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My students have an extremely hard time believing that I am a rather reserved and shy person, but I believe that I am.  And certainly I remain very quiet on my political beliefs and economic expertise, particularly in the company of family and friends. Sometimes I get pricked a little bit and decide to comment on some comment, or pose a question to a loved one to see where they may have come to hold particular beliefs, or perhaps to make a point that they might have been overlooking.

This is one reason why I kick myself for reading some Facebook updates so seriously. A cousin I see little but love a lot put up a short remark on how much she dislikes the Tea Party. I don’t find too much objection to some of her points (like the neo-conservatives hijacking it) but some of course were bothersome so I decided to comment. I repost here, a snippet of what is relevant. Long time readers and students will understand why it is frustrating for me to continue to engage or even attempt to engage in these kinds of discussions. The last comment is special, to say the least.

Cousin:

Y I can’t take Tea Party serious: … 5 want the gov. out of healthcare but have no prob telling gays they shouldn’t have EQUAL RIGHTS. Don’t mind gov. in our beds.Hold our Pres.&… gov.accountable,YES.Dividing USA on Readneck Hysteria,NO!… would you give me a break

Me:

I’m interested in learning where libertarian thinkers and activists argue that gays should not have equal rights … not sure it is fruitful to confused neo-conservative movement with a smaller grassroots small-government movemnent – even if it is trying to be hijacked by the morons. Would we condemn the Progressive democrats and say we can;t take … See Morethemn seriously because some hard core lefties have coopted many in that camp?

And on the issue of rights, to think about whether something is a right, one must consider the implications such a right has on the duties/obligations of others – and subsidized health care can never be a right when that idea is applied. Someone’s right to health care implies someone else’s obligation to provide it. Would we be comfortable saying that those in the medical profession have an obligation to wortk for free for others?

Cousin: We as people have a moral obligation to not deny the sick. I am not sure if Obama’s plan is right……however we need a change. Insurance companies shouldn’t be making medical decisions. Doctors should be rewarded for keeping people healthy. I am conservative on many issues. However someone’s health should not be a business.
We as a country agreed prior to Obama that health care needed to be reformed. He attempts reform…….boom……Hit

ler. How is that a rational comparison. How does anyone then listen to people saying that. Fear and stupidity will help. There are no death panels. …. Healthcare is a HUMAN RIGHT. If the right or the left doesn’t like Obama’s plan. Help amend it. Do not discount it.
Get rid of welfare. Make a condition of unemployment to work locally and start rebuilding America. England recovered from World War II by rebuilding their country. We should do the same. Green technology needs to be our direction. If we stay divided as a country. ….we will continue to fall.
Hey Mrs. F….must have had a good Social Studies teacher. .xoxoxoxox
Me:

I was kinda hoping you would address my questions. Health care never has, nor ever can be, a human right. Was it a human right in 1800 when the average lifespan of an American was 30? Was it a human right when the average lifespan of an American was 45? Something cannot be a right when the logical conclusion of applying that “right” is the enslavement of a portion of the population. There is a good reason why I chose economics as a profession and not medicine.
But it is not even clear what “health care” is … is it open heart surgery? I had a bad headache earlier, and two advils seemed like pretty good health care to me …

… and what level of health care is human “rightworthy?”

In 1945, virtually no American had insurance … was it a tragedy and an abomination that there were so many uninsured? Let’s think about why we can even have that discussion today … and further … would you go purchase 1980s healthcare at 1980s prices with TODAY’s income? Because that is totally affordable and every single American could have … See Morethat on the cheap today. That no one I have met in my entire adult life chooses to buy 1980s health care at 1980s prices seems to indicate that what “we” got going on today is a pretty good deal … and I say that as someone who hates the current health care system
Cousin:

Cousin. …..I have seen hospitals……& doctors freeze people’s incomes……homes……..bank accounts because they don’t have health insurance. LIFE LIBERTY & PURSUIT of happiness. We pay more now for health insurance and get almost 70% less than the 70’s. As far as the 1800’s…..I highly doubt when You went to the town doctor…..he asked … See MoreYou for your Insurance card or a referral. Wasn’t there a law passed in the 70’s which made it so that insurance companies have to turn a profit? We are the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. …..France…..England. ..Canada all provide health care. If people are healthy they work more…..than they pay more in taxes.
Notice how many of my queries were answered – and this by a person who is supposedly bound by blood to at least not dismiss me out of hand.  She really is good as gold as a person, so I decided to end our discussion there.

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