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  1. #271
    Senior Member miked277's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antisocial one View Post
    Since it does not make any sense that "the greatest superpower in history" is unable to keep its people healthy. The right to have a healthy life is one of the most basic human rights. So if you don't have it then it becomes questionable how much you are really free.
    People are usually scared of medical problems. What means that if you force them to pay a lot to come into a sitation to face their fears the majority will just look the other way. Since the whole problem look like more trouble then it is worth. Especially if you bombard them with "you are free to choose" all the time.
    the idea that the government is responsible for keeping its people healthy is where your argument, to me at least, collapses. people should have the option to live a healthy lifestyle (e.g. having access to clean water, knowing content of the food you eat, etc). however, removing any sort of economic penalty for living an unhealthy lifestyle removes incentives for people to take care of themselves. the government should be responsible for ensuring people have the opportunity to live and be healthy, they should not ensure that they actually do live heathily.

    the problem with these arguments is that *on the surface* it sounds like a good idea. provide free health care -- who wouldn't want something for nothing. BUT, when you actually look at the ramifications of these types of programs you see all sorts of moral hazards and unintended consequences. and whats worse is, a lot of these programs are essentially impossible to roll back.
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  2. #272
    IRL is not real Cimarron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antisocial one View Post
    The only way to fix this is by investing in the quality of government. I simply don't see any other way to get what you want, in the case that I know what you really want.
    It's difficult to analyze a collective "frame of mind," in my opinion, but here are my thoughts on it, and it's related to this part I quoted.

    As Kangirl wrote above, the original American attitude has been to prevent the government from becoming "too powerful," because of the assumption that this would lead it to abuse that power (you have probably already heard this). Americans didn't want to have government intrude or restrict their lives, but also, I think they wanted to be able to have a system in which they could ignore the government's activities and presence as much as reasonably possible. The way to do this was to design it so that it wouldn't grow strong enough to "worry" about it abusing power, letting these American citizens only have to check on it periodically. Theoretically, they wanted to set the system, and let it run, without having to watch it constantly.

    That's my hypothesis: Originally, these Americans didn't want to "invest" any time or energy or interest in their government--they didn't even want to think about it, if they could avoid it. And I think that is still at the core of the American mentality.

    This is why people from other countries are more aware and more worried about the activities of our government than we in the U.S. are; why activists, riots, and protests seem much more rare here; why Americans appear "not to care" about what their government does. Because we'd rather focus on the other stuff in life, and really don't want to think about the problems of government processes. "Investing" energy and attention in our government is something we want to resist. (This was probably the question for which you really wanted an answer. I don't have one right now, but I hope some background made the situation a little more clear. And much of it has been said before.)
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  3. #273
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    The irony of course being that Americans derived their concepts of government from European concepts.

  4. #274
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miked277 View Post
    the idea that the government is responsible for keeping its people healthy is where your argument, to me at least, collapses. people should have the option to live a healthy lifestyle (e.g. having access to clean water, knowing content of the food you eat, etc). however, removing any sort of economic penalty for living an unhealthy lifestyle removes incentives for people to take care of themselves. the government should be responsible for ensuring people have the opportunity to live and be healthy, they should not ensure that they actually do live heathily.

    the problem with these arguments is that *on the surface* it sounds like a good idea. provide free health care -- who wouldn't want something for nothing. BUT, when you actually look at the ramifications of these types of programs you see all sorts of moral hazards and unintended consequences. and whats worse is, a lot of these programs are essentially impossible to roll back.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cimarron View Post
    It's difficult to analyze a collective "frame of mind," in my opinion, but here are my thoughts on it, and it's related to this part I quoted.

    As Kangirl wrote above, the original American attitude has been to prevent the government from becoming "too powerful," because of the assumption that this would lead it to abuse that power (you have probably already heard this). Americans didn't want to have government intrude or restrict their lives, but also, I think they wanted to be able to have a system in which they could ignore the government's activities and presence as much as reasonably possible. The way to do this was to design it so that it wouldn't grow strong enough to "worry" about it abusing power, letting these American citizens only have to check on it periodically. Theoretically, they wanted to set the system, and let it run, without having to watch it constantly.

    That's my hypothesis: Originally, these Americans didn't want to "invest" any time or energy or interest in their government--they didn't even want to think about it, if they could avoid it. And I think that is still at the core of the American mentality.

    This is why people from other countries are more aware and more worried about the activities of our government than we in the U.S. are; why activists, riots, and protests seem much more rare here; why Americans appear "not to care" about what their government does. Because we'd rather focus on the other stuff in life, and really don't want to think about the problems of government processes. "Investing" energy and attention in our government is something we want to resist. (This was probably the question for which you really wanted an answer. I don't have one right now, but I hope some background made the situation a little more clear. And much of it has been said before.)
    Just wanted to express my general support for what is stated in these posts, carry on...

  5. #275
    Queen hunter Virtual ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    The irony of course being that Americans derived their concepts of government from European concepts.
    Of course. The many reason why so many Europeans "escaped" into North America is because European countries had too much government.
    This is exactly why US constitution is written the way it is.


    Quote Originally Posted by miked277 View Post
    the idea that the government is responsible for keeping its people healthy is where your argument, to me at least, collapses. people should have the option to live a healthy lifestyle (e.g. having access to clean water, knowing content of the food you eat, etc). however, removing any sort of economic penalty for living an unhealthy lifestyle removes incentives for people to take care of themselves. the government should be responsible for ensuring people have the opportunity to live and be healthy, they should not ensure that they actually do live heathily.

    the problem with these arguments is that *on the surface* it sounds like a good idea. provide free health care -- who wouldn't want something for nothing. BUT, when you actually look at the ramifications of these types of programs you see all sorts of moral hazards and unintended consequences. and whats worse is, a lot of these programs are essentially impossible to roll back.
    This what I don't get it. All argument about power of the government usually come to black and white. It looks that no one really pays attention to gray area. My government pays my medical bills but I did not lose my individuality because of this. I am free to do with my life whatever I want.
    In a way it is great that I don't have to think what I am going to do when I get sick.

    Actually I think that my country could use more regulation then it already has.

  6. #276
    IRL is not real Cimarron's Avatar
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    Perhaps the reason Americans are generally wary of the government paying for things that should be benevolent and helpful (such as your example, healthcare) is that the more money the government holds in its hands between transfers, the more leverage/"power advantage" they have over the American's money. The intent of the taxing/spending is irrelevant, because it does not go directly in and directly right back out, used as prescribed. (This happens during any transfer of credit, even among a family or between friends. It is what makes money different than bartering.) It is held for a time--not as "intended healthcare", but as money, and therefore as power--and this is the "dangerous" step.

    Of course no one is scared of lower medical bills, and no one is scared of easier access to doctors. The implications of the government's leverage in personal financial choices is what may leave Americans uneasy, and about the possibility of that leverage to increase. I guess. (I'm not satisfied with my explanation here because there are inconsistencies when it is placed in other contexts, as you can probably see. But the things written above may be part of the picture.)
    Last edited by Cimarron; 05-01-2009 at 11:00 AM. Reason: note about credit
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  7. #277
    Queen hunter Virtual ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cimarron View Post
    Perhaps the reason Americans are generally wary of the government paying for things that should be benevolent and helpful (such as your example, healthcare) is that the more money the government holds in its hands between transfers, the more leverage/"power advantage" they have over the American's money. The intent of the taxing/spending is irrelevant, because it does not go directly in and directly right back out, used as prescribed. (This happens during any transfer of credit, even among a family or between friends. It is what makes money different than bartering.) It is held for a time--not as "intended healthcare", but as money, and therefore as power--and this is the "dangerous" step.

    Of course no one is scared of lower medical bills, and no one is scared of easier access to doctors. The implications of the government's leverage in personal financial choices is what may leave Americans uneasy, and about the possibility of that leverage to increase. I guess. (I'm not satisfied with my explanation here because there are inconsistencies when it is placed in other contexts, as you can probably see. But the things written above may be part of the picture.)
    I understand. But this is exactly about what I am talking about. You treat your goverment as a third party or even enemy.
    Towards my look at the subject government is something that represents all of us (or all of you). It is a central hub of a society.
    But you seem to "personalize" your government for some reason.


    Society in which that is not the case has a problem. (towards my opinion)

  8. #278
    Senior Member miked277's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antisocial one View Post
    This what I don't get it. All argument about power of the government usually come to black and white. It looks that no one really pays attention to gray area. My government pays my medical bills but I did not lose my individuality because of this. I am free to do with my life whatever I want.
    In a way it is great that I don't have to think what I am going to do when I get sick.

    Actually I think that my country could use more regulation then it already has.
    i don't see it as the government is paying for everything. i see it as the taxpayers paying for everything.

    also, just as cimm said, having money forcibly taken from you is essentially power (and freedom) being stripped from you and distributed by those in power. americans, and every other citizenry, should be extremely wary of government power. the potential for abuses is so high its hard for me to understand why more people aren't afraid of just how much our current administration is expanding.

    most people are very short sighted and seem to only think in terms of their current situation and not 10, 20 30, 50, 100 years down the road. giving government power now might seem like a good idea but what happens when another administration comes into power, another congress, other supreme court justices, etc... it all builds up and power accumulated in prior incarnations of government becomes standard and the process repeats itself. i.e., government is ALWAYS expanding. it is SOOOO unlikely that people in power will ever divest themselves of power. in the end you have a path, paved with good intentions, that leads towards a totalitarian government that controls all aspects of life that the citizens of the time saw fit to forfeit.

    this why every single expansion of government power should be closely scrutinized. if the states, counties, or people themselves can manage without federal government having to intervene then they MUST be left untouched.

    think of the roman empire right around the time of julius caesar and then caesar augustus. julius seized a bunch of power, the senators were suspicious of so much power being put in the hands of one person so they murdered him. then augustus comes and after a bitter accession struggle he attains the throne. he does such a good and fair job of governing the roman empire he is granted the title and priviledges of an emperor (lifelong position, no, few restraints, etc). after he dies, you then see a series of average to poor emperors who abused the newfound power often leading to bloody deaths at the hands of those whom they lead.

    the power and freedom we enjoy as citizens was a gift from everyone starting with the fathers of the nation and including everyone who worked, fought and died so that it could survive. to abandon that individual power and freedom so readily just to achieve a short term gain is a reflection on how much we take our freedoms and powers for granted.
    I'm feeling rough, I'm feeling raw, I'm in the prime of my life.

  9. #279
    IRL is not real Cimarron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Antisocial one View Post
    I understand. But this is exactly about what I am talking about. You treat your goverment as a third party or even enemy.
    Towards my look at the subject government is something that represents all of us (or all of you). It is a central hub of a society.
    You have heard the sentiment that people "change" when given authority/power, and this is just a form of that, I guess. It's hard to escape from the dilemma: as societies, we have decided that someone must govern, but when we give them the license to power, we distrust them because of it--because of something we allowed in the first place.

    I recognize what you're saying, that "government" in most modern forms is a collection of citizens governing other citizens (a "central hub of society"). The government is comprised of citizens.

    It is difficult to determine from what logic a general attitude comes, in whatever situation we might discuss. The separated assumption of government from citizens is something I'm still analyzing...the most obvious first step is the sentiment I mentioned at the beginning of this post, but I doubt that that plays such a strong factor. It probably did originally, then became a kind of liturgy or repeated notion, and has never left the American political discourse since, even though only its effects appear these days. The original sentiment is not that strong or widespread as it once was (supposing it ever was).
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  10. #280
    Queen hunter Virtual ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miked277 View Post
    i don't see it as the government is paying for everything. i see it as the taxpayers paying for everything.

    also, just as cimm said, having money forcibly taken from you is essentially power (and freedom) being stripped from you and distributed by those in power. americans, and every other citizenry, should be extremely wary of government power. the potential for abuses is so high its hard for me to understand why more people aren't afraid of just how much our current administration is expanding.

    most people are very short sighted and seem to only think in terms of their current situation and not 10, 20 30, 50, 100 years down the road. giving government power now might seem like a good idea but what happens when another administration comes into power, another congress, other supreme court justices, etc... it all builds up and power accumulated in prior incarnations of government becomes standard and the process repeats itself. i.e., government is ALWAYS expanding. it is SOOOO unlikely that people in power will ever divest themselves of power. in the end you have a path, paved with good intentions, that leads towards a totalitarian government that controls all aspects of life that the citizens of the time saw fit to forfeit.

    this why every single expansion of government power should be closely scrutinized. if the states, counties, or people themselves can manage without federal government having to intervene then they MUST be left untouched.

    think of the roman empire right around the time of julius caesar and then caesar augustus. julius seized a bunch of power, the senators were suspicious of so much power being put in the hands of one person so they murdered him. then augustus comes and after a bitter accession struggle he attains the throne. he does such a good and fair job of governing the roman empire he is granted the title and priviledges of an emperor (lifelong position, no, few restraints, etc). after he dies, you then see a series of average to poor emperors who abused the newfound power often leading to bloody deaths at the hands of those whom they lead.

    the power and freedom we enjoy as citizens was a gift from everyone starting with the fathers of the nation and including everyone who worked, fought and died so that it could survive. to abandon that individual power and freedom so readily just to achieve a short term gain is a reflection on how much we take our freedoms and powers for granted.
    You are right taxpayers are paying for this. But the point is that it is only a
    intermediator in this matters. But people in the US seem to dislike this idea.
    Ok, it is your choice.

    Also one of the benefits that you get in my system is that you can know that if you die in a car accident that your child still has a chance to finnish college. Even if it not a genious.


    On the other hand you are on the highway to the opposite side of the spectrum. Which is that big companies control and dictates in which direction society should go. I would dare to say that your government is more or less completely under control of big business that wants only profit.
    So it is in their intrest to make goverment (which they control) look bad since that makes them stronger.

    In a way you are going exactly where you don't want to be. Which is totalitarian value system. The advertisemen is generally nothing more then a brain wash. Food quality is quite questionable and you have to buy your water in some store. (While I can still drink the one from a pipeline.)

    You are afraid that someone will abuse power in the future. But your polititians are abusing their power for decades. This is nothing new.


    The US in the current moment has a lot of divisions from the inside. What is exactly because no one want to be controled.
    What makes the entire system unstabile. So in order to boost the spirit of unity you must do it through nationalism. What can lead/leads to closed minded mind set.


    I am sorry but you live in a form of totalitarian system.

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