Separation of Medicine and State

The latest encroachment of state upon medicine is, I think most of us realize, nothing novel. We have socialized medicine elsewhere in the world, and no matter how badly it fails and how reductive of liberty it is, the drumbeat to implement it here has been constant throughout my lifetime. But the slope didn’t start slipping with Medicare or any of the other government programs; in my opinion, the journey predates modern collectivism by centuries.

I’ve written before about how my great-grandmother was threatened with arrest for curing TB patients. This would’ve been in the early decades of the 20th century. But she was hardly alone: Medical guilds have been attacking outsiders since the days they were respectable barbers with a shady side-business.

Basically, when the various medical associations managed to get a monopoly on treating the sick, and got the force of the state on their side, they not only diminished prospects for health (in the name of protecting people, of course, it’s always in the name of protecting people), they signed their own death warrant.

Someone else at Ace’s or Althouse mentioned Microsoft, which is a propos because one of Microsoft’s tactics for conquering a niche has always been to “partner” with their future competitors, usually offering some tempting deal. At that point they’d steal code (for example), and integrate it into the OS. Cut off their oxygen, as I think MS CEO Steve Ballmer put it. At that point, you can either outlawyer them, buy them off cheap (if you need to buy them off at all), and voila, you own the market.

I actually consulted for a company that partnered with MS. I was astonished that they partnered with them, seemed to be proud of that fact, and watched as MS created a competitor that is now included with every version of Windows. But at least they’re still in business.

That’s, of course, similar to how the government works, as well. The government “partners” with doctors–and look how tight the AMA and government are–offering them the sweet deal of a monopoly, and wiping out their competition. (Remember, the government just spent $2.5 billion to prove that none of these other things work. Meanwhile tens of billions go into curing cancer with no appreciable progress made.)

And while the government forbade compensation increases during WWII (to stem inflation), they exempted medical insurance, thus leading to the current weird situation where one is beholding to an employer for tax-deductable coverage or else stuck buying their own, giving us the current market distortions in the insurance market. (Well, that and all the other “help” the government gives.)

And now it’s time to pay the piper: The price for the monopoly–for convincing the country that there is only way to treat medical problems, and that there is only one source for that treatment–is to become public servants, under the thumb of the government. In the words of Darth Vader, “I have altered the deal. Pray that I don’t alter it again.”

The thing that got me thinking about this was stumbling across this somewhat overblown video on poor Willhelm Reich. I referred to him as a “probable quack” in my previous post, which was just a flip statement (plus, like “snake oil”, I use “quack” affectionately).

I don’t know if Reich was really a quack or not. I do know that he was destroyed, just like my old pal Ignaz Semmelweis, and his writings actually banned by the government! (Or so they say; I haven’t seen the order.) I’m not sure how the First Amendment allows celebrities to be attacked with known lies, but also allows controversial philosophical and medical ideas to be banned.

But I do think it’s kind of interesting that I keep seeing “the ether” pop up in scientific articles. And I’m pretty sure that it’s within my rights as an American–or it was supposed to be–to explore such ideas, however wacky, stupid or even personally harmful, they might be. I think the Founding Fathers would have wanted me to be able to buy an orgone box if I felt like.

Hell, Franklin would’ve gone halfsies with me.

Pointy Breasts From Beyond The Outer Limits!

It’s been a long time since I had a genuine pointy-breast post–something I think we can all agree this blog is the lesser for–and I found a pair where I least expected them. I never watched the original “Outer Limits” series, but with the new digital signals, we get the THIStv channel which shows an assortment of old movies and TV shows–including “The Outer Limits”.

So I set the ol’ MythTV to record them and finally got around to watching an episode called “ZZZZZ”, which is the story of a queen bee who takes human form. This, naturally being a draining transformation, causes her to swoon on the lawn of a bee scientist.

And behold:
And behold again. Rebehold? Er, behold twice?

It was a strange episode. Or, I don’t know, maybe it was completely characteristic of the show. Having only seen one episode, I cannot say. (I did watch the ‘90s series, though, on Showtime, and liked it.)

It was also kind of cool that the actress, Joanna Frank, was someone I had seen before, in the much later series “L.A. Law”. As it turns out, she’s TV mogul Steven Bochco’s sister, and was actually married to Alan Rachins, whose wife (then, ex-wife, I believe) she played on that show!

She did a good job as the weird bug-person, and also had a slightly unusual beauty that suited the role.

Here’s a picture of her about to enjoy some pollen. (I’m not good at screen-caps yet, but these turned out pretty well!)

I shall view more “Outer Limits” in the hopes of finding more specimens of mammaris conniculus. Note that the above are from ’64 or ’65, and so are the latest of that era we’ve yet found!

She Ain’t Comin’ Either

Hearken back a few days to where Freeman Hunt visited us for a discussion on her post called “He Isn’t Coming”, where she discussed how our culture wasn’t producing the sort of great men needed to rescue us from the disaster currently being visited upon us.

My argument is that you don’t need very many great men like that, and that societies never do create very many in that mold. Though we’re not producing the sort of people who appreciate greatness, either, and that’s a more severe problem.

However, the treatment of Sarah Palin from September to her current resignation shows something else: should someone relatively honest, authentic and reform-minded appear, she will be destroyed.

I don’t believe there’s any scandal, as some are salivating at the prospect of. The entire brunt of the mainstream media was brought to bear in trying to bring her down after she resuscitated the moribund McCain campaign–and then insisting, despite all evidence, that she had somehow hurt McCain–and nothing was found. Then there were trumped up ethics charge after trumped up ethics charge was brought against her, all of them defeated, but costing her over $400,000 in legal fees.

Palin doesn’t even qualify, in terms of what Freeman was specifying: She didn’t know Latin or Greek, for example. And I suspected she might have a bit of a populist streak. (“Populism” always seems to be another way of saying “big government”, perversely.) But before the media tore her apart, it was fairly uncontroversial that she had rejected the business-as-usual politics, and actually done some housecleaning.

She seems to have the essential character, in other words, that puts Freem’s education and moral ideas to proper use. Note that I reject strongly the media projections of her as stupid. This is just SOP for the handling of Republican Presidential material: They’re either stupid (GW Bush, Reagan, Ford, Eisenhower, Palin) or evil madmen (Cheney, GHW Bush, Nixon, Agnew, Goldwater). Oh, and “out of touch” (McCain, GHW Bush, Reagan, Eisenhower, and, well, pretty much all of them). Actually, I give the media some credit for spicing it up last election by allowing that McCain might simply be a well-meaning madman as opposed to an evil one. (Though there were plenty of implications that he was evil, too.)

But even that modicum of ability is not to be tolerated.

What’s more, I suspect a person of greater ability would be even more excoriated. So, if you’re keeping score at home, not only does “our hero” have to be a great intellect, charismatic, come from all the “right places”, perfect in behvaior, have no family members who have ever fallen short of any ideals, have a ton of money to fight up the frivolous lawsuits–and then give a damn about the country–and the people in it–that allows this to happen.

I’m less sanguine than I was yesterday.

Another In A Series Of Immodest Proposals Entitled “A Modest Proposal” For Satirical Value

California passed a vindictive little bill designed to limit elected representatives’ salaries. I’d say it was fiscally prudent, but it really won’t make a difference in the long run. Still, I suppose I should give us credit, since for my entire voting history we’ve done nothing but vote for bond after bond to pay for program after program.

I think the bill requires that the budget be in place or something–we have a hard time actually getting budgets out, because we have so many massively powerful special interest groups to feed: teachers, other government employees, illegal immigrants, etc. (And I have no idea how illegal immigrants get to be a powerful special interest group but, here we are.)

A better idea, however, would be for the politicians to only be able to collect their salaries from what was leftover in the budget. Run a deficit? No money that year. Hell, we should have them give money back at that point. Sell your homes and cars, people. Send your kids to public school. You’re on a budget this year.

They’d find a way to screw it up, of course.

They always do.