“Life is tough, but it’s tougher when you’re stupid.”
Brent Pottenger (aka, Epistemocrat) served-up a great post last week about the illusion of the best-fix for the nation’s healthcare woes (writ large) being a purely individual, free-market enterprise. Now I am as free-market as any social-liberal, financial -conservative Libertarian out there; and initially, my position here may seem at odds both with what I am politically, and with what I am implying by this post’s title; it’s not, though. Let me explain. Better yet, let me expound just a bit on what Brent has already so thoroughly opined.
Now, if it’s one thing I utterly despise about politics in general (and this coming from a PoliSci major well versed in the art of debate), and of this particular issue specifically, it’s that neither the right nor the left political centers of gravity will “cave” and tell you the truth. And the truth is that the only real and lasting fix for this issue is a mix of both personal and social responsibility. Yes, you are most certainly accountable for your own health and your own heath choices. And yes, too — if we are to be a vibrant and progressive society, we are responsible (at least to some extent) to each other for those catastrophic illnesses/accidents that are (depending on your take) acts of God, or luck of the draw.
Of course, some ideas are best left to the ether-world realm of theory and debate, as the real world tends to make so much confetti of of such clean, neatly-packaged thought. And the same applies here. What to make, for example, of diabetes? Is it a preventable disease? In my opinion, yes. So should we, as a society, absorb the resultant costs of someone’s poor dietary choices? What about the 80 year old who now requires a knee replacement due to the cumulative trauma of a youth spent training for and playing rugby? What if the diabetic was not the stereotypical obese, averse-to-exercise, slovenly individual, but a former endurance athlete? What then?
I guess the truth of the matter is that, just as in many of the most important issues in life, there is no “right” answer, and we’re likely, as a nation, to tilt too far one way or the other. Personally, I try not to worry about those things I can’t affect. What I can affect, though, is the state of my own health. I’m of the notion that it’s not only a personal and societal responsibility, but a spiritual responsibility to take care of my health to the best of my ability and knowledge. And part of this responsibility is to never become stagnent — either physically or mentally. Times change and science progresses, and it’s imperative that each of us continually measure the “new” against a counter-balance of healthy skepticism in order to discern the good and useful from the dead-ends.
TTP is an extention of my “healthy skepticism”, and I hope we can all learn a little about taking care of our health through the continuing give-and-take on these pages.