The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

William Masters

July 13, 2012

Health care should be seen as way to help others

What is health care? Well, first and foremost it is having care, or empathy, for the distress of others. Health care is extending efforts to alleviate the distress for a person who is ill. The opposite, if you think about it, would be torture — using the power to harm to win your own way.

In the natural state of being, the individual is assumed capable of caring for himself, to include feeding, sheltering, defending and propagating. Individuals have been pre-programed to survive, through eons of outlasting others supposedly less single-minded about the task. Survival of the fittest.

To Mitt Romney, this fable sanctions an individualistic philosophy of each person being responsible only to himself, for himself. Adhering to this constitutes the deserving man, who is seen as having the initiative to achieve success.

Mitt is such a man, he announces, saying his character is the medicine this country needs. He offers himself as president to be the catalyst America needs to be great again. While he tosses an obligatory bone to those too disabled to work, he basically writes them off as beside the point, needing charity.

But for the most part, he despises charity as fostering dependency. And the whole Republican establishment apparently seeks nothing more than destroying the safety net built up during the 20th century.

Individualism led the conservative Heritage Foundation to propose the individual mandate for private insurance. Republicans turned against the idea when the president took it up. Actually, if we really want universal health care, then Medicare for all would be the most efficient and the least costly.

But we need to crawl out from under the philosophical rock of conservatism. Social groupings are not bad and do not necessarily undermine competition, only suffering.

Caring for each other supports democracy and builds on the dignity of all the people.

It is totalitarianism that stifles, attacking initiative. Authoritarian rule is not sponsored by the disenfranchised, though power is often usurped in their name. Mankind has a dual nature and always has. People, as individuals, need freedom, but as social beings they demonstrate needing security.

History is filled by struggles for ascendency within tribes or nations. The humanity of those seeking power is often distorted. But nevertheless, at root we are a social species, who live and work in groups, for support and for protection. Groups provide more than safety, however.

Social bonding is a vehicle for self-esteem and dignity. Membership promotes a sense of identity, purpose, and belonging. Society supports specialization, and progress in knowledge and technology, whether by exploring the world, or building computer networks around it.

Have I left out the word “love?” No, because in bonding, we share, even give our lives for others.

Not just in war, but for the rescue of even one victim trapped and at risk somehow. We are patriotic. We thrill to parades, flags and fireworks.

The Fourth of July is not just a national anniversary, it is a celebration of a functioning national union that binds us together and promises each a chance at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Health care is at root a loving and handson activity. Government is but a means, a construct assembled to address our needs for an effective response to the growing complexity of the world and its multiple civilizations. Health care is a basic need, actually a human entitlement.

I maintain that the caring bound up in patriotism should not stoop to cheaply denigrate the unlucky as “undeserving,” but requires seeing them as worthy of support and comradeship.

I also declare, from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. And what goes around, comes around, making us a strong people with high morality and strong sense of loyalty.

Most of the time the body heals itself. In ancient times, we mostly died young. Now, society has developed scientific and professional supports for healing, and for life.

Of course, it is also very costly to have professional attention and scientific remedies. The whole idea of insurance is to spread the risk and share the cost.

The principle is the same whether it is organized by government or profit-making enterprise. Health care is socialized either way, because business is a social activity, not an individual effort.

To be so bound up in the moment and the miniscule as to snuff-out caring activity for some people while extolling American  medicine for the help that reaches you, isto kill the engine upon which the country was built — building the dignity of every person.

WILLIAM MASTERS can be reached at wmasters@thedailystar.com. The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of The Daily Star and its editorial board.

1
Text Only
William Masters
  • Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues

    As the time to vote draws near, we need to remember how money can run politics more than we can. Raising funds is a prominent (if not the dominant) task of getting elected. Raising issues is also crucial, but those efforts are subject to distortion and fear-mongering.

    September 18, 2012

  • Republicans feelentitled to allthey can garner

    An entitlement is a legal benefit available from the government to individuals who are within a defined category of recipients, such as needing insurance for unemployment or health services.

    September 4, 2012

  • Romney focuses on self; Obama emphasizes unity

    Mitt Romney criticizes President Obama for saying a person's success is rooted in his community, and is not all his alone. Romney belittles this with his belief in individual initiative. He is better at the put-down than the push-up.

    August 21, 2012

  • Romney shows little regard for common man

    The Republicans in Congress have voted over and over, 33 times, redundantly and uselessly, to rescind what they call Obamacare.

    August 7, 2012

  • Scouts' gay ban creates problem where none exists

    The Boy Scouts of America's "emphatic reaffirmation" of its vow to exclude any and all homosexuals from its hallowed ranks is ill-considered and pathetic, especially in view of its having reviewed the matter for two years.

    July 24, 2012

  • Health care should be seen as way to help others

    What is health care? Well, first and foremost it is having care, or empathy, for the distress of others. Health care is extending efforts to alleviate the distress for a person who is ill. The opposite, if you think about it, would be torture — using the power to harm to win your own way.

    July 13, 2012

  • Romney sees his way as the right way

    Meet Mitt Romney, seeking the power of the presidency. He seeks to convince us that his conservative economic theories will save us from ourselves.

    June 26, 2012

  • Congressional candidate offers sound solutions

    Mitt Romney has clinched the Republican nomination for president. If he can lick Barack, he will be the president of all of us. He must be taken seriously, but for me, up to now, he has been like a big bell being hit with a cooking spoon.

    June 12, 2012

  • It's refreshing to hear our president dismiss prejudice

    Race and sexual identity both sponsor problems of social discomfort. Abstractly, such traits are fixed, but in life they are roads on the map of our cultural values, which change.

    May 29, 2012

  • Time for lawmakers who put needs of society first

    Richard Lugar, after six terms as a Republican senator -- known for his middle of the road rationality and his foreign policy finesse -- has been ousted by a Tea Party extremist backed by outside right-wing funding.

    May 15, 2012

  • War not worth gambling with lives of soldiers

    Are you not tired of our war in Afghanistan? It had a point, once, after 9/11. Bush couldn't distinguish his myopic personal agendas from the nation's needs and let Osama escape, dropping the ball entirely, causing many deaths.

    May 1, 2012

  • Titanic was a microcosm of U.S. economic disparity

    Haunting reminders of the Titanic tragedy have wafted over us with the centenary of its sinking. The maiden voyage of an impressive, state of the art vessel, was a little like that of the Challenger space shuttle, at the cutting edge of developing technology. But the shuttle carried our pride in science and space exploration, not hundreds and hundreds of people.

    April 17, 2012

  • William Masters: Nation stands divided between 'us' and 'them'

    In February, Trayvon Martin was shot dead as "suspicious" by a volunteer neighborhood watch man. The case has aroused community reaction in Sanford, Fla., and is still echoing across the country.

    April 3, 2012

  • A quarterback can't win the game alone

    What is the relationship between democracy and wealth? Democracy is a political system, while wealth relates to economics. We have equal political rights, but we don't all have money. Extreme differences destroy the continuity of community solidarity.

    March 20, 2012

  • CSSEE36.jpg Playing Left Field: Some blur lines between laws of church and state

    We have freedom of religion in this country. A clear separation between churches and governmental agencies is constitutionally mandated. Government power may not favor or advance a particular religion.

    March 6, 2012 1 Photo

  • Humans need to look at long-term impact on Earth

    Global warming is real and we are smugly oblivious. I recall the USS Nautilus making a journey to the North Pole decades ago, and poking its conning tower dramatically up through the ice right at the pole itself, an arrival theretofore possible only by dog sled and arduous effort.

    February 21, 2012

  • CSS6284.jpg Playing Left Field: Meaning of 'liberty' lost in GOP's translation

    COLUMN BY WILLIAM MASTERS .... Now, during the Republican presidential primaries, we hear a lot about liberty. It is a leave-me-alone type of liberty, suggesting the license to do what one may choose in the sacred call of business activity. Much is sought in the name of freedom.

    February 7, 2012 1 Photo

  • Government no longer about power of people

    In my time, the idea of conservatism has been turned upside down. Men in my family wore neckties even when just reading the paper at home.

    January 24, 2012

  • Americans should respect right to bear arms

    Early one morning a while back, I answered a phone call from Wayne LaPierre, head of the NRA, warning that the sky is falling _ no worse: that the U.S. is participating in a U.N. treaty effort to deal with the irresponsible international transfers of small arms.

    January 10, 2012

  • Inequalities breed social dysfunction

    In my most-recent column, I presented recent epidemiological evidence that the inequality built into a society underlies the sense many of us have that the country is going in the wrong direction.

    December 27, 2011

Additional Content
Join the Debate
Helium
Additional Resources
CNHI News Service
Poll

Do you plan to attend the Baseball Hall of Fame Induction?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results