Health and Care

What is the purpose of society? Quite simply it’s to provide the shared efforts of the population to facilitate increases in the length and quality of life.

Instead of every person doing all the things that life requires, we distribute the effort amongst the population, and each of us performs a set of tasks that can be consumed by all, allowing each of us to become skilled at specific roles, increasing effectiveness and efficiency, because we as humans, get better at the tasks we work at, and this allows much larger tasks to be undertaken.

If you had to hunt your own food, build your own shelter, protect your family, make your own clothes, design and build your own sanitation, life would be much shorter and harder. So over many thousands of years we have created a system whereby we can all work together for a common cause. It takes the efforts of millions of people working together to survive.

Laws, security education and infrastructure form the basis of society. We are all born, grow, live, age and die, and we expect society to help us at every stage.

Foremost in society is the ability to help people live a long and happy life. And for this we have developed an incredible science-based healthcare system. Most societies have worked out that everyone needs healthcare, and so pooling resources creates the best possible outcome for everyone.

And then we have the USA, where we seem to think that healthcare is a fantastic way to make money (it is not). Everyone is born, everyone lives, and everyone gets old and sick. Those who get old or sick are least able to care for themselves. The sensible model is to care for them in ways that everyone pays for and only those who need it at any given time consume. This is insurance, but you can’t allow insurance to be taken away because someone needs it. That defeats the objective. Who will pay for insurance if the act of consuming it, means you are barred from using it?

Every other country is working through this issue, but every single other one is moving towards a system of shared responsibility. Only the USA hasn’t worked this out yet.

Where are we today?

We don’t allow the government to negotiate medical supplies centrally, expecting everyone to pay list price.

We have incredibly high education costs for medical personnel, meaning that they must make very high salaries to pay back that unsubsidized debt.

We have very expensive health insurance, offering the lowest levels of payments, meaning that sick people end up consuming all they have earned in their lifetimes, and passing very little on to the descendants. Bankruptcy caused by medical bills is common.

We allow massive lawsuits to be undertaken against medical personnel meaning that medical providers must have very expensive legal protections, again driving up the cost of medical care.

We have a large proportion of the population unable to get regular medical attention, due to the high cost, creating lower life spans, and a lowering of the general health of the population. Where we really need workers to get regular help to stay healthy, we instead wait until people get sick and then provide the minimum services as maximum cost to triage.

We don’t offer sick leave, we generally provide very short annual vacation days and no parental leave, creating situations when sick people continue to work when they are sick, spreading disease, and lowering overall the quality of output , and parents and children are less healthy.

And we think this is acceptable?

Today people are complaining that wearing a facemask is an affront to their freedom. These are people who don’t know what freedom is.

Freedom demands you stay alive as long as possible, and have the best quality of life you can get for the whole of it.

Freedom demands that grandparents can see their great grandchildren be born and grow, can attend their grandchildren’s weddings. That they never go hungry, never have to fight for their lives, get to spend every day reading, watching and learning. Have a job they love, have friends, have family, have opinions, get to travel, have a lovely home.

Freedom comes from having a stable, caring society, where everyone is able to live and love for as long as practical.

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racist and sexist by nature

We are all racists and once you accept that you can be part of the solution.

The way our brains work is to compare whatever we see, to whatever we already know. And the way we process this comparison in any situation is affected by the emotional weight of our previous experiences.

Whoever you grew up with has a great influence on how you perceive the world. Anyone who is unlike those who you grew up with are naturally going to make you feel uneasy. It’s how the brain works. Until you can know for certain that someone is not a threat, then evolution has taught us to be wary.

Not much more than a hundred years ago some people were slaves, they were not educated, could not own anything, had no money and were not afforded the protections of the rest of society. Fifty years ago, certain people were still excluded from some places by their color or race, they were still excluded from many levels of society including education and finance. Even today there are still explicit barriers placed in the path of some people based on their race, ethnicity or sex. The criminal justice code has been tuned to impact some ethnic groups more effectively than others. There are schools with no children of color, and others with no children of European descent. This hasn’t happened by luck, but by social engineering.

There are still poor neighborhoods and rich neighborhoods. Poorer neighborhoods have higher levels of broken families, higher mortality rates, lower length of life and greater levels of anti-social issues. If your grandparents didn’t go to college, there is a lower likelihood of your children going to college. It takes an act of society as a whole to accelerate the removal of such disparities.

As a white man, I get to enjoy the benefits of these disparities every day. I don’t get a second look from any law enforcement officer. Shop and service staff assume positive intent in any action I take. In effect my life is boosted by my skin color, because others are actively discriminated against for theirs, giving me an explicit and implicit advantage.

My grandparents and parents actively supported me through childhood, through school and through university. I grew up in a great neighborhood surrounded by many levels of family, friends and people who saw me as “like them”. I learnt the skills of learning and was always being trained to be a valuable member of society. No relative of mine was imprisoned, I’ve never been stopped by the police, my trips through airports are simple, I never get followed in stores, I’ve never had an issue with financial services, I’ve always been able to get medical services wherever and whenever I like, I’ve never been turned away from an interview, I’ve never been denied by a buildings coop board. I can always use a premises bathroom without question. I like policemen and women and enjoy meeting them on the street. I’ve never been followed by security or neighborhood watchmen. I have what is called white privilege. I didn’t choose it, but by my inaction I guess I support it.

And I recognize that depending on the color or your skin your experiences may be very different, and I’ve never really done anything to change that either.

I am truly amazed by the decency of the millions of people of color who have not screamed at this injustice. If I was the one being discriminated against, I’ve not sure I’d be as serene.

It really is time for this injustice to be righted, and the generation that is just now gaining the right to vote, may well be the generation that resolves to make everyone truly equal.

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