Collectivism has its darker sides
Professor Steiger wrote aptly about the social benefits that collectivism can bring in his column in the Sunday, Dec. 22 edition of the Tribune-Star.
Let us not forget, however, that collectivism can also bring out the darker aspects of humanity. The good of “the group” being placed above the rights of the individual has justified much evil in the past century alone. The unimaginable horrors of Nazism and communism’s (be it of the Stalin or Mao variety) extermination of millions and attempted genocides. The comparatively “mundane” blanket discrimination against women, non-whites and homosexuals.
Even today, when in the name of “tolerance” those who “cling to religion” are increasingly ostracized because they have a different set of morals.
Like many things in life, the answer lies somewhere between the two extremes. Exactly where, of course, is up to the individual.
— Dan Garrison
High praise for McLean school
I started at McLean school, or rather restarted, because I heard that it would be better for me due to my difficulties with migraines.
I heard right. The teachers and staff in general are awesome. The students are friendly. It takes me back to my favorite years in school — before my migraine attacks started to be more frequent. That was in Chauncey Rose Middle School, which I attended four years ago.
It’s been four years since I’ve enjoyed school this much. That’s saying something since I generally enjoy learning. I’ve concluded that the difference is because here at McLean, every member of the staff that I have met seems to care about the students.
I dropped out of high school my senior year. I came back to finish and was failing badly before I transferred. Now I’m almost finished. I had always thought C-Rose was the only school I would miss in years to come. I’ve found I will miss this school, too.
— Abbi McKee
Does ISU take place of Bible for morality?
Based on the Dec. 17 Tribune-Star front page article, it seems that the hens in the henhouse that is ISU are all squawking and have their feathers a flutter over what they consider to be a fox outside the henhouse called HJR-6, a fox that must be put to death without mercy.
HJR-6 is the proposed amendment to the state’s constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Several things stuck out in that article that aroused my curiosity and interest. It was said that the passage of the ban “could impact the university’s ability to attract and retain faculty, staff and students.”
Well, I got to wondering who that could be that might be driven off if such a ban passed. Would members of the GOP refuse to come to ISU if the ban passes or could they have had in mind tea party members? Maybe it was Christians. Just who could it be who might not be willing to come to ISU if the ban passes?
Could it be liberals and secularists? God forbid. May it never be.
A second reason expressed for opposition to the ban was said to be “for morality reasons.” Whose morality? Where did this morality come from; what is its origin? Now everyone with any sense at all knows we are the most enlightened people to ever inhabit the earth. Knowledge and wisdom began with this generation that lives today and it will end there. Still I would like to know the source of this ISU morality.
I bet it came from Jesus, don’t you? He talked about Sodom and Gomorrah, two places famous for homosexuality, but I guess I must have read his words wrong because it sounded to me like he did not approve of what went on there. But, why worry about what Jesus said anyway when you have ISU to turn to for guidance on moral issues?
I don’t know what I am going to do with my Bible now for I am troubled. Others besides Jesus spoke on the subject — Jude 6-7, Rom. 1:24-27, and 1 Cor. 6:9-10. I must have misunderstood what they all were saying. That disappoints me for I now feel my education at ISU (class of ’69) was a failure if I cannot understand the things I read.
In any case, it is good to know that ISU has higher moral standards than the Bible — that is if I understood what I read which is questionable since I graduated from ISU. I do have serious doubts about my ISU education. The professors I had at ISU way back when were so unenlightened they had not even conceptualized such a thing as gay marriage. They still thought it took a man and a woman to make a marriage.
That is deeply troubling. I am just troubled all the way around. I have now got to wonder if a man and a mare could make a marriage.
It is comforting, however, to know we can turn from the Bible to the Faculty Senate, Staff Council and Student Government Association at ISU for moral guidance and direction. Let us give thanksgiving.
— Denny Smith
Don’t be fooled by health care data
In his Nov. 27 column, Ronn Mott writes, “We do not have, in America, the highest-rated health care system. We are not in the top 10 … but somewhere in the middle 30s.”
Comparing the huge heterogeneous population of the U.S. with the homogeneous populations of European countries is an old canard and rarely yields useful data. Any responsible columnist delving into this subject will concede that fact if he takes the time to analyze the data.
The U.S. ranks first in terms of access to advanced medical technology such as CT scanners, MRI machines and Cardiac Catheterizations. As a result, we enjoy among the highest rates of cancer survival in the world for both men and women. Source: Lancet Oncology.
Obamacare is based on the Canadian model. The proportion of middle-aged Canadian women who have never had a mammogram is twice that of the U.S., and three times as many Canadian women have never had a Pap smear. This lack of screening is partly responsible for the fact that the mortality rate in Canada is 25 percent higher for breast cancer.
Infant mortality is one area in which the U.S. appears to be lagging (until one looks at how the data are gathered). U.S. doctors and hospitals do heroic work in saving very-low-birth-weight infants while many nations make little or no attempt at saving such infants. They aren’t even recorded as “live born” and are not counted in infant mortality statistics. (They are counted in U.S. statistics.) British guidelines advise against care for babies born before 22 weeks.
The fact that many poor women in the U.S. fail to avail themselves of prenatal care — even when it’s free — cannot be blamed on the fault of our medical care system.
Harvard’s Regina Herzlinger has written extensively about the medical care industry. She notes that “a public payer can reduce costs only by rationing health care, especially to the sick, who account for most of the expenditures. Thus, the United Kingdom’s single-payer system features the lowest usage of cancer drugs among the Big 5 European economies, and commensurately low cancer-survival rates ... Compared with the United States, the United Kingdom spends less, true, but it also gets less.”
What is the moral justification of having the state decide what medical care to ration? Such policies have an Orwellian odor that most Americans find repellent. The U.S. spends more per capita on health care than other countries because we provide and consume more health care services at baseline.
Nor is it all about medicine. Industry experts note that about 70 percent of medical costs are “lifestyle driven.” The CDC reports that 26.1 percent of American adults are obese. It’s estimated that if we could get Americans back to 1991 weight levels we would save a trillion dollars. Physicians at the famed Cleveland Clinic draw a sharp distinction between “health care” and “medical care.” Health care is (your) responsibility.
Studies demonstrate that Mormons live about 10 years longer than the rest of us. Does Utah have better docs? No. The answer lies in the fact that Mormons embrace lifestyle choices that are less destructive than those chosen by the general population. As with so much in life, personal responsibility plays a major role in remaining healthy.
Utah compares favorably with any country one cares to cite; whereas Texas tends to compare unfavorably. But these outcomes have little to do with the medical care systems in the two states.
Much is made of the fact that U.S. life expectancy is a bit shorter than that of other countries. But if one adjusts for violent crime and vehicular deaths Americans enjoy the longest life expectancy.
While we might debate its affordability, there is no debating the fact that U.S. medicine is the best in the world. When wealthy Americans become seriously ill they seek treatment (here).
As a Canadian friend is always reminding me, “free” medical care is not synonymous with access to quality care on a timely basis. That’s why Canadians flock to the U.S. for medical procedures. The nonpartisan Fraser Institute reports that 46,159 Canadians sought medical treatment outside of Canada in 2011, as wait times increased 104 percent.
— Reggie McConnell
More data on Jihad, Sharia
The problems with Jihad and Sharia mentioned by Hal Strahm in his Dec. 15 letter are supported by data given by Dr. Peter Hammond, in his book, “Slavery, Terrorism and Islam.” In that book, Dr. Hammond describes the behavior patterns of Muslim populations across the globe, in countries with different concentrations of Muslim population.
The following is adapted from Dr. Hammond’s book. The data are from 2005.
n Under 2 percent — peace-loving minority. (United States, Australia, Canada, China, Italy, Norway.)
n 2 percent to 5 percent — proselytization from disaffected groups, jails. (Denmark, Germany, United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand.)
• 5 percent on — demand for halal food at supermarkets, with threats for failure to comply. (France, Philippines, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Trinidad and Tobago.)
• 10 percent — lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions, car burnings, uprisings, threats. (Guyana, India, Israel, Kenya, Russia.)
• 20 percent — hair-trigger rioting, jihad militia formations, sporadic killings, and the burnings of Christian churches and Jewish synagogues. (Ethiopia.)
• 40 percent — widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks, and ongoing militia warfare. (Bosnia, Chad, Lebanon.)
• 60 percent — unfettered persecution of non-believers of all other religions (including non-conforming Muslims), sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia Law as a weapon, and Jizya, the tax placed on infidels. (Albania, Malaysia, Qatar, Sudan.)
• 80 percent — daily intimidation and violent jihad, some state-run ethnic cleansing, and even some genocide. (Bangladesh, Egypt, Gaza, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates.)
• 100 percent — there is supposed to be the peace of “Dar-es-Salaam” — the Islamic House of Peace, because everybody is a Muslim. Unfortunately, peace is never achieved for a variety of reasons. (Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Yemen.)
— Isaac Graham Miller
Making senseof nonsense
In reply to Dwayne Owens, I would like to say that some do not know the difference between common sense and nonsense. So, I will get right to the issues that Mr. Owens has been so kind as to bring up. I would remind the reader that all of his ranting is, indeed, nonsense.
• The Liberal vs. Conservative labels is obsolete nonsense. No one of us may be pigeonholed politically.
• Were it not for the retirement and health care of workers the cost to an employer per employee would not be prohibitive. This whole idea is nonsense.
• The USMC uniform hats are a non-issue. The change would make all of those hats uniform. This argument is nonsense.
• The children’s lemonade stand argument is nonsense from Glen Beck. Maybe he should be more concerned with why some parents refuse to supervise their own children instead of relying on the mercy of the neighborhood.
• If Republicans like to “thwart” terrorists so much then why did they block a bill in the House intended to prohibit gun sales to them? This is nonsense.
• Regarding the so-called “welfare state”, why isn’t he concerned with bailouts as much as he is Mitt Romney’s alleged 48 percent nonsense?
• The Federal Register grows just as much under a Republican-run government. To claim otherwise is utter nonsense.
• Unemployment rates have fallen under Obama. Claiming otherwise is right-wing propaganda and therefore nonsense.
• There are no real differences between Northern Ireland and Great Britain except the religious, cultural and economic ones, the same as in any two regions of America. This argument is nonsense.
• The reasons why we are having the economic trouble that we are having is the extremely well-off transferring assets off-shore and the elimination of sufficient taxes to support government. Ask Terre Haute’s own Republican Mayor Bennett about this nonsense.
The question of George Soros is nonsense balanced by the question about the Koch brothers and when these two economic powerhouses of the right and the left fall there will be others who we can nonsensically gripe about. So-called “entitlement” arguments are nonsense because they fail to differentiate between true welfare, taxing for Social Security and they leave out government bail outs entirely.
Really, Dwayne. Don’t you ever do any of your own thinking or could you be replaced with an audio recording of other people’s nonsense?
— John Garner