Yesterday, I had a discussion with my neighbor about Obamacare. He is conservative and opposed to it on the grounds that it restricts his personal freedom not to have insurance. He is about my age (late 70's).  I pointed out that he is on Medicare with a good secondary insurance from his former employer and is therefore unaffected by ACA, his reply was that he would be if he didn't have insurance and that was enough to make him mad.

The argument that the uninsured use emergency rooms for which he pays indirectly through increased hospital costs did not make any difference to him since he never sees those costs explicitly. The man is a retired software engineer and might be expected to understand things better, but his rightwing mindset prevents it. He said he preferred the country he grew up in where you still had choices. In that country—before Medicare—one third of people our age lived below the poverty line.

This illustrates the difficulty in getting people to understand public issues. Once the issues have been framed in an emotional setting, reason departs.

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Oh yes, there is the rub. When reason begins, emotions step in. Isn't that true of all things religious?

Ask if they really believe god created all that is in six days and the mysticism begins.

Ask if god created man to have dominion over all and somehow the devil comes into play.

If I ask if they really believe in the devil, the voice of authority begins to declare how they know the devil exists.

If I ask if such terrible things can happen without a devil supplying the motivation, or

if I ask if mutilating little boys is of the devil or because of belief, or

if a person can do good things without the influence of god, or i

f man is to have dominion over woman, or

if they have the power to think and reason and make decisions without god, 

the conversation is over. 

Responsible health care seems to be part of that reality/wishful thinking divide. If one is to have an impact, the emotions must be involved. Thinking things through to a logical conclusion just does not influence believers in magical thinking. My intelligent family and friends who believe in god have a different way of approaching problems. Preventive health is just one example. Pray away any symptoms. Conflicts don't seem to get solved using that method. 

Fairness, schmairness!

I own property that's taxed to pay for schools, yet my wife and I chose to have no children. This too was, and is now, unfair but educating other people's children has a benefit: less crime.

If you want tax fairness you can buy an island and live there alone.

Tom, one of the reasons I respect the ancient traditions of Athabascan Indians was the notion that a child belongs to the clan, not to the parents. All members of a clan need the youth to know how to participate and contribute to the larger body. Sadly, Russians and Europeans intruded on tribal ways, exploiting them for profit, manipulating them to be submissive to the invaders. Helplessness, hopelessness, depression, anxiety and ultimately alcohol decimated the community. 

So many people "blame" the Indian for alcoholism and Indian ways, not realizing they had things of value that invaders trampled upon. 

That's it Tom.  People want to choose what they pay taxes or fines on.  I use the public library a lot.  Most people I know don't use it at all but it's still available to everyone.

If she thinks that Obama is a Socialist then i don't think she comprehends what SHE is ranting about.

Mindy, that "turn around and walk away" takes a great deal of remaining calm, knowing what battles can or should be fought, and knowing when your efforts would be wasted

It took me a very long time to learn how to do that.   I don't know if that is learning from experience, or just growing older.  Maturity?

I don't know how many times I tell myself to just walk away but, the temptation is too great.  And, that's on the internet.  I seem to have improved with face to face situations.

Booklover, I too have lost patience with religious nuts.  You can't explain to them.  They just won't listen.  Their minds are made up before my first word is spoken.

It took me a very long time to learn how to do that.

Ditto SB. Under my pic in my high school Annual (1949 in a Catholic school) an editor wrote "Loves an argument."

I still need the mental stimulation but I turn and walk away from a few.

Mindy, I like that you can't keep your mouth shut! Some call it "jaded" but that is one of the techniques used to keep people from speaking their truth. So, it is OK by me if you open your mouth, and I suspect a lot of other thinking people are afraid to speak up, thinking they will be destroyed. Well, it ain't so! Speaking up doesn't destroy one, it is the self censorship that destroys. 

Sure, you will get knocks and lumps. So what! People get knocks and lumps because they stay quiet. So, pick your fights, prepare for a good debate with a worthy opponent, and walk away from the nutcases. 

From time to time, we need a little comforting. This is a good place to renew and refresh oneself. 

You are one fine lady and I salute your vinegar!

Sometimes it is hopeless, but when possible I try to respond. Not with anger, but with as gentle a rebuke as I can manage. I try not to be defensive, but to act as though my opinion is the most natural thing.

Anytime anyone wants to bring up socialism as an automatic evil, there are a few things which can be used as ... well, let's call them counter-examples, to wit:

  • Police
  • Fire Department
  • Public roads
  • Libraries
  • Garbage collection

The last two may be either public or private, but regardless, one is at least desirable and the other pretty much mandatory for any kind of community I know of ... and I don't know as I'd want to depend solely on the supposed beneficence of some moneyed heavyweight for any of the above.


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