Archive for July, 2012

Atheism is the Worst Religion Imaginable

July 25, 2012

Of all political systems, Churchill once joked, Democracy is the worst, save for all the others. I have come to the conclusion that of all religions, Atheism is the worst, including all the others.

Atheism begins with the idea that we can know for sure that there is no supernatural power above our own. This is laughable, of course, one, because it claims to know that a thing does not exist without first knowing all that does exist, and two, because even if you knew every natural thing, you could still not prove the supernatural, that which exists beyond our natural senses, does not exist.

Atheism begins with the assumption that logic is the first thing. It continues by preaching that logic is all that is needed, and faith and belief are obsolete, along with hope and all other virtues derived from them.

Then it proceeds to preach its gospel without any semblance of logic at all.

With no logical foundation for morality, Atheists still persist in using words like “good” and “bad”, “should” and “should not”. I would someone who would join Atheism, just as any other religion, would first ask, “What is good?” Or rather, “What should I do?”

The Atheist answer is the most pathetic of all. The logically obvious answer is, “It doesn’t matter what you do. You will die and disappear. So do whatever you want to.” This is the thought that I think most Atheists have.

Of course, the above is simply a recipe for disaster. Moral relativity means what is good for one is not good for all, and so you end up with people who think it’s a good idea to dress up as the Joker and murder people in a theater. So we can’t have that kind of ideology, because it’s simply not good. (Note the logical contradiction here, or rather, the lack of any logic whatsoever in such a statement.)

So Atheists have to borrow their morals from some other system. The prime candidate is the most superior religious system the world has ever seen, the Christian religion. After all, it’s the religion that gave us modern science and unprecedented wealth that was simply unimaginable even 50 years ago. You reap the benefits that Christianity has sown every time you enjoy one of the many rights and freedoms that Christianity bestows upon all mankind, so you might as well borrow their moral code as well?

Of course, the Christian religion comes with baggage. We do not selflessly act in Christianity. We selfishly pursue our self-interest by serving the poor and needy among us. Indeed, Christ himself proclaimed that no one can enter heaven simply by professing Christ’s name, but that we need to do unto the least of us as we would do to him.

Rather than taking the whole kit and kaboodle, Atheists treat Christianity like a buffet line. How they choose which bits to take and which to leave behind is beyond me. Apparently, chastity isn’t any good, but service is. Apparently, tithing isn’t any good but stewardship is.

I scratch my head at the logical inconsistencies one must embrace to be an Atheist. I laugh inside when Atheists violate their own sacred law of logic to preach and argue in the public square. In the end, I pity them as little children. They are simply too immature to really think about what logic really is, and to learn how to apply it in one’s life.

 
A comment on comments: Just like I wouldn’t tolerate a Christian defending his faith in un-Christian ways, I won’t tolerate Atheists trying to defend their faith in illogical ways. Make your point, but avoid ALL logical fallacies. It may help if you label your assumptions and reasoning clearly. If you feel the urge to call me names, then you simply can’t be an Atheist.

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More On Mormons and Blacks

July 14, 2012

I had a chance to listen to Rev. Wayne Perryman talk about his ideas of what the Republicans need to do. I now understand something I didn’t understand before, but should’ve. The wall between the black community and my community is built from both sides. Just because I’m ready to tear down the wall, doesn’t mean that the other side is, nor that I’m doing a good job at knocking those bricks down. So I’ll do the best I can, and I ask for patience and understanding.

So let me try to summarize my thoughts on Blacks and the Priesthood in the Mormon church.

First, no Mormon was ever taught that blacks would not rise to greet Jesus during his Second Coming. In fact, we teach millions and billions of blacks who lived and died without ever hearing a word about Jesus Christ will not only be able to learn about him and accept him as the Savior, but will actually rise to live with Him in the eternities. Many of these will receive the highest possible degree of salvation, and be invited to sit on the throne of God along with Christ and all the saints who ever lived. No other church I know of teaches anything like this.

Second, we teach that there are a variety of curses on a variety of people throughout the earth. We teach that the members of our church are cursed, and we have a sore cursing that will damn us to hell while it will justify you and your community, if we do not act in obedience to God in all things. In other words, the blacks were cursed, the Jews were cursed, the Gentiles were cursed, the Whites and Asians and Indians and Mormons and Non-Mormons and every group you can imagine are all cursed. Everyone has to approach the Savior and get freed from whatever curse they were born with. This cursing started a long time ago, when Adam and Eve ate the fruit. Whether your curse is different than mine is hardly important.

Third, I plead ignorance. I simply don’t know everything about God. He’s a mystery to me. Sometimes I scratch my head and go, “What were you thinking, God?” However, and this is the key point, I never, ever suppose I am smarter than God. I know one day we’ll all be told everything, and every single one of us will kneel and praise him for his justice, mercy, and unending love. I trust in God, not my understanding.

Meaning, quite frankly, I don’t really know why your skin is black and mine is not. Frankly, I don’t care. Even if it was because of something someone did a long time ago, it really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t change anything. I have to find Jesus. You have to find Jesus. We all have to come to Jesus. Even though our skin is a different color, and you grew up differently than I did, we have to learn to be one in Christ, otherwise, he will reject both of us.

Our church used to teach some things about what the black skin meant, but to be honest, I don’t think they really understood what they were talking about, or maybe we’re not understanding what they were really trying to say. I just really don’t know. Frankly, if this is what you’re hung up on, then you’re missing the elephant in the room, because as long as we’re living on earth, people are always going to make mistakes. If you let other people’s weaknesses keep you from Christ, hoo boy. Talk about a poor excuse.

Fourth, and this is important. I want you to know that when I read the Book of Mormon’s Title Page, I see it is written not for the white Nephites, but for the Lamanites who had the curse of dark skin. I read it is written for them, so that they can blossom as the rose and be ready when Jesus comes, representing Israel. I read that the entire Book of Mormon was written for all of us in our day. There are some pretty crazy stories in there, but I can tell you this: The Lord makes it clear that if you think someone isn’t going to be in heaven because they have dark skin, you’re going to be surprised at judgment day, because the racists will be the ones going to hell. The Lord simply does not tolerate people who think they are better than others, no matter what they think it is that makes them better. He wants those who have been blessed with something to go out and share it, and lift people, not condemn them. So even if the worst possible scenario exists, it doesn’t change what the Lord has told me to do in relation to the black people. I am supposed to love you and serve you and do all I can to make sure everyone of you and your family and community come to know Jesus and accept his sacrifice and prepare yourselves for the Second Coming.

I think this is what Mitt Romney meant when he talked about if you could see into his heart. I feel something similar. I can’t stand the idea that when Jesus comes anyone at all, I don’t care what their skin color is or where they lived or how poor or rich they are, shouldn’t be caught up to greet him. I am working my butt off trying to get as many people as possible to wash themselves clean and take upon themselves the mission of Christ so they can go out and save as many souls as possible.

Just print more money!

July 14, 2012

I have a group of fans that are die-hard liberals. They find all the liberal talking points and shout them at me in the comments to my posts, as if I were completely unaware that there is a group of liberals trying to shout down their opponents with talking points.

Regardless, I appreciate them. The more time the spend whining to me, the less they call into my favorite talk shows and interrupt my listening pleasures. Plus, it shows that my forum is more powerful than the liberal ones.

One of the liberals is absolutely, positively convinced that the normal laws of finances do NOT apply to the government. That is, you don’t need to bring in more than you spend, you don’t need to balance your budget, and you don’t need to worry about debts and interest rates and all those sorts of things “regular” households and businesses have to worry about. Government simply doesn’t need to concern itself with these mundane affairs mere mortals have to deal with daily.

The idea is that since government can print money, they can spend as much as they want! Hooray! It’s Christmas every day! Here’s a pony for every little girl in the world! And free health care! See? All we had to do was BELIEVE and USE OUR IMAGINATION! Look there’s a unicorn!

This is, of course, absurd.

We have a recent example of a government that tried to print its way to prosperity: Zimbabwe. We have a more obvious example: The Weimar Republic, the predecessor to Nazi Germany. These are only two examples from history. There are countless more. And if you expand your definition of money, you will find inflation happening in every industry where the supply of a good rapidly increases beyond the needs of demand.

I’d like to approach this a different way. See, families and businesses have the same power as the government to print little pieces of paper. They can even write dollar signs on them, and color them green and put drawings of important people from history. (OF course, forgery is a crime since it is lying and a fraud. But you can create your own designs.)

The line of business I’m in, internet advertising, is just such an industry. I can take people’s web content and put it in many different places. But that doesn’t mean they’re willing to exchange little green bits of paper, US Dollars, for my services. No, they are interested in things like “ROI” and “effectiveness.” Apparently, they suffer from a critical disease called “reality”, where they want to get more out of what they spend than what they paid. What I have to do is CREATE value for the services I provide, my money. Then I can exchange these services for something of lesser value to them, but of greater value for me.

Did you know I actually spend almost 100% of my time thinking about how I can increase the value of advertising based on where and when I show it? The same ad in two different places has different value.  Interesting how that works. Money is the same kind of thing.

See, bartering NEVER ENDED. We are still bartering today, even though almost all of the transactions we engage in involve dollars or promises of dollars. It is only because we value dollars that dollars have value. The same is true for gold and silver. These are all really “fiat” money, meaning money that is money because people believe in it. (Could an Atheist society have money if they reject the idea of belief altogether? News at 11.)

The Federal Government CANNOT simply print money. Or rather, they CAN, they just can’t print WEALTH. That is, if congress passed a bill, and President Obama signed it, granting the US mint to print a QUADRILLION dollars — a thousand trillion, $1,000,000,000,000,000.00—they could NOT use this to purchase a quadrillion dollars worth of things. What would immediately happen is everyone would whine about the super-inflation that would hit the US. Money would fall to a fraction of its value. Bubble gum would cost $1,000. Cars would cost hundreds of millions. Homes would be worth billions. And people’s wages would of necessity raise to compensate. I’d probably make that million I’ve always been working towards — in a few months. Medicare and Social Security recipients would be literally left on the streets, since their checks wouldn’t even be enough to buy a drop of water.

It”s funny that the very method my political opponents suggest as the path to prosperity would ACTUALLY ACHIEVE what they claim I want to achieve. That is, you’d really kick the poor and the sick and the old into the street if hyper-inflation ever occurred.

We tried this, by the way, in the 70’s. It really, really sucked. We tried to peg prices as well. That was even worse. Ask someone who was an adult in the 70’s, ask them what it was like to get gasoline.

That lead to Reagan’s landslide victory, and his executive order to put the US mint on vacation until inflation stopped.

Odd how that works, right?

The US Made Cuba Poor?!?

July 14, 2012

Cuba received their first shipment in a long time from the US: humanitarian goods.

Liberals point to Cuba and say, “It’s not a failure of communism. It’s because the US cut them off!”

This is horrible reasoning, not that liberals are strong in reasoning. It’s horrible because it you built a wall between two people, and one person thrives while the other dies, what does that tell you about the relationship between the two people?

It’s rather obvious that the US has been an economic producer, while Cuba has been an economic consumer for the past 50 years.

That brings me to another point. People whine that the US consumes the vast majority of the resources in the world. This sounds terrible! It sounds like we’re stealing food and clothing from other people! The truth is rather more simple: America outproduces everyone else, and so we simply have more stuff than anyone else because we make more stuff.

It’s like you walk into a village, and you see one guy has all the iron tools in his shed. You wouldn’t think it’s because he’s hoarding them. No, you’d probably assume he’s the blacksmith, and he has all those tools because he made them himself.

Anyway, the thing that brought Cuba down wasn’t America. It was a murderous communist regime that vilified wealth and property, kind of like the president we have today. Remember that next time he attacks the rich: We would be like Cuba if it weren’t for the fact that the rich are just as welcome in our country as the poor.

Circular Reasoning in Fossil Dating?

July 13, 2012

I found this gem on Wikipedia:

The occurrence of species of animal that became extinct at ~1.5 Ma indicate the deposit is not younger than 1.5 Ma.

This isn’t science, logic, or reasoning. This is mythology. Just make up a date, pronounce species to be dead after such a date, and voila! You’ve got ancient fossils everywhere.

Reflexive

July 7, 2012

One of the most curious things about trying to view the universe the way it really is, rather than the way we wish it would be, is that we have to remove ourselves, completely, from the equation.

For example, when Einstein first described the special theory of relativity, what he was really doing was trying to reconcile the laws of physics for every imaginable frame of reference. If you’ve ever done the gedankenexperiment (thought experiment) he did, you’ll see why this is important.

For instance, consider what a bystander sees when a train is passing by, and simultaneously consider what the passengers of the train see. Then think of what passengers on a train passing in the opposite direction see, as well as passengers on a spaceship traveling close to the speed of light. When you can reconcile all of these with each other, without changing the speed of light for any of them, then you understand what is really going on with our perception of time and space and speed and distance.

I won’t try to describe the truth to you. I honestly can’t. No one can. Those who refuse to perform the experiment so carefully laid out in his original paper will never really understand the special theory of relativity. They are left to beg for scraps from the table. They will be forced to accept whatever slivers of knowledge those who know are willing to share, and then left to try and interpret them into a consistent world view.

Science, knowledge, the art of knowing, not just guessing, but actually knowing what is out there, is not something you learn in a classroom. It is not found in textbooks. It is found in one-on-one interviews with the universe itself. It’s primary goal is to eliminate error from the scientists’ thinking. After all, we are all free to think what we wish, including the thought that we somehow know of ourselves something we cannot know for ourselves.

The reflexive nature of science started, I believe, with the simple twin commandments, “Love God, Love your neighbors as yourself.”This is encoded in a simple phrase, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” When we really think and ponder what that means, it leads us to the reflexive property of science. Simply put, what is true for me is true for you, and is true for all. Conversely, what is false for me is false for you and false for all. Truth and error are thus beyond the definition of humanity, but something that exists whether or not any thinking creatures existed at all.

What is the truth? When you try to find laws of nature that satisfy this reflexive requirement, you quickly discover that there are only so many possible laws just like there can only be so many knots. Most ways of combining things together are really combinations of even simpler things, just like fantastically complicated knots are really one or two knots put together in a sequence or pattern.

In economics and politics, two “sciences” which seem to be the most distantly removed from reality, despite the fact that they are so important to our well-being, the reflexive property is hard to be found. “Do as I say, not as I do” is everywhere. We detest it, innately. We label it as one of the grossest crimes any politician can commit: “Hypocrisy.”

Some of us take it a step further, and suppose it is not unlike the hypocrisy that Jesus denounced, and so it is. However, the subject that the pharisees were being hypocrites with were laws of nature, particularly nature’s God. We cannot imagine that our politicians are committing a crime so gross when they act hypocritically in their respective fields.

Another property thinking reflexively, really the point of this whole post, is when people think some people in one place are fundamentally than other people in another place. We see this in two principle divisions.

One is government vs. business. Somehow, we have allowed ourselves to believe that government magically transforms people into angels. I know why this idea exists: it certainly benefits government. A similar parallel exists within business, that you are justified in doing whatever you wish economically, as long as you make profit, since by making profit you are transformed into angels of wealth. Neither of these do justice to the fact that humans are human. Humans are one step away from the angels, but likewise one step away from the devils. I cannot trust myself, morally speaking, anymore than I can trust anyone else. I am well familiar with my failings, despite the fact that those who know me best claim that I am fundamentally good. And so I know the same is true for the people around me.

Let me put that in plainer language. People in government are only human. Just like I (and doubtless, you) feel tempted to do things that are morally wrong, and sometimes I act on those things, people in government are the same, maybe more, maybe less. People are the same everywhere, really. The reflexive property demands we understand that.

What is the best political policy then? Simply this: empower people to control their own lives. Give a tiny bit of power to your neighbors to interfere with your life when you’ve obviously gone too far. Government should always be a tiny fraction of our life, something distant, something unnecessary except for when people cross gross moral limits.

When we empower others, people who do not care for us more than we care for ourselves, we give them an awful power. They do not have to live with the consequences of their actions, and so there is no control mechanism. See, in our life, if we make a bad choice, we suffer the consequences. If we give the power to choose to someone else, and they make a bad choice, they say, “Sorry,” and move on with their life, suffering no consequence.

Two, and this is important, is our thinking that we are somehow superior to someone else. One of my brothers once said, “People are stupid.” I nodded in agreement, thinking he had lumped himself into that group. Certainly I knew I was stupid. But then he added, “We can’t let them choose for themselves.” I shuddered at that thought. What made him think his special brand of stupid was better than other people’s brands of stupid? The reflexive property demands that anyone who thinks they are more or less human, or rather, anyone who thinks anyone is more or less than human, is wrong. Yes, circumstances are different, our intellectual capacity, our education, our habits, may distinguish us. But where is there among us someone who knows enough, who is wise and mature enough, who has pure moral intentions, and who can tell us which one of us is better or superior, or worse? Nowhere.

The Reflexive Property demands that the judge of humanity must himself be non-human. If he were human, he would judge himself, and that would make him an impartial judge. We certainly can’t have that. That’s why I ascribe all powers of judgment not to men or a man, but to God. We can’t influence him one way or the other, we can’t even understand his mind, but for fragments he feels we are ready to accept. (Not unlike those who are trying to understand relativity but only feed on the scraps of knowledge that those who really know share.)

That’s why I feel all Atheists must, immediately, create a God to worship, something that is distinctly not human, something worthy of our powerful instinct to worship and revere and trust. Then we can move forward, applying the Reflexive Property between us.

 

What Independence Day Really Is

July 4, 2012

I imagine that if you lived among the Israelites at the time they were within the borders of Egypt, the idea of leaving to form your own independent nation seemed absurd. When Moses came from the wilderness, showing signs that he was God’s chosen prophet, I wonder how many people among the Israelites thought what he prophesied would happen was impossible.

And yet, Israel has been freed, even though it took miraculous means.

Many of my fellow conservatives are depressed. They think that we are at the end of this glorious nation’s run, that the best days are behind us. I wish to inspire them by helping them understand what the historical context of this sacred day really is.

Turn back the clock. England defeats the Spanish Armada in the English Channel. Her people spread out across the earth, colonizing or conquering as they go. Among the casualties are some of the most ancient and powerful empires known to man. England stood supreme among all nations, her king and parliament the envy of all mankind. One English citizen is worth one hundred or even one thousand foreign citizens.

Although the Boxer Rebellion occurred long after the Revolutionary War, it represents something of what Americans must have felt. Even China can’t break the bonds of slavery that England had slipped around her wrists.

Americans stood at a unique position before the Revolutionary War. They had something everyone wanted. They were going to be the king’s cash cow, repaying important debts that had recently been incurred. Are we any different today? What nation among nations is most desirable to tax or to lend money to? Why do we enjoy this position? Because our work ethic, our morals, our values, and our charity, make us the most productive and prosperous people in recorded history, even in our depressed state.

When mother England began exerting her influence, it was a small fraction of the people that stood up and said, “No!” The Boston Tea Party represented a minority, extreme position that government leaders were unwilling to compromise with at the time. Negotiations between England and America by our nation’s Founding Fathers was to reconcile the ill-will and bring America back in under the king’s good graces. We wanted to be part of America, at least officially, and we wanted to pay taxes, we just wanted to be considered as peers, not subjects, of the English people.

Things happened rather quickly. I can barely understand what exactly occurred, but there was a dramatic shift in American thinking. “Common Sense and the Rights of Man” was published by Thomas Paine, someone who was no intellectual giant, and even later in life, advocated slavery for the citizens of America ala socialist-style policies. Yet it rang a few bells in people’s minds.

When the Declaration was signed, the signers thought they would all die in the most horrible way possible. Some did not think the war was winnable, but that the protest was important to make nonetheless, because it would put America in a good position in the future, or even that they were bound to represent their people, which demanded revolution despite the fact it was obviously wrong.

The Revolutionary War was nothing short of a disaster. Those who think we marched gloriously to our freedom live under a false memory. We struggled, we died, we starved. It was a handful of miracles that put us on top at the end. Our victory was not as decisive as we had wished, of course. England promised to return, and return they did, roughly 35 years later in the War of 1812.

Our fledgling nation was no paradise. We were poor, starving, petty creatures who fought over the smallest political issues while our currency collapsed and entire industries disappeared. The idea to reform the Continental Congress carried, the Constitutional Convention was formed, and it produced the Constitution of the United States, a document villified and opposed in the most powerful way you can imagine. After the compromise that lead to the creation of the first ten amendments, the Bill of Rights, the constitution was born, and our nation started upon a new era of peace and prosperity under President Washington.

Things were not always rosy. If you think it is bad today, consider other periods of time under the constitution. There was once a time when criticizing the president could get you in prison. There was once a time when people rose up to fight and kill each other, even brother against brother. There was once a time where income beyond a certain level was taxed at 90%. There was once a time when gas prices were legislated, industries were managed from the White House, and gold confiscated.

Things are bad now, but they are simply NOT the worst. We have seen worse times. Much, much worse times. And yet, every time, the people remember their great guiding principle: the equality of man. They repeal those laws and remove from office those tyrants that harm our liberty. When the chips are down, and Americans are forced to choose between tyranny and freedom, they almost universally choose freedom.

America is at a turning point right now. You can tell because there are two sides of the issues fighting tooth and nail. You can tell because we are rapidly changing our policies, one president cutting taxes, the other raising them. This is what the constitution was meant to cause. When the nation is divided, the issues are brought to bear in every person’s home. We must, each of us, decide which side we align with, and fight to protect our right to do so.

When all is said and done, history books will record the early 2000’s as a tumultuous time in America’s history where America had to reject socialism once and for all. Once the last socialists are gone from office, and you are seeing them disappear one by one, we can begin rebuilding this nation on the sound principles of liberty and independence that made us great in the first place.

When I look forward to 2050 and beyond, I see gleaming skyscrapers, cars that hover, robots that keep our homes clean and cook our food for us. I see thousands of millions of people from every nation, of every religion and skin color, proudly calling themselves “American”, and working hard to create an even brighter future for their children. I have hope that my golden years will be a time when I get to witness such fantastic things that my mind cannot perceive of it now. Imagine those born in the 1920’s living today, imagine the things they see and compare it to the farm they were born on, where most of the work was still done by hand and sweat. That’s what our grandchildren will be saying about our time.

I am hopeful for the future because I know the past. We have exceeded every reasonable expectation by such a wide margin. Do you think Benjamin Franklin could’ve perceived that the very poorest among us zoom around in automobiles, or own devices so fantastic as the hand-held smartphone? Do you think Thomas Jefferson could’ve imagined a day when someone from China can communicate by video with someone from America instantly? Or a day when universities are so open that one need simply sit at their desk to get access to the world’s greatest lectures?

If you are still hopeless, then let me share with you my ultimate hope. Remember Christ. Remember that he has already defeated the world and all its wickedness. Remember that he promises to make bare his arm in the eyes of all the nations, that he will descend from heaven in great glory, that all the wicked people will be burned from the earth. Remember that all he asks us to do to ensure this wonderful future is simply have faith, repent, and treat our neighbors with the same love we would treat the Savior. We are not asked to die on a cross or bear the world’s sin. That is already taken care of. We simply need to live by faith. So even if, EVEN IF our nation collapses, and we are in another Civil War, or everyone becomes impoverished, I will still look forward with great hope for the future.

What Our State Could Do

July 3, 2012

On the topic of health care, the federal government can only do so much. It’s job is to ensure there is free trade among the states, protect our borders and people from military threats, and engage in international diplomacy, hopefully opening up our borders for free trade and immigration.

We face several problems with health care that can be easily solved within our own state. The problems are roughly the following:

  • Health care is really, really expensive.
  • Health care is really, really hard to provide.

If we simply bring free market forces into play, I believe we can solve both problems, which are really the same.

First, we could protect doctors. By default, if a doctor botches medical care, and the patient dies, they should not be responsible. Medicine is a tricky and inexact science. It’s really more of an art. We really don’t understand the human body. Our bodies are programmed to die anyway. No doctor can preserve someone’s life forever. Eventually, all of us will die, and it will be due to some disease.

The only time a doctor should be held liable is when they failed to provide the level of service they promised. That is, they said they would do one thing, but they really did another.

We should also limit damages, just in case we do have a doctor that committed fraud. As a state, we should set a maximum lifetime reward. That is, cap the value of human life, and make it so that no person should pay more than that in compensation for disability or death. Even if we set this way above any sensible limit, let’s say, 10 million dollars (hardly anyone would ever make that much in their lifetimes), then insurance companies could limit the amount of coverage they provide for doctors, bringing the price of malpractice insurance down.

The next thing we need to do is remove all the barriers to the health care market.

Insurance companies. We should allow insurance companies to write whatever policies they like. Outside of a few basic restrictions, such as you can’t sell yourself into slavery, etc… any kind of contract should be allowed. Insurance companies should be held responsible for making sure people understand what their policy says, of course. If we find out they are misleading people, or if they are aware of gross misinterpretations but do nothing to educate, then we can bring them in for bad business practices.

Hospitals and health clinics. I don’t think we need to have government-run hospitals, nor do they need to be supported by the community. We also shouldn’t limit where people can build new hospitals. Treat it like any other business. Grocery stores have no problem providing groceries to people at a cheap price. Why not allow hospitals to compete in a similar way? If someone makes a profit from their hospital, because they run a tighter ship, then so be it. As long as anyone¬† can open a hospital next door to challenge their profit margin, I’m fine with it. I personally don’t think people will do much better than the church-run and charitable hospitals. However, if those are so terribly run that others can open a for-profit hospital and make money doing so, so be it.

This means, of course, that we’re going to have many, many more hospitals and health clinics than we do today. This means they will be even more accessible to the poor who have limited transportation. Also, I see different hospitals specializing in different types of care. We are already seeing that, but I foresee it on a much larger scale.

What do we do for those who can’t afford health care? The answer is not to allow anyone to be treated in emergency clinics by threat of law. Someone has to pay, and pretty soon, government has control of the emergency room through their pocketbooks.

The answer is simply to let the market figure it out on their own. Already doctors volunteer their time to help the needy, so why can’t hospitals do the same? Perhaps hospitals can choose to cooperate and pool their charitable resources so that those hospitals in poorer neighborhoods can have access to more funds.

Doctors and other health professionals. I believe we should eliminate all state boards and certification programs. These artificially limit the number of professionals available. Rather, let the professionals arrange their own affairs. If they want to form a trade union, so be it. If each hospital or network wants their own rules, so be it.

Why do I think this? Well, I believe that having a government-run certification program is prone to corruption, and in the end, makes things worse. People can hide behind their certificates, rather than having to convince their clientele that they are qualified.

Let me share an example. Let’s say there’s a branch of medicine, let’s call it, Foobarology. Foobarology is built on shaky science, but the people seem to like it. In the private certification market, Foobarologists will form their own review board and hand out their certificates, and try to demonstrate to people why Foobarology works. People who think Foobarology is a load of crap will be free to say things like, “Look at how Foobarology doesn’t work. These doctors with Foobarology certificates have treated these people with no effect at all.” The public’s opinion shifts, and all of a sudden, a lot of Foobarologists are scrambling to find customers. Eventually, they either switch specialties or find something else.

In the public certification system, the public Foobarology board will demand that a law be written to to incriminate anyone who suggests that Foobarology is not good medicine. At the same time, Foobarologists will tell their clients, “See? I have a government-issued certificate. Even the government thinks Foobarology is correct!”

Bottom line, if the medicine is good, you don’t need the government to tell you. If it is bad, then you don’t need the government to tell you. Let people stand on their own two feet rather than rely on government sanctions.

I’ve already spoken about malpractice. I think changing malpractice laws will do more than anything else to shift the health care industry in the right direction.

Helping the poor. Because I don’t believe mixing church and state together is a good idea, I don’t think having the government provide assistance to the poor is a wise idea. However, and this is a big “however”, it may make sense to do so in one case and one case only.

Certain individuals are left without parents or caretakers. They are wards of the state, incapable of living independently. These people, obviously, should be cared for by representatives of the state. It only makes sense that they be given enough money to support themselves, including health care, which is managed by their caretaker under the supervision of a judge. That is, unless the churches and charities in the state have enough resources to care for them without the state money, in which case, they just refuse the money and help the person out of the goodness of their heart.

Other people who are independent and yet incapable of supporting themselves, including health care, should not have access to state funds. Why? Because this is taking bread out of the mouths of the laborer to give it to those who did not work for it.

Having the state fund health care artificially drives the prices up. Normally, market forces keep supply and demand in sync, meeting at the ideal price that tells both how much the good is needed and how much of the good is available. If health care suppliers can see these prices and respond naturally, then the greatest effort will be spent on keeping costs low and addressing the most pressing needs in the community. When the state starts writing checks, they skew the market and people begin doing sub-optimal things.

What to do with the poor? The answer is nothing. The people can care for the poor themselves. If the people are prosperous, then they can take that surplus and turn around and make health care even cheaper and more available, and that will do more to help the poor than anything else. Or they can take their profits and buy health care for the poor, what they see is appropriate.

I am sure something like what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does to help the poor will emerge. Yes, we’ll help you, but we won’t enslave you. We expect you to work your own way out of problems, so we will give you opportunities and training and self-esteem and coaching, so that one day, you can help others too.

It’s obvious that the direction the state is going is simply not working. We really need to try out some new ideas. I am sure there are other great ideas. Let me know about them in the comments.

How to Teach a Little Child How to Ride a Bike in 15 minutes

July 3, 2012

With five kids, I get to do things people who don’t have five kids don’t. For instance, I get to experiment with different ways to teach a kid how to ride a bike.

This method I am about to share is the easiest.

Remember that little kids do not speak or understand complicated things. Say things in the simplest way possible. Use simple statements. Say things like, “You will not fall. You will not hurt. You will have fun. You will go fast.” Speak slowly. Smile. Nod. Listen. Have fun. Kids grow up, so enjoy every moment you can.

Step 1: Get equipment that fits. The simple rule of thumb is that the kid should be able to easily reach the ground while sitting on the bike, knees slightly bent, heels on the ground. They should be able to have their legs out so that the peddles don’t hit their legs. Get a bike helmet that is comfortable and doesn’t cover their eyes. Don’t get knee pads, gloves, etc… They don’t need it.

Step 2: Take the training wheels off. They are dangerous. When a kid starts having fun on the bike, they will try to turn and the bike will fall over because of the wheels. They learn that fast is dangerous, which is simply backwards for a bike. Tell them that the training wheels will make them hurt. It will make them fall off the bike when they go fast.

Step 3. Have them sit on the bike, feet on the ground, hands on the handlebars. Tell them that the bike will not fall over if their feet are on the ground. Tell them that they must not take their feet off the ground. Show them by gently pushing the bike sideways. Their feet will keep it up.

Step 4. Tell them to “glide”. This means they walk the bike, build up some speed, then have their feet float over the ground. If they lose balance, they use their feet to keep from falling and to stay up straight. Do not hold the bike during this. Let them start with walking, then let them build up some speed. When they glide, cheer for them, tell them “Good job!” give them a high five. Tell them they are learning quickly, and doing well.

Step 5. When they get good at gliding, they will naturally put their feet on the pedals. Tell them they can push the pedals to go faster. If they begin to lose balance, they will stick their feet out to keep from falling. Pretty soon, they are riding their bike! When they pedal two or three times on their own, tell them they have learned to ride a bike! Cheer! High five! Give them a cookie!

The last skills they need to learn are how to stop. Show them how to pedal backwards or how to pull on the brakes. They will figure out how to stop with their feet rather quickly. After that, teach them the rules of the road. In our house, it’s basically: (1) Don’t zoom into intesections; stop, go slow, and then go on the straight parts. Cars cannot see you, and you will get hurt and maybe die if you zoom into intersections. (2) When you see a car, say “Car!” and move to the side of the road.

When they get older, show them the stop signs, tell them to stay off the sidewalk if they go fast, tell them to stay on the right side of the road, and teach them the hand signals.

Three of my five kids learned this way. The last two learned in 5 minutes flat.

The last one that learned (6 years old) was really upset when we took off the training wheels. He showed us how the bike falls if it doesn’t have training wheels, and he said, “I will get hurt! It will be bad!” We had to show him all the other kids riding their bikes, and show him that they do not have training wheels and they do not fall. It took him a while to understand, but when he did, he wanted to learn.

Tomorrow, I am going to try and teach the 5 year old. I think he understands that the training wheels do not help.

It helps if you have a very, very gentle slope on a street. This will help them build up some speed, but not so much they realize what is happening.

Finally, training wheels are like government assistance. It seems like a really, really good idea, until you learn you never needed them in the first place, and are better off without them.

Repeal and Replace

July 3, 2012

Conservatives get really worried when they hear the phrase “repeal and replace”. I don’t think it’s such a bad phrase, especially if I agree with what we intend to replace Obamacare with.

Here are some simple ideas that will dramatically reduce the cost of health care, while simultaneously increasing availability to everyone.

The goals are rather simple:

  • Opening Up The Market. Bring buyers and sellers into a common marketplace, where prices will be forced down by natural market forces.
  • Weening the people off of the government. Rather than have the government decide how to spend people’s money, let the people decide what is best for them.
  • Ending unfunded entitlement programs that will bankrupt us. This is rather simple: offer cash or vouchers in exchange for people surrendering their entitlement.
  • Empowering states to experiment with various ways of caring for the poor and sick in their own state, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach that helps no one.
  • Driving the cost down to provide medical services.
  • Ensuring the people who can afford health care do not “freeride” on other people’s money and resources.

These are some specific policy proposals that would help achieve those goals.

  • Allow people to purchase health insurance across state or national lines. States cannot preclude health care packages from entering their states simply because someone lives there.
  • Eliminate the tax benefit of employer-provided health insurance. Lower taxes to compensate. Now employees buy health insurance from the market, not their employer.
  • Relax the regulations on foods and drugs. Maintain clear labeling standards, however, including requirements to clearly publish at the point of sale what the side effects are, and what studies should be done but have not yet been done.
  • Issue lifetime vouchers to those who would receive Medicare benefits. Better yet, allow people to “cash out” of Medicare. Allow those who still want it to continue to participate, but make it in people’s interests to take the cash payout.
  • Rather than regulate where medical dollars can be spent, or how much things cost, write a check to each state to be used as they see fit. If that’s providing health benefits to the poor and needy, so be it. Let each state figure out what they think is the best way to distribute those funds.
  • Tort reform: make it more difficult to prove negligence (ie, requiring malice), and limit the amount of money paid out. Medicine is an inherently risky business, and we cannot ask doctors, hospitals, and medical manufacturers to shoulder the entire burden. It should be understood that despite the best efforts of the best doctors and best technology, you are still going to die one day. (Individual states will have to reform their own tort systems. The federal government cannot mandate this.)
  • Hospital reform. No longer require hospitals to treat every patient who enters the hospital. No longer reimburse hospitals for so doing. If states want such a law, let them write it and pay for it with their own money.
  • Lower taxes overall. By allowing people to keep more of their own money, they will have more to take care of themselves, their families, and their community’s health needs.

I don’t think the American people would disagree with all of these reforms. They would certainly agree to the goals, and I am very sure that these reforms would move us in the right direction.