Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Civics 101

Gracious. It seems that Pretty Lady has had an epidemic of old friends Stomping Off and Sulking, lately, all because of trivial political disagreements. It seems, furthermore, that it is hard-wired into some people's brains that Universal Healthcare=The Devil Socialism, and that The Devil Socialism=The End Of The World.

There is, of course, nothing at all that Pretty Lady can do to re-wire someone's brain; nor would she wish to. She has long maintained that people's minds are all Just Fine, just the way they are. If their minds are making them unhappy, and they do not wish to be unhappy, they may attempt to change their minds, but this is entirely a voluntary affair.

So, in keeping with the rather visual theme of this weeks' posts, she will present her visual perspective on the issue. Behold: Ambrogio Lorenzetti's Allegory of Good and Bad Government. Not 'Liberal and Conservative Government'; not 'Big and Small Government,' just government that is well implemented, versus government that is implemented by devils with big horns.

Here we have a well-governed city. Note the people moving freely in the streets, without fear of mugging, stray arrows, or wrongful arrest. Note the tradesmen and craftsmen plying their wares. Note the clean, airy buildings in good repair. Note the lack of garbage and rotting carcasses everywhere.

Here we have, on the other hand, Bad Government. The fresco was painted on a Bad Wall, with the result that much of it has vanished. What we can see of it, besides the horned devils on the throne, is a city besieged by bandits and rogue police officers, full of smashed windows and terrified citizenry cowering in corners. In fact, it looks exactly like New Orleans after Katrina.

More detail shots of this classic work can be examined here.

It seems to Pretty Lady, then, that those who are terrified of Government, Period, are barking up the wrong damn tree. Government is merely a structure which groups of people create in order to facilitate commerce, solve conflicts, control bandits, and establish standards. If it is controlled by egoistic nincompoops, it becomes a vehicle for banditry. If it is controlled by wise individuals with a salutary concern for others, it facilitates peace and prosperity.

Furthermore, Pretty Lady is quite baffled by the fact that many of those who excoriate her support for an organized, grassroots government which looks after the health of all citizens, are themselves beset with severe and chronic illnesses. Do these people feel that persons such as themselves are useless and irrelevant to society, and should be allowed to perish in misery and destitution? Why is that? Pretty Lady doesn't think you are useless; she'd like to keep you around.


Anonymous said...

IN reference to the "socialism" aspect of government that people rail against, one must remember that we have already incorporated many "socialism" tainted ideas into our systems....such as education for everyone, including the great socialism mentor who presented the "No child's left behind" program...none other than our own shrub, President Bush.
Then there is Social Security, public transportation available at same price for all, and on and on.
By the way Pretty Lady, what a beautifully presented metaphoric contrast of good and bad government....THAT one is a five star gem. Kudos.

Carol Diehl said...

Yes, we even have Medicare, which is "socialized medicine." Further,contrary to popular belief, my friends who live in England and France are pleased with the care they get. My friend in England, who has been a semi-professional soccer player, in and out of the hospital with various injuries, says, "I couldn't play football if it weren't for socialized medicine." One time recently he was held overnight in the hospital when he had severe stomach flu. And his wife's maternity care--not to speak of government mandated maternity LEAVE--would make any American mom envious. We say we care about children and families, blah blah, but it all starts with good health.

Anonymous said...

The “good” government “bad” government equation is a delightful way of looking at things but a bit “La Vie En Rose”.

The overwhelming self-interest of all bureaucracies tends to skew all such endeavors (universal/socialized healthcare in this case) to the “bad”.

The anecdotal samples of the “good” of socialized healthcare (stomach flu, soccer injuries) are easily swamped by the “bad”, such as:



PL may have been excoriated by others for her support for organized, grassroots government healthcare for all. I will add balance and laud her for her benevolence and concern. What remains is - (to paraphrase): nice care if you can get, if you can get it won’t you tell me how.

Anonymous said...

Dear George......
Easy...... government financed helathcare with good doctors is a cinch.
Medicaid will be provided for you. But you must research to get good doctors. For the same "free" dollars, you can get the worst service and you can get the best.
The first step is to shed about 95% of the baggage one needs to support one's life style and strip to what is absolutely essential. That is quite an experience to find out how little one needs to live a full life. Then apply for Food Stamps to further ease the crunch. Keep one's income at under $775 per month, $740 is preferrable. And rent a room at no more than $650 per month which will leave about a hundred bucks for misc. including transportation. A bike is a good idea, since it lowers transportation costs and is vascularly beneficial. It works. Of course, each person must confront their personal "Do I want that" "Am I willing to do that" issues. But there you have it. You can even go to college for free at that level with the state and federal government paying your way as a full time student while you work your way back up into a system that will cause you to lose all these benefits.

Pretty Lady said...

George, I read those two articles, and I merely ask you--where, in any of my writings, have I ever advocated banning private healthcare?

You see, this is the ridiculousness of trying to slot the world into black and white, either-or, 'socialist' or 'capitalist' health systems. There are infinite numbers of other possibilities, one of them being a combination of public and private, consumer-driven and government subsidized, such as my OWN plan.

When certain segments of the population start screaming 'Satan!' every time the barest whisper of something that could possibly be defined as having something to do with 'socialism' comes up, this greatly limits the creative possibilities we may entertain for solving very real problems which affect us all. It would be far better if these intelligent individuals would endeavor to control their panic for long enough to actually look at the question in front of them, and actually think about it.

Then they might be able to provide some cautionary input that was actually worth something, instead of mindless, apocalyptic scare tactics.

Anonymous said...

Pretty Lady, where in my comments did I accuse you of wanting to ban private health care?

The two articles I list were not for your benefit but the previous commentator who waxed eloquent re socialized med in other countries. My purpose – to put the kibosh on such systems as a nonstarter for this country’s healthcare needs.

As to “your plan”, I read it. Part 1 (Preventative Healthcare) makes all the sense in the world. Begin by de-linking the self-interests of the following bedmates: politicians, lobbyists, lawyers, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and doctors. I’d rather opt for Sisyphus’ hell. If you can come up with a way, I mean a real way other than “can’t we all just do the right thing” camp songs, then count me in. I suspect that if ever the public’s awareness of preventative care took a quantum leap, the cabal mentioned might start to crumble just a … never mind – I just took off my rose colored glasses.

As for Part 2 (medical savings accounts, coupled with catastrophic coverage in a pool) yes, by all means. Should have been done already. I’ll venture a reason why it hasn’t – see the bedmates of previous paragraph.

Pretty Lady said...

to put the kibosh on such systems as a nonstarter for this country’s healthcare needs.

Of course they're a starter. They're a start. There are good things and bad things about them; we don't have to adopt them as a monolith.

In fact, as that first article itself pointed out, Canada and Cuba are the only socialized medical systems that outright ban private healthcare. All we have to do to avert the particular problems associated with a totalitarian, one-size-fits-all scheme is to allow, and even encourage, a plurality of options. 'Universal healthcare' just means everybody has it; it doesn't define what it has to look like for everybody.

Anonymous said...

Of course they're a starter. They're a start. There are good things and bad things about them; we don't have to adopt them as a monolith.

True. Suppose the collective wisdom managed to create just such system. It’s in place. Now how long before it starts to metastasize into an ever growing lump. See the original intent of FEMA and look what it has become – a disaster in and of itself and worthy of several pages in anyone’s joke book.

A practical and effective (and cost effective) healthcare system makes a national system of delivering it a nonstarter just because of the size and scope. Systems on a state by state basis – better. Iowa’s needs being different from New York’s. Even more localization – best, but I just can’t see that happening. The path of least resistance, as always, seems to be to nationalize the problem and proposed solutions. You end up with a system sicker than the patients.

Pretty Lady said...

FEMA is a disaster because Shrub appointed Bubba to direct it, since he didn't know any people with actual experience in organizing disaster relief, and he doesn't believe in relieving disasters, anyway. Having leaders who emphasize competence over cronyism will go a long, long way toward alleviating that disaster.

I am optimistic, because of Obama's emphasis on transparency in government (making the entire legislative process available and searchable on Google, for starters), grassroots organization, and taking campaign funding out of the hands of billionaire lobbyists and into the hands of Everyman, or every lady, like me.

That means that ordinary people actually have a voice in government, and a mechanism for getting our input heeded. This blog is input, which gets heeded, by a few people anyway.

AND my freelance artist's umbrella organization just started offering low-premium health savings accounts, so I am even more optimistic than ever. Yes we can!

Anonymous said...

I am optimistic…

Is this an affliction or a blessing? Is it innate or have you developed and nurtured it? If the second to both questions, how can I get some?

As Obama lights the darkness what will the 538 members of Congress be doing? Just wondering.

Good Luck. And I really mean that.

Nancy said...

If we could get some proactive health care for uninsured (for whatever reason) people, it should actually cost us less.

Treatment for bronchitis is antibiotics and home care.

Pneumonia because bronchitis hasn't been treated is full blown hospital stays with some part of it in medical critical care units.

guess which one is cheaper?