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Thomas Sowell: Intellectuals and Society

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Shaneme2 Avatar
Posted: 07.17.11, 10:07 AM
The interviewers laugh seems so ingenuine.
Ian Meyer Avatar
Ian Meyer
Posted: 07.06.11, 11:14 PM
Mark S, You say: "We don't have a lack of medical insurance, do we?" We absolutely lack medical coverage. I'm in excellent health and in my mid twenties. I was in a severe car accident four years ago and have no lasting injuries. At the time, I had only a small amount of bruising and a torn MCL. Don't feel sorry for me, I was lucky. Still, I spent the night in a hospital. I can not get insurance unless it's provided through an employer. I was rejected repeatedly by every insurance company. They don't give me the option to pay exorbitant rates; I am concisely denied. I'd like to start my own business, but I have to weigh the fact that I likely won't be able to get decent personal health insurance at the same time. Don't assume that your coverage is proof that there isn't a lack of coverage. Just before your children were born, were you complaining that you weren't paying too little for insurance? I doubt it. If your wife was pregnant and you then you applied for prenatal coverage, you would probably be rejected. If not, it would be exorbitantly expensive anyway. Pediatric coverage would be vastly more expensive if the only people who paid were currently parents of children. If everyone pays for coverage only when they are most at risk or they are already sick, then it's not insurance anymore, it's just pay-as-you-go healthcare. You take for granted the availability of the coverage you receive and assume it's available to everyone. You complain when you're paying too much, but you take for granted the times when you benefited and paid less. Sadly, the coverage isn't available to everyone. You should realize that right now you are subsidizing the pediatric care of other parents, just as you were once subsidized by other people without children. Ian
Macktion Avatar
Posted: 09.10.10, 10:23 AM
Actually, Dr. Sowell may not be as unequipped to analyze the science of climatology as you seem to think. Climatology uses static models to make predictions. Economists were using static models (with the exception of the Chicago school) up until.... the 70s, i think... When the Climatologists started their modeling they asked Economists to do the math because of their experience with those models. After some of them expressed that static models have no predictive usefulness, they stopped asking Economists to run their numbers. Its not out of the question that Dr. Sowell was in that group of Economist who was approached, and did not pursue it further. However, being a Chemist, i can say that Scientists are not free from bias; if history has taught us anything its that everybody (including scientists) have biases. Why else would Pasteur be so mocked by his contemporaries?
Pess Avatar
Posted: 04.18.10, 06:02 AM
this guy is great
rmerritt Avatar
Posted: 04.06.10, 09:32 AM
The idea that you cannot have healthcare without compassion is a very vacant expression. Compassion is a voluntary individual expression, much like charity. If you mandate compassion then it ceases to be compassion. It then becomes obligation or duty. One should not expect compassion from his or her doctor, insurance company, government representative, or anyone else for that matter. The health care debate is realy not complicated. It boils down to two distinct differences. One is that we should allow government to take over as a provider of healthcare or at the least be an intermediery. The other is that we should allow the individual to make his own decisions in life and live with the consequences of those decisions. Neither of these are compassionate, however the idea of living with one's own decisions gives the element of self preservation, and self interest, which allows for a more prudent decision about one's life. The government or the public will not have these same motivating factors when deciding if and when someone should recieve healthcare. Therefore your individual existence ceases to be of any consequence. The motivating factor now becomes a matter of public good and governmental survival. At that time it may be more "compassionate" for you to die then to live, because it serves the public's interests more.
CMears Avatar
Posted: 03.10.10, 02:21 PM
After having viewed several of these interviews between Sowell and others, I've found that he often does not go deep enough into his explanation of the topic. Sometimes it is due to the interviewer cutting him off to proceed to the next question, and sometimes Sowell simply pauses long enough in his thoughts that the interview proceeds without him. With this in mind, how on earth people can make these argumentative assumptions about his character and theses, based upon nothing more than a 30-minute clip, is beyond me. While I have yet to read any of his books, I get the impression that much of what people are positing here as facts are actually addressed in his literature. Perhaps that is why they do not explore them further in the interview; to get people to buy the book and read it for themselves.
phippsed Avatar
Posted: 01.28.10, 10:57 PM
If your not a conservative you probably won't like Sowell's examples of how intellectuals ruin society. I would say that doesn't matter. I have many other examples. For example the drug war. The people who advocate the drug war pay no price for their ideas. They are not the ones getting hit with stray bullets. They are not the ones whose children are threatened by drugs being sold on the black market. These people who advocate the drug war have blood all over their hands but they live in mostly nice communities and therefore do not pay the price for their hairbrained ideas.Another example is the "broken window theory" advocated by Rudy Guiliani. There is no empirical evidence that this was a success. Guiliani however benefited from a reduction in crime that was part of a national trend. The main point that Sowell was making is that people respond to incentives. If somebody is clever they can use the government to implement an idea that never would have suceeded if it was up to the common folk in the general population. Also anybody who thinks that this presentation is some sort of diatribe against intelligent people is not paying attention. Many intelligent people are acountable for the things that they say by choice or because of economic incentives. Sowell is criticizing the people that refuse to take acountability for their ideas.
PekkaPiirainen Avatar
Posted: 01.28.10, 08:02 AM
My my, this leaves me speechless. Anyone and everyone who've had any contact with the scientific method or the concept of empirical evidence will find this guy ridiculous. The whole concept of this interview, and apparently the Hoover institution, is to twist everything from historical fact to the study of nature to serve some idea of economic freedom. I wonder why he's so fast to ignore the "Rational market hypothesis" that goes against all scientific evidence and is far more a product of "intellectualism." This guy should go back to high school, and realise that the world does not revolve around some global conspiracy meant to conjure up ways to tax the rich American. Hell, this guy claims to disprove everything from climate change to the history of the Great Depression without a single piece of evidence. This interview is a faux justification for the reigning anti-intellectualism in the right wing of the United States, resulting from the utter failure of the American educational system. What did "intellectualism" ever do for us, besides the fundamentals of science(something he appears clueless on), economics (a concept his twists to serve an agenda of bashing political opponents)or psychology? Without the byproducts of scientific study, he sure as hell wouldn't be recording such a talk on the net.
Mark Sullivan Avatar
Mark Sullivan
Posted: 01.17.10, 01:06 PM
rspawn, taxpayers with insurance and meet their responsibilities in terms of paying for their insurance, meeting their co-pays are not greedy. You missed my point. The number of uninsured is just the start of the discussion. When one digs deeper, one sees that a large number of those uninsured are uninsured by choice. They have the ability to pay for medical insurance and medical care, but they have other priorities. Additionally, do you find it odd that the exact number has been used to number our uninsured - 47 million - for about a decade now? This is the number politicians use. This assumes a static nature to our citizens' economic and life situations. No cohort remains static. Additionally, are the 20+ million persons in the United States illegally counted as uninsured Americans? Who will pay for their care? Shouldn't we at least talk about this? There are very few perpetually poor people in the United States. There are very few persons without medical insurance their entire lives. The United States has the finest Medical care in the world. It is expensive because Americans and our free market system are constantly seeking out the finest of everything. Americans want the best health care. We want to be able to go to the doctor and get an MRI, CT Scan or other advanced, high tech treatment, regardless of where we live. It is expensive because the Federal Government squanders BILLIONS of our tax dollars through Medicare. Studies suggest that each year, upwards of 60 - 100 BILLION dollars are lost through fraud and waste in Medicare. Now there's a successful government program! Further involvement will lead to further waste and fraud. The Federal Government already spends 50 - 60% of the country's health care dollars and does a poor job spending them at that! It is expensive because of our respect for human life, where if an 80 year old woman needs and wants a hip or knee replacement in the United States, she gets it. In Canada or European socialist states, she is patted on the head, given some vicodin to keep her comfortable until she is no longer a fininacial burden to the system. Additionally, when a senior citizen needs extraordinary care, we provide it. We fight to keep people alive unless they say they have made their peace and wish to forego extraordinary care. This is truly expensive. Much of a person's medical expenses come near the end of their life. The Netherlands' Health system has admitted to numerous incidents of INVOLUNTARY euthanasia. An elderly person comes in with heart failure - there is no family around, they arbitraily decide to let them die. We treat our dogs better than that! It is expensive because of government mandates in health care and insurance, which I explained in my original post, which you seem to have ignored. It is expensive because all seniors get government medical care through Medicare. This should be means tested and reduced to an efficient, means-based system to help those who truly cannot afford to pay for their health care. Our values of individual liberty, personal responsibility and respect for human life have costs, but the benefits are a prosperous, innovative, creative culture and one that benefits people all over the world through their innovative spirit and generosity.
rspawn Avatar
Posted: 01.17.10, 09:11 AM
"the real greedy person is the irresponsible person who expects others to pay for his needs" Except that those 'greedy persons' pay taxes, premiums and co-pay. "We don't have a lack of medical insurance, do we?" Yes you do. US has the highest number of uninsured, the highest cost, and the least coverage of any wealthy nation.