Friday, December 18, 2009

Insurance as Time Travel

I've been trying to think of the word for, well, weeks? -- months? Not really trying, but it's been a nag. This insurance thing, health insurance, and government mandated healthcare, or rather medicine care. It's so much about the meaning of words, their control and manipulation. Because once you learn a word, you think when it's used, that's what the word must mean. That slight of hand thing, the arguers-trick of switching meanings. Insurance. The word insurance. It's a bet against fate. Then tonight I heard Dennis Prager say it too: If you can get it after you're already sick, how is that insurance? What are you insuring against? It's already happened.

So it's clicked into place. They say insurance. What they mean is a cooperative. You all pool your money, and just spread it around according to need. Just distribute the benefits regardless of contribution. There's no bet involved. Hm. I think I'm changing my mind. I had decided the word was not communalism. Now I'm thinking it is. Because with a cooperative, you're sharing future risks, not past. Hm. Honestly, I suppose the correct word after all is communism. Limited, socialism then, since private property is not outright forbidden.

It's perhaps the fundamental difference between right and left. We all want universal happiness and wonderfulness in the world. The left wants to impose it, bureaucratically, with all that this implies. The right wants you to go out and get it for yourself. That's the simple way of drawing the distinction. It hardly needs saying. It sometimes needs pointing out that the right is as generous as the left. Far more, in fact, statistically. The left exploits government to do what it thinks is good. The right uses private charitable contributions and volunteered time. It just works out that way -- conservatives give more of their time and resources. Makes sense, since charity is what government is for, to the left. Job done.

It's not a we're better than you thing. If government really did the job of creating happiness better, then we'd all be communists, and happy. Government, according to the meaning of the word, governs, which is another word for controls. Does being controlled make you happy? To my mind, government is about keeping the roads passable. California now has the worst roads in the nation. We used to have the best. So much government we have, and so much decay. What happened? How could such a wonderful theory as Progressivism be wrong? Can a religion be wrong? It hardly seems possible. It would be bigoted to even think it.

The objection to private charity is that it discriminates, or used to, between the deserving and the undeserving. Imagine such a thing. But snottiness aside, even the undeserving, the stumble bum who actually prefers the gutter -- he finds his suckers, his touches, his enablers. You give these wastrels dimes, not checks -- flops, not affordable housing. The giant housing projects that get torn down 15 years later as unsalvageable prove the point.

Dog eat dog? Law of claw and talon? No. Defend the weak. Be a father to the fatherless. This does not mean, however, gigantic "group homes", read orphanages -- with which I have had some cause to deal with. There is that vacillating center, that will rise to the occasion if need be, albeit sometimes too late. If there are huge government programs to waste school lunches on kids who throw it away -- as I have endlessly seen -- then there is no need for private individuals to lift a finger. If there are no such programs, individuals will band together and get the job done -- food to kids who will not throw it away.

So, insurance. Once when I was the only conservative in a Hollywood group of liberals, the discussion turned to healthcare, and when I finally had to speak up, I said that when a person did not smoke, or drink, and exercised, and ate properly, then he should come to me to help him pay for his healthcare. Nobody had a response to that. They were a polite group. Because under such circumstances, where somebody had a need for some help, I might get some like-minded people together and collect some funds and see what could be done. You know, sort of a collective. Meanwhile, having insurance, or not, is a cost-benefit analysis. My actuarial statistics make me a great customer for some insurance company. They also free me from a need for insurance, accidents excluded. Statistically speaking.

Not everyone is willing to live with the consequences of their choices, though. Not everyone is willing to allow other people to make such choices. It's so strange. The blindness, or hypocrisy. But we will not tonight settle such contradictions in psychology or human nature. Like the nature of the universe. In this universe, crippled as it is, with only three and a half dimensions, there is no time travel. We move in one direction, at a set pace. It's the difference between flying and falling. We fall, flap our arms as we might. The best we might do is change our vector, slow ourselves a bit. But time makes no allowance for hang gliding, analogy not withstanding. Reality is what it is.

As Obama recently and so very wisely revealed to his rapt audience, human nature is not perfect. He must be moving to the right.


1 comment:

Will C. said...

Where's the darn "share on Facebook" button!!!