Monday, January 30, 2012

Pure Philosophy: Nuture or Nature: Are we locked into one station in life?

On the face of it, especially to conservative thought, this question is so ridiculous as to have no meaning.  The United States of America was founded on the principle that you can make of your life whatever you want, given the effort and ability.  Not for us, those silly notions of "the Nobility" or the "Aristocracy."  We don't subscribe to the ideas of Castes or Classes.

And yet.

Our normal rhetoric embraces some of these concepts.  What is "The Rich" other than an epithet for "High Born?"  What is "poor" other than a euphemism for "low class?"  Oh, certainly those terms have their own meanings.  We just rarely use their actual meanings. 

The problem here is an old one.  We can trace it back to the days before our Great Republic, if not even further.  Perhaps at its height in the Middle Ages, the idea of being born "high" or "low" was hardly new even then.  The Founding Fathers rejected this notion, and believed that everyone was "Created Equal."  That is, that personal wealth was not the same as personal worth.  There were still those, however, who believed that people were "born to a station."  That someone born to the Nobility was, simply by birth, of more worth than someone born to a common family.

This is an important distinction which exists even today.

Though they won't admit it, Liberals believe (or, at least, much if their philosophy is based upon the idea) that a person born into certain circumstances is locked there for life.  At the least, they won't be able to "move up in life" without assistance and/or extreme measures.  Thus the idea that the poor go into the army to escape their poverty.  It is this belief that leads them to the idea that Government must "do something" about poverty.  Since those "low born waifs" have no prospects of advancement on their own, the Aristocracy must (noblesse oblige) assist (read: subsidize) them.

Conservatives, however, believe that a person is what a person does.  We believe that your birth station does not limit your options, in itself.  We believe that a struggling college kid, selling custom built computers out of his car, can become a CEO of a leading computer company.  We believe in upward mobility.  We believe that the Aristocracy, even granting it the highest motives, does more to harm those born to lower circumstances than it can ever do to help them.  We believe that the best way to help the poor is to enable them by getting government out of the way, and letting them find their own solutions to their poverty.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

For Mitt

First, let me say I will not vote for Willard "Mitt" Romney in the Primary.  I absolutely refuse.  However, over at the Ace of Spades HQ (link in my side bar), a brawl has been going on over Mitt vs. Newt, and I thought I would illustrate my point here.  My point is that Mitt Romney has run, from the beginning of this race, as if he was entitled to be our nominee.  He was aloof and stand-off-ish, he was a "cold fish," and he ran only on his "electability," a quality which does not, apparently, mean the ability to win multiple elections.  Somehow.

Now that he's no longer the clear front-runner, he and his supporters are getting nasty.  If you don't support Mitt, it can't be because of anything Mitt has done, or because of Mitt's ever-changing standpoints, or anything else- no, it must be because you are flawed and/or you want Obama to win another term.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, that's not a winning tactic.  You don't insult those whose support you need, you woo them.  You explain why your guy is so much better than the other guy- and I've never once heard any argument that Mitt is better than anyone else- simply that they are also flawed and he polls better.

So, since they obviously don't understand my point, I thought I would illustrate by posting what I think Mitt and his supporters should have been saying from the beginning.

1) Mitt is a highly successful Capitalist.  He made millions of dollars providing real value- in the form of greater efficiency- to real companies that then saw real profits.  Those profits were then turned into new investment- often in personnel (that is: jobs).  The net jobs created is very, very difficult to calculate, because such results are often only distally related to Mitt's actions- but the causal relationship still exists.

2) Mitt, as a successful Capitalist, understands that the government cannot create jobs- and to speak as if it can is delusional.  He knows, instead, that the Government can simply create an environment which is either conducive, or harmful, to job creation.  To do this, he proposes to lower taxes generally, especially corporate income taxes. **I would do more here, but I frankly haven't heard very many details of Mitt's economic plan: which is yet another problem with his campaign**

3) Mitt's experience with Health Care in Massachusetts has shown him that Government Mandates don't work.  They may be marginally better than pure socialization or requiring all employers to provide coverage, but they're still not effective.  Real world, private sector based solutions are the answer.  Reducing regulation and coverage mandates would allow for an "a la carte" approach to insurance coverage- which would be the first step in reducing the general cost of health insurance.  Removing the ability for people to avoid paying for health care (no longer require any hospital or doctor to treat "regardless of ability to pay") would also reduce the instances of people using the Emergency Room as their Primary Care Provider. ***I don't think Mitt even believes this, but he's the one who has the example he could use 'We tried it this way- it doesn't work!'***

4) Mitt, as a successful Capitalist, understands that government, generally, is too big and it's reach too great.  Meaningless, redundant bureaucracy and "red tape" not only make it harder for businesses to operate, they ensnare our people in a web of laws such that one can't avoid breaking a law at least sometimes.  Cutting through that redundancy will not only allow businesses and the People to operate more freely, it will reduce the costs of compliance and enforcement.

I could go on, but that should be enough to get them started.

I'll also point out- I believe that if Mitt Romney actually believed this stuff, he would already have been saying it.  So, as for wooing me, he's lost his chance.  But, hey, it may work with others, and I'm certainly under no illusions about the reach of my blog here.  So they could at least give it a try.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Simple Truth: Frugality fosters wealth, wealth does not foster frugality

You cannot give someone the habits which lead to wealth by giving them something for nothing, or very little.

We all know these stories: The poor family that wins the lottery, or a major legal settlement, or receives a large inheritance, but then squanders it quickly and is reduced to poverty as bad as, or worse than, they knew before their sudden windfall.  The rich family thought of as misers and penny-pinchers who don't pay for anything they don't have to, and pay as little as possible for what they do require.

The fact is the first family will never be wealthy, no matter how many windfalls they receive, until and unless they learn the habits of frugality.  Contrariwise, the second family will never be poor for very long, no matter how bad things become, because they already know how to be thrifty and frugal.

In the decades leading to the housing collapse of 2008, the Federal Government had decided that it should foster upward mobility by making housing more affordable.  The theory went that people who owned homes tended to be thrifty, frugal folk who lived within (or mostly within) their means, and therefore letting people who would otherwise not have qualified for home mortgages purchase homes would instill in them those virtues.  The causal relationship between these two things- frugality and home ownership- was reversed.  As a result, countless families received home loans they could barely afford, and did not become wiser for it.  When things looked rough, they could not afford their mortgage payments and thus began the collapse of 2008.

It is not just in home mortgages, however, where this is at work.  All types of loans are affected, as are credit cards.  The Government has turned the world upside down in this respect.  They know that people who own homes are more likely to be more economically successful, and so they attempt to force people into a socio-economic status for which they are not ready.  This does a disservice to the families chosen for the dubious honor and for the country as a whole as well.

However, if we were to force back the Government and get them out of the business of "picking winners and losers," more people would still become homeowners.  They would learn the habits and character traits of those who have the economic wherewithal to purchase homes, and would move up within the economic strata at their own pace.  There is plenty of room in the affluent classes, and no one is holding the poor back- except the Government by their own policies, however well intentioned.  As with so many things, the Government has become a hurdle instead of a step-stone.

If you want people to own homes, find ways to help them become more economically stable and literate.  But, as with all virtues, these cannot be forced upon anyone.  People must choose to put forth the effort to learn them.

Friday, January 20, 2012

From the HQ

Andrew Breitbart is reported as having said he reads the Ace of Spades Headquarters (permalinked in my side bar), but that he only reads the comments.

This, from prolific and long-time poster 'Vic' is a prime example why.  I'm posting it here because I believe that it deserves its own post somewhere:

We are left with zip dog shit for candidates. Year after year after year under the stagnated BS Republican Party primary rules we get stuck with shitty candidates. The primaries are preloaded with almost ALL blue States all the way up to the damn Super Tuesday date. This is why we get stuck with lackluster, its my turn “moderates”. Yet there are some here who keep saying this is all wingnut “conspiracy theory”. I throw the bullshit flag on that. Once is OK, twice may be a coincidence, three times is enemy action. Decades worth is Party design.

We are now left with Mutt Romney who they are still saying is the designated winner although he has only won one Primary in virtually his own home State and it appears he will NOT win SC despite all the MFM hoopala. He hasn’t got a conservative bone in his body. He is not electable because he will split the Party and likely result in a third Party run. The base hates him yet if he does win it will be the same damn way McShitty won. A plurality of about 30%.

Then there is Eye of Newt. More baggage than an overloaded airport train headed for a wide body 747. He has a couple of finger bones that may be conservative.

Coming up third will probably be Santorum (at least in SC). He is arguably more conservative than Gingrich (maybe) but he so alienated his own State so bad he was routed in his last election attempt. His stress on anti-gay and on social con issues is so hard that he is virtually unelectable in any tight State like VA. The same way Mutt will cause conservatives to stay at home, he will cause some fiscal cons who don’t give a shit for social ideas to stay at home. If he would keep his mouth shut on this score he would be a lot better off. Swing into that shit AFTER the election dumb ass. Do like the Dems do, run to the center and then after election go hard right social con.

Fourth is Crazy Racist Uncle. Not a chance of getting elected anywhere but he has a following of loud and obnoxious pot heads and skin heads.

This is what our Republican Party primary rules has given us. This and endless fucking bullshit debates hosted by the MFM designed not to allow the candidates to debate, but to pose “gotcha” questions, stir up controversy for ratings, and just generally damage the Republican party. Hell, the ONLY reason Newt has climbed out of the gutter is by attacking the debate assholes. Is this how we want to pick candidates; seriously?

All you Mutt-Mashers can bitch about this all you want, but I am about fed up with the Republican Party. They are not just the Party of Stupid, they are the Party of semi-Democrats. I am about to agree with Glenn Beck, there is not much difference between them but degree of how far left they want to go. Whether it is big government socialism for the Republicans or bigger government communism for the Democrats. Either damn way we are going off the cliff.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Simple Truth: When your Primary Virtue is 'Tolerance' you cannot see any other Principles as Virtuous.

A man speaks in strong support of monogamous relationships, of waiting until marriage to have sex, and of the virtues of such lifestyle choices.  He speaks of the bad things so often associated with the alternative lifestyle choices- broken relationships, broken families, multi-generational poverty.  Advising people to make the former choices of the latter, he is labelled 'intolerant.'

A man speaks out against practices strongly correlated with institutionalized poverty and lawlessness.  He decries the habit of some young men of wearing their pants around their thighs.  He explains that numerous tattoos and a lack of proper grammar can limit your station in life.  He is labelled 'intolerant.'

When someone sets 'tolerance' up as their primary virtue, it necessarily prevents any other virtue from being virtuous.  To someone who's main virtue is tolerance, courage is not a virtue to be lauded, it is intolerance to be stopped.  In this case, honesty is not a virtue, it is intolerance.  Inasmuch as all virtues are necessarily supportive of some behaviors, neutral towards others, and exclusive of yet others, all virtues are, to greater or lesser extent, intolerant.  Courage does not tolerate cowardice.  Honesty does not tolerate dishonesty.

However, of all the virtues, the pseudo-virtue of 'Tolerance' is the least tolerant of any.  Tolerance cannot remain neutral on any issue.  On every issue, it must make a statement, because all actions, all issues, apply to one or more virtues.  A man who was truly 'Tolerant' of all views could never have an opinion.  Yet there is no such person.

It turns out, in fact, that cries for 'tolerance' are not cries for tolerance at all, but cries of intolerance: intolerance of some other, truer virtue.

Indeed, 'tolerance' is not a virtue at all.  Tolerance is not something one can believe, it is something one has, or does.  We tolerate those things we do not like.  It is not possible to 'tolerate' something with which you disagree, because tolerance, at its heart, is putting up with something that bothers you.  You can tolerate pain, or an annoying voice, or smoking (if you're a non-smoker).  You cannot tolerate happiness, or wealth, or a soothing voice.  These are things people like; they are things that require no tolerance.

Once this misconception is cleared up, it is easy to see that it is not intolerant to speak in favor of one virtue, and against its opposite vice.  Tolerance has nothing to do with our opinions, or our philosophical stances.  I am 'tolerant' of smoking in that I believe it to be gross (you don't 'tolerate' something with which you like) but that I am not going to condemn any given smoker.  If asked about the issue (or, as in this case: as illustration) I will mention that I believe smoking is a disgusting habit.  Tolerance has not entered the picture here, at all.  Tolerance comes in when we get to the question of "what will you do about it."  And the correct 'tolerant' answer is: "nothing." 

I will not go on some anti-smoking crusade, attempting to paint smokers as evil.  I will not claim that cigarette companies are evil.  Neither will I condone smoking, or get terribly upset when a community- as the community, through its city council- decides to ban smoking in public places or restaurants.  Tolerance says I will put up with it when someone chooses to smoke, it doesn't say I have to agree that there is some God-given right to smoke.

This is true of all issues.  All issues have some relation to one or more virtues or opinions.  Virtues and opinions are, by their nature exclusive.  Therefore, to have an opinion, or to uphold a virtue is 'intolerant' to some degree.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Simple Truth: Responsibility Cannot be Forced or Mandated

Illustration: A responsible child keeps his or her room clean regularly.  You can generally find the floor, and you're not worried about stepping on GI Joe (or Barbie) in your bare feet.  A responsible parent forces (mandates) their child keep their room clean.  However, if I tell my son or daughter "Clean up your room," and they do so, that does not make my children responsible- it makes them obedient.

Likewise, if the Government says, "You must buy health insurance," this does not make someone Responsible who buys health insurance, it simply makes them obedient.

Explanation: Republicans claim to be the party of "self responsibility."  Yet, when faced with the choice of promoting self responsibility or promoting the nanny state, they often conflate the actions of someone who is responsible with being responsible, and thus choose to promote the nanny state.  A responsible person doesn't smoke or drink to excess.  A responsible person will normally wear a seat belt.  A responsible person will not, under normal circumstances, drive 120mph down the freeway.  However, in some misguided attempt to "foster" responsibility, the Government, usually including Republican support, will often mandate behavior seen as responsible.

While it passed largely without Republican support, the current Health Care law's Individual Mandate to purchase health insurance is a prime example.  Rather than accept that people have no inherent right to health care (more on that in a future post), Congress decided that, instead, they would force everyone to purchase a private product which is normally purchased by responsible people.  Prior to that, even the very conservative Heritage Foundation had supported the idea of Insurance Mandates to "make people be responsible."  When, in truth, the only thing it does is increase the demand for a product (health insurance) while not providing any way for supply to increase- which will always necessarily lead to price increases.  Massachusetts is a prime example of this phenomenon.

The thing about responsibility is that it is only and always a personal virtue.  No one can force you to be responsible.  You choose to be responsible, or not.  If the government were truly interested in fostering responsibility in the citizenry, the correct way to do it would be allow people to face, on their own, the consequences of their choices.  If someone chooses not to get health insurance, then they should be the ones who face the consequences of those actions.  This means we also have to remove the mandates from the other side of the ledger.  We cannot force health insurance companies to insure people who should not qualify, but we we also cannot force doctors and hospitals to serve those who cannot pay.

The later will do so anyway, by-and-large, and there are numerous charities already which help those who need care they cannot afford.  The former exist to help spread, or diversify, risk- and forcing them to insure people who are too risky only hurts those who are at less risk.  Someone will rise up to fill that gap as well, if only the government will get out of the way.

Again it comes down to a question of Liberty vs Tyranny (a good book, by the way): if people are largely left alone, they'll take care of themselves and those around them.  When the Government interferes, people become less concerned with those around them, and more people are harmed over all.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Real World: On Firings

Recently, Mitt Romney, in a larger context said, "I like being able to fire people..."  Specifically, he was talking about the ability to stop doing business with one entity, and start doing business with another.  Again, in particular, he was speaking of health insurance.

Now, I do not believe this was a particularly adroit way to make the point, but that's not the focus of this post.  Full Disclosure: I do not like Mitt Romney, I will not vote for him in the Primaries for any reason.

One of the keys of Capitalism is competition.  Whether competition among applicants for a specific job, or competition between companies to provide a specific service, competition is an unimaginably important ingredient.  A key of competition is the ability to "fire" someone.  Whether a specific employee who is not providing enough value or a company that is not providing adequate service, if I'm unable to "fire" anyone, competition does not actually exist.

We see this in regulated industry and in Government.  For decades, cable companies had no real competition.  As a result, their customer service was mediocre, at best, and their prices were high.  With the advent of affordable satellite TV, and now with Fiber-optic TV options, and Internet TV stations, cable companies are having to compete.  It is quite obvious they don't like this competition, as it has shifted the power away from themselves and to the respective stations who wish to control (that is: get paid for) their own content.  Any time you hear that TV provider X has "dropped the Y channel," you can be sure that the Y channel wanted more money per viewer, and the cable company (or satellite provider, or whoever) did not want to pay the increased rate.

Now, this is all well and good.  It is part and parcel of Capitalism.  If anyone believes otherwise they are deluded.  That does not make it pleasant.  People getting fired or companies losing business does have a real negative impact on people's lives.  To forget this is to forget the purpose of Liberty- to enable as many as possible to live as free and as well as possible.  No one should "like" to be able to fire people.  That's a negative thing.  That they should like the consequences of that ability- more competition, better service, more efficiency, and so forth- is not a negative thing, but let's be clear about what we like.

If Mitt Romney truly likes the ability to fire people for itself (I see no evidence that he does- I simply believe this was less-that-adroit way to make his point), then that is a bad thing.  It's not something we want, because it indicates he enjoys being able to inflict negative consequences on others.  If he doesn't like that negative, and was attempting to assert the positive, he chose a particularly clumsy way (in my view) to do so.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Simple Truth: You have no Right to what Someone Else must Produce.

Illustration: Let's say the US Government established a Right to Cookies.  At any time, you could go to some place that sold cookies and say, "I want a cookie," and they'd have to give you one.  Then, one day, all the cookie shops closed down.  Places would still sell cake, or pie, or brownies, but no more cookies.  What Right would you then have to a cookie?  And what Right did government have to say that cookie bakers had to give away the produce of their labor for free?

Explanation:  When we speak of "Rights" we often confuse Natural (or "Inalienable") Rights with other things.  Life is a Right because you are free, all on your own, to attempt to secure your own life (food, shelter, etc.).  When it comes to the things that secure your life, you may or may not have a right to any given one of them.  Food, for instance, must be grown and harvested, and then processed for eating.  If you can do all of those things yourself, then you have a "right" to food.  You're spending your labor directly to produce food for your family.  Unless you're going to live in a cave somewhere, housing requires that building materials be harvested, that the building be designed, and that the harvested materials be put together in such a way as to produce said building.  Again: if you can do all of these things yourself, then you have a "right" to housing.  You would be spending your labor directly to produce housing for your family.

If you cannot do all of those things for yourself, then you have no right to them.  If someone else has to harvest the material, you have no right to it- whoever harvested it does.  They can then decide (in  a Free society) how best to use that material.  Some they may keep, and some they may sell.  If they are selling some, and you both can come to a mutually beneficial arrangement, then, once the bargain is struck, you have a right to whatever materials you purchased.

The reason for this is that I have a right to direct my own labor.  If I choose to live on a farm, and build my own house, and live completely off-the-grid, then I have that option.  However, if I must secure some item or service, I have no right to it.  Because everyone has the right to direct his or her own labor, there is no guarantee that the item or service I need will even exist- or that enough will be available, if it does exist.  I cannot simply will more cookies into existence.  Someone has to grow wheat which will then be ground into flour.  Someone else has to grow and harvest sugar, yet another person harvests vanilla, or salt, or whatever the ingredients in that cookie are.

This is especially true of health care.  Beyond simple first-aid, how many of us can provide ourselves with any health care worth discussing?  Some.  There are some who are capable of providing their own care- at least the basics.  But beyond the basics, how many?  Even a Neurosurgeon can't provide himself with service- it being rather difficult to operate on one's own brain.  He must secure the labor (and expertise) of someone else.  But what if no one else is capable?  Does he have a "right" to brain surgery then?  What if other people exist, but no longer desire to practice medicine?  Does he have a right to impress their service anyway?

We have a word for forced service, and it isn't nice. 

Until we understand, and can articulate, why a whole litany of things are not "rights" (education, health care, and so forth) we cannot begin to roll back the government leviathan.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

United States Constitution: A Time for Choosing

Well, it was a good run, wasn't it?  Right around 225 years.  However, with Barack Obama's announcement on Wednesday that he had "recess appointed" four appointees while the Senate was not actually in recess, the United States Constitution has received a major wound.  Unless Congress as a whole steps up to defend their authority, our beloved Constitution will die.  It will not be worth the paper on which it is written.

The Constitution clearly gives each chamber of the legislature the authority to create their own rules- including what constitutes a "recess."  Indeed, the only time the Constitution speaks to what a recess may or may not mean is when it says that neither chamber can recess for more than three days without the consent of the other chamber.  Pro-forma sessions have long been used in Congress- yes, as a largely political move.  However, they are legitimate sessions of Congress, for all that.  When Barack Obama claims that he gets to decide that "an effective recess" is occurring, he is acting like a King with his Parliament, not a President who must work with a co-equal Congress.

When faced with the same issue during his presidency, George Bush complained about what congress was doing, but he never claimed they couldn't do it, or that he had some magical power over them to declare them in recess.  Barack Obama could have done the same.  The fact is, however, he and the Democrats realize that the people don't care about yet another unaccountable government bureaucrat who is ostensibly there "to look out for them," as though the American people have not been able to look out for ourselves for the last 225 years, or so.  They don't care about the NRLB- many of them believe it is antiquated, at best.  And so Barack Obama and the Democrats in congress knew they would not win that battle- so instead they choose another.

This battle, they're sure they'll win, because they are sure the Republicans won't fight them.  This autocratic, dictatorial move by the President is nothing less than a defacto attempt to annul the United States Constitution.  If the Constitution does not protect the Federal Government from itself, how can it be expected to protect the citizenry from the Federal Government?

The Democrats are sure the Republicans won't fight them, because the Republicans act like scared rabbits any time a substantive issue comes up.  From the various budget and debt-limit battles, to Eric Holder's obvious contempt of Congress, to the various unconstitutional power-grabs by this President, they have largely remained silent, or tried to downplay the problem.  Supposedly wiser heads continue telling us that the Election is the most important thing, and actually opposing Barack Obama might turn off independent voters.

Well, I have news for you, Congressional Republicans- we have come to a time of choosing.  You can choose to fight this fight, and attempt to communicate with the American people instead of just accepting that they will remain asleep, or you can choose to let the Constitution, the very foundation of our Country, slip quietly into the night.  If you make the former choice, be assured that Conservatives will support you.  We will scream from the roof-tops that what the Democrats are doing is unconstitutional, and that it ultimately harms the people when the Rule of Law means nothing.  If you choose the latter option, you will be responsible for throwing the Republican Party on the trash heap of history- yet another movement which promised to safeguard the people, but became too obsessed with safeguarding its own privilege.

The Real World: The Health Insurance Mandate

It has been said by Mitt Romney that a Health Insurance Mandate is a conservative idea.  His supporters tend to back him up on this and, while I haven't been able to speak to Mr. Romney directly ('cause he even knows who I am, or something), most of his supporters suggest that it is a conservative idea because it requires everyone to be responsible.

This false idea rests on three false premises: First, that health care is a right, second that increased purchase of health insurance will reduce the costs of health care, and third that someone can be forced to be responsible.  I will consider these three premises in reverse order.

Simple Truth (yes, look for this in a ST post at some point): Responsibility cannot be forced or mandated.  I can force my children to put some of any money they earn into a savings account.  That doesn't make them "responsible" for having done so.  I can force my children to clean their rooms, that doesn't make them responsible for having done so.  Indeed, responsibility only exists when an option for irresponsible behavior exists.  We call that existence of an irresponsible option "Liberty," and it is generally to be desired.  Further, someone "forced" to do something "responsible" does not, as a rule, have the actual temperament or character that makes them responsible.  Simply purchasing health insurance will not make them significantly less of a drain on the medical system.  At best (and empirically, this has proven false in Massachusetts) it helps prevent meteoric rises in health care costs, because everyone "has skin in the game."

Health care costs and health insurance are linked in myriad ways, and attempting to decipher all of them is far beyond the scope of this blog, let alone a single post.  However, one thing I can say with surity: providing more people broader cost-deferment for health care will only increase the demand for that health care.  Given the relatively fixed supply of care, due to various regulatory issues, barrier to entry, and so forth, that will always force the price of healthcare hire.  At best, forcing everyone to be insured simply means that everyone bears a slightly more "equal" burden of the cost of care.  But, to be sure, someone is paying that cost- either through higher premiums, higher prices in general, or through reduced access to, and quality of, care.

Finally: Simple Truth (yep, I'll be doing this one, too): You have no right to what someone else must provide.  I'll say that again because it is so important: you have no right to what someone else must provide.  Whether its a house, a car, a job, health insurance, health care, a hot-air balloon, or a cup of coffee, if someone else had to provide it for you, you have no right to it.  This gets to the heart of the matter.  For decades, at least, we have  premise that Healthcare is a right.  We have accepted that all people, regardless of circumstance, can demand healthcare.

It is easy to see how this premise arose: medical professionals themselves are notoriously generous in the face of suffering and sickness, and Western Civilization, especially with its Christian-influenced values, is just as generous, as a whole.  We ache in sympathy for those who are ill.  Just the term "the uninsured," conjures images of poverty stricken families living in hovels, dying for lack of care.

For all that it is easy to understand how we came to believe this, that doesn't make it any less wrong.  What "right"to Medical care does a lone man in the forest have when a tree has fallen on him?  Certainly he desires care.  Certainly if someone knows and can get to him on time he will receive care.  If he cannot provide it himself, then his situation does not just mean some doctor magically appears to save him.

It is this premise that we must fight, and we must be ready for the hyperbolic and emotional black-mail tactics of the Liberals.  The fact we wish to provide everyone with care does not mean that anyone has a right to it.  And the simple fact is there will always be more demand for healthcare than there will be a supply of it.  How do we distribute that supply?  The liberal way- of health insurance mandates, insurance coverage mandates, and, ultimately, socialized healthcare- will lead, as it always has, to the same "equality of misery" that any other form of Socialism does.  It is only the Capitalist, Conservative method of distributing based on prices and the market that will ensure the highest quality of care gets to the most people. 

And don't be afraid of that method of distribution.  It will do what it promises: the best care will get to the most people.  And few, if any, will have to do with no care.  Doctors and the American People will remain as generous as they ever were: they will assist those who need assistance.  By removing the Government Leviathan from the equation, they'll be able to assist more people, and fewer will need the assistance.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Red Letter Day

Thanks, once again to the Ace of Spades HQ (especially Ben, who posted the link to one of my posts yesterday).  Here's a graph of my traffic taken from this morning:

traffic graph

You can see the spike yesterday: over 700 page views, more than 800 if you include when Blogger switched its "day" over.

A few more like that, and this Blog might just take off.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Simple Truth: The Common Good Isn't.

As an attempt to serve the Common Good, the United States implemented the so-called "War on Poverty" back in the 1960's.  This "war" began major wealth transference from the productive to the unproductive and incentivized broken families and the very poverty on which it was claiming to do war.  As a result, we have more generational poverty, more broken families, and a national debt greater than our GDP.

When people look at the economy, they see that it acts in certain ways and it is easy to assume that there is some central thing controlling it.  They look at society and, again, it's easy to assume there is some unified force that drives it.  This is not the case.  What we see as "the economy" or "society" is simply the Brownian motion of people's every day choices.  I decide to purchase something, or not, based on its current price.  Millions of other people across the country making that same choice then translate into higher or lower demand for that item, and thus to possible changes in its price.

What this means is that any centralized action will necessarily upset the environment that allows that Brownian motion to occur.  However well intentioned welfare is, it is undeniable that it pays people not to be productive.  If my choices are flipping burgers for minimum wage, or playing x-box in my parents basement for the same amount, it's hard to make the case for flipping burgers.  And, since this same choice is repeated throughout the economy and throughout society, and many people will choose the option for which the Government is providing an incentive, the net result will be more poverty and more dependence.

Viewed that way, anything done "for the common good" is inherently harmful.

"But," I can hear people saying, "What about Defense?  That's for the common good!"  No, it's not.  We may refer to it that way out of convenience, but in reality Defense is specifically in the National Interest.  That is, there is a single, specific entity (in this case, the United States of America- which happens to be a Federation of States, which are themselves composite entities) which will directly and purposefully benefit.  Such targeted policies, being much more limited in scope, are easier to craft and much less likely to run afoul of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

We cannot aim policies toward "the Common Good," or "the Public Welfare," we must recognize that any policy legislatively enacted will have a discrete set of targets with concrete results.  Another good example is the Healthcare legislation: leaving aside the problems with its Constitutionality (which are myriad) there is the fact that, by trying to be comprehensive and "for the common good" it is instead simply byzantine and confusing, such that even the Government doesn't completely understand what it does.  This is the problem with all Big Government solutions, in the end: by attempting to provide some panacea to some perceived problem, the Government instead simply makes the issue more complicated, and creates more problems than it solves.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year, New Direction

Well, it's a New Year, and time to evaluate the last month or so on Dedicated Tenther.  I started the blog as a way to get out, in a relatively concise manner, some tenants of Conservative Philosophy.  I hope I've succeeded at that.

However, more needs to be done.  Starting this year, Dedicated Tenther will begin taking a look at world events, proposed legislation, and practical politics, in addition to my "pure" philosophy posts.

So the Simple Truth posts will continue, though less frequently.  And the Monday/Thursday posts will continue- with the odd off-schedule post thrown in.  But you'll begin seeing some new tags on posts as well as I consider practical matters, and what I believe Conservative Philosophy says our response should be.

Thank you for making my first month+ successful enough that I believe I can go forward with this blog, and perhaps make a miniscule, but real, difference.