Monday, December 16, 2013

Reflections on a Winter's Evening

As we approach another winter solstice, and the days draw to their shortest, it seems a good time to reflect on the clouded vision and diffused light that comes from those elected to serve “We the People.”

Is bigger central government a solution or does it just increase the size of a problem?  It seems to me this is a fundamental question that supports the entire debate on social structure.  As our society evolves I think the answer to this question will never really be settled.  We can look back to our beginnings and see much the same debate went on between our founding fathers, many of whom argued for a strong central government and many others who argued for a weak confederation of states.  As we see in the current discussion on the National Security Agency there is a very fine line between enough and too much.  On the one hand, we all want to feel safe, but what does it really take to be safe, and how much independence are we willing to sacrifice for those illusions?

Do more laws promote more safety or just more lawlessness?  We started with one law, then we had 10, and now we have thousands and tens of thousands.  Are we safer today then we were in the beginning, or do we just have more excuses for the way we can violate the humanity of those around us?  We see a great debate in this country on firearms.  What I am confused by is the lack of empirical evidence that shows increased control of firearms actually leads to their reduced use in crime and violence?  It appears to me to be all the arguments are emotionally based on social science.  But, isn’t this akin to the positions taken by the prohibitionists and the methodologies and arguments made with regards to illicit drug use, and now some states are refuting with their legalization of cannabis?  While I don’t support the use of cannabis, it appears to be an increasingly likely probability it will become a legal drug, and I will find it really funny that those states arguing to restrict tobacco will endorse a new cash crop with as of yet unknown long-term medical implications.

Finally, when is a monopoly not a monopoly?  I don’t know, but there are those who suggest a single payer healthcare system is not a monopoly.  This is very confusing to me for it suggests either a fear of the word monopoly or a lack of acceptance that there may be times when monopolies are actually beneficial and affective, because that would run counter to the condemnation of businesses who’ve attempted to gain a monopoly.  While I doubt we could effectively establish a single-payer system in the US, my pessimism in not based on a refusal to accept it works elsewhere but on the pure political football it has been made into by one party’s insistence to both push it on an emotional basis while at the same time vilifying all those who voice their concern over it, or the other party's determination to find complete fault in the approach.  In this bi-polar political environment the special interest lobbies will carve out their own agendas and the in the end we will neither improve care, nor contain costs.

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