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Uncle Sam Contracts Frater Magnus to Safeguard his Healthcare Liberty

Lincoln_A

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time. – Abraham Lincoln

There’s a sucker born every minute. – P.T. Barnum

BenjaminFranklinWe, the People, are born every minute. The last ten years provides ample evidence about the regularity to which Lincoln alludes.

Geese are but Geese tho’ we may think ’em Swans; and Truth will be Truth tho’ it sometimes prove mortifying and distasteful. – Benjamin Franklin

The Constitution of the United States is like a manual for building a nation of equals before the law. It embodies the wisdom that some people gain power and freedom by stealing the power and freedom of others. It enacts principles to thwart those who conduct such thefts. “Liberty” is a common code word for describing the nation’s promise of power and freedom to its citizens.

Interestingly, the founders were all too aware that the apparatus they made to uphold the liberty of the nation’s citizens, i.e. the government, could also fall under the influence of those who would thieve the liberty of others. Accordingly, citizens must be mindful of what they, and others, ask of their government, while using the government as a tool to promote liberty, and other Constitutional and DOI objectives, and thwart liberty thieves. Unfortunately, some citizens are so focused on defending their liberty from the government that they lose sight of the reason that the government was created, i.e. they lose sight of the enemies of liberty. They are so focussed on the tree, that they lose sight of the forest that is being clearcut all around them.

How absurd men are! They never use the liberties they have, they demand those they do not have. They have freedom of thought, they demand freedom of speech. – Soren Kierkegaard

Curiously, this creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. Those who feel the government is the greatest threat prevent the government from regulating those who would usurp liberty. For example, imagine that some of the nation’s elected representatives are concerned about the undue influence received by some people and groups who donate significant amounts of money to other elected representatives. The concerned representatives draft legislation to prevent the money donors from gaining powers and freedoms before the law that those who do not donate do not receive. Those who feel the government is the greatest threat to their liberty, use their power to thwart the legislation because they see it as government overreach. “People should be able to free to spend their money any way they want.” After years of unsuccessful regulatory efforts, government becomes beholden to the money donors in ways that impinge upon the liberties of those who see government as the greatest threat. They take this impingement to be evidence that they were right from the beginning.

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. – George Orwell, Animal Farm

The healthcare debate offers a particularly delicious irony of this sort, given that the choices it offers deny more than simply less liberty. Both choices involve denying people the liberty to choose other than private insurance, if they have the means. The Republicans offer the status quo, which says much about their moral character. Obamacare forces everyone with means to buy private insurance.

How is it that forcing people to pay for more expensive, less effective and less efficient healthcare through private insurance companies is more liberty enhancing than using superior models that involve greater government participation?

Admittedly, this is not deliciously ironic. Take heart. It is ready to be served.

Insurance Companies: Founding Members of the Order of Frater Magnus

Insurance companies, like most businesses, have the reasonable aim of making profits and improving upon these profits. Doing so, involves finding capital sources or activity sources of premiums and avoiding paying claims. Interestingly, pursuing these aims causes insurance companies to become the largest corporate drivers of anti-liberty activities in society.

How so? Increasing profit margins involves controlling costs. How does one control Fate, such as that manifest in natural disasters?

Every crowd has a silver lining. – P.T. Barnum

PT-Barnum

The answer is that one does not. Insurance runs on the Serenity Prayer without the moral underpinnings. It uses its’ army of actuaries and lobbyists to control what is controllable and the one thing it can control is people’s behaviors. Accordingly, it works through government to create legislation that controls people’s actions by controlling their choices through sanctions. If insurance companies can gain government sanctions on an activity, people are less likely to make choices that result in claims. Furthermore, if people make those choices, their claims can be denied. In doing so, insurance companies feed on people’s liberties to fatten their profits.

So, is it not a delicious irony, that those who are working so hard to protect their fellow citizens from a government that might compromise their liberty by offering a public alternative to private insurance healthcare, are effectively advocating like lobbyists for the strongest anti-liberty corporatists in society?

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46 Responses

  1. “The healthcare debate offers a particularly delicious irony of this sort, given that the choices it offers deny more than simply less liberty. Both choices involve denying people the liberty to choose other than private insurance, if they have the means. The Republicans offer the status quo, which says much about their moral character. Obamacare forces everyone with means to buy private insurance.”

    “Insurance runs on the Serenity Prayer without the moral underpinnings. It uses its’ army of actuaries and lobbyists to control what is controllable and the one thing it can control is people’s behaviors.”

    Good points.

  2. We have some downright bizarre concepts of liberty in this country. It’s always like anti-feminists screaming about their rights to consider themselves inferior and be treated like second-class citizens, or someone else moaning that the government’s not going to interfere with their right to bankrupt themselves and die horribly from something treatable. As if these anti-rights to anti-liberty should somehow be privileged over human rights.

    • S,

      Your comment reminds me of Ziggy Marley’s “Are you free like you want to be?” where he relates the difference between positve and negative freedoms noting, “Now you say we are free to be poor.”

      S

      • I can understand why they’d say that, just not why we’d swallow it. 🙂 I guess it comes down to the $64,000 question, why do we embrace ideologies that go against our interests and actively harm us?

        • S,

          That is the $64,000 question. It’s directly related to asking what constitutes “the good life?” inasmuch as that determines what we think our interest should be.

          I think, like the Greeks in their Symposia, that much wine must be gathered before embarking on the topic.

          S

        • I remember when Reaganites argued that people *want* to be homeless. So they emptied the mental hospitals and turned schizophrenics out on the street, along with families who couldn’t afford increasing housing costs. And of course, the government shouldn’t get involved in building low-cost housing. That would be against the “free market” religion.

          Then when homeless people living on the street started to be embarrassing and annoying for the wealthy, they voted in people like Giuiani, who would truck the homeless people to New Jersey and dump them there or arrest them and throw them in jail. We are going to have a lot more homeless people now. Where will the wealthy people put them next?

          This way of running a country is not productive, it really isn’t. Eventually, something’s got to give.

          • Republican social/economic theories are based on the premise that welfare creates poverty.

            They think if you ease the suffering of the poor that people will choose to be poor. OTOH if you make poverty unpleasant enough then people will choose to be not-poor.

            The major flaw in that premise is that poverty has been around a lot longer than welfare.

            Ironically there are some poor people who are trying hard to be not-poor but the Republicans are trying to stop them – illegal immigrants.

    • 🙂

      • This is what is going on with Obamacare, the pledge was universal healthcare, the turn was making it go poof, and the prestige is bringing back Obamacare under the guise of healthcare reform:

        • Excellent.

          The movie below, ranked in intellectual hotness among Guy Ritchie flics, is hotter than the vindaloo at Bhaji’s in Islington.

          • Yo Steve,

            The movie may be hotter than vindaloo, but the chess game in the video is fouler than a day-old pakora. (All right, that was a lame extended metaphor.) First of all, you can’t respond to a “check” with a “check,” at least not the way our philosophizing player does in the video. Second, when that same player declares “check mate!” it’s nothing of the kind–his opponent merely has to remove the queen with his bishop!

            But I’ll take your word for it that it’s a great movie otherwise. I’m actually not much of a chess player, but one of my brothers is a chess master who likes to rail on about some of the awful chess games and positions shown in Hollywood movies. You’d think they could hire a chess consultant for such things–I’m sure they’re quite affordable.

            Nice post, btw. I’ve been far too busy to comment recently and in fact have to head off to work right now. But it’s good to see that TC is carrying on quite well without me.

  3. that one think that you can count on there is sucker born second

  4. We have the best government that money can buy.

    Unfortunately, we’ve been outbid.

    • Yup.

    • We should all chip in to raise $5000 and see if Nancy will sell the public option back to us.

      • Actually we should find someone to primary her happy backside and give them the $5000 to run ads pointing out the little soiree that Nancy will be attending.

        • Did Cindy Sheehan run against her last time? She was thinking about running, but I forget.

          • I think she did. Cindy is still out there, but the media ignores her. Didn’t she go to Martha’s Vineyard while Obama was there?

  5. We could send two citizens for that price and give them each $100 bucks for the drinks they will likely need.

  6. Look at this BS — they are making Obamacare look so easy and userfriendly, they are confusing people — this is nothing what Baucus bullshit looks like —

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/assets_c/2009/09/morecharts.html

    • Yup. It’s the standard formula lacking the volumes of small print.

    • LOL gotta love how humongous the private insurance is and the one dinky public option box in the lower right.

    • On Thurs, NPR ran yet another ridiculous hit piece on Palin’s scary primitive voodoo (they go inside a big building and talk to an Invisible, imaginary being! Freaks!”), and the reporter actually snuck in and taped the service after they refused permission. So they’ve got a distracting non-story all set to go if the chart isn’t placating enough.

        • For years and years I thought the line was “Get the weirdo on the set”, and I thought of Johnny Carson as “Floyd R. Turbo, American”.

          Now the Elephascists and the DINOcrats alike pander to the Floyd R. Turbos of the world.

          Hell, Dubya Bush is just Floyd R. Turbo + Old Money. :mrgreen:

          • Good point! Actually the Floyd R. Turbos are running our government. How do these yo yo’s get elected?

  7. As a proportion of the page, is it larger than it is in practise?

    Single payer UHC, compared to the system in the US, is one of those things that, if the US gets it, people will immediately and forever after be asking themselves, “Why did we wait so long?”

    It’s truly a head slapper of monumental proportion.

    • I’m pretty sure huge majorities have been in favor of UHC, we know why we’ve waited so long, our political system is just as broken as our health cars system.

  8. There is significant disagreement about the cause and nature of the breakage, ergo, my post.

    Bon nuit.

  9. I suspect that alot of this is as a result of the position that money=speech. The more money you have the more time and influence you have in the debate on policy. couple this with the wage disparities and increasing income inequality and you have recipe for disaster. We are pretty much an oligarchy where the top 1% who hold 40% of the country’s wealth not only control the debate, they own it. They essentially, because of the money they control(speaking ability they have), are writing everything from our energy policy to our health care policy and it matters naught to them that the policy they write does not benefit a good 90% of us(who own less than 40% of the wealth combined). It’s fairly short sighted on their part because eventually they are going to be facing the wrath of the people they have bankrupted to enrich themselves and their own interest.

  10. No his speech was as dreary as ALL THE REST (when he has a teleprompter)

    phony, aloof and fake as hell

    but you just keep trying to give the FOOL the benefit of the doubt if you want. He’s a CROOK and should be arrested with the rest of his ACORN buddies!!

    thank GOD they’re no longer involved with the U.S. Census bureau after all their dirty dealings of late! Obama should resign NOW!!!

  11. lol sorry I don’t post often

    put the above post in the wrong place

  12. Steven, this is so right on that I got chills reading it. How can you tell a bunch of screaming angry, Beckster-incited idiots that they’ve take their eye off the ball?

  13. d,

    TY. It’s good to know that my conspiracy is larger than one.

    Do you think they’d let me read this at the 9/12 rally in Washington?

    s

    ps I’m off to b’s for bf.

    • I’ve always thought the most evil thing Ronald Reagan did (and he did a lot) was to tell people that the government was the problem or the enemy. Republicans tend ensure the incompetency of the government now to enable that meme.
      Our government is what we make it, that’s been the contract since the Magna Carta and the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court is usually the one that unmucks this sort’ve thing and we’ve seen that turned over to greedy Neanderthals too. Why do they hate our Constitution so much? Because it stops them from turning the country into an oligarchy that loots the wealth. That’s the evolutionary policy of the Republicans, now enjoined by the Democrats.

      This is what we must stop at all costs. It’s not creeping Socialism. It’s creeping Fascism.

      • The corporate fascism is accelerating at this point. How we stop it is the big question and I don’t have any answers.

        • The Supreme Court must unhook the cashflow infusions from corporations to pols. This case that is before them is incredibly important. I just hope they do the right thing.

  14. I seem to have lost a comment in moderation. I don’t know what I said that could have upset Spammy.

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