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Cass Sunstein – Revisited

March 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Now that Congress and President Obama’s health care bill has been signed into law, it’s time to revisit the views of some of the people who advise him to gain a better understanding of how their influence can affect the lives of Americans who will receive care under this brave new health system. I begin by taking a look at the President’s adviser from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Cass Sunstein.

“In his 2008 book, “Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness,” Sunstein and co-author Richard Thaler discussed multiple legal scenarios regarding organ donation. One possibility presented in the book, termed by Sunstein as “routine removal,” posits that “the state owns the rights to body parts of people who are dead or in certain hopeless conditions, and it can remove their organs without asking anyone’s permission.”

“Though it may sound grotesque, routine removal is not impossible to defend,” wrote Sunstein. “In theory, it would save lives, and it would do so without intruding on anyone who has any prospect for life.” (Source: http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=112757)

With all due respect to Mr. Sunstein, while the government may have staked its claim to our labors and even a portion of our property through taxes, it does NOT own our bodies whether we are dead or alive. Our life, and inherently the body in which we live it, is an inalienable right given to us by our Creator as described in our Declaration of Independence. That right is not just for some Americans, those whom the government deems fit to live. It is guaranteed for all Americans regardless of health, productivity, “hopeless condition” or any other qualification our government officials choose to use.

How did we come to accept having a person advising our president with views so diametrically opposed to that outlined by our Founding Fathers?

Pardon my flag-waving moment here. My observations are that Americans as a people are generally kind-hearted. We are almost always willing to reach out and help each other in a time of need, both at home and abroad. Our generosity to other countries in times of disaster, man-made or otherwise, is commendable. It is something I think most of us are happy to do with no more expectation in return than a heart-felt “thank you” and good wishes for us in the future. We’ve come to accept that instead we may receive a healthy helping of criticism for our efforts. Yet, it does not stop us from continuing to try to help.

We don’t enjoy seeing our fellow man suffer no matter where in the world they live. We like to believe in the best of ourselves on an individual level as well as a nation. We like to believe others are good and well-intentioned.

This optimism generally serves us well in that it creates an atmosphere where even the poorest among us can find hope for the opportunity to provide a better life for his family than his ancestors did. We inherently understand that it takes hard work and determination, things of which most Americans are not afraid. Most of us buy into the idea that if we can dream it, we can achieve it even when our circumstances don’t seem to warrant such brazen optimism.

We don’t like to think about evil, and some of us don’t believe it actually exists. Some believe that if evil does happen to us, we’ve brought it on ourselves. Because of our collective humanist belief that people are good and well-meaning, we ignored the signs warning of the acts of September 11, 2001. Nearly three thousand innocent people who were simply going about their daily lives lost their life that day. We tend to take a reactionary path after bad things happen rather than a proactive stance toward prevention. This has given some a reason to criticize our continued participation in the war on terror both here at home and abroad.

Because we are generally an optimistic society believing that we can have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we also choose to believe that our government also has our best interests at heart and does not wish to intrude upon our lives to do us harm. Despite written documentation to the contrary, we don’t want to believe that anyone in our government might actually be willing to sacrifice a helpless person in a “hopeless condition” such as a loved one who is severely autistic or one who has some other physical or mental illness, for the benefit of someone the government deems as more productive who would provide more tax dollars to feed the government beast. Beware! Any person who espouses the use of body parts from people in “certain hopeless conditions” is not above deeming that an aging parent who is in declining years is also in a “hopeless condition” and therefore not fit to live.

What we Americans fail to remember is that all of human nature is flawed and we are not exempt. America’s Founding Fathers understood this Judeo-Christian concept very well. They also understood that given the power to do so, man will rule with tyranny over his fellow man. Once given this power, the people will have great difficulty in prying it from the rulers’ hands. They understood that power is also an addictive drug.

Not convinced? One only has to study world history to realize that evil does exist and it is not confined to one continent or group of people. Many a nation throughout history have been led into enslaving government systems by promises of the government apparatus providing health, wealth and prosperity for the masses. Vladimir Lenin used the metaphor of the promised land to enslave Russia into communism. Adolf Hitler used the same ideas of prosperity for all to install National Socialism (aka Nazism) in Germany. Germany under Hitler did not start out to be what we think of as the Nazi’s at the end of World War II. Over the course of a few years though she sank into a state where the government controlled every aspect of life, disallowing any form of public dissent and squashing opposition at every turn to the point of mass murder.

We in America are on a VERY slippery slope toward this end whether the people who support this administration want to believe it or not. We as a society have turned a blind eye to ideas such as those espoused by Mr. Sunstein as well as other equally horrifying ideas. We hang on to the hope that the people in power in this country won’t really resort to such things to save money even when these ideas have been as clearly documented as in Mr. Sunstein’s book. We want to believe that our lives are of more value to our government leaders than this. Enough of us still stick our heads in the proverbial sand, somehow thinking our leaders in Washington couldn’t possibly mean these things. We choose to believe they still have our best interests at heart even when they refuse to listen to the protests of “We The People” and call those who oppose them on policy “racist.”

We in America are humbled to have been blessed with many things that people of other countries are not given the opportunity to enjoy. Our entrepreneurial spirit and our willingness to be the trailblazers are some of our most admirable qualities not always found in other countries. However, to think that our (American) human nature less subject to the influences of evil, that we and our government leadership are any more righteous than others throughout human history, is simply illogical.

Copyright © 2010 by One Write Angle™
All rights reserved.


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The Audacity of Hypocrisy – The Problem of Barack Obama

March 24, 2008 Leave a comment

Maybe someone can explain this to me. How is it that we are to believe that someone can listen to inflammatory and divisive rhetoric for nearly 20 years and NOT buy into at least some part of it?

 

Barack Obama claimed last week that he condemned the views of his former pastor, Dr. Jeremiah Wright, while a minister at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago that he has attended for nearly 20 years. Yet he failed to condemn those views until now, and only when confronted about them.

Let’s think about this. Suppose I as a white woman had attended a church for 20 years that week in and week out proclaimed to be against those who are not white, Anglo-Saxon, protestant and women. Yet when confronted – and only when confronted – I merely stated that I did not support those views.

Would you believe me? No, I didn’t think so. Truth be known, I wouldn’t believe me either! The fact is, I’d be called a racist and liar and likely not be able to show my face anywhere without fear of retribution.

Let me be clear on this point – I am NOT espousing these views. I have friends of various religious and ethnic backgrounds and I love them all. I firmly believe in equal (though not special) rights for all who are legal American citizens.

I am very proud to be an American and I uphold the spirit of this country’s founding fathers. I also believe that we are at a crucial crossroads in this country with our upcoming presidential election. The person we elect to lead our nation will continue to face a world much different from any that person’s predecessors have faced. This person will need a strong sense of ethics to do the right thing and not merely follow the sway of popular opinion at the moment. He or she should be expected not to do that which is merely politically expedient.

On the campaign trail, Mr. Obama claims his mission, if elected to the office of President of the United States of America, will be to unite people. Yet in his private life he refuses to take any action other than to say he disagrees with the “incendiary language” of Dr. Wright’s comments “that have the potential to widen the racial divide.” He also did not take action against the erroneous and anti-American rhetoric of Dr. Wright that claims, among many other things, that the U.S. government is in the business of infecting black Americans with HIV. If we are to believe Mr. Obama’s unifying position, if he truly disagreed with these hate-mongering comments, he surely would have felt compelled to walk out of these inflammatory sermons, or better yet, moved his and his family’s church membership elsewhere.

Furthermore, he supposes we are to give him a pass on his stance of inaction by assuming we have all heard commentary from our “pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.” Mr. Obama assumes that we too do not take action against those things with which we disagree. With this assumption, he expects us to give him a pass on his nearly 20-year membership in and financial support of this church and Dr. Wright. Without actually expressing it, he expects us to be pragmatic and understand that his membership in this church was to establish influential connections in the black community in Chicago.

If we are to understand this from him, then surely we are also to understand that making those connections was more important to Mr. Obama than doing the right thing, the patriotic thing, the American thing, and not supporting people and institutions that are in opposition to the things he claims are important to him as a political candidate for the highest office in our country. Make no mistake; Mr. Obama’s lack of action tells us that establishing connections to further his political interests is more important to him than taking a stand for the unity of the American people that he discusses on the campaign trail. By upholding Dr. Wright and his inflammatory and anti-American positions with inaction, Mr. Obama has created a tremendous conflict of interest.

How can a man who wants to unify and lead our country, through his inaction, condone this kind of anti-American and discordant language? Do not actions speak louder than words? It is not too much to demand that a candidate for the office of the President of the United States be patriotic and loyal to his or her country in both words and actions? Our founding fathers did not think action was too much to ask when they stood against England in protest that brought about the founding of this country. Surely we should expect the same from their political descendants.

Copyright © 2008 by One Write Angle™
All rights reserved.


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