Saturday, October 22, 2016

Single-Payer Healthcare: ‘Wouldn’t it be Nice’

Here are excerpts from a letter advocating single-payer healthcare for America that appeared in the New jersey Star-Ledger last February. It is titled Single-payer health care would be a big improvement:

  Wouldn’t it be nice if losing your job had no impact on your health insurance? Wouldn’t it be nice if all doctors participated in your insurance?
  Regarding cost, let’s consider that we already pay for everyone’s health care. A business that pays for health insurance for its employees passes that cost to its customers. We pay as a consumer, or we pay as a taxpayer.
  If we take the for-profit middle man out of our system, we immediately cut costs by almost 20 percent. If we get a system like those in a number of other countries, hospitals and doctors don’t need much in the way of billing departments that now have to deal with many insurance companies.
  We spend more on health care than countries that have single-payer systems. We don’t cover everyone; they do. I hope others will join me in explaining the benefits of single-payer. Convincing people voting for members of Congress is important.
  John S. Smith

“Wouldn’t it be nice if losing your job had no impact on your health insurance?” You mean like auto, life, and homeowners insurance? That’s the way it would be if the government hadn’t interfered in the health insurance market. The third-party-payer, or employer-based, health insurance system is a government-created setup. If we got rid of the government policies that favor employer over individual health insurance purchases, as well as regulations mandating only government-approved insurance plans, people would buy their own health insurance directly from insurers competing directly in the consumer market.

The profit motive is not the culprit in the cost of health care. The government is the problem. In America today, almost 90% of healthcare is paid by third parties, not the consumer. This disconnect between consumer and provider eliminates the necessity for providers to keep costs down and consumers to shop price. The profit motive is actually a huge cost reducer when it is allowed to operate in a market free or relatively free of government interference. The need to turn a profit combined with competition for the consumers’ business creates natural incentives to raise quality and reduce prices, leading to continual improvements on both counts over time. You see this process going on throughout the economy, wherever real competition operates. It is the lack of real profit incentives—i.e., consumer involvement in paying—that leads to runaway costs in healthcare. That’s why governments that pay the bill always must control who gets what healthcare, when, and at what price.

Your own doctor? That’s a laugh. Under single-payer, the doctor works for the government, not the patient. The people who most love single-payer are the people who are overall healthy. Better not to get really sick under government-paid healthcare.

Healthcare providers “don’t need much in the way of billing departments?” Another laugh. The narrative of Medicare’s lower administrative costs is a myth. With only the government as the single payer, where’s the incentive to cut administrative costs when providers have no alternatives? In a private, free market environment, healthcare providers can refuse to accept insurers with unduly burdensome administrative costs. Once again, the profit motive in a competitive free market is a natural cost reducer.

In a free market, which is what we should have, everyone is responsible for his own health insurance and health care. It’s true that employers who cover their employees reflect the cost in their pricing, as they do all costs. So, in a very loose sense, you might say we pay indirectly for that business’s employee health care. But, there is a crucial fundamental differences between single-payer health care and employer health care—We are not forced to buy the product. We are forced to pay for single payer. When we buy the product, we are still free to make our own healthcare decisions, as the business and its employees are left free to make theirs. These are not just practical differences but deep moral ones as well, because the difference between private transactions and government programs is voluntary agreement versus force. Statists like Smith are unable or unwilling to acknowledge the difference between voluntary association and living by the sword.

It’s easy to say “wouldn’t it be nice” to have this or that out of context and without having to take personal responsibility. But then some people would say, “Wouldn’t it be nice if I could rob people on the street at gunpoint to pay for my stuff without fear of punishment?” That’s exactly what Smith is saying when he flippantly asks, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we had single-payer healthcare,” which is the same as saying “wouldn't it be nice if I could run to whatever doctor I want for whatever healthcare I want, and stick others with the bill?” Or, “Wouldn’t it be nice if all doctors were forced into servitude to government dictates, rather than retain the inalienable right to choose which insurance to accept or not accept?” That’s exactly what Smith is advocating when he says “Wouldn’t it be nice if all doctors participated in your insurance?”

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could force my ideal onto everyone else, with the government as the hired gun? Wouldn’t it be nice if we regard only my choices and disregard those who disagree? Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t have to take moral responsibility for our own lives? Wouldn’t it be nice if I didn’t have to be moral at all? Welcome to the moral jungle, where everyone is responsible for everyone else’s healthcare, but not his own—and everyone is legally chained to the system.

To which I ask, wouldn’t it be nice if we all respected everyone else’s right to control their own healthcare decisions, and had a government that reflected that? Smith’s collectivist “we” signifies Smith’s stone-cold cruel disregard of other individuals’ lives and liberty. Wouldn’t it be nice if we once again had true constitutional protection from heartless predators like John S. Smith and his ilk?

Related Reading:

American Healthcare's Great and Powerful Oz

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Obama’s Collectivist Distortion of American Principles

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama gave what came to be called his Reverend Wright speech. I analyzed that speech in a three part essay, which I titled Obama’s Collectivist Manifesto (see links below).

An article for FEE—the Foundation for Economic Education—focussed on President Obama’s speech to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. In President Obama: “We Don't Look to Be Ruled”, Jeffrey A. Tucker misreads, I think, Obama’s message.

Tucker cites a passage from Obama’s speech that he refers to as “these awesome and inspiring words” that carries a “liberty-oriented theme.” Here are a few key excerpts from the passage cited by Tucker:

We don't look to be ruled. Our power comes from those immortal declarations first put to paper right here in Philadelphia all those years ago; We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that together, We, the People, can form a more perfect union.

It's always been about what can be achieved by us, together.”

We don't fear the future; we shape it, embrace it, as one people, stronger together than we are on our own.

Immediately after Obama’s words, Tucker writes:

Exactly: we don’t look to be ruled. Our value as a people comes not from the top down but from within — from character, resilience, decency, all of which emanate from freedom itself.

It’s clear that Tucker reads into Obama’s rhetoric an affirmation of the individual freedom that lies at the heart of America’s Founding. Tucker goes on to observe that Obama’s actual record contradicts the “liberty-oriented theme” of his convention speech. But, does it? Is Obama really espousing a “liberty-oriented theme?” Or is he sneaking in a statist theme?

Obama knows how to use words to advance statism under cover of seemingly pro-freedom language. What I see in Obama’s words is not an affirmation of freedom. I see a cherry picking of phrases from our Founding documents in order to distort American individualism into American collectivism—a reincarnation of Obama’s promise to “fundamentally transform the United States of America.”*

What happened to “unalienable individual rights” to the pursuit of our own happiness? What happened to a government whose sole purpose is “to secure these rights?” What happened to the rest of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution? When Obama speaks of “We, the People,” he envisions not a collection of sovereign individuals, but of a society of subjects subordinate to the collective, with the state as representative of the collective good.

America has never essentially “been about what can be achieved by us, together,” but about individuals free to act on their own judgement in pursuit of personal achievement. When Obama speaks of “together,” he does not mean individuals voluntarily cooperating—or not—based on individual self-interest. He means everyone corralled together into programs directed by the  government regardless of anyone’s individual choices. A lot can be gained by people working together. But that cooperation must be voluntary and mutually respectful of each other's’ rights and self-interest. People herded together by force into government programs ruled by central planners is not “working together”: It is a chain gang.

When the colonies rebelled against Britain, they sought to throw off foreign rule for the sake of establishing a government that protects rather than violates individual rights. That is not Obama’s meaning. When Obama speaks of Americans not willing to be ruled, he does not mean the individual not being ruled by omnipotent government officials. He means the nation not being ruled by a foreign power. He means that vision of all statists—national, not individual, self-determination. When he speaks of freedom, he does not mean individual rights as understood by our Founders—the right to act on our own individual judgement without coercive interference from government. He means the “freedom” to choose our own dictator by way of the ballot box: Obama essentially recognizes only one right—the right to vote.

The right to vote is important. But there is a stark difference between the Progressives’ concept of the vote and the vote in a free society. In a free society—that is, in the original American concept of republican government—the voting majority's will as expressed by the government officials it elects (and their appointees) is limited by iron-clad constitutional protection of individual rights. For Progressives (or “liberals” or Leftists), the voting majority’s will is not limited in such a way. In a free society, individual rights trump the vote. To a Progressive, the vote supersedes individual rights. In a constitutional republic, the ballot box is an instrument of liberation, reinforcing and extending individuals’ rights to control their own destiny. In a Democracy, the ballot box is an instrument of oppression by the majority over the minority, the smallest of which is the individual: It is an instrument of aggression for the purpose of extending control over and subjugation of the individual to the state. So-called “liberals” or progressives are democracy fundamentalists who worship at the altar of unfettered majority rule—majority rule unconstrained by constitutional protections for individual rights. In their radical democracist vision, the right to vote is not just a fundamental right, which it is not, but is the only fundamental right. All other rights, to the Democracy Fundamentalists, are permissions granted at the pleasure of the state on behalf of the voting majority.

Tucker speaks of ObamaCare and Common Core as programs that contradict Obama’s “liberty-oriented theme.” But Obama’s programs don’t contradict Obama’s theme, because his theme is not liberty-oriented. Just the opposite. ObamaCare and Common Core are perfectly consistent with Obama’s distorted and revisionist view of America. When Obama uses phrases like “shape our own destiny,” he does not mean it in the classical American sense of individuals shaping their own destiny. When he speaks of the “enduring work of self-government,” he doesn’t mean the people’s right to choose the lawmakers who will best exercise the government’s limited powers related to protecting individual rights. When he speaks of “what can be achieved by us, together,” he speaks of the chain gang of ever-greater, rights-restricting government programs imposed by the government we elect—and justified by the simple fact that the government was elected. He sees government as “limited” only by what the electoral majority will permit.

Read again Obama’s passage. It’s all about “we,” “us,” “together,” “one people.” Not once in his “liberty-oriented theme” does Obama mention the word “individual.” Since individualism and all that the term implies (individual rights, rational egoism, capitalism, free markets, limited rights-protecting government) is the very unique reason for America’s being, Obama’s omission of the word tells you all you need to know about Obama’s real theme—which is a theme that is the direct antipode of Americanism.

This is not to say that unity in and of itself is un-American. Far from it. The question is not united America versus un-united America. The question is, what unites Americans? What used to unite Americans is a commitment to the principles of individual self-determination based on upholding and respecting inalienable individual rights, so that we can each be “on our own” if we choose—not “on our own” in the sense of a lone wolf or the Tom Hanks survival movie Cast Away that depicts a single man stranded on an uninhabited island, but in the sense of deciding for ourselves when and with whom we will cooperate within the context of making our own goal-directing choices and governing our own affairs. Indeed, progress can only come from people free to blaze their own independent, often revolutionary new paths.

Barack Obama and the modern Democrats do not value freedom. They do not value individualism. They do not value America’s Founding principles. They are collectivists and statists who seek our votes for the purpose of restricting our freedom further. Why? They are power-lusters. They seek to rule “us”; We the People.

Related Reading:

Obama's Collectivist Manifesto, Parts 1, 2, and 3

Obama's Collectivist "Togetherness" vs. Genuine Individualist Togetherness

Which is better — globalism or nationalism? That’s one of the major themes of this election year campaign.
The answer: neither one.
The only answer is individualism.

*(Obama later seemed to backtrack on his promise to “fundamentally transform the United States of America” in an interview with Bill O’Reilly. But he only seemed to. His rhetoric actually confirmed his original statement: “I think that what we have to do is make sure that here in America, if you work hard, you can get ahead.” America has never been about government-guaranteed success. It’s been about your freedom to direct your own life, and keep whatever rewards you earn from your work. A government that can guarantee your economic success is a government that controls your economic fate. Of course, no government can guarantee success. If it could, history would be one long economic boom, rather than stagnation up until the birth of free market capitalism. But that Obama wants to try to create such a government would be a fundamental transformation.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Leftist Dems vs. . . . Whom?

This year’s election is a dream for the Left.

While the Democrats now openly espouse national socialism, the Republicans counter with their own nationalistic authoritarian.

Like the Democrat candidates, Trump is a vehement opponent of free speech, xenophobic (protectionist) on trade, pro-cronyism, and has no qualms about using the enormous ill-gotten tax and regulatory power of the state to punish those he doesn’t like, whether it’s a newspaper critical of him or a company that wants to build a plant outside the U.S.

And Trump is as good at the demagoguery game as any Democrat. The Democrats’ scapegoat for everything that ails and scares Americans is “the 1%”—a euphemism for anyone who is more successful and has more income and wealth than “the 99%”; i.e., “me.” Trump’s scapegoat is anyone who he doesn’t like at any given moment.

Clinton will appoint judges who will always side with the state supremacists over the private individual in economic matters. Some on the Right hope that Trump will stumble into appointing better judges who have some respect for the sovereignty of the individual and the proper limits of state power. But conservative judges are as anti-individual rights in the social sphere as Democrats are in the economic sphere. And will an authoritarian who rules on whim really appoint justices who will be likely to reign in his arbitrary power over the economy? Trumps attack on Judge Gonzalo Curiel gives us a strong clue.

Trump will patch together an agenda that here or there looks something like a right-wing (in the proper, pro-liberty understanding) platform. But that’ll be window dressing. Mirroring Obama, Trump is a thug who has no respect for the rule of objective law or the constitution. He would make a great Democrat—which, in essence, he is. But unlike Obama, Clinton, Sanders, and company—who are egalitarian-collectivist-statist ideologues, Trump is a statist without any ideology at all. He is an anti-capitalist loose cannon.

About the only reason to vote for Trump is that the Democrats’ statist agenda is so horrific from the perspective of respecting the irreplaceable value that is the actual, individual human being. Maybe, just maybe, Trump won’t be as bad as it appears he can be—and he may even stumble into some good policies, like replacing ObamaCare with true free market healthcare reforms rather than some other form of nationalized healthcare (which he has supported in the past).

But make no mistake: The principled defender of the moral value of the individual—the  defenders of personal freedom and achievement, political equality, economic freedom, individual rights, a properly limited government accountable to the people rather than the other way around, of actually putting the people rather than the politicians in charge of their own economic affairs through free trade and markets—faces the bleakest election choice possible. There is no political counterweight offering a defense of capitalism, free markets, and individual rights and self-determination. So the socialist demagogues have a free reign in an intellectual vacuum, peddling the snake oil that turning over control of your life to the state is championing the people. America is becoming Animal Farm.

Yes, this year’s election is a dream for the Left. Perhaps not on every issue. But Trump and the Democrats are kindred authoritarian spirits. Trump will likely expand the power of the state, leaving some future Democrat president even more powers to control our lives than Obama has exploited. Being an anti-capitalist authoritarian who only wants to “make deals,” Trump as president is as likely to bend to Leftist pressures as to the conservatives. Make no mistake: America after a Trump presidency will have a government more controlling than what he started. The Left really can’t lose this year, even if they are too clueless to see it.

Can Trump Break the Social Authoritarian Conservatives’ Grip on the GOP?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Echoes of 1972? The Trump Dilemma: The Democrats are Worse

The New Jersey Star-Ledger is calling for Republicans to abandon Donald Trump and vote for Hillary in the same way that Democrats abandoned George McGovern in 1972, handing Richard Nixon a landslide victory. In Republicans for Hillary: Time to come out of the closet, Star-Ledger editorial writer Tom Moran, who approvingly cited a guest column by former Republican Governor Christie Whitman that compared Trump to Hitler and Mussolini., goes:

Will there come a point when Republicans of good will abandon their party this year, and do what they can to save America from the risk of Donald Trump winning the presidency?

It's a tall order for conservatives. They would have to content themselves with trying to hold Congress for now, so that Hillary Clinton is forced to govern as a centrist.

The only close precedent in modern history came in August of 1972 as the Vietnam War raged, after Democrats nominated Sen. George McGovern, the peace [far Left] candidate from South Dakota.

A former Democratic governor of Texas, John Connally, led a mutiny against McGovern and founded the group "Democrats for Nixon." He recruited several unions, including the Teamsters, along with a meaty list of Democratic governors, legislators and mayors, including Thomas Dunn of Elizabeth [NJ].

In the end, 1 in 3 Democrats voted for Nixon, giving him a 23-point landslide in the popular vote, the fourth largest in history. Democrats then moved to the middle, and soon recovered their footing.

I left these comments, edited and expanded for clarity:

The Star-Ledger is correct. Trump is bad. But here’s the Trump dilemma: The Democrats are worse.

The Democrats have lurched more heavily toward statism and nihilism than ever before, including 1972. The Democratic Party has been captured by environmentalist witch doctors who would sacrifice human energy needs to the climate gods; radical neo-communist egalitarians who value economic equality over individual achievement and political equality; warriors against free speech and intellectual freedom, in the form of endorsing a constitutional amendment to repeal Citizens United, thus giving the political class the power to control political speech; fascists who believe dissent should be criminalized as fraud, in the form of endorsing the prosecutorial inquisition by a cabal of Democrat  AGs United for Clean Power” against Exxon and dozens of pro-free market intellectual organizations who challenge the Left’s climate catastrophist dogma; liars who mis-identify the causes of the 2008-09 financial crisis and Great Recession—putting primary blame on “Wall Street” rather than government “affordable housing” crusades—for the purpose of rationalizing massive regulatory expansion; an insatiable appetite for taxing away earned wealth to create new and ever-broader handouts, effectively proposing to “save” the middle class by turning it into a vast welfare class; and an unrelenting power-lust that drives them to ceaselessly expand the federal regulatory tyranny with new freedom-restricting regulations to “solve” every “crisis” they can dream up.

Whatever remnants of the “Old Left” liberalism of the likes Scoop Jackson, JFK, Patrick Moynahan, and Joe Lieberman still moderate the Democrats was thoroughly crushed by the demagogic, explicitly socialist rise of Bernie Sanders. The Democrats’ disdain for constitutional limits on their power appears insatiable. As a registered Independent, I have no loyalty to either party. My loyalties lie with individual rights and a government constitutionally limited to protecting those rights—the original American system.

Obviously, Trump doesn’t fit the bill. Given the choices, I’m forced to choose between bad and catastrophic. But here’s the question. If we adopt the Star-Ledger’s call to vote for Hillary to stop Trump, how then do we stop the Democrats? Here’s a possible compromise: Vote for Hillary to stop Trump, then vote for a Republican Congress to check Hillary and stop the Democrats. “Republicans for Hillary” and “Democrats for a Republican Congress.” That would lead to the mirror image of what happened in 1972, when Nixon won big but Democrats retained Congress. Think the Star-Ledger and the Democrats will go along? We’ll get global cooling in you-know-where before that happens. Resentfully and tragically, at this point I feel I have no choice but to vote for a bad Trump, as a vote for Johnson/Weld would only strengthen a catastrophic Hillary.


The analogy to 1972 is invalid in one important respect. In 1972, McGovern pulled the Democrat Party farther to the Left, where it already leaned. In 2016, Trump didn’t pull the Republican Party farther Right, where it already leaned. He pulled the GOP to the Left.

Nonetheless, given the almost-certainty that Hillary will win, the best pro-liberty forces can hope for is for Republicans to hold congress. This would not, however, be as advantageous for the Right as the 1972 outcome was for the Democrats. Then, the federal government wasn’t as powerful as it is today. Today, the much-bigger regulatory leviathan awards much more power to the executive branch to make fiat law, bypassing Congress. So a Republican Congress would be much less effective at checking Hillary’s statist impulses than it would have been 44 years ago. But that looks to be our best hope.

Related reading:

Election 2016: Forget the Lies. It’s About the Issues

Friday, October 14, 2016

Hillary's Pledge to Overturn the First Amendment—and Why it Should Be Defeated

Tyler O’Neil has a piece over at PJ Media responding to Hillary Clinton’s “plan to introduce a campaign finance amendment in her first 30 days as president.” This would be a version of the Democrats’ Democracy for All amendment, which I have labeled The "Drown Out the Voice of Average Americans" Amendment. This Amendment would empower federal and state governments to enact broad restrictions on campaign spending of private money by private citizens.

In No, Hillary, Bernie, Millionaires Aren't Buying Elections - 2016 Proves It, O’Neil lays out the facts that contradict that claim. He also talks about how wealthy donors give as much or more to Leftist candidate. Finally, O’Neil advocates for free speech equally for everyone, noting that, regardless of how much you are able to spend, “it should be perfectly legal for us to advocate for what we believe in.”

It’s a good article. I left these comments, starting with a quote from the article:

“People give money to support causes they believe in, political and apolitical. Just because the rich are able to give more than others doesn't mean they shouldn't be able to exercise their free speech.”

Yes, free speech is an unalienable right. And when the state restricts that right for anyone, it restricts that right for everyone. But here’s a little-appreciated fact: When wealthy people spend money to support think tanks, positions on issues, or to back politicians they believe in, they speak not only for themselves but for anyone who agrees with them. Just as the cumulative economic value billionaires create for untold millions of average consumers far exceeds the fortunes they earn, so the intellectual value their political spending creates for average voters far exceeds the benefit to themselves.

When the Koch Brothers spend their own money on disseminating their right-wing viewpoints, they speak for the millions of average voters who agree with them. I know I’ve drawn on the intellectual work of free market capitalist-leaning think tank Koch recipients like The Federalist Society, the Manhattan Institute, and the Ayn Rand Institute in advocating for my pro-liberty viewpoints. Undoubtedly, most political candidates supported by the Koch Brothers generally advance my views. For example, in 2016 the Kochs will avoid supporting Trump and focus on supporting a liberty-leaning Senate. That suits me just fine. Koch spending does far more to advance my ideas than my single inconsequential vote could ever do. Overturning Citizens United would be disastrous for this average voter, as it would restore my much less powerful influence prior to the rise of uncapped millionaire, billionaire, and super PAC spending! Likewise, when Tom Steyer spends his own money supporting his left-wing advocacy, he speaks for millions who agree with him in the same respect.

And Steyer’s spending is also good for people on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, like me. For those who disagree with the Speyers or the Kochs, their advocacy creates numerous opportunities to present counter-arguments. When those with the financial resources to reach mass audiences, their political spending doesn’t somehow diminish “the role of average voters in elections." They amplify the average voter’s knowledge and voice. Millionaires and billionaires and PACS give voice to millions of everyday people, bring relevant political issues, knowledge, and competing opinions to the public forefront, and foster debate among average voters in coffee shops, around kitchen tables, in social media, in online debate forums, in newspaper letters sections—anywhere ordinary people gather to chat. “Big money” in politics makes for more informed voters—at least the ones who pay attention.

No matter how much anyone spends on his own speech, no private citizen or institution can mute anyone else’s voice. An “ordinary” individual can write letters to the editor, speak to friends and co-workers, attend town-hall meetings, start a blog, participate in social media or online debate forums, or post a comment on the PJ’s website. He can pool his money with others to take out ads, or donate his own money to think tanks or PACs that advocate viewpoints he agrees with. He can contact his congressman. Who could stop him? Only the government, with its law-making power of the gun.

In the end, it is the individual voter—each equal in having one vote—that determines electoral outcomes. It’s the voter who has to be convinced. No one can buy an election, and no rational person would buy the Democrats’ idiot slogans. The Democrats’ intention is quite transparent; to monopolize the flow of information voters have to make decisions. Politicians who want to legally restrict and control the free flow of political discourse are nothing more than aspiring tyrants. Hillary’s proposed campaign finance amendment is a brazen attempt to overthrow the First Amendment, the bedrock of citizens’ ability to hold the political class accountable.


In the comments section, I replied to groland who wrote:

This article completely misses the point. True, some spend a lot of money on losers. And sometimes there is no connection between amount spent and election outcome. But the donors spend to buy influence AFTER the election. In fact the really smart money, like Wall St., backs both sides. The donors are writing the legislation, that much we now to be true.

I replied:

The donors don’t “buy influence.” They “buy” ACCESS to lawmakers for the chance to plead their case in order to influence the legislation that affects their lives. And so what? The whole point of the democratic process in a free republic is to recognize the rights of we citizens to exert political influence in whatever capacity we are able. We are, after all, citizens who have a government of, for, and by “we the people”—every single one of us. Private political donations are one means of exerting influence. (That’s why political campaigns should be funded strictly by private donations, rather than by “public funding,” as Sanders advocates. Public funding would be a disaster morally, constitutionally, and regards democracy. Public funding would in effect be a wall insulating the politicians from the people they govern.)

Granted, these days everybody (the “special interests) is out to exert influence on politicians. But that’s not a primary. That’s a consequence of the vast extent to which government has gained control over our affairs. But that doesn’t change the fundamental issue. Political influence is what intellectual freedom is about. What is the purpose of your comment? If it’s not an attempt to exert influence, you might as well stand before a mirror and talk to yourself. Statist politicians would love the chance to go on regulating, taxing, and spending without those pesky private citizens (subjects?) to answer to. But any politician who wants to restrict in any way our freedom to exert political influence on those whose legislation affects our lives—to “petition the government,” as the First Amendment reads—should be recognized for what they are; aspiring tyrants whose aim is to enslave us.

[NOTE: Most of the comments, including mine and groland’s, have disappeared from the site.]

Related Reading:


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Human Energy Needs vs. 'Mother Earth'

Sometimes, the real motive behind the anti-fossil fuel movement is exposed for all to see. In Southern New Jersey, South Jersey Gas is trying to get approval to build a 22-mile natural gas pipeline through part of what is known as the Pinelands. The purpose of the pipeline is to enable a coal-fired electric generating plant to comply with a state regulators’ order to convert to natural gas.

Like pipelines all over NJ and America, South Jersey Gas’ application faces fierce opposition from climate catastrophists. Most opposition at least pays lip service to human well-being to cover up the anti-humanist premises of environmentalism.

But this letter was refreshingly blunt: S.J. Gas pipeline bad for Mother Earth. Steven Fenichel wrote, in part:

At last there is a slender ray of hope for Mother Earth: A lawsuit has been filed against the Pinelands Commission and the state Board of Public Utilities (BPU)over their approvals of the South Jersey Gas Co. pipeline.

I don't believe that ordinary citizens who support this 22-mile natural gas pipeline through the Pinelands realize how dangerously close to the point of no return the Earth is to irreversible, calamitous climate change from fossil-fuel derived greenhouse gasses.

For the sake of Mother Earth, our future generations and ourselves, may the lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club-N.J. and NJ Environment receive justice in this morally challenged time.

But less hope for humans.

I left these comments, slightly edited for clarity:

The Earth is not a mother. It is not a conscious entity of any kind. It is a giant ball of raw materials. Human beings survive and thrive by harvesting these raw materials, turning them into resources that then can be turned into life-enhancing material goods and services—like fossil fuels.

Energy is the industry of industries that powers the technological improvements to the Earth, turning the hostile and dangerous natural environment into one conducive to human well-being. Fossil fuels are the most progressive energy source we currently have, providing the cheap, plentiful, reliable energy we need to live clean, healthy, prosperous lives. From the standpoint of human life as the moral standard of value, natural gas pipelines are good, because they deliver the energy of life that powers humans’ ability to remake the Earth in the image of their values.

“Mother Earth” is a fantasy peddled by those who value unimproved, unaltered nature above human well-being. The idea of a “Mother Earth” is a superstition more befitting a primitive witch doctor than an enlightened mind. Don’t listen to these climate witch doctors—euphemistically called “environmentalists”—who want to take away the energy our lives and environmental safety depend on. These days, the witch doctors seem to be wherever any reliable energy project is proposed. Morality is not on their side. The moral high ground is occupied by the people who value human life above raw materials. Thank God for the Pinelands Commission’s courageous stance in support of the pipeline.

The author of the letter, Steven Fenichel, MD, replied directly to me:

This is the view that the Earth is to be dominated and exploited.

It clashes with the indigenous cultures who were caring stewards of Mother Earth. " Man did not weave the web of life he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself".

The Earth will show sooner than later which philosophy is connected to life and which to death.

If you ever doubted that anti-humanism and mysticism lies behind environmentalism, this removes all doubt. We have no value. We are mere “strands” in the “web of life.”

I left this response to Mr. Fenichel’s reply:

The Earth will show sooner than later which philosophy is connected to life and which to death.”

“The Earth”—i.e., reality—already did. Just compare the miserable, short, brutish, poverty-riddled, sickly, hopelessly stagnant lives of the peoples of “indigenous cultures” past (and present) to the lives industrialized people live today, where increasing use of reliable energy from fossil fuels correlates to better and longer lives for more and more billions of human beings. It’s the life of a glorified animal vs. a life proper to human beings. Primitive life is what it means to be “caring stewards of Mother Earth”—except that there’s nothing caring about wanting that.

The ability and freedom to “dominate and exploit the Earth” for human betterment and flourishing is precisely what’s needed to live like a human being.

I shudder to think of what awaits my grandchildren should the Steven Fenichel’s get their way. And he calls himself an “MD.”

Related Reading:

Fossil Fuels and Climate Change: Remember Life Before Them