The Tyranny of Niceness

This post is inspired by reading this post from the The Advice Goddess Blog. I stole some of Christina’s lines directly and the general trend of the piece but I’d like to think my elaboration is of interest.

Our latest generation can’t argue. They think that creating tension is bad and a sign of something wrong or that something has gone wrong. It is part of the Tyranny of Niceness in which rocking the boat is the greatest sin and tolerance is the greatest virtue.

If you can’t argue then you can’t think.

One of the best ways to refine your ideas is to fight. A good vigorous debate between friends is a blast as well as a passionate argument between rivals. As long as your goal is to enhance your own understanding and delve into the truth such arguments are one of the best ways to enhance the mind. Those who argue with no intention of changing their mind and who openly state that no evidence will ever possibly convert them to any other view are already lost to reason.

If no one challenges your thoughts and opinions then the ruts of conventional thinking just grow deeper and stronger until you’re unable to critically examine your own beliefs and knowledge. Thus, the extreme polarization in America today where those who have the most extreme views are unopposed by the sensible majority and exist in an echo room listening only to those thoughts that agree with them. Those who dare challenge your paradigm are the enemy and whatever the enemy says is suspect as you already know and believe that passionately that your ideas are superior and correct.

The tradition upholding the ideals of free thought, liberty, and speaking your mind are quintessentially american. The latest generation has been raised without this and don’t know it and don’t appreciate it. One of the largest polls ever conducted on high school students showed that the vast majority think that the government should censor the media and those with unpopular opinions should be prevented from sharing their thoughts rather than being argued for and against in the free market of ideas. The ideas should just be quietly shut down and censored by central authority so as to avoid upsetting anyone. Again the tyranny of niceness rears its ugly head. As mentioned in the link Ethics Professors can’t find a single topic or ethical conundrum that their students will find objectionable and will actively stand up against! They just want SOMEONE else to make the decisions and shut up unpopular or divergent thoughts so they don’t have to critically apply their reason or make anyone uncomfortable.

The education system is partly to blame for this. An anecdotal story from an article in Newsweek I read years ago tells how a boy stood up and yelled at his teacher to stop being mean to a girl in their classroom. The girl had asked a question and the teacher mocked her calling her stupid and saying the question was dumb. The boy continued saying that in the first day of class the teacher had said to ask any questions you have and don’t worry there are no dumb questions so she was being mean AND being an hypocrite…the school’s response was to expel the boy for being intolerant and showing a lack of respect for authority.

Reminds me of a great speech given by Al Pacino in a Scent of a Woman.

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Thoughts on healthcare with minimal bureaucracy and maximum effectiveness

Been thinking about how to create an healthcare system with minimal bureaucracy that would help everyone involved at least a little bit. Whether that would be necessarily better than other systems isn’t the point this is a thought experiment:-)

Give everyone a medical credit card loaded with a grand each year that rolls over and gains interest. Require catastrophic healthcare to be purchased. Eliminate employer based healthcare and make sure that individuals have the same right to use pretax dollars to pay for insurance. Basically treat it like car insurance. The thousand dollars would allow working poor and lower middle class folks a chance at preventative medicine and if they are sick they can actually go to the doctor and get medicine. Often people don’t go because the deductible is too high even when they have insurance. By giving everyone the same thing you get rid of the bureaucracy and red tape (sometimes it costs more to decide who to help then it does to help which is a major problem for charities which often provide less than ten percent of the donations to the target of the aid) and free people from the trap of not being able to quit their job because of healthcare and pure existing conditions. It also frees employers by letting them provide compensation in another way.

For certain life events you could have a fund for things like childbirth and continued support for the disabled or end of life care to provide some help to the poor.

A major issue now is that medical providers have to hire experts to make sure that every t is crossed and every I is dotted making some unwilling to provide service to those on assistance. This costs money and more importantly time. People with critical skills could be out helping people instead of doing paperwork while people wait two weeks to get an appointment. Instant payment from the medical card and no bureaucracy beyond minimal quality of service requirements means business runs smoother and powers operational costs for the business which can often mean lowered costs to the customer.

By gutting medicare for all but the most needy the huge crony capitalism of big pharma goes out the window with the tens of billions of wasted taxpayer money since the government can’t negotiate drug prices.

A low income government insurance could be provided that would operate at a loss but would help with drug prices for the elderly like medicare but without the paperwork and complexity. If health insurance was as easy as car insurance and cleanly explained what was covered and how much with forums discussing any points of contention or confusion the insurance companies would save money on labor and with people spending a little bit on preventative medicine then less sick people and more early intervention which saves lives and fortunes.

Also things like glasses would find their prices plummet. You can buy online at ten percent the cost at a store because young poor people buy online while those with insurance by retail and since part or all the cost is paid by the insurance company they don’t care that the glasses cost the insurance company 500 for sixty dollar glasses.

What do you think?

Ron Paul Video for my Libertarian Friends

Whether you agree with him or not he at least isn’t a crony capitalist/corporatist and he has consistently espoused his ideas even when modifying his beliefs would’ve gained him power. He’s also one of the few republicans able to work across party lines as shown by his friendship and work with Denis Kucinich and his various alliances with Ralph Nader.

 

Military Detention of US Citizens

Not many issues unite Feinstein and Rand Paul but this whole bill just needs to get vetoed and pretty much everyone who voted for it in its original state needs to get booted out. Here are a few good links about it.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/01/military-detention-us-citizens_n_1124534.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/29/senate-votes-to-let-military-detain-americans-indefinitely_n_1119473.html

Below you can express your opinion:

http://act.demandprogress.org/sign/ndaa/?source=fb

A fine speech by Rand Paul:

Glenn Beck Conspiracy Generator

I had a few laughs because of this site.

http://politicalhumor.about.com/library/bl-glenn-beck-conspiracy.htm?PS=234,32,327,628:7

This is my favorite one so far:

“We are under siege by a parade of militant homosexuals who are plotting with terrorists to give federal bailout money to radical Islamic groups, which, as you know, are plotting to blow up megachurches.”