever seriously talked about it, but I have vague memories of ‘don’t call the ambulance and let me die, because a funeral is cheaper’ back in the Philippines.

      • The problem that comes out of that is that folks abuse it while the folks that do need it don’t want to be the bother. We do have subscription air ambulance here and makes sense.

        • When you consider the [vast] number of things found in nature in Queensland which can very quickly render a person dead, there is a certain sense to this …

          • Ya. I understand reasoning. The problem is more cultural vs general. As usual self reliance vs dependency

    • Caid (hospital loses money) Care (lose to break even) and private insurance (even to profit) all say they will pay X percent of the billed service or that here is the fixed cost. They self pay rates are what drive those numbers.

      To be clear, in the hospital industry, “Self Pay” = zero payments. There’s a smidge of money coming in, but the best model is, if they don’t have any ‘caid, ‘care, or commercial insurance, just write that bill off as charity.

      And that ‘care “almost cost” isn’t based on any hospital’s actual costs, it’s based on the government’s guesstimation of what somone in DC thinks the cost should be, which is generally an average of an average of a model with regional adjustments with x percent increase over last year, etc.

      And the hospitals have to take what ‘caid and ‘care offer because government.

      Now on the pays-above-cost side, the ginourmous commercial payers have contracts that pay a low percentage of billed charges, or often just a per diem, in return for things like directed volume for elective surgery and such, because they have gazillions of enrolees and they throw their weight around – “gee, nice hospital you have here; it’d be a shame if nobody came to it…”

      So to make ends meet, and to enable enough investment in new equipment and buildings and services and such to compete with all the other hospitals for elective patients, a hospital might set their billed charges pretty darn high so that the very few payers who pay close to billed charges make up for everyone else who lowballs, or in the case of the .gov, who underpays, or for “Self Pay,” who pay nothing at all.

      • Yep. Sorry if sounded convoluted how I wrote it. I come into this mostly from the ‘lose money anyway’ side of 911 prehospital. But ya. That is why you see huge bills on paper that govt slave masters use to rule up the proles. Very few pay sticker.

      • And that ‘care “almost cost” isn’t based on any hospital’s actual costs, it’s based on the government’s guesstimation of what somone in DC thinks the cost should be, which is generally an average of an average of a model with regional adjustments with x percent increase over last year, etc.

        Those “regional adjustments” are not so regional as you might imagine. A few years back it came out that the Congresscritters from Milwaukee had managed to get their reimbursement rate set under the presumption that they were in the same region as Chicago because reasons. This went a good distance toward improving the Milwaukee hospitals bottom line and the paychecks of the nurses, nutritionists and bedpan washers other support personnel.

        Hospital bookkeeping makes Hollywood’s look transparent.

  14. “The third ‘right’?—the ‘pursuit of happiness’? It is indeed unalienable but it is not a right; it is simply a universal condition which tyrants cannot take away nor patriots restore. Cast me into a dungeon, burn me at the stake, crown me king of kings, I can ‘pursue happiness’ as long as my brain lives—but neither gods nor saints, wise men nor subtle drugs, can ensure that I will catch it.”

    -Lt. Col. Jean V. Dubois (Ret.) in “Starship Troopers”

  15. Oh, and what you call a “quick throw away post” is better than what at least 90% of the people who write about politics for a living produce.

    • Yes, but 90% of those who write about politics for a living could be locked into a cell with a type 1 zombie, amd the zombie would show no interest whatsoever.

      There are days when I wish Mecken would come back for a month, he’d laugh himself silly and then overrun the Journalistic profession with a blast of flame they wouldn’t recover from for years.

    • Yeah, but that is because that 90% is working hard to distract, confuse and obfuscate.

  16. From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.
    Can work fine in small very controlled groups, but is fatally flawed in any greater society for the simple reason that abilities have limits while needs do not.
    Abilities in particular hit a hard limit when the able see that working harder simply benefits those needy who cry the loudest or have the most influence.
    The tragedy of the commons is a very real phenomenon and can only be prevented by strict regulation of the so called shared resource, which translates to rationing and controlled distribution of the benefits of that resource.

    • I always tell my students when we get to Marx that communism is indeed the most fair economic system and voluntary communism on small scales can work quite well. Involuntary communism (or socialism) and large scale always fails because humans are involved.

      But these are also kids who usually need less than one minute to see why 5-Year Plans always failed.

      • The Communists would have been better off sticking to the NEP rather than jumping to 5-Year Plans, IMHO.

        • clark e myers

          5 year plans were 5 year plans not 4 or 6 because planning was based on input output tables Work the examples at http://www-personal.umich.edu/~kschwede/math217/Worksheets2/leontief.pdf for a better understanding or settle for Wikipedia. The technical coefficients relating inputs and outputs were commonly, and with some justification, considered to be useful for 5 year stretches.

          Given that planning had to be redone anyway it was as well to make a virtue of necessity.

          I would have said the post WWII 5 year plans worked just fine and did achieve their objectives. Kruschchev was sincere in his we will bury you. I’d be curious to know the obvious reason for an internal failure. Of course given exogenous influences 5 years of improving the Trabant production while West Germany was going from cabin motorcycles to the BMW 1600 sporty sedan shows the folly of getting what you wish for when there’s better to be had.

          • One reason was the plans made little or no allowances for environmental factors in agriculture. There were no “fudge factors” for drought, or late freezes, or locust swarms, or wheat stem rust, or…

        • They would have been, but the fact was that the NEP was (in the eyes of the Bolsheviks) perilously close to not being communist. In fact, they considered it to be an emergency measure, to be ended as soon as they could get themselves completely organized.

          • Which is why it would have been the best for them economically, of course. Comprehensive central planning and control doesn’t work well in the long run.

            As far as I’m aware, every time a Communist regime has allowed some degree of even small-scale entrepreneurial capitalism it has enjoyed greater productivity than before. The NEP helped get the Soviet economy going, until they killed it. The Hungarians under Hadar had, for the Eastern Bloc, one of the healthiest economies. Vietnamese agricultural production made a, IIRC, 50% increase after they began long-term leasing of fields to families and letting them profit from sale of surpluses, rather than operating as government-run communes with the government taking any surplus (and then some, at times).

            • clark e myers

              IIRC Dr. Pournelle among others pointed out that American strategic planning considered the possibility that the USSR could surge agricultural production with a move to privatization any time they so chose.

      • The history of the Amana Colonies in Iowa is interesting. They were founded by, basically, Christian communists: No or precious little private property, communal living, etc. And for them it worked for some considerable time. But it was made up of all True Believers in their particular way. Don’t like it? Fine, leave. Wanna join? Fine, work. And then the Great Depression hit and they had many people claiming to wish to join, but not all cared to contribute. There was a meeting and a vote (as I recall the history from one of my visits to the area) and they went from a public property communist style system to a private property capitalist style system quite literally overnight. It was a matter of survival for them. The Amana’s are still there today, and not ghost towns.

        • Yep -works very well when – all volunteer. All contribute … BTW, the Amana colony was just one of those strange socialist experiments or alternative ways of living in the 19th century. There were others, most of which didn’t survive the death or disgrace of whoever established them … I’ve always thought that the Mormons were the most successful of those interesting social-religious experiments .

          • Mormons and Hutterites, although the Hutterites don’t take in many converts, so they tend to be self-limiting in terms of growth.

        • Yep, seven villages with a brisk tourist trade, but also woolen mills, several wineries, fine woodworking shops, and some of the best Dutch/German food this side of the Atlantic.
          Wife did her graduate work in Iowa City so we had opportunity to visit the colonies many a time, in fact spent our wedding night at a B&B there.

    • Terry Sanders

      I read a book on microeconomics in which the author explained that “the tragedy of the commons” does not occur because someone abuses the commons, but because the others get mad at him and decide to abuse it too. If we would just be rational and let him get away with it, everything would be great.

      My (no doubt irrational) response was that the proper reaction would be to beat the S.O.B. to within a foot of his life, throw him into the street, and find someone else to occupy that cottage, but hey…

      • Many years ago, I read a historical study of English agriculture, which I think may have been called “The Open Field System and Beyond.” It discussed the “tragedy of the commons” . . . and what happened when someone tried to keep an extra sheep, which was that the other villagers went to the village court, swore out a complaint, and had them ordered to get rid of the extra sheep. Some of those villagers might not have been able to count all the sheep in the village, even with their shoes off . . . but they likely knew every one of them by sight, and they also knew what kind of damage extra sheep would do to the fields. Garrett Hardin suffered from the vice of imagining that people without Ph.D. is a science were too stupid to know and protect their own interests.

        Though the other side of that balance seems to have been that you were obligated to pen your sheep in a specified field. Because having their manure pile up there provided some valuable fertilizer that could be plowed under in season, and maintaining the fertility of the soil was life or death, which medieval peasants also knew.

        • Michael Houst

          Simple Solomonic solution. Kill the extra sheep and invite the entire town to the BBQ.
          “But that’s my sheep!”
          “Too bad, you knew the agreement. Everyone’s sheep gets 1% of the grass. Your extra sheep was stealing from the rest of us. That’s the penalty. Live with it, or leave.”

        • they likely knew every one of [the sheep] by sight

          Suppressing smarmy joke.


          Dirty deeds, done with sheep.

  17. OTP: The eARC for Darkship Revenge is available. Get yours before they run out.

  18. clark e myers

    Tell your son that Insurance in context is fine old Aesopian language. It means level pay along the lines of spreading heating bills out over the whole year or in this case medical bills over a lifetime. equal pay in old English. Hence the answer to “Do the dems really think that the right to Healthcare INSURANCE really is a universal human right?  What part of unalienable and natural did they fail to get?” is yes they do but it’s a different meaning of insurance.

    Following Rawls nobody should pay more than anybody else and each person should receive according to need. The government, not satisfied with normal SNAFU, makes an extra effort to create a screwed up mess a Gordian knot that cannot be undone. See FDR on his explanation for making social security a deliberate mess.

    Incidentally I am well aware of all the scandals but my own observation of the VA – for old males with ball caps – is a caring service that does a good job with chronic conditions to include hospice care and dying among the chronic conditions of my own age group.

  19. Completely off topic question for our hostess and anyone else who speaks other languages. I read somewhere that puns, a staple of humor in the English language, are rare in other languages. Is this a true statement?

    • paladin3001

      It’s possible in other languages, though the humour can be missed if they are not looking for it. My brother successfully made a written pun in Mandarin and shocked his boss, who did see the humour in it.

    • The few I know of in German are either dialect jokes (misunderstood words) or kids’ humor. But I don’t read a lot of German joke books, so I am probably missing a lot.

      • IIRC puns in Japanese are pretty common and can be very complex.

        • Eep. Japanese humor…

          First, casual humor, in day to day circumstances, really is not expected or appreciated. You know that opening joke to a presentation or speech that Americans like? In most Japanese venues, they will look at you and wait for you to get down to business. Don’t try another joke, it will fall as flat as the first. Just go ahead and start the real content. You’ll get a much better response.

          On the other hand, on a comic show, the host coming out and saying “How are you today?” Can get a big laugh. One of the comic magicians comes out, puts his hand to his ear, and pops out an enormous plastic ear… and gets a huge laugh, every time. Because people know that joke is coming!

          So. Humor is allowed, and laughter required, in the right place and time. But neither expected nor appreciated at the wrong time and place.

          Add in that the language is full of homophones (words that mean different things but sound the same) and that there are a lot of ways to correct a misheard word (a big chunk of meaning is contextual). So… basic puns, making one word meaning sound like another word/meaning, are way too simple. All too often, people just think you made a mistake and try to help fix it.

          On the other hand, playing with the near-sound-alikes, in a context where people expect humor, is rife! Lots of manzai (duo humor) and rakugo (comic monologue) uses such twists.

          I guess the answer is that Japan does enjoy puns, but you have to learn the right timing and setup. Don’t expect to make them in ordinary speech and get laughed at. At this point, I’ve acquired something of a reputation for trying little jokes, and people will look at each other, then me, ask “was that a joke?” And then give me a laugh. People that know me will tell other people that I’m making a joke. It’s not nearly as natural or funny somehow that way. Even though they will often admit that it really is kind of funny. Or maybe that I’m kind of funny to try so hard?

          Sorry, you hit a nerve. Or maybe it’s a sore point?

          • Terry Sanders

            I had some friends who were big *Ranma 1/2* fans. They showed the first story arc once, and I got to see the schoolroom scene where the Major Burns equivalent did his first bombast.

            Before it was over, they were comparing possible “spellings” of his name (i.e., which character each sound represented). Apparently they were pushing the “how many different (and often insulting) words sound JUST like your name?” schtick as far as they could…

      • When Benedict was Pope and said in German — we were told — that angels could fly because they did not take themselves too seriously. . . .

        Well, at a Catholic blog, the Germans assured us that the pun had made it out of English into German, it just hadn’t made the round trip.

        (What G. K. Chesterton actually said was “The reason angels can fly is because they take themselves lightly.”)

      • Word play is all over the place in the Bible. Both the old testament (hebrew) and New testament (koine greek) have examples of it. Needless to say translating the puns to English usually doesn’t end up a pun so you either need a bible with decent footnotes (NET, Lots of Study bibles based on NIV or ESV) or a commentary as some times even with the translation the pun escapes us without the context.

        Certainly French has it too, one I learned
        “poisson n’est pas poison”,
        Fish is not poison. Makes no sense in english
        but its (kind of) a homophone especially if your s and z sounds are similar.

    • Japanese anime is full of puns, including verbal and sight puns. Since I don’t speak Japanese I usually miss most unless the subtitlers are kind enough to point them out.

    • My understanding is that parts of the Hebrew scriptures are full of puns, starting with the “Adam.” This is hearsay, as I know no Hebrew.

      • This is certainly suggested by the footnotes in some copies explaining things like “In Hebrew, this thing in the prophetic vision sounds kind of like this thing it’s supposed to symbolize.”

      • paladin3001

        Saw a program about the Exodus and one scholar was saying that Ramses II couldn’t have been the pharaoh. Jerusalem was destroyed by an Egyptian king named Shishak which in Hebrew meant “Destroyer”. Ramses II was known in Canaan as Sysa. The hebrew writers took that and modified it to their usage. Scholar also pointed out several other instances of that trick used.

        • I don’t know that specific incident, but I do know that there are a ton of arguments about puns, allusions and symbols– because everybody knew them and they were so OBVIOUS that nobody would explain it, so you either have to go to someone who’s part of that tradition (and, shocker, there’s usually an argument THERE about who had the right version passed down) or build it up backwards.

          The previous pope, back when he was Ratzinger, had connecting people with a question with people who would know as a major part of his department’s job. That’s how the infamous Harry Potter rumor then media myth got going. (The guy that his department’s letter suggested that author talk to read her book, then explained to her that she really needed to familiarize herself with the ‘boys go to boarding school’ stories that Harry Potter drew from, because she was having a tizzy about basic tropes.)

      • I took an Old Testament class from a professor of ancient Hebrew. He went to a lot of trouble to explain all of the allusions and puns, and hoo boy, it sure changes the meaning. Like the story of Ehud the Left-Hnaded, who assassinated a king by getting close to him while he was washing his feet. Except those weren’t feet he was washing, and “left-handed” was often a slang term for “male prostitute” at the time, so that’s how he was able to get close enough to get his sword stuck in the king’s fat…

    • Well, Ick bin ein Berliner was kind of funny at the time.

    • My mother on a regular basis* shares with me the puns she runs across in Filipino media. The Philippines being bilingual (both Filipino in the various dialects + English) a number of the puns use both languages to bring the pun across. They manage to be groanworthy and ‘that’s actually pretty clever’ laughworthy. I wish I could remember the one she gave me yesterday; I groaned, then laughed, then groaned again at the terribleness, while she giggled with wicked delight at the witticism.

      Sadly, I don’t recall it, but here’s some I gathered.

      https://shadow.affsdiary.com/2015/02/18/having-too-much-pun/

      There are a few puns that get unleashed that require the knowledge of more than two languages (English+Tagalog+other Filipino language or dialect) and I’ve heard my youngest brother utilize English+Filipino+French at least once or twice.

      They’re pretty widespread; to the point that they’re used in commercials with great effect. (Greenwich Pizza ran a series of commercials that had the tagline “Ang cheeeeseeeeeyyyyy~!” Ang = ‘how’ and ‘very’, in this usage.)

      I’ve seen verbal and visual puns that actually make it across in Japanese manga translation.

      *And note there the infection of my mother’s grammar structure into my own. An American friend who met her last year told me she sounds Eastern European.

  20. I got a right to be heard!

    No, what you have is a right to say your piece. That doesn’t mean that anyone has to listen to you. If what you say doesn’t catch anyone’s interest, then so be it.

    If you had a ‘right to be heard’, that would mean that someone would be empowered to go round up an audience for you, at bayonet-point if necessary, in order for you to disseminate your ideas. What, then, of the liberties of those people who are forced to be in attendance?

    • “You have the right to speak. I, however, am not obligated to listen to you.” is how I heard it put. I think it was Rush Limbaugh stating such.

      • I believe you have a right to be herd.

          • That’s about what I had in mind, reminiscent of the stupid former Army slogan ‘An Army of One’. Or maybe hearkening back to the old Texas Rangers – One Orvan, one herd.

        • Herd relationships are in that class of things that sound good until you think them through – or experience them.

          • Two bulls on a hill top looking down at a field full of cows.
            Young bull: let’s run down and service us a cow.
            Old bull: No, let’s walk down and service them all.

          • going to work today, on the radio was the report that a cattle truck had overturned exiting the highway. 20 cows were now roaming the wilds of Lenexa Kansas. police were chasing them down on foot. (and then what? handcuffing them?
            but what I was thinking of was this blog.
            ORVAN … YOUR PEOPLE ARE FREE!

            • Quite some time ago, a MN highway patrolman had to shoot a cow which had gotten loose, and local news carried video of the incident. The officer emptied one magazine, reloaded, and fired several more shots before the poor beast went down.

              I drew up a bovine silhouette target and submitted it, gratis, to Law Enforcement Targets, Inc. in St Paul for publication. They were not amused, and refused my suggestion.

              • Meanwhile, some years ago, two cows got loose in a local small town one night we were there. They ended up shooting them. Two cows; two shots.

              • They really are hard to kill if you don’t know right where to aim– my dad has a minor claim to fame in that he’s never had to reload to kill one. (Does a double-tap– the secret is that you have to know enough about their skull to hit that line down the front when it’s still in the cow.)

    • Nonsense. You’re acting as if they don’t have a right to block traffic!

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        Well, I’d say that they have a Right To Attempt To Block Traffic but they need to accept the consequences of Traffic not stopping. 😈

  21. Coming from a family with a number of teachers, I have the following observation:

    If your teacher messes up, at some point she can realize it and correct himself, or you can realize it and do the correction. Seldom is there lasting harm.

    If your doctor messes up, you can die.

  22. Don’t forget the egg.

  23. Professor Badness

    As usual, well said milady.

  24. I go back and forth over what society should automatically provide (call it a “right” if you like). I bet if you did an honest poll, you’d find that an overwhelming majority are in favor of K-12 education, paid for by taxpayers. Pure libertarians will disagree. So why isn’t that slavery of teachers? It’s even more of a direct benefit that “free” health insurance. It would be more analogous if we gave everyone free education vouchers. So how does this example of education fit into the argument for society paying for healthcare? Is it just that we’re so used to this system of paying for education?

    • Because teachers are possibly overpaid. The training is VASTLY different. AND there are jobs for teachers OUTSIDE the state.
      Also yeah, the majority might be in favor of that. I’m not. And I’m not a pure libertarian. I just believe in TANSTAAFL.
      So, do you want to ask me about positions I actually hold, and things in the real world, or would you prefer to keep attacking that straw man?

      • 1. I didn’t call you a libertarian.
        2. I’m not sure what straw man you’re referring to.
        3. Teachers are overpaid? sure, I’ll buy that, esp when you consider the pension and healthcare benefits.
        4. Training is vastly different between teachers are doctors. I’m not suggesting it isn’t.
        The point I was trying make is this. Why do most people accept that it’s the government’s role to pay for k-12 education? (I actually don’t believe this). Yet many (most?) of those people feel like you do about healthcare – that it’s not the govt’s role to pay for it. So I’m asking, what’s the logical difference between basic education and healthcare? Or are we just not logical?

        • 1-No, you didn’t call me a libertarian, I called myself that.
          2-Really, you don’t? So, you’re perfectly fine with someone with a four year’s bachelor degree giving you a heart transplant. Good.
          3- Our education is a mess and part of it is being in the federal government’s hands. Lousy job done inexpensively as only the government can do it.
          4- nothing to do with logical. refer to Foxfier’s answer. The benefits of education are ARGUABLY (though not really, as it’s being practiced) universal. Everyone in society benefits from universal literacy, say. BUT the benefits of health care are one on one.
          We are perfectly rational. Teachers can work outside the system (tutoring, say, even if there were no private schools; and other people can do their job, including self teaching.) Doctors cannot work outside the system, and other people can’t do their job.
          if it’s not a straw man deliberately set up, you’re ignoring the fact you’re comparing apples to left handed screwdrivers.

          • The benefits of education are ARGUABLY (though not really, as it’s being practiced) universal.

            It’s a lot closer to a bus system than putting in and maintaining roads, that’s for sure.

          • Last night I viewed a CSPAN2 broadcast of a book presentation of Vicki Alger’s Failure: The Federal Miseducation of America’s Children in which she makes the argument that the Federal Department of Education imposes a regulatory and administrative burden on the state and local schools that far exceeds the value of funds disbursed.

            https://www.c-span.org/video/?412964-1/vicki-alger-discusses-failure
            The fact that society has shot itself in one foot is no argument for shooting itself in the other foot, too.

    • So why isn’t that slavery of teachers?

      Teacher=/= doctor, in terms of the training required.

      I home-school. I’ve got better results than even a very well trained and dedicated teacher– and with much less class time. It is a job that for large part should be classified as unskilled labor, doable by any adult who can function in normal society.

      Any teachers who want to get pissy: I’m a ranch kid. There’s nothing dishonorable about “unskilled labor.” “Unskilled labor” FREQUENTLY requires a lot of knowledge and technique and, yes, trained skills to do it well, be you managing a herd of cattle or a herd of 6 year olds. I’d rather face the cows. I didn’t come up with the silly name for stuff that can be done without tons of school-training.

      Education is closer to the military or transit system– which, if you look at the reason for offering those, point to another major difference. The military, the roads and universal basic education all provide public benefit of a direct nature. “Health care” is an inherently individual benefit, and most of the routes for providing a public benefit are going to be detrimental to the individual. (Ever hear of how China supposedly dropped their STD rates? By removing those with STDs, of course….)

    • What an “overwhelming majority are in favor of” does not constitute a right, nor are teachers compelled to accept workplace nor working conditions dictated by others, nor to provide their services free of charge. Nor are taxpayers compelled to pay for such schooling; they are free to move elsewhere in the country, even to communities in which there is no provision for public schools.

      So the answer is that “this example of education” doesn’t “fit into the argument for society paying for healthcare” — you’re looking at apples and croquet balls.

    • That’s not the teacher, that’s the tax-payer. You can see in that the most incompetent teacher is hard to fire, so that the tax-payer doesn’t get results.

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