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Old April 26th, 2017, 09:39 PM   #1
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Under Socialized Medicine, The State Owns You

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As Americans were spending time scrambling to give the IRS their annual protection fee, the court system in the United Kingdom, at the behest of National Health Service bureaucrats, abducted and murdered an 8-month-old baby. This brazen abduction was done in broad daylight with full press coverage and the UK government and courts claimed loudly this was humane and the right thing to do.

This might sound like a severe bout of hyperbole, but that is exactly what happened. On April 11, 2017, the courts in the UK ruled that Charlie Gard, against the wishes of his parents, must be immediately removed from life support and left to die. Unlike cases in the US where it is usually the family that is arguing for or against extending hope that their loved ones can be rescued, the only people arguing against continued efforts were government officials and some third party public onlookers. What makes the Charlie Gard case so disturbing is that this is a case where no family member made any argument to remove the child from life support. The government simply overruled them and took their child. As an 8 month old, Charlie was in no position to formulate a living will or even have discussions with relatives as to how he wished to be treated with a potentially fatal illness.

Charlie was born with a rare genetic condition called mitochondrial depletion syndrome rrm2b. This genetic disorder comes with a host of issues ranging from muscle deterioration, seizures and, in Charlie’s case, left him blind and deaf. The life expectancy of this disease is between 3 months and 12 years from the onset of symptoms. There are no current proven treatments beyond clinical studies.

This certainly seems like a difficult disorder to live and deal with. However, this is up to the individual to decide how to handle the onset of a disorder, or in the case of an infant, the parents. In the case of mitochondrial depletion syndrome, the treatment is risky but could lead to the child being able to experience some life, interact with family and live a number of years. The NHS, predictably, denied treatment stating it is too risky. The £1.2 million cost of treatment ($1.5 million as of this writing) was certainly a factor in this decision, indicating that the know-how and necessary medication is not readily available.

In most cases of government run medical care, with such costs, the decision is final. Care is denied and you are sent on your way. In the case of wealthy individuals, medical tourism is always an option. Approximately 800,000 people every year fly to the United States and another 600,000 to Singapore to take advantage of cutting edge and high quality medical treatment that is not available anywhere else. But with the case of Charlie, the £1.2 million price tag would have been out of reach for a regular family. We would have had another footnote for Statists to prove how the poor get trampled under the foot of the rich and we would then go about our day.

Except a major feature of the free market, private charity, kicked in wonderfully. Within a month of denial and discovery of the treatment, Charlie’s parents managed to raise the entire amount to pay for the treatment and trip to the United States. In a normal world, this would have been the end of the story. Charlie would have gone to the United States, received his treatment and we would have discovered if his already dire situation could have been mitigated or treatment failed.

But the NHS decided, for whatever reason, to interfere with this process. When Charlie’s parents attempted to withdraw him for this treatment, Great Ormond Street, a children’s hospital in Greater London run by the NHS, rushed to the British High Court to block his parents from doing so. As government court systems are wont to do, they sided with themselves and denied the parents’ wishes for further private treatment and gave an official court order that Charlie is to be removed from life support and left to die. This was a no-lose situation for Charlie and his family. If the treatment fails, the end result is the same and the parents can at least have closure that they tried everything possible. If the treatment is a success, he can live enough years to be able to learn what his parents look like, interact with them and be able to experience some joy in life. One can wonder, cynically, if the court system ordered his death to avoid risking embarrassing the NHS should the treatment they denied actually work.

Unlike the usual defects of public medical care, where resources are politically allocated leading to critical shortages for perfectly preventable diseases, such as the case of Laura Hiller in Canada, all the while claiming that medical care in a free market would be provided on a cut-throat system that denies the poor care. Charlie’s case shatters this self-proclaimed image. Here we have elements of the free market working as expected but with the government actively, and openly, doing everything it can to interfere with it.

Proponents of expanding this system to the United States, such as Paul Krugman, insist that public medicine doesn’t have death panels. What we are now seeing in the UK, not only does the British Government have death panels, they display those death panels as a public court spectacle for all to see and are also in the business of child abduction and forced euthanasia to enforce the panel’s decisions. No private hospital could ever hope to do the same thing that Great Ormond Street and the British High Court just did.


https://mises.org/blog/under-sociali...state-owns-you
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Old April 26th, 2017, 09:52 PM   #2
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Neil Ty, The Scientism Guy

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Always open to falsification

The scientific method has another large limitation: conclusions derived solely by experimentation are always susceptible to falsification by just one aberrant observation. For this reason and others, even wide consensus among scientists should be met with at least some skepticism before the heavy hand of the government gets involved.

In 1992, the government, backed by the scientific community, told you that you needed 6-11 daily servings of bread, cereal, rice, and/or pasta to maintain good nutrition (and that saturated and animal fats are to be avoided). Many government policies and public school food offerings were based on this recommendation, including, suspiciously, agricultural subsidies and import tariffs. But then, years later, new information revealed this to be terrible advice, after a big jump in diabetes diagnoses and obesity rates.

Or, consider the government’s attempts at alleviating malaria. The National Malaria Eradication Program sprayed DDT in 4,650,000 homes and overhead by aircraft. Later, it was realized that DDT is carcinogenic and the spraying had a severe effect on the environment and wildlife, birds in particular. Birds of prey like the bald eagle are not considered endangered species anymore, and the ban on DDT is considered a major factor in their recovery. Even this conclusion is in question, including whether or not DDT is carcinogenic for humans, but the point is that the government itself backtracked on its own science-based solution to a problem. It banned a chemical it once sprayed indiscriminately.

Since the climate is such an important issue for Tyson, consider also the claims and predictions of various scientists around 1970. Earth Day had just started, and scientists were predicting rather apocalyptic scenarios, similar to what we are hearing today from climate scientists. To be clear, just because these predictions turned out to be “spectacularly wrong”, it doesn’t necessarily mean that modern claims are wrong. But it might explain a lot about the modern layperson’s skepticism, as opposed to sheer stupidity as Tyson suggests.

Sites like retractionwatch.com document the increasingly frequent cases in which academic journals must retract published research because the peer review process was a sham or when other fraudulent activity comes to light. A recent entry reports that Springer had to retract 107 papers on cancer due to fake peer reviews. Surprisingly, retraction doesn’t always mean fewer citations, as this top 10 list of most highly cited retracted papers demonstrates.

Skepticism and science are good friends

These examples reveal another larger issue with Tyson’s argument. Tyson says, “every minute one is in denial, you are delaying the political solution.” The problem is that sometimes delays and denial are exactly what is needed. The scientific method requires time and attempts at falsification.

There is an inherent contradiction and arrogance in Tyson’s video. In one breath he is praising science and the way the scientific method works: “I get a result. A rival of mine double checks it, because they think I might be wrong.” But in the next breath, he declares to the doubter who also thinks some scientific conclusion might be wrong: “You don’t have that option! When you have an established, scientific emergent truth, it is true whether or not you believe in it.”

So the rival scientist is allowed to question the conclusions of other scientists because the conclusions might not be true, but nobody else is. We may not all be equipped with a laboratory, but we are all equipped with reason, experience, preferences, common sense (some more than others), gut instincts, some ideas about what is morally right and what is morally wrong, and our own areas of expertise. Surely these are not meaningless when it comes to judging the claims of a politically-connected technocratic elite and their policy recommendations.

Political connections bias science

Like the food pyramid, political interference in the scientific process led to terrible consequences in scheduling various drugs. Marijuana, which is now widely accepted to be virtually harmless, is still scheduled with heroin and ecstasy, and higher than cocaine and methamphetamines. Yet researchers and agencies produced enough of Tyson’s “emergent truths” (which we are not to doubt) over the years to keep it that way. The effects of this prohibition have been devastating, including a prison system bursting at the seams, militarized local police, violent organized crime (legal and illegal), and more deaths than marijuana itself could ever cause on its own.

Indeed, when the government does or funds research, it seems to always arrive at the conclusions which involve the government getting larger in size and scope. To question these expansions is to question the science, and to question the science is to mark oneself a stubborn idiot.

Tyson is trying to convince these stubborn idiots to learn some science. Only then, he says, will they become the informed citizens this democracy needs. But what if the skeptics aren’t stupid? What if their skepticism is due to the perceived track record of the scientific community over the years (especially when the government is in the mix)?

Most of what Tyson perceives as anti-intellectualism may not be a problem with people's ability to think, but an inability to trust a politically-connected scientific community that has led them astray in the past. Besides, if he really thinks too many Americans are too stupid, then he ought to look no further than the public education system that produced this alleged mass of illiterate science-deniers.

https://mises.org/blog/neil-ty-scientism-guy
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Old April 26th, 2017, 09:55 PM   #3
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Think before you speak and using a pregnant pause is helpful.
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Old April 27th, 2017, 03:23 AM   #4
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Have you figured out why the political economic system promoted at Mises.org has never existed anywhere in the world ?

Could it be that it's an unworkable load of horseshit?
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Old April 27th, 2017, 04:03 AM   #5
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I never understand what right-wing Americans mean by 'socialised medicine' except decent health care at half the cost, and how can that be a bad thing? The NHS is by far away the greatest achievement in British History, and by far the most popular institution in the Country.
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Old April 27th, 2017, 06:56 AM   #6
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What's your point here?
You DO realize that the U.S. and the U.K. are separate and sovreign nations, right?
The U.S. is under NO obligation to copy exactly the specifics of any health system we might adopt from the U.K's system. You understand?

Jeez, you people.
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Old April 27th, 2017, 07:43 AM   #7
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I fail to see a problem with the State dictating your health needs
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Old April 27th, 2017, 08:58 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by iolo View Post
I never understand what right-wing Americans mean by 'socialised medicine' except decent health care at half the cost, and how can that be a bad thing? The NHS is by far away the greatest achievement in British History, and by far the most popular institution in the Country.
Sigh, head shaking, rolling of eyes, and double face palm.
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Old April 27th, 2017, 09:58 AM   #9
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What's your point here?
You DO realize that the U.S. and the U.K. are separate and sovreign nations, right?
The U.S. is under NO obligation to copy exactly the specifics of any health system we might adopt from the U.K's system. You understand?

Jeez, you people.
Further, about the only things the Canadian System and the UK system have in common are a sensible cost and a high popularity. They are organized differently, administered differently and funded differently.

There are such variations between most countries. So there is a lot to pick and chose from. That's what Canada did when it instituted its plan, study most systems in the world and cherry-picked what was thought to be the best fit for our particular situation.
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Old April 27th, 2017, 10:03 AM   #10
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Further, about the only things the Canadian System and the UK system have in common are a sensible cost and a high popularity. They are organized differently, administered differently and funded differently.

There are such variations between most countries. So there is a lot to pick and chose from. That's what Canada did when it instituted its plan, study most systems in the world and cherry-picked what was thought to be the best fit for our particular situation.
My God, it's as if these people do not understand simple and basic concepts such as national sovereignty

How can one have meaningful and productive dialog with people that apparently barely understand English or such basic concepts as sovereignty?

And we are supposed to discuss with them such complex issues as national health care? WTF?

Last edited by Hollywood; April 27th, 2017 at 10:04 AM. Reason: typo
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