Wednesday, February 13, 2013

your dose of politics

Why "free" healthcare is a stupid idea.

The British government on Wednesday released a report on conditions at Stafford Hospital in Staffordshire over a 50-month period from 2005, and found at least 400 to 1,200 patients died due to improper treatment. Certain patients [were] left lying in their own urine and excrement while others were so thirsty that they drank water from vases. How such things happened in a developed country of the 21st century is simply unbelievable. In 2004, a 40-something nurse in the U.K. injected an anesthetic into an elderly patient who was unlikely to revive and [let] the patient die after disconnecting the respirator. The nurse said she wanted to free up beds as soon as possible, but was charged with manslaughter.

Dr. V on the "need for a conversation" about gun control.

Liberals have been calling for a 'conversation' about gun control. The call is both silly and disingenuous. Silly, because it is not as if we haven't been talking about this for decades. So suddenly we need to have a 'conversation'? Disingenuous, because what liberals mean by a conversation is more like: you shut up and listen and acquiesce in our point of view or we'll shout you down!

But suppose, contrary to fact, that our leftist pals were serious about a conversation, no scare quotes. Then we would have to discuss not only gun control for citizens, but for government as well. Fair is fair.

There are foolish and irresponsible and criminal individuals among the citzenry and they shouldn't have guns. But it is equally true that there are foolish and irresponsible and criminal people in government and they shouldn't gave guns either.

Besides, quis custodiet custodies? Who governs the government? If we can't govern ourselves, but need government to govern us, then the government, which is composed of the same "crooked timber of humanity" (Kant) as we are, needs some entity to keep it in line. That 'entity' is us, the armed citizenry.



John from Daejeon said...

A friend directed this Pro Gun Control video into my inbox. Usually, I just hit the delete button on these types of videos, but as it came from a pretty informed individual, I decided to give it viewing. Boy, I was sure surprised at the fact that somehow Piers Morgan has actually duped some network exec idiot into giving this buffoon his own show, and that Jesse Ventura wasn't Obama's first choice for Sec. of State. I can definitely see him getting my vote if he decides to run for the Presidency as he sure made Morgan look like an imbecile while sounding much more presidential than the last several office holders of that position.

Nathan B. said...

Re: free healthcare.

The source of the quotation is generalizing from a particularly extreme instance in the UK in which a nurse was charged with manslaughter to an entire system of healthcare. It would probably be possible to take an extreme instance of for-profit healthcare and do the same.

That said, in general it seems like the UK's healthcare system is indeed going downhill, but there are still other national "free" healthcare systems that are doing much better.

Kevin Kim said...


While it's true that generalizing from extremes is a poor rhetorical move, I see the article as arguing that "free" healthcare tends to be rife with problems-- problems I've heard about from the mouths of Brits themselves. Long waits, hospitals clogged with people who come there looking for free aspirin or other drugs/medication (I heard this all the time in Korea: got a cough or a headache? go to the hospital!), disgustingly unsanitary conditions, poor treatment of patients... and all of this a burden on the average taxpayer, who persists in the delusion that this healthcare is "free." Granted, the US system is far from perfect, as our family discovered when Mom was sick, but in general it isn't host to the extreme problems that plague (forgive the medical pun) socialized care.

Nathan B. said...

Hi Kevin,

I guess I see the UK's system, based on the news I've been reading for years, as problematic. I don't see the same pervasiveness and intensity of problems here in Canada, although I admit that things could be better.

I don't know anything about the various Scandinavian healthcare systems, but I would expect their systems to be the best. Meanwhile, if healthcare is connected with life span, then I think those on the political Right in the US are wrong to point the finger at the UK as the archetypal example of socialized healthcare.


Hmm, The CIA Factbook page has a ranking of countries by life expectancy at birth; it provides "estimates" in the table on that page. There are some surprises--or were, at least for me; I had always thought of Japan as #1. The following are the first group:

Monaco (89.68)
Macau (84.43)
Japan (83.91)
Singapore (83.75)
San Marino
Hong Kong
Canada (81.48)

The UK is 30th place with 80.05 years, while the US is in 51st place with 78.49.

If this were a discussion based purely on statistics, the UK would outrank the US in life expectancy, with Canada outranking both.


The general impression, overall, that I have of US healthcare is that it does have a high standard, but problems with accessibility are real for many.
*(I'm not sure why this page comes up in French in my browser; I don't know if it will do the same in others)