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“Where to Invade Next” Exposes Liberal Delusions

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WHERE TO INVADE NEXT is the title of the latest movie by leftist documentarian Michael Moore, and it powerfully exposes an underlying flaw in the progressive world view.

In the film, Moore travels the globe to praise countries like Slovenia, Finland, Tunisia and Portugal, which supposedly handle drug addiction, education, women’s rights, school lunches, industrial working conditions, criminal rehabilitation and other vexing challenges far better than the benighted, backward USA.

One of many problems with this preachy, pokey production is that it never confronts a fundamental question: if things are so terrible in America, why do millions seek to move here – including residents of the “model societies” Moore so lovingly describes?

WHERE TO INVADE NEXT highlights a fundamental difference between left and right in this country: liberals want America to be more like the rest of the world, but most of us hope that the future will enable the rest of the world to become more like America.

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  1. Harvey Homan  •  Feb 15, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    I'm deeply concerned that Obama and liberals have so severely damaged the country there will be no getting back. I also believe the media, unions, our school system and universities have warped the minds of our youth to where socialism and communism are very real possibilities in the all too near future. I called Obama the pied piper seven years ago and hate that I was right.

    • Curt  •  Feb 15, 2016 at 7:00 pm

      You may be correct, Harvey. We certainly can't afford another 4 to 8 years of such policies. We need to be pragmatic and stop spewing the nonsense that Republicans are just as bad as Democrats. It isn't true. We should work to preserve traditional conservative values but we should stop demonizing those who we mostly agree with to the benefit of those who we mostly disagree with. Unfortunately it looks to me like anger is winning the day in our party and if that continues we will almost certainly lose the election. When that happens we will definitely slide closer to the abyss. As the untimely death of justice Scalia underscores, we cannot afford to indulge in tantrums and histrionics just because someone's harsh rhetoric makes us feel good. We must win. If we don't we will have lost more than an election.

    • Dan  •  Feb 15, 2016 at 8:08 pm

      Yawn. I think the problem is that you're just getting old and out of touch. I'm pretty sure every generation has said something along the lines of, "I'm deeply concerned that XYZ and 123 have so severely damaged the country there will be no getting back." The fact is that kids today are more knowledgeable, politically aware, are higher achieving in school, use drugs at lower rates, have fewer teenage pregnancies, and are less violent than generations before them. There is nothing wrong with the new generation.

      • Jason  •  Feb 15, 2016 at 8:49 pm

        American students are "achieving" at the lowest levels in 70 years, are ten times as likely to experiment with drugs, and addiction among teens and young adults is at an all time high. As to political awareness, they get most of their information from late night comedians and align themselves with whatever candidate promotes lack of responsibility and "free" stuff. The legions supporting Bernie Sanders are example one; you are example two.

      • Curt  •  Feb 15, 2016 at 9:54 pm

        I don't see this as attack on any particular generation. Plenty of people of all ages are supporting socialist Sanders and Trump the Clown. This is an ideological divide and I don't think we've ever been in such a precarious position.

      • Jay Pole  •  Mar 5, 2016 at 3:27 pm

        I have a friend in her early thirties who said to me "The dumb people in my generation are way dumber than the dumb people in your generation". (I'm older).

    • Allen  •  Feb 23, 2016 at 8:59 am

      When listening to young people today, they show a lack of manners, decorum and a lack of appreciation and thankfulness for the wonderful country they were born into. We have long been a nation of spoiled entitled people; I have to remind myself or get caught up in the taking for granted notion, but the outward snarkiness of twenty and thirty somethings these days boggles my mind and it is this cultural aspect that today's politicians are taking advantage of. What is politics now? A way to make millions of dollars without producing a dime in profits and worrying about making "the number," Cadillac health insurance and a guaranteed lifetime cash flow without risking a penny of one's own money. That is what politics has become in this country. The profit producers go to work so our politicians can live in luxury. Cynical? Sure. But take a 10,000 foot view. Salaries need to be reduced, heath insurance needs to be paid for by the individual and pensions need to be limited to an amount similar to the levels that private-sector people receive from social security. Why aren't all of us tired of paying for the excesses? I am.

      • Jay Pole  •  Mar 5, 2016 at 3:30 pm

        Why is it that conservatives seem to see the world as a sewer, humans as worthless, science has farcical, etc., etc. All my conservative friends do is whine and play Ain't it Awful whenever I am with them – they seem to hate America and all the people in it except fascists like Trump. Their affection for T at best is a willingness to witness the degradation of America, our Government, and our people.

  2. Jim Bird  •  Feb 18, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    Millennial miscreants like Danny boy always start sentences and their train of thought with "I think" or "I'm sure" or "Michael Moore says" followed by the latest liberal talking point or pontification. They never have a reasoned thought of their own or a job that actually helps others meet their needs. Jason's perfectly stated reply can be fact checked in seconds but the dumbest generation is literally brainwashed and no amount of surgery inside their collective cranium will cure the cancer.

  3. Ty  •  Feb 18, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    I was listening to Michael today and he had a guest he was trying to bludgeon over the head with the notion of America being the GREATEST NATION ON THE EARTH !!!!!

    Every time I hear that, even though I do think it's objectively true, I recoil at how distasteful and vulgar that attitude is.

    We are the greatest economic/military/cultural power (and btw Michael and conservatives, where do you think that CULTURAL power is coming from ? [spoiler alert – mostly LIBERALS in hollywood]) But this incessant desire to proclaim that to others seems incredibly insecure to me.

    Worse than that, it feeds this conservative narrative that since we are already SO much greater than everyone else, we don't have anything to learn and improve upon based on observing others.

    Why? Why do conservatives take that lesson? The measure of the greatness of a society is not that it's the ONLY society that produces good ideas worth emulating, it's that it produces a bigger proportion of ideas worth emulating.

    See the difference in MY lesson vs the insecure idea espoused by Michael? It allows people here, in the US, to take a look at the way things are done elsewhere to see if someone else has come up with a better solution. If it's a better solution in that one particular case, it's a better solution, it does not MATTER that in three other cases their solutions might be worse than ours.

    This way of viewing the world allows us to cherry pick the best ideas from all over, and not be so arrogant and devoid of humility that we refuse any ideas from elsewhere, no matter how novel and beneficial because WE were not the source.

    This is the problems with conservatives and healthcare reform. We CLEARLY have major areas where other nations are ahead of us, but since we're the greatest nation ever, and everything and every way we do things is intrinsically superior to EVERY other nations way of doing it in the entire universe, we can't POSSIBLY benefit from some of the policy tweaks other nations have already experimented with.

    Religious dogma, extended to empirical reality and policy outcomes. It's a trash way to think about the world, and "I" judge all of you conservatives harshly for allowing it to stand.

  4. Curt  •  Feb 18, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    America is the greatest country on Earth and in recorded history. While it's true we can "learn" from others. I would argue that most applies to things we need to relearn. For example we could relearn to recognize that are enemies are serious when they say they want to destroy us. We should relearn that countries that continually break treaties and agreements will continue to do so. We should relearn that when you proclaim you absolutely will not fight to defend your ideas, your enemies, like the school yard bully, will set out to see if you mean it. Unfortunately, what the liberal left and Hollywood insist on "teaching" us is the need to adopt socialist ideas/policies that have utterly failed everywhere they've been tried and driven Europe to the edge of insolvency. But we're assured they will work next time. Of course they will.

    • Ty  •  Feb 19, 2016 at 1:13 am

      Europe is not a monolith though. Germany is an economic power and Greece is an economic basket case. They are both European countries with more socialist elements than the US, but the results are radically different. So just pointing to socialism without diving into the details about why something works or does not work is not enough of an argument to actually try to persuade people.

      I am trying to help you conservatives. I'm a liberal here. I listen to talk radio ALL the time, I started listening to Michael when he first starting promoting his book "right turns" on air. I have listened to countless arguments, some are reasonable, but the railing against "big government" and "socialism" comes across to me as totally empty of any persuasive power.

      To conservatives, hearing those terms sends them into a rage of disapproval. But I do not automatically share those presumptions about the universal catastrophe about government involvement in all things. I need to be persuaded on a case by case basis. And part of the discord is that even conservatives are OK with SOME thresholds of socialist policies. Using taxes to pay for k-12 education (forget college for now) is socialized education. Being pro vouchers does not get you out of the redistributive foundation here. NO ONE, except the most crazed libertarians want ZERO public expense on education. If it was completely private and designed to be paid out of pocket, poorer families and kids would almost certainly not have the funds to pay for schooling. The taxes they pay in often does not cover what their kids get or cost the society. But we do it anyway because we think society as a hole is better off by socializing education expenses to have SOME baseline where people are taught to read and basic math (hopefully).

      Who wants a system where it's all private and if some family can't pay to send their kids to school from k-12 they just don't go or are taken away from them? Almost NO ONE !!!!!!! Including conservatives, and tax payers funding k12 education, even through vouchers is SOCIALIZED education, and republicans are OK with that. So why the railing against it as some universal negative?

      I don't care if a policy involves more government or less, I care if it produces better results. If the results are close to what we all want then personal policy aesthetics come more into play (i.e. erring towards more freedom/autonomy than less). And the problem with conservatives is as soon as the toolset of government is brought into the discussion about improving some policy issue, their brains shut off and they reject the idea out of hand. Because they have gone into specific detail about the reasons WHY the policy is faulty? No. Because they heard the word government, and like an article of faith (a terrible concept to hold up, sorry religious people) they follow along. It's not enough for me to THINK my beliefs are true, they have to actually be true. And to find that out we need more than presumptions about reality, we need to actually test things out, see what works best. And sometimes, a better policy might involve MORE government restrictions, like the Texas restriction on housing requiring ~20% equity to qualify for a home loan. That state weathered the housing crisis after 2008 better than most other states because of the increased resilience and solvency that requirement mandated for all homeowners.

      That was using GOVERNMENT conservatives !!!!!!

      • Curt  •  Feb 19, 2016 at 6:01 pm

        Conservatives are not anti government. That's a canard. We care about limited government, especially at the central level. Conservatives want education handled at the local level where it can be more responsive to the people paying the bills. When our taxpayers are forced to support federal programs, you have situations where people either pay in to support programs they might not agree with and probably don't benefit from–or, more commonly, everyone gets into a contest as to who can get their snouts deepest in the public trough. Because their isn't sufficient money to do everything, government has to pick winners and losers (think ethanol subsidies). This in turn leads to lobbyists and special interests and candidates pandering to voter groups. The argument you make about education can be made (and are) about nearly everything. We shouldn't deny education to the poor? Of course not is the instinctive response. Well then what about food? Check. Housing? Check. Healthcare? Check. Transportation? Hmmm. But shouldn't the poor be able to get around? Check. Internet? Practically a necessity these days. Check, check, check. By the way, as an educator it has been my observation that the idea of free education has led to a devaluation of its importance. Also, interesting that you point to Germany, which has been resisting more efforts for it to prop up Greece and other European economies. Just another example that socialism doesn't work. Our own entitlement programs, such as Social Security and welfare, are additional examples. It is human nature not to work unless you have to. Consequently, fewer and fewer people support an ever increasing burden over time until the system implodes. Power-hungry politicians sell the masses on the idea that the "rich" will pay for everything, knowing that the masses are too ill informed to realize the numbers don't add up. Or possibly just too greedy and self interested. At some point people need to understand that socialism, while arguably a noble idea, will always fail.

      • Ty  •  Feb 20, 2016 at 1:24 pm

        It's a reasonable formulation about conservatism, but some some comments are warranted.

        Have you listened to the quality of argument and understanding by conservative callers on talk radio? Michael Deals with them day in and day out regarding trump and cruz, he and other talkers also fields people railing against "government" this, and "government" that. They almost never make an explicit distinction between state government and the federal government. It's sloppy rhetoric, and it belies a generally negative and blunted view of government as a whole, especially when you KNOW these same conservatives are perfectly fine with all sorts of government programs at the state level, and even some at the federal level.

        I'm actually perfectly fine with turning over more control of many federal functions to states. In part so we can run experiments about different ways of doing things to see the results. But some functions I want left with the federal government to control and dictate to states. For example, I think it's perfectly reasonable to have the FCC be able to regulate the usage of broadband deployment and constraints on people. We have examples of a much larger Comcast buying up local state legislatures for favorable franchise agreements that either shut competitors out, or restrict the ability of even MORE local municipalities (with their own MORE local endorsement) to build out their own fiber networks. And of course healthcare, that is the big one. That is made worse by being some company locked / region locked / market place. Ideally you'd want either a national market with some mandates, or a single payer system. We go the singapore route with a focus on catastrophic coverage and health savings accounts. Avik Roy LOVES that system, but note, they do something that conservatives here would rail against. They MANDATE from on high that ~20% of all of their earnings is confiscated and goes right into a health savings account. They do not leave people with the freedom to opt out there. This MANDATE from the state is what makes the system work. And btw, they have the highest home ownership of all nations. Because they are the wealthiest? No, they mandate another portion of funds to go into savings, that can be tapped for home purchases or a down payment. FORCED savings mandated by the state, and it produces better overall results for the society at large.

        Men are not angels, if we were perfect beings we would not need government or laws, constraints of the behavior and choice of men. Even Michael Medved does not want perfect freedom of commerce, he wants to restrict things like lotteries and gambling as he sees it as a social rot on the larger society that makes it worse off overall. This is why the fantastical extreme of galts gulch would be a nightmare in the real world every bit as much as the communist utopias of the past.

      • Ty  •  Feb 20, 2016 at 1:46 pm

        The germany example can go both ways, looking at Europe as a whole, it's a conservative argument that allowing reckless policies by other nations is a disaster. But looking within Germany you see that they have blended a hybrid of both capitalist and socialist policies to good effect. Some transfers inevitably occur, and the nation as a whole is made stronger because of it.

        We transfer funds to the mentally retarded and disabled, we ought to transfer housing and care resources to the mentally ill that LITERALLY cannot take care of themselves.

        And more than that, while most people agree that full on mental retardation is grounds for some assistance in life, what about the stuff in between?

        Half the population is below average intelligence, and we live in a world that places increasing value on a college education… There are fewer factories for such people to work in, globalization and automation more easily supplant the labor of many of these people further reducing the value of their efforts. You might say this is an argument for lowering the minimum wage or getting rid of it entirely, but in a world that places so little value on the skills these people have, that seems to be to be a recipe for chronic lower wages. Michael once sited a stat that over 40% of minimum wage workers were teenagers… that means the rest were NOT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        There is an ocean of capability between full on mental retardation, and average intelligence. And guess what, THAT stat has a direct function on your options in life.

        IF I believed that outcomes were merely a function what work and effort we put into something, I'd be more conservative. I don't believe that. It's a mixture of societal opportunity, work and effort, some chance, and aptitude.

        There is nothing less meritocratic about how smart you are born, it is a lottery in the stats of life and has a direct effect on the outcomes of a person. Once you get beyond a certain threshold I think work and effort are FAR more important factors, but below those thresholds? Limited options, often times in such a way where even if people are doing the right things, life will be a much greater struggle. I don't want to or expect we will EVER being able to iron out such differences to a flat plane where everyones capability is equalized. And we need to preserve a system where greater talent and effort can and should yield greater rewards. And in my ideal world, they will still yield greater rewards, but some of their income will be taxed at a higher rate to shore up the people who were not born with the additional talent and gifts that allow them to better succeed in the world. Is this perfectly fair? No, neither is life, get over it.

        THIS is where the value of redistribution comes in. Just like the kurds born into a sh*thole of a region needing some assistance to help themselves up, millions of less capable people ought to have some help in the massive expenses of things like healthcare and basic education. The list could go on forever, but that debate is what politics is for.

        To the conservatives out there looking at the prospects of a man, about halfway between the classification of mental retardation of normal ability, with an ugly face, whose jobs are being increasingly snapped up by automation:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pq-S557XQU

        Looking at such a person and saying to themselves, not my problem, sucks you are that dumb and incapable, just work harder, or if we could only lower your taxes on the income you don't earn, or on the company/owners that don't want to employ you in the first place….

        The answer is people like me simply need to beat you at the ballot box.

        And all the shouts of freeloaders and cheats fall on deaf ears with me. There will be freeloaders, and cheats of systems of redistribution (depending on how well they are designed, I'm more partial to just having money sent to peoples accounts like Charles Murray recommended or generally mentioned by Milton Friedman with a negative income tax), but it reminds me of a legal phrase I learned on a law tv show from the 90s.

        Better 10 guilty men go free than one innocent man punished. This is a formulation that places a higher value on helping the decent than punishing the cheats. A conservative contrast might be stated as… Better 10 innocent men be punished than one guilty man let free.

        Which do you care more about? Helping the decent, or punishing the wicked?

      • Curt  •  Feb 21, 2016 at 7:09 pm

        Ty,

        Your arguments are a perfect example of the slippery slope created by socialist ideas. While no one would disagree that help should be provided to those who absolutely cannot help themselves, e.g., the mentally retarded, the idea that government is the best or only means to accomplish this opens a Pandoras box of problems that theoretically has no end. First, a mature society should look to families first with the assistance of charities, relying more on charity obviously if family assistance is inadequate or unavailable, and only on government in extreme circumstances. Why? Because as your example illustrates, if government mandates public assistance to help the severely mentally retarded, what about this moderately or mildly retarded? What about people with somewhat low IQ? Or slightly below average IQ? Should people with above-average IQ be taxed more, a type of surcharge on their intelligence? And who decides? Next, we have to deal with people who can't help themselves but won't. Hence, your example about mandating health savings accounts and home purchase accounts. However noble the purpose, this denies people their individual liberty. Again, who decide who gets to decide what's good for us? This is how we get policies that try to limit how much soda we can drink and what types of food we can eat, either through outright bans, repressive regulation, and/or punitive taxation. Certainty there are things that are in the government realm: national defense, of course, basic infrastructure ( though this should be largely at the state and local levels), limited regulation of trade and industry, and common sense health and safety (requiring public tax revenues to fund contraceptives or abortions is not common sense), and disaster response are the big ones I can think of; I'm sure there are others. However the longer this list grows the more freedom we usurp from the individual. Will this create a perfect society? Of course not. As you note, people are not angels. Some people will refuse to do their part. Some who cannot help themselves will fall through the cracks (some do anyway despite government programs), and others will suffer simply as the victims of bad luck. This cannot be cured no matter how many well-intentioned government programs are enacted. We cannot create a perfect society but we should create the next best thing–a free one. As free as possible anyway.

      • Ty  •  Feb 22, 2016 at 1:06 pm

        I agree that socialist policies can lead to slippery slopes and excess, as can all policy. The difference between myself and conservatives by and large is that I do not let that "possibility" paralyze me and prevent me from any policy proposals that aim to help people and make society run better. My attitude is to test a policy out, if it works expand it, if not revert the changes. The idea that because some alteration might make things worse you decide to sit on your hands and never change anything seems incredibly backwards to me. Very… conservative.

        Conservatives are fine with policies that have the potential of slippery slopes. The drinking age is 21, that is an arbitrary line and age. I've known 16 year olds that would be more responsible with drink than 30 year olds, but a line is drawn nonetheless to aim for a best estimate for most people. It's a restriction on the freedoms of human beings, and we tolerate it because we tend to think we're better with that restriction than without it. Other curtailments may go too far, that's what politics is for to hash that out. But this general malaise of tossing out the word freedom as if conservatives want freedom in all things is nonsensical.

        We cannot create a perfect society, that's certainly true, but we can create a better society over time. Excelsior. Ever higher. This frightens conservatives because what that entails to a liberal could undermine the good they think is already there.

        But to a liberal like myself, I see it as a long history of progress. Some turns backwards, but more moves forward. When I hear conservatives talking about how bad things are today after the new deal or obamacare vs the state of things in decades past, I think they are confused morons. 60 years ago in the south blacks were still forced into separate facilities and locked out of schools, or restricted in who they could marry, 170 years ago slavery was still the law of the land. The illiteracy rate was much higher in decades past, and the standard of living was significantly lower.

        EVEN WITH things like lower marriage rates today, that's still MORAL PROGRESS. Slavery with higher marriage rates vs no slavery or open discrimination and lower marriage rates and gay marriage is still an improvement !!!!!!!! The conservative only looks at what was lost, or might be lost, they are stuck in the ditch and mud of history.

        The fact is, on balance, we are BETTER off today than we were in the past. Liberals when they go off the rails tend to think that everything we have today is terrible and rotten and needs to be changed and want to move to something better. Conservatives tend to think things used to be better and want to move back in history. I'm a bit more of a liberal squish, so I don't say things are garbage now, that is the enemy of gratitude for what we've achieved. But that is no excuse for sitting still.

        And it's no excuse for the only measure of betterment being tax policy. You need to look at everything. If raising the effective tax rate on Americans by 5% allows universal healthcare, frees up a trillion dollars in medical expenses that were spent on bloated cost structures for other more productive arenas (like oh I don't know, higher pay and profits and investments), and increases the take home pay they were already spending on healthcare by 9%….

        That's a win. That is an increase in taxes, that still led to a net increase in take home pay because of the raises and expenses not spent on bloated healthcare costs we currently stomach in the US. It's a win. You can't just look at the universe through a straw, and on that narrow basis judge the heavens. I don't know if this scenario would pan out, but the larger point is that my toolset to solve problems is not needlessly limited by "increasing freedom" like it is for conservatives. The best tool might be more freedom, and it might be less and higher taxes. The goal is the better result, not the preferred policy based off ideology.

      • Curt  •  Feb 22, 2016 at 11:39 pm

        Conservatives understand that absolute freedom is impossible as it would create anarchy. What conservatives believe is that liberty should only be restricted when it begins to encroach on the liberty of others – it's the old your right to throw a punch ends where my nose begins argument. Thus, we have a criminal code that aims to prevent others from encroaching on our basic freedoms. So, yes, drinking ages are set. Interestingly under age drinking is allowed in all but a handful of states provided the alcohol is given to the minor by the parent or guardian and consumed with their permission and in their presence. This goes to the nature of these laws which revolve around where responsibility lies when people drink and then do some kind of harm to others. There is obviously a big difference between laws that are put in place to ensure public safety and laws that confiscate someone's money or property to benefit others because someone has decided that others need it more. I agree we can't let people run red lights but disagree that an employer should be forced to provide healthcare that funds abortions.

        This is the tired old canard that progressives trot out every time they want to fund some new utopian program and it is the reason the founders feared democracy nearly as much as monarchy. Both have the potential to be tyrannical. They put in place a constitution for the express purpose of saying some individual freedoms are sacrosanct even from the whim of the majority. And while the constitution can be amended it isn't design a long and difficult process. People are generally more generous with other people's money than their own and 51 percent of the public should not be able to steal from the other 49 percent simply because they sincerely believe they are making the country a better place. That is conservatism.

      • Ty  •  Feb 23, 2016 at 12:53 pm

        That limited view of government will and is the death of millions. Watch this to get a cleaner argument from someone who has actually done the work of comparing healthcare systems across the globe (the thing over 99% of conservatives and most liberals have not done).

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ur6UoY-H41o

        The guy makes a great point. We have a different view for access to something like voting than we do for yachts. We have no problem with the latter being purely based on money but voting (at least today, not at the founding) is more universal. Do we want access to healthcare more like voting or more like Yacht buying?

        The guy in that video goes over a myriad of potential objections better than I could. If your hatred of higher taxes and coercion of payment of healthcare for others is so great (that dreaded reduction in freedom you tolerate for k-12 education and school vouchers which is the SAME god damn thing) that you would be willing to continue paying double, getting similar results for most people, and possibly have the same waiting times or lower (the world is not just Canada), then you are lost.

        You are like Anakin at the end of the third prequel, with a worldview so backward and amoral it has to be marginalized. I have two elderly relatives going through medical issues right now, one was a vet and has access to the VA, the other is on medicare with a private insurance HMO that focuses on in network care. The VA is giving far better care than the healthcare for the person with medicare insurance, partly because we have allowed a structure where she has to WAIT on payment authorizations and delays for out of network coverage while she is wasting away with Cancer. The VA schedule for the other relative has a dossier on his health issues that is infinitely more accessible, and he is scheduled out months in advance. The idea that this current payment model is some beautiful thing is an absolute lie.

        IT's fine if you are Rush Limbau, or Michael Medveds Father, who I presume had great care to the end. I you can afford the yacht or are upper middle class in income, we'll take better care of you, if not… well, like the guy in the video said, work harder, stop being a loser, don't expect me or others to lift a finger for your benefit.

        Conservatives have turned the self worth of human life into a game of wealth when it comes to how people are treated for healthcare. That is the system you prop up with your talk of preserving freedoms.

        Here's a tip, if you want that model to stand up, it's not enough that it has some aesthetic appeal to you and other conservatives, it actually has to produce BETTER results, and so far it's failing when it comes to healthcare in the US in so many ways.

      • Curt  •  Feb 23, 2016 at 1:54 pm

        What's really immoral is selling people on the ponzu schemes that are nationalized health care and old age pensions. The idea that people can pay a very small percentage of their income over some unidentifiable period of time and this will somehow pay for everyone to have top notch medical care is a lie. It can only work with an ever expanding tax base and taxation at confiscatory levels. We in fact have a shrinking tax base with demands for higher and higher tax rates on achievers. We have 100 Trllion dollars in unfunded entitlements just for people already in the system! That is several times our current GDP. All for government systems that everyone agrees are inadequate. No tax rate will support this! When will it end? And even if that wasn't the case, is it really moral to take 50-70 percent of someone's earnings to pay for an agenda they may not approve? Both the VA and Medicare are dysfunctional and debt laden. I'm not suggesting these programs be abolished (the beneficiaries for the most part earned their benefits though like all government programs they are rife with fraud). I do believe veterans with service related medical problems should be treated but the problem with Medicare and Social Security is that both are based on a flawed model. Further we mislead people into believing these programs are immune from fiscal realities. We can get angry, self-righteous, and call people names if it makes you feel better but obviously you believe it's okay to take away someone's freedom if you think it serves the "greater good". I don't. I'm willing to pay taxes to support limited government functions necessary to safeguard liberty and facilitate commerce. As to helping my fellow man/woman, I give to many charities as is my prerogative as a free person, including my local children's hospital and St. Jude's, as well as to organizations fighting hunger both domestically and internationally. It is another tired old canard that freedom loving conservatives are heartless. This is simply a lie. Conservatives are far more charitable than liberals on average and this despite paying a high tax burden. The difference is we are charitable with our own money. When these government programs collapse as they are clearly on course to do, how compassionate will that be? Who will bail us out??

      • Ty  •  Feb 23, 2016 at 4:25 pm

        It's an empirical question whether private charities can pick up the slack for uncovered or undercovered people. So far the evidence is that it's not doing a very good job, says the nearly million medical bankruptcies per year and large swaths of people with no medical coverage for routine issues.

        As for the costs inevitably leading to inflated tax rates shooting up to 70%, that is a fantasy. It does not need to be that high, again, look at EXAMPLES from scores of other counties that have already run the actual experiments.

        How much are they paying in taxes overall?
        How much are we paying for healthcare overall in the dozen plus medical systems we have in the US? (medicare/medicaid/va/congress health care coverage/native american healthcare/prison healthcare/private employer based insurance/independent insurance/uninsured visits to emergency rooms/obamacare exchanges/etc)

        This is a complex web of disaster for cost savings. We HAVE the actual numbers, add up all the money spent on healthcare and we would get our taxes paid back PLUS extra money to use for other more productive things. Why is this so difficult for you?

        I feel like I'm arguing with one of those confederate flag lovers trying to make the case the civil war was not about slavery, just states rights (… yes, the states rights to continue owning slaves, or push back against FEDERAL anti lynching laws so racist southerners could continue on murdering with impunity) PRimary sources of what people actually said don't seem to have a dent, and the actual cost data seems to have no dent with you on medical costs.

        As I said before, this strikes me as your conservative religious beliefs about the "sacredness" of limited government in most things causing you to ignore any and all evidence that goes against your expected outcomes.

        As for other programs like medicare and social security, I'm perfectly willing to abolish those programs for something better. Medicare could be supplanted by any myriad of universal healthcare schemes. Social security can be replace by a better version of private savings accounts, or perhaps something else entirely. Here is one idea:

        http://bloggingheads.tv/videos/28886?in=21:14&out=25:31

        Now my guess is that is not the dream of most conservatives either, a lot of them probably want social security abolished and replaced with nothing. A you are on your own attitude, let private charities and families pick up the slack. If that is you, don't be be coy, come out and say that and suffer the consequences of benefits.

        I'd be more like you, as I said before, IF I believed outcomes were purely a function of what people put into life. But I don't believe that, I know that to be false. Most of it is, but enough of it is not that causes me to not want the safety nets to be zeroed out for people who through luck or bad choices or deficiency of birth and who their parents were (like Michaels guest mentioned in his book, the son also rises).

        If you want zeroed out safety nets, don't be a coward, argue for that. Safety nets are inherently socialistic, that is kind of the point. If you are ok with safety nets x and y, but not z, that's fine too, but argue why. But don't just toss out this lazy notion of government poisons everything it touches, and a higher tax rate always causes worse results and less freedom. If the loss of "freedom" as you define it means paying 5% more in taxes, but 10% less on healthcare, leaving you with a net gain of 5% more in income, then yes, I am PERFECTLY willing to have that feeble and ridiculous definition of "freedom" stripped away.

        This infinitesimally narrow band of government is poison to civilization, it ties your hands to better solutions for the problems of society if some of the better solutions happen to be sourced from more intrusive policies. IF it's really true that less intrusive policies work better, then let the policy marketplace of ideas test the competing ideas out and see which perform better? No? Ah, right, because this was never about results, it's about beliefs. As if your beliefs and reality are the same things.

        Hayek would roll over in his grave at the arrogance and misplaced certainty of knowledge about what would and would not work from modern conservatives. He's be pissed off at liberals too, but these declarations of knowledge where you have none are out of control.

      • Curt  •  Feb 24, 2016 at 6:15 pm

        I think you need to retread Hayek. He's pretty rigid when it comes to the free market.

        Interesting that you bring slavery into the discussion. It certainly was the cause of the civil war and a stain on our national history even in the constitution. Too bad the brilliance of that document was somewhat negated by this evil institution the fallout from which continues to divide our country. That said seizing the fruits of another's labor is a form of slavery. Certainly a less heinous form absent the whips and chains. Ironically many slaveowners tried to justify the practice by saying it was for the good of the "savages."

  5. Jim Bird  •  Feb 19, 2016 at 1:36 am

    So Ty, you seem to be lost in a tangle of disconnected thoughts that only a Liberal can unravel or possibly understand. Here's something for you that's very simple to contemplate but probably too difficult to accept intellectually – why do immigrants and illegal immigrants worldwide seek America more than every other country on Earth combined? I'll speak slower. Immigrants and illegals worldwide come here and imms and ills for all other countries on Earth combined is not greater than the total that come to America. Ask yourself – Why?

    • Ty  •  Feb 19, 2016 at 4:24 am

      They come to the US because it's a great place to be. Incidentally, illegal immigration across the border is down dramatically. You would not know it listening to some of the talk radio peanut gallery, Obama is in office so the sky is always falling. Even when it's better than it was. Facts don't really matter here, only beliefs, even if they are wrong.

      As for asian immigration to the US, again, it's a great place to be. If you are smart, and that is most of who we take in from overseas, why stay in a place like India when you can emigrate to the US and earn a much higher salary for the same work? Because we are more developed and wealthy and have a high base population than many developing nations, we can attract the best and brightest. The indian population in particular does phenomenally well here. Much higher median wages and educational attainment than the general population. I wish we'd let in more.

      I'm not sure we are the most popular destination by population though. Looking at these numbers (and try to weed out some of the european nations with muslim migrants, those can be problematic, it looks like we are pretty in line with the UK, and less than half of what Canada gets. The latter may be a bit lower now with the lower economy due to the oil slump, but we are not the hottest destination per capita. In total? Sure, out of the developed nations, we are the largest with the most population centers, it makes sense we'd have more overall. But Canada is a more attractive place for many, in part because of a better healthcare system.

      • Ty  •  Feb 19, 2016 at 4:25 am
      • Curt  •  Feb 21, 2016 at 9:47 pm

        I have friends in Canada. They tell me the system is widely disliked. The government imposed limits on physician compensation has driven the best doctors out of the country (mostly to the US). The shortage is filled by foreign physicians who themselves leave as soon as they gain adequate experience, meaning a generally less-qualified doctor pool. Also rationing of care is a dangerous reality. The same thing is beginning to happen hear with ridiculous pricing mandates put in place to try to make Medicare and Medicaid semi-solvent (despite this they are not even close to being so). The difference is that with no where else to go many are electing to leave the profession. Medical schools which once had many more applications than slots are struggling to fill slots with quality candidates. That it is even marginally popular is owing to the fact that most people are relatively healthy most of their lives. It isn't until they have serious health issues that they figure out what single payer has done to their system. Ask someone who is one a three or four year list for a knee or hip replacement or who discovers they have stage four cancer after an 11-month wait for a pet scan if they think it is a better health care system,

      • Ty  •  Feb 22, 2016 at 12:22 am

        /lots of disjointed responses follow, but I felt like making multiple points.

        I hear from conservatives all the time that Canadians are hostile to their own healthcare system, but every poll I've seen indicates they prefer it far more than the US alternative. If given a choice of either system, polling thousands of Canadians, I'm confident well over 70-80% would choose their own system.

        As for doctors migrating to the US for increased pay, I'm sure some of that is happening, but that gap can more than be compensated for by implants from overseas who fill the ranks of medical schools. I was in an uberpool with a dentist resident from Iran a couple months back and we were chatting the whole way. One, as is often the case, he was not some random Iranian implant. Both his mother and father were doctors, and he actually gained got his degree in Iran and transferred to USC when he came over for residency. He was telling me about some of the cost differences to get his dental education where at USC it's around half a million dollars vs a fraction of that in Iran. More than that, he was telling me that he had FAR more practice doing routine treatments like filling cavities in Iran because their schools had access to more patients. The US students had a fraction of the on hands experience compared to what he had and that lack of practice made many of them LESS proficient at a similar stage of their careers.

        I don't buy for a second that the foreign born doctors are second class professionals because of their origin of birth, in fact, judging from the numbers and percentages enrolled, they seem to be BETTER than the native born population. Being a doctor is a prestige job, there is no shortage.

        As for wait times, first, admit something. If wait times were similar, you would still be opposed to universal healthcare would you not? If the answer is yes, then bringing that up is nothing more than a debators point that has ZERO bearing on your support or lack thereof of a policy.

        Look at this list of wait times over a set amount.

        http://expathealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/ScreenHunter_01-Nov.-29-13.19.gif

        Canada is worse than the US on wait times, as is the UK, but look around. Germany is similar, Norway is similar, the netherlands, similar. Except they cover EVERYONE AND cost almost HALF what it costs us. This is an acceptable standard to you? What is the wait time for someone with no medical insurance? Can they even get a hip replacement at all? This is the ESSENCE of dishonesty revolving around conservatives and healthcare. I only need to find a single example of a more effective system. Conservatives, have to defend our current system as the best thing ever and ignore all its downsides to maintain face. In order to do this, they hone in on the areas where our system is superior like relative wait times, and ignore everything else. Tens of millions of US citizens uncovered? not a problem worth caring about – I'M a conservative !!!! Healthcare costs around DOUBLE what most other nations are spending? – not a problem worth caring about – I'M a conservative !!!!!! I want to CONSERVE the status quo, no matter what! MY healthcare is decent and taken care of, so what is the problem? I did the math, if we spent the same % of GDP on healthcare as Canada did, we'd free up a TRILLION dollars into the US economy each year. Conservatives talk ALL the time about wasteful spending of government, but ANY focus on a wasteful PRIVATE system that costs too much is a religious taboo that can't ever be focused on. The only holy evil that EVER needs to be tackled is sourced from government, private healthcare systems? sent down from god and jehovah from the heavens, intrinsically perfect in every way because ONLY men who enter government can cause unoptimized results, the men who go into private companies and systems are angels who can only do good….

        This is clearly insane thinking, but I have to wonder if that is what is undergirding conservative thought.

        Part of the reason medicare has such outsized expense is because of their target population. It's all old people. Imagine a health insurance company that only covered people 66 years and older…. they would be insolvent too. Stop pretending this is anything more than it is. It's like people complaining about the TERRIBLY inefficient post office… fedex and ups are not required to deliver mail/packages to weedhole oklahoma like the post office is!

        And it's not just medicare or "government" healthcare that rations. ALL healthcare is rationed. Yes, including private insurance. There are coverage limits, talk of government rationing is another dodge and dishonest style of argument. An honest question is whether the rationing BOTH systems engage in is better or worse.

      • Ty  •  Feb 22, 2016 at 12:30 am

        Quick addendum. There is no shortage of people entering medical schools and wanting to become doctors, but there is a doctor shortage that is expected to grow in the coming years. The main cause of that? According to what I've read it's a dearth of medical residencies. Guess what one of the major funders of those residencies is? Medicare. That terrible socialist program doing the unholy work of… increasing the maintenance of civilization.

        http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2015/08/11/to-address-doctor-shortages-some-states-focus-on-residencies

        Want more doctors? Fund more residencies. Some hospitals and states are trying to pick up the slack, but even with that there are shortages projected. Interesting. Private funds not enough to cover something we clearly need. I guess we should just leave it all private since it's already failing.

        To conservatives : Base policy off results, not what you think should be the result based off original principles. The principles need to be tied to reality, and if reality is diverging from the expectations divined by those principles, then adjust course.

        I have principles too. One of my principles is that democracy is a better system of government than dictatorship. If I lived in Egypt though, after seeing what people chose, I would prefer a benign dictatorship over democracy because it turns out democracy + a rotted society and a critical mass of trash beliefs given greater FREEDOM, can actually produce worse results overall.

        Reality adjusts my principles, because at the end of the day, I am not a SLAVE to the way I think the way works, I have to base my ideas and policies off the way the world actually works.

      • Curt  •  Feb 22, 2016 at 3:29 pm

        I did not suggest that the number of medical school applications and enrollment was down (both are at record highs). What I suggest is quality applicants are fewer which is evidenced by declining MCAT averages for enrollees. Part of this is explained by the expanded number of schools and slots but is also impacted by more of the top students electing to pursue other fields.

        As to doctor quality, again I never suggested that foreign educated doctors were inferior per se; I suggested that the foreign doctors filling the slots of migrating doctors are less experienced which often equates to less qualified and that many of those doctors in turn move on as they gain experience resulting over time in a less experienced and less qualified pool.

        Finally asking Canadians their preference for their system over ours is not informative. First, very few have experience with the American system: second, they are under the delusion that they have "free" health care and naturally think that would be better than paying for it. Finally, a general survey invariably includes mostly healthy people who have not endured the worst aspects of the system. Plus the wait times are atrocious (about 17 weeks from GP to treatment), longer for some conditions! This from a Fraser Institute study (not exactly the Heritage Foundation). And those numbers would surely be worse but for Canadians electing not to even try seeing a doctor for minor ailments, which is exactly the opposite of the theory that getting people to the doctor more often and earlier will save lives and money. Access to medical technologies is likewise limited and slow. And for this demonstration of government efficacy the Canadian taxpayer pays about several thousand dollars per year through taxes. On top of that the system is facing a funding gap of more than half a trillion dollars.

        Sure some government systems are better but none are good. Hence the Obamacare fiasco. If the idea that adding millions of people to the health insurance roles (through taxpayer subsidies) would bend the cost curve down sounds ludicrous, that's because it is.

      • Ty  •  Feb 23, 2016 at 12:27 am

        The first part about declining mcat averages sounds very deceptive. Declining by how much? 5% over the last 10 years? If it's declining a small amount but we get far more doctors, that's still a net win. I never wanted to become a doctor, but I knew people who did, and the scale of qualified and amazingly bright people turned away is immense. There is enough wiggle room to "lower the standard" and still fill the medical schools with the cream of the crop. Perhaps not the top .5% of applicants, but down to the top 1 of applicants (made up numbers, I don't know what the stats are here, just illustrating the point that "lower quality" applicants could still be FAR above the threshold to yield great doctors.

        Canadians are not so dumb they are oblivious about their healthcare not being "free."

        That is a slander of liberalized policies like universal healthcare. Everyone knows that the healthcare is paid for through taxes, and most developed countries choose to offer healthcare via that method, or some combination of mandates for health savings like singapore.

        From what I've read about Canadian healthcare, the wait times are generally longer, but that varies based on where you live. There could very well be room for improvement there, but taking that kernel of a lower stat and saying the entire project is inferior to our system as a whole is ludicrous. The funding gap makes sense because the Canadian economy was propped up by oil revenues. There is a funding gap for most things I'd imagine. Not a credible argument, and more importantly, not relevant because it has no bearing on your support or lack thereof.

        You made a claim, that none of the government healthcare systems are good. Do you think our system as a whole is the single best healthcare system in the entire world?

        On what metrics is it better?

        If you mean to say it's the best if you exclude the massive additional expense of it, or the tens of millions of people that cannot afford healthcare, or the fact that the single largest cause of bankruptcies in the US is related to medical expenses not running up credit card bills (because the healthcare market is NOT a normal market, the choice between paying double for a notebook you don't need and saving your kids life is all the difference in the world), that is possible.

        Relatively low wait times, and if you have good insurance with access to good local doctors and facilities (still no guarantee), you will probably be ok.

        But that definition of "best" is a garbage standard. It essentially ignores the healthcare quality of tens of millions of people, ignores the effects on the balance sheets of Americans who pay so much more, ignores the additional burdens companies are forced to keep up with to stay competitive, ignores the deliberate full time to part time reductions some companies engage in to avoid state laws to provide healthcare.

        Your policy attitude seems to be, as long as people working full time with decent incomes are covered, at increased expense, it does not MATTER that the fate of the rest are in the gutter.
        This is why people look at conservatives are being callous.

        And they-are-right.

        OVER 99% of conservatives have done jack sh*t when it comes to objectively researching the healthcare quality of other nations. But that does not stop them from opining on how much better our system is than everywhere else, and like you've done, take one inferior stat from one country, and extrapolated that to imply the system as a whole, and every other universal health care system overseas is inferior. Even more galling, you claim to have a better understanding of the satisfaction of the Canadian healthcare system than actually Canadians who are closer to it and using it!

        When the anecdotes go your way via Canadian friends, they have the truth, when the surveys show that most Canadians prefer what they have, they are just confused. This is so obviously a blind spot for conservatives, and I think the problem is the religious dogma that the government = the holy evil of our times, that everything it does aside from the tiniest slivers of defense and a few other areas is inherently destructive that is causing the problem in conservative thought. People like you are given license to shut your brains off, and automatically reject evidence to the contrary out of hand.

        What else can an upstanding government = bad conservative do with confronted with scores of other developed nations healthcare systems costing less, and producing similar if not better outcomes overall, and covering more people? Deny it. Deny it with no in depth knowledge, just take the tiniest sliver of evidence in the tiniest sliver of a metric that gauges the quality of the overall system, and inflate that to the most important thing, a thing that may not even be an attribute of all such systems. But it does not matter. When the initial ideology is threatened with evidence that contradicts it, you can either amend the ideology or principle, or reject the evidence. Conservatives seem to love choosing the latter on healthcare, because admitting that a government funded ANYTHING could possibly yield a better result anywhere threatens the entire ideological foundation. It's not just that you need more proof to over come these anti government biases, some conservatives have a threshold where no proof is good enough. My world view has no such problems, I am open to a more hands on or hands off approach to policy when it comes to government, the results are what I'm after.

        I don't know how to argue people out of dogma. If it holds, like I said before, you just have to be beaten. This topic is literally life and death, and I refuse to allow this ideological face saving to keep the US mired in a sub optimal healthcare system because conservatives are too prideful to admit their hostility to all things government is wrong and holding us down.

      • Curt  •  Feb 23, 2016 at 5:08 pm

        While I haven't been making an argument about the US having the best health care system, I would be happy to do so. Forbes recently published the outlines of a study that looked at life expectancy and its link to health care. Liberals often point to life expectancy being higher in countries with socialized as "proof" that these systems are superior. However when controlled for accidental death and homocide US life expectancy is number one. Further looking at outcomes for people facing serious health issues, such as cancer and heart disease, the US is again number one. By the way, your suggestion that waiting years for a hip replacement is preferable to no hip replacement ignores the larger point. The Frazer Institute study I mentioned in an earlier post estimated that as many as 60,000 Canadian women died of breast and cervical cancer as a direct result of lengthy wait times in the last 15 years. In other words, people are still not getting treated.

        You insist on citing survey data that shows 71 percent of Canadians are happy with their system but dismiss the idea that it's because they see it as "free", although the same survey you cite showed that more than 60 percent of those surveyed said the best thing about it was that it was free (only 1.6 percent cited quality of services). By the way 55 percent of Canadians in a recent EKOS study felt health care has gotten worse over the last decade all while running up a debt approaching a trillion dollars.

        The problem is it doesn't work. We compound that problem by taking people's tax dollars and lying to them that it does. You keep returning to the tired old dodge that anyone who disagrees is heartless and cruel. You say conservatives haven't done anything You also ignore the fact that many people without insurance are in that position through their own actions or by choice. It also ignores many opportunities for people to get care at no charge. I teach now but when I was practicing I volunteered many hours at local children's clinics. I still do less frequently and donate to the children's hospital and other services for children, but I give of my own time and money. Your assertion that the funding gap is irrelevant is ludicrous (by the way those figures are pre the collapse of oil prices) or do you expect at some point that things will truly be free? Finally I'm not opposed to some assistance for people who cannon afford insurance (not those who choose not to because they'd rather spend the money elsewhere – though they should have that right). But this should not be forced upon physicians or patients.

    • Ty  •  Feb 23, 2016 at 7:43 pm

      Link that forbes article, I'd like to read it.

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinomarah/2015/09/10/u-s-healthcare-what-are-we-thinking/#15cbf8e552ab

      I do think some conservatives ARE heartless and cruel. There are multiple motivations that move different conservatives. For every Arthur Brooks who couches his conservatism by at least paying lip service to thinking conservative policies actually make people better off, there are the Types who just don't want to have any money taken from themselves through taxes for anyone elses benefit. Whether such policies are a net benefit to society as a whole is clearly secondary to the primary concern over taxes being used for others. For hatred of anything approaching redistribution by the government. I genuinely believe these types would rather see the nation burn if it meant they did not have to have any of their own money used for someone elses benefit.

      I suspect Canada could reduce their wait times by spending another 1-2% of their gdp to increase doctor supply, but that is their choice, and they have a direct say in that process. If they did spend 2% more they would still be spending far less than us in the US, but I realize now you don't actually care how much we spend. If spending around double what others spend for similar results to preserve your fetish for increased "Freedom" to not have any additional taxes spent to pay for a medical treatments for those without insurance, then practical arguments about cost are meaningless. You are essentially choosing to spend MORE money overall through private insurance premiums, for similar results to many european nations in terms of healthcare outcomes, so that people with less means don't "freeload" off of you.

      You answered my previous question and it highlights an important moral distinction in attitudes. You care more about punishing the cheats and sloths of our world, than helping the decent. All systems make some sacrifices, but when it comes time to err one way or the other, your greater concern is over not allowing a cent of your tax dollars spent for the benefit of other peoples health who are less fortunate than you. THAT is what bothers you, even if you end up spending double the cost through regular insurance compared to other nations, better that than have to carry the human "waste" through taxes that was not able to "get on your level" through their own talent and work and effort. Some of these people after all made choices in their lives where they were not able to afford healthcare on their own, so it's on them if they get sick, can't pay for care and die. And if they made the right choices but could not keep up or had a bad string of events, still not your problem.

      All men are NOT created equal, some are born brilliant, while others are dumb as rocks, some people are beautiful while others, even if they work out harder than others look like their face was smashed into some quasimodo form. Such is life, we cannot equalize everything, nor should we. But the idea that it's immoral to blunt SOME of the costs of healthcare for people less able to pay as a society is an abomination of all decency to me. An abomination because even in the case of life or death issues relating to health, conservatives like you want this randian world where the sum total of the worth of a man that seeks care, is tied up in his ability to pay. It makes you wonder, as someone who is fine with having the ability to pay be the decider in almost all transactions, if conservatives can't even carve out the tiniest exceptions for the worth of a man in terms of life itself when we have both the ability and wealth to afford it… it makes you lose faith in the decency and humanity of such people. You can help more people, you don't want to. You said it yourself, some people made bad choices. So if they made bad choices and can't afford care, we should not feel impelled to help such people with health care needs if we are able to?

      Ok. And you are not callous? Ok.

      • Ty  •  Feb 23, 2016 at 8:03 pm

        Forgot to mention, this general attitude of not wanting anything from my taxes attitude going to help others in terms of healthcare reminded me of an old interview of William F Buckley on the charlie rose show where he was recounting his interactions with Ayn Rand and when she turned on him. It was after a negative review of Atlas Shrugged in national review by Whitaker Chambers

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KmPLkiqnO8

        Now apparently she was hostile not only to the sorts of tax fund transfers for services, but also charity in general which is not the case for most conservatives, but the parallels of that phrase "to the gas chamber, go" that comes out of an unfeeling attitude towards the poor and less able. He talked about her scorn for charity and altruism, and it reminds me of your own general scorn for altruism and charity when it comes to using the government as a vehicle for healthcare. People can't afford healthcare? It's often their own damn fault because of their choices in life, don't ask me for help. While at the same time you pay some lip service to being ok with private charities helping people. But the attitude towards the less fortunate sounds an awful lot like Whitaker Chambers caricature of the characters in Atlas Shrugged.

      • Curt  •  Feb 23, 2016 at 11:53 pm

        The cost comparisons you make are ridiculous. Healthcare costs are way up since ACA passed in part because everything government does is done inefficiently. Yes EVERYTHING. High costs in this country are primarily driven by our litigious society and the necessity of high end malpractice policies and yet liberals never support tort reform because trial lawyers help keep them in power. In addition, Americans disproportionately bear the cost of developing new technologies and drugs and these are disproportionately borne by those privately insured l. But how dare someone want to control their own healthcare and how they pay for it.

        So in the end your argument is the typical liberal dribble and invective that liberals always resort to. Personal responsibility be damned and anyone who doesn't acquiesce in having their hard work and sacrifice taken for the benefit of others many of whom are indeed sloths and cheats and the number is growing. Interesting that you mention Atlas Shrugged where achievers finally grow tired of being exploited and vilified. I care for my fellow man and back it up with donations of my own time and money. I don't ask and don't feel it is right to force that upon others. I value freedom. I guess that makes me callous. Whatever.

  6. Wilbur Welsh  •  Feb 19, 2016 at 10:53 am

    Ask the question another way: If we are in such fantastic shape why do the Conservatives attack, smear, belittle and otherwise try to tear down everything that has been done well in the last seven years???

    • Jim Bird  •  Feb 19, 2016 at 1:15 pm

      Nothing has been done well in the past seven years unless you call giving thermo nuclear weapons to Iran, starting WWlll, destroying the best healthcare system the the Earth has ever had while increasing the cost by 40% on average, importing terrorists by the thousands without any vetting whatsoever, killing more U.S. Soldiers than W (did you notice when Obama's collateral damage killings reached 5000 about 8 months ago, we no longer have access to the totals), abuse of power and shredding the constitution daily, and so on …. cool. There are another couple of dozen atrocies from this psychopathic serial liar but I must excuse myself to go vomit.

      • Ty  •  Feb 19, 2016 at 3:10 pm

        I actually voted for McCain in 2008 because I was worried Obama would instantly pull out of Iraq, he did not, he also kept up drone strikes. His desire to keep his campaign promise of leaving Iraq did cause issues, but it's interesting how things shake out when it comes to foreign policy.

        When it comes to people overseas, it's the left that turns into John Galt, they talk about not fighting and dying and living and spending for those "other" people. Things they would champion to the hilt if it was local. Conversely conservatives, who domestically almost always tell every group under the sun to make their own way, don't ask for my help or money or time for YOUR benefit, turn into the biggest government liberals on the world stage. Overseas, some can't fathom a just "leave their own problems up to them" style argument. We have to get directly involved with a sort of foreign hell hole welfare program, where security and stability is provided by us, Whether they keep their end of the bargain or not, we are the ones asked to step in and be the ultra paternalistic force. Conservatives would NEVER tolerate that at home, but overseas, bog government can't get big enough. Iraq is out problem, Iran is our problem, Israels enemies are our problem. I don't necessarily even have a problem with some of it, but I find it interesting that some segments of the conservative movement are totally fine with the US being a guarantor of peace and stability and protection for others, when on the domestic side it's every man for himself, don't ask for a cent from me to help anyone else through taxes, but taxes to shore up foreign states? Take more, we need more!

  7. Jim Bird  •  Feb 19, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    You actually think conservatives are "every man for yourself" – we are the guarantors of peace and stability in the world which is why there is NO place on Earth now that is better than it was 7 years ago. Americans with jobs pay for government and feed the world with their tax dollars. The Government destroys jobs and economies and Obama is the shining example of this gluttony enriching himself with abuse of power and blaming everyone else for his tyrannical regime. Our foreign aid is now no longer sending food, technology, medical supplies, etc., but instead green pieces of paper that is liquid gold for terrorist countries to build armies with or just to fill their own pockets. The government takes care of themselves lavishly and blames conservatives for hoarding their money and killing your babies and environment. Eighty percent of the government is worthless – it cannot take care of anyone or anything except themselves of course.

    • Gary Liniger  •  Feb 19, 2016 at 7:00 pm

      Jim Bird: Most of your facts are not true which means you are a LIAR!

      • Ty  •  Feb 19, 2016 at 7:14 pm

        Now now, to be qualified as a liar he'd have to know they were untrue. I think he actually believes what he's saying. That makes him mistaken and confused about reality. Bad enough, but a lie it is not. Parallels the Trump – bush lies rhetoric. You don't need to go with the last to pile on, the mistake was enough without the added character assassination. Worse, because it's clearly untrue it takes attention away from the mistake and focuses attention on a weaker and flawed point.

    • Ty  •  Feb 19, 2016 at 7:21 pm

      I think the US plays an important role in world stability, the most important role currently. What I wish I'd see more of from conservatives is SOME desire for other nations to step up with their own militaries to pick up some of the slack and burden of protecting their own interests. Does Japan really need to have the moral an legal military restrictions on it today that it did post wwII?

      Can Germany leave the pacifist zone and build their own military? What about Iraq and it's neighbors? They actually LIVE in the region, why are they not chipping in more to defeat ISIS?

      But no, some conservatives want the US to always be there picking up the slack, uncle sugar with a big check and a big stick to come take up the burden of the feeble powerless allies in the region. One of the reasons I respect the kurds so much is they HAVE picked up the slack to defend their own homes and push back against ISIS. Shouldn't the "conservative" goal for the world be to get nations to the point where they can take care of their own back yard and security problems? Just like they say their goal is domestically? Instead of relying on others? This is the irony of the switch. Conservatives turn liberal, and the left turns into fortress America paleocon isolationists overseas. Human rights go out the window and the only interest is their own self interest.

      • Curt  •  Feb 21, 2016 at 11:00 pm

        Other nations (especially European nations) definitely should do so. Instead, for the most part, they have enjoyed an umbrella of safety as a US ally funded by the American taxpayer. This has propped up their socialist programs to some degree though alas they are still unsustainable. As to Iraq and other Middle East nations, with the exception of Israel, they are mostly unwilling to fight for their own freedom. I guess they don't feel it's worth fighting for (many liberals in our country seem to feel the same way). In the end, we cannot outsource our security, and yes, to the degree that means protecting our interests and citizens abroad, that may mean on occasion being the world's policeman. After all, who else will do it? Or should we withdraw from the world stage as we did following WWI and wait for another holocaust? I think projecting American power has done more for the world than all the foreign aid we provide nations that mostly work against our interests.

        I have to say though, it's kind of ironic that the US taxpayer has to foot the bill for people unwilling to do their part abroad on defense issues and for people unwilling to do their parts at home on health, education, and basic necessities. Instead of terrorizing and impugning Americans, the world should be thanking God for them. The American taxpayer is the only thing keeping this world afloat.

      • Jim Bird  •  Feb 23, 2016 at 4:57 am

        Ty, Are you married to Nani? Geezusss! Take a breath, smell the coffee and lay off the Kool-Aide.

  8. Jim Bird  •  Feb 20, 2016 at 1:50 am

    Well stated Ginger, I'm a liar. And extremely well supported by facts I might add.

  9. stryker  •  Feb 24, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Congrats to Ty for creating an opportunity for a real give-and-take discussion instead of the usual "hooray for our side" posts. So much of what he has said resonates deeply with me as a listener who distrusts the way ideologues of the left & right screen out facts that don't mesh with their predisposed viewpoint.

    As a Poli Sci student I used to read not just Time & Newsweek but National Review and The Nation to gain a complete perspective along the ideological spectrum. Sometimes I would have an emotional catharsis when both magazines would provide additional facts on a particular topic that the other magazine hadn't mentioned in making an argument. Often I found my predisposed viewpoint challenged, realizing I hadn't been given the whole story by one or both sides, not providing a full context of facts. The result was I became one of the few people on campus who could talk with a liberal or conservative without having a shouting match.

    Conservative TV & radio provided a way to hear that point of view while attending to more mundane tasks. Rush was smart & entertaining, but he clearly ignored the full context on some issues, and comparing the teenage Chelsea Clinton to a dog was the final straw for me. Hannity seemed earnest and had common sense, but Colmes and guests on the show were often correct when they would object to his tendency to take a few facts out of context. One time I recall Hannity seemed genuinely perplexed — he really didn't seem to understand you can't have your own set of facts. When Hannity started talking about how his viewers needed to be "Hannitized", I had had enough!

    By then I had already happened upon "Intelligent Talk Radio", with allowed for more disagreement & debate rather than just following RNC talking points. Prager & Medved in particular weren't so focused on narrow political issues but also larger cultural issues, and seemed to want challenging calls to the show (unlike Hewitt, who dislikes what he calls "seminar callers"). Medved's show particularly fits my schedule, so his show has become my primary source for the conservative viewpoint.

    I also want to comment on some of the issues Ty has raised, when I have more time.

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