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REQUIEM

Below are the two final essays to be posted on Allegiance and Duty Betrayed. The first one is written by a friend -- screen name 'Euro-American Scum' -- who, over the past four years, has been the most faithful essayist here. He has written about everything from his pilgrimage to Normandy in 2004 to take part in the 60th–year commemoration of the invasion, to his memories of his tour in Vietnam. His dedication to America’s founding principles ... and those who have sacrificed to preserve them over the past 200+ years ... is unequaled. Thank you, E-A-S. It has been a privilege to include your writing here, and it is a privilege to call you my friend.

The second essay is my own farewell. And with it I thank all of the many regular visitors, and those who may have only dropped in occasionally, for coming here. I hope you learned something. I hope a seed or two was planted. But, even if not, I thank you for stopping by ... 25 March, 2010

6/30/2006

Hillarycare in Burundi

In a surprisingly honest admission of failure, the United Nations recently described in great detail the consequences of adopting its 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights as part of a nation's Constitution. The title of the article reads, Burundi: Side effects of free maternal, child healthcare.

Side effects? I smiled at the UN's choice of words and wondered if, had there been a mass poisoning, would they have written, "Followers of Jim Jones suffer side effects of Cyanide Poisoning"? Just as death is the primary result - not a "side effect" - of Cyanide poisoning, it is also the primary result of socialized medicine - the only difference being that the suffering is more prolonged and more widespread in the latter case. The article begins:
    BUJUMBURA, 9 Jun 2006 (IRIN) - A new policy of free medical care for Burundian mothers and children was intended to improve their lives; instead it has crippled the nation's health system.

    Public hospitals in Burundi have recorded double, sometimes triple, the number of patients since a presidential directive for free pediatric and maternal health services was implemented on 1 May. Overcrowded wards, a shortage of doctors and other medical staff, as well as patients' inability to afford prescribed medications are some of the challenges health officials are now facing.

    The situation in rural health centers is particularly desperate. In one case, four heavily pregnant women with health complications were referred from a rural clinic to a larger and better-equipped city hospital. However, the facility turned them away because of overcrowding. After local media reported that the women had not been admitted, a senior Ministry of Commerce official ordered that they be taken to a private clinic. Unfortunately, it was too late for one patient: She died as she was being taken there.

    The woman's death could have been avoided had procedures been in place to ensure the proper implementation of the directive, health officials said. The public health system was ill prepared to cope with the resultant increase in patients, and subsequently, patients have been let down. The poor services patients were accustomed to paying for may now be free, but the quality of care has declined even further because of the increased caseload and an acute shortage of doctors.
Yes, had only procedures been in place to make the world slow down, stop, then start spinning in the opposite direction, this nasty situation could have been avoided altogether. Article 10 of the Constitution of Burundi adopts (by reference) the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which reads in part (Article 25):
  1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

  2. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
So who can blame college-educated President Pierre Nkurunziza for following the law of his land? After all, those words were written into his Constitution at the urging of some of the best minds in the world - the United Nations, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, and Nelson Mandela. They all had only the best of intentions toward Burundi and the World Bank and International Monetary Fund said this was the right way to go as well. The collapse of the Burundian health care system had to be just a fluke, a glitch, a "side effect". The basic idea was sound, but there just wasn't enough money to do all the planning that should have been done. Probably some incompetent functionary didn't do his job properly, or maybe it was just plain bad luck. We'll do better next time. The article quoted one hospital administrator as saying:
    "We saluted the measure, but it seems the government did not plan mechanisms to successfully implement it."
Like socialists the world around, they claim to have "The Answer". They could make life heaven-on-earth, if only people would listen to them (and give them more money). But when their utopian plans fail - as they do time after time - neither the motives of the socialists nor the philosophy of socialism itself are questioned.

It's not as if the fatal results of socialism are hidden from view - they're written in blood in the annals of history like the skull and crossbones on a bottle of poison. They're visible all around us, even as we speak, yet many people refuse to see. After the death and destruction wrought by socialism in all its forms during the twentieth century, one is forced to ask oneself, can the people who still advocate socialism really be that stupid, or are they evil?

F.A. Hayek wrote of these people in The Road to Serfdom, Chapter 1:
    "When the course of civilization takes an unexpected turn - when, instead of the continuous progress which we have come to expect, we find ourselves threatened by evils associated by us with past ages of barbarism - we naturally blame anything but ourselves. Have we not all striven according to our best lights, and have not many of our finest minds incessantly worked to make this a better world? Have not all our efforts and hopes been directed toward greater freedom, justice, and prosperity? If the outcome is so different from our aims - if instead of freedom and prosperity, bondage and misery stare us in the face - is it not clear that sinister forces must have foiled our intentions, that we are the victims of some evil power which must be conquered before we can resume the road to better things?

    "We are ready to accept almost any explanation of the present crisis of our civilization except one: that the present state of the world may be the result of genuine error on our own part and that the pursuit of some of our most cherished ideals has apparently produced results utterly different from those which we expected."
Throughout history, most of mankind has lived as Thomas Hobbes described in The Leviathan:
    ... where every man is enemy to every man...wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal. In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
This is the world of the socialists - those who claim man was born only to serve the tribe. This is the world of Burundi today. This was also North America as the Pilgrims found it almost four hundred years ago. So how did American manage to rise out of all that misery, yet Burundi still remains mired?

The leftists of the world look at the difference between America and Burundi and claim "You Americans were just lucky." They say America's success as a civilization was due to the accident of geography. We had natural ports, abundant timber, arable land, coal, and oil (all stolen from the natives, of course) so their theory goes. But many contries have managed to succeed without all that. Japan has few natural resources to speak of, yet has risen up from a feudal and warlike society to become a great industrial powerhouse. So have other nations like Great Britain, South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. One needs only to look at a nighttime map of North/South Korea or compare the life-expectancy numbers of Haiti with those of the Dominican Republic to understand that there are more important factors at work in the rise and fall of civilizations than mere geography.

Some argue, "But America is rich and Burundi is poor", as if pointing to the disparity somehow explains the reason for it.

Others say the critical issue for the success of nations is race - another theory which Thomas Sowell has eloquently disproven in his trilogy on race and culture.

We can see that human progress is not automatic; Some civilizations never rise from a Hobbesian existence. Some rise, then fall back - great civilizations like America can and do decline. So how did the successful nations become successful? The answer to the question of what moves nations is obvious: Philosophy.

For an individual or a nation to survive and prosper requires more than good intentions - it requires good philosophical choices in the beginning, and constant maintenance afterwards. The specific conditions humans need to live must be consciously identified, and a system of government created to protect those conditions from barbarians outside the walls and criminals within. It requires constant weeding out of poisonous ideas that would destroy the good.

Yes, Burundi is poor. So was America once, but 230 years ago our ancestors resolved that freedom (or liberty) was the single essential factor in human progress - an idea that many modern Americans seem to have forgotten...and most of Africa has yet to discover. Our founders were the first in history to put down in writing that individuals - by their nature - need to be free. That ideas leads to the meaning of a right: Life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness are all requirements of human nature, which is why they are called rights.

Americas' founders also correctly identified that the only way a right could be violated was by the use of force by outsiders, criminals, or by the government itself. So they created a strictly limited government who's only legitimate function was to protect individual rights from violation by outsiders (Hence, the Military), criminals (the Courts), and the government itself (enumerated powers). The idea that "Governments are instituted among men to secure those rights" has served America well.

The Burundians live in country which has had no similar tradition of individual rights. All they have ever known is the law of the jungle where only the strong survive, so they might be excused for not knowing any better. But after experiencing their first taste of UN-style socialism, the Burundians now have a choice - they can refuse to drink any more of that particular poison, and seek better counsel than what certain international organizations and individuals gave them; Or, they can clamor for more poison, as they seem to be doing. The Burundians are already grumbling that their medicine should be free as well as their doctor's care. Like an opiate, the poison of socialism always has the effect of demanding bigger and bigger doses.

I worry about my own Country. Our founders gave us a great gift, but we haven't taken good care of it lately. In the 1930s, our President had the WPA drag the precious gift of limited government out in the back yard where it was set it up on blocks and left to rust like a junk automobile. Weeds have grown up around our once well-taken-care-of house, and broken windows have not been repaired. Our courts have blasted big holes in our Constitution - the very roof that protects us - and allowed jungle law to creep in. All the while, we Americans have been so busy that for the most part we didn't notice what was going on around us. We have forgotten how bad living in the jungle can be and I wonder if we can ever get our houses back in order before it's too late.

Time is short, but we Americans still have a choice; We are still free to speak and to act. Our elected representatives do listen to us when we make ourselves heard in large enough numbers. If we remain silent, though, how long will it be before the "Shining city on the Hill" becomes a disheveled group of mud huts and our lives once again become "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short?"

People should seriously consider the different philosophical paths that were taken by America and Burundi, and the end results. They should also consider whether it is wise for America to reject the system that made us a shining star in the world of medicine and adopt the system of "free" clinics, long lines, shortages, run-down facilities, and fleeing doctors that Burundi is now burdened with.

I say, "Let's not let America's health-care system (or America herself) go down without a fight". Don't be discouraged when you can't cure the philosophical poisoning of America all at once; In any epidemic, a doctor can only cure one patient at a time and in this case, the treatment is simple: Never miss an opportunity to inform the honest, or to expose and condemn the evil.

by John Cooper
(philosopher@engineered-home.com)

(contributing team member of Allegiance and Duty Betrayed)

18 comments:

RobMaroni said...

For an individual or a nation to survive and prosper requires more than good intentions - it requires good philosophical choices in the beginning, and constant maintenance afterwards. The specific conditions humans need to live must be consciously identified, and a system of government created to protect those conditions from barbarians outside the walls and criminals within. It requires constant weeding out of poisonous ideas that would destroy the good.

That's a powerful paragraph, and the most important part of it is the last sentence. The U.S.A. hasn't been "weeding" enough for the past 50 years and it'll soon be too late to start.

DantheManGottschall said...

My hat's off to you! Very well said.

John Cooper said...

RobMaroni and DantheManGottschall: Thanks for the kind words.

Yes, time is short, but we have a tool that nobody else has ever had: The Internet. Even as few as ten years ago, it would have been impossible for someone to write a piece on Burundi, citing references from the sources I did.

Of course, simply having the facts on your side doesn't win over a certain class of people, but it can influence the honest.

I feel confident that we can reverse at least some of the "creeping socialism" that has infected the greatest country on earth. We have at least a good a chance as we did of winning the Revolutionary War.

What a nice surprise! I just received Rep. Tom Tancredo’s book In Mortal Danger at the Post Office - an unexpected gift sent to me by a good friend (Thanks!). I immediately opened it and was surprised to find that he, too is concerned about a return to the Dark Ages. As you most likely know, Rep. Tancredo’s focus is on illegal immigration, and that very subject relates in important ways to our health-care system. In the Preface, Rep. Tancredo wrote:

"I have always wanted to advance the agenda of limited government and enhanced individual freedom. Although it sounds a bit audacious, I want to participate in the reintroduction in this country of the concept that America is a unique place, not just a place where we can reap the economic and political benefits afforded by the labors of those who lived before us….Perhaps even more audaciously, I want to do what I can to defend the West in the clash of civilizations that threatens humanity with a return to the Dark Ages."

KathyMlynczak said...

Any writing that quotes F.A. Hayek gets my attention. This is a well written analysis with good sources quoted.

My only difference with you is with your optimism you wrote above about "I feel confident that we can reverse at least some of the creeping socialism that has infected the greatest country on earth." I think our elected leaders- at least on the national level- have grabbed too much power to turn it around.

Thank you for the good read.

DaveBurkett said...

Americas' founders also correctly identified that the only way a right could be violated was by the use of force by outsiders, criminals, or by the government itself. So they created a strictly limited government who's only legitimate function was to protect individual rights from violation by outsiders (Hence, the Military), criminals (the Courts), and the government itself (enumerated powers). The idea that "Governments are instituted among men to secure those rights" has served America well.

The legitimate functions of the different branches of government have been stolen by the other branches of the government, to different degrees, and the freedoms that the people were promised are being taken away one by one.

So the government our founders built doesn't look anything like it used to, and that's what's causing our disintegration.

joanie said...

John, your research is exceptional – from the Burundi healthcare article/constitution, to the U.N.’s human rights declaration (replete with the ‘best minds’ influence of the likes of Carter and Mandela), Hobbes, Hayek, Sowell, maps, figures … all artfully brought together to prove a powerful theory about which most people have given very little thought … and which all of us must consider, if we are to continue to exist as a free nation, whose people are able to enjoy the fruits of their own personal successes.

Your point is so well taken that socialists never blame their own motives, or their stifling equality-of-outcome philosophy, for the abject failure of every socialist experiment in the history of mankind. Instead, they invariably place the blame at the feet of the ‘implementers’. Either they didn’t put the policies in place properly, or they were denied sufficient funds to do so. It’s a sad (but deadly) broken record playing down through the ages.

As you so eloquently point out, one of the most painful aspects of the decline of America is the incrementally decreasing quality/availability/affordability of our healthcare. And that decline has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of our healthcare professionals, or facilities, or the effectiveness of treatments and medications. All of the above remain the best in the history of mankind. The decline has everything to do with leftist societal engineers and greedy tort lawyers – both of whom despise the fact that America’s healthcare was once associated with freedom of choice, and unencumbered with heavy-handed 'entitlement' considerations (before government took hold of the reins, and before attorneys began making fortunes off of misfortunes).

230 years ago our ancestors resolved that freedom (or liberty) was the single essential factor in human progress - an idea that many modern Americans seem to have forgotten...and most of Africa has yet to discover.

Beautifully said.

Thank you, John, for an incredible piece of research, and a resulting critical analysis piece that should be read by every adult American.

~ joanie

all_good_men said...

"Side effect"..how's that for an understatement?

You pulled a lot of information together into a great conclusion. The emperor has no clothes in this one.

John Cooper said...

Global Balkanization

--a lecture given by Ayn Rand at the Ford Hall Forum April 10, 1976

"Have you ever wondered about the process of the collapse of a civilization? Not the cause of the collapse - the ultimate cause is always philosophical - but the process, the specific means by which the accumulated knowledge and achievements of centuries vanish from the earth?

The possibility of the collapse of Western civilization is not easy to imagine or to believe. Most people do not quite believe it - in spite of all the horror movies about the end or the world in a nuclear blast. But of course the world had never been destroyed by a sudden catastrophe. Man-made catastrophes of that size are not sudden; they are the result of a long, slow, gradual process, which can be observed in advance.

Let me remind you - as I have said many times before - that there is no such thing as historical determinism. The world does not have to continue moving toward disaster. But unless men change their philosophical direction - which they still have time to do - the collapse will come. And if you want to know the specific process that will bring it about, that process - the beginning of the end - is visible today.

In The New York Times of January 18, 1976, under the title "Europe’s Restive Tribes." Columnist C.L Sulzberger is crying out in anxious bewilderment against a phenomenon he cannot understand: "It is distressing to return from Africa and find the cultivated old continent of Europe, subsiding into its own form of tribalism just as new African governments make concerted efforts to curb the power of tribes and subordinate them to the greater concept of the nation-state"

By "tribalism," Mr. Sulzberger means the separatist movements spreading throughout Europe. "Indeed," he declares, "it is a peculiar phenomenon of contemporary times that so many lands which had formerly been powerful and important seem obsessed with reducing the remnants of their own strength... There is no logical reason that a Scotland which was proud to be considered part of the British Empire’s heart when the sun never set on it, from Calcutta to Cape town, is now increasingly eager to disengage from what is left of that grand tradition on an offshore European island."

Oh yes, there is a very logical reason why Great Britain is falling apart, but Mr. Sulzberger does not see it - just as he does not see what was grand about that old tradition. He is the Times’ columnist specializing in European affairs, and, like a conscientious reporter, he is disturbed by something which he senses to be profoundly wrong - but, tending to be a liberal, he is unable to explain it."

John Cooper said...

...and a little bit more from the same speech given almost 30 years ago:

"The government of a mixed economy manufactures pressure groups - and specifically, manufactures “ethnicity.” The profiteers are those leaders who discover suddenly that they can exploit the helplessness, the fear, the frustration of their “ethnic” brothers, organize them into a group, present demands to the government - and deliver the vote. The result is political jobs, subsides, influence and prestige for the leaders of the ethnic groups."

John Cooper said...

About a year ago, Congress passed the 2006-2007 appropriations bill for the State Department. I was floored to learn that American taxpayers are being forced to "contribute" 2.4 TRILLION DOLLARS to "International Organizations" - The United Nations and 44 others.

"Mr. Chairman, the President has requested $1.269 billion to fund the CIO [Contributions to International Organizations] account, and $1.135 billion for the peacekeeping account. This request will allow the United States to pay U.S. assessed contributions to the UN and 44 other international organizations, and to pay its share of UN peacekeeping assessments. This request recognizes the importance of our work in the United Nations and other international organizations in pursuing America’s interests, spreading freedom and prosperity, and strengthening our security. The request represents increases of $117 million for CIO and $113 million for CIPA over the appropriated Fiscal Year 2006 amounts."

Read it and weep...

All_good_men said...

Are you surprised? “W” and his internationalist cronies want to create a “North American Union”. Why not fund organizations that are opposed to our best interests?

John Cooper said...

I posted this around noon today, but it didn't "take" for some reason.

I meant "BILLION" rather than "trillion". The math side of my brain wasn't working when I posted the original information. Too many zeroes...

Anyway, the Bush administration requested a ten percent increase for international agencies. I think they got most of what they wanted.

What's the "U.S. Institute for Peace", anyway?

joanie said...

Thanks for excerpting the Rand speech, John. I disagree with a few of her beliefs, but consider her brilliant (and almost eerily prophetic) in so many ways.

I believe the ‘tribalism/ethnicity’ concept to which she refers in your excerpt simply correlates to a new and over-riding focus on ‘self’, necessarily accompanied by a declining respect for the good of society as a whole. That self-absorbed focus has been burgeoning in America since the sixties (the seed was probably planted during the FDR years, when the idea of ‘entitlement’ was covertly and insidiously instilled into the national psyche).

And this destructive obsession with ‘self’ has given birth to an apathy and ignorance as regards (1) our common heritage and ancestry, (2) our collective liberty as a people, and (3) the sovereignty of our republic. American citizens are too busy demanding ‘deserved favors’ from their government, and focusing on their individual ‘needs’ (most of which used to be viewed as privileges, or luxuries), to realize that, by constantly clamoring at the feet of government for their (generally materialistic, or reward-without-sacrifice) ‘just due’, they are averting their attention from liberty, and voluntarily (even eagerly) discarding as valueless the most precious gift that man can know.

The ruling ‘elite’ (an entity entirely foreign to the concept of republic, which is why we are no longer one) take gleeful advantage of the growing me-oriented ‘want/deserve’ mindset, and they regularly use it in order to Balkanize the citizenry. We are becoming a nation of mutually hostile special interest groups, the creation of each of which drives yet another nail into our republic’s coffin. As Rand (relating the divisions to ethnicity) so beautifully observes, ‘The result is political jobs, subsides, influence and prestige for the leaders of the ethnic groups.

Robert Bork has observed that 'Barbarism is the tendency to disassociation ... all barbarous epochs have been times of human scattering, the pollulation of tiny groups, separate from and hostile to one another.'

As we continue to submit to this programmed propaganda that seeks to lead us toward a separatist-mindset, the grip of socialism continues to tighten, and the rugged individualism, work ethic, morality, and reverence for individual liberty that constructed the magnificent blueprint for our republic all suffer continuous crippling blows ... in relative silence.

~ joanie

daveburkett said...

What's the "U.S. Institute for Peace", anyway?

It's an institute created and funded by Congress, that roughly reflects the same goals as the Peace Corps.

But, like any organization that has the word "peace" in its name, its activities usually wind up being a negative for our own security and sovereignty.

John Cooper said...

President Calvin Coolidge on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1926:

"About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers."

John Cooper said...

Brace yourselves. Michael Moore is at it again.

Michael Moore Documentary sets sights on health care industry

The title of the movie is "Sicko" [how appropriate] and Moore says:

"If people ask, we tell them 'Sicko' is 'a comedy about the 45 million people with no health care in the richest country on Earth."

Comedy? No health care? Sorry Mr. Moore, but the only clown is you.

John Cooper said...

Here's an interesting story about Castro ordering almost all the doctors in Cuba to go to Venezuela to give them "free" medical care.

castro's 'doctors' killing off their patients via the babalublog.

More on the story from the BBC:

Venezuela medics march over jobs

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