Tuesday, 19 May 2009

The individual and society

I love my job and quite like my "adult" life-style... But it feels like my opinions about "big ideas" are becoming more simplistic as time passes; at least compared to how it felt like when I was at university. It seems that people in the "real world" don't engage in critical analyses of each other's ideas as much as "scholars" do (or at least, as much as they engage in criticizing each other's personalities). Of course, my recollection of my student years is probably skewed towards the positive. I'm sure we used to bitch at each other back then too...

In any case, here's one of those simple opinions I've been entertaining lately:
A society should be organized (and regulated) so that people are personally responsible for the choices they make and have to assume the consequences of their actions. At the same time, however, individual "accidents" should be dampened by the social safety net so that events outside one's control is not financially debilitating.

In the context of health care, for example, accidents and diseases should be covered by the state, but health conditions deriving from one's poor life choices (like smoking) should be covered by the individual. Between these two extremes could even be a gray area where a certain percentage of the cost is covered by the state depending on the statistics relating to the cause. For example rock climbing, which may seem dangerous, could be shown empirically to be much safer than smoking, which may appear harmless, and thus treated accordingly. Diseases associated with old age should be accepted as part of the natural cycle of life, and the state shouldn't subsidize individuals wanting to push the inevitable by only a few years, but instead make the final transition as comfortable as possible...
How would this position play out in other areas like education, business, ecology, the economy, etc? Why does this seem to simplistic? What am I not thinking about?

1 comment:

Ricardo said...


I don't think this is incorporating the REAL-LIFE factor of your society model. For one thing, yes, people SHOULD be held responsible for their actions, those are Laws and Penalties. regarding the health care issue, who can decide what is a Natural cause and what is a self inflicted illness? Is it up to a person to decide? That doesn't seem right. If i get lung cancer today and i admit that I smoked that one cigarette when I was 16 (which I didn't by the way), does that mean it is caused by smoking? no? Should we put tax money one having a researcher determine exactly what is and isn't caused by smoking?

Look, there are too many questions becasue there are too many people out there. And we're pretty much all just as smart so what a society REALLY is is just a bunch of people trying to get by, making huge mistakes, carrying on. And that, obviously complicates things. If there was a society of 250 people, your model would work.

On my trip I lerarned about some people having a really hard life. University education is koff-koff, something TOTALLY unatainable and they just go to work, and impress themselves by knowing a few English words and songs. they don't thinka bout the true impact of massive corporations on a small island accross the world, htey don't think about living 'truly genuinely' and 'finding themselves' and ensuring that organic tomatoes grow and are supplied to the neighbours nobodyu gives a fuck! So I've come to the conclusion that all of the above is what I've come to call "LUXURY PROBLEMS". If you live in a fantastic, offer more than you actually need, society such as we do, then yes you have time to think about the other issues such as saving the trees in Stanley Park and the recent closure of a lane on Burrard bridge so that cyclists can ride 'safely' (please). But if you don't, you shut up, get to work on time, have a beer and do it all over again. THAT is
simplistic. All is good and all is bad if you think about it hard enough, if you don't, all is good.

now for the real question: I had to have my hard drive replaced and now I'm super skeptical and paranoid whenver my mac crashes or gives a hint of crashing. During the replacement I guess some Norton files were reactivated and now every time somehting is downloaded Norton pops up saying "I can't check this file, buy me a licence and I will". Fucking annoying is what it is. SO can I just grab all the Norton files under Library and delete em all? Is there a problem if I do this?
Have fun in France!!! It is so expensive but I think it is worth the prices. Le baguette, c'est fantastique! Oui? Non. mon amis? Ah, oui, tres bien. Avec mon chien et le pomplemousse dans la vaques.