Monday, December 07, 2009

Stealing great titles: War is Peace (Too bad the author couldn't steal something else better)

I love crap like this about how our democracy is threatened by the free exercise of speech and the press. It is fun to compare pro censorship literature of the past 100 years to today and see how their tactics have improved, but always coming back to how people need to be protected from themselves, and from their own ignorance. The best part is that of course they are never talking about the reader; the reader is smart because they are reading their article. It is all those other people out there that don't read or can't understand the brilliance that is Lawrence M. Krauss that are the idiots out there we could help so much if they would just do what we say, and read what we write. After all, this is Scientific American.

My Health Care is fine. I like my doctor, and I don't think under any condition I will ever "like" hospitals (oh well). In my experience, government is just the biggest corporation around, and like many monopolies once powerful enough rarely needs to listen to the customer to keep conducting business as it pleases. Academia tells us that government is the voice of the people, but the reality of which person is being heard leaves a lot to be desired.

I think there is a lot that could be done to improve health care in the United States and the world for that matter. In my understanding of the bills as I have read them and listening to the range of opinions on specific issues, I do not like any of the proposals getting serious attention. I am very skeptical that this congress will be able to produce a decent bill. I would be more open minded if congress would at least begin by looking at some of the many social welfare programs and regulations concerning health care that have not been as effective as intended.

The fanaticism in this debate, as the author likes to put it, is the idea that something must hurriedly be passed, whatever it is. "Death Panel" is a buzz word no matter who says it that relates to actual fear (rational or otherwise) some can't easily dismiss, and controversies over how specific provisions of the various bill provisions will actually be interpreted and executed (no pun intended).

And if the scientific method as a whole is going to be brought into this debate, let us consider some principles of engineering. Great designs, in reality, are only as good as they can be explained. If a majority of people can not be more greatly persuaded by truth than by lies, maybe some of the burden lies on you to improve your documentation if not also the design itself. Blaming the reader, investor, or customer for simply not understanding your brilliance is a cop out. And if there really is an emergency, all the more reason for due diligence, not blind faith.

In response to some of the comments made by readers of the article:

"Where is the proof?"

I believe, at least, he is regurgitating quotes by right wing extremists have taken from Congressional Research Services Health Care Reform: An Introduction by Bob Lyke, April 2009 (, you know, the one and only AUTHORITY Congress uses to determine the cost and impact of bills. I would hope and am fairly certain that someone in congress uses other sources for information in the debate. But simply going by my understanding of the above article, if CRS says more people will be left without coverage, costs will go up, and there is no reason to believe quality will improve, should not we all just take them at their word? Despite the fact that I would agree with their position, I do not support centralization of information dispensation. It is worth pointing out, but no justification for censorship of less authoritative opposition.

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