Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Response to Patrick

This is actually very interesting about Danny Boyle. I did not know that, so now I can modify my initial statement. We can reasonably conclude that Danny Boyle likes the NHS. We can also reasonably assume that the writers of the articles you mentioned like the NHS. We could probably even go so far as to say that those whom participated in the display like the NHS, though it's possible they did it just for the paycheck.

It would be an irrational leap in logic to go from there to the "British people" en toto like it or that the "British people" want more money spent on it (which doesn't matter if there's no money). It may, in fact, be true that every single person in Britain likes and supports the existence of the NHS but you have not shown this to be true.

Saying, "I like it and everybody I know likes it, therefore everybody likes it," or, "It worked for me, it worked for my friend, and it works for mothers (more on this later), therefore it works for everybody," are not logical conclusions. You are committing the anecdotal fallacy which makes your argument invalid. Again, this does not mean that, by chance, your conclusion is not true, just that you have failed to provide an intelligent argument that it is.

My point here is to gauge your sense of justice. If you can not prove that 100% of people approve of the NHS then we can conclude that there is a reasonable probability that at least one person is being forced to be a part of a system they disagree with. Is that just? I think it is not.

If there are one million people in a country and 999,999 vote for something and force the one against it to be a part of it, is that just? What about 100 million to 1? 1 billion to 1? 500,001 to 499,999? These are important questions you should explore.

"Brandon, please don't take offense but
your right wing attitude is an anathema to the
British people. I've never, ever known a British
person to hold such frightening views."

These sentences are quite interesting. Not only do you result to ad hominem but you do so within the false dichotomy of political spectrum. Then you appeal to fear. This says more about you than it does about me.

As far as drug companies go, I never said that American drug companies are the only ones in the world. I said that American consumers, at least in part, subsidize lower drug costs in European countries. They also do the same in African countries where drug companies sell drugs at or below the cost of manufacturing.

I would agree that some drug companies are ripping Americans off but that does not disprove the fact that European drugs are subsidized by Americans.

Moving on to your incredulity about my questioning the World Health Organization. I merely followed your link and applied critical thinking to what I read. Once again, you are committing a logical fallacy; appeal to authority. You assumed that because the WHO is "independently renowned" that I was not supposed to question their findings; that this post would shut me down and present to me a slam dunk argument that I couldn't overcome. Let's go through what I said.

We'll look at life expectancy. I said there were problems in the WHOs methodology. If you follow your wikipedia link and scroll down to criticisms you see that one criticism levied is the WHO does not contril for homicides or car accidents. It would seem strange that in a ranking of health services and outcomes you wouldn't control for deaths unrelated to health outcomes. Perhaps WHO has their reasons but it is a reasonable criticism.

Then I spoke of subjectivity. Keeping with our life expectancy example, we see that the WHO has weighted overall life expectancy at 25%. If my goal as an individual was to live as long as possible then I would weigh overall life expectancy at 100%. I would want to choose the country with highest overall life expectancy regardless of anything else. Now, this is not to say that the taking is "wrong," only that it is not objective. All ranking systems are in some part subjective. It is up to the individual to decide to accept or reject the ranking based on their values. I did not "blow it off," I questioned it.

Moving on again, I have never been to France though I fail to see how that would make your arguments more authoritative or mine less so. I am part French. Does that give me greater authority on the subject? No, it does not.

I am inclined to believe that most French people like France just as I am inclined to believe that most people are naturally more comfortable in the surroundings they were born into and raised in. I am sure that most are "incredibly
proud of their health service, high speed rail etc." just as most Americans are proud of their health system and big cars. This still does not prove objectively that either is better. What it probably does prove is the conservative nature (in a denotative sense, not political) of human beings and the role of societal conditioning on likes and dislikes.

I do not think that most Europeans would swap health systems with the US but neither would Americans swap with Europeans. Again, this does not objectively prove anything. This is a non-argument.

"The Brits
can buy private insurance..." And thus you disprove the thesis that everybody likes the NHS. Let me ask you, are those that choose private insurance over the NHS still forced to subsidize those who stay with the NHS? If so, is that just or fair?

"NHS doctors are (in my experience)..." Again, the anecdotal fallacy but at least you recognize it.

"...costs less than $300 a month..." Again, you're talking subjective value. I believe most people would like to get more for less but sometimes you have to pay more to get more. You can't get an Aston Martin for the price of a Kia Rio.

"...Americans cannot opt IN." This is a good point and one you should have made a lot sooner. If my choice was between the European socialist model and the American facsist model, I would probably prefer the former. Not only are we Americans taxed but we are done so in order to directly subsidize corporations and indirectly subsidize them by financing a regulatory regime that reduces market competition and raises prices. But, again, this is subjective value and says nothing about the inherent financial stability of either system, which is where we began.

"Americans have no choice." And neither do Europeans. But we should know what choices we're arguing about. It's not between a government run system or non-government run system. It's between a voluntary system that is adaptable to need and change or a coercive system that will collapse under it's own weight crushing those dependent on it.

"You could do some of your own research
though." Once again you rely on ad hominem to indirectly belittle my intelligence. And again, what does that say about you?

Never the less, I will move on to the article. I am beginning to question whether or not you actually read the links you send me because two things jump out at me immediately.

From the article:

"'Everything is so simple when want to get a
cab, or rent a car, or take out, eat fast food,'
Tomas says. 'But once it gets to serious issues
— your health — then it gets hellish.'"

Well, why is that? What is the difference between the fast food industry and the health industry? Could it be because the health industry is probably the second most highly regulated sector in America, only after the financial sector? I think so.

And then the part that makes me question if you read it because, if you had, you may not have posted it:

"...French health
care comes at a high cost. There are questions
about how long France can sustain it. The
health system ran a nearly $9 billion deficit last

Thus, you lend credence to my thesis that these programs are unsustainable which was the point of my initial post concerning "social floors." The Irish president proclaimed that "social floors" are the future. If, in fact, "social floors" are financially unsustainable then ipso facto his statement is false.

I am happy that you engage in these types of discussions but perhaps next time you should do so with an open mind. Not to argue, necessarily, to persuade or attack but to perhaps increase mutual understanding or open your eyes to different perpectives or something you hadn't thought of before.

For me, this conversation will lead me to explore the difference between morals and values. I'm leaning toward morality being objective (which is hard to prove but I think it's based on the non-aggression principe) and values being subjective.

Good luck to you, Patrick. Until next time.

And Scott, perhaps I can get some acknowledgment for my information, clarity, and patience? Or perhpas you both should get props for your patiemce if you made it this far. lol

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