Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Arrangement of Parts


Suppose a hungry man looks in his larder and sees he has nothing more to eat than a crust of bread and a stick of carrot. What possible difference can it make what order he eats them in? He's still going to go hungry because he just plain doesn't have enough food. It only makes sense that instead of wasting his time trying to decide whether to eat first the carrot or the crust, he should be out looking for more food.

That to me in a nutshell is the problem with today's debate over health care. In essence, what we are talking about is how best to arrange the parts and everyone has an opinion. Some say the machine will work better if we arrange the parts this way, others say that way - and still others think we ought to just leave it alone. But lost in all this back and forth is the first and fundamental truth that we just don't have enough parts to work with, no matter how we arrange them.

Now the dirty word which always crops up is rationing. But people who throw this word around in the manner of criticism are missing the point. All products, from aspirin to zucchini, are rationed in one way or another. And it is their relative abundance which ultimately dictates what we pay for them.

How many ways and times is this parable repeated in all cultures: a group of learned men are debating complicated solutions to a problem when up walks a child who uncovers the perfect solution by merely pointing out the obvious. When it comes to health care and all our raging, passionate debates, I don't think we ever more needed just such a child.

And that's where I'm come'in from...


1 comment:

  1. Adding more parts to the equation is certainly a Good Idea. We've both said that in our own way. Therefore, I not only empathize with your point; I agree 100% that it's reasonably valid. In some obvious and egotistical way, I am reminded that providing actual SERVICES (not just changing who writes the checks) is indeed such a simple solution: proposed, as you will remember, by the child-like mind of yours truly.

    That said, and as you continue to work on this most challenging subject, I would caution you to remember that (IMHO) the leadership of BOTH political parties in the U.S. have (apparently) failed to understand that business in America is run by actual People... those strange creatures called Human Beings.

    Constantly calling such individuals 'evil' and 'immoral' and calling their integrity into question (no matter one might justify it) is not an effective method to encourage voluntary changes in how they operate under a given set of conditions (especially when such conditions are dictated and controlled by those self-same politicians).

    Keep in mind that all Human Beings suffer from a natural condition where they may become disheartened. When this happens they *will* take ACTION eventually. First and foremost, they may decide to pack it in, go elsewhere, do something else or just quit what used to be called the rat race. (It might as well be called that again since the government seems to think they’re all rats anyway.)

    By-and-large capitalistic creatures - or any with an admitted self-interest - are *NOT* high-achieving robots who will obey whatever commands the currently elected political class and their friends in the bureaucracy may issue. Regardless of ones desires or Good Intentions, you cannot 'mandate' or 'implement' or FORCE INTO EXISTENCE a willing slave; at least not for long. He will rebel or he will be worthless. And you cannot force someone to "think of an answer" at the point of a gun.

    A government bureaucracy is concerned - first and only - with protecting ITSELF; not with actually accomplishing a specific goal. In fact, far too many see the world as being an expanded zero-sum game, where the size of the pie is fixed and cannot be altered. Adding mroe pieces (or even baking a new pie) is such a radical concept, they cannot accept it, and therefore It Must Be Bad.

    I agree that a 'simple child' with an obvious(?) solution to our problems would be most welcome. But, I don't think (a) he exists, or (b) the current ruling class would tolerate or accept ANY 'simple solution' which would limit their personal pursuit of why they got into politics in the first place: the accumulation of Power over Others.

    If you haven't already, a careful re-read of "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand is recommended. Caution: Take it in small bites as the subject will distress you mightily; trust me on this. Be aware that you don't have to drink the kool-aid of the story therein, but do follow the logical series of events presented and contrast against current proposals being run up the flagpole. [shudder]

    - Steve