Sunday, August 30, 2009

Immigrants kill patients? Or the welfare model?

Mikko Ellilä reports that "Immigrant doctors kill Finnish patients" (originally covered by Iltalehti). Patients are having problems explaining their problems to doctors because there's a language barrier now. Because of a shortage of Finnish doctors, many immigrants have been hired as doctors lately. This is causing problems, some of them life-threatening. For example, a patient was given cough medicine when he was in fact having a heart failure. According to the news piece, these problems are increasing.

But this isn't an immigration-related problem; rather, it is a fundamental flaw of the welfare model. In the absence of market-determined prices, supply and demand are prevented from adjusting to an equilibrium (market clearing) level. In a market economy a shortage of doctors should lead to an increase in their salaries which in turn should encourage more people to seek medical education.

A common argument against the free-market solution is that people cannot afford market prices. But people forget that their disposable incomes are being eroded by the welfare model. When the government takes more than 50% of the money you make, it is no wonder people feel poor.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Muslim women and burqa - not free to choose

Barack Obama in Cairo:

"it is important for Western countries to avoid impeding Muslim citizens from practising religion as they see fit - for instance, by dictating what clothes a Muslim woman should wear." (The Economist.)

The problem with this idea is that the Islamic world (including Islamic enclaves within the Western world) does not recognize the right to practise religion as individuals see fit. Rejecting Islam is punishable by death in many countries including, in practice, western countries. Burqa (the thing that covers Muslim women from top to bottom) is not something Muslim women choose to wear but something they wear because they're afraid of the consequences of not wearing it. Freedom means freedom from physical violence or the threat of it. Freedom does not mean freedom to subjugate individuals in the name of religious nonsense.

Banning the burqa (which goes against the principle of individual liberty) should be viewed as a compromise: Because the Muslim world is nowhere near mature enough, we should assume that a woman wearing a burqa is not doing so out of her own free will. If banning the burqa means that some subjugated women will simply be forced to stay at home instead of walking outside in a burqa, then this should be taken as a call for further action against Islam in the West. Banning the burqa would be a violation of individual liberties only in a world where Muslim women are truly free from other Muslims.

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Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Why naturism/nudism is not natural

Naturists/nudists often claim that their way of life is more natural, that being nude is about "returning to nature." I'm going to show that this isn't the case, that the so-called naturists are in fact acting in a way that's fundamentally against nature or, more specifically, against man's place in nature.

One reason why many perceive nakedness as natural is because, well, if nature (or some supernatural being) had "wanted" humans to wear something, we'd all be covered in fur. But this isn't so: the only reason why we never evolved fur is precisely because we were able to manufacture and wear clothes. Had we not had this ability - the ability to use tools according to our relatively superior mental capabilities - we'd have needed fur to survive, at least in this environment. We were never meant to walk around naked. Our ability to make things compensates for our deficiencies such as our weak physical strength or agility. We adapt by thinking.

In other words, had there existed "naturists" in these latitudes a few thousands years ago, they'd have simply died out. So much for being natural! Another ironic feature of modern Western naturism is that it's been made possible by technology. Heating, among other things, makes it possible for people to walk around naked in their homes.

I really don't care if people choose to make themselves look ridiculous by adopting a naturist lifestyle, but some people drag their children into it and that's what bothers me. Of course they argue that there's nothing sexual about their perversion, but this is just wishful thinking. Their children, teenage girls most worryingly, are exposed to lustful eyes.

There are of course other, more social arguments against naturism while the above dealt with biological aspects. Also, different environments favor different traits, which means that there are environments where wearing clothes is a disadvantage.