I have a topic I'd like some input on. Is health care selfish and dangerous?

I'll assume everyone here believes in evolution, and understands the basics. With that in mind, is it selfish and dangerous to administer even simple medical care like antibiotics to children to save their lives so they can pass their "weakened" genes on to the next generation? Doesn't that go against the mechanisms that allowed us to grow more complex, and survive until we are what we are today?

Also, is it selfish and dangerous of us to want longer lifespans at ever increasing expense to our children? When social security first came out the average life span after retirement was only a few years, but today it can often be measured in decades, and usually requires very expensive health care to do it. There's also the issue of a growing population pitted against finite resources that are increasingly being fought over.

Lastly, with all the problems the above can incur, is there a reasonable expectation that science will soon be able to provide the technology to "clean the gene pool" in a humane way, and allow longer lives without such great expense for medical care, and natural resources?

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They are taking back through somewhat normal channels some of what our military took from their country through abnormal channels 160+ years ago.

On second thought, using our military is kind of normal for us.

Back in the 1500s the people who lived here had a poor immigration policy.


You do know that parts of the southwest used to be part of Mexico, right?

Blame the victim.


This may come as a surprise to you, but as someone living in rural Latin America, and who has lived in rural Nigeria, I can tell you that women in the third world would not have anywhere near as many children as they do, if they had any choice in the matter.  But they don't.  They are dependent on their men, who want large families to show off their virility and to provide for them in their old age.  Here in Latin America, as well as in Africa, I can tell you from my personal experience that large families are the norm because there are no effective social programs to provide for the old and disabled, and your children are your only social security.  That situation exists, to no small extent, because of the "neoliberal" economic nostrums forced on Latin America by Washington - so that the U.S. can keep Latin America poor and continue to exploit it ruthlessly. 


The other principal factor in the overpopulation of Latin America is the Catholic church and its totally irrational attitude towards family planning.  Costa Rica, where I live, had, at one time, managed to get its population growth under control by encouraging family planning, making contraceptives widely available and cheap, and making reproductive health services widely available at no cost, as well as empowering women by educating them and removing "glass ceilings."  The population growth went to zero.  Then Pope John Paul II gave a speech about the evils of birth control - and undid twenty years of hard work and determined effort in a half an hour.  Costa Rica's population is once again on the rise as women are once again churning out large numbers of little Catholics - and we now have five million people crowded into a country the size of West Virginia.


So if you want to see Latin America reduce its surplus population, and quit sending people across the Rio Bravo in search of jobs, you need to look to make some changes up there. Encourage the empowerment of women, rather than just paying lip service to the problem, while quietly torpedoing programs that actually empower them.  Quit fomenting coups on behalf of the oligarch cronies (as happened in Honduras last year) at the expense of improving the labor standards of the working class.  Quit opposing the construction of a government-run social safety net.  Quit supporting the Catholic church with its totally irrational attitudes towards family planning.  Encourage the legalization of abortion.  Encourage and support education and job training.  Encourage and support spending on health services and basic infrastructure. The U.S. is doing none of these things, and that is largely why Latin America is poor and overpopulated.  To a lesser extent, the same is true of Africa in my experience. 


So, in other words, physician, heal thyself.



Richard says: Ah, play the victim card. Until they take responsibility for their own lives and governments, no one can save them.


Do you seriously believe that the people who live south of the Rio Bravo are unwilling to take responsibility for their own governments?


Buddy, come down here and live outside of your comfy little hermetically sealed gringo shell for awhile, and you will quickly discover that people down here are sacrificing a great deal - even their own lives - to try to do just what you are accusing them of being too lazy and uncaring to do.  How little you understand!


A few years back, the people of Honduras elected Manuel Zelaya as their president, on his promise to try to improve the lot of dispossessed.  And he kept his promise.  He started enforcing environmental regulations to protect banana workers from the effects of toxic pesticides they were required to use.  He imposed a 60% increase in the minimum wage.  He blocked the fire-price sale of Hondutel, the state telephone company, to Verizon, which would have done with it what Cable & Wireless has done to the telephone service in Panamá and what Bell South has done in Nicaragua.  In doing all this, he had the solid support of the Honduran people.  He was one of the most popular presidents in Honduran history - and one of the very few who was actually making a difference.


But that offended the rich caudillos, who approached Otto Reich, a Miami Cuban right-winger and "former" CIA agent, who never saw an inconvenienced Latin American oligarch he didn't want to help.  Along with Robert Carmona (a key figure in the failed coup against Hugo Chávez in 2002), also a "former" CIA asset, they worked with some high ranking military officials in Honduras and put together a plot to depose Zelaya.  With the help of the U.S. military, operating out of their base near Tegucigalpa, they executed the plot and deposed Zelaya, a duly elected democratic president, and replaced him with a military-backed dictator.  Obama could have ended the coup and restored Zelaya with a single phone call.  That call, obviously, was never made.


The coup was not the choice of the Honduran people.  Far from it; one out of every five Hondurans left their homes, jobs and farms to assemble in Tegucigalpa to protest the coup in one of the largest protests Latin America has ever seen.  In the resulting repression, then and since, dozens died, thousands have been arrested and tortured, and even today, a year on, Honduras remains the most dangerous place in the world for journalists to practice their craft, because of foreign (read: covert U.S.) support for a regime installed by foreigners in direct contradiction to the determined efforts of the Honduran people.  Hondurans continue to die and to disappear, while very courageously opposing the U.S.-INSTALLED GOVERNMENT, IMPOSED BY FORCE AND MAINTAINED IN POWER BY YOUR TAX MONEY, and actively backed by the U.S. military and State Department. 


Lack of responsibility, HAH!


So don't sanctimoniously declare to me that Latin Americans have a "culture destined for the dust-bin of history," and assert, in the face of direct evidence to the contrary, that they are not trying to "take responsibility for their own lives and governments" because when you say such things, you are only displaying your typically USAnian ignorance of what transpires outside of the borders of the United States, much of which is committed by your own government in your own name.  So I suggest you get your butt out of your cushy little happy-world, and go live in the Latin American campo for a while to live as I have (and am now), and you will learn to your great surprise that the world isn't at all like what you have been very carefully led to believe - and Latin Americans, millions of them, are trying a lot harder to change their lives and many are putting their very lives, fortunes and sacred honor on the line to do it, than you seem to think.  And that's lot more than I can say for the vast majority of USAnians who seem to think that "freedom" comes down to nothing more than the choice of half a dozen brands and models of the same widget down at Wal-Mart.


Richard says, They choose dictators like Chavez, and get what they deserve.


As for Chávez being a "dictator," there are 21 daily newspapers on the streets of Caracas, only three of which are pro-Chavez.  The rest are owned by the opposition and slander him almost daily, making totally unsubstantiated charges like the one you have made, and do so without consequence.  Dictators lock up their opponents.  Can you tell me where there is even ONE jail filled with his opponents?  No, you can't, because there isn't one. There is more freedom of speech in Caracas than there is on the streets of Montgomery, Alabama or Athens, Georgia.  The majority of television stations in Caracas are owned by the opposition and slander Chavez freely, and do so with impunity.  While I don't agree with everything he does (far from it), it is REALLY A STRETCH to call him a "dictator."  On what basis do you make that charge?  Can you give me some specifics?  Other than just parrot the usual right-wing talking points you are passing on uncritically with absolutely no substantiation?  His right-wing wacko opponents call him that, repeating the charge on their slander-sheets daily.  And Faux News, being the propagandists they are, picks up that slander and passes it along.  You hear it on Faux News, repeated again and again,  totally without any substantiated evidence, so you think it is true and you believe it. The reality is that Chávez has always had and continues to enjoy support in excess of 60 percent of the Venezuelan population, as measured by numerous foreign polling organizations from Latin America and the U.S., and no one is going to jail for opposing him.  Some dictator!


Come down here and spend a few months and see things for yourself rather than through your Fox-colored glasses and you'll find out that P.T. Barnum was right - and you were one of the people he was talking about. 

Wait - an atheist watching Faux news? Surely not...
I've heard that same thing from our countries. They keep saying "please quit helping, it's killing us!" I agree. Great comment Scott!
Seconded - brilliantly argued Scott.
One of the most popular political graffiti slogans down here translates to "Be nice to the United States or they'll bring democracy to your country, too!"
Woah! Scott B. is on fire!
Yeah, Marc, few things get my goat worse than right-wingers in the U.S. pontificating about Latin American culture and illegal immigration from Latin America, when they know NOTHING about the culture other than their right-wing stereotypes, or the forces that drive Latin Americans to seek jobs illegally in the U.S.
An excellent atheist point: religions tend to want to keep people controlled, particularly women.  One way they do that is extending their hostility to all science into the realm of birth control, enslaving women to their husbands and communities since they depend on support for their young children and produce more (low-paid, unempowered) workers.  in every developing country, when medical care is offered the women go for the birth control -- they want to have only a few children, and keep those alive and well.  A fair and healthy economy and reasonable government would encourage that, and there would be no overpopulation problem.


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