Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Unary System: The first is a system whose entities are all completely dependent and knowledgeable of each of other. In this system you have something where communication between the entities is smooth, but the system as a whole is inflexible and grows into an uncontrollable state where any change could lead to a destructive ripple effect. In addition, any communication with another system is difficult and sometimes impossible.
Libertarian System: The second is a system, in rebellion to the first, made up of entities that are completely independent of each other. Each entity is extremely flexible, but any cooperation between the entities is a laborious and sometimes impossible undertaking. Intelligence is low because there is no efficient way to aggregate the entities.
Collective System: Finally, the third system is made up of entities that are independent of each other. However, there is an agreed upon protocol of communication that is completely separate from what is being communicated and how the entities operate. In this system, there is an intelligence made up of many pieces of autonomous entities that can change with little to no effect on any other entity. Furthermore, any part or grouping of the system works seamlessly as if one cohesive unit when needed. This gives the system flexibility and intelligence. It also gives the system the ability to communicate, and sometimes absorb, outside systems. In addition, the system has the ability to split and/or reconnect with minimal damage.
In order to explain this further and apply it to government, I need to break it down to a few central beliefs.
+++ Smaller government doesn't mean LESS government +++
Yes, the republican party would have you believe that to get your vote. But by doing so, they stray from the root of the republican ideology. That is why, even though I am a moderate, I can’t vote for these neo-reps, and I disagree with their policies consistently.
Smaller government means that the powers are delegated to a lower level. I feel that since the birth of this country we have been gradually moving towards a more and more centralized state of government. This centralized government represents a Unary system.
I don't believe this was the founders' intent. They wanted to replace the monarch with the intelligentsia, but they wanted to do so in a manner that was more towards the Libertarian system. Do not be confused -- I am not using libertarian by its political definition, but rather as a device to describe the behavior of the system. The founders initially wished for a Libertarian system in rebellion to the Monarch’s Unary system. However, this ‘Confederacy’ did not hold up. So, they developed in the constitution a system that promised to someday evolve into a Collective System.
Though, it must be said, I also believe that it doesn't matter what 200-year-old people think in regards to our decisions today. They were smart and important. They understood what they wanted was a forward step, but they also understood that the exact balance and nature of government could never truly be known, so they anticipated change and growth. We must learn from them while looking forward not backward.
Sometimes I think we hope that some ancestral grandpa will give us the answers because like children, we are afraid to take responsibility for our own ideas and do our ancestors the honor of progressing further. Right now, I fear instead of progressing forward, we are slowly taking steps backward.
I believe that it is dangerous when two things happen. One, that laws are quickly made relative to the slowness of society and two, when laws are made for an entire entity, leaving no room for an alternative or alternative(s) to play out.
I want federal law to be comparable to scientific "Laws", and State law to be "Theories"... Too often we try to push agendas through at a federal level, and they quickly get adopted. We have not tested the idea, nor have we proven its correctness in anything but word. It may be as true as the theory of relativity, but it is not Law.
We as a society need to be free to make mistakes, or partial mistakes, without putting our entire body at risk. And we must be free to explore, in detail, competing ideas.
+++ Competition is not about money or winning. +++
Sure we want to fight to win, but competition has always been about collision, refinement, adoption, and elimination. It is the birthplace of innovation.
The republicans try to own this term like their version is the only version. Yet their version is the most narrow view of the word and the most heinous to those who do not believe in greed and "winning"... namely most liberals.
Well fuck those who try to make competition something about free markets and capitalism... you don't own the word or the concept. It's time the intelligentsia take this idea back and use it in a more Darwinian way. Especially when the GOP, the current champions of competition, abandon this ideal whenever they want something done federally due to the influence of money and power.
There should always be competition and respect and appreciation for the competitors. Putting a regulation on a company doesn't limit competition. Don't be so short sighted! It is a method to create a competitive way to organize commerce and the state. Why must we only choose one way to do this out of thousands and slam it as an absolute on a federal level?
No, no, I want the States to compete drastically. And as certain theories become laws through discovery and experimentation, we can adapt and modify our federal structure to take the good and leave the bad. The federal government then can help save States who fail completely so that they may start again. They do this in exchange for the information and knowledge gained from the failure.
But, Kermit, how can you say this when you just wrote last week about supporting healthcare on a national level?? Well, it's easy. When I vote for healthcare, I am voting in the world we live in today. Ideally, I would prefer that our healthcare market wasn't one giant national mess. But right now our commerce operates on two levels. The smaller commercial entities operate in a Libertarian system, while the national and global systems are closer to Unary.
This combination is not the same as a Collective. It’s just a dangerous set-up where small business struggles and big business is too big to fail.
+++ Collective systems +++
Take firearms for example. Revolvers were one of the first products to be manufactured using interchangeable parts. Chambers, barrels, and triggers were made en mass and could be put into any six-shooter. Previously, Chamber A, Barrel A, and Trigger A were fabricated to only make Gun A, not Gun A, B, or C.
If the manufacturing of gun parts evolved to a Collective system then there would be no limitations on replacing parts. For instance, a revolving chamber could be replaced with a magazine. Any number and types of barrels can be attached. Shells, bullets, or rockets could be loaded in the gun in the same way. We can’t do this in real life, but some video games have taken advantage of this idea so that the players can make any permutation of a gun, each embodying the pros and cons of the parts that make it up.
In the world of computers, we started with huge “enterprise” systems with dummy terminals that were completely dependent on the central unit. Then we broke out and had personal computers that were completely independent of each other, but did not operate smoothly with anything else. Now we are starting to see terminals that are independent, but can communicate with any other smart terminal. Slowly the need for a central unit is fading away. The idea of “computer” is no longer a specific thing, but a multitude of different types of devices. Even where we store our information is now being shared across multiple entities, and the information itself is being disassociated with the tools that store it.
The end goal is a completely decentralized system of autonomous parts that all can work together and in a way, as a whole, constitute a new type of intelligence. We almost have that in the internet. We already have that as nations in a way, which is why we are so apt to personify (to our great detriment) countries.
Ever wonder why so many computer nerds revere Steve Jobs while sneering at Apple? Because Steve Jobs was a visionary when it came to design, ideas, and user interfacing. However, he had Apple isolate itself. When viewing the computer industry as a whole, Apple represented a Libertarian entity in a system that yearns to be a Collective. When viewing Apple as a system in itself, it is die-hard Unary. All Apple products work extremely well with each other and extremely poorly with anything else. This is changing slowly, but this is why Apple is typically the first and best performing product. This is also why if your Apple product wasn’t originally programmed to do something, you won’t be able to do it.
Whereas, Microsoft and open source communities come out with the same products later than Apple and tend to have more bugs, but are extremely flexible and open. So, if it wasn’t meant to do something you want to do, there is still a possibility you can make it do it.
Software and technology, by far, are the closest man-made system to a Collective. Some believe, me included, that technology as an intelligent system will merge with humanity on a very physical level, and will define the next evolution of humankind. Not in the way movies portray it, but on a level that is hard to imagine from our current point of view.
Too often we are restricted by the idea of intelligence being something that can only come from a sentient being. However, in those terms you are only looking at part of the whole. A true intelligence is in a non-sentient system. That is, it is not self-aware. A human is a sentient being, but a people rarely are, and humanity is certainly not. Yet, at each level one can argue there exists a definable intelligence. That, actually, is how I view my God. Not a guy with a beard who consciously makes decisions, but rather an intelligent, but not self-aware, universe, of which we are a participating subsystem. Pick up “The Singularity is Near” if you want some interesting thoughts related to that subject.
Our goal in organizing government is to progress towards a system that maximizes intelligence and flexibility. We, as a species, need to stay agile as the rate of our progress increases. And our progrss must be a product of competing ideas, lest we set ourselves back because of our inflexibility. That is why we must strive to make our federal government, our state government, and the world government progress towards a Collective System.
We can start doing this by backing away from our most recent trend of increasing federal power, and instead increase State power and autonomy. That is why so-called "smaller" government is a progressive idea.
One of the points of this blog is to break down these complicated thoughts that I have and figure out a better way to understand and communicate them... I don't expect to achieve that today. This is just my first real attempt at describing why I believe in (and defining) smaller government while still holding to the idea that the "neo-reps" are full of shit.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Why should we have social healthcare?
Here are a few answers: it should be a basic human right. It could be more affordable in general if it were. Insurance companies are dictating treatments. Healthcare has a direct impact on this country's prosperity. On and on…
So why are people against it?
Some opponents of social healthcare tell me that they "don't want the government coming between them and their doctor."
Others claim that "socialized medicine is just a way to take money from hard working citizens so that we can take care of the lazy and those with an unhealthy lifestyle."
While still others claim that "socialized medicine hasn't worked in other countries and so it wouldn't work here." Something about 'waiting in line'.
"The government is terrible at running anything."
"Healthcare should be a state issue."
Well, let's qualify where I am coming from.
1) I am a cancer patient
2) I was/am an otherwise healthy and active human being in my early thirties.
3) I had a great job where I was mid- to upper-management with full benefits working in technology
::Government coming between me and my doctor::
Well… right now I have an insurance company between me and my doctor. An insurance company, which despite its best efforts to persuade me otherwise, is a company. And a company's sole goal to its investors is to make money. Investors vote for a board who promise that goal. A board hires a CEO whose purpose is to realize that goal. That CEO structures the company and those who work for that company to achieve that goal. THEY are in between me and my doctor right now.
Would I rather have an elected official, whose goal is public service, be dictating insurance policies. You bet! Yeah, yeah, all politicians are corrupt… so they say. But we vote for them! I didn't have a say in hiring anyone that works at my insurance company right now, and so far they have:
a) prohibited my doctor from ordering additional tests that could exponentially aid in our decision making process as we figure out how to make me NOT DIE
b) tried to make me pay out of pocket for scans/tests that my doctor has already ordered that are VITAL for me to survive, because the insurance company deems them nonessential because they are considered routine, not pertaining to a claimed diagnosis, etc.
c) create a huge bureaucracy of paperwork for anything to actually get paid, thus making it more difficult to get things covered
d) played a role in whether or not I get admitted to the hospital for various treatments
e) played a role in EVERY medical decision my doctor has made.
They aren't just in between me and my doctor, they are controlling the conversation. And they make these decisions based on the priority that is to make profit.
I am ALL for capitalism. I do not want to 'socialize the world'. But I want my doctor and I to make medical decisions without having to consider a third-party whose only interest in the arrangement is to try to make a profit despite my illness.
::Socialized medicine is just a way to take money from hard working citizens and spend it on those who are lazy or live unhealthy lifestyles::
First off - the money. What are you talking about? We pay premiums now. And healthcare costs are INSANE. I wanted to buy a machine that will take my blood pressure, pulse, and temperature, so that I can monitor several side effects I am having from the chemo. $2,000.
I have an Ipad that does everything but perform sexual favors and it was a quarter of that. I have a phone that can surf the internet, do my taxes, retrieve documents, make calls, send text messages, play games, and call me beautiful in the morning and it was only $200.
I worked in a small start up company for five years before working for a small community hospital. All of the same types of purchases were automatically ten times the price in healthcare. That means $100 was $1,000. That means a year long capital investment of $100,000 turned into a MILLION. Those working in healthcare don't even realize how incredibly uneven this is. Or how this is effectively killing any community healthcare program or hospital by making them unable to provide the best care. Community healthcare is too busy paying inflated prices, which put them in the red every year, while large insurance companies use their leverage in the business to buy and combine hospitals into their own 'health system'.
In addition to that, when I became sick and could no longer work, my insurance company dropped me. I had to purchase COBRA, because I was no longer considered an employee of the company that purchased my insurance. Because I was not well enough to work, I was on long term disability at a fraction of my original salary. In addition, I was still expected to pay the full amount of my insurance fees even though I had no more income. I thought the point was that I would pay upfront so I could be taken care of? Doesn't it defeat the purpose if the insurance company can drop you unless you meet its demand of paying more money? They gambled, they lost.
By the way, COBRA is a government act that enables me to keep my benefits for up to 18 months in the event that my work hours are reduced. So if it wasn't for a government act I would have NO INSURANCE right now and have to pay for the three surgeries, three rounds of chemo, and all the drugs and hospital visits and CT scans and blood tests out of pocket.
But I'm just some asshole right? Trying to take your hard earned cash to pay for my unhealthy lifestyle? I had a good job which for someone my age, in my community, would be considered very successful. I have a house, two cars, and a 401K. I paid my premiums, I have long term disability, and yet if I didn't have financial help from family, I would have lost it all. And why? Because I got cancer.
Was I a smoker? Yup. But I'm in my thirties, active, and my cancer was testicular. So the fact that I was a smoker hardly qualifies as "I had it coming" and do not deserve healthcare. If you disagree, try putting the cheeseburger, steak, or milkshake down, and then we can talk. Or stop getting into your car. Not the same thing? Maybe… but not by much.
And can we just drop that whole point of view anyway? We vote for social programs so that we have security, so that society is more prosperous. Not to reward specific individuals who could be considered undeserving with public services. That is just a stance that the two parties like to play tug-o-war with. You want to whine about the freeloader, go back to the fourth grade and cry during recess - it would make more sense there.
Besides, we are already paying for those who do not have healthcare as it stands today. The insured pay inflated costs to make up the difference for those who can't pay. The only difference is through a socialized program, premiums are paid over time, preventative care will be given to those who need it, when they need it, and costs would reduce.
Would I rather have my taxes increased, my premiums go away, and the comfort of knowing I am covered as far as healthcare is concerned? You bet.
Would the fact that healthcare being covered would lead me to more doctor visits? Sure. And would that lead to lower overall costs because the combined cost of preventative care is much lower than treating health issues that have gone unnoticed or were preventable? YOU BET.
And reoccurrence of my type of cancer is low, so it's not that I'm reassured because I think I'll get sick again. Had there been social healthcare, I would have started a business a long time ago, adding to the economy, perhaps maybe even making a contribution to the innovation of this country, but I played it safe, and I still could have gone bankrupt!
::Socialized medicine doesn't work in other countries...::
Okay, let me stop you there. BULLSHIT. It does work and works well. You want to cherry pick specific examples of the system failing? You want perfection? Go to sleep, because that is the only place you will find anything living up to your standards.
You got a friend who knows someone in another country that doesn't like the healthcare system? Great, because it's so hard to find someone who complains about their government. They are complaining about an imperfect system while we are busy defending a BROKEN one.
Our health system is failing. Our health system is not perfect. And neither will be our social healthcare, but it will be a work in progress … progress that is based on health, not on profit.
And waiting in line? What is that crock? I wait in line all the time! Constantly in waiting rooms, constantly waiting to be scheduled for a procedure. Could it be worse? Sure, because when more people get healthcare, there are less time slots available. Perhaps we will get more doctors and higher quality of care when the insurance company doesn't LIMIT THE AMOUNT OF TIME YOU SPEND WITH YOUR DOCTOR.
You don't want to wait in line? Kill off half our population. Just don't kill the doctors. Then we will never wait in line for healthcare. What, you can't do that? Then get over it. You think you have more of a right than someone else? Is it because you are a better person? Is it because you have more money? You know who has more money than anyone? Stock brokers. You know what they contribute to society? NOTHING. I don't have anything against them. Do what you want, but don't think money is equal to intrinsic value. It's not. You can get more tvs, better cars, and cooler vacations, but you certainly aren't ENTITLED to anything, especially my spot in line.
::The government is terrible at running anything::
Really?? Like defending our nation? Like providing clean water? Like policing our streets? I'm sorry, what are they bad at again?
And for God's sake, can we please point out that the majority of the time that our government does incredibly poorly, or worse than it has performed in the past, is when a politician decides to strip it of resources or appoint idiots to run it. Because if it does bad, then they can argue to get rid of it. Hey, that’s politics. We vote for it, but be smart - see what is really going on.
::Healthcare should be a state issue::
Ah, finally a good point! I disagree, but I respect the opinion. I like the idea of having different states trying different types of healthcare programs. Have them compete not over money, but over quality of life and quality of care.
However, I disagree in this particular case because healthcare has become a multi-state market without the ability to have independence between states. Therefore it is something that the congress should (and has the right to) regulate. States lack the funds and the autonomy to have a functioning and fully successful healthcare program. When you reduce it to that level, you are setting it up for failure.
And if you are doing that on purpose. YOU ARE AN ASS.
Let's take a moment and talk about the 'individual mandate' the Supreme Court is deciding about right now in Obamacare. The idea is that it is forcing people to buy something. It is argued that because what they are buying is in a multi-state market where everyone will, at some point, have to buy into, that the congress can create a constitutional law doing so. And the reason it is even an issue is because to even get it passed through congress the democrats had to turn it into an individual mandate instead of a tax. Ridiculous. I am not going to say anything more about this, because it is an argument over definitions and politics, and it steams my glasses - and not in the good way.
So wow, I haven't even gotten to why we SHOULD have healthcare. At least not directly, though indirectly I may have hit upon a few points simply pointing out the pure ridiculousness that is the Republican Party's (neo-rep's) stance on socialized healthcare. Maybe I'll actually discuss whether or not healthcare is a basic human right some day. Now THAT is a good discussion. One that we, as a nation, unfortunately are incapable of having responsibly.
Get the facts. Get over it. Then we can talk.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
What am i trying to achieve?