According to Max Weber, a state could be said to “succeed” if it maintains a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force within its borders. The key here is the word “legitimate.” To be legitimate, a state must must be seen by its citizens as protecting their interests, and being fair and just. With an approval rating of Congress of 18% can we consider the government legitimate? And, if not, is the United States a failing or failed state?
The Federal Health Care debate brings to the surface a number of problems that indicate how the United States is failing: Continue reading →
No bill would be this big unless it is packed with pork and exemptions. A fair bill that treats everyone the same doesn’t look this way. Think of how large the U.S. Constitution is and what it does. The most valuable things come in small packages.
Federal Health Care is the Easiest to Defraud
Tonight 60 Minutes reported on billions of dollars of Medicare fraud. Most people know that patients, doctors, and hospitals frequently overbill, but other government agencies, druglords, and private entrepreneurs have learned that bilking medicare out of money through false claims is safer, easier, and just as lucrative as selling cocaine.
Readers of my book will not be surprised. I spent several pages explaining why it is easier to defraud bureaucracies than face-to-face market transactions. The greater the centralization of healthcare, the more fraud can be expected. To the student of human nature, the idea that a federal healthcare system would be subject to less fraud and abuse is ludicrous. Continue reading →
The Principle of Subsidiarity is Responsible Freedom
The principle of subsidiarity, or “the greatest responsibility to the lowest possible level” is a central principle of freedom, good governance, and the opposite of ponzi schemes that centralize power at the expense of freedom. The founding fathers implicity upheld this principle, as it follows from the Declaration of Independence. In my book Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, Version 4.0, I devote a chapter to this principle and how it became inverted and unstable. Continue reading →
Social Security and Medicare are Ponzi Schemes
The Social Security system and Medicare are ponzi schemes, no less than Bernard Madoff’s financial scheme was. The essential elements are the same:
You take a small amount of money from the first person, promising a greater amount in return. Then you charge a larger amount from the next person and pay off the first person with his greater return. Next you charge a third person a higher amount and pay off the second with a greater return. You do this until the last person in the chain is unable to pay and the bubble bursts.
A variation on the ponzi scheme above involves taking a small amount of money from the first person, promising a greater return. Then you charge the same amount to two people, and pay the first person his greater return. Next, you charge the same amount to four people and pay the second two their greater return. You do this until you run out of people, and then the bubble bursts.
A New Cure for Cancer?
Tonight 60 Minutes ran a story about John Kanzius, a man with leukemia, who out of desperation to cure himself from his disease, developed a treatment for the disease using radio waves. Although he eventually succumbed to the disease in February 2009, a cancer research doctor who worked with him on his novel treatment is now have success at killing 100 percent of malignant cells in pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, leukemia, and more.
This discovery, which could be one of the most important medical discoveries of our century, happened the way most human innovation occurs. An unlikely person with the right knowledge and skills is thrust into a challenging situation, and with unrelenting initiative and sacrifice makes a discovery that might cure cancer in millions of future patients. Continue reading →
The nation-state is a modern concept that arose with the breakdown of the Holy Roman Empire. I contributed an article on this topic to the New World Encyclopedia a couple of years ago because it is a concept that is related to much of the war and oppression in the world.
A “nation” refers to a national group of people, and national groups are connected by language, culture, and ethnicity. A “state” is a politically unified territory. When a national group controls a state, any minorities living in that state tend to be oppressed and treated as second-class citizens. The Holocaust in Germany is an example of the idea taken to the extreme, with Hitler’s attempt to create a pure nation-state. Continue reading →