Sparrows and chickens
In 1958, Mao Zedong decided to free China from all disease by destroying the “four pests.” Mosquitoes, rodents, flies and the dreaded harbinger of death: the sparrow. He believed sparrows were responsible for low crop production since they could be seen eating grain seed. Over the next four years, Chinese peasants eradicated something like 600 million sparrows by banging drums all hours of the day, denying the birds a perch until they died of exhaustion. Mao didn’t realize that gain seed was only a small part of the sparrows’ diet, mostly they ate insects. Massive locust swarms plagued China for years, resulting in famine and millions starved to death.
In 1963, President Lyndon Johnson imposed a 25 percent tariff on potato starch, dextrin, brandy, and light trucks. He did this to punish France and West Germany for their protective tariffs on U.S. chicken. Over the years, everything but the light truck tariff went away, resulting in American manufacturer hegemony, high prices, and for decades nearly zero innovation among pickup trucks. Now that most quote-American-unquote brands are actually made elsewhere, Ford Motor Co. imports its Transit Connect as “passenger vehicles” from Turkey, shreds the interiors and rear seats in Baltimore, then magically turns the vehicles into light trucks.
The Cassidy-Graham plan to morph Obamacare into a state Medicaid block grant program is less terrible than Obamacare because it is not designed to be a perfectly engineered system. The law of unintended consequences will act much more quickly, and Obamacare will actually run as it was intended, and therefore fail faster, but not all at once. Therefore, we must support it, as imperfect as it is. We’ve tried all the other more well-thought-out government rollbacks, and failed politically. Therefore the sparrows must die, and the chickens must be taxed to find out what happens.
The perfect system
Obamacare was constructed to be a perfect national insurance market if all states participated in the exchanges. It guaranteed that every family would receive a minimum slate of health benefits, no matter what their position or economic situation. Everyone had to have insurance. By shifting the expense to employer-run plans to pay for the huge expansion in Medicaid, Obamacare was the precursor of single-payer, where the states were supposed to set up their own exchanges and run the program. But when October 2013 rolled around only 16 states had done so, leaving the federal exchange overwhelmed.
By 2016, 19 states had not implemented Medicaid expansions. From Slate–this is definitely the liberal spin, but it highlights the way the Obamacare system had to fail unless everyone went along perfectly, which they did not.
State governments may have undermined their insurance markets in other, less overtly political ways. The majority have allowed their residents to hold onto so-called grandmothered or transitional plans that they purchased after the Affordable Care Act was passed but before healthcare.gov opened for business. That means people who were healthy enough to obtain affordable insurance back when carriers could discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions have been allowed to stay off the exchanges, leaving insurers with a sicker customer base.
How big a difference did that make? The Kaiser Family Foundation recently looked at this issue by comparing risk scores, which measure how unhealthy the enrollees in health plans are, across different states. They found risk scores were 8 percent lower in states that had expanded Medicaid and banned transitional insurance plans compared with states that had done neither. In states that expanded Medicaid but didn’t ban transitional plans, scores were just 3 percent lower. Now, letting people keep their old insurance isn’t an act of political protest the same way turning down the Medicaid expansion is, since the feds have allowed it. Nonetheless, states that fully implemented Obamacare as it was imagined seem to have more balanced individual insurance markets. (One silver lining here: All Americans will have to relinquish their grandmothered plans after next year, so we can expect some additional healthy customers on the exchanges.)
To be clear, these are not the only reasons why some states are seeing higher prices and less stable markets than others. Some parts of the country, especially the Deep South and Appalachia, are simply older and sicker than others, and would likely face higher insurance costs no matter what in a system like the Affordable Care Act. Unfortunately, those same states have often fought hardest against properly implementing the law, making a troubled situation worse.
The goal of Obamacare wasn’t for insureds to have the lowest possible premium. It was for the maximum number of people to have a certain level of coverage, the key word being coverage. Coverage doesn’t guarantee you’ll get the actual services covered. It’s like having one of those school-issued discount cards sponsored by businesses around town. You can eat at Joe’s sub shop, but Jimmy Johns isn’t on the card. And if Joe’s closes, you pay full price at Jimmy John’s. And the food at Joe’s isn’t all that good, and Joe sold the shop and the new owner decided he didn’t want to give the discount. It’s like that with Medicaid.
Unless every supplier of health care, ever practitioner, was barred from posting a sign “Medicaid not accepted here” and forced to take every form of insurance and accept whatever the carrier decided to pay, there’s absolutely no way to guarantee that people actually receive the health care they’re supposedly covered for.
What the Slate article fails to disclose is that many plan premiums went up by double-digit percentages, and many insurers withdrew from exchanges or states when they realized they had to lose money because of the risk pool and could not limit those losses. Some places in the more rural states only have one choice for insurance.
Any system designed to be anti-competitive will fail because the law of unintended consequences will force people to look for other ways to achieve their personal goals. The goals of families and individuals are low cost health care, not a card declaring “you’re covered.” If that means going to the emergency room for a fever and receiving indigent care, that’s what they’ll do. And they did.
One of the most pernicious problems with Obamacare is the growth of opioid addiction epidemics. Doctors who accepted Medicaid in states that successfully implemented the Medicaid expansion became pill mills as people lined up for their fixes, or to sell the pills on the market. This happened under the noses of regulators and drug manufacturers. Distributors gladly filled the orders. Up and down the line, people should be in jail for this failure of conscience and carpetbaggery.
Within ACA states,too, the counties that decreased the percentage of uninsured the most also had the largest increases in overdose rates.
Across age cohorts, states with full ACA implementation had a jump upward in overdoses, while holdout states stabilized.
This isn’t simply a matter of “blue” ACA expansion states being poorer or being in worse economic shape in 2010: they weren’t.
An exclusive review of Medicaid prescription drug data found oxycodone painkillers flooded into New York from 2012 to 2014, including 8.8 million pills in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties alone, enough for six pain pills for every man, woman and child in the Lower Hudson Valley.
The Daily Wire’s Frank Camp has explained how the opioid crisis is directly tied to unnecessary opioid prescriptions. The evidence does suggest that Obamacare’s intentions to get more people insured has had the unfortunate side effect of creating a pipeline for people to obtain such prescriptions that are fueling the crisis.
Burn it all down
By converting Obamacare to a state Medicaid block grant system as Cassidy-Graham will do, every state will line up to expand its Medicaid program. They’ll gladly eat at the trough of Uncle Sugar, and by getting rid of the individual mandate, many who were paying unaffordable rates or simply didn’t want insurance will drop out of the market.
The rest of the people will have to find a way to lower their health care costs, or they’ll be screwed. This is the scenario Daniel Horowitz paints so clearly.
True, and that is the point! If we can’t repeal Obamacare, let’s allow the malignancy of Obamacare to destroy the existing model of insurance, which was never a free market to begin with. When we allow individuals and employers to exit the system, the cartel will no longer have us by the neck. You see, the more they raise their prices, the more people will just give up on insurance. Employers will drop coverage like a hot potato as well. In fact, the coverage regulations forcing insurers to cover people after they get sick for the same price works to our advantage under this scenario, because people will readily leave the system and then stick the system with the tab when they need the coverage.
In the meantime, as we have explored in previous posts (here and here), health-sharing ministries have shown an alternative model to the existing insurance paradigm. Graham and Cassidy are wrong about prices coming down under their bill. The continued higher prices, in conjunction with allowing people to opt out, will create a market for health-sharing association plans in which groups of individuals and associations get together and pool their resources to cover catastrophic needs. The basic needs would be paid for directly by the consumer to the doctor.
This is how any market should work. This will make the consumer, not the government/insurance cartel, the actual consumer. This will spawn a revolution in price transparency and actually bring down costs by circumventing the entire insurance system.
By way of personal disclosure, I have been a member of Medi-Share (a health-sharing ministry that’s exempt from Obamacare) for two years. I pay about half what my friends pay–and their employers contribute to their plans, so I assume I’m paying about 1/3 to 1/4 of their actual premium. However, just about all of my medical expenses are out of pocket. I haven’t met my “annual household portion” (in insurance-speak, my deductible) in two years. I do, however, get the advantage of “in-network” pricing. I also get perks like TeleDoc, a free telemedicine service where a real doctor can diagnose common problems, prescribe medicine, and give advice. We’ve saved hundreds and hundreds of dollars using this service.
I agree that the current system deserves to be burned to the ground, but it won’t happen.
The main sources of unintended consequences are not consumer behavior. Consumers react to the market but they don’t make the market, unless you’re banking on pet rock fads, which are unpredictable by nature. What makes the market are the producers of a product or service. In health care, everyone is a consumer–even doctors.
To get the most consumers, and make money doing it, capitalist insurance companies will find a way to carve themselves a piece of the most lucrative markets. At first, they all supported Obamacare because they smelled money, and many make it hand over fist in the markets where they compete, since they’re allowed to pull out where they don’t make money. Watch them lobby state legislatures and Congress to tweak coverages and products to their liking, and block the growth of medical sharing associations, direct to consumer health care markets, and other innovations. You’ll hear them say it’s “against consumer interest” and slam quality standards.
They’ll paint themselves as the avatars and ombudsmen protecting the little guy from predatory doctors trying to make a buck. Why do you think alternative medicine and chiropractic have so much trouble? Don’t underestimate the power of large corporate hospital administrators, doctors who control licensing boards and wield immense political power at the state level, drug manufacturers and insurance companies who make enormous back room deals with all of them to control the market for health care.
Like Ford finding a way to call a Transit Connect a passenger vehicle, the consigliere of our health market will find a way to package Obamacare-the-state-run-version as something else.
Cronyism wins. But that’s not really a bad thing. In fact, I’m rather counting on it.
The great experiment
The biggest market limiter for health care isn’t insurance coverage, it’s scarcity.
Medical care is scarce: There are only so many doctors and hospital rooms; the pill factories can make only so many pills, and there are real limitations on the raw materials used to make those pills; heart stents don’t grow on trees, but, even if they did, they would be scarce, like apples and oranges and pears and avocados.
We cannot offer the same level of care to everybody with the same condition. They number in the millions, and the doctors who can perform that procedure number about three. (Or, at least they did ten years ago.) Even if they worked 16-hour shifts, seven days a week — even if we pressed them into slavery — they could see only so many patients and perform so many procedures, and those would amount to a tiny fraction of the number of people who might benefit from their attention.
Because of scarcity, medical care eventually reaches the point where one of three things happens: Somebody puts out his hand and says “Pay me,” an officer of the government or an insurance company refuses to approve some treatment, or you die.
Insurance companies say “No” all the time, and we hate them for it. That is because of another fact that we refuse to deal with like mature, responsible adults: Insurance is not a medical product — it is a financial product. Most of us do not need to spend a great deal of money on health care during any given year for most of our lives. I myself pay for most of my medical expenses out-of-pocket, and, in any given year, they rarely add up to what my health-insurance premiums cost. But I do not have health insurance, and pay premiums for that health insurance, in order to have somebody else pay for my annual check-up or routine dental work. I have insurance because I might get hit by a bus or cancer or a heart attack, and, secondarily, because one day I will be old, if I am lucky, and old people have lots of medical expenses.
Do we want the market to say “no” by pricing us out of the particular procedure we can’t afford, or do we want the government to say “no” for us? Insurance companies saying “no” isn’t a hard “no.” It simply means “we won’t pay for that.” Maybe some rich person, or foundation, or charity will decide to pay for it, but the insurance company won’t. When the government becomes the “single-payer” insurance company, generally that turns into a hard “no” because by necessity the government negotiates with all providers to make the health care market (which by nature suffers scarcity).
Hence, you have England, where depending on where you live, the wait for a knee replacement might be a year, or five years. Meanwhile, you suffer. Yes, you can fly to the United States and get it done, if you have the money. But you can’t pay any amount to a U.K. NHS doctor to do it for you at home. A “no” means “no.”
The biggest reason to support Cassidy-Graham is that states act like a great experiment. California doesn’t handle things like Florida. Demographics differ, world views differ, economic status differs and physical climate differs. The greatest opportunity to see how unintended consequences work their way through the system, which states fail and which succeed (or which fail last, depending on your outlook), is to move the money and therefore the cronyism, to the state level.
Compare it to speed limits. In New Jersey, the speed limit on highways is 65. In Hawaii, it’s 60 (why Hawaii has an interstate highway is incomprehensible to me). In South Dakota, Montana and Nevada, it’s 80, and in parts of Texas (God bless’em!) it’s 85. The federal government pays DOT money to all the states, but they all have different laws, fines, and enforcement. This is what Cassidy-Graham will become, albeit a thousand times more complex.
Again, I agree that the current system of health care in America is like buying a car without knowing the sticker price, the features, or the loan value; and in fact the guy buying the exact same car might pay half of what you are about to pay, but you’re not allowed to know it. There’s no transparency, consistency, or even a semblance of consumer-friendliness to it. It was that way before Obamacare sucked the entire diseased mass into Washington, D.C. It cannot get better under political control of the federal government.
Like Mao, we’re just blindly killing sparrows, and that’s going to lead us nowhere good. We need to pass Cassidy-Graham and begin to break the federal stranglehold.
One more reason: Rand Paul
Sen. Rand Paul has offered an amendment that, if adopted, he might swing over to the “Yea” column for Cassidy-Graham. It repeals some of the most egregious trouncing of the Constitution and our personal rights inherent in Obamacare (besides the individual mandate that is).
The amendment would keep the ATF from banning guns for veterans with a PTSD diagnosis. It would also bar insurance companies from inquiring about gun ownership, or using that information to determine coverage eligibility. Finally, Paul’s amendment would roll back the truly Orwellian ACA requirement for doctors to ask patients about gun ownership so that information could be recorded in a federal database. My doctor would get a self-diagnosis of “nunya syndrome.”
The perfect is the enemy of the good. So far, Congress has failed to repeal Obamacare. President Trump has failed to provide vision as to the kind of health care system he really wants–other than it’s not named Obamacare. If we don’t repeal Obamacare with Cassidy-Graham, look for the Democrats to go with single-payer, and Trump very well might support some form of that.
This is really coming down to a binary choice, like the Flight 93 election was in September 2016. Either we break the federal stranglehold on a dying health insurance system that in turn is choking health care providers, shutting down markets, increasing costs across the board, and incentivizing pill mills to spread addiction; or we embrace a national health care system that will bankrupt the treasury and result in stratospheric tax increases along with rationed care. It’s going to be one or the other.
If this year ends with Obamacare intact, we know what will happen, and every Republican in office knows it too.
— Steve Berman (@stevengberman) July 21, 2017
Cassidy-Graham is the last, best hope for a first step away from the cliff. We need to take it.
The Context of Life
Man #1 shoots Man #2. As a result, Man #2 dies. Is Man #1 a murderer?
Obviously, it depends. Context matters. Did Man #1 fire in self-defense? Did he shoot Man #2 by accident? Was Man #1 part of a legally appointed firing squad or under a hypnotic trance? Was the weapon a prop gun that mistakenly contained live ammunition? There are many points to consider before we can definitively say that an instance of killing constitutes murder.
Let’s try another thought exercise: protesters are gunned down by a neighboring country’s military forces. Is this murder? Is it a breach of international law? Is it a gross violation of human rights?
Again, it depends. Context matters. Are these protesters peaceful, or are they, say, planting landmines, tossing grenades, hurling molotov cocktails, and threatening to invade the country that is firing back at them? Have these protesters sworn to murder and pillage their neighbors until they are eradicated from the earth, all in the name of radical religious zeal? Are upwards of 50 out of the 62 protesters killed members of a terrorist organization?
Here’s another one: are illegal immigrants animals?
That depends; are the immigrants in question members of a ruthless gang that rips the beating hearts out of its victims? Do these immigrants peddle drugs, commit brutal assaults, and routinely rape women? Given the context and Oxford’s alternative definition of “animal” — “a person whose behavior is regarded as devoid of human attributes or civilizing influences, especially someone who is very cruel, violent, or repulsive. Synonyms: brute, beast, monster, devil, demon, fiend” — I think we can deem that perhaps too kind a descriptor.
Some people, however, seem to reject the value of context when it goes against their narrative. For instance, on the issue of calling MS-13 members “animals,” singer John Legend tweeted on Thursday, “Even human beings who commit heinous acts are the same species as us, not ‘animals’. I’m in the hospital with our new son. Any of these babies here could end up committing terrible crimes in the future. It’s easy, once they’ve done so, to distance ourselves from their humanity. … Dehumanizing large groups of people is the demagogue’s precursor to visiting violence and pain upon them.”
While MS-13 undoubtedly deserves any visitation of violence and pain upon them, the most glaring hole in Legend’s argument is that mere hours ago, he wouldn’t have considered “any of these babies” to be the same species as him (except when it’s his own baby). And as an outspoken donor and supporter of Planned Parenthood, he wouldn’t hesitate to defend the visitation of violence and pain upon them. But because of arbitrary abortion arguments, Legend and countless other Leftists ascribe more humanity to murderous villains than preborn babies.
Ironically, the one issue where Leftists insist on considering context is the one topic for which nuance is largely counterproductive — the sanctity of life.
As mentioned earlier, not all killing is murder, nor is it always unjustified. The right to life is unalienable, meaning it is intrinsic and therefore cannot be given nor taken away by man. It can, however, be surrendered through certain violations of another person’s unalienable rights. This is why many conservatives support capital punishment for perpetrators of homicide and rape. But it’s critical to recognize that this position is taken in order to emphasize the dignity of life and the severity of seriously harming and/or violating it. Similar reasoning is what justifies depriving someone of their unalienable right to liberty after they’ve committed a crime — they’ve automatically surrendered that right based on their actions.
That single caveat aside, any attempt to contextualize the debate for life pushes the dialogue further down a nonsensical rabbit hole designed to cheapen the worth of the weakest among us, or, to borrow Legend’s term, “dehumanize” them. At every turn, the argument gets slipperier and slipperier.
The Left will say that all human life is precious, even murderers, but they don’t extend this philosophy to unborn babies.
“Context!” they scream. “Fetuses aren’t fully human, and they aren’t really alive.”
Even if we gave the Left that argument, we have to ask whether fetal life, though not fully developed, is still worth protecting.
But the Left can’t give a straight answer here either, because while they celebrate a woman’s choice to terminate her unborn child, they cry for the conservation of fetuses that aren’t even human, proclaiming their inherent dignity well before birth. Eagle and sea turtle eggs come to mind, among other examples.
Next, the Left tries to establish what differentiates a human before birth and a human after birth, or rather what about birth makes someone human, but their attempts at context again fall short:
On one hand, they say it’s about viability outside of the womb, but standards of what constitutes viability are fully arbitrary. A baby born at 37 weeks is no more viable than one at 41 weeks that refuses to pop out — but because it’s still in the womb, it’s still not a living human, apparently. A baby born at 25 weeks in a big city is more viable than a baby born at 35 weeks in the boonies. My one-year-old daughter couldn’t survive without constant care from someone else, and neither could many elderly folks.
Other pro-aborts claim that if there’s no heartbeat, there’s no life, yet I don’t see many of them rushing to pull the plug on grandpa because he’s hooked up to a pacemaker.
I’ve heard some say that a baby’s first breath is what makes it human — so what about those who require artificial sources of oxygen? And if air confers humanity, then why aren’t all air-breathing animals human? If it determines life, then what happens when I hold my breath? I have the potential to breathe again, just as a fetus, left alone, has the potential to be born through natural processes.
The same goes for the sentience test. People in comas still enjoy an unalienable right to life.
Under the law, a woman can abort her baby, but if a pregnant woman is murdered, the assailant is charged with double homicide. No context can sensibly explain this double standard.
Some on the Right are guilty of it too. When asked whether abortion is murder, many engage in a similar exercise to the example I presented earlier about whether a shooting death necessarily constitutes murder: “it depends, what are the circumstances?”
There is no nuance to this question. Either the intentional taking of innocent life is murder or it is not. What difference does it make whether the baby was the result of rape or incest? I’ve stated in this very article that rape sometimes requires taking a life — but the baby is not the guilty party. Either life is sacred or it is not, regardless of how it got there.
Others cite the safety of the mother as context, but this argument is likewise flawed. Pursuing a vital cure for a woman’s ailment that indirectly harms the baby isn’t the intentional taking of innocent life but an unfortunate externality, so it’s not murder. And the case for actively terminating a pregnancy to save a mother is virtually identical to a self-defense argument, but again, there’s a problem: a baby is not an aggressor. It does not violate a woman’s rights, and a woman cannot violate the rights of her baby.
And a baby either has rights or it doesn’t. “Unalienable” means a baby doesn’t magically receive rights the moment it exits the birth canal, nor are a human’s rights any less inherent because he or she is dependent on someone or something else to sustain them. From the moment of existence, all human life has worth.
Life is the only consistent position, and it is so straightforward that it requires no nuance. Life either has intrinsic value or it does not. Context matters in almost every discussion of politics. But on the question of life, what people think is context is just an excuse to kill.
In UK, Ancient Heathenism Reigns Supreme
Several minutes had passed since the medical examination of the newborn had begun. They stood inspective over the infant, occasionally murmuring to one another in a hushed tone. The babe’s father stood nearby, pacing: his eyes intractably fixed on the small group of elders in a desperate attempt to interpret each subtle lift of an eyebrow or pinch of the lips.
Then came that dreaded nod…
The tormented father wept as the judge read the decision aloud: “as thinking it neither good for the child itself…” the child must die.
The above description is not a reference to the United Kingdom’s government-ordered killing of little Alfie Evans, nor the United Kingdom’s government-ordered killing of little Charlie Gard.
The infant’s death-order, described above, was merely the price of societal perfection for his father, living in the Statist abyss of Ancient Sparta.
In Lives: Lycurgus 16, Greek historian Plutarch (48-122 A.D.) wrote of the medical inspections of infants by “elders,” and of the state-ordered murder of infants in Ancient Sparta under the rule Lycurgus, a tyrannical central-planner:
“Nor was it in the power of the father to dispose of the child as he saw fit (as was his right in most heathen societies). He was obliged to carry (the newborn) child before certain men at a place called Lesche; these men were some of the elders of the tribe to which the child belonged; their business was to carefully view the infant, and, if they found it stout and well made, they gave order for its rearing and allotted to it one of the nine thousand shares of land above mentioned for its maintenance, but, if they found it puny and ill-shaped, ordered it to be taken to what was called the Apothetae (“depository”), a (large cave) under Mt. Taygetus (in the Peloponnese); as thinking it neither for the good of the child itself, nor for the public interest, that it should be brought up, if it did not, from the very outset, appear to be healthy and vigorous.” (emphasis mine)
Undesirable Infants – those either deemed unfit in some way, were conceived through rape, were unwanted, or were female – were often exposed, meaning that these infants were tossed into pits or over cliffs, or were abandoned in the wilderness and then left to starve or to be eaten by wild animals.
Such was life in the pagan purgatories of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome.
Such has life begun to be again, today, in the United Kingdom.
As I type, a toddler lies in the hospital, a prisoner, detained by the pagan pride of evil monsters, by his own Statist government.
The “elders” in the UK have sentenced little Alfie Evans to die, “as thinking it neither for the good of the child itself.” Alfie may not be alone in the wilderness, but he is being exposed by the sword of starvation.
Right now, a tormented father weeps for his child.
The cruel winds of an evil-ridden history are circling ’round again.
Once Christianity came upon the scene, Christians began to regularly rescue exposed infants.
As Tertullian stated, “Christians sought out the tiny bodies of newborn babies from the refuse and dung heaps and raised them as their own or tended to them before they died or gave them a decent burial” (Early Church History).
“The Christian idea that each individual person has worth because they were created by God was foreign to the lies of pagan society where the State, the tribe, the collective was the only value they knew” (Early Church History).
One can even visit these once abandoned babes at the Catacomb of Praetextatus. “The catacombs are filled with very tiny graves with the epitaph ‘adopted daughter of…’ or ‘adopted son of…’ inscribed on them. These inscriptions refer to the many babies and young children Christians rescued from the trash over the centuries” (Early Church History).
Unlike during the times of Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece, however, today’s United Kingdom prevents Christians from aiding Britain’s exposed children.
Christians from across the globe have offered aid and open arms to little Alfie Evans. Pope Francis has faithfully attempted to save the ailing child, arranging medical transportation for Alfie so that he might fly via air ambulance to the Vatican’s hospital.
Still, the prideful “elders” cling mercilessly to their pagan heathenism, determined to deny any and all Christian charity for little Alfie.
Alas! One thing is now crystal clear: in the United Kingdom, ancient heathenism reigns supreme.
For a glimpse of the future, listen to these famous voices from the past:
In On the Laws 3.8, Cicero (106-43 BC) states:
“Deformed infants shall be killed.”
Posidippus, a Greek poet, wrote:
“Everybody raises a son even if he is poor, but exposes a daughter even if he is rich.”
In On Anger 1.15, Seneca (4 BC-65 AD) wrote:
“…mad dogs we knock on the head…unnatural progeny we destroy; we drown even children at birth who are weakly and abnormal.”
In Politics 7.1335b, Aristotle (364 BC-322 BC) wrote:
“As to exposing or rearing the children born, let there be a law that no deformed child shall be reared; but on the ground of number of children, if the regular customs hinder any of those born being exposed, there must be a limit fixed to the procreation of offspring, and if any people have a child as a result of intercourse in contravention of these regulations, abortion must be practiced on it (the child).”
In Theaetetus, the Greek philosopher Plato (quoting Socrates) wrote of the important societal task of killing infirm infants:
“For we must take care that we don’t overlook some defect in this thing that is entering into life; it may be something not worth bringing up, a wind-egg, a falsehood. What do you say? Is it your opinion that your child ought in any case to be brought up and not exposed to die? Can you bear to see it found fault with and not get into a rage if your first-born is stolen away from you?”
In Ad Nationes, Tertullian (155-220 A.D.) recorded the frequency of pagan infanticide in the Roman Empire during the late 100’s and early 200’s A.D.:
“…because, although you are forbidden by the laws to slay new-born infants, it so happens that no laws are evaded with more impunity or greater safety, with the deliberate knowledge of the public, and the suffrages of this entire age…But then you make away with them in a more cruel manner, because you expose them to the cold and hunger, and to wild beasts, or else you get rid of them by the slower death of drowning.”
In Book 3 of Instructor, Clement of Alexandria (150-215 A.D.) wrote of Roman women caring more for animals than for children:
“And though maintaining parrots and curlews, they do not receive the orphan child; but they expose children that are born at home, and take up the young of birds, and prefer irrational to rational creatures.”
In Lieu of what is Right – An Interview with Dr. Ken Wright
One of the most vapid and reliably anti-Constitutionalist members of Congress is known to anyone who takes to Twitter, Ted Lieu, of the California 33rd Congressional District, suddenly has a staunch conservative to square off against. I got to sit down for about an hour over the phone with Dr. Ken Wright, who was one of the most interesting interviews I’ve done this year (and after Erin Cruz, Austin Petersen, Shane Hazel, and Hunter Hill, that is saying something).
Dr. Wright is a renowned pediatric ophthalmologist who is invited to teach all over the world. For that reason (sorry doc) I thought he might have the demeanor of a college professor. Analytical without a lot of passion. I was right about the analytical part. I was dead wrong about the lack of passion. This is a man who in no way needs to run for Congress, but instead sees it as a public service that he is willing to take on to make the world better for his family and for all of ours as well. It’s probably worth noting that one of the most respected and freedom-oriented members of the Senate, Dr. Rand Paul, is also an ophthalmologist. I also have an acquaintance here in my home town who is a Constitutionalist and an ophthalmologist. There seems to be a pattern here.
I found Dr. Wright to be authentic, passionate about Constitutional freedoms, and a man who will not be bullied by anyone. He supports much of what President Trump is trying to do, however I have no trouble believing he would stand up to the President should he go off the rails. The people of the California 33rd would do well to put a man of such integrity into office, and with him get rid of one of the most staunchly anti-freedom members of the US House of Representatives, Ted Lieu.
BW: What specific experience and education make you feel makes you the most qualified to be a Congressman?
KW: With the present state of our representatives I think as long as you have a pulse you could do a better job. They’re bought. The special interest lobbyists are running the show. Any good, ethical citizen could do a better job and do what is right for the people.
**I needed to take a moment to stop laughing at this answer. It was funny because it’s true.**
I’m a pediatric ophthalmologist. I know people all over the world since I travel for teaching in my field. I was awarded a service medal from the President of Panama after Noriega was ousted due to the work I was doing there. I’m a doctor, and doctors use data and facts to make decisions. We don’t put a Band-Aid on an infection and expect it to go away. Dems in inner cities have made people dependent for more than 50 years with no way out and they end up in gangs or living on welfare. Let’s get factories into the inner-cities. Let’s get them jobs instead of food stamps and a few bucks. I want to actually solve problems instead of creating a never-ending cycle of dependency.
BW: What specific issues will be your main focus if elected?
KW: Immigration is a huge problem right now. President Trump gave Congress the job to put together a real plan for DACA and they’ve done nothing. We need a clear policy regarding immigration. To my mind we need to secure the border. Without that we have open borders. We need a wall for at least part of the southern border. It worked in Israel. Then you can think about what to do with 13 million illegals.
Whether they were invited by the government or not, many illegals came here because we wanted people to come here; we wanted them to do certain jobs like pick crops or be a housekeeper, and it would be wrong to send them all home after so many years. That said, criminals with so much as a DUI have to go. This is my problem with sanctuary cities; they allow criminal illegals to roam free and harm our citizens. This is not a Democrat or Republican problem, but rather an American problem.
The largely law abiding that we choose to let stay can get in line behind everyone else and perhaps pay some fines and do some service, but they shouldn’t be able to get to the head of the line like so many Democrats want, and they certainly shouldn’t be given blanket amnesty.
Healthcare is a big issue, mostly because the Democrats have made it that way with Obamacare. Despite what the Democrats say, there were never bodies lying in the street before Obamacare. No one is turned away from any emergency room. Everyone can get care. Not everyone needs health insurance. If you’re a 20 year old on your first job and in good health, perhaps you don’t need to spend money on health insurance, and it’s wrong for the government to force you to subsidize health insurance for others. We need to repeal McCarron-Ferguson Act which exempts insurance companies from most federal regulation including anti-trust laws. That would allow real free-market competition back.
BW: What failures do you feel have been made on the part of Ted Lieu?
**Note: I asked Dr. Wright to please try to keep this to a top 5 list… I know I could write an article just on this question**
KW: When the Syrian war was really going on he wanted to bring 200K refugees from Iraq and Syria and voted against the SAFE Act. That’s dangerous for America.
He doesn’t protect America first. He wants open borders. He’s for sanctuary cities. He votes against Kate’s Law every time it comes up. He has sponsored legislation for no-money bail, saying bail is unfair to the poor, yet judges can take that into consideration. He wants to take the discretion away from the judges.
He’s a hypocrite. On his web site the number one issue he talks about is climate change. And yet, when he was a state senator he accepted $13K from real estate developers who wanted to build a new stadium, and then he co-sponsors a bill to exempt the real estate developers from environmental regulations. He’s a career politician and has never had a real job in his life. I’ve had a real job. I’ve run a business and put people to work.
BW: What political challenges do you face and how do you plan to overcome them?
Well, District 33 is only 24% Republicans, which has discouraged the GOP and the GOP wasn’t even going to run someone in 2016. However, there’s almost 30% here with no party preference. I was able to take 37% in 2016 and I didn’t have a real organization. I have a whole organization this time and I think winning this district is doable.
BW: With the current debate over gun-control, what are your thoughts?
KW: Well this isn’t an easy issue. I think we all, or at least most, agree a civilian doesn’t need to own a surface-to-air missile. At the same time, the 2nd Amendment isn’t about hunting, it’s about being able to resist a tyrannical government. We need to find a balance. I think for certain weapons perhaps some form of mental evaluation might be in order. The problem is the Democrats always want to take it too far. Instead of making things simple and wanting to implement legislation that might actually save lives they are intent on disarming the population.
BW: There has been a lot of debate over President Trump’s tariffs. How do you feel about them.
KW: Great question. Would you agree that it is equally wrong for one to hire someone to commit murder as it is to commit murder yourself?
KW: Well by the same token, if it’s wrong for us to use slave labor to make our products, it’s equally wrong for us to allow China and other countries to use slave labor without any kind of penalty. The Chinese have a miles long factory where people were crammed into tiny rooms to live and work. It was so miserable that people were jumping to their deaths. Know what the Chinese government did? They put up nets outside the building so that people couldn’t even kill themselves to get away. It’s that miserable and yet we are profiting from it in the form of cheaper goods. You’ll notice that the President isn’t imposing these tariffs on Europe or Canada or other nations that play by the rule of civilized behavior.
BW: I’m personally very much against tariffs, but I have to admit that I never thought about it that way.
KW: Most people don’t.
BW: I ask this of all California candidates since your state pretty much has been the leader on this issue: What about legalization of Marijuana?
The half-life of marijuana is 3-4 days. If you smoke 2 or 3 times a week then the half life becomes about 2-3 weeks. Alcohol is metabolized much faster. I think it should be available but through a pharmacy, and not in smoking form. Physicians were encouraged to give more opioids for pain management and they found it to be profitable. This has led toward a lax attitude toward drugs. Marijuana should be available to those who need it, but we can’t be so careless with how it’s used.
BW: What do you want the people of the California 33rd to know about you?
KW: Both Republicans and Democrats need to realize that we are Americans first. Vote for someone who has the moral fiber to do what is right. Don’t vote for someone just because they might be at your end of the ideological spectrum.
You can learn more about Dr. Ken Wright by clicking here.
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