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So far as simply "learning something", anyone with a public library cards can study books on any subject they wish. Want to learn about dinosaurs? There's lot of books available about them. Computers? Again a lot of books for that. Any aspect of human knowledge can likely be found in a book. If your public library doesn't have it, and your public library is part of a state library system, you should be able to obtain books on whatever subject interests you.
The apparent purpose of colleges is to "credential" a person in a certain field of study. Most likely a good portion of what they were taught in college will have little if any value in their future occupation. The same is true of our entire educational system. To become "educated", you will need that public library card for the simple reason that the school system will only offer "one viewpoint" on things. If you want to view all possible sides to an issue, you are more likely to find that at a public library. The Internet can give you a bit of information on almost anything, but to go into detail, you will again need the public library to obtain it.
2 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://www.newrepublic.com/article/118886/money-best-college-rankings-2014-are-problematic-us-news
The licensed professions operate as "guilds" where anyone who cuts prices is "cast out". There are also parallels to labor unions where someone who is willing to cross a picket line is a "scab". The same principle applies in both cases.
4 months, 1 week ago on Private, Affordable Care for the Poor? Not in the United States of Protectionism!
Trusting the government to keep you safe doesn't seem to work that well. We have the example of the New England Compounding Pharmacy which was careless in how they handled the drugs. As for the FDA, they've allowed drugs with bad side effects to be marketed. The diabetes drug Avandia (not sure of the spelling) which caused heart attacks was allowed to stay on the market despite the fact that the Europeans pulled it off their formulary. There is a drug for arthritis that creates bad side effects and is still available. Problem is that "money talks" and the drug companies have a lot of lobbyists that can influence votes in Congress.
Government licensing of doctors doesn't protect you from bad doctors. Regular certification tests might be a better choice. We could also have various levels of providers with certification as to what they are qualified to do. The medical profession also (like the police) has a strong tendency to close ranks and conceal examples of malpractice. So it doesn't appear that government involvement has much effect. I can also say from personal experience that very few doctors will question what another doctor does. Again, the profession tends to "close ranks" against those outside the profession. Nor are they all that careful about diagnosis or even checking on the side effects of the drugs that they prescribe. Again, I have personal experience of this.
The medical profession has a lot of political power here in the USA. This is also why we end up paying 50% more for health care than those fortunate enough to live in countries with national health insurance where there is control over excessive charges. Who as a rule tend to have longer life expectancy than do Americans. Ask why it is that the Japanese have life expectancy greater than people living anywhere else, but only half of what Americans do for health care? Plus more Japanese per capita smoke cigarettes than we do!
About 80% of all antibiotics are used in the animal husbandry in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations where large numbers are crowded together and locked in stalls most of their lives. The antibiotics tend to make the animal gain weight quicker and also serve to prevent diseases from overcrowded. Then the animals are given hormones to make them gain weight. Among these are growth hormones and such which leach out from the "animal waste" and leak into streams and the water table. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has been fighting this for years, but the CAFO's are located in rural counties that vote Republican, so nothing happens. Of course with a Republican governor it isn't likely anything will be done either.
Libertarians believe in free choice for everyone. Those who want to rely upon "government" for their protection will be able to continue to do so. However it doesn't appear that government does that great a job of "protection" when you get down to it.
1 year, 10 months ago on 4 Steps You Can Take to Stop Obamacare Now
The question really comes down to one of whether or not people should be denied medicine because they can't afford to "bribe" a doctor for his or her "permission" to purchase medicine. Libertarians such as myself believe that personal freedom is the better choice than being denied the choice to take care of yourself because you can't afford the cost of doing so because government has established a monopoly. A very profitable monopoly for an organized group who has the power to deny medicine to anyone who is not willing to pay for the "permission" to be allowed to purchase medicine. The medicines sold by Walmart are just as safe as the medicine sold by any other drug store.
Basic problem is that US health care is at least 50% higher in cost than health care anywhere else. Do we enjoy longer life spans because our health care costs half again as much as what health care costs anywhere else? There is no data supporting this. As a matter of fact, the US ranks close to the bottom. Nor does the "Patient Protection, Affordable Care Act" do anything to correct this problem. At the very best, all that is being done is to offer people some financial "aid" so that they can purchase private health insurance from our quite profitable private health insurance industry. And "where" does the money come from to pay for all this? The government can either tax people to obtain the money, or run up the deficit higher than it already is. No one is willing to tell the health care industry that the real problem is a monopoly system where there is next to no control over prices and anyone can charge whatever they feel like charging because they are operating under a government enforced monopoly system that "protects" them from "competition".
Solution is simply to eliminate all laws and regulations that make health care the monopoly that it is. Without prescription laws your only cost would be the price of the drugs at Walmart. Without professional licensing there would be various levels of providers providing services according to their ability. We'd have much lower cost hospitals for those who don't need 2012 technology for their medical problems. We would also be free to use medical providers in other countries via the Internet. Our health care costs would fall by perhaps as much as a trillion dollars a year. Currently that is the difference between US health care costs and that of the rest of the developed world. Of course this will be make today's health care providers rather "unhappy" since they've gotten used to a lifestyle much higher than what most Americans enjoy. But most of the rest of us have had to accept that our incomes won't be as high as we'd like, and without prescription laws, the providers will quickly learn that most people don't need to see doctors anywhere nearly as often as the profession would like. Probably at least half of all doctor visits are only done because the doctor holds the power of access to medicine as a weapon over the rest of us. This needs to come to an end...
Repeal of prescription laws as libertarians have been advocating would be a good first step that would reduce the need for "government health care" of the sort that Obamacare now proposes to do.
What is the justification behind prescription laws? If people own themselves, then as the owner of one's self, one also has the right to maintain and improve one's property. Without prescription laws, people would be able to take care of many of their health needs without the need for a doctor. For example, to control your blood pressure and cholesterol, using medications sold at Walmart would cost you $120 a year. However, because the state does not accept the concept of self ownership, it believes that it is entitled to regulate the activities of everyone living within its borders. And that only certain licensed people (doctors) are allowed to prescribe medicine and to allow access to medical drugs. Obviously this is very profitable for doctors, whose incomes are much higher than they would be in a society where they did not enjoy the economic benefits of this government enforced monopoly. In effect we are seen as "children", unable to make decisions for ourselves regarding our health. The doctor therefore acting as an agent of the state, therefore has been given the right to deny us access to medicine except as the doctor allows. The same thing is true of the other licensed professions. They are licensed by the state to perform certain acitivities under state regulations. Everyone else must therefore seek the services of a member of these professions in order to be allowed to do certain things. Legally, a doctor can deny you a certain medication, therefore causing your death, with no legal consequences to the doctor acting as an agent of the state. His opinion on such matters overrides your own. Thus the state considers all people living within its borders as its legal property. It can extract money from people (taxes), have its agents (doctors) demand payment for "permission" to purchase life saving drugs. Under the recent Supreme Court decision the state can now tax you for failure to purchase health insurance. Under the same thinking the state could force you to purchase any item it feels you should have, regardless of your wishes in the matter. It can also prohibit you from buying medication for your own use without first obtaining "permission" from one of its groups of agents, ie doctors. In other words the doctor holds the power of life or death over you. He or she is effectively your "master" under the laws of the state. You become a criminal in the eyes of the state if you dare to purchase medicine without the "permission" of one of its "licensed agents". Note I am not talking here about narcotics, or illicit drugs in general, but common medical drugs used by tens of millions of people. Did you know that it is illegal to purchase heartworm pills for your dog without a prescription? Further proof if any is needed that we do not in any way "own" ourselves. We are "property", just like the black slaves were in the South before the Civil War. The only difference is that they had private masters, but our masters live in Washington.D.C. And we "vote" for our masters! All 535 Congress members, the President, who then vote into office the members of the Supreme Court. All of whom appear to believe that they have "ownership" rights over the rest of us! Of course all this is a TRUTH that few people outside of us Libertarians understand. If they did, most likely many would stop voting for Democrats or Republicans, and start voting for Libertarians, who are it appears the only ones who still believe in "freedom" today...
2 years, 2 months ago on Conversation @ http://www.libertarianism.org/blog/upside-freedom