The Republic is Finished and the America We Knew is Gone

With this morning’s decision that Obamacare will stand as the law of the land means that America — home of the brave, land of the free — is no more. This great country, the one to whom all great refugee movements of the world for over two centuries saw as the light to escape poverty, political bondage, and hopelessness now turns its back on that legacy of freedom for what will, in a very short time, amount to a bowl of pottage.

The turn to tyranny won’t happen overnight and it won’t be recognized as tyranny — not at first anyway. But as freedom gets chipped away the straight jacked gets tighter and then hardens to envelop the mind like a steel casket. By the middle of the next generation those who gave away their freedom in the name of freedom will be cursed by their own children. The children will weep by the waters of Babylon, unearthing old movies and books of an America they never knew. “Why did you not shout out against the decline?” they will cry.

Antonio Gramsci, that great architect of the coming oppression was a shrewd man. He understood that the overthrow of the great liberal tradition would be a journey that would take generations. It would require a long march through the cultural institutions, overthrowing line by line and precept by precept those bedrock moral values upon which the freedom of men was first defined and later codified into law. Today the children of the great people of the Magna Carta, of English Common Law, the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution worship instead pleasure, safety, and wealth.

The God of Abraham has been forgotten, the same God who freed Abraham from the delusion of polytheism and the Israelite from the tyranny of Egypt, who gave man a Gospel from which insights into the nature and dignity man was drawn, and whose teachings unleashed a creativity that brought healing and light into a world in ways that would astonish the prophets and philosophers of old. And in that forgetting, we embrace a darkness the depth of which most of us do not yet perceive.

The path of the free West now follows the path of Russia under the Soviets. When men scorn and ridicule the good, noble, and true, darkness is always the end. The promise of a new enlightenment free from the shackles of self-restraint and morality is a delusion. When man refuses to govern himself, he will give his liberty to a strong man so that order will prevail. The strong man is glad to take it, and in short order will demand even more to satiate his unquenchable thirst for power. We have just crossed that threshold. Dostoevsky warned us. So did Nietzsche.

Religion is the wellspring of morality and morality is the ground of culture. The encroaching darkness will have no room for religion because faith in God stands as the repudiation of those who see no transcendent referent for truth. Man becomes his own touchstone. We’ve seen the outlines of the coming struggles already in the HHS mandates trying to force the Catholic Church to submit to policies that violate its moral precepts. This is just the beginning.

One hope remains: The Republicans take all three branches of government in the next election and overturn this monstrosity. It is possible the Republicans win, but whether they have the political will to overturn Obamacare completely is another question. The cultural rot may be too deep. Maybe there are enough clear thinking Americans left. I hope so but I am not confident.

Expect the hostility towards Christians to increase. Watch too for justifications for this grave loss of liberty in the name of compassion and the greater public good from some religious leaders. Some of our leaders have already traded courage for acclaim as evidenced by their silence towards the attacks on the laws and precepts that defend human life and other bedrock principles. These leaders know that every defense of human life has its root and source in the self-revelation of God to us but they choose Esau’s legacy over the Apostles’.

We may have to prepare for the catacombs. The government has been granted a license to control every aspect of your behavior under the rubric of the public good. Those who claim there is a law higher than the State will be seen as an enemy. It can’t be any other way.

Comments

  1. Tyranny marches on! Individual liberties and the sovereign nature of the individual weren’t just weakened; they were eviscerated.

    • Kevin Allen :

      Chris, why should we rely on the Supreme Court to “undo” legislation (even bad legislaion) that elected legislators enact? Isn’t it the role of congress in a republican democracy to craft and pass laws? The Commerce clause is prety clear, it seems to me. This is about the 2012 election now.

      • True, but when a law like ObamaCare is so blatantly unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has a duty to strike it down. The vast over-reach and tyrannical mandates of ObamaCare are a violation of the US Constitution and individual liberties no matter how you look at it. The gate keeping function of the US Supreme Court is supposed to prevent such an atrocity from happening. Unfortunately, this did not happen.

        The irony in this situation is that a supposedly “conservative” justice, John Roberts, betrayed us and helped undermine the Constitution and everything America once stood for, while a “liberal” justice, Anthony Kennedy, came out against the mandate.

      • Fr. Johannes Jacobse :

        Sure is Kevin.

        • macedonianreader :

          I think it’s time to stop relying on Federal Government to make change via elections i.e top down. This has proved as ineffective as our Supreme Court. Our politicians in Washington or the Supreme Court will never come through for the Constitution, nor will they ever overturn a Roe V. Wade.

          It’s time to come back to the States and the 10th Amendment.

          • Ronda Wintheiser :

            It is time for a Revolution.

            Ron Paul is leading one. Time to get on the train.

            • Geo Michalopulos :

              Fr Hans, your words are eloquent. I’m afraid that a “secession of the spirit” is already happening. It may very well lead to a “secession in law.” I shudder to think of the men who lost their blood on the beaches of Normandy dying for this.

              • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim :

                First off, I’m a practicing family physician, and I’m also a conservative (not reactionary) Orthodox Christian.

                I have to admit that I’m surprised by all these frenetic remarks (including Fr. Hans’ essay) coming from such astute individuals. It seems that many of you have an ideological rather than a realistic perspective on US healthcare and how its delivered and paid for.

                Since I’m neither a Democrat nor a Republican I don’t feel obligated to toe a party line. However, every day I take care of hardworking and debilitated Americans, many of whom are either uninsured or underinsured and can’t get what they need in order to prevent their health from declining, at least not without me spending exorbitant amounts of my personal time (a major source of frustration for me as well as my wife and family) going to bat for them occasionally with some success.

                Our current “system” (used sarcastically b/c we don’t actually have a system but rather a free-for-all) ultimately provides care for everyone when their needs become acute enough (i.e. when they show up in the ER and/or get admitted to the hospital in a medical crisis not infrequently leading to disability), but that’s when medical intervention is most expensive & least effective. Ultimately, this healthcare IS funded by our hard-earned tax dollars, but its accomplished in a manner that’s completely irrational and totally wasteful, not to mention antithetical to the Gospel.

                Whether you realize it or not we’re already, directly and indirectly, spending the tax dollars & paying the price in rising insurance premiums & higher medical bills! Why wouldn’t we want to reorganize things to make them more logical & cost effective?

                As much as I’m an advocate for free enterprise / capitalism in the market place the business model has no place in healthcare! The multiple players in the healthcare “market” all competing for a piece of the pie results in losses of $400 billion annually due to administrative duplication of efforts, which if eliminated could provide comprehensive coverage for everyone in the country without paying any more that we already do…a fact that begs for a single payer system.

                I’m not saying that a government run healthcare system is the answer, but I do know for certain that we cannot keep doing what we’ve been doing b/c we’re literally hemorrhaging money, which is obviously not sustainable. For example, the US spends significantly more money per capita than any other country in the word on healthcare, yet we rank at a meager 37th internationally in quality of healthcare based on morbidity & mortality. Chew on that one for a while.

                It can be tempting to pontificate about things that we have a speculative grasp on, and I get the feeling that most of you are talking about things that you really don’t understand from an experiential position. If I’m wrong then let me see a show of hands from those of you who either doctor for the uninsured/underinsured giving you first hand knowledge of the dynamics of these issues or, better yet, don’t have health insurance.

                Healthcare isn’t like a driver’s license / auto insurance. Some people choose not to drive and thus forgo the auto insurance, but nobody gets to choose not to get sick, it just happens, like it or not. Given that reality (and it is a reality) we are obligated to use our resourses wisely & serve the least of the brethren as if he/she was Christ himself.

                This isn’t about party politics or political ideology. Its about the kenosis of healthcare & serving one another in love.

                • Ronda Wintheiser :

                  Well, I don’t know as much experientially, perhaps, as you do, Dr. Seraphim, but I will take issue with one thing at least that I do know something about — for myself as an individual.

                  You say that “nobody gets to choose not to get sick”.

                  Isn’t it true that most of the chronic illness we suffer from as Americans is directly related to our behaviour and our choices?

                  Of course there are accidents and illnesses that may not be our responsibility or a consequence of our choices. But what I get from you here is the same whiff of superiority and a sort of condescending bestowal on those of us who don’t have letters behind our names that I get from so many doctors, which is one reason I don’t go to them.

                  This is one of the main reasons I object to Obamacare. I do not appreciate being forced to pay for something that I find morally objectionable on several levels.

                  I am responsible for my own health and my own body. No one else. Of course I may be in a terrible car accident someday, or get cancer or something, so of course I am not saying that we don’t need folks like you around for those contingencies. But in my opinion, the only medicine that is really worthwhile is emergency medicine. The rest of it seems to me to be almost always a choice between either drugs or some kind of invasive surgery and to have very little to do with real health.

                  My family is a home-birthing family; my sisters and brothers and I planned our children’s births as much as possible AWAY from hospitals and doctors. We didn’t trot our kids into the doctor for “well-baby” check-ups (what an oxymoron that is), nor did we vaccinate our kids. And we don’t take them into the doctor when they have the flu or a cold or chicken pox.

                  I don’t do these things from my conscience. I believe that modern medicine is anti-thetical to real health and, not unlike government, it removes the independence and responsibility from the individual and transfers it to a big bureaucracy and fosters dependence and helplessness and detachment from one’s own body and by extension, detachment from the stewardship that is associated with the sacramentality of our bodies as gifts from God.

                  And now this System that I just described and that you are lauding, we have institutionalised this irresponsibility, and along with it we have further entrenched the slaughter of the unborn.

                  This seems to bother you not one whit.

                  How does THAT have anything to do with “kenosis” and “serving one another in love”?

                  It is nothing short of demonic.

                  • M. Stankovich :

                    Setting aside the fact that you completely ignored Seraphim’s statement, ER medicine is “when medical intervention is most expensive & least effective,” much more importantly, you cannot seem to appreciate that “while nobody gets to choose not to get sick, it just happens, like it or not” also means that you and/or your family will get sick. And since you choose not to participate in preventative medicine – the least expensive and most effective form of healthcare – you pose the highest risk to the system. You are not being forced to pay for anything you do not want. You are, in effect, being fined for the actuarial reality that when you need healthcare and you do not responsibly secure it for yourself and family, the system – the taxpayers – must absorb the cost. And with your opinion, that the “only medicine that is really worthwhile is emergency medicine,” the most expensive and least effective, you and those that think like you will cost us the most. I find these choices to be exceptionally irresponsible. And your attitude would further seem to suggest that, upon a poor outcome – and those who do not participate in preventative medicine consistently have poorer outcomes in emergency situations – you would also be highly likely to seek “remedy” in the courts, thereby compounding the already potentiated actuarial cost for your care. And while, objectively, you would pose a significant actuarial risk to Seraphim’s practice as a family physician, he assures you that he feels “obligated to use our resourses wisely & serve the least of the brethren as if [you were] Christ himself.” That is healthcare as “kenotic love,” and you should be grateful.

                    • Ronda Wintheiser :

                      You’re assuming I meant wait until you have no other options and then show up in the ER. That’s not emergency medicine.

                      I didn’t ignore Seraphim’s statement. You just assume I mean something when I’m talking about something else.

                      I’m speaking of what emergency medicine is designed for, now how it is abused. I am also speaking of my own experience of it. Almost 30 years ago, I was in a head on car accident when I was 8 months pregnant.

                      THAT is when medicine makes sense.

                      Within a few weeks of the accident and the death of my unborn son, during which I sustained a broken pelvis, 11 broken ribs, a collapsed lung, a broken femur and internal hemorrhaging, I began to work myself back into physical activity and health — in spite of the fact that I was in a hospital where no real nutrition is available. My friends and family brought me real food to eat, and after 3 weeks, I went home and began the process of recovery. Within 3 months I was running again. My physical and emotional recovery surprised all of my doctors and they attributed it to my choices and my lifestyle.

                      I find your assumption that I don’t “participate in preventive medicine” laughable. There is no such thing. Medicine prevents nothing. It attempts to quash symptoms. It is the tyranny of the urgent over the important.

                      I am grateful, but not to doctors. I am grateful to God for the body He has given me and I take my stewardship of it very seriously. What I am talking about is not simply avoiding doctors. I am speaking about active and proactive stewardship of my own health. I’m a single mom, so I have to set my priorities very carefully, especially since my oldest daughter is profoundly disabled. Nevertheless, I run 5 miles a day. We do not consume meat from a grocery store — I buy free range, grass fed beef, chicken and eggs from a local farmer and virtually everything my family eats is prepared from scratch and includes organic produce and does NOT include processed foods, sugars, grains, etc. There is more, but you should get my drift. We don’t spend money on medical care. We spend it on the things that prevent the need for it, barring catastrophes like my accident. I pay out of pocket for a chiropractor, which IS preventive care and assists in the maintenance of good health, and I also have purchased a health insurance policy that has a large deductible for the time when I may have another catastrophic medical emergency, the premium for which continues to rise in spite of the president’s promises.

                      My accident was 28 years ago. I am 55 now. I have raised two daughters from the womb without going to doctors with the exclusive use of herbs, homeopathy, chiropractic care, good nutrition, and a consistent, vigorous regimen of daily physical activity designed to maintain fitness for all of us. My girls are 19 and 20 now; they are students and they still live at home with me and engage in this System of Preventive Care.

                      I wager we have been far less of a “drain” on The System than you accuse me of, M. Stankovich.

                    • Michael Bauman :

                      Mr. Stankovich, please you simply have no idea what you are talking about or to whom you are talking. Once again your premsis is faulty and you have certainly underestimated the person you choose to challenge. Oh well, nice knowing you.

                    • M. Stankovich :

                      Ms. Wintheiser,

                      I do not see support for the healthcare system as it exists anywhere in Seraphim’s comments. It strikes that that he is dedicated to providing the best care possible, to as many as possible, equitably as possible, in a system that does not reward such dedication. As to whether this is “typical” of practitioners in general, I have no way of knowing, nor do you, although I assume so until proven otherwise. Secondly, I find generalizations rarely helpful, and the use of personal anecdote as “proof” even less helpful when discussing problems such as these.

                      Perhaps I should have explained my use of the term “actuarial risk.” One example: Yesterday I underwent a routine 5-year follow-up colonoscopy because I am a survivor of a familial form of colon cancer at a relatively young age. There was no co-payment for this procedure because my insurance provider considers it “routine” (and, thanks to God, it was uneventful). It would be difficult for me to imagine that my insurance provider is solely motivated by concern for my well-being, but likely by an actuarial risk calculation that it is considerably more cost effective to screen than to outright treat recurrence. On the other hand, for good reason, the National Cancer Institute recommends a baseline colonoscopy for every adult age 50 and over. Without affordable health insurance, you probably would not avail yourself of this preventative care, and the system – tax payers – immediately assumes the actuarial risk of your choice. And in that by the time you would present for emergency care as symptomatic. you may have already missed a window for a better treatment outcome at considerably less cost.

                      While I certainly support your right to make personal choices regarding your health and self-determination, I find it unreasonable of you to to disregard how your choice might impact others.

                  • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim :

                    Ronda, I ask your forgiveness if I came across as condescending. A position of superiority wasn’t the sentiment I was writing from. Rather, I was trying to offer an alternative perspective from my vantage point as a physician. These misunderstanding are one of the dangers of communicating via the written word without facial expressions, voice intonations and so on. I’m actually pretty down to earth, I don’t wear a white coat or a neck tie, I genuinely listen to my patients most of whom call me by my first name and I don’t care if you’re a professor, a janitor or a homemaker (people are people regardless of their station in life or education).

                    I agree with you that there is much about our healthcare system that is lamentable. The abortion issue is a travesty, and should not really have anything to do with “healthcare”. As you pointed out, our “system” is more of a disease identification and treatment system rather than a system of promoting health. That’s not entirely bad though b/c while doctors do promote health, it should primarily be promoted on the social front (in families & schools) with doctors taking up the torch of health promotion when patients come to the office with a self-induced condition or at a “well checks” when it is obvious that the patient needs a reminder in order to avoid an impending medical problem (not every family is as aware and motivated as yours and many need check points for education and health promotion which is the one of the purposes of the “well check”). Also, as you stated, pregnancy as well as labor and delivery are often unnecessarily “medicalized”.

                    Nevertheless, “well visits” for children, pregnant women, or anyone are opportunities to screen for illness that are not necessarily self-induced. For instance, toxemia, now called preeclampsia, was one of the major causes of maternal mortality in the last century, but with screening at prenatal visits to identify this condition early and intervene when necessary many lives have been saved (in the last century more women died in childbirth than men died at war).

                    You accurately stated that many chronic illnesses are the result of our own poor choices in the areas of diet and lifestyle and as such are avoidable. However, if we use the analogy of the Church as a spiritual hospital where we are healed of the illness of our sins wouldn’t it be safe to say that most of our spiritual suffering is caused by our own sins which are the result of our own poor behaviors and choices. If that’s the case it doesn’t mean that these sins/illnesses aren’t important and don’t need to be addressed.

                    If their’s one thing I’ve learned over the time I’ve been caring for people its that there is almost always some negative experience that drives the habitual unhealthy behavior which is more of a coping mechanism than a lazy or hedonistic tendency (although sometimes that its the case). Either way, these problems do cause real pain and suffering, and it is within the context of the doctor-paitent relationship where the process of change and healing is often initiated.

                    It is unfortunate that we are often our own worst enemies, but from my perspective what both priests and physicians do when addressing these issues is try to educate and empower people to recognize the problem for what it is and then take ownership and implement the changes needed to overcome these illnesses. Its more about that than it is about apassing judgment on them for what they are doing wrong or not doing right.

                    As far as your statement, “I am responsible for my own health and my own body. No one else.” I would challenge you to rethink this b/c while we are responsible for ourselves we are in some measure we are are bother’s keeper.

                    As the elder Zosima stated in Dostoevsky’s novel The Brothers Karamazov, “But when he knows that he is not only worse than all those in the world, but is also guilty before all people, on behalf of all and for all, for all human sins, the world’s and each person’s, only then will the goal of our unity be achieved…Only then will our hearts be moved to a love that is infinite, universal, and knows no satiety.”

                    As as St. Anthony the Great said, “”Our life and our death is with our neighbor. If we gain our brother, we have gained God, but if we scandalize our brother, we have sinned against Christ.”

                    Caring for each other and not just ourselves is what I mean by the kenosis of healthcare and serving one another in love.

                    • Ronda Wintheiser :

                      Thank you, Dr. Seraphim. :)

                      I think I’d probably like you if I met you in person. It was your last paragraph in speaking about how little we know that you know from experience that sounded a bit uppity.

                      I’m uppity myself, though, so naturally I’m hypersensitive to it. ;)

                      You misunderstood me. When I said “I am responsible for my health. No one else.” I didn’t mean I’m not responsible for anyone but myself. I meant no one else is responsible for ME.

                      As you can read in my response to M. Stankovich, I AM responsible for someone else — my daughters first of all.

                      Beyond that, though, from before they were even born, I have believed I am responsible for unborn children on their way into abortion clinics all across this nation this morning and every day of the week, every week of the year. I take that responsibility very seriously. What you have quoted here rings true to what Randall Terry said to us back in 1988 when Operation Rescue was in cities across the nation attempting to stop abortion. My dad and I went to Atlanta, and there we heard Randall Terry say that we need to repent for the sin of abortion in our land. It was that repentance that motivated us to trespass on the property of several abortion clinics in Atlanta in an attempt to prevent the deaths of unborn children. We succeeded in shutting down the clinics for the day, which gave our sidewalk counselors the opportunity to reach out to the mothers who came that morning to offer up their children. Without going into a lot of detail, every week in my own town, my girls and I still engage in some action on behalf of unborn children, in feeding the hungry at a shelter for the homeless, and visiting an Alzheimer unit at one of our local nursing homes. This is only a drop in the bucket, I realise, and I only say it so you understand that my snippiness with you is not because I don’t care about other people or feel that I am responsible for them.

                      :)

                    • Ronda Wintheiser :

                      One more thought…

                      Dr. Seraphim, what I abhor about this decision from the Supreme Court aside from the Constitutional issues and the destruction of liberty is that this Medical System and all that is lamentable about it, to use your word, is now written in stone. No, in blood. Its institutionalisation is a kind of death knell. There will be no fluidity now, no possibility of recreating it or improving it so that people might be able to achieve and/or preserve real physical health. It’s now just a mammoth system; a monolithic juggernaut that will roll over human beings, depersonalise them even more, and become more and more hostile to anyone like yourself who wants to exercise real compassion and care. Individuality will not be allowed. Humanity to man will become more and more obsolete and impossible. The System will see to that.

                      Don’t you see that?

                    • Ronda Wintheiser :

                      At the risk of being a gadfly, there is more that you wrote, Dr. Seraphim, that I want to respond to…

                      It was this paragraph (not your last as I wrote earlier) that pricked me:

                      “I’m surprised by all these frenetic remarks (including Fr. Hans’ essay) coming from such astute individuals. It seems that many of you have an ideological rather than a realistic perspective on US healthcare and how its delivered and paid for.”

                      Later, then, you wrote: “The abortion issue is a travesty, and should not really have anything to do with ‘healthcare’”.

                      What I bristled at was your characterisation of our chagrine as “frenetic” — and what seemed to me to be the cynical assumption that we don’t know how things are paid for.

                      But we do, and that is the crux of the problem — because abortion IS defined as “health care”, and because we will be paying for it!

                      I am appalled at some of my Orthodox Christian friends who are smugly content with this ruling by the Supreme Court and who have openly mocked the chagrine and fear that some of us are expressing — much as you have — for example, one of my FB friends who is Orthodox and who voted for Obama and is happy for this ruling, posted this: “I think Chicken Little will be an appropriate bedtime story for the wee ones tonight.”

                      She is — as you seem to be — happy that we “finally” have caught up with the “progressive” countries like Canada who have nationalised “health care”. She has “liked” a page on FB titled “Liberals are Cool” — and when I went to it to see what these Cool Liberals are saying, I found among other things this comment: “When you see health care as a ‘forced to buy’ issue, your black heart needs a new perspective.”

                      Really. This is an Orthodox Christian mom.

                      Why does she — and why do you — seem to have no sensibilities about the fact that whatever it is that you believe has been secured for you and for others in the Affordable Health Care Act is secured at the expense of innocent, defenseless unborn children?

                      How can any of us who are Orthodox be happy about this? It’s really ok with you that some people will (theoretically) benefit from this new law even though other human beings will lose their lives as a direct result of it and that you and I will be complicit in their deaths?

                    • Ronda Wintheiser :

                      There is more to fear. As the parent of a 20-year-old girl who has autism, I fear for her and others like her under this law…

                      The “Special Needs Kids Tax” took effect Jan. 1, 2011:

                      “This provision of Obamacare imposes a cap on flexible spending accounts (FSAs) of $2500 (Currently, there is no federal government limit). There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children. There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. (Page 1999/Sec. 9005/$14 billion)

                      “Well, I’m sure that’s just a necessary evil to keep costs in line. It’s not like medical experts cited by the administration openly write things like:

                      “Services provided to individuals who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens are not basic and should not be guaranteed. An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia. A less obvious example is guaranteeing neuropsychological services to ensure children with learning disabilities can read and learn to reason.

                      “Well, that’s just some doctor writing in a medical journal, I’m sure that this guy has no real influence over the administration’s thinking on this issue . . . oh, wait, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel. Brother of Rahm. Ah…”

                      http://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot/231429/obama-administrations-strange-approach-special-needs-families

                    • Geo Michalopulos :

                      I must second what Ronda is saying. Being rather accident-prone myself, I’ve made more than a few trips to the ER. The last time, I was blindsided by a driver and my car overturned, about 13 years ago. Luckily, I wasn’t hurt but bleeding. The EMTs strapped me to a bungy-board in case I was paralyzed (I knew I wasn’t). They took me to the local ER and I was left alone in a corner for THREE SOLID HOURS. I finally had to pee. I yelled out “please, somebody get me a urinal!” Nobody came. Finally, I decided to risk it and undid my straps and got out. That shook some nurse who reprimanded me. I told her that I needed a urinal NOW!

                      What’s my point? The ER was full of people who weren’t wounded, quite a few illegal aliens, etc. Maybe there was one other person there strapped to a guerny like me.

                  • Geo Michalopulos :

                    Ronda, being in the healthcare field myself, I must congratulate you on not being a drone. Although I would caution against staying away from all vaccinations, our nanny state has mandated certain vaccinations for no reason at all. Examples would be forcing young girls to get Gardasil and all babies to get Hep B.

                    And of course you’re spot on about most of our pathologies being due to poor lifestyle choices.

                • Fr. Johannes Jacobse :

                  I’m not saying that a government run healthcare system is the answer, but I do know for certain that we cannot keep doing what we’ve been doing b/c we’re literally hemorrhaging money, which is obviously not sustainable. For example, the US spends significantly more money per capita than any other country in the word on healthcare, yet we rank at a meager 37th internationally in quality of healthcare based on morbidity & mortality. Chew on that one for a while.

                  I have. I’ve been challenged on that before and keep a report I found challenging the claim from the American College of Surgeons. http://www.facs.org/fellows_info/bulletin/2009/wenger0709.pdf

                  You are right in that government run health care is not the answer. Turning the medical establishment over to Washington won’t solve any problems at all. It will merely increase inefficiencies so that panels appointed by Pelosi, Sebelius, and the like decide how you will practice medicine. At the same time, any fevered idea that someone in Washington dreams up can be instituted under the rubric of public health.

                  No one denies that we have a problem. It’s the proposed solution that worries us.

                • Doctor, you say “As much as I’m an advocate for free enterprise / capitalism in the market place the business model has no place in healthcare!” Well, as necessary as healthcare is, this statement displays an incredible amount of utopian dreaming. You may WISH otherwise, but helath care is just as much a commodity as everything else in this world. To treat it as anything else simply invites the very problems we are now experiencing. It cannot be perfectly deliverered, nor can it be free, nor universally available. It is an imperfect world. As with absolutely every single other scarce item in this world, ONLY the free market can deliverer the most healthcare, more equitably, of the highest quality, for the lowest price! Clearly, all the Government interventions since the 60’s have not helped.

                  • Ronda Wintheiser :

                    Mark, the thought you expressed here about health care being a commodity reminded me of a conversation I had with yet another Orthodox person who asserted something I have most often heard from Roman Catholics: that health care is a basic human RIGHT.

                    Have you encountered that?

                    When I asked this person to explain that to me, he extrapolated from Christ’s teachings in general… Something to the effect that because God loves us and because Jesus healed the sick and admonished us to care for the poor, etc. etc. etc., it must be the case that God views access to health care as a universal human right somehow…

                    I can’t wrap my head around that idea. And although I sense that there is something OFF about that thinking… I can’t put my finger on what’s wrong with it. The person asserting it appeared to think of it as akin to the right to life — something so basic and intrinsic that he couldn’t fathom that I didn’t know that…

                    It reminds me of the Prosperity Gospel that was part of the evangelical milieu I was raised in — something to the effect that God doesn’t want us to suffer and He only wants good things for us and therefore, access to health care is a “right”… that should be guaranteed to everyone and no one should be deprived of it…

                    Can you, or anyone, help me figure out and articulate what is wrong with that idea?

                    Here it is expressed in a Catholic newspaper:

                    Editorial: Upheld health care law a blessing for the U.S.
                    Jun. 28, 2012
                    By An NCR Editorial (National Catholic Reporter)

                    The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the most important piece of legislation enacted in past years, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, resisting pressure from conservative ideologues to overturn a law that was passed by a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives, a supermajority in the U.S. Senate, and signed by a duly elected president.

                    The grounds for the decision were less important than the fact that the court understood it had to take seriously its frequently cited, but often ignored, commitment to judicial restraint.

                    There were a variety of ways to justify the most contentious provision of the law, the individual mandate. The Commerce Clause was one, the power to levy taxes another. The court ruled the mandate could “be read to do more than impose a tax. This is sufficient to sustain it.”

                    Standing behind any particular constitutional provision was the recognition that Congress and the president have the obligation to “promote the general welfare” and that such general welfare is not promoted by a system that left almost 50 million Americans without affordable access to health care.

                    Most Americans do not share the tea party’s hostility to federal government programs that bind us together. Americans love Medicare.

                    We all appreciate the free market, but we also think some things, like health decisions, should not be tied to anyone’s ability to pay for them. It is, after all, against the law for an emergency room to decline treatment to a person who cannot pay.
                    In reaching its decision, the high court did nothing more than recognize what we all know: Of course, the government is involved in health care, that Congress has the right to regulate it, and of course the broken system needs to be fixed.
                    There is no doubt how the U.S. Catholic bishops should respond. Although they opposed the law initially, believing its anti-abortion provisions were insufficient, they have never once called for the law’s repeal.

                    Court rulings since the Affordable Care Act was passed have said the law, on its face, does not provide for taxpayer-funded abortions. Yes, the U.S. bishops’ conference should continue to press for a resolution on the federal mandate requiring coverage of contraceptives in health care plans that too narrowly outlines the definition of a religious employer.
                    But that issue cannot blind the bishops, or any Catholics, to the blessings the act will bring. The U.S. bishops have supported universal health care for decades. They should not — they cannot — back away now.

                    The U.S. bishops’ own teaching document “Faithful Citizenship” rightfully points out: “A lack of health care [is] a serious moral issue that challenges our consciences and require[s] us to act.”

                    The goal of universal and affordable health care has been one of the most frustratingly elusive policy objectives of the Catholic bishops and others committed to social justice for decades.

                    Harry Truman tried. Lyndon Johnson tried. Richard Nixon tried. Bill Clinton tried. Only Barack Obama got a bill through Congress and signed it.

                    However complicated the intricate policy aspects of the Affordable Care Act, however confusing the actuarial tables, however conflicting the legal principles at stake, the moral issue is as clear as day: Every industrialized country in the world has found a better fix to the issue of health care than has the U.S.

                    Only the U.S. is so beholden to powerful, entrenched corporate interests that we have failed to achieve universal access to health care. It is time for the nation to find the political will to defend the principles that defined the Affordable Care Act.
                    Affordable care for all. Access for all. Lower costs for all. That is the recipe for a decent society and any continued obstruction is properly called indecent.

                    http://ncronline.org/news/politics/editorial-upheld-health-care-law-blessing-us

                    Ugh. How discouraging… :{

                    • Rhonda,
                      I agree. I haven’t figured out this argument yet. I’m sure there must be some fundamental piece of reasoned instruction from the Church that explains how it is justified to violate the rights of some by having an agent (the Government) force people to provide care for others. Of course, health care is a very good thing. But can it be a “Right” if it requires the enslavement of others? I have not gotten past that yet. As a Roman Catholic, I want to understand it. I pray on it and need to find the source material that would better instruct me, thus.
                      With respect to the NCR, I *think* they are known as a rather “Liberal” outfit within the Catholic publishing world. As such, since they seem to advocate things that appear to stray from sound Church teaching (from my limited understanding, granted), I tend to avoid them/it.

                  • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim :

                    Mark, I don’t mean to sound snide, but of course I know that healthcare is a commodity like any other scarce resource, and of course it can’t be perfectly delivered or free. I also know very well that the world is not perfect. Interestingly, this is the first time I’ve ever been accused of indulging in utopian pipe dreams. I’m neither naive nor an ivory tower academic. Rather, I’m a pragmatic clinician “in the trenches” so there’s really no point in stating the obvious.

                    I stand by my assertion that the business model has no place in healthcare because in this paradigm businesses need to grow and generate profit. However, in healthcare those profits translate into the rising cost of healthcare for the American citizen and/or business.

                    There are a myriad of private insurance companies already on the scene, and I can assure you that they are not solving our problems. They are, however, making healthcare much more difficult, time consuming and frustrating for both doctors to deliver and patients to receive, which is one of their tactics to discourage utilization of medical services thus maximizing profits (i.e., bureaucratic stonewalling). The pharmaceutical and biomedical device companies are raking in unconscionable profits which drives up the cost for “consumers” (Wall Street’s version of capitalism colliding with US healthcare). I could go on and on, but the simple fact (and it is a fact) remains that in US healthcare the private sector its not delivering more healthcare, more equitably, at a higher quality and a lower price like you claim, Mark.

                    I will turn your statement around and say that if you genuinely believe that the “free market”, which only exists in our imaginations (acquaint yourself with history without falling prey to the temptation to proof texting), will solve the problems of US healthcare then it is you who is engaging is some profound utopian dreaming. If turning healthcare over to the “free market” is your solution then perhaps you would do well to watch a little less Fox News and start reading some varied opinions on the problem and proposed solutions.

                    I never stated that ObamaCare is the answer to our problems in US healthcare. I disdain much of president Obama’s new healthcare plan. My biggest gripe (but I have may others as well) is that he failed to take it away from the pharmaceutical industry and the private insurance companies – the two biggest profiteers in US healthcare. I don’t know any other physicians who likes ObamaCare as it is. Instead, we all feel that it will have to be significantly modified through a series of changes over time in order to get to something workable…but its a start. Nobody else is contributing anything new or useful.

                    I’m also very well acquainted with the marked inefficiencies and problems related to Medicare and Medicaid, two government systems that are in desperate need of massive overhauls. I’m a Democrat and I don’t thinks that the government will solve all of our problems. Be that as it may, it is worth point out that our government has at least done what that private sector has not – said the poor, elderly and disabled need to be cared and imposed a tax on the rest of the populace to cover these expenses. There is no comparable example from the private sector. In essence our government is doing what we as the Church should be doing. Wasn’t is Metropolitan Jonah who asked where all the Orthodox hospital, clinics and nursing homes were?

                    What we need is something very different than what we currently have. I and nearly every other physician I know advocates for a single-payer system that combines both the public and private sectors so that we don’t have the administrative wast and profiteering of unethical renditions of capitalism but can benefit from fluidity and ingenuity of the private sector without worrying that the government will stymie the systems effectiveness.

                    Despite what you may think there is enough money in the healthcare “market” between insurance premiums, tax dollars, overlapping/unnecessary administrative costs and waste due to improper utilization of healthcare to reorganize things in such a way that every US citizen could essentially have comprehensive healthcare coverage. That’s not a utopian pipe dream – its responsible management of the resources and a pragmatic application of the Gospel command to love your neighbor as yourself.

                    You can split hairs if you want, but I think any reasonable person would agree that healthcare as a commodity is not the same as other commodities such as a plasma TV, iPad, central air conditioning, designer clothing, etc. There is a difference. Healthcare is more similar to food, shelter and clothing so we can’t just say that the “fee market” will help the uninsured/underinsured. There is no profit in that so what’s the incentive.

                    We are commanded to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, and not just visit the sick but also tend to their ailments. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, “He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine (the medicine of that era). Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'”

                    If we just keep doing what we’re doing or give healthcare to the “free market” then we’ll continue to experience rising costs with more people being uninsured/underinsured. We’ve got to start making some changes that don’t just benefit the privileged members of society but also the less fortunate and that will require some sacrifice on everyone’s part including more accountable and responsibility on the part of the poor/elderly/disabled/ill.

                    • Ronda Wintheiser :

                      Dr. Seraphim… Speaking of the elderly and disabled…. I’m curious about something.

                      What if one of the options included in the Affordable Health Care Act was the ability to take an elderly family member, or one who is terminally ill or disabled to a freestanding, hospice-like clinic or perhaps a floor in a hospital and put them gently to bed for the last time… ?

                      What if that were part of the “health care” covered in the Affordable Health Care Act? You could put your loved one out of their misery in a humane, safe, environment. You could have control over the circumstances of the death, and be sure there was no pain or suffering, so that your loved one could experience a peaceful “death with dignity.”

                      Would you oppose the law entirely if that were the case?

                    • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim :

                      Typo correction: I’m NOT a Democrat…funny how those 3 little letters make a big difference in meaning : ) No offense to my Democratic brothers and sisters, but that’s not my political stance.

                    • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim :

                      Ronda,

                      I’m completely opposed to euthanasia, and I don’t know (nor have I ever met) a single other physician who is in favor of it. Although, I’ve met plenty of non-physicians who think its a great idea. This is something the media loves to hype up and spin.

                      Euthanasia is not part of ObamaCare so I don’t I think this type of thinking is helpful because it focuses on all the hypothetical fears at the expense of the practical benefits. Its like refusing to vote for a Democratic candidate who is in favor of abortion but wants to end a war and instead voting for a Republican candidate who is opposed to abortion (but will never do anything to overturn it) but plans to continue a war…either way people are going to die, most likely for unholy reasons…its really about voting in a way that brings about more good and the lesser of the two evils… Its a political distraction in my opinion.

                      Also, now a days Hospice is a great organization. I’ve worked with them both professionally and personally. 2 weeks ago, my father-in-law, who had been suffering from metastatic cancer for years, and was markedly declining over the few weeks prior was able to be discharged from the hospital and die in his own home surrounded by his family without writhing in pain. Hospice certainly didn’t hasten his death, and actually helped him have die a “good death”.

                    • Ronda Wintheiser :

                      I used the hospice element because that is probably close to how the idea will be sold.

                      And make no mistake, Dr. Seraphim, if we do not succeed in repealing this monstrosity, that will eventually be part of “health care” just as abortion is.

                      Why can’t I get a straight answer? :)

                      Actually, you have already answered the question. No, euthanasia of the elderly is not yet part of the deal, although technically euthanasia of the disabled and the dying is under the label of “genetic abortion” or “therapeutic abortion”.

                      It doesn’t matter the age of the person being murdered. You are willing to accept a law that makes it possible to kill your family members as part of “health care” and helping to pay for it because you think the “practical benefits” outweigh that evil.

                      In “Sophie’s Choice”, Sophie made a choice that was “the lesser of two evils”, no? One child dies, one still has a chance.

                      I could imagine myself in that situation, standing there with two of my children and being asked to choose between them. But I can’t imagine cooperating. “Are you SERIOUS??? Hell NO! I’m not making that choice. Do it yourself!”

                      You could say the same thing. We don’t HAVE to accept this law. We can say hell no! We have to go back to the drawing table and come up with something that will include EVERYONE.

                      C’mon! What about fairness? What about equality? What about civil rights, and social justice, and discrimination? If we’re going to have this kind of a system (and I hope we’re not, but since you’re so dead set on it), THEN EVERYONE — EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING UNBORN, BORN, MALE, FEMALE, HOMOSEXUAL, HETEROSEXUAL, BLACK, WHITE, RED… GETS TO COME TO THE TABLE.

                      Why not, Dr. Seraphim? You of all people, as a doctor, should be the one standing up and inSISTING on that.

                    • Good Doctor,
                      Regarding your comments:

                      “I don’t mean to sound snide….” If you acknowledge that medical care is a commodity like any other item of human desire, then you must also agree that it necessarily is subject to the same laws of economics as other commodities: supply, demand, price signals, incentives, subjective value, praxeology, etc. Interventions into a free market (which is by definition, governed by the aforementioned laws) necessarily reduces the efficiency of that market, resulting negative effects of one sort or another (e.g., higher prices, shortages, mal-investment, etc.). Therefore, you are arguing that it is good for the Government to do (continue doing, do more of) something that necessarily produces ill-effects. If the free market “business model has no place in healthcare…”, then you are advocating worse health care. It is these Government interventions that have caused essentially all the major problems with health care costs, quality, service, availability, etc. Furthermore, the seeking of profits does not result in higher commodity costs. It provides the incentive for producers to provide those commodities at a price, which will attract the business of the customer, which means they have to find ways to provide the same service for lower price, or provide better service at the same price (classic example that pops in my head is that of Carnegie who through profit seeking, managed to bring the price of steel down by over 90%). Government intervention reduces the incentives provided by the profit motive. And in the worse case, which we nearly have, where the Government takes over health care, there is no such incentive at all (think Soviet health).

                      If you have the time, I refer you to this link, which highlights how screwed up medicine has been, starting a century ago, at least. http://mises.org/daily/6099/Government-Medical-Insurance

                      “There are a myriad of private insurance companies …..” The ills you list in this paragraph are virtually all the results of Government intervention. Competition in the insurance market is limited by the Government. Define “unconscionable”. We have a private market in healthcare? Really? Sort of, but it’s private sellers operating in a market ruled by crony-capitalism , rent-seeking, and cartelization (bet you didn’t know you were part of a cartel), all created by Government action. It’s really more of a fascist system (in the more pure eco-political, non-Nazi definition of the term). So who has better healthcare than the US? I won’t say no other country does, but I would challenge the sources you might cite. A day or two ago I read about how our child mortality rate is higher than so many other countries, and how that’s often cited as evidence of claims like yours. The problem is, we actually report the data honestly, whereas other countries do not report infant deaths at all or only include infant deaths that meet certain criteria, or countries push the mother out of the hospital immediately so the death does not occur in the hospital, etc. This is but one example of the problems in comparing data on such things. So I always take such claims as yours, when stated in the big media, with much skepticism.

                      “I will turn your statement around ….” Trust me; I’m not coming from Fox News perspective. Try a little Adam Smith, Ricardo, von Mises, Rothbard, Hayek, Hazlitt, Friedman, to start with. Here’s a handy reading list I invite you to enjoy: http://mises.org/daily/3737/Why-ObamaCare-Will-Fail-A-Reading-List.

                      “… it is worth point out that our government has at least done what that private sector has not – said the poor, elderly and disabled need to be cared and imposed a tax on the rest of the populace to cover these expenses. There is no comparable example from the private sector.” Before such massive Government interventions, the private sector WAS doing these things. Not perfectly, to be sure, especially considering the economic stresses in the decades prior to the Medicare/Medicaid, or even before the time of the Flexner Report and its effects, medicine as a science just was not as developed in a way that it could be easily compared to medicine today. But the Church INVENTED hospitals (I’m a Roman Catholic and come from that perspective, if it matters, though I don’t claim to know or have studied deeply the Church’s arguments on behalf of universal health care or similar calls for Government compulsion – I don’t get that yet). Thus, the vast number of religiously founded/run hospitals and clinics.

                      “In essence our government is doing what we as the Church should be doing.” The Government cannot do what the Church should be doing, because providing such charity and care through the church or a similar private organization is voluntary. For the Government to provide the same service, they have to do it by force. One is charity, and the spiritual growth and fulfillment that come with it. The other is theft.

                      “Despite what you may think there is enough money…. to reorganize things in such a way that every US citizen could essentially have comprehensive healthcare coverage.” So who is so wise that they can organize such a system? How do you know what medical care I want, what type of doctors I prefer, what medication protocols I wish to undergo, what is the marginal utility of the next dollar in my medical expenditure? You do not. You cannot. No one can. There is no central planner that can organize a system that maximizes satisfaction. Like absolutely every other market, healthcare is an organic matter that cannot be designed and improved by a central authority.

                      “.. a pragmatic application of the Gospel command to love your neighbor as yourself.” This is a personal moral mandate and cannot be imposed, and therefore, cannot be fulfilled by force (Government). Sorry.

                      “There is a difference. Healthcare is more similar to food, shelter and clothing so we can’t just say that the “fee market” will help the uninsured/underinsured. There is no profit in that so what’s the incentive.” Where the markets do not provide, then charity can (and always did) help fill in the gap, and can certainly do it more effectively and efficiently than can the Government. We are a charitable people. I believe the need will be fulfilled. The only argument that I can imagine in support of Government assistance would be to help if private and charitable efforts fall short; and then, in compliance with Subsidiarity, such assistance would be temporary, and probably be block grants or such to local organizations to fill the need. I still haven’t completely convinced myself that even this would be acceptable, but it’s about as far as I can go right now.

                      “We are commanded to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, and not just visit the sick but also tend to their ailments.” Again, these are personal moral imperatives that cannot, by definition, be fulfilled by force.

                      I am sure you are a good doctor and care deeply about your patients and their care. And I apologize if it seems I am uncaring or too aggressive. However, it always bugs the heck out of me that so many people wish away (to be fair, probably never new or understood, like me for so long) the realities of economics and the ill effects of Government interventions. I may not have convinced you entirely (or much at all?), but I hope I’ve contributed to our progress.

                    • Ronda Wintheiser :

                      Alternatives in medicine

                      “…(W)e should remember that virtually everything government does is a ‘mandate.’ The issue is not whether Congress can compel commerce by forcing you to buy insurance, or simply compel you to pay a tax if you don’t. …The issue is that this compulsion implies the use of government force against those who refuse. The fundamental hallmark of a free society should be the rejection of force. In a free society, therefore, individuals could opt out of ‘Obamacare’ without paying a government tribute.

                      “The Affordable Care Act, while promising to attack the myriad of problems associated with our health care system, lower costs, and expand coverage, will do the exact opposite… The fundamental flaw in this legislation is that it will be using the same powers — government intervention, regulation, and central planning — that have created the problems in the first place.

                      “For example, socialized and corporatized medicine didn’t start in 2008. In the early 20th century, the American Medical Association (AMA) was formed, and soon began the practice of licensing doctors through the results of the ‘Flexner Report.’ All throughout history, cartels have been used to control or limit supply and prevent competition from entering the market. This was done laregly out of a fear of women and minorities offering low-cost, specified health care. But without an AMA ‘license’ nurses were soon (and still are) prevented from opening up their own practices to say, fix broken bones, offer pediatric care, and basic health care needs with low overhead. This was the start of a long-line of trends restricting the openness and competitiveness of the market.

                      “During World War II, the U.S. government instituted price-and-wage controls, preventing businesses from offering incentives, like higher salaries, to hire scare labor. But if an employer offered medical insurance to their employers, it was tax-deductible. The consequences of this policy created less discrimination by both consumers and employers in health care costs, and provided greater incentive provide medical treatments that are only marginally more effective but with a much higher cost, precisely the opposite of what a market pricing system does. This also tied employment to health care coverage, meaning individuals and families were hit twice when losing their job. Just imagine what would happen to the cost and allocation of groceries and gasoline if they were forced to be paid for by a third-party.

                      “Then came Medicare, which extended this ‘employer-provided’ health care insurance only that the employer was the U.S. government. This further allowed medical care to be governed by political, rather than economic, interests, where elected officials (and those looking to replace them) offer expanded coverage to the elderly with simultaneously shrinking deductibles, continuing the centralizing process of what markets do: allow individuals to discriminate on price and cost in a competitive market.

                      “And as Murray Rothbard pointed out decades ago, the creation of modern corporate medical ‘insurance’ is the result of state intervention into the market, continuing to disenfranchise the consumer and turn control over to large insurance companies and government bureaucracies.

                      “Combine all of these with intellectual property laws that raise the costs of medication and restrict the supply, restrictions on imports of drugs from Canada, and the inflation needed to pay for government debts that destroys the purchasing power of the dollar, and it should be no surprise that health care is becoming more expensive and less accessible.

                      “Unfortunately, Obama’s likely presidential opponent not only laid the legislation ground work for Obamacare when he was a governor of Massachusetts, but talks about repealing Obamacare and replacing it. Replacing it with what? If Republican history tells us anything, it would likely involve different types of government intervention, perhaps, but the same failed interventionist cures, no doubt layered with conservative rhetoric. Plus, Romney promises to appoint “strict constructionists” to the bench, the same kind that swung the vote in favor of Obamacare…”

                      http://www.policymic.com/articles/10566/ron-paul-opposition-to-obamacare-highlights-libertarian-alternatives-in-medicine

                    • Ronda Wintheiser :

                      For those of you who disdain dreaming and are instead pragmatic realists… ;)

                      The Socialization Of America Is Economically Impossible

                      July 3, 2012 by Brandon Smith

                      UPI

                      I understand the dream of the common socialist. I was, after all, once a Democrat. I understand the disparity created in our society by corporatism (not capitalism, though some foolish socialists see them as exactly the same). I understand the drive and the desire to help other human beings, especially those in dire need, and the tendency to see government as the ultimate solution to all our problems.

                      Let’s be honest: Government is just a tool used by one group or another to implement a particular methodology or set of principles. Unfortunately, what most socialists today don’t seem to understand is that no matter what strategies they devise, they will never have control. And those they wish to help will be led to suffer, because the establishment does not care about them — or you. The establishment does not think of what it can give; it thinks about what it can take. Socialism, in the minds of the elites, is just a con game that allows them to curry the favor of the serfs.

                      Other powers are at work in this world, powers that have the ability to play both sides of the political spectrum. The monied elite have been wielding the false left/right paradigm for centuries, and to great effect. Whether socialism or corporatism prevails, the elite are the final victors, and the game continues onward.

                      Knowing this fact, I find that my reactions to the entire Obamacare debate are rather muddled. Really, I see the whole event as a kind of circus, a mirage, a distraction. Perhaps it is because I am first and foremost an economic analyst. When looking at Obamacare and socialization in general, I see no tangibility. I see no threat beyond what we as Americans already face. Let me explain.

                      Socialism Is Failure
                      A country that feels the need to socialize has, in my view, already failed culturally. It is an open admission by the public that it is unwilling or unable to take responsibility for its own prosperity. If a county cannot function in a healthy economic manner without its government creating an artificial and precarious balance using fiat stimulus and overt taxation, then the people of that country are not remotely independent and self-sufficient. That is to say, only a Nation filled with pathetic, overgrown children would actually need government to enforce mandatory charity: welfare, healthcare, etc. A truly healthy society supported by strong and self-sustainable individuals would not beg to be parented by government. If a country is so unbalanced as to stoop to socialism, then its ailments already extend far beyond anything government (even good government) could ever hope to cure.

                      Obamacare, its tentative application and those who blindly support its introduction in the United States, are an example of a weak people groveling for handouts they do not work for nor deserve. Socialism is defeat. It is a waving of the white flag by a society and the trading of that culture’s liberty for the illusion of fiscal security. It is the act of an adolescent and naïve populace groveling for an allowance from their “motherland.”

                      If one wants to consider what a socialized America would actually be like, why not examine the track record of the EU, a group of nations that have dabbled extensively in the principles of collective centralization and various levels of socialism, including the extremes of communism and fascism (and yes, folks, both are derived from a socialist/collectivist foundation, despite what pseudo-intellectuals and propagandized academics will try to tell you).

                      What success have they accomplished in the course of their utopian endeavors?

                      Well, more than half of the states of the European Union have already reached debt-to-GDP (gross domestic product) ratios well beyond the limit required to retain membership.

                      Several countries — including the U.K., France, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece — are in the midst of severe debt crises. The euro is on the verge of disintegration. And it’s likely the EU charter will be re-examined and changed. The central bankers will blame European countries and their “insistence” on maintaining sovereign control over their finances for the failure of the EU. But, ultimately, sovereignty is not what strangles the EU. Instead, the ridiculous supranational status that is entirely misapplied has created a state of interdependency that has weakened every member nation to the point of disaster.

                      It should be painfully clear to anyone considering socialism as a viable option for America that this kind of system requires fiscal discipline and a vast amount of savings. Notice I say “savings” and not “money.” Money is a carnival ride — an illusion of wealth that can be printed from thin air. Savings is an actual concrete storage of real capital, an ongoing surplus of manufacturing and production capability resulting in the stockpiling of working credit and ample employment. Most of the countries of the EU do not have such savings and never did. In fact, most European countries have operated for decades on a loss. They have never been able to live with the direct and indirect investments of outside players. Because of this, EU countries are utterly unable to keep up with the grand concepts of socialism, and have buried themselves under the crushing debts generated by entitlement programs.

                      The United States is no different.

                      Forget Universal Healthcare, The U.S. Is Bust

                      There has been a pervasive delusion among pro-socialism movements in the United States that we are the “richest country in the world.” They claim it is “absurd” that the establishment system does not pay for our healthcare with such riches at its disposal. They consistently rant about Canadian healthcare and its record of universal treatment. The problem is they ignore the details.

                      Canada, a country of about 34 million people, has a national debt of about $1.1 trillion. The United States, a country of about 313 million people, has a national debt of about $15 trillion. The two countries are entirely different. To clamor for a Canadian-style healthcare program for a country with completely opposite economic parameters is idiocy, lunacy or both.
                      Officially, our economy has already broken the 100 percent debt-to-GDP threshold. Unofficially, but more accurately, the U.S. national debt exceeds $120 trillion.

                      This number accounts not only for public debt, but “intragovernmental” debt and “implicit” debt, meaning the debt obligations the government has committed to for the near future.

                      I would also like to quickly note that mainstream economists were predicting in 2011 that the United States would reach 101 percent of GDP by 2021. Just one year later, we have already crossed the 101 percent marker.

                      Add to this the projected costs of Obamacare ($17 trillion in estimated long-term unfunded obligations), and what you get is a broke country.

                      The only factor which has stayed the tide of a full-blown macro-implosion of the United States is the world reserve status of our currency. The dollar is all we have left. Period. But don’t count on that for much longer either. With multiple nations, including China and Japan (our largest foreign debt holders), quietly forming bilateral trade agreements that cut out the use of the greenback, it will not be long before its world reserve status disappears as well. When that happens, we are on our own. The private Federal Reserve can print all it wants; but if other countries no longer need dollars to facilitate cross border trade, then what we will get is hyperinflation, or stagflation. Obamacare only expedites this process by generating even more liabilities we cannot cover, thereby giving the central bank even more excuse to churn out dollars with wild abandon.

                      To put it plainly, all those people who believe America is the “richest country in the world” are living in la-la land. We are broke. Bust. In the red. In the hole. Insolvent. And we can’t all move back in with our parents like so many Obamacare proponents I have met.

                      Go Ahead, Try To Enforce Obamacare

                      We have no money. Therefore, the debate over universal socialized medicine is ultimately pointless. It is mathematically and economically impossible to implement. What the Supreme Court says on the subject of socialization certainly matters in terms of principle, and they have failed Americans spectacularly in every respect. But, in terms of finance, the Supreme Court’s shocking decision means nothing.

                      One of Ron Paul’s primary arguments against the ongoing wars in the Mideast is that whether one agrees with these conflicts is irrelevant. The United States does not have the means to fund them. Eventually, we will break the bank and the dollar to maintain our presence in the region, and thus, the wars will end one way or another. The same philosophy goes for Obamacare and every other socializing program presented in America.

                      They will say that taxation will cover the costs, but how do you raise taxes on a populace that is growing more destitute every year? How do you take money from people if they do not have it? This tactic doesn’t seem to be working very well for Europe. Also, keep in mind that as population and inflation grow exponentially, so will costs. The taxation will have to expand as fast or faster than the expenditures. This is why so many opponents of Obamacare voice concerns over population reduction programs and rejected care; they are an inevitable end result. When you institutionalize health and life under the auspices of bureaucracy, you must also invariably institutionalize death. Population and life suddenly become a numbers issue to the state, rather than a moral issue.

                      They will say that the penalties to those who refuse to participate will cover the costs of the rest. Again, how to you take money from people who do not have it? What if millions of people simply refuse to participate and refuse to pay penalties?
                      They will say “tax the corporations,” and we could. But, as the derivatives crisis has proven, most major corporations in the United States are on the government take just to survive. We cannot have corporate bailouts and increased corporate taxation at the same time. The bailouts would have to end, the companies would collapse and we would be right back where we started. Just like our government, most corporations also operate on false wealth. They will not be paying for Obamacare anytime soon.

                      They will say that it is all for the greater good, but since when has the establishment been qualified to define what the “greater good” is? Is Obamacare really a matter of conscience? Or is it a farce flaunted about as if it is a matter of conscience?

                      They will say that people must be forced to do what is right for the group. I say such hubris has always led to catastrophe. Usually, the select beneficiaries of tyrannical cultures call for the might of the central government to be wrought upon the rest of the citizenry — not to do right by conscience, but to satiate their desire for control. Men love government as long as it is imposing their particular worldview, and as long as the tables never turn.

                      They will say that current medical practices and costs are terrible and something must be done. I agree. However, Obamacare is not the answer.

                      Principles and existentialist debates aside, the primary question remains: Where is a realistic plan to pay for this monstrosity of a program? I have yet to see a single grounded solution to the quandary. How does one pay for something he will never be able to afford? If there are no means, there will be no Obamacare.

                      –Brandon Smith
                      http://personalliberty.com/2012/07/03/the-socialization-of-america-is-economically-impossible/

                    • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim :

                      Mark, I’m not advocating for a socialist solution (God forbid!), but I am arguing that capitalism will not solve all our problems. It never has, and it never will. Yes, it can and sometime does work very well, but other times is so dysfunctional that its a nightmare.

                      You may object stating that if the government would just stay out of the free market then capitalism would be able to function properly and then be able to solve our problems. This is, of course, a fantasy because, as you know, government has, does and will to intervene in the free market ventures of capitalists with their consent if not their request. For example, not that long ago American big banks and big businesses (i.e. Detroit) needed and accepted the government’s handout of our hard-earned tax dollars because they were too greedy to keep their heads above water.

                      The problem with capitalism, which is often just a synonym for greed, is that the lack of ethics and restraint ulitmately leads to oligopolies ( because government has outlawed monopolies) which crush healthy competition rendering it unsustainable because the conglomarates end up forming an unhealthy portion of the economy. As G.K. Chesterton stated, “Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists.” See this short but insightful essay:http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/?p=734.

                      Personally, I would have let the big banks and big businesses go belly up making room for small banks and businesses to flourish in their steads. Nevertheless, the powers that be felt that was too risky for the integrity of the national economy.

                      I my view distributism is the solution, and its a excellent alternative to both socialism and capitalism. As a Roman Catholic I would hope you are familiar with this economic philosophy because its based upon Roman Catholic social/economic teaching promoted by Popes Leo XIII and Pius XI and developed by Roman Catholic intellectuals like Hilaire Belloc and G K. Chesterton. Its a Christian, libertarian, localist approach that is guided by moral principles which makes it both viable and sustainable.

                      I agree with your comment that “a personal moral mandate…cannot be imposed, and therefore, cannot be fulfilled by force (Government).” Love is not really love unless at the action is carried out with pure motives and deliberate intentions, which reminds me of a quote from St. John Chrysostom:
                      “Should we look to kings and princes to put right the inequalities between rich and poor? Should we require soldiers to come and seize the rich person’s gold and distribute it among his destitute neighbors? Should we beg the emperor to impose a tax on the rich so great that it reduces them to the level of the poor and then to share the proceeds of that tax among everyone? Equality imposed by force would achieve nothing, and do much harm. Those who combined both cruel hearts and sharp minds would soon find ways of making themselves rich again. Worse still, the rich whose gold was taken away would feel bitter and resentful; while the poor who received the gold from the hands of soldiers would feel no gratitude, because no generosity would have prompted the gift. Far from bringing moral benefit to society, it would actually do moral harm. Material justice cannot be accomplished by compulsion, a change of heart will not follow. The only way to achieve true justice is to change people’s hearts first—and then they will joyfully share their wealth.”

                      What are your views on distributism?

                    • Ronda Wintheiser :

                      Deep breath…

                      :D

                      Dr. Seraphim… you might not believe it… but I LOVE DISTRIBUTISM!!! :D

                      Here’s a brief intro… for anyone who might not be familiar with it…

                      http://distributistreview.com/mag/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/An-Introduction-to-Distributism.pdf

                      Otherwise, read Joseph Pearce: http://www.amazon.com/Small-Still-Beautiful-Economics-Families/dp/1933859040

                    • For a solid Catholic critique of distributism, read Is Distributism a Viable ‘Third Way': An Interview with Kishore Jayabalan on the blog of the Evangelical Philosophical Society. Excerpt:

                      Why do you think distributist premises are so appealing to some?

                      Distributism is appealing because it recognizes that there is more to life than economics and especially the production and consumption of material goods. Liberal commercial societies have produced all kinds of wealth and opportunity, but from a Catholic perspective, we know that these are not the ends of life, but rather the means to ensure a just society and eventually to help us lead holier lives. It’s also true that large corporate interests and big government collude to reduce competition and that there is something wrong with our current economic system. It’s always tempting for humans to think that the past was better, that progress is delusional, that we’ve lost our way. But the question is whether the past was as noble was we think it was, and whether some kind of return to a pre-modern way of life is possible or even desirable.

                      What do you find to be the biggest mistake about distributist economics?

                      I think the biggest mistake distributism tends to make is in assuming that smaller is necessarily better or more “beautiful,” and that the State can guide the economy towards such “smallness.” It may well be in some cases, it may well not be in others – we simply don’t know in the abstract.

                      Download Jayabalan’s AU 2011 lecture on distributism (Day Four). More than 70 AU 2012 lectures now available for 99 cents. “The Economic Way of Thinking” by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse (Day 2) is a good place to start.

                      Get a copy of the Acton Institute monograph “Beyond Distributism” by Thomas E. Woods Jr. available in hard copy and ebook. Download a free chapter.

                      Read Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for a Free Economy by Rev. Robert A. Sirico. Free chapter at the link.

                      Search the Journal of Markets & Morality for scholarly articles about distributism.

                      For an excellent primer on economic thinking, pick up a copy of Common Sense Economics by Gwartney, Stroup, and Lee on Amazon.

              • How true, George. So sad. I am going to Gettysburg next weekend to pay my respects to those who also died for this sham.

              • My Dad fought in WWII in the Pacific in the Amphibian Engineers. He saw a lot of action. My Father-in-Law was on Gaudalcanal. It makes me sad to think what both of them went through to have our present government throw all away that they risked their life for and fought for. Shame on our government. And shame on the people of this country to be so stupid, lazy and uncaring to elect Obama back into office.

      • Michael Bauman :

        Kevin, the supremes should not ‘undo’ legislation but un-Constitutional legislation is null at inception. There are five parties under our Constitution that can officially recognize the un-Constitutionality of legislation: The Congress by refusing to pass legislation that is un-Constitutional; the President by refusing to sign any bill that is un-Constitutional; the Supreme Court by nullifying legislation as un-Constitutional; the States; and the people as a whole. Unfortunately since the Civil War the nullification of un-Constitutional legislation has been left to the Supreme Court. Since they have routinely taken to denying the people standing to bring issues of Constitutionallity, the fifth option is amost moot unless a lot of folks are willing to go to jail. Un-likely in this day and age and the media would likely not run stories on it anyway.

        There are a number of states who have already refused to inforce aspects of the NDAA or allow federal officials to inforce the indefinate detention provision in their states. Several others who have exempted guns manufactured and sold entirely within state boundaries from federal firearms provsion.

        We can try to ‘vote the bums out’ but that would require the election of Romney and retaining a majority in the House of those who would repeal AND gaining a majority in the Senate of like-minded folks and then everyone actually doing what they were elected to do. Fact is most electable politicians are statists despite their protestations to the contrary.

        If Romney is not elected then there would have to be a 2/3 majority in both houses of those who would overide Obama’s veto of any repeal legislation a possibility that is far beyond any historical precedent.

        The States could choose to write their state income tax codes to allow for a tax credit for any ‘tax’ anyone paid to the feds if they didn’t buy health insurance but that could further pinch already tight state budgets.

        Pray for unmercenary physcians.

  2. macedonianreader :

    I can see a point here. Not being completely legal minded I can’t fully grasp it.

    But one of the first things that I thought after this ruling was that Obama’s fate as a one-termed President has been sealed because of the backlash that will happen in the coming months.

    The bigger worry about Obamacare is that it is molded after Romney-care in Mass. The only legitimacy Romney has to repeal this via congress is the 10th Amendment. And the only way he gets the movement behind him on the 10th is through Ron and Rand Paul.

    Let’s see how much this helps Romney and how much it helps get a Paul in the White House in 2016. That is, if there’s anything left of the nation by then …

  3. macedonianreader :

    But what if we were never a Republic rather a Federation of Small Republics? How does change the ethos of the article?

  4. macedonianreader :

    I’m curious though. Some of us made the argument that it was ok or good for a central power to intervene pushing a Tradition view of marriage, why would we be against the central power ‘healing the sick?’

    Hasn’t the central power done this historically in Rome, Byzantium, Palestine?

    • Fr. Johannes Jacobse :

      No. The state affirms traditional marriage because it is found in nature (natural law). Traditional marriage is necessary for the stability of culture. The state, in affirming that law, does not decree the moral legitimacy of the arrangement. It merely codifies (inheritance law primarily) that which is already found in nature. That is a legitimate role of the state, just as the defense of its citizens would be.

      This is different than, say, affirming gay “marriage” — an arrangement not found in nature given that homosexual relationships are biologically sterile. Homosexual couplings cannot create a child. It runs contrary to nature.

      Where you get confused I think is that you believe marriage is just a social arrangement, with no grounding in nature. Heterosexual marriage is found first in nature. It precedes the self-organization of the state no matter what kind of government happens to be in power.

      It’s ironic that Communism, a state that warred against the dignity and freedom of the human person with a demonic ferocity, never once thought that it had the authority to construe family as anything else than one man and one woman.

      • macedonianreader :

        But can the state affirm “healing the sick” if this can be termed as such?

        • Geo Michalopulos :

          No, because it’s out of the scope of government. If government can “heal the sick,” it can “preach the Gospel,” “offer absolution for sins,” etc.

          • macedonianreader :

            I follow that marriage is a natural arrangement and agree with it and that government need to uphold and affirm it. I also believe the State needs to uphold life “be against abortion” in the same way.

            I’m not arguing, just trying to have a conversation to understand the polemics better.

            • Fr. Johannes Jacobse :

              Actually, the larger culture needs it upheld, and grants the state the authority. When the culture is divided, as with abortion, the State is functionally powerless to change the consensus although it can undermine it as it did with Roe. v. Wade. That’s why gay rights advocates pressure the courts. Whenever gay “marriage” is held to a popular vote it usually loses (31 states so far have voted not to recognize it).

    • Fr. Johannes Jacobse :

      One more item: I know of no time in history that any government decreed that the union of two men constitutes a marriage. Caligula married his sister as I recall, but even the corrupt Romans knew it was a moral darkness of the first order.

  5. Ronda Wintheiser :

    What about secession?

    At this point, I want to become a Confederate.

    • Geo Michalopulos :

      I’ve already got my Rebel flag.

    • Michael Bauman :

      Ronda, the catacombs is a more likely manner of separtion than seccession. There may be some hope in a intermediate step of attempting to use the 10th amendment and the ability of the states to interpose themselves for the welfare of the citizens.

      The federal government essentially owns the economies of most states and would simply starve to death any state that attempted to withdraw from the Union. Romantic ideal, but practically impossible

      • Ronda Wintheiser :

        I don’t understand, Michael. What are the catacombs? Where are they?

        Do you mean the federal government would stop giving a state money?

        YIPPEEEE! ;)

        That’s exactly what I want. And it’s not romantic. It would be extremely difficult — along the lines of The Hunger Games probably.

        Most people would not be up for it because most Americans have no clue how to live without things. That is what would prevent it. Most people would not want to really fight or give up their creature comforts to do so. We’d have to start all over if we really meant it, and we would need, frankly, some real men who have the skills to live off the land the way that our forbears did and women willing to work their fingers to the bone.

        • Michael Bauman :

          The catacombs: unmercenary physicians (or nearly so) treating people on the black market, people refusing to pay the ‘tax’ when they don’t buy health insurance and going to jail, stuff like that. When the overt persecution of Christians begins, do as Christians have always done.

          If a state tried to leave the union several things the feds could do and probably would do: 1. Nationalize the National Guard and order them to declare martial law (arresting any soldier who refused for deriliction of duty in the face of the enemy–a captial offense); 2. Block the federal highways in and out of the state; 3. Cancel all federal government contracts of any kind to any business in the state or to any company that did business with the state; 4. Impound state funds held in national banks; 5. Cancel any air flights in or out of the state; 6. Block any rail traffic in or out of the state; 7. In states with ports, block any shipments in or out; 8. Offer bribes to those who want to move out; 9. Cut all digital communications traffic (TV, radio, internet, twitter, etc.) 10. Oh, and how long do you think any major city would be safe? The LA Riots and the riots of the ’60s would look like a beach parties.

          People who stayed would stave to death and the babies would go first no matter how many survivalists there were. If you don’t think the feds would do that, I think you are being optimistic. If you think public opinion would stop them from the most draconian measures you may be correct, but given the state of the body politic in this country, all it would take is for the feds to stop the TV and internet signals for about a week and most people would cave.

          I’m probably missing a few things, but in any case even Texas would not last long unless it reunited with Mexico and then the feds would close the borders to Mexico for sure.

          It is not about trying to overcome federal power with power. That will simply not work and get a lot of innocent people killed.

          The catacomb way is better. Staying hidden but doing everything we can to care for others around us, building small communities founded on virtue rather than wealth and status or pandering to perverts

          • Ronda Wintheiser :

            Oh, I see. Thank you, Michael. Yes, oh yes, you’re right. We’ll have an Underground… and keep up the venerable tradition that Harriet Tubman and Sophie Scholl and others before us had.

            But not just yet, maybe. Not until after November?

  6. cynthia curran :

    Romeny was influence by the Heritage Foundation and MA is liberal Dem state, so it was changed. And Romeny with all his faults is better than Obama who has a child was influence by the Communist Member Frank William Marshall. I’m not a paleo-con I think Paul is terrible on defense he would cut it to the bone. Both Roman and Byzantine history show if you don’t have a strong defense then you are conquered. Rome and Byzantium relied on foreigners to fight their wars prior to their falls or going downhill. Granted, people can agrued that fighting in the Balkins-Clinton and the recent wars didn’t help defense but no reason to chop it down to Ron Paul size and while Romeny is taking the usual Republican fuzzy position on immirgation Paul is no better he believes that businessmen should be able to hire who they want even if someone is in the US illegality.

    • Ronda Wintheiser :

      You do not understand Ron Paul. He would adhere to the Constitution when it comes to war. He would not skimp on defense, but he would skimp on going to war.

      Even if he were what you say, it is obvious that the overthrow of our nation is from within, not from without. Dr. Paul or someone like him is what we need to pull us back from the precipice.

      I’m surprised, after today, you wouldn’t see that at last. Mr. Romney rammed through this same legislation in his own state. He may be better than Obama in some miniscule way, but overall he is blind to the Constitutional issues at play here as well.

      It’s over. Fr. Hans has penned the epitaph already.

    • macedonianReader :

      Cynthia how is it that you can argue for the Constitution when it comes to marriage and healthcare from one side your mouth but then when it comes to following the Constitution with regards to our defense you shirk it? This is the same “conservative” inconsistency that has allowed for this mess.

      Ron Paul weakening our defense is the biggest fallacy out there and it was created by the same folks who were promoting things like single payer healthcare, executive privledge, undeclared wars, and the patriot act. All of which are against our Constitution.

      Romney is just a bit better than Obama and I have yet to publicly give my support for him.

      Romney has a long way to go before he can earn my trust as nothing more than what we’ve had the last 50 years. Furthermore, the only way we can be somewhat sure that he will do anything better than Obama is if he picks up the rhetoric and platform of the Ron Paul movement. And this is a big if.

  7. Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim :

    First off, I’m a practicing family physician, and I’m also a conservative (not reactionary) Orthodox Christian.

    I have to admit that I’m surprised by all these frenetic remarks (including Fr. Hans’ essay) coming from such astute individuals. It seems that many of you have an ideological rather than a realistic perspective on US healthcare and how its delivered and paid for.

    Since I’m neither a Democrat nor a Republican I don’t feel obligated to toe a party line. However, every day I take care of hardworking and debilitated Americans, many of whom are either uninsured or underinsured and can’t get what they need in order to prevent their health from declining, at least not without me spending exorbitant amounts of my personal time (a major source of frustration for me as well as my wife and family) going to bat for them occasionally with some success.

    Our current “system” (used sarcastically b/c we don’t actually have a system but rather a free-for-all) ultimately provides care for everyone when their needs become acute enough (i.e. when they show up in the ER and/or get admitted to the hospital in a medical crisis not infrequently leading to disability), but that’s when medical intervention is most expensive & least effective. Ultimately, this healthcare is funded by our hard-earned tax dollars, but its accomplished in a manner that’s completely irrational and totally wasteful, not to mention antithetical to the Gospel.

    Whether you realize it or not we’re already, directly and indirectly, spending the tax dollars & paying the price in rising insurance premiums & higher medical bills! Why wouldn’t we want to reorganize things to make them more logical and cost effective?

    As much as I’m an advocate for free enterprise / capitalism in the market place the business model has no place in healthcare! The multiple players in the healthcare “market” all competing for a piece of the pie results in losses of $400 billion annually due to administrative duplication of efforts, which if eliminated could provide comprehensive coverage for everyone in the country without paying any more that we already do…a fact that begs for a single payer system.

    I’m not saying that a government run healthcare system is the answer, but I do know for certain that we cannot keep doing what we’ve been doing b/c we’re literally hemorrhaging money, which is obviously not sustainable. For example, the US spends significantly more money per capita than any other country in the word on healthcare, yet we rank at a meager 37th internationally in quality of healthcare based on morbidity and mortality. Chew on that one for a while.

    It can be tempting to pontificate about things that we have a speculative grasp on, and I get the feeling that most of you are talking about things that you really don’t understand from an experiential position. If I’m wrong then let me see a show of hands from those of you who either doctor for the uninsured/underinsured giving you first hand knowledge of the dynamics of these issues or, better yet, don’t have health insurance.

    Healthcare isn’t like a driver’s license / auto insurance. Some people choose not to drive and thus forgo the auto insurance, but nobody gets to choose not to get sick, it just happens, like it or not. Given that reality (and it is a reality) we are obligated to use our resourses wisely and serve the least of the brethren as if he/she was Christ himself.

    This isn’t about party politics or political ideology. Its about the kenosis of healthcare and serving one another in love.

    • macedonianReader :

      It is easy to forget that for decades the United States HAD a health care system that was the envy of the world. We had the finest doctors and hospitals, patients received high-quality, affordable medical care, and thousands of privately funded charities provided health services for the poor. I worked in an emergency room where nobody was turned away for lack of funds. People had insurance policies for serious health problems but paid cash for routine doctor visits.

      –Ron Paul. The Revolution: A Manifesto

  8. Father Johannes, thank you for this article.

    As a priest in Canada, I can tell you that government-run healthcare has its positive and negative sides, but you identify the crux Obamacare correctly: it is a question of power.

    The courage that led Americans to form their Republic (a decision which us Canadian Loyalists regret, since we miss you!) has been watered down over the generations, the heart of the common man weakened, and the strong arm of central government strengthened in direct contradiction of your decentralized Constitution. Canada – a nation forged on the concept of a strong central government – enjoys much more local autonomy and provincial democracy than any part of America. Combine that with a skyrocketing debt and deficit, strong intercultural stresses dating back centuries, and a gigantic military security structure, and the recipe is not at all hopeful.

    As Yeats says in his poem, The Second Coming, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

    And so it is today.

    These are the days when we must redouble our efforts at living the Orthodox Christian life, reconcile ourselves with brethren in the Church, and strive toward great humility, prayer, and love.

    But for some change in November, the princes have failed America.

  9. The meladrama about the Republic might make sense if we were talking about the Constitution pre civil war. Or pre new deal. Or pre cold war. Or pre great society. Or pre Reagan military Keynesianism run amock. But seriously, talking like our pre industrial, agrarian attempt at blending enlightenment ideals with classical learning was somehow in play a few weeks ago and now isn’t is just weird. For better and for worse, the Constitution has been reinvented through half a dozen “revolutions within the form”: the Old Republic has been dead for a very long time and it will not be revived. This decision is hardly a bump in the road.

    From a policy standpoint it is a very modest gain for the middle class folks most likely to have been hurt under our prior system.

    And thank you to the good Doctor for bringing a Christian perspective to bear.

    • Ronda Wintheiser :

      Once again… apparently unborn children have no standing in your eyes.

    • Ronda Wintheiser :

      BTW: You may or may not have noticed that for some reason, Dr. Seraphim’s first “essay” is posted twice; there are two separate threads, therefore, associated with his comments…

  10. The comment has been posted as a separate entry.

  11. Michael Bauman :

    I just started reading the new English translation of Evdokimov’s “Orthodoxy, the Cosmos Transfigered”. In his remarks on the nature of the state he references Soloviev’s idea that

    the state has at its goal not the realization of Paradise, but the preventing the world from becoming hell.

    and earlier in the book:

    The State, more and more autocratic, affirms its rights and keeps silent about its obligations to the Church. More and more it neutralizes the Church by neutralizing her social role, the management of works of charity.

    Under this bill and the rationale used to support it the state goes far beyond. I am certain that one of the ‘improvements’ to Obamacare will be to require every doctor and healthcare professional to perform and assist in abortions. If they don’t, they will be ‘taxed’ for their failure to do so.

    Sounds more than a bit like the extra taxes levied on Christians by Islam. Of course, if the Roman Catholic bishops are true to their word, all of the Catholic hospitals would shut their doors.

    With the rationale used to support this bill the feds can quite literally force us to do anything they want or we have to pay a ‘tax': buy electric cars, solar panels, vote, the list is endless.

    Also didn’t the health tax bill begin in the U.S. Senate? If it is a tax, then, by the Constitution it has to be initiated in the House, not the Senate.

    Lies piled upon lies, evil upon evil with the accumulation of power as the only purpose

    • Michael Bauman :

      I would add that when the state usurps the role of God and attempts to make this world a paradise while refusing to defend and protect virtue, hell is the result.

  12. Over at NRO, Michael Knox Beran, a contributing editor of City Journal, has this to say about the recent decision of the SCOTUS:

    But [Chief Justice Roberts] was [wise], in this instance, to give the legislature the benefit of the doubt. His wisdom and restraint contrast starkly with the folly of President Obama and former speaker Pelosi. They were within their rights when they pushed through so consequential a law on a nakedly partisan basis. But they were not wise to have done so.

    In giving the elected lawmakers the benefit of the doubt, Roberts didn’t give them carte blanche, and he took the managers of the welfare state to task when he mocked the idea that the Constitution’s Commerce Clause is a kind of Fill-in-the-Blank Tsarist Ukase that lets the federal government do whatever it likes.

    But rather than give President Obama an easy target at which to strike in an election year, he said yes, Washington can impose Obamacare on the nation, provided that the nation understands that as far as the Constitution is concerned Obamacare is a gigantic tax.

    The very thing the president said it wasn’t.

    In making the judgment that he did, Chief Justice Roberts deprived American advocates of a European-style social state of one of their most precious conceits, that right-leaning justices on the Court will stop at nothing to prevent the country’s health-care system from rising to the level of, say, Cuba’s, a system which, as Hugo Chávez can testify, is smokin’.

    There is a larger point. If the only way Americans can defend their liberties is to hide behind the verbiage of a Supreme Court opinion, it’s already too late for freedom here.

    My guess is that the chief justice doesn’t think it’s too late. He knows, as we all do, that the remedy — a remedy far more potent than any judicial decision — is at hand.

    If conservatives in an election year like this one can’t win the battle of the ballot box, no Supreme Court judgment can save them.

    • Ronda Wintheiser :

      Wow. Thank you, Fr. Gregory. On one hand this makes me feel better.

      On the other, I’m still afraid. :) We haven’t been willing to win the battle for unborn children. Will we for ourselves?

      • Ronda,

        You’re most welcome!

        As for being afraid (or its evil twin, angry)–perfect love casts out fear. I just commented on my own post here the problem of American Orthodoxy is an unhealthy mix of material affluence and a poverty of service to others. No schools, no hospitals, nothing really but parishes and the minimum institutional apparatus needed to make sure a priest is there for us on Sunday. Having so deformed and cramped the life of the Church is it any wonder that we feel powerless in the face of Caesar?

        I think the battle can be won–both the current one and the one started by Roe v Wade. But we must do all that we can do to enlarge our hearts and to do so in a manner that is both Orthodox AND American. As Americans and as Orthodox Christians in American we are a practical, philanthropic people. We can do better and more than just establishing mission parishes.

        +FrG

  13. Ronda Wintheiser :

    To M. Stankovich:

    I seriously doubt I will be able to explain to your satisfaction why I don’t do colonoscopies. I’ll do my best.

    In thinking about this whole question, I began with the truth that God designed the human body to heal itself.

    But I am going to die.

    The crux of the question for me as a young woman in deciding how I’m going to live my life began with the recognition that there is no choice that has a guarantee at the end of it.

    Every choice is always simply a choice between two different sets of risks — nothing more.

    You choose your set, and I choose mine.

    I do not accept modern medicine’s approach to health because the “remedies” it offers almost always create another set of problems and rarely address the underlying causes of the illness or the disorder.

    Consequently, I prefer to choose the risks of foregoing invasive, intrusive procedures, surgeries, chemicals/drugs in favour of the risks of NOT submitting myself to them.

    Instead I choose to discipline myself to take care of the health I have given and support my body’s functions with good nutrition and avoiding non-foods like sodas and all of the other fake “foods” that Americans entertain themselves with; and of course exercise, enough sleep, pure water, lots of sunshine and fresh air.. etc. etc. etc.

    I realise that to you I must sound as absurd as your colonoscopy sounds to me. :)

    I just wouldn’t live like that — listening to a bunch of bureaucratic “experts” about what procedures I should spend money on in order to find something terrible and in the process risk perforating my inner organs, or submitting myself to radiation that everyone knows causes cancers for the purpose of detecting one… ??? (I’ve always said as soon as they use radiation on male parts I might consider a mammogram ;) ).

    It never occurred to me to wonder if insurance people care about me. Do the bureaucratic experts who recommend you have a colonoscopy every 5 years care about you? Or are they perhaps beholden to someone else as well?

    Choosing the procedures you choose imply acceptance of the treatment offered if something terrible is discovered. So then you submit yourself to even more invasive, poisonous treatments or remedies offered?

    My set of risks costs money. And someday I may cost society money. (What about how much I have saved you? ;) )

    Anyway, the reverse is just as true. We both may find ourselves being treated for the same disorder, although I would be more likely than you to reject the treatments available for colon cancer. Society would be free of having to pay my way.

    You wrote: “I certainly support your right to make personal choices regarding your health and self-determination, I find it unreasonable of you to to disregard how your choice might impact others.”

    Does it occur to you that I might say the same thing to you in regard to your choices? Were I to learn about your diet, whether or not you exercise or are sedentary, whether or not you are overweight… Could I not ask you the same sort of question? If you do not do these things and rely on colonoscopies and the like for your “health care”, could I not make the case that this is arguably irresponsible by the standards you are imposing on me?

    I am happy for you to make your own choice about this, M. Stankovich. You do have a history of it in your family, as you say — I do not. If that is the way you want to live, you should be allowed to do it.

    I should be allowed to refuse.

    This is the very problem, though, that now we WILL be subject to under Obamacare — there will now be other people deciding for us what we should or should not do. Consider this, for example:

    “The US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) introduced their latest plans to help push down the obesity rate in America this week, and their newest effort calls for more than just urging people to exercise. The federal panel of medical experts is asking primary care physicians to put obese Americans into intensive counseling programs in order to combat the epidemic. ‘Obesity is a very serious health problem in the United States, and in the past 30 years, obesity rates have dramatically increased,’ Task Force member Dr. David Grossman, a pediatrician at Group Health Research Institute in Seattle, says in the USPSTF press release put out on Monday. ‘The good news is that is that even modest weight loss can reduce health risks for people who are obese. And, there is strong scientific evidence that shows that intensive programs with 12 to 26 sessions in the first year can help people manage their weight.’

    “While experts have long argued for urging obese Americans into specialized programs to push healthier habits on them, the USPSTF is asking physicians to place any patient with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more into counseling. Currently more than one-third of adults meet that criterion, with non-Hispanic black adults more than 44 percent likely to be considered obese.

    “According to a report compiled earlier this year by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 42 percent of the US population will be obese within the next two decades. At the time of that publishing, the Institute of Medicine’s Shiriki Kumanyika told Reuters that “People have heard the advice to eat less and move more for years, and during that time a large number of Americans have become obese.” Advice, many argue, hasn’t been enough, though.

    “’The average person cannot maintain a healthy weight in this obesity-promoting environment,” added Kumanyika. The USPSTF has been urging primary care doctors to screen patients for obesity as early as 2003, but if their new guidelines are adopted, physicians will be prompted to push for counseling outside of their office. What’s more is that, if US President Barack Obama’s healthcare law passes scrutiny from the Supreme Court this week, Medicare and most private insurers will be forced to cover most or all of the proposed counseling programs — something that is certain to attract opponents of all size. If justices in Washington refuse Obama’s plan, however, the recommendations will likely be refused.”

    http://rt.com/usa/news/force-obese-counseling-us-799/

    Are you at risk for being forced into counseling? I am not.

    But perhaps it won’t be long before I am required to have a colonoscopy.

    • M. Stankovich :

      I may be at risk for counseling if I maintain this discussion. I offered colonoscopy as an analogy, as an example, as a metaphor, not as an apology for a specific medical procedure. I chose it because it was, in fact, contemporaneous for me, admittedly extraneous, but important because it is demonstrated in the literature to be both beneficial from a prevention standpoint – it saves lives – as well as an economic standpoint – it is cost effective. I could have used the example that on Wednesday, in a civil court action, a judge ruled that Samsung may not begin selling a new product in the United States that “competes” by violating Apple’s copyrights. But the judge required that Apple place a cash bond with the court before the ruling takes effect, thereby guaranteeing that should a later ruling overturn her decision, Samsung will not experience an unjust loss of revenue. Same difference.

      You wildly engage in generalities and superficial understandings of the science and effectively, in your mind, obliterate my simple point: should you wish to exercise your constitutional right to accept risk, that is not my concern. However, all deductible costs and all costs incurred when your catastrophic health insurance is exhausted will become the responsibility of taxpayers. I have previously stated and I repeat, I then find your choices to be exceptionally irresponsible. Preventative medicine will reduce risk for major illness, but it certainly is not a panacea. People become gravely ill despite the best preventative care and the best lifestyle choices; and when they do, I would rather not – as a taxpayer – be involved in the consequences of their poor choices. The Affordable Healthcare Act may prove over time a to have been a misdirected plan. But it represents a change in attitude that is essential.

      I emphasize that this is a “discussion” on the internet. My wish for you and your daughters, most sincerely, is that you live your life under the protection of the Theotokos, and never need worry as to such matters. And me. And everyone here.

      • Ronda Wintheiser :

        I’m sorry, Mr. or Ms. Stankovich. You seem unable to recognise that you are also choosing risks that will have consequences.

        And under Obamacare EVERYTHING will be paid for by the taxpayers.

        Thanks to Obamacare, we will FOREVER be involved in EVERYONE’S consequences for EVERYONE’S poor choices.

        • Michael Bauman :

          Ronda, you will soon realize that Mr. Stankovich is a man of facts, nothing but the facts and unless it is in a peer reviewed scientific study (of course all peers share the same basic bias) it is not a fact. Any attempt to put anything into a larger or different context or to question his methodology will likely be met with some sort of ad hominum retort. Nevertheless, I have found my interchanges and disagreements with him to be quite helpful in examining my own soul and reaching some un-sought and unexpected epiphanies that have brought me quite a bit of joy.

          For which I am grateful to both God and to him. It is that joy we must seek even as we contend for the truth. Joy is always a gift of God and so it is rarely if ever experienced intellectually, but only in relation to others who are also struggling with the same end in mind.

          You know that, but it is something easy to loose sight of when so much seems to be at risk. A line from a play I was once in just pushed it’s way forward:

          “Shall we laugh?”

          “Why?”

          “For the sake of laughter madam, for the phenomenom of cachination is surely the surest touch of genius in creation”

          It is impossible to laugh and be fearful at the same time, it has healing properties both psychologically and physically (I am sure it is in some peer reviewed journal somewhere) and the demons hate it.

          • Ronda Wintheiser :

            Thanks for the laugh, Michael! :D

            Here’s another! (I hope it works to paste the location here…)

  14. Ronda Wintheiser :

    Here’s an interesting article that sheds even more light on some of our conversation here…

    * * *

    The day the Supreme Court ruled in favor of ObamaCare, a friend called me. He’s an extremely dedicated, much-loved surgeon, and he was frustrated and livid in equal measure.

    “I’ve actually had a lot of experience working in all different types of environments,” he began. “I’ve worked in a government-run socialized medical care system, and I saw the waste and inefficiency. “The longer people worked in that system, the less work they wanted to do, because the more you wanted to do, the more they dumped on you. So after a while you stop doing it, because they’re not paying you to do more. Why should you do a difficult case, a difficult surgery that will take you hours and hours to do?

    “You might start out wanting to do it, but after a while, you just run out of energy, because there’s no incentive. You’d have to be a superhuman being to continue to work in that system and not be worn down by it.

    “Because nobody wanted to work, it would take an hour to turn over the surgical room. In my private practice now, it takes ten minutes.

    “And I saw tremendous waste: closets of stuff that never got used. Nobody cared.

    “Capitalism has completely transformed my sub-specialty. When I was in training, a common procedure that I do now took 40 minutes, and people needed a month of recovery. Now it takes 10 minutes, and people can go back to work almost immediately.

    “And all these improvements were driven by the financial incentive. Capitalism has had a tremendously positive effect on patient care and outcome in my specialty.

    “But when I go to meetings now, I see that there’s very little innovation going on. Everything’s being impacted by ObamaCare, which, among other things, raises taxes on medical devices.

    “You know, doctors are people, and we’re being hammered on all sides here. It’s the paperwork; it’s insurance; it’s transitioning to electronic medical records, so the government can get their mitts into your practice. It’s lawsuits; it’s rising overhead and decreasing compensation; it’s stress upon stress upon stress.

    “And a lot of doctors are going to say, ‘Forget it. I don’t want to do this anymore.’ Guys that are 5 or 10 years older than me are just going to give up and walk away.

    “Why should I be a slave to the government? You know, it used to be that doctors would do charity work at a charity hospital. Nobody wants to do it anymore, because we’re too overwhelmed.

    “I work 60 to 70 hours a week, so how am I supposed to fight back against this? Most doctors don’t have the time to lobby their congressman or go to Washington. If you’re a doctor in the trenches, you’ve got a stressful job; you’ve got a family. You’re seeing the same number of patients and making half the income you used to make. People are litigious these days, so you’ve got to worry about lawsuits. When are you going to find time to lobby a politician?

    “And the American Medical Association threw us all under the bus, even though only 18% of doctors belong to it. These people are ivory-tower academics, and they’re liberals. Most of them are in academic medicine; they get a salary with some sort of incentive bonus. They show up to work and go home. They’re not in the trenches like me, figuring out how to compete with other doctors and pay for malpractice insurance and how to hire four people I need to implement the electronic medical records and two people I need to deal with insurance.

    “And as a doctor, I get it handed to me both ways. My taxes are raised, and my fees are lowered.

    “You know, young people today who go to medical school — I don’t know what to tell them. You couldn’t pay me to go to medical school today. Some doctors are going to graduate with $500,000 in debt, and how are they going to make a living?

    “You’re 32 or 33 years old by the time you finish your training; you’re married with little kids. You’ve been an apprentice for 16 years, and now you’re faced with socialized medicine. That’s the reality on the ground. How are you supposed to manage that?

    “Fortunately, I still love what I do. But I don’t know what’s going to happen. I think we’ll wind up with a two-tiered medical system: a private one for the rich who pay cash and a mediocre one for everyone else.

    “When my dad was 91, he had a heart attack and ended up with a stent. He had two more good years after that before he died. After ObamaCare, some government employee is going to decide that he is too old for this and not ‘approve’ for him to have that procedure.

    “It’s just a feeling of helplessness. The only organizations that are fighting for doctors are the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, and Docs4 Patient Care.”

    After he hung up, I went to the website of Docs4 Patient Care and found this statement from its president, Dr. Hal Scherz:

    “The Supreme Court disappointed the majority of Americans who have voiced their opposition to Obamacare, by upholding significant portions of this truly abysmal law. Their decision has left Americans now wondering what it is that the Federal Government can’t compel them to do. This is perhaps the worst decision in the history of the Supreme Court and emphasizes the importance of making the correct decision for chief executive, who controls who sits on this bench.”

    If you want to cure the sickness that’s killing America, you’ll find a powerful remedy in the voting booth in November.

    Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/06/a_surgeon_cuts_to_the_heart_of_the_obamacare_nightmare.html#.T-_PR9CwzDQ.facebook#ixzz1zOobon3h

  15. Father Jacobse, I just read your article ‘The Republic is finished….” on Catholic Online, and I really liked it because it is clear and truthful, and well said. I’ve bookmarked this site too, because of all the good articles and comments I enjoy reading. Thanks.

  16. Ronda Wintheiser :

    Another interesting take:

    ‎”…(D)iscrimination is what makes insurance work.

    “An insurance regime where everyone pays the same amount is called ‘community rating.’ That sounds fair. No more cruel discrimination against the obese or people with cancer. But community rating is as destructive as ordering flood insurance companies to charge me nothing extra to insure my very vulnerable beach house, or ordering car insurance companies to charge Lindsay Lohan no more than they charge you. Such one-size-fits-all rules take away insurance companies’ best tool: risk-based pricing.

    “Risk-based pricing encourages us to take better care of ourselves.

    “Car insurance works because companies reward good drivers and charge the Lindsay Lohans more. If the state forces insurance companies to stop discriminating, that kills the business model.

    “No-discrimination insurance isn’t insurance. It’s welfare. If the politicians’ plan was to create another government welfare program, they ought to own up to that instead of hiding the cost.

    “Obama—and the Clintons before him—expressed outrage that insurance companies charged people different rates based on their risk profiles. They want everyone covered for the same ‘fair’ price.

    “The health insurance industry was happy to play along. They even offered to give up on gender differences. Women go to the doctor more often than men and spend more on medicines. Their lifetime medical costs are much higher, and so it makes all the sense in the world to charge women higher premiums. But Sen. John Kerry pandered, saying, ‘The disparity between women and men in the individual insurance market is just plain wrong, and it has to change!’ The industry caved. The president of its trade group, Karen M. Ignagni, said that disparities ‘should be eliminated.’

    “Caving was safer than fighting the president and Congress, and caving seemed to provide the industry with benefits. Insurance companies wouldn’t have to work as hard. They wouldn’t have to carefully analyze risk. They’d be partners with government—fat and lazy, another sleepy bureaucracy feeding off the welfare state. Alcoholics, drug addicts and the obese won’t have to pay any more than the rest of us.

    “But this just kills off a useful part of insurance: encouraging healthy behavior. Charging heavy drinkers more for insurance gives them one more incentive to quit. ‘No-discrimination’ pricing makes health care costs rise even faster. Is it too much to expect our rulers to understand this?

    “Of course, the average citizen doesn’t understand either. When I argue that medical insurance makes people indifferent to costs, I get online comments like: ‘I guess the 47 million people who don’t have health care should just die, right, John?’

    “The truth is, almost all people do get health care, even if they don’t have health insurance. Hospitals rarely turn people away; Medicaid and charities pay for care; some individuals pay cash; some doctors forgive bills. I wish people would stop conflating the terms ‘health care,’ ‘health insurance’ and ‘Obamacare.’ Reporters ask guests things like: ‘Should Congress repeal health care?’ I sure don’t want anyone’s health care repealed.

    “Reporters also routinely called Obamacare health ‘reform.’ But the definition of reform is: making something better. More government control won’t do that. We should call politicians’ insurance demands ‘big intrusive complex government micromanagement.’

    “Let the private sector work. Let it discriminate.”

    http://reason.com/archives/2012/06/28/in-praise-of-discrimination-in-the-healt

  17. Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim :

    Ronda, what you describe is ideal. I would LOVE to see an option like that, but it simply doesn’t exist. Moreover, no one on the political front is even talking about it.

    Taking a reductionist approach, oversimplifying the issues and dreaming of the perfect scenario is just not helpful.

    I’m a pragmatic realist. When life gives you lemons…don’t complain, panic or fantasize about perfect situation…just roll up your sleeves and start making lemonade.

    We have begin to right the ship somewhere, and passively gazing up at the starry sky dreaming of the an ideal solution while the ship heads for the rocks is not a viable option.

    • Ronda Wintheiser :

      I’m sorry, Dr. Seraphim, but what planet are you living on?

      Of course there is that option! LOTS of people are talking about it — repealing the Act, and then doing the hard work of doubling down on addressing the myriad issues that make up the puzzle of this “problem” — and the problem isn’t just one thing that can be solved by one thing. It is so complex! Having a huge, unwieldy, monolithic government try to control everything is absurd on its face…

      No offense to any Roman Catholic here, I hope, but I think this is a lot like the difference between Catholic church government and the way it is in the Orthodox Church.

      Obamacare is like the Pope. It’s a top down, top heavy, one size fits all application. I am surprised you don’t embrace a more “Orthodox approach” — something that is local and allows for much more freedom and diversity (ooh, I used a politically correct word! ;) ) The Canons are brought to bear on an individual’s life and need for healing by a parish priest in a relationship that is much like your relationships with your patients. Wouldn’t you really ultimately prefer that?

      Gee, I’m starting to digress and these things have been addressed to you already by others far more articulate, so I’m not going there…

      Since you insist on speaking in cliche, if you are making lemonade, then I am calling a spade a spade. They say Mother Teresa didn’t say this after all, so I WILL say it: When a woman can kill her own child, what is left of the West to destroy?

      The ship has already foundered on the rocks.

      We are taught that there are nine ways of participating in another’s sin, and if we accept this law and try to make lemonade with it, then I think we are participating in the sin of abortion by consent…

      At what point will you say, no, no more lemonade?

      Will it be when they tell you you have to deliver a baby in one room and then step into the next and kill another?

      • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim :

        Ronda, I think you are misunderstanding me. Again, I’m not in favor of ObamaCare for what it is, but rather what it has the potential to be if it is seriously reworked. I think a government owned and operated system would be terrible, but leaving it entirely up the private sector is equally as bad. I think we need something in the middle that doesn’t leave the “working-poor” without any healthcare coverage. This is merely a starting point for negotiations.

        I AM in favor of a more “Orthodox approach”. Personally I’m a localist / libertarian, and I’m aware that there are independent politicians talking about solutions that I like MUCH better, but the reality is that US politics is polarized between the Democrats and Republicans. Voting for independent presidential candidates is basically throwing your vote away because they’ll never get elected unless there’s a massive shift in social thinking first.

        Also, I’m not really sure what you’re talking about because abortion is already part of the US healthcare system (irrespective of the new ObamaCare) and our tax dollars are funding it, which is something that I despise. However, my tax dollars also fund wars in foreign countries where young men and women died or suffer almost irreparable psychological damage for no good reason. I can shout, “No more lemonade!” until the cows come home, but what good will that do? I can also stop paying my taxes but that would work out for me very well either. There is not perfect solution before us. All we can do is try to build one.

        • Ronda Wintheiser :

          Well, ok then. That sends us right back to where we began.

          “We all feel that it will have to be significantly modified through a series of changes over time in order to get to something workable…but its a start. Nobody else is contributing anything new or useful.”

          Dr. Seraphim, what we have now is a government owned and operated system. And you are absolutely dead wrong that we can modify it now that it is the law of the land. It cannot be seriously reworked. There will be no negotiations. It’s too late.

          That is why we are frenetic about it! We put our hope and trust in the Supreme Court and they — yes, they — betrayed us by not upholding the Constitution.

          The ONLY hope we have is to repeal it.

          It is absurd if not insulting for you to say “nobody else is contributing anything new and useful”. There are many people who have contributed much that is new and useful to the conversation, and some who are wise enough to advocate a return to things that are OLD and useful.

          You just aren’t listening to the right people. :)

          Your attitude toward this horror, this monstrosity of a lemon appears to be that you are going to make lemonade, Dr. Seraphim.

          What I am saying to you in this entire conversation is that this is NOT the time to make lemonade because the lemons are rotten. We have to throw them out and start over.

          • Ronda Wintheiser :

            Ok, now I’m probably going to really make some of you upset with me. :(

            Here’s an article that — even if you could debunk every point it makes, which you cannot — is one more very good reason why Obamacare is a BAD IDEA.

            It’s an opinion, but it is worth considering, in my opinion. :)

            There are always going to be people like me who question the politically correct, conventional approach to medicine — on a philosophical basis as well as on a scientific basis.

            EXPOSED: 10 FACTS ABOUT THE BREAST CANCER INDUSTRY YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO KNOW

            With Breast Cancer Awareness month fully upon us once again, retail stores have been invaded with everything pink, including “pink ribbon” candies and personal care products made with blatantly cancer-causing ingredients. Retail grocery stores like Safeway even hit up customers for donations at the cash register, promising to raise funds to find “the cure for cancer.”

            Consumers of course, have virtually no idea where the funds they donate actually go, nor do they know the truths about breast cancer they’ll never be told by conventional cancer non-profit organizations. In this article, I’ll reveal ten important myths about breast cancer, and the truths that can save your life.

            Myth #1: Breast Cancer is not preventable

            The Truth: Up to 98% of breast cancer cases can be prevented through diet, nutritional supplements, sunshine and exercise

            It’s true: Breast cancer can be almost entirely prevented through commonsense changes in diet, the addition of anti-cancer nutritional supplements, boosting vitamin D creation from sunlight, avoiding exposure to toxic chemicals in consumer products, pursuing regular exercise and eating a live foods diet.

            The breast cancer industry — which depends on the continuation of cancer for its profits and employment — has so far refused to teach women even basic cancer prevention strategies (such as increasing the intake of vitamin D, which prevents 77% of all cancers). See: http://www.naturalnews.com/021892.html

            Myth #2: Pink ribbon products are sold to raise money to support breast cancer victims.

            The Truth: Nearly 100% of the funds are used to recruit more breast cancer patients into highly-lucrative treatments that do more harm than good.

            You know where all that money goes that you donate to the “search for the cure” and other cancer scams? Virtually none of it goes to actually teach women how to prevent cancer. The World Health Organization says 70% of all cancers are preventable, but the breast cancer industry helps zero percent of women actually prevent it.

            Those funds actually go to recruiting breast cancer patients by offering “free” mammograms. This is the clever recruitment strategy of the cancer industry. It’s sort of like a greasy garage mechanic offering a “free” checkup on your car’s transmission. It’s in his financial interest to find something wrong (or to break something), just like it’s in the financial interests of the cancer industry to diagnose a women with cancer and scare her into expensive, high-profit treatments like chemotherapy, radiation therapy or cancer surgery. (Mammogram false positives are commonplace…)

            Want proof of where these funds go? Check out this grant list at the Komen for the Cure organization, and you’ll see it’s almost entirely spent on recruiting more women with mammograms: http://www.komenphoenix.org/site/c.nsKZL3PHLtF/b.3753185/k.A9C8/Grant

            When you read that list, note that there is not a single grant provided for nutritional education to teach women how to prevent cancer with vitamin D, cruciferous vegetables, anti-cancer herbs, supplements or to avoid dangerous cancer-causing food ingredients like sodium nitrite, MSG and chemical sweeteners.

            Myth #3: The only proven treatments for breast cancer are chemotherapy and radiation

            The Truth: Chemotherapy doesn’t work and radiation causes cancer

            Chemotherapy is a fraud, plain and simple. It’s as ludicrous as poisoning patients with mercury and calling it medicine (which is something doctors did a hundred years ago, by the way). There is absolutely no reliable scientific evidence showing that chemotherapy has any positive effect whatsoever on breast cancer. Try to find the science yourself: It doesn’t exist!

            Sure, there’s evidence that chemotherapy shrinks tumors. Too bad, however, that tumor size is irrelevant. Artificially reducing the size of a tumor does nothing to reverse the physiology of cancer in a patient’s body. It doesn’t initiate the healing that needs to take place to reverse cancer and stay cancer free. And this doesn’t even take into account the quality of life issues here: Chemotherapy doesn’t help people LIVE any longer, but it sure does make them DIE longer!

            Myth #4: Chemotherapy is safe and doesn’t cause permanent damage to your health

            The Truth: Chemotherapy causes vomiting, hair loss, muscle loss, brain damage, heart damage, kidney damage and liver damage. Much of this damage is permanent. Read these stories to learn more:

            Cancer Drug Causes Permanent Brain Damage
            http://www.naturalnews.com/024475.html

            Chemotherapy Causes Brain Shrinkage
            http://www.naturalnews.com/021200.html

            Chemotherapy Found to Cause Permanent Brain Damage
            http://www.naturalnews.com/020665.html

            Myth #5: Regular mammograms are the best way to detect cancer

            The Truth: Mammograms harm 10 women for every one woman they help

            Here’s part of a story we published in 2006, called Breast Cancer Screening Harms Ten Women for Every One That it Helps (http://www.naturalnews.com/020829.html)

            “A new study by researchers from the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Denmark found that mammograms may harm ten times as many women as they help.

            The researchers examined the benefits and negative effects of seven breast cancer screening programs on 500,000 women in the United States, Canada, Scotland and Sweden. The study’s authors found that for every 2,000 women who received mammograms over a 10-year period, only one would have her life prolonged, but 10 would endure unnecessary and potentially harmful treatments.”

            Got that? For every 2,000 women receiving mammograms, only ONE would have her life extended at all. TEN women, though, would be harmed with chemotherapy, radiation or mastectomies.

            What the study didn’t point out, by the way, is that all these treatments are highly profitable for the cancer industry. That’s the real reason why mammograms are pushed so aggressively onto women. It’s not because mammograms detect cancer; it’s because mammograms make them money.

            To the breast cancer industry, a woman is nothing more than a piece of meat with a cash reward attached to it. The push for mammography is a marketing ploy designed to keep women scared, misinformed and lined up to be poisoned with chemotherapy while they shell out their life savings for treatments that, for most of them, aren’t even medically justified!

            That’s why I say the breast cancer industry is, by any honest assessment, a crime against women. In America, husbands who beat their wives are considered criminals. They’re arrested and locked away. But those very same men, when wearing a doctor’s coat, can assault women with chemicals, slice off their breasts with scalpels and even kill those women… all with impunity. There’s not a single breast cancer doctor who has ever been arrested for the death of a patient.

            The true history of western medicine’s violence against women

            In time, of course, this will change. Medical violence against women is a crime, regardless of whether the weapon is a fist, a baseball bat or a syringe full of chemicals that will cause permanent damage to her vital organs. In time, chemotherapy will be outlawed and breast cancer doctors will be put out of work or prosecuted for their crimes against women. Perhaps they’ll even be castrated as part of a “fitting” punishment.

            To all the women reading this, note carefully the history of western medicine and its numerous assaults on women over the years. Do you know where the term “hysterectomy” comes from? It comes from the belief by male doctors that women’s emotions were “hysterical,” and they believed the best way to “cure” women of their hysteria was to violently cut her reproductive organs out of her body.

            The procedure was widely adopted by male surgeons and used for well over a hundred years to treat women who were diagnosed as suffering from virtually every kind of emotional variance you can imagine. Doctors who didn’t use scalpels to remove these organs from a woman’s body often resorted to so-called “pelvic massages” — a medicalized raping of the female patient by the male doctor, of course.

            Even today, tens of thousands of hysterectomies are performed each year with no medical justification whatsoever. Doctors continue to view women’s bodies as diseased and abnormal, surgically removing their breasts and reproductive organs for no justifiable reason whatsoever. It’s even being done today as a cancer prevention procedure, against women who have no cancer at all!

            Western medicine’s treatment of breast cancer patients today is little more than an extension of hundreds of years of medical violence against women by the male-dominated medical establishment.

            Want proof? Notice that cancer doctors never advise men to surgically remove their testicles as a way to “prevent” testicular cancer? That’s because the male surgeons performing these operations prefer to maim women, not men.

            If you have the stomach for it, read the rest of the truth about how conventional doctors and surgeons commit outrageous medical violence against women and children even today: http://www.naturalnews.com/019930.html

            Myth #6: BRCA-positive women should consider mastectomies to prevent cancer

            The Truth: Cruciferous vegetables target BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, preventing cancer with nutrition

            Women who are BRCA positive are being scared into utterly unnecessary double mastectomies — a procedure that benefits no one except the surgeon. What nobody is telling these women is that cruciferous vegetables contain anti-cancer nutrients that specifically target BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, protecting these women from breast cancer.

            All it takes is a single ounce of fresh broccoli juice each day, or fresh sprouts, superfoods or other nutrient-dense foods or juices consumed daily.

            Cancer doctors, of course, conveniently forget to tell women about these little facts. It would hurt their business if women knew how to prevent cancer on their own, at home, with everyday groceries and simple herbs.

            Here’s text from one study that might interest you. It shows that I3C (from broccoli) and genistein (from fermented soy) inhibit estrogen-stimulated receptor activity in a dose-dependent fashion:

            “…we showed that I3C induces BRCA1 expression and that both I3C and BRCA1 inhibit oestrogen (E2)-stimulated oestrogen receptor (ER-) activity in human breast cancer cells. We now report that both I3C and genistein induce the expression of both breast cancer susceptibility genes (BRCA1 and BRCA2) in breast (MCF-7 and T47D) and prostate (DU-145 and LNCaP) cancer cell types, in a time- and dose-dependent fashion.

            http://www.nature.com/bjc/journal/v94/n3/full/6602935a.html

            Conventional cancer doctors, of course, refuse to tell women about scientific evidence like this. If women could prevent breast cancer with I3C, why would they need cancer doctors? The answer, of course, is that they wouldn’t. You can buy I3C, but the way, right here: http://www.vitacost.com/NSI-I3C-Indole-3-Carbinol-with-Broccoli-Extra

            The FDA, of course, won’t allow companies selling I3C supplements to tell you the scientifically-validated truth about their anti-cancer benefits. It’s all part of the censorship and oppression that characterizes today’s cancer industry. The U.S. government, of course, is the co-conspirator in this sad tragedy of misinformation.

            It is the job of the FDA and the cancer industry to keep women stupid, uninformed and scared when it comes to breast cancer. The last thing they want is for women to be nutritionally literate.

            Myth #7: The cancer non-profits are searching for a cure for cancer

            The Truth: Even if one was found, they would never allow a cure to be publicized: It would destroy the cancer treatment industry

            It’s the great scam of the cancer industry: We’re searching for a cure, they claim! Never mind the fact that they’ve been using this same con since the late 60’s, when they claimed to be only a few million dollars away from curing cancer forever.

            The search for “the cure” is pure deception. It’s a clever con to take money from people for all those silly pink ribbon activities, but the truth is that the cancer industry doesn’t believe there’s such a thing as cure. Just ask the FDA, the AMA or any state health licensing board: Anyone claiming to have a cancer “cure” is immediately considered a quack. Over the last several decades, countless doctors researching genuine cancer cures have been arrested, imprisoned or run out of the country. Read about Stanislaw Burzynski to learn about just one example: http://www.cancure.org/burzynski_institute.htm

            Finally, even if they actually find a “cure” (which they won’t, since that would destroy the profits of the cancer industry), do you think they would give it away for free? Of course not! They’d charge hundreds of thousands of dollars for it, milking the maximum profits out of a terrified population for their newest wonder drug.

            Notice, by the way, that not a single conventional breast cancer non-profit group — nor any drug company — has announced that its breakthrough cancer drugs will be given away for free. And that leads me to this question: If they’re not planning on giving away the cure for free, then why are you giving them money for free to pay for their R&D?

            Why should people donate money to the wealthiest corporations in the world (the drug companies) who are going to take their money and use it to develop a new wave of drugs that are sold to cancer victims at outrageous price markups sometimes exceeding 550,000% of the cost of the chemical ingredients?

            The truth is, anyone who donates money for any such “search for the cure” is being conned outright. There’s a sucker born every minute, P.T. Barnum famously said. What he neglected to add is that most of them are now buying pink products and thinking they’re helping find a “cure” for cancer.

            Don’t be suckered. Keep your money, or invest it in vitamin D supplements or anti-cancer herbs. You want to cure cancer? Cure it in your own body first. It’s a lot less expensive, and you get to keep your hair, too.

            Myth #8: There is no cure for breast cancer

            The Truth: There are MANY natural cures for breast cancer available right now

            Just a few hours of research will turn up numerous natural cures for cancer: Vitamin D, cat’s claw herbs, the Essiac formula, medicinal mushrooms, spirulina, cruciferous vegetables, green tea, graviola herbs, Chinese medicinal herbs, oxygen therapy, alkalizing water therapies and much more.

            All these cures have one thing in common: They are ALL suppressed by the FDA and FTC. Telling the truth about anti-cancer foods, herbs or supplements is now a criminal offense in America.

            Myth #9: If my mother had breast cancer, I’ll get it too

            The Truth: Breast Cancer is not caused by bad genes; it’s caused by bad diets

            This is another common lie told to woman by cancer doctors to scare them into medically unnecessary cancer “treatments” (which can kill you or harm you). Did you know that radiation treatment for one breast actually causes cancer in the OTHER breast? See: http://www.naturalnews.com/News_000366_breast_cancer_radiation_womens

            Your genes don’t control your health, but what you put in your mouth and on your skin has near-total control over your health! If your parents had cancer, they were no doubt eating cancer-causing foods (processed meats) and not using anti-cancer foods, superfoods, herbs and supplements. They were also likely deficient in vitamin D, and they probably didn’t drink fresh anti-cancer vegetables on a daily basis (www.JuiceFeasting.com). Lastly, they no doubt had regular exposure to cancer-causing chemicals: Cigarette smoke, chemical solvents, perfume chemicals, household cleaners, pesticides, skin care products, conventional cosmetics, etc.

            Read the truth about processed meats: http://www.naturalnews.com/022288.html

            Myth #10: Sunlight causes cancer

            The Truth: Sunlight generates Vitamin D in your skin, which prevents 78% of ALL cancers

            The disinformation put out by the cancer industry about sunlight has reached a level of absurdity that’s virtually unmatched in the history of medicine. If you believe what the American Cancer Society tells you (still being suckered?), sunlight causes cancer!

            Yes, that’s right: Sunlight causes cancer, they claim. According to the entire cancer industry (and most dermatologists, too), you’d be much better off hiding in a cave, or living your life under fluorescent lights or smothered in a layer of toxic sunscreen chemicals (which actually DO cause cancer, by the way).

            Somehow, the human race has miraculously managed to survived 350,000 years of natural sunlight without be obliterated. This is nothing short of astonishing, given that sunlight is so deadly. It sort of makes me wonder how the human race survived at all, with sunlight striking any given area of the Earth, say, 50% of the time. Did our ancestors live underground?

            The ploy here is so obvious that it’s child’s play to expose their strategy: Cancer industry authorities know that vitamin D prevents 77% of all cancers. Since sunlight exposure causes the skin to generate vitamin D in the human body (for free, no less), the cancer industry has come to the realization that in order for it to continue surviving (and exploiting cancer patients), it has to scare people away from anything that might actually prevent or cure cancer.

            This is the whole reason behind the sunlight scare campaigns, of course. It’s all just a clever profit strategy to keep people sick and diseased by enforcing widespread vitamin D deficiency across the human population. Note, too, that this deficiency is especially prominent in men and women of darker skin color, which means the cancer industry’s whole campaign against sunlight is filled with disturbing racial overtones that smack of genocide. (Ever wonder why breast cancer is FAR more aggressive in black women and white women? It’s the vitamin D deficiency caused by the skin color, of course. But cancer docs never tell their black patients anything about it…)

            Remember this: Healthy people with abundant vitamin D levels in their blood don’t get cancer and they almost never catch colds. They also don’t need vaccines, by the way. These are three huge profit centers for conventional medicine: Cancer, vaccines and colds. This is why the industry goes to such great lengths to (hilariously) try to discredit the sun.

            It’s hilarious because the sun, of course, is the source of ALL life on our planet. Without the sun, there would be no plants, no bacteria, no animals, no fish and certainly no humans. The sun is the single most important source of life on our planet, and without it, we’d all die in a matter of a few hours (from the cold alone). That the cancer industry would declare war on the sun is just a disturbing example of how far removed modern medicine is from the real world.

            Why the cancer industry is dangerous to women

            The cancer industry people are living in a world of self-reinforced fictions, where sunlight is bad and chemotherapy chemicals are good; where food is useless but pharmaceuticals are essential. Almost everything said to you by a conventional cancer doctor is the opposite of what’s real, and yet they believe their own delusions only because those delusions are so widely shared by their colleagues. It is circular logic at its worst, driven by arrogance and greed, and totally lacking any discernable degree of intellectual honesty or compassion for the value of a human life.

            The cancer industry is, in a very real way, a danger to the safety of men and women alike. It is a kind of home-grown medical terrorism, through which the application of fear and disinformation results in massive corporate profits that are only exceeded by the body count of our dead women; our mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and nieces who fall victim to conventional cancer treatments. They are being lost to a medical regime wielding weapons of mass destruction: Chemical weapons (chemotherapy), radiological weapons (radiation) and weapons of sharp steel (scalpels).

            These weapons of medical violence are being directed at our women for one purpose only: To secure profits that go into the hands of a few wealthy men who sit at the top of these organizations, raking in fifty-million-dollar salaries while the cancer treatment centers send women home in body bags.

            It is the ultimate act of cruelty to promise a woman “treatment” and then deliver poison.

            It is the ultimate act of violence to promise a woman “healing” and then mutilate her body.

            The cancer industry, as operated today, is ultimately a criminal organization engaged in acts of medical violence against women.

            Why women should revolt against the cancer industry

            Even worse, it is being staffed by women, cheered by women and supported by women. In World War II, before the Jews were exterminated, Nazi soldiers pried the gold fillings out of their mouths. The fillings were sold off, and the money went to two places: The pockets of the top Nazi commanders, and the continued funding of the prison camps and extermination chambers. The Jewish prisoners, in other words, paid for their own gas chamber treatments using the gold right out of their own mouths.

            Today, women are paying for their own cancer industry chemical assaults using the dollars right out of their own pockets. Those who support the conventional breast cancer non-profits are feeding the very beast that may someday destroy them and send them home poisoned, emaciated, or mutilated beyond repair.

            And you know what the pink ribbon non-profits will do to help these women? WIGS. They’ll give them wigs to cover their hairless heads.

            Chemotherapy victim or concentration camp prisoner? They both produce these same results. Zyklon B gas, by the way, was manufactured by a pharmaceutical company.

            It is no coincidence that women who receive chemotherapy visually resemble the women of the Nazi concentration camps. They become emaciated through dangerous losses of muscle mass and bone mass. They lose their hair, vomit their food and suffer the devastating effects of massive nutrient loss.

            They are, in effect, both prisoners of the same system of control and violence against women. It is a system that has existed for thousands of years, taking on new names and new faces as it shifts from one corner of the planet to another.

            Today, that system of abuse and violence against women has a corporate logo, a cute pink symbol and a clever slogan. It has hundreds of offices all across the country, and thousands of pink products in retail stores. It is a system of violence against women, painted pink and repackaged as something that cares for women; and in that disguise, aided by the purchasing dollars of gullible consumers, it is ensnaring women in a system of such great evil that it can only be accurately compared to historical events like the Holocaust.

            May God save our women from the cancer industry, lest we lose four generations to this modern chemical holocaust that has been unleashed against our mothers, daughters, grandmothers and sisters. And if our government will not protect us from this home-grown terrorism that seeks to turn the bodies of women into corporate profit centers, I hope that the People of America will one day wake up and take all justified (non-violent) measures to protect themselves from the cancer industry.

            It is odd, I think, that women will protest in front of abortion clinics in order to save the life of an unborn child, and yet that same woman will say nothing when a cancer doctor destroys the life of her own mother or daughter. It is time to start protesting the cancer clinics and cancer non-profits. It is time to end this chemical holocaust and this medical violence against women. The women should be marching against mammograms and chemotherapy, demanding the arrest and prosecution of cancer surgeons who perform unjustified double mastectomies.

            Throughout history, women have fought hard for the right to vote, to pursue an education and to be heard. I believe it is time that women exercised those rights to protect their freedoms and their lives from the conventional cancer industry.

            Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/024536_cancer_women_breast.html#ixzz1zfZ5NkE1

            This article will serve as the response I didn’t give you, Dr. Seraphim, when you wrote this:

            “…abortion is already part of the US healthcare system (irrespective of the new ObamaCare) and our tax dollars are funding it, which is something that I despise. However, my tax dollars also fund wars in foreign countries where young men and women died or suffer almost irreparable psychological damage for no good reason. I can shout, “No more lemonade!” until the cows come home, but what good will that do? I can also stop paying my taxes but that would work out for me very well either. There is not perfect solution before us. All we can do is try to build one.”

            It is so obvious to me that the solution is freedom.

            God was so enamoured of it that He gave it to us — our free will — even though He knew we would destroy ourselves with it. If He was willing to take that risk, why wouldn’t we?

            • Fr. Johannes Jacobse :

              Ronda, don’t take this the wrong way. Ever think about starting your own blog?

              • Ronda Wintheiser :

                :D

                Very funny.

              • Ronda Wintheiser :

                I’m sorry, I shouldn’t be flip.

                Actually, I think you suggested it once in the past, and other friends have, too.

                Honestly, though, there are so many blogs. Why would I? I don’t have something to say that way. I don’t think I could generate enough material, consistently, believe it or not, because I’m not good at that. I’m good at REACTING. :)

                And why would I when I can just dominate yours? ;D

                • Ronda Wintheiser :

                  I do apologise, though, for monopolising this blog. I appreciate it, though. I’ve had a great time.

                  I am about to get moving, anyway. As part of learning job skills at the special school she attends, Jessica worked at the Hampton Inn this past semester, and she was able, in her funny little garbled way, to let me know that she wanted to sleep in one of those fancy rooms she has been helping to clean. So since her sister is gone this week, she and I are headed out this afternoon to do just that — check into a an air conditioned room, go for a swim, make sandwiches and watch her favourite movies — and maybe brave the heat to see the fireworks later.

                  So I won’t be posting anything else today… I promise. ;)

        • Michael Bauman :

          Here’s the simple point everyone keeps ignoring in all the philosophical rhetoric: When Obamacare was first passed and the insurance exchanges were promulgated, the insurance commissioner in my state and her cheif actuary went around the state giving dog and pony shows on the underlying facts and expected fallout for insurance professionals. At the one I attended both the commissioner and the chieif actuary said in this public meeting (and the commissioner is largely a support of the bill) that the actuarial assumptions used to in the bill were unsupportable and were so far wrong that two things would have to (that’s have too) occur: 1. Massive (the commissioner used the word massive) tax increases, and 2) rationing.

          Them’s the facts folks. Massive tax increases and rationing. Abortion and euthanaisa are just ‘active’ rationing. So is denying needed medical care for the elderly that is nothing short of passive euthanasia.

          When George Tiller was operating in my town, the going rate for an abortion was $5000. The going rate for a simple overnight stay in a hospital to have a child born was $12,000 to $14,000 with no complications, in the millions if the child is born with impairments.

          Heart operation $150,000 to $250,000, simple poison solution and its administration a couple hundred at most, just allowing the person to slowly die, even less.

          Liver or other organ transplant $500,000 and up plus after care. Forcing the person into “death with dignity” in hospice would cost several thousand depending on the state of the organ and how long it takes for the person to “die with dignity”.

          You do the math.

          That, of course, might be averted if we just create fetusus in the test tube and harvest their organs but even that is too expensive (except for the government and business elite).

          There is no life in this legislation, no progress, nothing but a massive power grab and the tragedies to come.

          BTW, a friend of my with irrversible and largely self-caused liver failure died in hospice recently. He was ineligible for a transplant because of his history of alchoholism plus transfusion caused Hep-C. But hey, is that fair? He was still a productive memeber of society at least for my wife and me. Why shouldn’t he get a new liver? He stayed with us in the last years of his life, helped around the place, took care of our animals and acted as a security guard and a generally good friend (especially after he stopped drinking due to the intercessions of St. Herman of Alaska). Point is there will always be discrimination in life and there is no dignity in death only pain and the hope of the resurrection.

  18. Ronda Wintheiser :

    Oh, thanks a lot, Mr. Couretas! Way to burst our bubble, willya? ;)

  19. Seraphim, (I couldn’t figure out how to “Reply” on the page this time, so posting this at the end (I think)),

    “…capitalism will not solve all our problems. It never has, and it never will.” Perhaps the problem is in our different definitions of capitalism. I’ have been referring to “Free Market”. Ideally, that is what capitalism is. Capitalism as currently practiced is actually cronyism, fascism, Government sponsored cartelization, rent-seeking, regulatory capture, etc. So if you are referring to the latter, then I will agree with you. Yes, the Government intervenes and I understand that reality, but that is exactly the problem we are trying to fix, here. To say we have a broken system, but then say ‘let’s break it some more and things will surely be better’ does not strike me as sound.

    “… that the lack of ethics and restraint ulitmately leads to oligopolies …which crush healthy competition rendering it unsustainable because the conglomarates end up forming an unhealthy portion of the economy. As G.K. Chesterton stated, “Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists.”

    “See this short but insightful essay: http://www.frontporchrepublic.com/?p=734.” By my reading, this piece’s reference to Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” completely gets it wrong. I think he is describing “capitalism as commonly practiced” to that time. The phenomenon he is describing is exactly what I decry above, Crony-Capitalism, Corporatism, Fascism, etc. Such monopolies and oligopolies rarely emerge in a free market. Those that we have today are virtually entirely the result of Government action. Examples include your profession and most of its associated industries.

    “I my view distributism is the solution,…” Regarding my thoughts on Distributism, when I first read your post I did not know the formal definition of the term. Glancing at a few of the links that were posted subsequently by one or two others, though, it seems to me that first, it is unjust because it is also based on force and restrictions against free exchanges between consenting individuals, which basically kills its chances in my mind as an option. Again, how can a system based on the violation of fundamental human rights (life, liberty, property, etc.) be just (which would seem to make it UN-Christian)? Second, it seems to be based on many flaws in economic understanding/reasoning and bad history. I’ll do more reading, but it’s not starting out well for Distributism in my mind. Also, it appears to me so far that the Church often gets economics wrong. They do best when they recognize that it is an area in which they are usually not competent. It strikes me as explicitly NOT libertarian. Localism has flaws as well (contra-comparative advantage, contra-specialization, etc.). Due at least to these apparent flaws, I doubt its sustainability and viability.

    I understand the reality is that we live in an imperfect world and that no system is going to function ideally. Free market capitalism may be judged as having some deficiencies when measured against an ideal, but it has far fewer than anything else I’ve every studied or heard of. Simply from an efficiency perspective, it will strongly tend to provide the most product/service/satisfaction to the most people for the lowest overall price. Morally, it manifests non-aggression, mutually satisfying free exchanges/transactions, enforcement of protection of fundamental rights.

    It is amazing. I read the following from almost 20 years ago. The problems are essentially the same, just far more severe now. The fundamental solutions are the same, too, though.

    1. http://mises.org/daily/6091/The-Devilish-Principles-of-Hillarycare
    2. http://mises.org/freemarket_detail.aspx?control=279

    • Ronda Wintheiser :

      Wow. I’m sorry for chiding you, Mr. Couretas. Obviously the distributism bubble needed to be collapsed. :) What I thought was love was only a crush; I didn’t know enough about it to love it. ;)

      I appreciate the mini-course in economics, Mark, especially these links. Thank you.

      A question: I’m having trouble understanding how the piece from frontporchrepublic fits into what you’re saying. Is the article based on a wrong premise and therefore everything in it is suspect, or is your contradiction of his reference to capitalism just a quibble you have with him that doesn’t negate the entire piece?

      • It was his link. my comments/reference to it was sort of both; a quibble about the Hayek reference used therein, but the rest of the piece falls apart for that and other resons, I thtink.

      • Ronda: The truth shall make you free! ;-) All the best, John

        • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim :

          Mark & John,

          Since the true purpose of dialogue is to share ideas with each other so that we can gain new insights and not merely to engage in polemics, I have a few genuine questions that I would appreciate your responses to. Let me couch my questions in the context of my understanding of economics (remember that I’m a physician and not an economist).

          As I’ve already stated, I am in favor of free enterprise because I believe it does have the potential to bring about more product/service, more equitably, at a higher quality and a lower price (to use your words, Mark). Having said that, what I lamentably observe is that unrestrained capitalism has a powerful tendency to concentrate wealth in the hands of a capitals class making itself richer and the poor more destitute. I perceive this happening via monopolies and/or oligopolies crushing competition thereby rendering Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” more of an ideal, which has never come to fruition, rather than a reality that one can observe. Even hard-core laissez-faire proponents will admit that this type of completely free market has never existed. Since greed knows no limits (i.e., John D. Rockefeller said “Competition is a sin.”) the government has intervened in the market to make monopolies illegal in order to help keep the market “free” by preserving competition. How can “free market” principles ever reach their potential if this type of concentration of economic power snuffs out the very principle (i.e., competition) that capitalism is based upon?

          Another problem with the greed that I see in unrestrained capitalism is the destruction of the environment. There are literally countless example of factories polluting the water, air and soil by disposing of their waste products in irresponsible ways simply because its cheaper than doing it responsibly. For instance, I can recall my general biology professor telling me that when was a boy it was typical for the color of the Susquehanna River the be whatever color the Endicott-Johnson Shoe factory was dying the shoe leather that day. Can we really leave it up to business to do the right thing for the environment when their profit margins are on the line? That seems like a naive assumption. Isn’t this why the government intervened to establish the Environmental Protection Agency? How is this intervention bad? Is it realistic to believe that the “free market” would have self-regulated these pollution issues?

          Also, I’m an outdoorsman. I grew up canoeing, hiking and camping in the Adirondaks. When overwhelming amounts of the lakefront property on Lake George began to be sold off and overdeveloped destroying the natural beauty of the Adirondaks the State of New York created the Adirondak Park Agency to prevent the rest of the Adirondak lakes and lands from being ruined in a similar way. If we didn’t have these type of government interventions then I think it would be safe to say that most areas of natural beauty would end up becoming either overdeveloped commercial tourism sights or private property owned by the wealthy preventing the rest of the populace from enjoying their natural beauty. How is this type of intervention bad? Can we really trust the “free market” to not annihilate or bar the public from enjoying the natural beauty of a place when the profits that the land holds are beckoning them?

          My support of distributism is simply because its an economic philosophy which acknowledges that free enterprise is good while also recognizing that the “free market” simply doesn’t exist (because of the capitalists themselves and/or the governmental interventions), and if capitalism is not restrained, both internally by moral standards and externally by government, then greed will cause the very best capitalists to violate their own systems fundamental principles. Distributism has ethics built into its economic philosophy, which is something that I do not see with “pure” capitalism where profits seem to be the only thing that really matters.

          John, I know that distributism, like any other system, is not perfect, but in my view, its an ethical rendition of capitalism. I’ve got a vacation coming up with lots of driving time so I intend to listen to some of the critiques of distributism that you pointed out from the Acton Institute while I’m on the road. In the meantime, I will say that the criticisms claiming that 21st century distributism advocates for a return to the “golden age” of the middle ages or that everyone should engage in some type of agrarian substance living are straw men because they are stereotypes or gross caricatures of some of Belloc and G.K. Chesterton’s points that do not embody the essence of distributism.

          Thanks in advance for your thoughtful responses.

          • Michael Bauman :

            CUS Seraphim:

            The type of government action you describe is appropriate because they are inteventions to stop bad suff (as opposed to creating supposedly good stuff–like the healthtax bill). Distrubutionism pre-supposes quite a bit of government intervention “for the good of all” and would end up, IMO, as kind of an upside down facism.

            You are correct, the truely free market does not exist. The basic suppositions of the free market are 1. rationality; 2. equal information; 3 enlightened self-interest restraining greed. I know of no market that has any of these things in great abundance.

            The health care market is highly irrational; information is controlled by the providers and the insurance companies in collusion with the government to maintain an artificial secrecy about the actual cost and effectiveness of various treatments; the use of other people’s money inculturates greed and overpricing. Add to that the realtively high inelasticity and you have a tough time maintaining any reasonable control over prices.

            That’s not an example of free markets. Just the reverse. To think that the non-free market pressures and practices in the medical profession as it now exists will be made better by direct governement control is, IMO, delusional. All of the facists, non-competitive forces will be concentrated and made mandatory. The costs will sky-rocket (reall costs and manufactured costs) and rationing will be required. Rationing means that you are only able to legally give your patients so much care regarless of their need.

            My experience with most doctors is that they don’t take the time to educate, although informed consent is supposed to be at the foundation of their treatment. Part of that is due to the HMO model which requires an assembly-line mode to treatment. Plus the avarice of the RX pushers means giving more and more pills to folks because it gets the ‘patient’ in and out quickly, thus more profitably.

            The application of the MLR (Medical loss ratio) and the exchanges in the healthtax law has the effect of depriving people who buy health insurance of even more information as both artifically and unnecessarily restrict the ability of folks to access the knowledge and expertise of good health insurance agents. It will also, paradoxically to some, actually drive up the costs by further obsfucating them.

            However the single greatest provision for increasing cost is the requirement that insurance companies insure everyone. By allowing folks to opt out of paying into the risk pool, the anit-selection on the pool will be enormous. Only those with immediate, quite acute and expensive needs will buy the insurance. The ‘tax’ penalty is simply too small.

            Another thing that most folks don’t understand about risk pools: a few bad apples contaminate the whole pool. Even if you had all of the healthy people participating at the artifically high premiums this plan will necessitate, the number of bad risks will overwhelm them.

            Thus another force for rationing.

            Even if one disregards all of the moral and political risks involved in the healthtax bill and its administrtion. There is no way it is economically feasible.

            Three ways of paying for it: Massive tax increases; draconian rationing (think euthanasia, active or passive), print money with leads to hyper inflation, social melt down and subsequent tryanny.

            The federal governemnt has no legal or moral standing in controlling health care. It is an obsence overreach of its constitutional authority even if everything they were mandating were great.

            The current administrator of the plan is a person who has never met an abortion she doesn’t like. She is rabid in her support of abortion and makes no bones about it. Unless Obama is not re-elected and maybe not even then, abortion will be an part of the ‘essential healthcare’ that will be fully covered and required to be given.

            Since abortion is much less expensive that even a routine nomal delivery, we can expect utilitarian decisons being made to not allow some mothers to give birth.

            Speculation? Yes, but you have no idea of the depths of evil Sebelius is willing to contemplate and attempt. She is a cold, dark person with little empathy or feeling for anyone else and seeks to fulfill her own ambitions for power above all else. I saw her up close as both insurance commmissioner and governor of my state for far too long.

            Obama’s political mentors are even worse.

            Politcally, economically, and morally this bill is a black hole from which it will be hard to recover. Even if it is repealed, we will get something quite like it handed to us by the statist republicans (most of them active on the national stage).

            • Ronda Wintheiser :

              Wow, Michael. This is great. Thank you.

              A couple of thoughts…

              1. “My experience with most doctors is that they don’t take the time to educate, although informed consent is supposed to be at the foundation of their treatment.”

              At the risk of finally killing the poor horse I’ve been beating, if a patient wants informed consent, there is nothing that can keep it from him.

              If we insist on freedom — and I do — we have to stop expecting and relying on the “experts” to spoon feed us.

              2. “Rationing means that you are only able to legally give your patients so much care regardless of their need.”

              Might the recent news story about the poor lifeguard who was fired for saving someone outside the boundaries of his guarding area be an interesting metaphor that brings up another aspect of rationing?

              Rationing may also mean that you are only able legally to give certain patients care because someone else has arbitrarily decided that other patients’ needs should not and will not be addressed at all.

              Which brings me to this point of yours, Michael:

              3. “Since abortion is much less expensive that even a routine nomal delivery, we can expect utilitarian decisons being made to not allow some mothers to give birth.”

              I am afraid we can also expect that physicians will be required to prevent some mothers from giving birth whether they want to or not. The President and HHS/Sebelius have already demonstrated their lack of regard for conscience…

              Which brings me to a question that has been nagging at me…

              Several Catholic universities have dropped their health insurance coverage for students, and other hospitals and charitable agencies have warned that they will be forced to consider closing their doors rather than comply with the mandate.

              What??? Why knuckle under? Why not just continue doing what we are doing? What if these Catholic hospitals and universities, etc. all just say NO, we won’t do that, and we are going to continue doing what God has told us to do? What if we all just ignore this Evil Empire?

              “Then a new king… came to power… and put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor… They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields and… used them ruthlessly.

              “Then the king …said to the … Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, ‘When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.’

              “The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live.

              (They didn’t shut down their midwifery practice. They disobeyed.)

              “Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, ‘Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?’

              Now watch what the midwives do…

              “The midwives answered Pharaoh, ‘Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.’

              They lied!

              Now watch what God does…

              “And God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.”

              Back in the 80s when Randall Terry and Operation Rescue were calling on Christians to trespass on abortion clinic property to stop abortions from occurring, Charles Stanley and other Christians and theologians denounced our actions as immoral. We used this example of the Hebrew midwives to defend what we were doing, and Stanley said it didn’t apply because no one was being required to do anything that God had forbidden.

              We said “It’s only a matter of time. If we don’t resist now, eventually we will be required to do what God has forbidden.”

              The time has come.

              • Michael Bauman :

                As much as I would like to commend the Catholics for their current moral stand, they have brought it upon themselves and us. They have long pushed for national health care out of ‘compassion’. Their hospitals and charities have long taken federal money and insurance money. That is how they have stayed afloat.

                Now, they could, if they chose operate as unmercenary hospitals taking no payments from any federal program or compromised insurance company (all of them).

                I suspect that if they went that route the feds would deny them the ability to legally buy prescription drugs (which do help folks if used reasonably) or distribute them.

                The licenses of all health care workers and doctors would be up for review and rescinded exposing them to both personal liability and jail time including homicide charges if any one they treated died. It could make the child abuse lawsuits seem trivial. Even Operation Rescue was effectively shut down by the baseless RICO suit the feds filed (eventually thrown out)

                It is one thing to do it on a personal level and I suspect many will. It is quite another to do it on an institutional level especially when the institution itself is so comprimised to begin with—and we Orthodox are even worse off I’m afraid.

                Make no mistake, the marytrdom of the Church is coming to a city near you. There are many Sergians. We will see how many Christians there are.

          • Seraphim: A lot here to discuss … The Common Sense Economics book (pages 32-35) has a good explanation of Smith’s “invisible hand” — what it is and what it isn’t. That should help.

            You rightly talk about how the theoretically free market — perfectly free — doesn’t exist but then you invoke “unrestrained capitalism.” It seems to me that they can’t be both things simultaneously. The debate today is actually how much regulation — not whether or not there should be regulation — we can manage in our economic life without dangerously choking off growth. I for one wouldn’t want to live in a world where securities and banking markets (been following the Libor scandal?) aren’t supervised or where food production isn’t monitored. But how far do you go?

            You say:

            … if capitalism is not restrained, both internally by moral standards and externally by government, then greed will cause the very best capitalists to violate their own systems fundamental principles. Distributism has ethics built into its economic philosophy, which is something that I do not see with “pure” capitalism where profits seem to be the only thing that really matters.

            Really? You can build ethics or morals into distributism? It will be free of greed, double dealing, selfishness? Somehow, economic life under distributism — and I’m still waiting for a description of how people will adopt this system voluntarily over the one they currently live in here — will produce more purity? I’m dubious.

            • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim :

              John,

              You are right. Distributism, compared to capitalism, is not an ironclad economic system that will prevent people from making greedy decisions which would undermine the integrity of the market. Thus, it is not the panacea for our ills. I will freely cede these points to you.

              On the other hand, I do think that distributism’s focus on subjugating economic principles to the benefit of the local community and the family as well as keeping business on the small-to-medium scale with local and regional centers certainly helps prevent the problems of Big Business such as having a handfull of conglomerates make up such a large portion of the market that the government wont take the risk of letting them fail (i.e., Obama’s bailout of Big Banks & the auto industry). I’m merely saying that distributism (which I don’t believe is an “alternative” to capitalism but rather a healthier version of it) has something to offer that could help balance capitalism as it is currently practiced.

              As an aside, I listened to the Jayabalan & Roback Morse talks that your recommended from the Acton Institute, and I thought they were both quite interesting. I’ll check out the other sources that you recommended as time permits.

                • John,
                  Thanks for the link. It’s a decent summary of the free market case against big-business/crony-capitalism.

                  • Sure thing. At the same time, I don’t subscribe to the view that. broadly speaking, “a handful of conglomerates make up such a large portion of the market that the government wont take the risk of letting them fail.” It depends. True in auto and banking recently, not so true for other industries, other companies that slide into bankruptcy or liquidation. Again, cronyism plays a part, and that’s a non-partisan game.

                    This chart shows that the Fortune 500 (companies that operate in a global economy, btw) represented $10.8 trillion, or 73 percent, of the $14.7 trillion U.S. economy in 2010. But the companies that didn’t make the list, collectively, represent an economy larger than Germany’s. We’re talking hundreds, thousands of businesses.

                    Also, more than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were started by immigrants or their children. So it’s not all old money on that list (and no doubt more than a few Orthodox Christians as founders and executives at these companies).

                    At the same time, there is constant fluidity on this list (similar to social mobility on the personal level) that shows that, despite the best efforts of crony capitalists, the market in the long run decides.

                    … the companies that made 1999′s Fortune 500 list would not need to say goodbye to 238 of their peers a mere 10 years later, a change of almost 50% from the 1999 Fortune 500 to the 2009 Fortune 500.

                    MIT Sloan School of Management professor, Peter Senge, presents the average life of a Fortune 500 company is 30 years. Jim Collins, author of Built to Last, notes only 71 companies on the original 1955 Fortune 500 list are there today.

                  • More … from Mercatus Center:

                    Beyond Bailouts: What Is Cronyism?
                    http://mercatus.org/publication/beyond-bailouts-what-cronyism

                    • Mercatus is always very good. I think they’ve started a whole series of papers on cronyism. Should be good reading.

          • Seraphim,
            You say that there are many bad effects of monopolies that you claim are created in a free market. Hmmmm…. Well, if monopolies and lack of competition are so bad, then why should we grant evil monopoly power to the only institution that will maintain that monopoly through their monopoly on the use of force? If greed is such a prevalent vice, are you saying that politics will place only angels in elected office and the bureaucracies, angels immune from that vice?

            • This should be reason enough to keep EVERYTHING out of the hands of Government. At least in the free market, greed is kept in check by competition.

              • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim :

                Mark, you make an excellent point: the government should not have ANYTHING to do with regulating the market. The unfolding Libor scandal is a great example of this as well a quintessential case study of how well capitalism as it is currently practiced works like magic.

                Sarcasm off.

                • Ronda Wintheiser :

                  But that is exactly what he did NOT say, Dr. Seraphim.

                  If I’m not mistaken, the point he made was that capitalism AS IT IS CURRENTLY PRACTICED does NOT work like magic.

                • Good Doctor Seraphim,

                  : Sarcasm off.

                  I do not believe that I said the Government should not or should never regulate some things. Basic enforcement of life, liberty, and property rights, contracts, etc. *IS* regulation. A law that punishes murder IS a regulation in the service of protecting our fundamental right to life. Laws designed to adjudicate contract disputes are regulations in the service of protecting property rights. The Government PROVIDING products or services is the problem, particularly when they enforce a Government monopoly; providing health care, providing financial services, providing loans, providing accreditation services, ….. Similarly, Government interventions, taxes, incentives, special treatment, and such are VIOLATIONS of property and liberty rights, not protections.

                  I’ve not followed the LIBOR scandal. So I’ve only just now read up on the basics. With that limited exposure, I will risk the following: In a free market, such behavior is a violation of property rights and would be dealt with harshly through a proper torts system. I guess I’ll do my business with a non-LIBOR bank, take out a non-LIBOR linked mortgage, use banks rated/accredited by sound private evaluation agencies, etc., all that cool free market praxeology. Hmmm… I wonder if the fact (allegation?) that LIBOR banks may have been artificially raising rates (in some cases) offered an opportunity for other banks (or even fellow LIBOR banks) to offer lower rates and grab market share away from the LIBORs. Yes, this sounds like a great long term business model for the LIBORs, doesn’t it? Brilliant! What Government regulations or guarantees (explicit or implicit) are in place that actually incited these banks to behave this way; to take risks the free market would not normally promote (the word “bailout” comes to mind, not sure why…..)? Does the British Government have a monopoly on regulation of the banks? What incentives does that create? What disincentives does it remove? Then how much regulatory capture, cronyism, and rent-seeking has gone on which set up the conditions under which this behavior could occur to this degree? ….and somehow, the governments that create such poor environments and make such poor decisions in a case such as this, are going to figure out the best way to treat my next illness? No thank you.

                  It strikes me that this scandal may provide wonderful evidence that the Government SHOULD NOT be involved in such markets.

                  http://www.forexpros.com/analysis/libor-scandal:-australian-state-of-mind-129013

                • OBTW, your reply does not address the question of why it is better for government to exercise monopoly power, if monopoly is such bad thing.

                  • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim :

                    Mark, to directly answer your question – I’m not advocating an entirely government run healthcare system that leaves the private sector out of it, but rather something in the middle.

                    The U.S.A. is based upon the concept that “…all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” .

                    Given this, we as a society have decided that certain things are prerequisites: safe roads & buildings, clean water & food, primary education, etc., and we the people allow the government to tax us in order to ensure that these things are available. Well, healthcare is certainly as much of a prerequisites as any of the above mentioned items. This is why I don’t believe that the market should run healthcare anymore that I believe that it should run sewage treatment plants, schools, etc.

                    See the two links below for a short & sweet synopsis of what I’m advocating. There is really no point in continuing this discussion without reference to them.

                    http://www.pnhp.org/facts/single-payer-resources

                    http://www.pnhp.org/news/2012/june/‘health-law-upheld-but-health-needs-still-unmet’-national-doctors-group

                  • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim :

                    Mark, in response to your question – I am not advocating for an entirely government run healthcare system which leaves the private sector out of it, but rather something in the middle.

                    The U.S.A. is based upon the concept “…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

                    Given this we as a society have decided that certain things are prerequisites: safe roads & buildings, clear water & food, primary education, etc., and we the people allow our government to tax us in order to ensure that these things are available. Well, healthcare is as much of a prerequisite as any of the above. As such is shouldn’t be placed entirely in the hands of the market any more than schools, sewage treatment plants, etc.

                    See the two links below for a short & sweet synopsis of what I’m advocating. There is really no point in continuing our discussion without reference to them.

                    http://www.pnhp.org/facts/single-payer-resources

                    http://www.pnhp.org/news/2012/june/‘health-law-upheld-but-health-needs-still-unmet’-national-doctors-group (worth while to follow the links in this article)

                    • We allow our govt to tax us? Really? What choice do we have in the matter? What twisted logic is that? When was I asked for my consent in any of these? When we’re you asked? Show me the contract. I have consented to none of these. Explain to me how I have given my consent. Allow them to tax us? We don’t allow them. They simply take it. We pay it only to stay out of jail.

                      So in spite of the incredible evidence to the contrary that the many participants in this thread have provided, you still advocate policies which are irrational, unconstitutional, blatantly immoral, make no economic sense, and are guaranteed to make things worse. Brilliant! Somehow, you seem to still believe that health care and health insurance are commodities for which the laws of economics do not apply. If I make an office visit, can I get a prescription from you for the same fairy dust?

                      And it is quite a leap in logic to go from the Enlightnement tenets stated in the Declaration all the way to socialism in one sentence; from liberty to slavery in one breath. WOW! Quite a trick, if you could have only pulled it off.

                      As a doctor, you are a participant in a corrupt industry (regulatory capture, rent seeking, cronyism of the worst sort, etc.) and as such , you cooperate in evil. To this point, I have assumed that you made the calculation to make this deal with the devil because it was the only way to be a doctor and help people. I prefer to continue to believe this assumption, in spite of the significant reasons you have given me to question it.

                    • I just re-read the links you provided. Oh my goodness! They are full of the same flaws in reasoning, morality, and economics that a dozen people on this page have already countered. Should we restate them?

                    • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim :

                      Mark,

                      Your rant on taxes is a straw man. “We” as a society (not individuals) submit to (via a social contract) paying taxes & benefitting from them by having roads to drive on, police to protects us, etc.

                      Yes, I stand by my earlier statement that healthcare is not a service that belongs in the free market any more than clean water or education (elementary/middle/high school), both of which are governmental services financed by tax dollars. By your logic these services are “socialist”, “irrational”, “unconstitutional” & belong in the free market. I suppose that municipal waste treatment plants & police “make no economic sense” and are “blatantly immoral” as well. How about the postal system? I suppose that’s “irrational” and “socialist” too?

                      At any rate, I’m choosing not to respond to the personal insults you directed at me. I will state that it doesn’t seem like there is much benefit in our continued dialogue since we have very different views and neither of us in making much/any headway in successfully helping each other gain new insights.

                    • Seraphim,
                      Regarding the ‘insult’ (if I am keying off the correct comment of mine), all I can say is that I hope people think me a bit of a ‘saint-in-training’, in spite of my obvious weaknesses and sinfulness that likely evinces the contrary. My apologies.

                      And yes, it is frustrating that I do not seem to be making much progress convincing you (and vice versa, I’m sure). I shall continue, however, at least in this post. If you decide not to respond, well, thanks for the notice, I suppose. I thank you for the discussion and your perspective on the subject.

                      Regarding:
                      “Rant”: You gave me a lot about which to respond excitedly.
                      “Rant about taxes is a straw man”: You brought up taxes, therefore, it is not a straw man. If I missed your point *about* taxes, that is a different criticism.

                      “”We” as a society (not individuals) submit to (via a social contract) paying taxes & benefitting from them by having roads to drive on, police to protects us, etc.”
                      – If we assumed that I agreed with this sentence (I do not), for the sake of argument, our submission/consent to taxation does not make it constitutionally or economically defensible (case in point: Obamacare).
                      – Society is composed of individuals. I believe that there is no such thing – there cannot be such a thing – as ‘society rights’, or collective rights. We are not drones of the Borg or some such collective. “Society” cannot ‘submit’ or perform any other action. It is not a moral or legal entity or actor.
                      – We individuals ‘submit’ to paying taxes for one of two reasons (or a bit of both): either we feel morally obliged to do it, or we wish to stay out of jail. I do not believe I am morally obliged to pay taxes to fund illegitimate, immoral activities of Government. I do, however, wish to stay out of jail, so I make my annual ransom payment. I (we all) *DO* have certain moral obligations to other people in this world. Submitting to looting (being a well behaved slave) or other violations of my rights by a gang of armed thugs is NOT one of those obligations.
                      – Social Contract. Please show this to me. I do not remember signing it (though I may have gotten really drunk once and signed it then). How can you or I be bound by the terms of a “contract” which we have never seen and to which we were never offered the opportunity to accept or decline? This is an especially pertinent question since ‘society’ is not a moral or legal actor with rights or obligations; not an entity with which we can enter into an agreement.
                      – Benefitting from the larceny of another does not render it either morally or economically defensible.

                      “Yes, I stand by my earlier statement that healthcare is not a service that belongs in the free market any more than clean water or education ….both of which are governmental services financed by tax dollars.”:
                      First,
                      – Just because water and education are currently funded by tax dollars does not lend any strength to your argument. You would have to establish that a Government monopoly in water and education made fundamental economic and moral sense.
                      – Yes, Government provisioning of such services is socialist (“collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods”).
                      – Irrational – because of the inefficiencies and negative economic impacts, and the violations of liberty required by allowing a Government to provide such services as compared to the free market.
                      – Unconstitutional if/when provided/funded by the Federal Government (exception: when provided aboard constitutional federal installations/property). Just a bad idea (though constitutional) if provided by local Governments. Waste treatment: ditto.
                      – Immoral? Yes, because they require the misappropriation of individuals’ property by force without their consent, for illegitimate purposes. In the same way, our property is stolen by the Feds to pay for a service they have no moral or constitutional right or power to provide (in spite of the SCOTUS edicts to the contrary).
                      – Police (and courts, I will add): Legitimate – to the extent that they are empowered to protect against or prosecute violations of fundamental rights to life, liberty, and property. To the extent they exceed these limits, then they are not legitimate. Plus, much of what police do can be provided by the free market.
                      – Postal system: explicitly constitutional (Article I, Section 8 – though a bad idea, economically; private sector can do it better).
                      Second,
                      – Again, ANY Government intervention into the free market distorts that market to one degree or another, and makes it less efficient, sometimes to the point of collapse or near-collapse (e.g., Boom-Bust cycles, Great Depression, Bank/Financial Sector bailouts). The loss of efficiency is always (yes, always) manifests in some form: higher prices, lower quality, shortages, lack of innovation, capital flight, “Going Galt”, etc.
                      – Therefore, to successfully ‘stand by your earlier statement’, you would need to demonstrate that healthcare is the one and only commodity in the universe which defies the laws of economics; it is not scarce, and therefore, it is ubiquitous.
                      – If the latter is untrue (it is), then healthcare’s scarcity by definition means that the laws of economics *DO* apply to healthcare. Sorry, but you are wishing it away, in spite of the reality in front of you.
                      – Consequently, the government intervention creates negative consequences (e.g., higher prices, lower quality, shortages, lack of innovation, capital flight, etc.). Therefore, you are FOR these and all the negative results of Government intervention into the healthcare market. You are a proponent of taking a broken system and hitting it with a hammer a few more times to see if the pulverized pieces somehow reassemble themselves through the use of the same destructive hammer. OK. Got it. Very sad to hear it, though.

                    • Ronda Wintheiser :

                      One more thought.

                      I was so intrigued that you would quote this quote from St. John Chrysostom.

                      He seems to be making a different point than you are.

                      “Should we look to kings and princes to put right the inequalities between rich and poor?

                      I believe this is a rhetorical question that implies that the answer is NO, isn’t it?

                      But isn’t that what some taxation is, particularly Obamacare?

                      “…Should we require soldiers to come and seize the rich person’s gold and distribute it among his destitute neighbors? Should we beg the emperor to impose a tax on the rich so great that it reduces them to the level of the poor and then to share the proceeds of that tax among everyone?

                      He seems to be making the case against redistributing wealth. Against Obamacare…

                      “Equality imposed by force would achieve nothing, and do much harm.

                      (That is the point I tried to make a minute ago…)

                      “Those who combined both cruel hearts and sharp minds would soon find ways of making themselves rich again. Worse still, the rich whose gold was taken away would feel bitter and resentful; while the poor who received the gold from the hands of soldiers would feel no gratitude, because no generosity would have prompted the gift. Far from bringing moral benefit to society, it would actually do moral harm. Material justice cannot be accomplished by compulsion, a change of heart will not follow. The only way to achieve true justice is to change people’s hearts first—and then they will joyfully share their wealth.”

                      The federal government is not the source of joyful giving. Far from it.

                      I would posit that when the federal government does all of this for us, it squelches giving to the poor — actually thwarts it, because after my taxes are paid I have far less I can give over and above a 10% tithe of my gross income that goes to my parish. There is virtually nothing left.

                      I think the federal government has usurped the domain of the Church, which is partly why I referred to Obamacare at the beginning of this dialogue as demonic.

                    • Hopefully this picture/link works. It’s boils down the the fundamental truth about things such as Obama-Care.

                      https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/557070_424896310887393_1524199451_n.jpg

                    • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim :

                      Mark,

                      I accept your apology, and please forgive me if I have offended you in any way. We would both do well to keep Christian love at the center of this dialogue.

                      Again, I respectfully point out that you persist in unwarranted ranting. “Social contract” is, in fact, a technical term from philosophy, which refers to the concept that individuals surrender, either knowingly or tacitly, certain freedoms and submit to the rule of government in order to have their natural rights (again a technical philosophical term) protected. Its actually John Locke’s notion of the social contract that is referenced in the 2nd paragraph of the Declaration of Independence when “unalienable rights” are mentioned. It doesn’t require you to sign or remember anything… Please review your philosophy and history before you imply that I’m making things up.

                      To repeat myself (yet again), I do not like ObamaCare, nor do I support it or think it is the solution to the problems in U.S. healthcare. ObamaCare actually strengthens the insurance, pharmaceutical and medical device companies’ ability to profiteer, which is one of the many reasons (albeit a major one) that costs are so high. Also, a federal mandate forcing individuals to purchase a service/product form the private sector is unprecedented in U.S. history, and I would agree with you that it is unconstitutional. However, taxation is constitutional: Article 1, Section 8, gives congress the power to levy and collect taxes. Surely, this is a fact what you will not attempt to dispute.

                      Given that taxation is a constitutional power that the federal government exercises, what I presented in my last post was an a posteriori distinction based upon taxation de jure which funds public services including police forces, water works, sanatation, education etc. which are not mentioned in the constitution but are de facto constitutional. This is the reality. I’m not making an argument, but rather an observation. If you are putting forth the assertion that this is not the case then the burden of proof (again a technical philosophical and legal term) rests squarely upon your shoulders, not mine.

                      As I’ve already stated several times, I believe the market economy is the most effective and equitable type of economy (I’m familiar with Hayek and von Mises’ impressive critiques of planned economies). Nevertheless, the writings of economic philosophers like Adam Smith et al. make it abundantly clear that in order for the “invisible hand” to regulate the market it is an absolute necessity that producers/sellers make moral economic decisions to restrain self-interest thus keeping the market free and functional.

                      Well, it is a fact that in our current market economies many (and substantial) unethical decisions are made by producers/sellers, and as a result, the market is neither free nor self-regulating. To suggest otherwise is sheer fantasy. Ergo, it is completely unrealistic and irrational to argue that the government should never intervene in the market. Anti-trust laws are necessary for the simple fact that some capitalists will (and do) violate the principles of the free market in order to make as much profit as possible. This is not an argument for scrapping the market economy, but it does acknowledge that some regulation is necessary. It is also the case that there are many government interventions that are counterproductive or damaging to the freedom and function of the market, but again, this does not mean that you ban any intervention. The U.S. has always had a mixed economy.

                      My friend, the truth is that if you look at everything in terms of economics you might be a very good economist, but you would be a lousy person. Not everything belongs in the market, which is ultimately designed to generate profits. There are certain services that are fundamentally humanitarian, and I (as well as myriads of other bright, patriotic Americans) would argue that medical services are no different than police services, which are also scarce yet are not in the market economy despite the fact that there are plenty of economic reason for them to be (explain that). Neither of these services are things that we should be profiting on.

                      Finally, I could share much more from my personal experience, but this is the objective basis for why I support the plan put forward by the Physicians for a National Health Program, which would not force anyone to purchase anything and would not require any more money to be put into the healthcare “market” than there currently exists but rather would redirect the money by reorganizing the “system”.

                    • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim :

                      Mark,

                      I posted a response yesterday which was visible on the thread after I hit the submit button, but it is nowhere to be found now. I e-mailed Fr. Hans about it, and I’m waiting for his reply before I repost.

                      Ronda,

                      I will also respond to your comments as well.

                    • Seraphim,

                      I didn’t mean to imply you were making anything up. I’m familiar with the concept of social contracts, in general, and that John Locke is but one of a number of philosophers who offered a version if the idea. I just think that there is no such thing that actually binds an individual in any practical sense. How could it? If there were such a contract, what are its terms? How are we to know? A contract by definition is an agreement, and an agreement requires voluntary accession to its terms by the parties. If we are bound to submit to Government merely by our birth and residence in a specific place and time, then we are bound by something other than a contract, because it is not voluntary. If not voluntary, then it is force. If we are born into such an arrangement, then are we not born slaves? Perhaps such bondage is the price of original sin, but I don’t think it can be called a contract.

                      I may be missing a step in the logic of the argument in support of social contract theory and its burdens placed upon us. I just do not see the obligation unless a contract is entered into voluntarily. Therefore, I do not see how a supposed social contract can be the legal basis which justifies taxation, which is the assertion I believe you made. Obviously, a Government must pay for the services it provides, services which are legitimately few and very limited, and may need to raise some of that money via taxation. Since taxation is an act of force, even for the very few legitimate functions of Government, it must be kept to an absolute minimum.

                      The federal government’s taxing authority is limited to the purposes of executing the enumerated powers, and no more. They can tax to raise armies and fund the navy, for example. They cannot tax to pay for national health care, Medicare, Social Security, to build roads, to fund education, or anything else that is not enumerated. The existence of a taxing power does not give Congress MORE powers than those enumerated. If it did, then the rest of the Constitution would be null. Therefore, unless it is necessary and proper to execute one of the enumerated powers, taxes to fund public works is not constitutional, nor is education, public broadcasting, sanitation, as well as some of the police forces, along with about 90% of what the federal Government does (it’s a very long list). It is that simple. I understand that these limitations have been utterly ignored for over a century, but they are nonetheless still there and enforceable. We should either enforce the limits set out in the Constitution, or stop pretending it exists. Proof? Find the words “health care” in the constitution; specifically, in Article I Section 8. Repeat for any other program in question.

                      If you agree that “the market economy is the most effective and equitable type of economy”, then why do you wish to condemn the health care customers to something less than this? Basic, reasonable, common sense safety and transparency regulation? OK, I could live with some of that (I do understand that we can’t get to the ideal state overnight, after all). You are fond of citing Adam Smith. Well, to borrow another quote of his: “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.” As such, and as developed by many other philosophers and economists, even avarice is greatly mitigated, if not virtually completely kept in check, in a free market. So even absent saintly ethics on the part of producers and sellers, with a free market and a proper torts system, such abuses would be far more mild and rare than most suppose.

                      Of course what most people believe is “free market” or “capitalism” is what we have today, or in some recent past period of time with respect to a particular market/sector. These are, however, objectively NOT free markets, and not what I or free market supporters advocate. So I agree with you there. But liberty (and therefore, free markets) should be the goal we are working toward. Transitioning to a state of maximized protection and promotion of liberty (and life, property, etc.) would probably still need some modest and continually diminishing regulation. If a law does not first advance liberty, then its introduction should be seriously reconsidered.

                      Yes, there can be some unethical behavior be specific actors in a laissez faire economy, but again, most will recognize such behavior is against their best interest, and also will be liable for damages or incursions against the property rights of others. The incentives in place in a free market really work against the urge to “cheat”. Furthermore, if there is a tendency for humans to succumb to the temptations of greed and ambition, at least in the free market, the customer has a choice to shop elsewhere when confronted with such a situation. When governments or their agents succumb to such temptations, they ARE the monopoly and their customers suffer, with no recourse. So why should we give governments such power?

                      And as to your often expressed fears of monopolies; here is a timeless classic on why such fears are overblown, and how most monopolies you’ve ever heard of are the RESULT of government, and not the free market. http://www.thefreemanonline.org/features/the-phantom-called-quotmonopolyquot/

                      To say that “Not everything belongs in the marketplace” is like saying “rocks should fly”. It is simply wishing away reality. You may wish it to be so, but who is being unrealistic. Healthcare services and products are subject to the same economic laws and forces as are pencils, oil, gold, teachers, plumbers, physicists, engineers, cars, iPods, dish detergent,……. You may wish a rock could fly. You may even make it fly for a bit. However, it behaves in known and definable ways based on the forces applied to it. In spite of your best efforts, it will return to earth. In the same way, one may wish to make health care “free”, or universally accessible, or define minimum coverage, or….. Each intervention is exerting forces which go against the nature of product. Perhaps it’s a bit like trying to keep that rock in the air by constantly having it bounce off your head or shoulders. You may keep it aloft for a while, but damage is occurring and it will eventually return to the ground, in spite of your best efforts, and you will be worse off because of it.

                      I certainly do not look at everything in terms of economics, except to the extent that I tend to look at economics not strictly in terms of numbers, but as an expression of rights, freedom, fairness, philosophy, reason, common sense, morality, etc. Individual actions can be humanitarian. We can give away health care, or food, or blankets, etc. What you or I do with our property and skills and time can be humanitarian. How we acquire and create that property, though, *IS* subject to economics. It cannot be avoided. So shouldn’t we strive for a system that creates more of it for more people more efficiently and effectively, so that we may acquire more of it to give away to the consequentially shrinking number of poor and needy? And since profit is the motive for producers to innovate, and to provide more and better products and services, then yes, I *WANT* them to be for profit ventures primarily. These are things that someone SHOULD be profiting on.

                      OBTW, police services are now in the free market in some measure (private security companies, mercenaries, etc.), and have been even more commercial in the past. Plus, there is plenty of work explaining how much more of it could be commercial. There are few things that “must” be provided by Government.

                      In spite of the alleged advantages you mention of the Physicians for a National Health Program (I have not studied it), it is not a constitutionally authorized function.

                      I wish I had enough time to say the above in a shorter and better edited posting, but for better or worse, here it is.

                    • Other than that, I am “more disposed to suffer, while the evils are sufferable”…..for now.

                    • And there’s some good stuff on may of these isues at The Freeman this month (and forthcoming).
                      http://www.thefreemanonline.org/

                    • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim :

                      Mark,

                      I don’t mean to be harsh, but I’m going to take you to task on some of the nonsense you’re spouting.

                      Regarding the social contract (which is, in fact, one of the fundamental principles that the U.S.A. is based upon) you stated:

                      I just think that there is no such thing that actually binds an individual in any practical sense…if we are bound to submit to Government merely by our birth and residence in a specific place and time, then we are bound by something other than a contract, because it is not voluntary…I just do not see the obligation unless a contract is entered into voluntarily.

                      It is voluntary. We can leave. Ever hear of emigration? My great-grandparents left Poland because its government was not offering what they were interested in. Aside from the Native Americans, the U.S. was made of immigrants who did exactly what you don’t seem to be able to imagine: emigration, which is risky and requires sacrifice.

                      With respect to Congress’ power to lay and collect taxes you stated:

                      The federal government’s taxing authority is limited to the purposes of executing the enumerated powers, and no more. They can tax to raise armies and fund the navy, for example. They cannot tax to pay for national health care, Medicare, Social Security, to build roads, to fund education, or anything else that is not enumerated.

                      Not true. The U.S. Constitution, Aritcle I, Section 8 states:

                      The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes…to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.

                      Further, Article I, Section 7 states:

                      All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills. Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law.

                      As the above cited passages of the U.S. Constitution unequivocally state, there is room for other services that are not enumerated to be included under public services funded by taxes. The Founding Fathers, in their immense wisdom, knew that the needs of the republic would change with time, and appropriately built in a mechanism for meeting these needs. The facts are that the Social Security Act went through the above mentioned process, and was then signed into law by President Roosevelt in 1935. Then President Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law via the Social Security Amendments of 1965. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, i.e. “ObamaCare”, was signed into law by President Obama in March 2010, and mostly upheld by the Supreme Court’s recent decision. This is why it is constitutional to collect taxes in order to pay for healthcare services.

                      You stated:

                      We should either enforce the limits set out in the Constitution, or stop pretending it exists. Proof? Find the words “health care” in the constitution; specifically, in Article I Section 8. Repeat for any other program in question.

                      This line of reasoning is as impressive as stating that because the word “Trinity” is not found in the Bible it is neither Biblical nor Christian. Tisk, tisk, tisk. Fundamentalism is the epitome of anti-intellectualism.

                      It sounds like we agree on the fact that the current market economy is far from ideal for a wide variety of reasons which we’ve already outlined above. However, your incessant appeals to the laissez-faire market are, to be blunt, just plain silly. It has never existed (past or present) and never will exist, unless you’re holding your breath for a utopia, and I think that the Tradition of both of our Churches make it pretty clear that that is never going to come to fruition until kingdom come (literally). We have to live in reality and deal with the circumstances as they actually are rather than posit on a long series of “…well if only “X” were such-and-such, then it follows that “Y” would be such-and-such…” Perhaps this is logical, but it is certainly not realistic.

                      The single-payer plan put forward by the Physicians for a National Health Program, which, unlike ObamaCare, I do support, is the only existing plan for realistically making healthcare: accessible (universal & comprehensive coverage), affordable (we don’t spend any more than we currently do & actually save money in the long-run) and high-quality (much easier data gathering & meaningful analysis in a large united system) within the context of liberty.
                      – Contrary to what you stated in your last post, it is, in fact, constitutional as I’ve demonstrated above.
                      – It is not socialist because doctors, clinics and hospitals all remain in the private sector (not government owned) – they are merely paid by the government via tax dollars just like they are currently paid via a combo of private/public dollars. Patients actually gain free choice of doctor and/or hospital (no confinement within a network), and decisions are still made by the patient in cooperation with his/her doctor, just like they are now.
                      – It is not statist because it is actually the option that 2/3’s of the general public prefers as well as the clear majority of physicians.
                      – This plan doesn’t ignore economics. However, it does acknowledge that healthcare is not a service/good that belongs in the market economy for the purposes of generating profit, but rather recognizes it as a humanitarian service offered “for the general Welfare” of the citizens of our great republic. There would still be room in the market economy for privately paid services like cosmetic surgery, etc.
                      – You admitted that you had not studied the plan. I advise you do, and I would refer you to the website (http://www.pnhp.org/) where you will find a comprehensive plan with robust arguments based upon solid primary sources.

                    • Seraphim,
                           Regarding the social contract, where am I to go? Will I be permitted to leave, either by this country or by the country to which i am to emigrate? There is no assurance whatsoever.  Other countries have similar or worse ‘terms and conditions’.  Is that really a choice? Is understanding that if I behave a certain way, I won’t be thrown in jail mean that I have consented to some contract whose terms are unknown and unknowable and subject to unilateral modification on the whim of the government?  No. It just means I don’t want to go to jail.  
                           Article I Section 7 is an explanation if the mechanics of how legislation becomes law.  It does not explain or identify the limits or freedom Congress has with respect to the subject of legislation. 
                          The  Article I Section 8 phrase you referenced is introductory.  It means that Congress has the power to lay and collect taxes IN ORDER TO do the subsequently enumerated powers only.  
                          Additionally, on logic alone your argument fails.  The entire point of the constitution was to set up a general government of very limited powers, and to articulate what those powers are.  Historically, that is not in dispute.   If the introductory clause and the term “general welfare” in particular were meant to confer on congress powers beyond those subsequently enumerated, what would be the need for the enumeration?  It would make no sense to say “you have these 17 powers, but that ‘general welfare’ thing, go ahead and do everything else you want to do under that clause’.  
                          Finally, we don’t even need to rely on the logic, because we have history on our side.  So if you are still unsure, consult the Federalist Papers, and more importantly, the transcripts of the ratifying conventions of the several States, where the meaning of the language and intent (of all parts, but these sections in particular) were debated and explained extensively.  
                           Laissez faire does and has existed, particularly in specific markets/commodities for particular periods of time.  And near-laissez fair exists today in many more (lightly or nearly unregulated products/markets). As discussed, its end in the health care and health insurance markets began about a century ago, and was greatly accelerated in the 60’s. 
                           Yes, I know we have to deal with things as they are, but we have to strive for things as the ought to be.  Faith without acts is empty, right?  In the same way, in earthly matters, seeking to improve things for myself, the rest of the country, and for my kids seems is a worthy endeavor.  I know, though, you can’t turn a battleship on a dime, but we can start.  And if I can’t personally have an impact on laws, at least I might change the minds of thoughtful people, and soon we will have enough people who love liberty and are willing to work for it.  If nothing else, I and my fellow travelers will keep the ideas alive, so that when the cataclysm comes (very likely, and not long from now), the ideas are there, ready to pick up and run with by the survivors. 
                          Your Physicians for a National Health Program plan (based on your description- I still haven’t read much on it yet, but will try) might be the better of two bad policies if of no other reason than it is voluntary.  However, first, as I’ve established, it is unconstitutional (not that that matters to the Feds).  Second, though, a monopsony has problems much like a monopoly.  It is likely to cause shortages, lower quality, and higher costs.  
                        http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/10/the_problem_with_a_health_care.html, and, http://www.liberatehealthcare.com/models/monopsony_Goodman.htm

                          Again, saying that health care is an item that “does not belong in the free market” still just seems to be the wishing away of reality.  If we say that people ought to provide health care out of charity to the needy, that is one thing and is a fine sentiment and activity, and good for the soul.  That wish and hope does not by itself provide any justification for the government providing it, constitutionality aside, even.  Government having its hands in it, and any market, will be worse than in a free market.

                      “If one rejects laissez faire on account of man’s fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action.” – Ludwig von Mises. Planning for Freedom

                      “If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?” 
                      ― Frédéric Bastiat, The Law

                    • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim :

                      Mark,

                      There are 18 not 17 enumerated congressional powers in Article I, Section 8. The 1st is the power to impose & collect taxes for the purposes of paying debts as well as for providing for the common defense & general welfare of the nation. This is clear from the text itself.

                      This 1st power is not an introductory clause, as you claim, describing how congress is allowed to use the tax revenue. For example, congress doesn’t need tax dollars to perform the 2nd power of borrowing money on the credit of the U.S., or to perform the 3rd power of regulating commerce, etc – it merely exercise the power. On the other hand, it does need revenue to build post offices & roads (7th power), raise & support armies (12th power) etc.

                      You’re reaching for something beyond your grasp with this argument.

                    • Seraphim,
                         17, 18…. Hey, it was late and I was bleary-eyed so didn’t count right. The power to impose & collect taxes is a power, granted, but it can only be exercised to the extent that such taxes serve an enumerated power.  Congress cannot tax (constitutionally) to fund something NOT enumerated in the constitution.  It can’t be used as a loop hole to bring in a power not delegated to it in the constitution.  That, or the “general welfare argument” are often cited as justification for new powers.  Such is indisputably counter to the Founders’ intent (and therefore, unconstitutional) and is clearly argued/documented in history. Again, look at the ratification debates.  We would not have a State of Virginia in the union today, for example, if what you argue was true.   
                          This fear of federal overreach based on the language of these clauses, and others, in the constitution, was much of the reason for the Bill of Rights, which was demanded by many of the states before they would sign the constitution.
                         Second, as I have said, it is not logical, an argument your comments do not address, yet.  As a matter of simple reason, how can a compact intended to severely limit the federal government intentionally contain clauses intended to give it unlimited powers? Non sequitur.  
                          Reached, and grasped.   :-)

                    • OBTW, there’s that little thing called the Tenth Amendment. Why why might that be ther?

                • This may be the same piece that someone linked to before, but if not, then this is worth a read. It pretty effectively argues against distributism. http://mises.org/daily/1062/Whats-Wrong-with-Distributism

                  • Ronda Wintheiser :

                    Dr. Seraphim, I realise you don’t want to talk any more.

                    Fine. :)

                    You assert that healthcare is not a service that belongs in the free market any more than clean water or education, and you lump them all together as governmental services financed by tax dollars.

                    But you’ve glossed over something. Constitutionally, the federal government has no right to be involved in education or in health care, and not even infrastructure issues like clean water, road building, etc.

                    The Constitution left road building as a state and local function.

                    In the 1800s, the state of New York built the very successful Erie Canal, and other states (and various entrepreneurs) built most of the rest of the nation’s roads very capably.

                    Later on, “when the nation veered from the course of state and private building, problems resulted. The feds were incompetent. For example, after the Civil War the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads went from Omaha to Sacramento, and were heavily subsidized by Washington. Both went bankrupt (the Union Pacific several times). So did the Northern Pacific Railroad, which also had federal help. But the Great Northern Railroad, built by James J. Hill from St. Paul to Seattle, took no federal aid and never went bankrupt. In fact, it was the best built transcontinental and had the best rails and most even grade all across the country. Thus, federal aid to roads was not a stimulus to railroad growth, but an impediment instead.”

                    http://spectator.org/archives/2012/01/09/road-runners

                    Just because something needs to be done doesn’t mean the federal government ought to do it — or can do it best.

                    Education, like health care, DOES belong in the free market. We cannot POSSIBLY agree that EVERYONE should have the same health care or the same education.

                    Ask any homeschooler. Ask any homebirther.

                    You seem to feel uncomfortable if somebody isn’t in control of the people you think don’t seem capable of and therefore forfeit their right to making their own choices about how to live their lives. You say you’re libertarian, but I’m not seeing it. You seem much more like a liberal who wants to create equality, regardless of loss of liberty.

                    The problem with equality is that it isn’t natural! It has to be imposed. If you prefer liberty to equality then you have to tolerate true diversity — that some people will fall below a certain level of health, or education, or whatever else — and that some will end up in the middle while others some will excel or exceed a certain level.

                    That isn’t ok with you, apparently.

                    And now you’re all mad because Mark challenged you to think about something you don’t seem to want to consider. He wasn’t insulting you, though. He was actually complimenting you by challenging you — he was assuming you’re the kind of human being who is willing to find out that you might be mistaken or just plain wrong about something, and concede a well-taken point.

                    One point being made here that you don’t seem to want to grapple with is that participating in a health care system that includes killing some patients has real moral ramifications that impinge on you as a doctor.

                    And that Obamacare has placed you squarely into that moral dilemma (which will be followed by others, make no mistake).

                    Then you say it doesn’t seem like there is much benefit in our continued dialogue since we have very different views and we don’t seem to be making headway in successfully helping each other gain new insights.

                    But that’s precisely why we should continue, isn’t it? :)

                    • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim :

                      Ronda,

                      See my above response(s), particularly the one dated July 18th, to Mark on the constitutionality of using tax money to fund healthcare services.

                      I was/am not mad that Mark challenged me. I was simply stating that since we are so very far apart in our views that the “cost” (time/energy) of continued blog dialogue may not be worth the “benefit” (convincing each other or gaining a new insights), to use an economic analogy. I’m very busy, and sleep is a “scarce resource” for me : )

                      I believe that my use of the quote by St. John Chrysostom was appropriate. He argues against forced equality, i.e. taking money away from the rich and giving it to the poor to place them on the same level as far as wealth is concerned. This is socialism which I am opposed to. On the other hand, healthcare is a service that has nothing to do with making everyone in society equal.

                    • Ronda Wintheiser :

                      I have to reply to my own post here, as we’ve run out of “children”… :)

                      Well, I don’t know much about all of this stuff you guys are throwing back and forth at each other, and I am duly impressed. No sarcasm here to turn off. :)

                      Having said that, I do lay claim to a bit of common sense.

                      1. Just because the Social Security Act, Medicare and Medicaid, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act went through the process and were signed into law doesn’t mean they are constitutional.

                      By that logic, so is Roe v. Wade.

                      2. You sound like President Obama when he was a senator. He said that the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties in that it states what the State and Federal government could NOT do. He asserts that it is flawed in that it does not state what the State and Federal governments should be obligated to do on your behalf. He said “When we get in a tussle, we appeal to the Founding Fathers and the Constitution’s ratifiers to give direction. Some, like Justice Scalia, conclude that the original understanding must be followed and if we obey this rule, democracy is respected. Others, like Justice Breyers, insist that sometimes the original understanding can take you only so far–that on the truly big arguments, we have to take context, history, and the practical outcomes of a decision into account. I have to side with Justice Breyer’s view of the Constitution–that it is not a static but rather a living document and must be read in the context of an ever-changing world.I see democracy as a conversation to be had. According to this conception, the genius of Madison’s design is not that it provides a fixed blueprint for action. It provides us with a framework and rules, but all its machinery are designed to force us into a conversation.” http://www.wnd.com/2008/10/79225/

                      This sounds suspiciously like the type of argument made by those who want to ordain women or marry gay people make about Orthodox Tradition.

                      3. How is what you describe NOT forced equality, i.e. taxing us so that EVERYONE supposedly has equal access to health care?

                      Sounds to me like exactly that. Making everyone in society “equal”.

                      4. To my way of thinking, like modern medicine, this approach you are proposing only addresses symptoms and not the underlying causes. You don’t seem willing to address the fact that many if not most of our modern maladies are self-inflicted or created by our own choices and lifestyle. This system you and these other physicians are advocating simply enables and perpetuates that, doesn’t it? It forces some people to absorb the consequences of other people’s individual choices, and it guarantees the removal of what might otherwise motivate people to change their behaviour and take responsibility for their own health and their own bodies. This approach just enshrines irresponsibility, lack of self-discipline, and the perpetuation of bad habits. No?

                      5. And then there is the fact that it takes aim at the very heart of this argument, which is liberty. It should be legal for anyone to do, or not do anything he wants, provided only that he not violate contracts he enters voluntarily without duress and that he not initiate or threaten violence against the person or legitimately owned property of another person.

                      What if I have a moral objection to what is defined as health care? And I don’t mean just abortion. I mean that I do not believe in modern medicine, as I have tried to demonstrate. What most people call “health care” I believe is harmful. I do not want to participate in this system because I honestly believe it is detrimental to people’s health, generally — with a few exceptions like emergency or trauma care. I’m sorry if that offends you. I understand your motivation is to help people, but I do not see the evidence that much of what your profession has to offer is actually helpful. And instituting it by taxing people in order to pay for it is imposing it on some of us and usurping our liberty.

                      What our nation needs, in my opinion, is to

                      “…restore a system of common law based on the precepts of natural law, which is discovered through long human experience, tradition and careful deliberation, and rests on the normative foundation of unanimity and consent, not majority rule and force.

                      “…the fundamental principle of government shall be the non-aggression principle, and all taxing and police powers explicit or implied shall be restricted by the non-aggression principle.” http://lewrockwell.com/orig13/hunter-l1.1.1.html

                      “Aggression… is defined as the initiation or threatening of violence against a person or legitimately owned property of another. Specifically, any unsolicited actions of others that physically affect an individual’s property, including that person’s body, no matter if the result of those actions is damaging, beneficial, or neutral to the owner, are considered violent when they are against the owner’s free will and interfere with his right to self-determination, as based on the libertarian principle of self-ownership…” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-aggression_principle

                      Just because “2/3’s of the general public and the clear majority of physicians” prefer this overlooks that some of us don’t. So like unborn children, we just don’t get a say, eh?

                      That is democratic fascism. That’s the direction we’re headed, and you are advocating it. You are helping the president take us over the precipice.

                      :(

                    • Ronda Wintheiser :
                    • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim :

                      Ronda,

                      I completely agree with your view that the U.S. Constitution is dynamic rather than static, i.e. it includes a mechanism to allow the federal government to meet the ever-changing needs the people. However, my belief about this matter is not merely based upon my personal opinion because, truth be told, what I prefer is irrelevant. On the contrary, it is derived from the fact that the Constitution itself states that this is the case, as I outlined above in my response to Mark. The Constitution did not define everything, then state that no changes were possible.

                      I also agree with your position that not every bill that is passed into law is, by default, constitutional. The Declaration as well as the 5th & 14th Constitutional Amendments guarantee the protection of life. So, while our government was able to pass laws making both the death penalty and abortion legal, these laws do not nullify the fact that they both violate our nations foundational documents – which should make them “dead on arrival”. The government must follow both the “letter and the spirit of the law” in order for us to truly call something constitutional.

                      I think we can agree that both abortion and the death penalty are clearly not able to be rationally defended as constitutional. However, other services such as education, roads, police, healthcare, etc. are legitimate topics of debate for being constitutionally funded by tax dollars, as I outlined above in my two quotes of the Constitution.

                      Also, if you really want to abolish the principle of majority rule and only make decisions on the basis of consensus then many of our neighbors would still own and exploit African-Americans and women would still not have the right to vote, just to give a few examples. To use an adapted quote from Abraham Lincoln: “You can please all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot please all the people all the time.” Cliche? Yes, but profoundly true.

  20. cynthia curran :

    Well distributism I believe wants to copy some of the economic arrangements of the middle ages. There was from even the archelogical finds particulary in Western Europe large estates that might development during the late Roman Empire. So, the middle ages did have big agricultural in the form of what is usually called Feudism. As for trade guilds they restrict who could trade similar to some zoning laws today but restricter. Some merchanrts in the middle ages could trade a good from let’s side the Byzantine empire up to England, silverware among Anglo Saxons came from the Byzantine empire around the 7th century. So, trade was also on an international scale in those days too. So. I wonder if it was so small business as some think about the middle ages being.

    • Michael Bauman :

      Even the pre-Columbian Native Americans had continental trade going on. We are called to and made for community. The use of the goods of this world is given to us by God and like it says in the Divine Liturgy “….thine own of thine own we offer unto thee….” That is not just in the Liturgy.

      • The liturgy, and anything else of the Church, are not to be taken as literal, blanket unqualified justification for anything else, least of all commerce/trade of any and every sort.
        The key to that qualification is in the liturgical understanding of “we offer unto thee”.
        In other words it’s the spirit of all commerce and trade that matters, not the “letter” of political laws that may be manipulated into governance, such as Corporations being “persons”.
        As the film The Corporation shows, if corporations were indeed a human entity instead of human organization, then the behavioral history of corporations is sociopathic and they should be prosecuted and abolished for violating the commonwealth, the common good.
        For “commerce” and “trade” to be liturgical (sacramental), commerce and trade must be performed to the glory of God, and not used for the purpose of hoarding of human wealth for power, position and prestige, human earthly glory. Neither should such commerce and trade treat the things of Creation as a mere “commodity” (a political ideology, not Christian teaching), to be bought and sold for the purpose of “creating wealth”, since Creation is a manifestation of the Glory of God, and rightfully only belongs to God.
        Native Americans did not practice commerce and trade in such manner as is practiced today.
        As God’s provision for the sustenance of fallen human nature, Creation is to be shared for such sustenance of all humanity, and not mostly for a few at the expense of many.
        The benefits of commerce and trade that provide the material elements that contribute to the Eucharist, like the Eucharist itself, are to be shared with every penitent, and not reserved exclusively or mostly for those who own the “means of production”, the vineyard or field from whence come the grapes and wheat.

        The whole earth is a living icon of the face of God. I shall not cease reverencing matter, by means of which my salvation has been achieved. …For everything good must be assigned to Him from Whom every good thing arises
        St. John Damascene 675 – 749 A.D.

        The things and possessions that are in the world are common to all, like the light and this air that we breathe….. All these things were made for all in common solely for use and enjoyment; in terms of ownership they belong to no one. But covetousness, like a tyrant, has intruded into life, so that its slaves and underlings have in various ways divided up that which the Master gave to be common to all. …She has deprived all other men of the enjoyment of the Master’s good gifts, shamelessly pretending to own them, contending that she has wronged no one. …I tell you that they owe a debt of penitence to their dying day for all that they so long have kept back and deprived their brothers from using.
        St. Symeon the New Theologian 949 – 1022 A.D.

  21. cynthia curran :

    Actually, the worst polluter was the former Soviet Union, so state own enterprises can do that. as well. China which does use the market by the state manipualtes it has polllution problems as well. For Orthodox, a state enterprise that benefit the wealthly and the imperial Court was silk in the Byzantine empire, granted it did employed some poor ladies to weave the silk.

  22. cynthia curran :

    Macedonia not certain about Byzantium but classical Rome at its height spend only 5 to 10 percent of GNP on government aquaeducts and Roads. The welfare state was limited only to the large cities to prevent riots over lack of food because unfortunely Rome’s economy produce a lot of day labor work for the lowest skilled men on the docks and many were underemployed. As for marriage Roman’s had married contracts mainly with the better social classes in terms of dowery and donations-the husband’s married gift. After married husband and wife couldn’t transfer property this is even mention in the Justinian Code because it was a form of bribery over mutal affection. Granted, a lot of Romans in the upper classes married for political alliances. No first cousin married during a lot of Roman history or brother or sister. Incest is address but homosexaul marrieds was not thought of.

  23. cynthia curran :

    Well, Republicans trying the flat tax need to study if lower middle class people pay more taxes in Estonia if they get more for their money. Usually the Dems will stressed the progressive tax system.

  24. Ronda Wintheiser :

    I received notification in my email that Dr. Seraphim posted a response to my last note.

    I can’t find it anywhere. Am I blind? Or is there another glitch?

    Either way, I will post it, and then I’ll answer it.

    Author: Christ’s unprofitable servant, Seraphim
    Comment:
    Ronda,

    I completely agree with your view that the U.S. Constitution is dynamic rather than static, i.e. it includes a mechanism to allow the federal government to meet the ever-changing needs the people. However, my belief about this matter is not merely based upon my personal opinion because, truth be told, what I prefer is irrelevant. On the contrary, it is derived from the fact that the Constitution itself states that this is the case, as I outlined above in my response to Mark. The Constitution did not define everything, then state that no changes were possible.

    I also agree with your position that not every bill that is passed into law is by default constitutional. The Declaration as well as the Constitutional Amendments (5th & 14th) guarantee the protection of life. So, while our government was able to pass a laws making both the death penalty and abortion legal, these laws don’t nullify the fact that they both violate our nations foundational documents. The government must follow both the “letter and the spirit of the law” in order us to truly call something constitutional.

    I think we can agree that abortion and the death penalty are clearly not able to be rationally defended as constitutional. However, other services such as education, roads, police, healthcare, etc. are legitimate topics of debate for being constitutionally funded by tax dollars, as I outlined above in my quote of the Constitution.

    Also, if you really want to abolish the principle of majority rule and only make decision on the basis of consensus then many of our neighbors would still own and exploit African-Americans and women would still not have the right to vote, just to give a few examples. To use an adapted quote from Abraham Lincoln: “You can please all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot please all the people all the time.” Cliche? Yes, but profoundly true.

    • Ronda Wintheiser :

      Dr. Seraphim, you misunderstood me. I don’t know how; maybe I just didn’t explain myself very well.

      I do not believe the Constitution is dynamic.

      The president does, and as you admit, so do you.

      It’s a law, for pete’s sake. :)

      It defined the very few things that the federal government could do and left everything else to the sovereign states.

      As for your comment about abolishing the principle of majority rule — that is a description of democracy. The United States of America is (or I should say was) a Constitutional Republic, which was chosen or designed by the Founding Fathers to protect us from majority rule. It is a government of law, not of mobs and masses, which is what you prefer since you think 2/3rds of the people want this proposal of yours and you are willing to run roughshod over the rest of us.

      I don’t know where you got the idea that I prefer government by “consensus” — whatever that means.

      I prefer self-government, which is what the Founding Fathers intended. That is what liberty is.

      The federal government’s responsibility as defined in the Constitution is to protect our liberty. We have all of the rest of the responsibility, and you and the president want to take that away and put it into the hands of federal bureaucrats.

      You used the word libertarian to describe yourself. But like Inigo Montoya, I do not think it means …what you think it means.

      • Christ's unprofitable servant, Seraphim :

        Ronda:

        You asked me where I came up with the notion that you were implying that consent and not majority rule should be what our national decision are based upon. Well, you stated and quoted the following:

        What our nation needs, in my opinion, is to

        “…restore a system of common law based on the precepts of natural law, which is discovered through long human experience, tradition and careful deliberation, and rests on the normative foundation of unanimity and consent, not majority rule and force.” http://lewrockwell.com/orig13/hunter-l1.1.1.html

        Also, if you don’t believe that the Founding Fathers built a mechanism into the U.S. Constitution that allows the federal government to make changes regarding taxes and public services in order to address the changing needs of the nation as the generations passed then how do you explain the two quotes from the U.S.C. (Article I, Sections 7 & 8) that I presented above to Mark on July 18th?

  25. Cynthia Curran :

    For John Couretas, Oxford Roman Economy Project, according to a 10 minute podcast the early Roman Empire had a Smithian Growth rate from the !st Century until about near the end of the 2nd century and a growing international commercial market and division of labor. Search under Oxford podcast for Rime- Roman per capita growth the Roman Economy. Also, climate was nice in North Europe for Agricultural growth during this period. Mercahnt ships during this period didn’t reach the same size until late Medieval or early modern times during this period.

  26. Cynthia Curran :

    John, I read some of Dr Laiou work on the 7th to 12 centuries on the economy. I remember mentioning that Angeliki Laiou mention about one of the Leo’s asking some rich lady business lady for some of her weavers for the imperial silk factory which I think means that by that Leo’s time there most of been some private silk weaving instead of the State having a complete monopoly.

  27. cynthia curran :

    Well, the east during the later Roman Empire actually experiance some economic growth from the 4th century to the 6th century. So, maybe the gold Solidius stablilzed the east since the east did have the cash cows like Syria, Egypt, and Palestine while the West lost the cash cow North Africa in the 5th century.

  28. Typical counterproductive Gudgian answer to loss of freedom is always vote Republican… as if the GOP, the party of Lincoln’s northern industrialist backers cares about the freedom of common Joneses. Just as abortion is the GOP cover today for advancing the military-industrial-congressional complex agenda of defense contracting, so the moral issue of slavery was cover in Lincoln’s day for the GOP transcontinental railroad scheme, a private enterprise built at public expense – the first of many more to come.
    There are two sides to every story and two sides to big government, the biggest of which comes from the right. By shrink, the GOP means attack social services for the common Joneses in order to swell the war chest of public expenditure for private gain just as in Lincoln’s day .
    Such shill game over the decades of more than a century amounts to the greatest transfer of wealth in human history from poor to rich.
    Talk about entitlements!

    The loss of the American Republic is due to the conversion of the USA into an empire and the transformation of the American Republic into a national security state, a state which uses national security as cover for all manner of global economic imperialism that includes intelligence of many forms – including running guns, dealing drugs, partnering with the mafia, COUINTELPRO, FBI counterintelligence, psyops, spooks, game theory warfare, etc. etc.
    The transformation of America from republic to national security state has its roots in WWII and its aftermath, especially the Marshall Doctrine. Today the key words sure to induce predictable, propaganda emotional response in citizens transformed into consumers are terrorism and socialism, just as once it was communism.

    A Real Christian concerned for Real Freedom, like G. K. Chesterton, knew that Hudge (the “left”, “big government”) was kith and kin to Gudge (the “right”, “big business”). Chesterton exposed the nakedness of both Gudge and Hudge as being cut from the same cloth of the leisure, governing class, aka aristocracy. To read Chesterton’s take on English politics of 1900 is to deja vu over contemporary American politics, showing that nothing really changes substantially in the world. So it’s amazing that someone who claims to be Christian, would expect to change the world of politics, with of all things, politics.
    Not long after Chesterton, Orwell too showed the nonsense behind Hudge and Gudge with his “two legs ba-a-ad, four legs good”, in which Gudge farmer has a human face, but acts like a pig, and Hudge society evolves to have only a pig face, that acts no differently than Gudge.
    Chesterton’s thoughts are distinguishable from those of Edmund Burke and Russell Kirk, which is what sets Christian wheat apart from contemporary conservatives in America. There are American Joes out there who are in essence Gudge operatives – trying to pull wool over the eyes of Chestertonian Joneses. At best, Gudge supporters don’t understand political truths Chesterton tried to impart, are simply deluded by the propaganda of Gudge, and their need to have an enemy in Hudge to hate, instead of love.
One need only read Chesterton’s What’s Wrong with the World, especially Part One, chapters VIII to XI +, to see how Hudgian-Gudgian psyops work, and understand why Gudge is no protector of freedom, morality, etc. what have you.
    A searchable digital copy can be had by Googling “G. K. Chesterton’s Works on the Web”
    Only a fool, someone who hadn’t read What’s Wrong…, or who has no reading comprehension whatsoever would claim that in America the left is the party of Hudge big government and should be opposed by supporting, aiding and abetting the right, which is none other than the party of Gudge big business.
    To be pro business is to be anti big business. Big business and big government are one and the same, because big business does not exist without big government entitlement subsidies. Buying into the lie that big business is legally a person is a sure sign of propaganda delusion. As the film The Corporation shows, the history of corporate business behavior is sociopathic, and grounds for incarcerating corporate big business so it can no longer selfishly harm society.

    Chesterton’s whole point about Hudge and Gudge is that both work against Jones, the common man (woman and child).
That American “conservatives” who claim to be Christian would rail against Hudge, but crawl in bed and cozy up to Gudge just because he gives lip service to anti-abortion and shrinking government when it comes to individual social services, but not when it comes to corporate business subsidy, is beyond me.
    Such manipulation of Jones is something well illustrated by Chesterton in What’s Wrong With The World.
I have listened to Gudgian “christian” rationale and find it steeped in Burke and Kirk. Burke ‘n Kirk abhor the French Revolution in favor of the English Glorious Revolution that preserved the aristocracy, but Chesterton argues against such monomaniacal myopic view and in favor of republicanism of the French Revolution, that unfortunately has been co-opted by Hudge and turned into yet another Gudge type of politics that works against the Joneses.

    In What’s Wrong…, Chesterton refers to “Burke, a fine rhetorician, who rarely faced realities” and to Burke and Nietzsche as sophists and the “most intelligent apologists of the aristocracy”, and also to Burke as an “atheist”.
(Search the PDF of What’s Wrong.. for “Burke”)
Chesterton’s analysis shows rightist Joes to be Gudges who ignore that Gudge’s counterpart, Hudge, is really no worse than Gudge, and in many respects one and the same.
    Google for the salaries of American Congress members and their net worth, and you’ll see that they’re all millionaires.

    As Chesterton reasons, much if not all the progressive nonsense that is traditionally associated with Hudge on the left, originated from Gudge on the right who is not interested in “tradition” as it would seem and is usually believed . Instead, the English aristocracy (and likewise the American oligarchy) has always been really interested only in the future because restless leisure class is perpetually bored with the past and the present, and always looking forward to future change, and to some way of holding onto such privilege in the face of changing times.
    Watch enough period costume drama on BBC and that becomes readily apparent.

    Thank God! for the complete thinker Chesterton capable of countering gullible myopic monomaniacal victims of propaganda – a one and only veritable Moses capable of leading us Joneses out of modern slavery to left and right, to Hudge and Gudge, both of whom serve no one and nothing but the interests of their monied elitism.
I find it hard to believe that any Christian who stands for Love of God as they should, could be deceived by mammon worship, from either “left” or “right”.
    A century after Chesterton, the video works of Adam Curtis, Scott Noble, and John Pilger, show that Chesterton was right about left and right. Others before them like Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler (War is a Racket), Franklin ‘Chuck’ Spinney, and Anthony C. Sutton have done the same.
    Neither the political right, nor the state of Israel, are the sole embodiment of morality. The fallen nature of all humanity, renders all parties prone to evil as well as good.
    The failure of Gudge to actually uphold the Christian ideal is what has led to Hudge as an alternative to the difficulty of really living that Christian ideal.

    “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.”
    — G.K. Chesterton

  29. No, the next generation will not weep by the rivers of Babylon for what was lost. Rather, they will be taught to despise their lost nation in the government controlled Public Schools that have been federalized and standardized to the Left Wing re-education template rooted in critical theory and cultural Marxism.

    They will blame whatever depredations and economic ills they suffer at that time on the residual effects of the past century’s greed and materialism. And they will be swinging back toward a social conservatism rooted in the inevitable need for social stability and regimentation required by their new police state and it’s overlords. Gone will be the liberalism, hedonism and hyperactive sense of self-value and individual worth. Replaced by a new “revolutionary consciousness” of assimilation and conformity to the state party line.

    In short, they will be full of mythologized historical context and very lean on actual facts. They will be firmly convinced that the revolution “saved them” from the most corrupt empire that ever existed on the face of the Earth. And they will know NOTHING of the failures of collectivism in its formative years.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Bible Bowl and Oratorical Sheets (PDF) ☆ ☆ ☆ 2) The Republic is Finished and the America We Knew is Gonehttp://www.aoiusa.org/the-republic-if-finished-and-the-america-we-knew-is-gone/By Fr. Johannes […]

  2. […] AOI Leave a Comment Filed Under: Christian Persecution, Communism, Constitution, Leftist Hypocrisy, […]

  3. […] in that forgetting, we embrace a darkness the depth of which most of us do not yet perceive.Read “The Republic is Finished and the America We Knew is Gone” on the American Orthodox Institute’s Observer blog.Category: News and EventsRelated Tags: […]

  4. […] FROM Faith Healing source http://www.aoiusa.org/the-republic-if-finished-and-the-america-we-knew-is-gone/ #family movie -THE LAMP- one family's loss shows them how to turn to Faith instead of magic […]

  5. […] used to predictably obfuscate the issue. One can read some “Orthodox” reactionary takes here, here, here, […]

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