Atheism, Ethics

We Need A God

The terrible behavior of the god-believers is a convincing evidence of the non-existence of a morally influential God. Believers loudly legislate each others’ behavior, imposing their made-up gods’ made-up codes on each other (and the rest of us). And believers in gods constantly embarrass the hell out of each other.

It’s a shame there isn’t a real god behind all of the shouting, the offense-taking, the in-the-name-of-killings, whippings, wars, and blasphemy laws, sitting up above it all, shaking his divine head in disgust. The way the world is going, we could really use a god.

But until one shows up, until just one god or just one believer appears who makes a difference distinguishable from any minimal self-help efforts, it would be nice if the believers could quiet down about how powerful and amazing is their god. Sit up and take notice of how truly shitty things are in this world we share. And notice that this god they bludgeon us with has improved life on earth just about exactly as much as human beings have, no more or less. Could they please just notice that they are the ones making the codes, answering the prayers, performing the ‘miracles,’ and paying the bills? They themselves are the gods on which they pretend to depend.

We need a god. We need lots of them. We need everyone who pretends there are real gods to start acting more like them, inasmuch as these gods are supposedly kind, loving, benevolent, and acting in the best interest of humanity. Be that kind of god in the world. Discard your pretend gods, and be a force for good without god.

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Ethics, Politics

Easy Solution to Middle East Conflict

With tongue planted firmly in cheek, I offer the following quick-fix, simple, easy solution to that persistent problem of war in the Middle East (currently flaring up between Israel and Palestine, for the xx time in xx years/months/weeks).

To solve this pesky problem of constant war between Israel and its neighbors, all you have to do is:

  • make the international news conglomerates accurately report all legitimate stories
  • allow all displaced peoples a homeland and nationhood
  • eliminate racial bigotry on both sides
  • turn the mutual hatred from their mutually exclusive religious doctrines into ecumenical brotherhood and love
  • confiscate their heavy weaponry and bomb-making materials and get them to promise not to make any of their own
  • make them cease all boycotts and embargoes against each other
  • put leaders over them who will root out corruption, religious fundamentalism, and greed, and who will prioritize creating a secular, representative government over all other goals
  • tear down all walls separating them, including historical ethno-centrism, exceptionalism, ancient feuds, contradictory scriptural bragging rights, and the literal concrete, militarized walls
  • promote international trade with all nations, and international alliances with all nations
How hard could that be?
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Atheism, Counter-apologetics, Ethics, Personal statements, Philosophy, Seventh-day Adventism, Theology

Good Without God, Better Without God




For whatever reason (I’m not sure I’m willing to guess), in the few years since I’ve come out atheist, I have experienced a motivation to behave ethically and morally far beyond that which two and a half decades of Christianity ever provided.

My denomination was the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I was not your average pew-warmer, either. Within 18 months of my baptism at the tender age of 20, I had embarked on a year-long foreign missionary teaching assignment, been ordained a local elder in that mission-field’s church (at the ordination ceremony, when the pastor read to his church the biblical requirements of an elder, he literally skipped over the verse in 1 Timothy 3 which states that the elder must not be a recent convert; I swallowed hard and kept smiling), and had preached sermons and taught lessons more than many elderly members who had been Seventh-day Adventists all their lives.

Within five years of my baptism, I had married a pastor’s daughter, was the father of my own daughter, and had entered my religion degree program at the church’s most conservative college (then called simply Southern College, now called Southern Adventist University). Three years later, I was continuing my teaching career, standing before classrooms full of youth in an official church ministry capacity: Bible teacher, licensed to teach grades 7-12. My life had a trajectory; my role in the church gave me unlimited opportunities to model good citizenship, and the character qualities of a member in good and regular standing. Mine was a Purpose-Driven Life.

In the Bible, in Ellen White’s writings, and in fellowship with like-minded fellow Adventists including especially the most Christian-like people I’ve ever met– my wife and her adoptive parents– I actively sought moral motivation. I wanted to be a better person, just like most of my fellow Christians were actively seeking to be. It’s one of the things Christians do.

However, I remember that I always received from all my spiritual sources something mixed in with the motivation, something that perhaps tainted it. I know that I always believed that my sinfulness was real, was permanent (until God would remove it at my resurrection), and that it was part of me– I believed in that Bible doctrine of the sinful nature.

I was damaged goods. I was broken. Yes, I was redeemable, and sometimes I actually managed to believe I was redeemed. But mostly, confirmation bias of my sinfulness created a feedback loop in my mind, so that every idle moment, every stray temptation, every minor cruelty or neglect or mistake or stumble always reminded me that I was never going to be good enough for the most important One in my life, my God. I had to have a substitute who was better than me, a mediator who would step between me and judgment, a Holy Spirit guide for my decisions and choices– because I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t good. I could never be good by nature until some future time. Maybe I’m guessing now at why I couldn’t be truly good by nature while I was a Christian: it would have contradicted the teachings of the Book I’d wrapped myself in as a career and personal compass, the Bible.

Eventually, I stepped away from that high Christian post, came down from a life as a watchman on the walls of Zion, and became just another family guy in Orlando, Florida. I also joined a small but growing group of Americans who identify as “none” when it comes to religion, and the even smaller group who class themselves as non-religious, non-spiritual, non-believer in all gods. In other words, atheist. Which to me restates a negative: ‘no god’. I also became an official, dues-paying member of another organization whose positive, life-affirming and hopeful principles I could whole-heartedly support, the American Humanist Association.

Humanists have a little motto: Good Without God. I like that, and it describes my current ethical motivations. But as I started to say at the beginning of this, I now experience a more powerful and consistent motivation to be good, now that I’m without God (as it were). Now that I’m no longer deluded into believing that all my attempts at goodness are “filthy rags,” (Isaiah 64:6), I feel that morals and ethical values are more important to me than ever before. I read books about the topic, I listen to podcasts about it, scour philosophical writings for clues, discuss it with my ever-patient wife, and through it all, I am coming to the conclusion that like the Humanist motto, ‘Good Without God,’ it’s quite true that a secular, atheist, humanist person can perhaps even be Better Without God.
________
UPDATE: The Facebook friends I have occasionally comment on my posts. The following was posted by Larry Hallock, and is reproduced here with his permission; I thought it extended nicely the theme in this post:

Larry Hallock: Excellent blog post, Jim. That first paragraph says it all… I mean, I have had the same experience, and from what I’ve read, many others have said the same thing—life becomes so much richer, so much more meaningful and rewarding… the pieces of the puzzle finally fit… without the baggage, life just seems brighter. And it’s enormously better emotionally when you’re not constantly fretting, consciously or subconsciously, over whether or not you’ll get the promised supernatural help, or why it’s not there, or why you can’t understand, or whether you’re accurately reading the mental impressions from your god (any given thought could be a deceiving counterfeit from the bad god, Satan, so an enormous amount of resources, especially time, is required for constantly praying for the good god to come and fight off the bad god for you), and whether you’re pleasing the god by interpreting its “will” correctly and then carrying out whatever it is you think it wants, according to the minimum standards required for you to be brought back to life in order to go to the great fantasy land in the sky rather than being brought back to life in order to be killed again, only this time by torture. Life was never truly joyful for me, not in a deep, abiding sense, when I lived by all of that, compared to just living by what is good, loving, positive, constructive, kind, …the Golden Rule. It is invigorating to live according to your own skills, ingenuity and creativity (being your own boss!) rather than always living every waking moment solely to please others, to say nothing of solely to please just one guy who makes enormous demands with deadly consequences if you don’t make the cut—and, all the while, he refuses discuss any of it or talk to you, just sorta leaves you to guess at what’s wanted. Sorry, but at this point I’ve started chuckling out loud, so I need to stop typing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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Economics, Ethics, Facebook discussions

Single Payer Healthcare Please!

UPDATE (02/02/2015): What It’s Like When You’re an American Using Britain’s NHS 

UPDATE (11/19/2014): Canadian woman hit with $950K medical bill after unexpectedly giving birth in US hospital

UPDATE (6/21/2014): US Doctors migrating north to escape dysfunctional US health insurance system. pnhp.org/news/2014/june/us-doctors-migrating-north

UPDATE (05/16/2014): Canadians love their system, contrary to  US health insurance lobby propaganda: pnhp.org/news/2014/march/doctor-who-schooled-us-senator-thrilled-by-canadian-support

UPDATE (12/31/2013):  Outrageous costs of U.S. healthcare: viralnova.com/hospital-bill/

UPDATE (10/31/2013): LISTEN TO REASON! The following two links both let you listen in on an intelligent conversation between host David Feldman and Dr. Paul Song and Dr. Nancy Niparko from Physicians for a National Health Program. They explain why America needs a single payer healthcare system right now. The first link is the most important five (5) minutes of the show. The second is the entire show.

Link #1 (4:48 mins): youtu.be/tcmfgR25VnQ
Link #2 (90 mins): davidfeldmanshow.com/obamacare-isnt-enough/

UPDATE (10/3/2013)  Another release of damning statistics which prove the U.S. system of healthcare is extremely dysfunctional: huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/03/health-care-costs

[Note: first published at Hubpages.com on 06/21/12; the comments immediately following were copied from that location for reference. Please comment here on blogspot.com.
Updates to this post will continue to appear above this line]

Single Payer Government Run Healthcare Q&A: Some interesting questions arose when I asked my Facebook friends if they were as ready for a single payer system as I am. I decided to answer them here, on my blog, so a potentially wider readership could chime in, too…

Disease-care, or Healthcare?

Have you checked your blood pressure today? I did.
Have you checked your
blood pressure today? I did.
Source: © cienpies.net

The following statistic speaks volumes:

“52 percent of doctors would get out of medicine if they could. So many young doctors are recognizing how broken the system is…”  –from Escape Fire, a new healthcare documentary; read the interview with the maker here.

Do Canadians come here for important health care needs (in statistically meaningful numbers)?

Are Canadian doctors leaving Canada to practice in the United States (in statistically meaningful numbers)?

Has an elaborate, private-insurer-supporting mythology emerged surrounding the supposed evils of the Canadian system?

Insurance industry lobbyists are like this scary clown: they wear suits, they have the blood of innocents on their hands, and they are deceptively masked. And they don't sleep well at night.
Insurance industry lobbyists are like this scary clown:
they wear suits, they have the blood of
innocents on their hands, and they are
deceptively masked. And they don’t sleep well at night.

It’s reminiscent of misguided corporate/political PR campaigns of days gone by:

The Finnish love saunas,
public schools,
Nokia phones,
and universal healthcare!
Source: http://www.sxc.hu/profile/_marta

Would an increase in welfare state measures be bad for the economy?

No, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus, but every December, at noradsanta.org, the North American Aerospace Defense Command will use your dad's taxpayer dollars to mock this childish fantasy of yours!
No, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus,
but every December,
at noradsanta.org,
the North American Aerospace Defense Command
will use your dad’s taxpayer dollars
 to mock this childish fantasy of yours!
photo source: Jim Miles

Doesn’t the U.S. Government always screw up everything it does?

See Myths, above; but for the patriots, here’s a very partial list:

Now, if the question is whether modern campaign-cycle-frenzied U.S. politicians screw up more often than not, I might tend to agree there.

The one sector of the economy with the most to lose in the switch to a single-payer, government-run healthcare system is the current private health insurance industry. Expect the most vehement lobbying/mythologizing from those mega-corporations and the media outlets they support and the candidates and elected officials they support. But that’s just common sense, right?

Newsflash Headline: Campaign-Addicted Politicians May Not Make Good Decisions!

Good Ideas for a Single Payer system for the United States

What would Jesus do... about your pre-existing conditions?
What would Jesus do…
about your pre-existing conditions?

Penultimate question:

What’s a good place to start browsing information about proposals for a single payer system for the United States?

(Disclaimer: I am NOT affiliated with any of the pro-single payer organizations linked above or below!)

Is Canada The Only Country That Does This?

UPDATE (8/13/2013): GREAT NEWS!

The Senator who leads the majority party in the United States Senate just made some amazing comments about single payer healthcare. He has basically predicted that eventually we will have it in this country. He calls Obamacare a necessary step toward single payer.

Please read the following story of Harry Reid’s recent ground-breaking comments:
pnhp.org/news/2013/august/harry-reid-congress-someday-will-end-insurance-based-system

[Editorial note: the comments directly below, ending with d.william, were added to this essay as it appeared on Hubpages.com, through November 25, 2013. Dates of each comment are as of November 28, 2013. Current comments continue below, here at blogspot.com]

davidlaw2 profile image
davidlaw2 17 months ago
I flat out believe that the current Republican attack on universal health insurance is a conflict between the wealthy and the working class who need the insurance.
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JimMiles profile image
JimMiles 17 months ago from Orlando, FLHub Author
I agree, David. Thanks for contributing to my Hub.
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JimMiles profile image
JimMiles 17 months ago from Orlando, FLHub Author
This article is timely, given the waiting game we’re all playing, until the SCOTUS decides what to do about ACA:
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davidlaw2 profile image
davidlaw2 17 months ago
Hello JimMiles: The people who need this program are people who earn $80,000 or less per year. They are also the people who pay, without corporations, the largest amount of income tax. The people who are against the insurance earn over $250,000. Most if them are the people that have more than $100,000,000. They are the ones who pay to spread untrue informating to get the public to vote against what they critically need. I included your name so this would go directly to you.
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JimMiles profile image
JimMiles 17 months ago from Orlando, FLHub Author
Good point, David. I guess I can’t blame those with wealth looking out for their own interests; but so much of the new anti-middle class legislation feels truly cruel. I hope we’re better than this, as a nation; hopefully, the history books will be able to say that about this chapter…
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davidlaw2 profile image
davidlaw2 17 months ago
Hello again JamesMiles” I don’t blame the rich for being rich. The problems have been developing with TV and the huge amounts of money paid by the super rich on ads to get their candidates elected. The tactics of spinning facts and flat out lying when it will not be checked out and exaggerating facts has become the problem. The news papers, Fourth Estate, historically was to catch on-truths and exaggerations and supply correct facts independently without taking political sides. The new media does not do this anymore. Most everyone is doing commentary that belongs on the editorial pages or editorial programs and not programs disguised as news. When I listened to a recent programs, three flat out lies were stated by commentators. I am working on an article designed to plant the seed to develop non partisan committees to evaluate the information presented by politicians and present the facts to the public through a website. This site will not be an anti government or free-press format. The committee will be made up of paid researchers dedicated to tell the truth. The goal will be to do what the current news media can’t do because they are owned by people with political interests. Please excuse any errors in this comment. I just came out of surgery a few hours age. My major in school was journalism. Very little of what is called news resembles what I was taught that news must be.to be news. I would like your feedback on developing this program.
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JimMiles profile image
JimMiles 17 months ago from Orlando, FLHub Author
Hope your recovery is speedy and complete! Thank you again for your work in this area, and I look forward to a website like you describe which can perform a watchdog function largely left undone by popular media. Ever heard of http://www.fair.org?
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davidlaw2 profile image
davidlaw2 17 months ago
I had not heard of the site but I will check it out. Thanks.
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mio cid profile image
mio cid 17 months ago from UruguayLevel 1 Commenter
I will start right now writing the hub you spoke about in the meantime let me share a couple of hubs with you.http://mio-cid.hubpages.com/hub/Cuba-Ozzie-Guillen
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wetbaknproud profile image
wetbaknproud 17 months ago from new jersey
hello jim,I will gladly make a hub about a subject that i love as is politics, and the reality of the socialist ideology which by the way is very present and has been present in american domestic policies since the beginning of the twentieth century .
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davidlaw2 profile image
davidlaw2 17 months ago
I am amazed at how many people don’t know what socialism is. The Preamble to the Constitution would be considered Socialist by a large percentage of the population because it says that the government is to promote the general welfare: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
A survey was taken a number of years ago as to what people thought the first 10 amendments to the Constitution were. Far to many people thought they were part of a communist plot. Programs to assist the population are in no way socialist or communist. People are lead to believe they are by the use of propaganda tactics by our political leaders. It is an attempt to limit the amount of money the wealthy have to contribute.
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JimMiles profile image
JimMiles 17 months ago from Orlando, FLHub Author
Thank you, mio cid and webaknproud, for commenting and I look forward to your upcoming Hubs.
davidlaw2, that’s so true. That’s the frightening power of the modern PR/message management industry. Whoever controls the narrative in the minds of the majority of people, controls the public’s memory of history. The actual facts of history do not matter. What matters is what the majority of people THINK are the facts.
This has to do with disinformation. This is also related to psychological warfare, which used to be called winning “hearts and minds,” or propaganda campaigns.
Now that public education has degenerated to a short-term memory exercise in teaching to the test, everything learned is quickly forgotten, cut up into tiny segments that fit into a multiple choice question. There is no longer any such thing as deep contemplation of large issues. Attention shrinks to such a microscopically small span of time, for teachers now, too, increasingly, that technology is moving from the crutch to the “fascinating” center of so-called cutting edge educational technique. It’s never stopped being a crutch; we simply cannot see our addiction to it replacing any desire to connect with the stream of big ideas of our historical ancestors or do the hard work of thinking through the origins, progress, and solutions of our society’s big problems.
America is one or two generations away from a fatal vulnerability to foreign domination. Most other nations are continuing to teach their children how to think; we have not successfully imposed our dumbing-down regime on almost any other Western nation. What will happen when America’s military is fatally corrupted by the softness eroding away the strength of the larger society? The nation’s leaders have cried wolf too many times in the name of “national security;” soft-minded Americans won’t be able to even hear the final call to arms if and when a hungry, jealous foreign power decides they are ready to be the next superpower, and to do it from the platform of this land of ours.
Wake up, people!
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Mighty Mom profile image
Mighty Mom 16 months ago from Where Left is Right, CA
Winning hearts and minds, indeed. And the American sheeple are willingly dumbing themselves down and hardening their hearts to make that winning over job even easier.
Thank you for this hub.
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Jean Bakula profile image
Jean Bakula 16 months ago from New JerseyLevel 6 Commenter
Good job Jim. It is truly scary how people believe the lies that the polititians spread, and do not research or think for themselves. I fail to see how a health care system as Obama has outlined (it needs some clarification) can hurt our country. It seems the moral and sensible thing to be sure every citizen has access to health care. Our young people are getting terrible eductions. My son is a kindergarten teacher, he wanted to start at the foundation, before children start to dislike learning. He says he may as well have been home schooled (he wasn’t) because although he always got straight A’s, he insists it was because of his own reading and what we taught him as parents. Basic civics and even any helpful tech classes have been eliminated from curriculums. I think since young people take their SATS and HS is pretty much over in Jr. year, Sr. year should be about wood and metal shop, car repair, cooking, childcare, sewing, basic economic and budget planning, and general life experience. Our country does not make anything anymore, and the schools are not preparing them for life or skills they will need. Having a degree from college doesn’t make you stand out anymore, and at the huge costs, parents are paying more to send their children to college than they will make in the career of their choices. I think the trades must start to be taught in America again.
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JimMiles profile image
JimMiles 16 months ago from Orlando, FLHub Author
Good perspective on the difference between having babies in the US vs Canada. “How I Lost My Fear Of Universal Health.”
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phdast7 profile image
phdast7 15 months ago from Atlanta, GeorgiaLevel 7 Commenter
Wow! How have I missed your hubs all this time. Even your comments on this hub alone make you worth following. Great research, great information. Thank you very much. Looking forward to reading more. Sharing with followers. 🙂
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JimMiles profile image
JimMiles 15 months ago from Orlando, FLHub Author
Thanks for helping to get the word out, phdast!
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JayeWisdom profile image
JayeWisdom 15 months ago from Deep South, USALevel 7 Commenter
I’m so glad Theresa shared this terrific hub, for I’ve not seen your writing before. I will be reading you regularly now as a follower. You’ve provided a wealth of information that I will bookmark to re-read at leisure.
It is so sad that the people who need universal healthcare the most believe the propaganda against it. That’s one of the major problems in the U.S.–a lack of understanding by the poor, mostly uneducated or under-educated, and vulnerable to lies that cause them harm. I’m still reading about Americans who believe the president’s program has “death panels” to decide who can have life-saving healthcare. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to this type of propaganda (pardon me) crap.
I actually raised my voice at a friend on the phone a few days ago when she referred to the healthcare act as “Obamacare”, a term that;s used in a derogatory manner, causing my blood pressure to rise and making me want to spit! My friend is constantly worrying that the healthcare act will cause her to lose Medicare benefits. (Unfortunately, she doesn’t believe Medicare or Social Security are in danger from Republicans, which is much more cause for alarm.) These harmful rumors are believed as truth, and the insurance industry continues to shell out barrels of lobby money to keep that rumor mill running.
Thanks for this hub, and I’ll check out your others this weekend.
Your new fan,
Jaye
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phdast7 profile image
phdast7 15 months ago from Atlanta, GeorgiaLevel 7 Commenter
Still an excellent a informative hub on the second read. I hope readers will follow some (or all!) of the links. Their is a wealth of information out there. I appreciate your efforts on all of our behalves. Theresa Sharing of course!
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JimMiles profile image
JimMiles 14 months ago from Orlando, FLHub Author
Thanks for all the love, phdast7, JayeWisdom, Jean Bakula, and Mighty Mom! Now, more than ever, the lies about health care are spreading in campaign ads. I just saw a testimonial-style ad by a Republican Super PAC in which a Canadian woman claimed that she had to come to the US to get emergency cancer-related surgery, or else she would have died because of the “broken” Canadian system. It then said that Obamacare is moving us in that direction.
The Supreme Court really damaged political discourse with their Citizen’s United ruling, allowing unlimited LIE money to pour deceit into the public airwaves, which too many intellectually lazy citizens will swallow hook, line, and sinker. False advertising banks on the truth that there’s a sucker born every day.
Keep showing the truth to those born suckers out there, and get them to wake up to the lies they’ve been feeding on.
Single-payer healthcare NOW, PLEASE!
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Teresa Coppens profile image

Teresa Coppens 14 months ago from Ontario, CanadaLevel 2 Commenter
The Canadian system does have some fixes that are direly needed but my finding as a Canadian is that when My family and I need care it is there. We are not turned away and we do not rack up excessive debt for basic health care needs and general surgery. Unfortunately, the population of Canada is aging so the incidence of cancer and more serious illnesses are on the rise. It does make wait times longer. Is our health care system broken? No. Does it needmodifications? Definitely so
Unfortunately change takes time, most of us balk at change.
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JimMiles profile image
JimMiles 14 months ago from Orlando, FLHub Author
Words of wisdom, @Teresa Coppens. The hyperbolic rhetoric coming from the political right wing in the US, and from the corporations who have the most power and the most to lose (health insurance, INC) by such a single-payer improvement, is so obviously obstructionist that it’s a dead giveaway– these interest groups have NO interest in the public good, only in their own profits.
Out of one side of their mouths they get elected by screaming “WE BUILT IT, WE CAN BUILT ANYTHING!”, but when you suggest building a system improving upon the strengths of Canada/UK/Scandinavian nations, all they can say (as they protectively shield their wallets) is “WE CAN’T BUILD THAT!”
Greed and hypocrisy. It’s the only message I can get from Rightwing USPolitics, INC!
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ib radmasters profile image
ib radmasters 14 months ago from Southern California
you can put all the links you want but that won’t change the truth.
Waiting two years to get knee surgery, in Canada.
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JimMiles profile image
JimMiles 14 months ago from Orlando, FLHub Author
Well, I’m sorry about that, but you cannot say that just because your system makes you wait (which, being still alive, it obviously was no emergency), that the system is bad, broken, or hopeless. Which is exactly what the US propagandists say, and worse. They conveniently forget their own supposed genius for improvement, innovation, and invention, as if there just could be no way for the U.S. to build a better system, in which people did not have to wait!
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Mighty Mom profile image
Mighty Mom 14 months ago from Where Left is Right, CA
It’s fascinating (like a train wreck) how they are changing the complexion of the lies. Have you noticed? I can tell when the propaganda machine is busy by what I read in the forums. The current big lie is how Obama is taking money from seniors (Medicare) to fund Obamacare. If you think about that for half a second you realize how utterly crazy such a strategy is. Healthcare for ALL.
All we can do is calmly correct the misinformation whenever we see it. Quillographer recently did a sweet rebuttal in one of the forums. Hammer with facts. We don’t have and never could have Super PAC funding. But we have Hub Pages! Keep up the good work, JimMiles! MM
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suzettenaples profile image
suzettenaples 14 months ago from Naples, FLLevel 8 Commenter
Thank you for a very interesting and informative article.
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AudreyHowitt profile image
AudreyHowitt 14 months ago from CaliforniaLevel 6 Commenter
Very nicely done! Thank you for including so many sources!
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Jenna Pope profile image
Jenna Pope 14 months ago from Southern California
Interesting Hub. Excellent documentation. I am going to read it a couple more times before I express how I feel. Voted up!
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Sooner28 14 months ago from OklahomaLevel 2 Commenter
Human beings have become able to now provide health care as a basic human right. The U.N. has affirmed this, and most other industrialized nations. The United States is committing a moral travesty by not passing a universal system into law. Whoever is to blame will someday be looked at in history as cruel and unusual to their fellow humans.
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JimMiles profile image
JimMiles 13 months ago from Orlando, FLHub Author
http://www.escapefiremovie.com/ just out October 5, promises to reignite the discussion. We must keep healthcare at the top of the list; it’s life or death, people.
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JimMiles profile image
JimMiles 12 months ago from Orlando, FLHub Author
Jon Stewart destroys Papa John’s CEO: Should’ve pushed for single-payer
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JimMiles profile image
JimMiles 11 months ago from Orlando, FLHub Author
Another bit of data proving that government can insure healthcare more efficiently than the private sector can.
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junko profile image
junko 11 months agoLevel 3 Commenter
Single Payer healthcare is anti-capitalistic. It would be less costly because stock owners, executive bonuses, and continued yearly profits forever wouldn’t make America’s health cost the highest in the world. Healthcare in America drives the cost of the federal debt almost as much as the defense Dept. Single payer would go a long way at solving the debt crissis, and a 15% cut in defense for one year would solve the crissis.
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Josak profile image
Josak 2 months ago from variableLevel 4 Commenter
Nailed it, single payer is by far the best system and ALL the data from the UN to the CDC reports to the G20 back it up.
Great hub, voted up, interesting etc.
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d.william profile image
d.william 3 days ago from Somewhere in the southLevel 6 Commenter
Interesting hub, and i am surprised that so many agree with the single payer health system idea. They are obviously NOT republicans.
Those who oppose it and the new Obamacare (Affordable Health Care) are irrational and object just for the sake of objecting to whatever this president stands for. I have never seen anything like the current level of obstructionism in this country. The objections are totally irrational, illogical and certainly not based on any kind of factual data.
A single payer health care system would be the best thing that could happen to the American people.
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Economics, Ethics

Economics As Religion

Economics As Religion
Curious people who peer behind the scenes of the bureaucratic battles 
for control of the direction of our well-worn social institutions do so at the risk 
of losing their ability to easily place their trust in their economic and religious 
thought-leaders. Comfortable certainty may be replaced by the never ending 
quest to form one’s own informed conclusions 
about what is best for themselves, and for their world.

Economics = Religion

If we allow the term “religion” to stand for rituals and doctrines binding faithful believers into distinct groups, we can see important similarities between economic theory and religions such as Christianity. These two ancient social organizing principles- religion and economics- are not often compared. In the United States, an intersection of the two is emerging in a third ancient institution: politics.

Before politics enters this discussion, it must be understood that there is little difference in practice between religious systems of belief and economic systems. What are sometimes labeled Schools of Economic Thought function more like religious institutions than academic ones. Economics is a religion, and that is not a terribly controversial idea, or a particularly new one. Both religion and economics train high priesthoods who master bodies of fairly obscure doctrine which go largely unquestioned by their loyal followers. These masses of trusting followers are mostly immune to the constant in-fighting between their beloved guides, settling instead for the over-simplified generic party platforms and creeds that comfort them in their quest for certainty in uncertain times.

Students who peer behind the scenes of the bureaucratic battles for control of the direction of these well-worn social institutions do so at the risk of losing their ability to easily place their trust in their economic and religious thought-leaders. Comfortable certainty may be replaced by the never ending quest to form one’s own informed conclusions about what is best for themselves, and for their world.

Questioning the Status Quo = Progress

Both religious and economic doctrines should be questioned and reevaluated by their faithful believers; sometimes, the questions a Martin Luther or a Karl Marx raise echo down through history. Occasionally such challenges yield reformation movements, which split off new groups from the orthodox teachings, often causing reform or reaction in the unyielding Establishment. The Council of Trent codified the Catholic Church’s utter rejection of Luther and all Protestant heresy. The Chicago School became the headquarters for the denomination of believers in Laissez-faire economics, in conscious reaction against the Keynesian experimentation of the New Deal era.

These heretical new twists on old beliefs themselves evolve through predictable stages of revolution, institution-building, and eventually form orthodoxies of their own. Even churches still in relative infancy (from the long view in historical perspective) like the Mormons and the Seventh-day Adventists have already spawned Reformed splinter denominations.

Adam Smith’s model of capitalism, nearly as young as those two American-born churches, had detractors so determined to improve upon capitalist dogma that blood was shed, and their manufactured revolutions gave violent birth (Labor pains vs Management gains) to short-lived national experiments. Other nations around the world found middle ground between strict Social Darwinism and dogmatic socialism.

The United States is a frontier-obsessed nation which values innovation and exploration, and has thus become a vibrant ecosystem for both religious and economic experimentation. But its religious and economic orthodoxies hang on to the reigns of power and tend to exert the greater influence over the direction the nation takes. This is where politics enters the discussion.

The Politics Side of the Coin

The coin of the realm of politics is religion. The religion morphs between Christianity and economics, depending on which crisis their 24/7 media chorus is presently manufacturing for them. If the public is currently scared of foreigners, politicians spend their religion coins fomenting nativist sentiment, usually by invoking mantras and creeds and mottoes perpetuating the mythology of The United Christian States of America. Of smoking guns, and mushroom clouds, there shall be no end of anti-Christian phantoms to inspire the publics to vote their fears and not their best interests.

If there is any possibility of blaming an economic downturn on their political opponents, the coins of the economic priesthood start dropping into the media vending machine. “Which obscure theory do you need us to sell as prophecy to the masses today? For bubbles, press A1. For trickle-down, B2. For fascist socialist meltdown, C3. For tax terrors, press W2. For Ann Coulter, 666. Deposit 10 PhDs, wait one full media cycle, then repeat the message on C-Span as if it had come to you straight from your constituent voters back home.” After a few polls can be taken reflecting the fears that the political machine needed to act on, voters will vote their desperation instead of their best interests.

The coin of religion purchases the same result whichever denomination is spent: a faith in the prophecies of doom turning votes, donations, and airtime into policy. American Christian religions and the PhD priesthood of economists may seem disconnected on the surface, and the two realms are almost certainly ignorant of their similar utility to the political class. However, the dependence of both on the trust and faith of their followers is more alike than different. Religionism is a big enough umbrella term for both forms of belief in faith-based assertions.

Media manufactures the consent of the faithful, who love praising God according to their respective spiritual guides, and who love praising the interpretation of their Constitution and Founders according to their respective economic guides. In order to obtain and protect the only kind of power they have– voters’ consent– modern media-created politicians practice their own brand of voodoo, secretively manipulating forces that most voters refuse to take an interest in, including science falsely so called.

The Business End of the Coin

The coin of the realm of business is scientism. That’s a new term, but less vague than “Science.” As the coin of business, scientism morphs into many forms, but they all share a common effect on the practitioners of scientific research and on the publics who pay for it. The paying part refers to money granted toward research outcomes and to the intended and unintended consequences of applying the research. A bigger profit margin no matter the consequences is the common effect of the scientism coins spent by business (especially Big Business; but all businesses tend to aspire to ubiquity, and a few make it).

The moral code in the realm of the free market (i.e., the traditional American business environment as perceived by the supporters of the economic priesthood) is: There is no moral code! Anything goes, but don’t think beyond your own self-interest, and don’t talk about the code! Let the experts do that (in specially crafted PhD-encrypted code language) within the safety of pro-business echo chambers, such as Rupert Murdoch’s media chorus. Profitability depends upon freedom from intervention from those who would attempt to hold business accountable to any code conflicting with their own.

Therefore, when it can protect or grow profitability, business purchases scientific research. Scientists on corporate or pro-business government payrolls create legal protections against adverse effects and the resulting risks to profits that lawsuits about those effects can provide.

It’s helpful to remember that most business practices and products now deemed illegal and/or injurious began as decisions taken by these uniquely amoral fellow citizens of ours, who were only amoral when carrying out their legally binding roles as shareholders in their business, who were simply operating by their code. It has been argued that the modern institution of The Corporation can be diagnosed as a psychopath, given the tendency of Big Business to avoid accepting responsibility for negative externalities. The current protections against those dangerous business decisions came into existence only after the industry lost a legal battle, generically known as “The (health and welfare of the vulnerable) People versus (The Bloodsucking) Business.”

It’s also helpful to recall that battles teach adversaries how to defeat the enemy if they ever get the chance to fight again; armies of shrewd legal warriors adapt their strategies in order to prevent future losses to business profits. It’s helpful to remember that the practitioners of legal battles (lawyers) have made their profession into the most highly influential and profitable industry, bar none. The lawyer class outranks even the economic priesthood, since it is from the legal professions that most legislators come, and they have the final say in every court of final appeal. Government at the highest level consists of the decisions of lawyer-legislators being advised by economists and other lawyers, especially those lobbying on behalf of big industrial interest groups.

Remember also that, thanks to sometimes amoral and profit-driven armies of lawyers, business and industry did not always lose their legal struggle to protect their bottom lines at the expense of public health, safety, and welfare. Fluoride propaganda provides a relevant case study in the dangers of inflating the authority of scientific research, a.k.a. scientism. Water fluoridation is what happens when The People lose the legal battle before it even starts.

The fluoride produced as a waste by-product of phosphate mines and industrial metal forges is a dangerous neurotoxin, even at low exposure over long time periods. This is a well-hidden, but factual, scientific conclusion.

But Science hides nothing in the single minded pursuit of empirical evidence. Right? Not always. Not when they make the evidence support the conclusions supplied to them before the research begins. Or else face career-ending punishment for defying the current orthodoxy. Thus, we have our own, trusted, American Dental Association colluding with our own FDA and NIH to engage in forced medication of entire populations (water fluoridation).

The government that had endangered their own employees and citizens by allowing toxic exposures to fluorine and fluoride during atomic weapon production in the early Cold War against that modern economic heresy, Communism, that government of laws created a cloak of legal invisibility to hide these potentially devastating breaches of the consenting public’s trust. That cloak consists of the on-going manipulation of scientific results and the transformation of “Fluoride, the skeleton-corrupting, IQ-killing toxin of nuclear bomb factories” into “Fluoride, your dentist’s latest, greatest weapon in the made-up war on tooth decay.”

If scientism and religionism are two sides of the same coin, then who is supplying this currency, which seems only to be used to manipulate voters and keep them ignorant of their best interests? Since The People, the voters– the willfully ignorant followers— are the ultimate source of power for these groups, the responsibility for making this currency of manipulation a useful tool in the hands of abusive authorities lies with them.

Without The People, the consumers and producers of an economy’s products and services, business ceases to exist; if only the consuming, laboring public knew how much power they had at their fingertips, as they reach for that delicious new item on the literal or virtual shelf. They’ve ingested the message of the ad campaign; they’ve allowed themselves to believe this want they’re experiencing is a need; but when they remember that they don’t have nearly as many true needs as they have desires, they know that they have the power that advertisers and PR firms desperately try to keep consumers ignorant about: THE POWER TO CHOOSE. If they remember that businesses and their market tools closely track each economic choice (Economics is the study of how spenders choose to spend the scarce resources that producers choose to supply), they will know the messages they feed back to those who create the products and services. Those messages amount to one of two mandates: Give Us More, or Stop Making This.

Without The People, the governed people, the government ceases to exist; if only the voting public knew how much power they had at their disposal, which power extends beyond their votes and into their freedom to speak their minds to power, whether alone, or in lawful assemblies. The only time history has ruled in favor of the best interests of The People is when they said to each other “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore.

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Think About It

Given their spotty track record, wouldn’t it be wise stop accepting everything that “experts” say and learn how to check the facts for ourselves?

Especially since so many outside your situation have so much to gain from you NOT doing just that, and instead take their word for it?

What can average people do to exert as much or more pressure on their elected legislators as lobbyists from industrial and corporate and financial power brokers?

What do you need, actually need, as compared to what you honestly just want or desire?

What legacy do you want to leave behind in the minds and characters of your children or other loved ones after you leave this world behind?

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