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The Expansionist
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
 
That's Your Problem, Not Government's. Senator Tom Coburn was shown on last nite's Countdown with Keith Olbermann as stone-facedly telling a woman in the audience at one of his town halls who was crying because her husband is dying because their health insurance won't pay for nursing care he desperately needs,
Well, I think ... First of all, yeah, we'll help. The first thing we'll do is see what we can do, individually, to help you, thru our office. But the other thing that's missing in this debate is us, as neighbors, helpin' people that need our help. You know, we tend to — the idea that the Government is the solution to our problems is an inaccurate, a very inaccurate statement.
What a lovely man. What Senator Coburn is saying is that one person's problems are his problems, not anyone else's, such that even if we could help, we have absolutely no moral obligation to do so. That is, if Government COULD help that man get the medical help he needs, it SHOULD NOT. I repeat: What a lovely 'man'.
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It's times like this that one is tempted to envy the Aztecs, who could cut out the heart of such a 'person' and hold it in the air, still beating. Of course, we would then transplant it to someone more deserving, but we'd have the momentary satisfaction of cheering at our ability to end the life of an evil man and thereby end his part in the public advocacy of inhuman policies.
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If you disapprove so whole'heart'edly of Government, 'Dr.' Coburn, why on Earth are you a U.S. Senator? I suppose it's easier to destroy the Government from within than without.
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By Senator Coburn's reasoning, society does not exist, only hundreds of millions of biologically and morally separate individuals, each of whose problems is their own. No one has the obligation to pay even one penny to help anyone else. Naturally, if one individual — such as a neighbor — chooses of his own, completely free will, to help another, that's fine, as long as everyone understands that what he does is an act of charity, not a moral obligation nor even practical arrangement for being part of a social compact: I help others in order to qualify to be helped, myself.
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If American hikers wander too close to an unmarked frontier and are seized by the Iranian Government, that's their problem. If five guys go out fishing in a 23' recreational watercraft and an unexpected wave flips the boat, that's their problem. Would Senator Coburn turn the same hard heart to those fishermen as to that woman's husband? Probably. We can't really be expected to maintain a Coast Guard at public expense to save recreational fishermen from a freak accident. Their misfortune is theirs. What about if a freak wave capsizes a billionaire's yacht filled with multimillionaire guests at a yacht party? Do we leave them to drown too? Senator? Frankly, if I had to choose which of those groups to save, I'd opt for the fishermen. They probably work for a living when not out on a weekend fishing trip. Their deaths would be a real loss. Not so the deaths of the idle rich.
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And if a fire breaks out or a burglar is breaking into your house or car, that's your problem, buddy. It is not for other people to shoulder the burden of protecting you.
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Senator Coburn would appear to believe, without an iota of doubt, in the philosophy called "Radical Libertarianism", an insincere point of view espoused basically only by people who are, for the moment, enormously lucky. They ascribe their luck — which is all it is, be it as regards good health, substantial wealth, emotional security, or anything else: only luck, and luck can change — to their own extraordinary virtue, and subscribe to a Calvinistic "Predestination". They are lucky because they are the Chosen of God, who, before they were even born, decided that they would have good things in life and then go to heaven at the instant of death. Why did God do that? Just on a whim. He could have chosen somebody else, but He chose them. They don't have any obligation to people for their blessings, because those blessings didn't come from people. No, all their good fortune came directly from God, separately from all other people.
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So the mere fact that the "little people" made them what they are in every single regard — that they wouldn't even have survived infancy if someone ELSE hadn't fed them, for instance; no, they fed themselves, even in their first two weeks outside the womb! — means nothing. They seem to feel that they grew all the food they eat; they built their own house; they created the schools they went to, and the telephone, water, electrical, and sewer systems they needed at every stage of life, and the roads, railroads, airports, airlines, and everything else they rely upon to achieve anything in life. And that's why they are entitled to everything they have and owe nothing to anyone else. They are their own police force and fire department, and they pay for everything they get. Never mind that they pay with dollars designated with our name, "United States of America", and their "money" would be useless paper were our name not on it, and the financial system other people created did not exist.
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If these people were sincere about their Radical Libertarianism, they would accept that if they are involved in a traffic accident or a fire races up the stairs toward their bedroom, they would have to accept with good grace that no one has the obligation to save them. No EMT need show up; no fireman need rouse himself from a sound sleep to carry him, unconscious, out the window and down a ladder. Because he did it all, all by himself, and he owes nobody anything, so nobody owes him anything.
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I have never heard of any Libertarian telling EMT's or firemen who are trying to extricate them from the twisted metal of a car crash, "No, that's all right. Just leave me here." Mind you, they'd leave other people there. There are few to no Radical Libertarians or billionaires working as EMT's or firefiters.
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I for one would be glad to leave Senator Coburn crushed in twisted metal, and just scrape the medical waste from the metal and glass before we recycle it.
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Let's follow Senator Coburn's line of 'reasoning' to its logical conclusion: there should be no Government and no taxes. Everything should be free market, and those who can afford services get them; those who cannot afford them, don't get them. This could work, they think, for everything, including private security and firefiting services under contract by each home in a gated community. But what about travel on public roads and such? How is an EMT or firefiter to know who has paid for their services? Do they ask for a contract number or to see proof of prior payment, current thru the date of an accident, before they'll provide rescue services? and let everyone who cannot provide such prior proof — for instance, because they are unconscious — die of their wounds or burn alive at an automobile crash site?
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What about national defense? Should we find some way to make that private too? Well, how about simply making payments for national defense optional, strictly voluntary. If people think that other countries might pose a danger to them personally, they can pay for the military. If other people think that they have nothing to lose by being invaded by another country, because the monster the United States had become should be destroyed, and any other system would be better, then they can withhold taxes for the Defense Department.
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On and on we can go. Governmental deposit insurance for bank accounts? Get rid of it. If a bank fails, that's the problem of the depositors. If a private insurance company wants to charge a yearly premium to cover bank losses, that's fine; those who feel they have too much to lose if their bank fails will pay for such insurance. People who are willing to gamble that the bank will not fail can save the premium but lose everything if that bank does fail. But what happens if the financial distress is so broad that the insurance company fails at the same time as the bank? Then even the rich who paid their premiums will lose everything. That's fair — right, Senator Coburn?
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Earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters? The rich can buy insurance to rebuild. But what about rescue services? Forget about lifeboats sent out by the fire department or national guard, or emergency personnel being lowered from a Government helicopter for anyone who doesn't have a prepaid rescue service. Such private services would be specific to a given property, but also apply to people who call from a cellphone and provide the necessary information — if they can. If they can't — the cellphone doesn't work because it got wet or the battery went out because the electricity went out yesterday before they could recharge, and the car is underwater so they can't use the cigaret lighter to power a cellphone; or all the antenna towers nearby were burned or knocked down — that's tuf, right Senator Coburn?
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And if the particular private emergency rescue or firefiting service is overwhelmed — or its facilities and equipment have themselves been destroyed by the disaster — well, that's unfortunate, but can't be helped. Well, it could be helped if these things were governmental, but we don't want government interfering with free enterprise, do we? So if there are only personnel enuf to save 10 mansions that afternoon, and you are in the 11th or 14th, I'm afraid that's your problem. You should have planned ahead and built a fireproof, floodproof, hurricaneproof, tornadoproof room within your mansion, and if you didn't, that shows damned poor foresight on your part. So you'll just have to die, as that woman's husband just has to die, and a bedrock minimum of 18,000 other Americans each and every year just have to die because their health insurance won't provide the treatment they need to live. Them's the breaks. Right, Senator Coburn? (Radical) Right?
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And if someone infuriated by Senator Coburn's monstrous hardheartedness takes a gun, drives to a town hall at which he is to speak, and points that gun at him, we have no obligation to save him from the fully foreseeable consequences of his own monstrousness, right? And if one of those "little people", in a police uniform, happens to be there and chooses not to risk his life to save Senator Coburn's, that's just the way things are. Why would any "little person" do anything to save anyone like Senator Coburn if it entailed even the tiniest risk of death or even injury (e.g., a hangnail)? Senator Coburn won't pay so much as a cent of money (that he can easily afford) to save someone else's life. Why would anyone at all, anywhere on Earth, risk anything at all to save him from the righteous rage of the world?
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(The current U.S. military death toll in Iraq, according to the website "Iraq Coalition Casualties", is 4,334 — for Israel.)



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