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Comment Re:U.S. (Score 3, Insightful) 451

How about you don't lump us all together as imperialist, culture-bound yahoos?

I have lived in the US and I would never lump Americans together as imperialists. Actually, I wouldn't dream of lumping them together as *anything*. Not a clever thing to do with Americans.

OTOH, the US as a country - meaning the elected government - has imperialist policies and attitude, and has had them for a while now. It is up to US citizens to decide whether they care. In recent decades, the response has been underwhelming.

Comment Re:See. Patents/Copyright spur innovation. (Score 1) 491

Exactly. A good rule of thumb: if your "right" requires others to do something for you, it's not a right - it's a service.

That is true of natural rights. But we live in societies where we have elected to grant ourselves many rights that are human constructs. The right to elect our leaders, for one, requires others to do things for us. Maybe you consider that you have a right to basic personal safety, which requires people to maintain a form of law and order.

Or maybe you are the sole inhabitant of a nation-island, in which case I take my comment back.

Comment Re:See. Patents/Copyright spur innovation. (Score 1) 491

we don't have the resources to give everyone all the healthcare that they want, when they want it. You have to ration it.

I respectfully disagree with this. The developed world today is more than wealthy enough to provide a broad range of quality healthcare to all its residents, for free. Not all the healthcare people want, but all the basic care they need. Of course, that is a socialist policy, which you are free to disagree with. It is at least partially implemented in many countries today, whose budget deficits are no worse than that of the US. Interestingly, in those countries, unsubsidized private healthcare can be considerably more affordable than in the US.

My point is that rationing healthcare in wealthy countries today is a choice, not a necessity.

Comment Re:What an odd thing to say (Score 1) 943

Lutheran-Raised Anonymous Coward is right: the Catholic Church was the one who took liberties with the Bible to come up with their own doctrine. The Protestants fought to free themselves of the accumulated Catholic dogma and go back to the biblical roots of Christianity.

In a way, you could credit Protestants for emphasizing personal judgment, and Catholics for de-emphasizing the Bible.

Comment Re:What an over sensationalist title (Score 1) 899

All right, I concede that there was more rhetoric in that post than substantial argument. Let me explain.

What I mean is, these phrases implicitly belittle the political aspect of every economic issue. We can only vote with our feet if the markets function well, and that only happens with proper regulation (including, but not limited to, antitrust regulation). That, in turn, depends on us voting for the people who will enact such regulation. You know, politicians working for the common good. They are, at the very least, a major theoretical concept.

If the system is skewed (say, by entrenched quasi-monopolies or duopolies, or cartels like the MAFIAA), you can't fight it from inside. You need to change the rules of the game. In principle, democracy means that the people make the rules. Let's be idealistic for a second... isn't it refreshing?

So let me rephrase my previous post in plain language: to say "just take your business elsewhere" is naive and oversimplifying. The public's interests can only be served by a combination of educated consumption (voting with our feet), consumer advocacy, and political awareness as well as activism.

Comment Re:What an over sensationalist title (Score 4, Insightful) 899

"Vote with your feet", "vote with your wallet"...

I'm sick of hearing that crap. How do you vote with your feet if there is barely any choice in the so-called "marketplace"? And if you vote with your wallet, will that count against the votes of others whose wallets are rather thicker than yours?

All these "vote with" phrases make a mockery of democracy. Here is my suggestion: vote with your vote. I know, it's pretty damn bold.

Comment Re:Good. (Score 1) 351

You have madman in Syria methodically going city to city killing anyone who disagrees with their government policies and the Israeli critics and peace protesters seem to have no problem with that.

Syria is a third world autocracy like (unfortunately) many others. So yes, Israel is generally held to much higher standards than Syria. I hope most people in Israel regard it as a good thing.

Even if everyone is appalled at what's happening in Syria, there is not much they can do about it. The Iraq-style approach doesn't have much appeal anymore.

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"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe