The Shotgun Blog
Saturday, September 27, 2008
The False Compassion of Liberalism
This random blogger, in responding to something that I wrote the other day, begins shedding crocodile tears for those allegedly martyred by de-regulation.
Mike Harris destroyed Ontario's finances and managed to kill people with their drinking water. His incompetent finance minister went on to Ottawa where he's backed us up into a deficit situation while Canadians have been dying from eating contaminated meat.
I mean, folks, let's get real here - people with compromised immune systems die of all sorts of things all the time. I'm constantly amazed that the left can get so worked up over micro-issues while they ignore the most obvious point, especially in the context of the recent Listeriosis outbreak - namely that the most obvious unnatural cause of death in this country is our atrocity of a health care system.
A lot of people die in this country every day because our socialized medical system is ponderously slow and generally incompetent. Indeed, I daresay that a number of those recent tainted-meat deaths, given that much of this meat was served by various public institutions, can be attributed to slow and sloppy care and poor living conditions in hospitals and other facilities.
Most of you have seen the inside of some of these extended care facilities, haven't you? My Grandmother ended her days in one (since my deadbeat Aunt - who later had the nerve to sue the Provincial Government over her poor standard of care - had stolen all of her money). They're not places where people are likely to get the sort of timely care and attention needed to head off the progress of anything.
But, beyond that, let's cut to the cold hard truth - most of the people who died from this, given that they died from such a minor ailment, didn't have very much time left in any case. What do they have to say to the countless others, who could have survived, who have died because they were forced, like prisoners on a grim death march, to worship at the altar of socialized medicine?
Liberals like to cry a lot about people who may or may not have died because of inadequate regulation (regardless of the other factors involved), but they have very little to say about the many needless and meaningless deaths that are directly caused by their religious devotion to socialism in health care. How many people have died because they've had to wait too long for attention for their heart problems, or because their cancer wasn't detected early enough because it takes months to see the right specialist in this country?
Socialist medicine is an abomination. It's a moral crime. It's rooted in a false and forced idea of equal human worth. We're all equal, they say, so therefore we should all have the exact same access to health care.
Though, of course, that's not the way it really ought to work. We must all admit - even the most ardent socialist - that there are limits on the resources that a society can devote to health care. Everyone, regardless of their political orientation, has a number where they're going to say "stop" because if you never did you would reach a point where there would be, literally, no money for anything else in the world.
Thus, we are faced with a basic problem of scarcity and distribution. How do we divide a finite resource? A simple equal division - what the left claims to want - is the least efficient method of dividing up a resource. Though, in effect, medical socialism is literally - medical resources, in a socialized system, tend to be devoted to those with the greatest need.
In reality, that's a bad thing. Because those with the greatest needs are those, in general, least likely to make effective use of the resource. That is to say that those with the greatest medical needs consume resources disproportionate to their value. A drug addict, for example, can have nearly unlimited medical needs and have very little to offer in return. And, in a socialist system, because resources chase needs, the needs of that drug addict may mean that resources are allocated to cover their unlimited needs (since a socialist system is inherently inflexible) that could have instead cured three people of more utility - say a Police Officer and a mother of four. If you're drawing from this that a socialized medical system that effective practiced social triage would be efficient, you'd be right up until you consider how a leftist measures relative worth.
That's the beauty of a free-market system. It distributes resources based upon, in the end, a person's worth - both financial and otherwise. In an emergency I - hardly a person of unlimited means - could pay for quite substantial care for myself. I have the family resources to, if necessary, pay several times that. If we had a purely free-market system and hadn't been paying taxes for decades to support it, I (and those I could count on) would have far more than that.
At the same time, in a free-market system, others would have the same chance to access care based on their relative worth. There are many people - at least a dozen - that I'd probably lend or give money to in a medical emergency based upon their personal value to me. There are a select few who, when it came down to it, I'd probably liquidate every single thing I own to assist. I'm sure that most of you feel the same way as well.
That's how a health care system should work - with people paying their own way, and met with genuine compassion. Instead, we have a system where countless lives are destroyed by the maw of monstrous regulation, while the left pretends to be desperately worried because a few people got sick from some bad meat.
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Mike Harris is God to Leftists. But personality worship is disturbing.
Posted by: Sage | 2008-09-27 12:32:34 AM
"Mike Harris destroyed Ontario's finances and managed to kill people with their drinking water. "
I've been waiting anxiously for months for some absolute moron to post something like this.
In Ottawa, there have been several sewage spills into the Ottawa river sickening many people for many years.
Not once have I heard McGuinty blamed for any of this.
Walkerton...water crisis...provincial conservative blamed
Toronto...food crisis...national conservatives blamed.
Anyone, besides me, see a pattern?
Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-09-27 12:34:10 AM
...The Battlefords, Saskatchewan... water contamination... NDP government... nobody blamed.
Posted by: Grant Brown | 2008-09-27 1:16:51 AM
Thanks, I haven't heard about that.
but then again...that's the point, right?
Posted by: h2o273kk9 | 2008-09-27 1:37:00 AM
"Most of you have seen the inside of some of these extended care facilities, haven't you? My Grandmother ended her days in one (since my deadbeat Aunt - who later had the nerve to sue the Provincial Government over her poor standard of care - had stolen all of her money). They're not places where people are likely to get the sort of timely care and attention needed to head off the progress of anything."
So, given that your deadbeat Aunt stole all her money, where would your grandmother have ended her days had there been no socialist care facility for her to go to? Without it, she would have had nowhere to go, thus would have died peniless in the gutter. Socialist care facilities are far from ideal, but the alternative for many (the penniless, like your grandmother, with families unwilling or unable to care for them) would be the gutter.
"Liberals like to cry a lot about people who may or may not have died because of inadequate regulation (regardless of the other factors involved), but they have very little to say about the many needless and meaningless deaths that are directly caused by their religious devotion to socialism in health care. How many people have died because they've had to wait too long for attention for their heart problems, or because their cancer wasn't detected early enough because it takes months to see the right specialist in this country?"
The issue is not how many have died in the current system, but which system would have the fewest deaths. In the US, the uninsured die not because they had to wait in line for too long, but because there was no line for them to get in in the first place. They needed treatment they could not afford and so were SOL. People die under our system who would not die in the US, but people die in the US who would not die here. So (for the person of compassion) the question is which system would lead to the fewest deaths. Or, for the more adventurous thinkers, what about various European systems of health care? How would we fare with one of those.
The issue is the same, really, as it was in one debate in the early days of the Iraq war. Folks on one side did a body count of innocent Iraqis who were killed by the fighting and the other side did a body count of how many innocent Iraqis would have died had Saddam Hussein been left in power. Neither option would have been without casualties, so the argument was over which path saved the most people from death.
"That's the beauty of a free-market system. It distributes resources based upon, in the end, a person's worth - both financial and otherwise."
This is bizarre. The idea that a person's worth "otherwise" is related at all to what money they could raise is perverse. You seem to assume that everyone either could afford the emergency health care they need or, if they are a good person, will have family or friends who can afford it and who would shell out. But that is ridiculous. It shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the economic circumstances of a great many people.
I also find it interesting that in an article that claims to be about "compassion" in the headline, the only specific example you give of a lack of compassion comes from your own family. You claim that liberals lack real compassion, but it seems that your family's willingness to steal from your grandmother or, once she has been stolen from, to cast her off in an inadequate facility to die, is the real compssion problem. It was, after all, a socialist institution that ultimately was the only place willing to care at all for your grandmother in the end. What little she had was not because of the care and concern of your family, but it was the care and concern of the socialists in Canada who thought she should have something rather than the nothing your family left her with.
It sounds like the false compassion issue you have should be taken up at the next family gathering, not with those who supported creating a facility to take care of her even though she is a stranger they never met.
Posted by: Fact Check | 2008-09-27 9:53:29 AM
As far as my Grandmother is concerned, I imagine that - had they been required to - her other children would have paid (other than my Aunt). Not, I should add, that her life at that point in time was - even in her own opinion - particularly worth living and not that she wasn't, in many respects, the author of her own misfortune - having left the door open for my Aunt to make off with the better part of a million dollars that otherwise, by all rights, ought to have eventually been mine, especially given my Japanese heritage and that I'm the senior male in this generation of the family.
But that's all a side point. My point there was merely that healthy people and well cared-for people don't tend to die of things like Listeriosis. People living in miserable conditions and in poor health tend to die of such things - so it's a stretch for the left to throw a fit about it when, for the most part, they created the conditions where people would be vulnerable to such a thing.
A person's utility to society can, in many respects, be determined by their access to money. Those without money, or access to money in any form, aren't very likely to be among the most useful members of society, are they? If we have to determine who lives and who dies based on access to medical care, ability to pay strikes me as a better criteria than random choice.
I'm glad to see that you admit what I've said for years - people die in our country who wouldn't in the American health care system. People die in the United States who wouldn't in Canada.
Now, I'm not defending the American health care system here - it's far too regulated and socialized as it is, and it's heavily distorted by the grotesque over-taxation driven manipulation of health "insurance." But at least it has some free market elements.
Posted by: Adam Yoshida | 2008-09-27 10:55:15 AM
Excellent post and comments Adam. If anyone could offer blind support for our socialised health care system in spite of all evidence of its failure, it would of course be FC. Actually only Cuba is similar to what we have. Other countries at least offer a combination as in Europe.
Posted by: Alain | 2008-09-27 12:40:56 PM
Cuba and North Korea.
We have unnecessary waiting lists and the state monopoly, union monoply delivered advocates are proud of it!
Give us choice!
I trust one person to make the spending decisons of my hard-earned money ... and that's me.
If people cannot make good decisions for themselves, that's their problem, not mine.
Posted by: set you free | 2008-09-27 1:05:10 PM
My wife has IBS, as a result she is un-insurable in the US (which is why we're living in Canada) The only way we can get insurance state side is to sign papers saying they won't cover anything related to the issue, which means pretty much any problem. Especially bowel cancer, kind of defeats the consumer's goal with having insurance. Even than at $1200/mo it's too much.
There is (according to some) a 30% chance my wife will develop bowel cancer, treatment in the US would run us over $500,000 for the initial treatment and 10 years of continuing care. That's more than we can afford. Neither of us was able to afford a good education and now we both work just to make ends meet, we can't go back to school so we can afford better healthcare. In Canada -for us- we can continue to live and not be homeless. State side, we would have no ability to pay the medical bills and don't think Medicare covers jack shit, or that if you make any kind of money, you qualify. It's only for the poorest of poor and if you work so you don't have to live in a slum you get screwed on healthcare.
Sure in the states we could get expedient high quality care if we could afford it but no amount of competition is going to give us cancer treatment so cheap we can afford it. Letting poor people die so you can have cheaper care isn't compassion.
Posted by: James | 2008-09-27 2:37:35 PM
I'm sorry that your wife is sick, James - but I don't see why I ought to be compelled to pay for it. We don't, for very good reasons, force people to recompense others for other shortcomings of our individual genetic makeups. I'm never going to be six feet tall - that might not be fair, but neither would making the rest of you give me money to compensate for that fact.
Posted by: Adam Yoshida | 2008-09-27 2:41:37 PM
Adam then why have health insurance at all if it's just for healthy rich people to band together? Why should the rest of the insured people pay for you when you get sick? And what if my wife were sick because of her parents? Or second hand smoke? Or living by power lines? you can't prove any of that so there is no recourse.
Posted by: James | 2008-09-27 8:21:26 PM
James, I am sorry for your wife's illness but I agree with Adam. However I do not blame you but our faulty immigration system. Why on earth do we now qualify people as acceptable landed immigrants based on their wish to take advantage of our socialised health care system? Yet I know your case is far from unique, but it used to be that immigrants were accepted based on what they could contribute to Canada. Now the present collectivist welfare nanny state however opens our doors to just about all who want a part of the collective teat.
Posted by: Alain | 2008-09-27 8:40:17 PM
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