I enjoy reading. My wife thinks it is odd that at any given time, I will be reading 3-5 books at the same time. The majority of the time these are read from cover to cover, while occasionally I will make it at least half way before I get bored and get rid of the book. The majority of my reading comes from four main categories: 1.) Medicine (mostly nutrition, and complementary medicine, but I have been known to read old text books for fun (fun?), 2.) History/Biographies (mostly military and baseball realated), 3.) Personal Development/Business (who doesn’t want to be more organized, make more money, and run a more effective business), and 4.) Fantasy (you may not have ever heard of these people, but authors I like include Brandon Sanderson, Jim Butcher, Nat Russo, and Patrick Rothfuss).
It just so happens that I stumbled across the book, The 5000 Year Leap. I really enjoyed it from a standpoint that it seemed to resonate well with my personal political, and religious beliefs. I am a big fan of personal responsibility, and the individual looking out for himself, his family, and his community. It may seem odd that I chose to review a political book about our founding fathers, their thought process behind why we have the constitution, and the checks and balances of our national government as a blog post for our office website, but the information within the book made me ponder over the current health care system, how it was implemented, and the trend of government’s intervention among healthcare.
Before deviating to far from the book, a quick summary may be needed. The author, W. Cleon Skousen, makes the claim that Founding Fathers of the United States used 28 fundamental beliefs to create a society based on morality, faith, and ethics. It is Skousens belief that these principles resulted in more progress having been achieved in the last 200 years than in the previous 5,000 years of every other civilization combined, hence the name, The 5000 Year Leap. The 28 principles that he lists include:
- The only reliable basis for sound government and just human relations is natural law.
- A free people cannot survive under a republican constitution unless they remain virtuous and morally strong.
- The most promising method of securing a virtuous and a morally stable people is to elect virtuous leaders.
- Without religion the government of a free people cannot be maintained.
- All things were created by God, therefore upon Him all mankind are equally dependent, and to Him they are equally responsible.
- All men are created equal.
- The proper role of government is to protect inalienable rights of all individuals equally.
- Men are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights.
- To protect man’s rights, God has revealed certain principles of divine law.
- The God-given right to govern is vested in the sovereign authority of the whole people.
- The people may alter or abolish a government that has become tyrannical.
- The United States shall be a republic.
- A constitution should be structured to permanently protect the people from the human frailties of their rulers.
- Life and liberty is secure so long as the right to property is secure.
- The highest level of prosperity occurs when there is a free market economy and minimum of government regulations.
- The government should be separated into three branches—legislative, executive and judicial.
- A system of checks and balances should be adopted to prevent the abuse of power.
- The unalienable rights of the people are most likely to be preserved if the principles of government are set forth in a written constitution.
- Only limited and carefully defined powers should be delegated to the government, all others being retained by the people.
- Efficiency and dispatch require government to operate according to the will of the majority, but constitutional provisions must be made to protect the rights of the minority.
- Strong local self-government is the keystone to preserving human freedom.
- A free people should be governed by law and not by the whims of man.
- A free society cannot survive as a republic without a broad program of general education.
- A free people will not survive unless they remain strong.
- Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations—entangling alliances with none.
- The core unit that determines the strength of any society is the family; therefore, the government should foster and protect its integrity.
- The burden of debt is as destructive to freedom as subjugation by conquest.
- The United States has a manifest destiny to be an example and a blessing to the entire human race.
So once again, what does this topic of the founding fathers, and their frequent reference to virtue, rights, God, and freedom have to do with anything that I normally share on the blog? Personal choice is a personal liberty that we often relinquish for the “good” of society, either because of our own doing, or because someone else feels that their position of authority gives them the oportunity to remove our personal choice for our own safety.
For example, let’s pretend that you are a parent, and your daughter is having multiple health problems. You take an ambulance to the hospital, but your normal doctor is not able to treat your daughter as was originally intended. The new doctors decide they want to alter the treatment methods, and you disagree with their decision. You attempt to discharge your daughter from the hospital, in order to take her to receive treatment in a different location, but the hospital will not allow it. The disagreements between you and the hospital escalate, and you find your daughter is taken from you by protective services due to “medical child abuse” that stemmed from you the parent, and the doctor that you wanted to treat her, disagreeing with the new doctor(s) and hospital about the correct treatment for your daughter. Due to the child custody battle, you now have to seek permission from a judge to visit your daughter in the hospital, and the days turn to weeks, which lead to months of you being the “bad guy” for medical child abuse.
This is a scary example of the current state of healthcare, it the worst thing is, it is not a fabricated event. The Boston Globe reported this exact story (with much greater detail) in December 2013. Is this a scenario of the parents doing the wrong thing? Was the hospital in error for doing what they thought was right? Both parties felt they were doing the best thing for the patient, yet personal choice, and personal liberty to decide the appropriate medical care was removed from the equation.
With new mandates from The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and the regulations of third party payer systems such as major medical insurance and Medicare, personal responsibility for maintaining our health is being pushed to the back burner. As an individual, you should be able to make the appropriate decision for yourself, and your family when it comes to your health, and the health of your family.
Some topics of potential infringements on personal rights, and personal decision making include the following:
- Should immunizations be mandatory for your children, and yourself?
- Do you have the right to know what is in your food, and should companies be required to label everything that they put in it (ie: GMOs, additives, etc)?
- Are you the decision maker for your families health, that decides which doctor you will see, and which form of treatment you will receive?
- Should “end of life” discussions be mandated, or enforced for the elderly, or those with chronic conditions?
- Medical marijuana?
The list goes on and on.. Who should make the decisions, and ultimately who’s responsibility is it to ensure that we maintain the personal rights that the founding fathers worked into our Constitution. The 5000 Year Leap was an eye opening book, that made me think a lot about government’s role in healthcare, and our personal responsibility to protect ourselves and our families.