Uncommon Sense

February 5, 2021

Anti-Mask Protests

Filed under: Culture,Medicine,Politics,The Law — Steve Ruis @ 12:05 pm
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There continues to be anti-mask wearing protest rallies occurring fairly frequently (Only slaves wear masks . . . only slaves wear masks! Yeah!). The question is: what to do about those protesting by not wearing masks?

These are our fellow citizens so I think we should treat them with respect. I also expect them to treat the rest of us also with respect. So, they are free to make their own life choices. They are also free to suffer their own life choice consequences. This is a problem that solves itself, we just don’t want them to take us down with them.

So, we will respect their desire to not wear a mask, but this means that they cannot attend an event that requires masks. If a store/restaurant/whatever requires people to be masked, they may not enter. If the city or state they are in requires masks be worn out in public spaces, they must stay home. If their children’s schools reopen, but require the kids to wear masks, they will have to home school their kids.

I would also suggest that since they are engaging in reckless behavior that they should be last in line for respirators and oxygen in hospitals and last in line for vaccinations. Oh, and should they get the ghastly disease, their health insurance should not have to pay for their treatment because they were undertaking reckless behavior that they were warned against, but continued doing.

Oh, about the Anti-Vax Rallies . . . <ditto>.

Do realize I am being consistent. In my home state, California, a law was passed that motorcycle and scooter riders had to wear helmets when operating their rides on public roadways. Ah, the anguish expressed! “They are taking away our freedom!” riders complained. Not being someone to take away someone’s freedom, I also think that actions have consequences. So, if a motorcyclist gets into an accident when helmetless, then their insurance company should not need to pay out anything as reckless behavior was involved in the accident. (Yes, they still need to have insurance, silly!) Also, their health insurers shouldn’t be liable for paying to have them patched up, either. So, emergency healthcare professionals can, if they choose, patch them up a little, but only after their ability to pay has been established.

The cost of liberty/freedom certainly isn’t cheap. Sometimes it involves more than eternal vigilance, sometimes it involves hard cash. Maybe we should have the helmetless/maskless/vaccineless post a bond . . . hmm, still thinking about this one.

March 20, 2019

What Does Freedom Mean to You?

Filed under: Politics — Steve Ruis @ 8:27 am
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I suspect you won’t be shocked it means something quite different to the “morbidly rich.”

This is very much worth reading.

What Republicans and Billionaires Really Mean When They Talk About ‘Freedom’


October 26, 2017

Which One of These Is Not Like the Other?

Filed under: Culture,Economics,Politics — Steve Ruis @ 10:35 am
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The Chinese government is busy with the annual convening of the Communist Party. In their sessions, they reinforced that they were in charge, that they are the only political party allowed (birthday parties are okay still), and they feel perfectly comfortable controlling what ordinary citizens hear, see, and think. Chinese citizens exercise to “patriotic” music, even singing along. They read an ever-changing list of words that are not allowed to be used on their social media (and if they do use them, they should expect a knock on their door). The “party” exerts its control over the most minute aspects of their subject’s lives and their subjects are expected to venerate the party because … just because, or maybe “or else.”

We read about this and smirk. Those people aren’t free like us. We have all of the advantages of capitalism and freedom and they do not (smirk, smirk). Those people are like sheep, blindly following the elites as if they were shepherds. We are so superior, so exceptional! We’re No. 1, we’re No. 1!

Are we?

Try running for president as an atheist.

Try suing Goldman-Sachs for their multiple criminal behaviors.

Try to get your Congressman to carry a piece of legislation “for the people.”

Try running for office under the banner of a third party.

Try challenging the $8,000,000,000 annual federal subsidy of the U.S. oil industry, you know, the one making the massive profits.

Try finding out whether the U.S. “intelligence” agencies are still running every phone call you make through filters looking for key words they don’t like.

Try kneeling during the playing of the national anthem, even though there is no law against it.

Try driving (or shopping, or playing, or walking, or skipping) while Black.

Try getting your local city council to stop having Christian prayers said at every meeting.

Try getting your local oil refinery to clean up the incredible messes they have made.

Try suing your financial advisor for serving his own interests above yours.

Try eating without working.

Need I go on?

The difference between visible control by an elite class and invisible control by an elite class is, uh, subtlety? A matter of style? Do you get more points when the plebs buy into the system through which they are oppressed that they do the oppressing for you?

Just asking.

October 30, 2016

Conservatives and Freedom

Filed under: Culture,History — Steve Ruis @ 8:46 am
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Many a conservative has uttered the claim that they are only trying to protect their “freedom,” which is precious to them. This is hard to argue against so liberals, like me, ask them to clarify what their notion of “freedom” is. They respond with something along the lines of “what we had when….”

I have commented before that conservatives have a much too rosy picture of the past while liberals have a much too rosy picture of the future. With regard to the “freedom” most conservatives say they want: freedom to do what they want personally, freedom from governmental interference in their lives (except in the case of abortion, women’s rights, etc., etc.), freedom to do what they want in business, and so on, harkening to the past is a strange approach.

If you go to our deep past, back to when humans lived in tribes or family groups, what kind of individual freedom did we have? In such a small group, there was very little individual freedom. One did what the tribe needed. You had no choice of occupation. You didn’t get to choose who you worked with. You didn’t get to choose who you married, or whether you married. You didn’t get to choose where you lived or what you ate, and so on. You did what the chiefs/leaders told you to or you found yourself alone.

If you jump from then to much closer to now, the conditions were much the same. As an individual, you had the choice to starve and not much else. Most people did what they were told to do by a religious official or a rich person. Ordinary people did not have the resources to strike out on their own unless they were quite self-sufficient and there were very, very few of those people.

So, from where did the idea of “individual freedom” come? It came from modern society. The closer you get to modern society, the more individual freedom there is.

And what is it that most conservatives are rejecting?

You got it in one: modern society.

Conservatives have existed throughout human history. You can’t go back to a previous time for which there are written records without finding complaints from conservatives about the moral decay of society and the same for “today’s youth.” Youths are pretty much the only humans who have the energy to oppose the inertia of our society, so they are an obvious target for progress suppressionists. So, as our society has “decayed” we have become more and more free.

Conservatives apparently want the product of the modernization trend (freedom), but don’t want the modern along with it. Any who say we were “more free” in the past are probably pointing to a privileged group, such as the rich, who had a pocket of greater freedom due to their wealth, or to a group who had privileges hard wired into society, such as racial privileges. The “freedom” of those people was at the expense of large numbers of other people and was a false kind of freedom.

December 12, 2013

Does Freedom Make You Happy or Does Happiness Make You Free?

The current position of conservative American politicians is that our freedoms are very, very important, apparently the most important of which are the freedoms to fail, to hunger or even starve, and to die from treatable disease. Freedom, they say, will make you happy.

The country of Denmark, takes a different approach. Denmark was just rated as the happiest country, according to a survey of 156 nations called the World Happiness Report. And according to Christian Bjornskov, an economics professor at Aarhus University, “The second factor is a strong belief in personal freedom — that you can always change things in your own life.” (The first had something to do with “trust;” gasp, they trust their government!?)

Denmark thinks that if many of the smallest things like basic food, shelter, and health care are provided for, then people are free to be whomever they want to be. Danes don’t have to grub for a basic existence.

Apparently Danes don’t have a view of their fellow citizens as “takers” who will put up a hammock and television set as soon as possible and vegetate their lives away. And apparently they are correct; they are industrious and hard working . . . and happy. Amazing that the Danes can do this and we cannot. They must be exceptional.

July 13, 2012

Freedom from the Health Care Mandate, My Ass!

Republicans were howling that the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional, but now that it is, they are adrift and flailing around for other levers to pull. The fascinating thing is that the health insurance boffins are ecstatic as people will now be “forced” to purchase health insurance, so I wonder what the Republican crocodile tears are all about. (They sure weren’t crying when they cashed all of those checks from the health insurance industry during the debate of the ACA.)

Before anyone goes overboard about the “mandate” let’s take a reality check. I want you get all of your friends and neighbors together, in your back yard is okay. Count them up. If you don’t have 100 people, scrounge up some more neighbors or even more distant relatives until you do. Now, once you have 100 people in your yard, how many of these folks, do you think, will have to pay the mandate? The Republicans are leading you to think that all of them will, but the best estimate is . . . two. The other 98 already have insurance through their work or privately while some of them will receive government help to buy a policy. That’s it. We are talking about two out of every hundred. And these people are freeloaders. Republicans are whining about the freedom to be freeloaders!

 “Republicans are whining about the freedom to be freeloaders!” 

Because these people don’t have insurance, they get free care (legally mandated by the way) at a local emergency room (read “most expensive care”) which is paid for by the hospital increasing what the rest of us pay for services. The most recent estimate of costs indicates that freeloaders are responsible for 10% of all of the health care costs incurred in the country. Republicans used to preach this mandate as an example of “personal responsibility,” but I guess they have rescinded the label  “The Party of Personal Responsibility” they used to revel in.

Realize that the penalty involved is substantially less money than paying for a policy, so the freeloaders are getting off easy and still the Republicans are whining about the loss of these poor freeloader’s “freedom.”

Think about it: if you want to use the highways, even in a bus, you pay a tax (through fuel taxes and your bus fare). If you want to drive your own car, you are required to have an insurance policy and pay taxes (fuel, registration, etc.). If you want to buy a house, the bank requires you to buy mortgage insurance. If you want to be a contractor, you need to be bonded (insured). If you want to practice medicine in a hospital, you must have a medical malpractice insurance policy. Agency after agency, governmental and nongovernmental, require us to buy insurance policies.

This is no different . . . it is just the Republicans hate Obama more than they love America. Otherwise they would be in favor of this Republican generated policy.

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