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Alan Shore
09-02-2005, 06:18 PM
We should, in life, be able to have the freedom to make out own decisions about our well-being so long as we do not infringe on the rights of others to make similar choices. Why then, are there laws in place that restrict our freedom? Case in point: Compulsory seatbelt laws.

Here, I'd like to show you something rather ironic, in two parts:

http://www.dailynebraskan.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2004/09/17/414a5a030e91d?in_archive=1

The above is a link to an article written by a young man (Derek Kieper) about the right to exercise judgement about whether to wear a seatbelt or not.

I am in agreement with him in this case: we should all have the freedom to make our own decisions. However, we must also accept the consequences of our actions.

Now here's the interesting part. Have a peruse of this:

http://www.journalstar.com/articles/2005/01/05/local/doc41db350078259784029686.txt

That's right - the same gentleman that wrote the first article, met his tragic end.

Derek exercised his freedom of choice and also paid the consequences.

Why then, do I agree with his choice? Because it was his free, rational choice. It didn't endanger the life of anyone else around him.

Personally, while I advocate the right of choice, I always have and always will continue to wear a seatbelt - that's my choice. Yet, I do no agree there should be a fine for failure to comply.

Look at the real reasons the law were implemented. It's not to save lives - Derek's first article showed you the stats of the low number of deaths attributed to those not wearing seatbelts. Quite simply, it is pressure from insurance companies. They don't want to give the payouts for injury/death. People pay their premiums, they continue to make a profit. That, is the real reason that our freedom of choice is encroached upon.

Your thoughts?

antichrist
09-02-2005, 06:36 PM
Frankly speaking I feel like unleasing a few of Bill's rockets. I suspect this thread is a troll.

I have not bothered to read the other sites.

Issues to consider:

a)
Health workers who have a lot worse job to patch a person up. And by the way doctors and nurses hate people who take unnecessary risks and make their job more burdensom.

b) The extra cost imposed on the community due to the extra injuries.

c) in death the community loses out again as it has expended a large amount of money to make the person a "whole" person, i.e., educated and taxpayer.

d) the trauma to one's family. Parents never forget. Children left without parents etc.

Go and commit suicide quietly and cleanly instead, have your hole dug out, coffin paid for, etc etc. Full therapy for anyone who may love you blah blah.


Summing up a very stupid act of selfish libertarianism. LIke some did at a chess comp.

Duff McKagan
09-02-2005, 07:38 PM
Frankly speaking I feel like unleasing a few of Bill's rockets. I suspect this thread is a troll.

I have not bothered to read the other sites.

Issues to consider:

a)
Health workers who have a lot worse job to patch a person up. And by the way doctors and nurses hate people who take unnecessary risks and make their job more burdensom.

b) The extra cost imposed on the community due to the extra injuries.

c) in death the community loses out again as it has expended a large amount of money to make the person a "whole" person, i.e., educated and taxpayer.

d) the trauma to one's family. Parents never forget. Children left without parents etc.

Go and commit suicide quietly and cleanly instead, have your hole dug out, coffin paid for, etc etc. Full therapy for anyone who may love you blah blah.


Summing up a very stupid act of selfish libertarianism. LIke some did at a chess comp.

You might have let a rocket off but its going to another planet! Are you thinking on some karma-level or something? Health workers will have to clean up other injuries anyways. Not wearing a seat-belt is not guaranteeing death and the point is... its the individuals decision after they have taken everything into consideration!

Alan Shore
09-02-2005, 07:40 PM
'Sorry for bleeding on you AC and ruining your best suit. I'll go off and die somewhere more discreet, if that's OK with you..'

Git.

Rhubarb
09-02-2005, 07:47 PM
Bruce,

It is illegal to ride a bicycle without a helmet.
Bicycle riders pose no physical to threat car drivers.
Car drivers occasionally (accidentally) kill bike riders.
But they are less likely to occasionally (accidentally) kill bike riders if said bike riders are wearing helmets.

Now, if you were a car driver, would you prefer to run over someone and kill them or would you prefer to run over them and not kill them because they were wearing a helmet, even though in both cases it is not your fault?

The slight reduction in civil liberty could save an innocent person from a life-time of heartache.

Alan Shore
09-02-2005, 07:58 PM
Bruce,

It is illegal to ride a bicycle without a helmet.
Bicycle riders pose no physical to threat car drivers.
Car drivers occasionally (accidentally) kill bike riders.
But they are less likely to occasionally (accidentally) kill bike riders if said bike riders are wearing helmets.

Now, if you were a car driver, would you prefer to run over someone and kill them or would you prefer to run over them and not kill them because they were wearing a helmet, even though in both cases it is not your fault?

The slight reduction in civil liberty could save an innocent person from a life-time of heartache.

Greg,

Obviously I would prefer to not kill them. However, it should be the responsibility of the bike rider to equip protective gear in order to protect themselves from any accidental eventualities - conduct a rationalised risk assessment for themselves. They could also choose to wear protective gear on their knees and elbows.

Think of it in this respect. If a fast bowler bowls a ball to a batsmen and hits him in an unprotected area if the batsmen has failed to equip a box, of course you'll feel bad as a bowler. But you'd also be foolish to blame yourself.. it's the batsmen's responsibility to make sure they're protected if they put themselves in such a situation. The same goes for wearing mouthguards in football. None of these things are compulsory. They are the responsibility of the party who could be at risk.

I am all for educating and communicating the risks to people. However, they need to make their own decisions about their personal safety. Otherwise, I will claim it's revenue boosting.

Spiny Norman
09-02-2005, 08:01 PM
<camera close-up of slightly deranged TV presenter>

"They bought their tickets. They knew what they were getting in to. I say, let 'em crash!"

- Airplane (1980)

Rhubarb
09-02-2005, 08:54 PM
Greg,

Obviously I would prefer to not kill them. However, it should be the responsibility of the bike rider to equip protective gear in order to protect themselves from any accidental eventualities - conduct a rationalised risk assessment for themselves. They could also choose to wear protective gear on their knees and elbows.

Think of it in this respect. If a fast bowler bowls a ball to a batsmen and hits him in an unprotected area if the batsmen has failed to equip a box, of course you'll feel bad as a bowler. But you'd also be foolish to blame yourself.. it's the batsmen's responsibility to make sure they're protected if they put themselves in such a situation. The same goes for wearing mouthguards in football. None of these things are compulsory. They are the responsibility of the party who could be at risk.

I am all for educating and communicating the risks to people. However, they need to make their own decisions about their personal safety. Otherwise, I will claim it's revenue boosting.


Bruce, it appears you have wilfully ignored my point. I wasn't just talking about the teenagers who take risks with their lives (the more education here the better); but the completely innocent car drivers who have to live with the fact that the vehicle they were in control of took a human life (even though it wasn't their fault).

If you still can't see why the risk of this happening to a decent human being shouldn't be minimised, there's no point in discussing this further.

Alan Shore
09-02-2005, 09:03 PM
Bruce, it appears you have wilfully ignored my point. I wasn't just talking about the teenagers who take risks with their lives (the more education here the better); but the completely innocent car drivers who have to live with the fact that the vehicle they were in control of took a human life (even though it wasn't their fault).

If you still can't see why the risk of this happening to a decent human being shouldn't be minimised, there's no point in discussing this further.

Perhaps I just don't understand then Greg. If it happened to me and I wasn't at fault, what am I supposed to think? 'That's a shame, if only he'd been sensible enough to put on a helmet'. How can it be on my conscience at all? I don't think it would have any majorly negative effect on me at all really (or certainly no lasting effect, except for the memory of it.. the most it may do is remind you to be safer yourself), perhaps I'm sorry to say... it's rather the same scenario if an accident happens right in front of you. You pull over, check if people are alright, perhaps call an ambulance if required and look after things as best you can. Yet it wasn't you that caused the accident - there's nothing you could have done, despite a tragedy unfolding before your eyes, so how is it different?

Rincewind
09-02-2005, 09:25 PM
Perhaps I just don't understand then Greg. If it happened to me and I wasn't at fault, what am I supposed to think? 'That's a shame, if only he'd been sensible enough to put on a helmet'. How can it be on my conscience at all? I don't think it would have any majorly negative effect on me at all really (or certainly no lasting effect, except for the memory of it.. the most it may do is remind you to be safer yourself), perhaps I'm sorry to say... it's rather the same scenario if an accident happens right in front of you. You pull over, check if people are alright, perhaps call an ambulance if required and look after things as best you can. Yet it wasn't you that caused the accident - there's nothing you could have done, despite a tragedy unfolding before your eyes, so how is it different?

That would be why train drivers who hit a jumper or homeless person don't need counselling. Or people who survive tragic accidents despite most everyone else around them being killed don't need counselling.

Getting back to your original message, I don't believe pressure from insurance companies is the reason for the laws regarding helmets and seatbelts. I would think if that was a concern the insurers would simply exclude accidents where the rider was not wearing a seatbelt or helmet.

So where does that leave motivation? Either the government is trying to force people to behave rationally because it saves the community resources or else....

firegoat7
09-02-2005, 10:10 PM
Dear Bruce,

Interesting thread. I will begin by saying I am completely against your position. I believe that 'freedom' is an illusion and that while we like to delude ourselves that we are 'free' in reality there is little 'freedom'. I side with the collective over the individual and believe that the concept of freedom for the individual negates our social being.

I would argue that a motor car is a cultural construction, much like roads and that the usage of such an unnatural device ought to comply with current best practices of responsibility for society.

You will need to clarify an issue for me because I thought the original post said .."If one is doing the math, that is more than $138 million spent on seat belt laws. But the kicker is this: It is estimated, by researchers for Congress, that only 6,100 lives are saved per year because of new seat belt wearers. Moreover, the increase in the percentage of those who wear seat belts has leveled off." Unless I am reading it wrong I would say that 6100 lives is clearly worth the $138 million dollars invested.

Cheers FG7

Alan Shore
09-02-2005, 11:12 PM
Interesting thread. I will begin by saying I am completely against your position. I believe that 'freedom' is an illusion and that while we like to delude ourselves that we are 'free' in reality there is little 'freedom'. I side with the collective over the individual and believe that the concept of freedom for the individual negates our social being.

Well, while it's a very Marxist view, it is an interesting opinion. However, such attitudes and cultural norms are contingent upon where in the world you reside. If you dilute these experiences and attempt to transcend above and beyond the norms of a subculture you can arrive at a state of being free to make your own decisions and be more objective, rather than being socially conditioned. I much prefer the existentialist views of Sartre that allows us to rise above the confines of a 'social being'.


I would argue that a motor car is a cultural construction, much like roads and that the usage of such an unnatural device ought to comply with current best practices of responsibility for society.

You could take this to any extreme you like though.. such as 'all cars must have airbags' or 'must be constructed in a certain way to maximise safety' etc. costing users up to tens of thousands of dollars more, in many cases, something motorists cannot afford.


You will need to clarify an issue for me because I thought the original post said .."If one is doing the math, that is more than $138 million spent on seat belt laws. But the kicker is this: It is estimated, by researchers for Congress, that only 6,100 lives are saved per year because of new seat belt wearers. Moreover, the increase in the percentage of those who wear seat belts has leveled off." Unless I am reading it wrong I would say that 6100 lives is clearly worth the $138 million dollars invested.

This was an American article, so 6,000 is a very small % of the population. It also didn't specify the nature of the accidents, i.e. accident severity and, whether it can truly be verified that wearing seatbelts would have made a difference. There are also economic theories based around the premise that 'not wearing seat belts save lives!'

Kevin Bonham
10-02-2005, 05:29 PM
Frankly speaking I feel like unleasing a few of Bill's rockets. I suspect this thread is a troll.

That suggestion seems completely unfounded to me. I think this thread is serious and interesting.

I have stronger libertarian tendencies than most people in Australian political life and totally disagree with firegoat's potentially self-fulfilling collectivist garbage, but I don't really see the point in fighting for flippant and stupid forms of autonomy like the right to not wear a seatbelt. The enforcement costs (because they involve taxation, which is always coercive and illiberal unless it can be justified) are a more interesting issue but provisionally I agree with firegoat here that $138,000,000 for 6,100 lives (effectively a bit over $20K per life) is a good deal for the State. I'm open to being convinced the same money could be spent better in terms of saving lives, though. If you've got economic theories that say that more lives would be saved without seatbelt laws, let's see them.

I also think that seatbelt laws protect children who are not in a position to make these decisions for themselves and whose parents should certainly not be given the option of placing their lives at needless risk.

Also I agree with kegless. It's so hard to feel that you are really entirely faultless when something terrible happens even when it was caused by another person's stupidity or negligence.

Mischa
10-02-2005, 05:38 PM
What of the cost to the taxpayers if not death but dibiltating injury is the result of not wearing seat belts.
To suggest that a life is not worth the cost of saving it is a sad reflection on our society.

antichrist
10-02-2005, 05:49 PM
What of the cost to the taxpayers if not death but dibiltating injury is the result of not wearing seat belts.
To suggest that a life is not worth the cost of saving it is a sad reflection on our society.

In Rosarioland if a public vehicle hits a pedestrian and only injures him well there was a period when they used to reverse back and finish the job because the coffin was cheaper than the hospital. Those were the days. Due to public outcry of course that to stop this practise.

antichrist
10-02-2005, 05:59 PM
You might have let a rocket off but its going to another planet! Are you thinking on some karma-level or something? Health workers will have to clean up other injuries anyways. Not wearing a seat-belt is not guaranteeing death and the point is... its the individuals decision after they have taken everything into consideration!

Reply to post 4 as well.

I reckon health professionals should have the choice whether to treat people who grossly abuse their bodies and cost the community a fortune. It already happens to an extent, for e.g., smokes with bad hearts only get cheaper stents. They also refuse to treat smokers who are extremely sick and continue to smoke.

I have had to clean the uniforms of surgery staff (people close to me) and I tell you it is not a pretty sight as well as the stench.

What I hate about libertarians is that they are against paying taxes to the state (of course) but happy to use the services of the state and a lot are on social security. They actually prefer the rich to keep all their profits rather than pay taxes to the state. They need a reality check.

Cat
10-02-2005, 06:39 PM
Reply to post 4 as well.

I reckon health professionals should have the choice whether to treat people who grossly abuse their bodies and cost the community a fortune. It already happens to an extent, for e.g., smokes with bad hearts only get cheaper stents. They also refuse to treat smokers who are extremely sick and continue to smoke.


Then in that case we could choose not to treat around 60% of the population. Most of the common diseases are life-style related and the biggest threat to ones health is oneself. For many individuals who suffer from self-induced disease, they are simply victims of market manipulation.

One of the greatest confidence tricks perpetrated on the Australian people has been the way food manufacturers have load our foods with salt, fat and carbohydrates over the last 30years. The problem is we love it, we are brain-washed consumers - we have been systematically manipulated into an endless cycle of consumption and the appaulling rates of obesity we're witnessing in our society is a metaphor for that consumption.

So its not so easy to blame the individual, because they really are victims of the marketing industry, one of the most pernicious and devious works of mankind.

Ian Rout
10-02-2005, 08:24 PM
Perhaps it's necessary to have access to the Darwinist argument - if someone is so dumb that they are prepared to kill themselves just to make the point that they should be allowed to live dangerously, rather than because of any benefit from doing so, then it's better to get their genes out of the pool before they can breed.

However I think it's not quite as simple as that, car users without seatbelts are not just endangering themselves. A passenger flying loose could contact or distract a driver trying to steady a vehicle; a driver half-way through the windscreen has less chance of retrieving a vehicle before it strikes someone else. Moreover a driver or passenger has a responsibility to lend assistance after an accident, especially if it's their fault, and being dead lessens their capacity to do so. And a paramedic arriving at the scene doesn't have the option to give preference to the innocent, who may thus die while the non-beltwearer survives self-chosen injuries.

Mischa
10-02-2005, 08:42 PM
I think this a point. If it is your right to make decisions about your safety and the right to live dangerously, then it must also be considered that doing so you may put others at risk. If this is the case then it is right and proper and indeed essential that some more resposible agency can enforce laws to ensure that others are NOT endangered by your choices.

As I child I was taught that basically you can do what you like and make your own decisions as long as these decisions were unharmful to others. The second my decision can affect other people, it is no longer only myself that has to be considered.

firegoat7
10-02-2005, 10:07 PM
Perhaps it's necessary to have access to the Darwinist argument - if someone is so dumb that they are prepared to kill themselves just to make the point that they should be allowed to live dangerously, rather than because of any benefit from doing so, then it's better to get their genes out of the pool before they can breed.

Intelligence is not genetic it is a cultural construction. No access to culture no learning, this is well documented in the sciences and to suggest otherwise opens the door to eugenic theories. I am somewhat suprised by this suggestion of yours Ian.



I reckon health professionals should have the choice whether to treat people who grossly abuse their bodies and cost the community a fortune. It already happens to an extent, for e.g., smokes with bad hearts only get cheaper stents. They also refuse to treat smokers who are extremely sick and continue to smoke.

Sorry AC Can't agree with this one either. In fact it suprises me that the medical profession is allowed to get away with this. Smoking is not illegal, not that that should matter, but it is important to remember. The taxes that governments get from smoking ought to be factored into the appropriate health costs. By the way I think car accidents should fall under this category also. At the moment we have the state (unless your privately insured) picking up the costs of corporations. To suggest that the responsibility lies with the individual is illogical to me. Unless corporations can prove that no harm will come from their products then they ought to contribute to its side affects.

I am always amazed that people regard themselves as individually responsible without even bothering to consider how that individuality is constantly being forced upon them without any real choice.

Cheers fg7.

Cat
10-02-2005, 10:40 PM
Intelligence is not genetic it is a cultural construction. No access to culture no learning, this is well documented in the sciences and to suggest otherwise opens the door to eugenic theories. I am somewhat suprised by this suggestion of yours Ian.

This is correct. Interestingly in one study intelligence correlations in identical twins was higher, but in dizygotic twins was lower. This suggests that genes controlling what we term 'intelligence' demonstrate increased variablity and what might really be important in nature is diversity of expression & ideas, not some linear scale termed intelligence. This is my conclusion, I don't know whether there is any material in the archive on this.


In fact it suprises me that the medical profession is allowed to get away with this. Smoking is not illegal, not that that should matter, but it is important to remember. The taxes that governments get from smoking ought to be factored into the appropriate health costs. By the way I think car accidents should fall under this category also. At the moment we have the state (unless your privately insured) picking up the costs of corporations. To suggest that the responsibility lies with the individual is illogical to me. Unless corporations can prove that no harm will come from their products then they ought to contribute to its side affects.Cheers fg7.

The medical profession gets away with bugger all, its just a vicious slur put out by the ABC. We don't ration treatment according to personal habits in any way. Controlling risk-taking habits is an important arm of treatment, but a personal habit does not bar anyone from treatment per se. What may happen is a more favourable candidate may be selected first for some procedure if it is obvious that the outcome is likely to be better.

frogmogdog
10-02-2005, 11:12 PM
The medical profession gets away with bugger all, its just a vicious slur put out by the ABC. We don't ration treatment according to personal habits in any way. Controlling risk-taking habits is an important arm of treatment, but a personal habit does not bar anyone from treatment per se. What may happen is a more favourable candidate may be selected first for some procedure if it is obvious that the outcome is likely to be better.

nah, that's wrong.

medical treatment gets rationed in all sorts of interesting and weird ways.

but specifically i've worked with a cardiac surgeon who wouldn't operate on smokers. i thought his best justification for the policy was that he got more people to quit than patches or hypno would be able to.

there's also all sorts of treatments restricted to current injecting drug users and heavy drinkers.

the rationale is usually most effective use of public money but it's not like these people wouldn't get any benefit from being treated.

it's interesting that the yanks don't want to pay a measly $20K to save a life -- they think nothing of paying that much per kill in their absurd wars.

and incidentally, i think evangelical non-seat belt wearers might benefit from having to wipe people's brains off the pavement occasionally.

Cat
10-02-2005, 11:42 PM
nah, that's wrong.

medical treatment gets rationed in all sorts of interesting and weird ways.

but specifically i've worked with a cardiac surgeon who wouldn't operate on smokers. i thought his best justification for the policy was that he got more people to quit than patches or hypno would be able to.

there's also all sorts of treatments restricted to current injecting drug users and heavy drinkers.

the rationale is usually most effective use of public money but it's not like these people wouldn't get any benefit from being treated.

it's interesting that the yanks don't want to pay a measly $20K to save a life -- they think nothing of paying that much per kill in their absurd wars.

and incidentally, i think evangelical non-seat belt wearers might benefit from having to wipe people's brains off the pavement occasionally.

OF course there's rationing, there isn't a bottomless pit, but its not determined by the personal habits of the patient, it depends on need. Your cardiac surgeon may justify his decisions by arguing that the outcome for smokers is pretty poor, he may not feel comfortable in operating on smokers because of that if the surgery is elective, but at the end of the day no one can or would block a patients right to treatment.

Alan Shore
11-02-2005, 03:37 AM
This thread has made interesting reading thus far, thanks contributers. I must admit, I am a little surprised at how strong the opposition to my thesis was. I suppose many of you really feel strongly about preserving human life at all costs. Perhaps we've all seen such sentiments reflected too on my 'Value of human life' thread.

A few 'on-topic' comments: I've responded to a few of you (5!) in one go but they are all relevant.


This is correct. Interestingly in one study intelligence correlations in identical twins was higher, but in dizygotic twins was lower. This suggests that genes controlling what we term 'intelligence' demonstrate increased variablity and what might really be important in nature is diversity of expression & ideas, not some linear scale termed intelligence. This is my conclusion, I don't know whether there is any material in the archive on this.

When I studied developmental psych the literature suggests similar facts, except the dizygotic twins I remember were found to be 'not significantly' higher but not lower. The increased variability is an innate part of humans (and other animals) that attempt to maximise strengths in order to best survive conditions.


Intelligence is not genetic it is a cultural construction. No access to culture no learning, this is well documented in the sciences and to suggest otherwise opens the door to eugenic theories. I am somewhat suprised by this suggestion of yours Ian.

I agree with FG7 you need socio-cultural construction to form a knowledge base, yet given basic information such as language and elementary mathematics, natural genetic ability will take a child very far.. perhaps not in the sense of a laboratory measured Intelligence Quotient, for there are different culturally determined criteria involved in calculating such a score. Rather one is better off using a multifactor intelligence test to measure true ability as a result of natural reasoning power. The point is however, it is the combination of innate knowledge/genetic makeup and environment that go towards creating an intelligent being.


I think this a point. If it is your right to make decisions about your safety and the right to live dangerously, then it must also be considered that doing so you may put others at risk. If this is the case then it is right and proper and indeed essential that some more resposible agency can enforce laws to ensure that others are NOT endangered by your choices.

As I child I was taught that basically you can do what you like and make your own decisions as long as these decisions were unharmful to others. The second my decision can affect other people, it is no longer only myself that has to be considered.

This is exactly my point. However, I think the direct influence on others as a result of not wearing a seatbelt is negligible. Everything we do for ourselves it can be argued has some indirect influence on others.


Perhaps it's necessary to have access to the Darwinist argument - if someone is so dumb that they are prepared to kill themselves just to make the point that they should be allowed to live dangerously, rather than because of any benefit from doing so, then it's better to get their genes out of the pool before they can breed.

In a way.. I want to agree with this sentiment. However, one must be very careful... if people do not know any better, then they are at risk from their own ignorance. Only when everyone is sufficiently educated at the basic level of the risks involved in a dangerous activity (i.e. being in a moving automobile) should they be given the decision to choose what safety mechanisms they implement. This is why children who do not know better must be educated, or protected until they understand. Thus, a better law in my opinion would be to have compulsory seatbelt wearing for children until they reach a certain age.


However I think it's not quite as simple as that, car users without seatbelts are not just endangering themselves. A passenger flying loose could contact or distract a driver trying to steady a vehicle; a driver half-way through the windscreen has less chance of retrieving a vehicle before it strikes someone else. Moreover a driver or passenger has a responsibility to lend assistance after an accident, especially if it's their fault, and being dead lessens their capacity to do so. And a paramedic arriving at the scene doesn't have the option to give preference to the innocent, who may thus die while the non-beltwearer survives self-chosen injuries.

I'm sorry Ian but these arguments are pretty inductively weak.. in all these instances you name, actual occurrence would be exceedingly rare to have such a direct impact. The last one's interesting from a philosophical viewpoint, yet paramedics would surely have to treat each injury on the merit of its severity.. in a bank holdup, paramedics would give preference to saving the gunmen if they were at greater risk I'm sure, if they were to follow their Hippocratic Oaths.


it's interesting that the yanks don't want to pay a measly $20K to save a life -- they think nothing of paying that much per kill in their absurd wars.

Very good point you raise. People often forget about such priorities and put things down to 'different circumstances' yet in essence, it's a terrible hypocrisy...

Alan Shore
11-02-2005, 03:49 AM
While the case in point I made in this thread was about seatbelt laws, it was also really aimed at a topic designated by the title of this thread. If I may repeat:


We should, in life, be able to have the freedom to make out own decisions about our well-being so long as we do not infringe on the rights of others to make similar choices. Why then, are there laws in place that restrict our freedom?

While the seatbelt law is a grey-area violation of our liberties as human beings with the right to choose, if such a law can be implemented, where exactly can we draw the line? While the examples made by Derek in his original article may seem ridiculous, what is to stop a government from implementing further legislation to 'protect people' further? Now we have an arbitrary line that knows no boundaries. Why can't we simply stop at the point of having our own freedom of choice that doesn't encroach on others?

Actually, if anyone else can think of examples where that boundary may have been crossed, I'd be interested.

Ian Rout
11-02-2005, 08:57 AM
The last one's interesting from a philosophical viewpoint, yet paramedics would surely have to treat each injury on the merit of its severity.. in a bank holdup, paramedics would give preference to saving the gunmen if they were at greater risk I'm sure, if they were to follow their Hippocratic Oaths.

That's exactly the point I was making. Initially you say that our non-belt wearer has made a free, rational choice. If he (let us presume it is a he; in fact let us call him Derek) is prepared to wear the consequences of that choice and nobody else is disadvantaged then I could accept the viewpoint you espouse. But in this instance Derek would not be wearing the consequences and somebody else would - Derek can't contract out of his rights under the Hippocratic Oath and so can't make the choice. In passing we should note that armed bank robbery is a serious crime, in part because of the possibility of somebody being hurt.




I'm sorry Ian but these arguments are pretty inductively weak.. in all these instances you name, actual occurrence would be exceedingly rare to have such a direct impact.


The cases I gave are not the only instances of others being affected, just those not already mentioned - sure you can peel them off one by one and say that each is rare but they add up. Anyway the fact that it is rare is only of significance if we assume the balance of rights is one-to-one, or at least not too heavily tilted. However I think the balance has to be slanted severely against our Derek. He is the aggressor and the victim was doing nothing wrong. Second, there's no real benefit to anybody in travelling without a seat belt, apart from being able to pontificate about their "liberties".

It could be said that if we stopped people going out in cars at all we could reduce risks further, but that really would be an inconvenience. It's not an absolute, but a question of balance; we accept the risks vs benefits of allowing car travel, but if a driver is drunk or hasn't passed a test or doesn't have insurance the balance shifts. The benefit of not having to wear a belt is so small that the risks to others need to be correspondingly infinitesimal to justify it.

We shouldn't be surprised that this sort of stuff is coming out of America as there are many groups (perhaps people like Timothy MCveigh are the more visible face of this to us) who seem to be obsessed with asserting all manner of "rights" that the government (frequently characterised as being run by the Jews) is infringing. [I have heard of, but I haven't met any, like-minded Australians lifting the American rhetoric unedited, and believing that the Australian Constitution guarantees them the right to bear arms and has a Fifth Amendment.]

If we want to argue about the merits of government protecting people from themselves then probably a couple of better examples might be whether people should be permitted to take drugs or to commit suicide. The American groups tend not to go in for the first as they see drugs as being a bit of a lefty thing whereas their leanings are the other way, or for the second because they tend to be associated with God-bothering communities.

Overall I think Bruce's thesis, how far governments should go to protect people from themselves, is interesting but the example is poor, partly because other people are also being protected and partly because it's trivial and only useful as a "thin end of the wedge" argument (and partly because it's American).

frogmogdog
11-02-2005, 10:25 AM
but at the end of the day no one can or would block a patients right to treatment.

nup DR, that's wrong too.

patients routinely get their "right" to treatment blocked.

for example, our profession manipulates the public system to make going privately more attractive.

public hospital surgery lists often put the private patients on first -- this means the public ones get cancelled if there's an emergency.

public hospital outpatients often get organised so that everyone turns up at the same time when its obvious some people will needlessly be waiting many hours, etc etc.

the idea is to insidiously make it more attractive to go privately than publicly, because that's where we docs can make the most money.

it's essentially an extortion racket.

oh, and personal habits do matter. undersleep and smoking are both cardiac risk factors but no prizes for guessing which one doctors discriminate against.

Cat
11-02-2005, 11:14 AM
nup DR, that's wrong too.

patients routinely get their "right" to treatment blocked.

for example, our profession manipulates the public system to make going privately more attractive.

Well that may be a fair assessment in some specialisations and certainly medical politics is not squeaky clean, but the real manipulators are Government who have systematically underfunded health care over time, relying on the generosity of the medical profession to pick up the shortfall for this underfunding. It is absolutely correct that medical professionals charge appropriately for their services, and while I agree completely that rationing occurs according to government budgetry constraints, its not the doctors that are responsible for that and any doctor discriminating against patients on the basis of personal prejudice is not acting ethically and in my experience on the Gold Coast, this is not a widespread problem.



public hospital surgery lists often put the private patients on first -- this means the public ones get cancelled if there's an emergency.

This is a social decision, not one made by the doctor. Health care is expensive and someone has to pay. That doctors choose not to work in a chronically underfunded, understaffed public health system is entirely understandable. That the public health system is so run down is a consequence of government policy, not the fault of inidvidual doctors.


public hospital outpatients often get organised so that everyone turns up at the same time when its obvious some people will needlessly be waiting many hours, etc etc.

Again, this is a consequence of political decisions made in the Health Department, it's not the responsibility of individual doctors who are by and large powerless to change these policies.


the idea is to insidiously make it more attractive to go privately than publicly, because that's where we docs can make the most money.

Its clearly more attractive to go privately because the public health system is in crisis. Anyone with common sense would seek this option. That a large section of our community cannot afford this option is the responsibility of government, not the individual doctors


it's essentially an extortion racket.

The extorters are Government.



oh, and personal habits do matter. undersleep and smoking are both cardiac risk factors but no prizes for guessing which one doctors discriminate against.

Most of us would regard these as comorbidities that demand treatment in their own right, there's no prejudice.

Alan Shore
11-02-2005, 11:20 AM
The cases I gave are not the only instances of others being affected, just those not already mentioned - sure you can peel them off one by one and say that each is rare but they add up. Anyway the fact that it is rare is only of significance if we assume the balance of rights is one-to-one, or at least not too heavily tilted. However I think the balance has to be slanted severely against our Derek. He is the aggressor and the victim was doing nothing wrong. Second, there's no real benefit to anybody in travelling without a seat belt, apart from being able to pontificate about their "liberties".

Even adding up, I'd wager those incidences to be around the same number of deaths as those dying from being hit by champagne corks.


It could be said that if we stopped people going out in cars at all we could reduce risks further, but that really would be an inconvenience.

It will always be an inconvenience when a ruling body impinges on the rights of an individual.


It's not an absolute, but a question of balance; we accept the risks vs benefits of allowing car travel, but if a driver is drunk or hasn't passed a test or doesn't have insurance the balance shifts. The benefit of not having to wear a belt is so small that the risks to others need to be correspondingly infinitesimal to justify it.

You could argue this point to justify any 'undesirable' behaviour. It's not the point though. The minute you take away liberties for one thing, there's license to let that flame continue along the trail of gunpowder right to the big pack of TNT.

And, if you wanted to be really pedantic (don't worry KB, no jibes at you here, hehe), you could argue about seatbelts being uncomfortable, causing bruising, whiplash and death (by coming into contact with the neck). This is kind of irrelevant to my position, however, you'll have to accept it on the same principles as your own argument.


We shouldn't be surprised that this sort of stuff is coming out of America as there are many groups (perhaps people like Timothy MCveigh are the more visible face of this to us) who seem to be obsessed with asserting all manner of "rights" that the government (frequently characterised as being run by the Jews) is infringing. [I have heard of, but I haven't met any, like-minded Australians lifting the American rhetoric unedited, and believing that the Australian Constitution guarantees them the right to bear arms and has a Fifth Amendment.]

That's a whole new discussion entirely! Could even make that a separate thread..


If we want to argue about the merits of government protecting people from themselves then probably a couple of better examples might be whether people should be permitted to take drugs or to commit suicide. The American groups tend not to go in for the first as they see drugs as being a bit of a lefty thing whereas their leanings are the other way, or for the second because they tend to be associated with God-bothering communities.

Interesting point. I have a special case for suicides though. My argument is, while one is free to rationally make their own decisions/choices, the choice to end one's life is often going to be an irrational one, based upon defective thinking. Equally though, if one has full grasp of their own faculties and makes a rational decision to end a life filled with constant and more importantly irreversible pain and torment, they should have the choice to end their life if they are proven to be of sound mind.

Naturally, you could make a whole other thread for that too...!


Overall I think Bruce's thesis, how far governments should go to protect people from themselves, is interesting but the example is poor, partly because other people are also being protected and partly because it's trivial and only useful as a "thin end of the wedge" argument (and partly because it's American).

Well, you've said it's interesting.. perhaps some more comments on that question rather than the given example?

pax
11-02-2005, 12:07 PM
The crazy thing is that the guy in the article sounded like he specifically chose not to wear a seatbelt because the government was trying to force him to . If there were no seatbelt laws, he may well have evaluated the benefit of wearing a seatbelt and done it for his own good.

antichrist
11-02-2005, 05:47 PM
The crazy thing is that the guy in the article sounded like he specifically chose not to wear a seatbelt because the government was trying to force him to . If there were no seatbelt laws, he may well have evaluated the benefit of wearing a seatbelt and done it for his own good.

We have big babies like this around us everywhere.

frogmogdog
12-02-2005, 07:21 AM
hi DR

1. where someone goes on a surgical operating list is controlled by the surgeon, not the govt.

eg as a surgical resident, and using the criteria the surgeon gave me, i've walked to admin, looked at the waiting list, plucked out names, and put the private patients at the start of the relevant day's operating list before often more serious public ones which would go at the end (which is also when surgeons are more tired and mistake-prone). to muck this up so public patients got treated and private ones didn't was an offence sufficient to destroy a career.

2. whether outpatient appointments are simultaneous or staggered is controlled by the relevant consultant not by the govt.

3. the AMA has an amazing history of trying to block any reform that improves the universality of health care - eg the introduction of medicare, medibank, the pbs.

4. i worked in nsw public system shortly after the 1984 doctors strike and the effect was everywhere. i remember working at campbelltown hospital one night, when campbelltown still had no orthopods due to the strike, and unsuccessfully ringing 17 other public hospitals to try to get a guy with a nasty compound fracture of his knee a bed (let alone surgery). in that case the problem was not govt funding restrictions, it was bloody-minded doctors driving the system to its knees to get their mouths stuffed with cash.

mind you, i'm currently making waves because i couldn't get antenatal care at either royal womens or the mater in brisbane for a 20 yr due in 4 weeks. that's (probably) not doctors but state funding indirectly controlled by the commonwealth.

5. so i agree that govts, esp the feds, also cause problems.

6. and the australian public also bears some responsibility for their own problems - eg the private health insurance rebate is almost single-handedly enough to wreck the public system but people still accept propaganda that it helps "take the strain" off public hospitals. i used to say this was like accepting a publicly-funded private school rebate would take the strain off govt schools but now lots of people could hear that and think "what a good idea!".

need to stop, but here's a few reads for anyone interested -

http://www.drs.org.au/articles/2003/art15.htm
http://www.drs.org.au/new_doctor/78/Schrader78.htm
http://www.drs.org.au/new_doctor/79/Gurgler.htm

Cat
12-02-2005, 07:45 AM
hi DR

1. where someone goes on a surgical operating list is controlled by the surgeon, not the govt.

eg as a surgical resident, and using the criteria the surgeon gave me, i've walked to admin, looked at the waiting list, plucked out names, and put the private patients at the start of the relevant day's operating list before often more serious public ones which would go at the end (which is also when surgeons are more tired and mistake-prone). to muck this up so public patients got treated and private ones didn't was an offence sufficient to destroy a career.

2. whether outpatient appointments are simultaneous or staggered is controlled by the relevant consultant not by the govt.

3. the AMA has an amazing history of trying to block any reform that improves the universality of health care - eg the introduction of medicare, medibank, the pbs.

4. i worked in nsw public system shortly after the 1984 doctors strike and the effect was everywhere. i remember working at campbelltown hospital one night, when campbelltown still had no orthopods due to the strike, and unsuccessfully ringing 17 other public hospitals to try to get a guy with a nasty compound fracture of his knee a bed (let alone surgery). in that case the problem was not govt funding restrictions, it was bloody-minded doctors driving the system to its knees to get their mouths stuffed with cash.

mind you, i'm currently making waves because i couldn't get antenatal care at either royal womens or the mater in brisbane for a 20 yr due in 4 weeks. that's (probably) not doctors but state funding indirectly controlled by the commonwealth.

5. so i agree that govts, esp the feds, also cause problems.

6. and the australian public also bears some responsibility for their own problems - eg the private health insurance rebate is almost single-handedly enough to wreck the public system but people still accept propaganda that it helps "take the strain" off public hospitals. i used to say this was like accepting a publicly-funded private school rebate would take the strain off govt schools but now lots of people could hear that and think "what a good idea!".

need to stop, but here's a few reads for anyone interested -

http://www.drs.org.au/articles/2003/art15.htm
http://www.drs.org.au/new_doctor/78/Schrader78.htm
http://www.drs.org.au/new_doctor/79/Gurgler.htm

I accept what you say, we're living in a world of injustice where money shouts and the poor are systematically subjugated. This injustice is widening and deepening and its also operates in the arena of Australian Health Care.

What I would suggest is that while some doctors are always happy to accept this state of affairs, many of us are deeply concerned, so much so that unlike other industries, we are prepared to forego opportunities for personal gain in order to support justice. Many also would not wish to see financial opportunity as the determinant of treatment opportunity.

However, governments over time have systematically abused that good will to the point whereby trust has all but broken down. Doctors should not be seen as the providers of health debt relief. Take for example pensioners, we provide a $12 discount to our pensioners. The Government have provided absolutely nothing, until the recent election where they were shamed into taking some action.

If however, we were to rely on Government funding, our incomes would become increasingly eroded over time, to the point whereby practice would barely be viable.

If you sense a degree of cynicism and disregard within our profession, then I would suggest that its as a consequence of years of betrayal by Government, not only to doctors but to the Australian people.

arosar
28-02-2005, 10:29 PM
Anyone of youse blokes paying much attention to what's happening in Macquarie Fields? Dunno about youse but I'm firmly on the coppers' side on this one. In fact, I reckon they bloody send in the army in there and shut the whole place down.

And oh, funny, I don't see any aboriginals throwing rocks. All white folks.

Fancy that!

AR

Capablanca-Fan
11-04-2009, 01:21 PM
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Capablanca-Fan
11-04-2009, 03:56 PM
This thread might be better under Politics. [moved there - mod]

TheJoker
12-04-2009, 05:56 PM
This thread might be better under Politics.

Just quickly regarding spillover costs, Friedman misses a key spillover cost which is the damage/cost caused by people seeling poor products in the marketplace and asymetries of information which prevent consumers from being able to ascertain the quality of the product. Withou the ability to ascertain the quality of a product consumer confidence is reduced affecting all producers of the product. By pooling their resources in Government agencies such as the FDA consumers have a third party verification of the quality of product which could not be achieved individually. If a new drug is released on the market that causes widespread death it will affect the sales of all other new drugs. It is true that these quality assurance mechanism could be provided through market mechanisms such private third party testing (e.g. the Heart Foundation tick of approval) or other forms of branding, however consumers are more skeptical of quality assurances issued by third parties who recieve benefits from the producer and rightly so.

In fact, I find most industry organisations recognise the value that government regulatory schemes add to their product and industry sustainability. Its generally economists who dont understand that government regulation in most cases is a value-adding process. Business people tend to understand the importance of quality in markets and the importance for sustainability and growth to restrict market entrants who are likley to damage consumer confidence by marketing inferior products.

Capablanca-Fan
13-04-2009, 08:53 AM
Just quickly regarding spillover costs, Friedman misses a key spillover cost which is the damage/cost caused by people seeling poor products in the marketplace and asymetries of information which prevent consumers from being able to ascertain the quality of the product. Withou the ability to ascertain the quality of a product consumer confidence is reduced affecting all producers of the product.
He misses nothing. FDA = Frustrating Drug Advances. Its bureaucrats would be grilled unmercifully if they allowed a drug that caused some harm. They face no problems if they hold a drug up that would have prevented harm, since it's much harder to prove a negative. It becomes absurd: after a 10 year delay, they brag about approving a drug that will save 100,000 lives a year, and no one stops to think about the million lives lost because of their delay.

It's no good "throwing the rascals out", because the replacements face the same incentives. See Friedman's essay Barking Cats (http://www.johnlatour.com/barking_cats.htm).

OK, by all means have an FDA seal of approval, but allow pharmaceuticals the option of marketing drugs without it, and let consumers decide whether to buy it. But there are private consumer organizations that could do the job better.

The current system also makes the cost of development of a new drug almost a billion dollars.

TheJoker
13-04-2009, 11:02 AM
He misses nothing.

Well he doesn't seem to realise the value-added by the regulatory process on consumer decision making, this is a key oversight and renders most of what he said invalid.

Secondly he doesn't understand that it up to the community how they want to manage product risk. If the community wants to limit risk by imposing a strong set of quality standards then tey are within their rights to do so.

Finally, it's only the economists and political pundits putting forward these arguements the actual industries involved are not, meaning they recognise the benefits of the regulatory process.

The problem with Friedman and most ther economists is that they dont understand the key driving force behind consumption, consumer behaviour. THey propose stupid scenarios were despit a radical change in the market (e.g. total deregulation) consumer behaviour remains unchanged.

If drugs were unregulated some bad drugs will hit the market this is likley to reduce consumer confidence in all drugs, the cost on lives because of people reluctuance to use drugs can't be measured until it happens, but I suspect it would far worse than those lives lost because of delays to market for current products. Even if it is not, failure to at least factor this in his analysis means Friedman's analysis is seriously flawed.