The Pagan Community Reacts to SCOTUS Decision on the Affordable Care Act

The Pagan Community Reacts to SCOTUS Decision on the Affordable Care Act July 2, 2012

Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the constitutionality of the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act, a law that overhauls America’s health care system over the next decade, and includes a controversial health insurance mandate. While universal coverage is the norm in the majority of industrialized countries, here, we’ve created a hodge-podge predominantly market-driven system that all-too-often places profits and savings above the health of its citizens. Consequently, while access to health care is often an assumed given in countries like Britain, France, or Canada, here, it has become a decades-long moral and ethical struggle. Like all moral and ethical struggles, religious leaders and groups have taken various stands on access to health care, and on this law in particular. Once the decision came down that the law would survive, at least for now, Catholics, Evangelicals, Protestants, Jews, and large religious coalitions, all weighed in with their opinion. But what about our faith community, does our diverse movement speak with one voice on this issue? What do Pagans think about access to health care, and health care reform, in the United States?

President Obama signs the Affordable Care Act into law.

Many of the leaders and prominent individuals within the modern Pagan movement I surveyed were happy that the Affordable Care Act was upheld, often with the caveat that they would prefer a single-payer system, as found in many European nations. Starhawk, co-founder of Reclaiming, and author of “The Empowerment Manual,” expressed that the ACA “is definitely an improvement over the callous and greed-ridden system we’ve got.” T. Thorn Coyle, co-founder of Solar Cross Temple, noted that “we currently live with such extreme social inequity that something like ACA does not go far enough. As long as the richest 10% of U.S. citizens control two-thirds of the wealth in the country, universal healthcare is a far better answer.” Perhaps the most succinct expression of this line of thought came from Phaedra Bonewits, a former board member of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans, and widow of the popular Druid author and thinker Isaac Bonewits, who said that although she was happy with the decision, “I still wish it wasn’t about health insurance. I don’t believe we need universal health insurance, I believe we need universal health care.”

“Healthcare delivery in the USA needs to be simplified, more holistic, and more user friendly. More mental health services need to be covered as well as effective alternative therapies. There needs to be good quality, affordable healthcare for all. I hope the Affordable Care Act will help move the reform process forward but realize that it is not a panacea.”Selena Fox, Circle Sanctuary

Digging deeper, what do modern Pagan faiths believe their religions teach them about heath care, and enshrining an affordable right to it? Often, there’s been a lazy slur that pre-Christian faiths, and their modern counterparts, have no conception of charity, or larger sense of obligation to their community. The most famous expression of this erroneous belief in recent history perhaps came from Jim Towey, director of the White House Office of Faith-Based & Community Initiatives under President Bush, who intimated disbelief that there was a Pagan group that cared for the poor, and that only “loving hearts” were drawn to such causes. Towey later walked back those comments, but they were emblematic of a belief that Judeo-Christian traditions were somehow unique in their concern for the less fortunate. The truth is that a significant number of Pagans I polled couched their support for the ACA within the context of their spiritual beliefs. For example, Cat Chapin-Bishop, a Pagan who also participates in Quaker spirituality, sees “a dense and complicated web of obligations and services” inherent in many forms of Paganism, and that “gods favor the generous. And a just society, in Pagan terms, absolutely does have the right to require us to be generous. To an observant Pagan, hospitality is mandatory, not optional.” Turning to Starhawk, she notes that Witchcraft traditions, which are centered in the belief of wise women and cunning men, healers, should “have a special interest in assuring access to health care for all.”

Starhawk at Occupy Santa Cruz. Photo by Matt Fitt, Santa Cruz IMC.

“I believe the core value in Pagan ethics is the understanding that we are interconnected and interdependent. On that basis, health care is an important right and everyone should have access to it. My personal health is not separate from your well-being. Health is partly a matter of personal responsibility, but all of us are subject to forces beyond our control. If we suffer illness or injury or sheer bad luck, we shouldn’t be left alone to suffer the consequences unaided. We live in a more and more toxic environment, and the constant assaults on our health from pollutants and radiation and the degradation of our food supply are our collective responsibility. No one should be left alone to bear the consequences of our collective failure to protect the life-support systems around us. Rather, it is to all of our benefit to share a public responsibility for our mutual well being, because every single one of us, at some point in life, will need that help. No one gets through life unscathed, and in the end we die. If we truly accept death as part of life, with its attendant break-downs of the body and the many sorts of mischance that befall us along the way, then we do well to offer one another solidarity and succor.”Starhawk

Further, T. Thorn Coyle shared that “as a Pagan, compassion, generosity, and honor are very important to me. I want to build culture that strengthens us, but acknowledge that we need a minimum level of care built in to our social structures so that each person can contribute her best.” Christopher Penczak, co-founder of the Temple of Witchcraft, while acknowledging that there is no singular Pagan viewpoint on this issue, seemed to support this ethos of obligation and support laid out by the others, noting that his temple “looked into the possibility of purchasing a group health insurance plan for various members of the Temple of Witchcraft who expressed need.”

While a number of Pagans are vocally supportive of the ACA, there are voices of concern and dissent from this view. Since Paganism is a movement, an umbrella term for a number of distinct faiths, there is no total consensus on this issue. Some, like Lady Yeshe Rabbit, head of the Bloodroot Honey Tribe, expressed support for the aid the new law will give to the underserved, while admitting she remains “wary of anything that potentially gives the federal government more authority over my physical body, especially with the current alarming trend toward limitation of information and quality care around reproductive freedom for women that we are seeing at state and local levels.” Lady Miraselena, a Wiccan Priestess within the Temple of the Rising Phoenix in Atlanta, also supported some of the law’s provisions, while rejecting the individual mandate as a “very dangerous precedent.”

“The more power we give to one institution, the government or otherwise, the more we sacrifice our own freedom. Pagan spirituality is about journeying along a difficult personal path with both triumphs and failures. Pagan spirituality removes that single dogmatic entity; freeing us from the shackles that seek to confine us with the promise of protection. Pagan spirituality gives us the right to soar as high as we are willing to work and to fall as low as we might. Without that spiritual incentive, we are just plodding through life without really living; without the creativity of existence. For me, this wisdom informs everything.”Lady Miraselena

Perhaps most the notable Pagan opposition to the Affordable Care Acts comes from Republican congressional candidate and New York City Councilman Dan Halloran, a Theodish Heathen, who blasted the ruling saying it has given the government “the last thing they need – encouragement to add more laws, taxes and rules that make health care so expensive in the first place.”

One source I spoke to for this piece, Dr. Barbara A. McGraw, a lawyer and academic scholar who writes on the American founding, disputes the idea that the ACA and the mandate in particular is oppressive or anti-liberty, asserting that “making healthcare available to everyone, even with a supposedly freedom-limiting insurance mandate, is more conducive to the American founders’ ideal of liberty for all than a health care system run by an unrestrained insurance industry in a Darwinian “free-for-all” healthcare market that results in domination by a few at the expense of the many and people dying because of lack of care.” Still, even with those Pagans who had reservations, or idealogical/theological problems with the new law, their opposition was for the most part distinctly qualified. Their opposition mainly couched within a libertarian “high-choice” ethos, rather than from a standard partisan position, often supporting some of the most popular sections of the new law.

Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary

Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary, striking a balance between the different positions on this new law, says that “regardless of what one’s viewpoints are on the Affordable Care Act, it is my hope that we all can find ways to innovate, communicate, and collaborate on bringing about a better healthcare system in this country.” All of the Pagans I spoke to expressed a desire for a better health care system, though there may have been disagreement on how exactly to bring that about. It is asking the question posed to us by Thorn Coyle: “What do we really value and how are these values reflected in the society we have built?” It’s clear that a great number of Pagans value a system where health care is accessible and affordable, and that we care not only about our fellow Pagans, but about the health of our fellow human beings, and the interconnected web of life on this planet. It is also clear that Pagans have a voice in the larger debates over health care, a unique and important perspective that should not be lost when society or the mainstream media searches for religious perspectives.

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  • Fascinating article, Jason; however, it gives short shrift to the views of the “Right” wing of the Pagan/Heathen/Polytheist movement. I personally know of a prominent Pagan (ask me off-list if you want to know whom) who is pretty much livid with rage over the decision on ACA. This person is a very active Pagan but is feeling (I’m imputing from private conversations here) increasingly pushed out of the Pagan fold on account of hisr political views, which are largely Tea-Party-esque. I didn’t see much acknowledgement that some Pagans straight up follow the Republican/Tea Party line. (Dan Halloran being a token exception.)

    My personal view is that while I’d prefer single-payer to the ACA, having recently become uninsured due to finances (I simply couldn’t afford $1050 a month for a catastrophic health plan any more) I’ll be thrilled to have actual, you know, *affordable* insurance. (I estimate at my income we’ll be asked to pay around $500 a month under ACA.) So I was thrilled with the SCOTUS decision upholding ACA.

    My point is to question whether the article (however well-researched and written) doesn’t set up an inaccurate impression: that the fractious, radically divergent, and increasingly heterogeneous movement of which we are a part can be said to have a unified position on an explicitly political topic like this.

    In no way do I wish to suggest that individual Pagans/Heathens/Witches/Polytheists can’t have their own personal stances on ACA and similar topics; and, of course, denominations/traditions can create coherent stances based on their own group’s decision-making process. But I wonder whether listing the views of a number of (admittedly, influential) Pagan leaders without doing any kind of polling doesn’t have a tendency to conflate the views of a few with those of the movement as a whole.

    Most sincerely and respectfully yours.

    Anne Newkirk Niven

  • In a poll conducted during the 2008 elections, 73.6% of Pagans said they would vote for Barack Obama. By contrast, only 10.6% voted Republican. The overwhelming number of Pagans I’ve interacted with support the measures within the Affordable Care Act, with the caveats given. That said, I have included the view of a Tea Party Pagan, Dan Halloran, and voices who had misgivings with the law. 

    Nowhere have I said Pagans have a “unified” view of health care reform in this piece, indeed I have pointed out repeatedly that we are a diverse movement, and included voices that disagree with the Affordable Care Act. 

    One wonders; how many anti-voices would I need to include to be “balanced” in your mind? I for one, think the mainstream press is wrong to present all issues as equally balanced when they are not. The simple fact is that a majority of Pagans lean to the left, this has never been a secret, and it would be misleading for me to imply that anti-ACA views were statistically on par with those in favor. 

  • I absolutely disagree with  health insurance or health care mandated by the government. Who are any of we to make a decision for *anyone*?  Seems quite arrogant and rather presumptive.

    I sometimes wonder if the Pagan community has lost sight of the ethic “an harm ye none.” No matter how strenuously some of our pagan friends on the left may disagree, the fact is that government is force. That means, it is not a system of voluntaryism. everything it does derives from the use of force. You think people should have access to healthcare? So do I. However, I morally cannot force anyone to pay into a system for themselves or others. This is a country of 350 million people. I cannot begin to even imagine the amount of diversity and human circumstances which exists within the United States. Most of us do not even know our neighbors, much less people across the country. How can we realistically make decisions for complete strangers? How can politicians know what is in our so-called “best interests” when they barely know their own constituents — and those who they do associate with are other politicians and generous campaign donors. If we take the ethic of “an harm ye none” seriously, it is imperative we look beyond our own self-righteous and (sometimes) greedy mindsets, step back, and allow people to make their own free choices, whether we agree with those choices or not. We do not know how any particular tax or regulation will affect total strangers. I know people who, if their income tax was a little bit lower, could have saved their homes from foreclosure. Could I morally demand a raise in income taxes knowing people could realistically lose their homes? Could I morally demand that tax be raised if the unintended consequence could result in another negative impact? No on both counts.

    It may seem like great fun to play “if I was ruler for a day” and say “if there was only a law/tax/regulation, everything would be better.” You know what? If that line of reasoning was rational, we would not be constantly bombarded with calls to reform this, that, or the other for the umpteenth time. Don’t you think “they” would have gotten it right the first, second, third or tenth time? Do not place your faith in the hands of rulers, do not be so arrogant as to assume you know what is right for total strangers, and above all, do not use the force of government to victimize one person for the benefit of yourself. You want access to health care for all? Volunteer, Donate, do whatever you peacefully and consensually can out of your own heart and soul to benefit others. It’s more meaningful and the impact is more direct than waiting on elections or bills to be passed. Remove corporate privilege and take politics out of health care. Our lives are too important to leave to people like Mitt Romney and Barak Obama.

  •  And which poll is this? Verifiable source please.

  • Howling Hill

    I tweeted this on July 1: Of course John Roberts ruled for #ACA. He believes corporations are people so he wants insurance companies to stay fat cats. #singlepayer

    The ACA is a typical Centrist bill: designed to satisfy the middle. But lets be clear: this bill puts more money into the pockets of insurance companies and their CEOs. It requires everyone to purchase insurance. So the insurance I can purchase will be much different than what Bill Gates can afford to purchase. Services delivered by hospitals will be decided by insurance companies not by doctors and patients and still be based on the wealth (or lack there of) of the patient.  There will still be huge decrepancies in the healthcare provided. The wealthy will have more access, more services. The poor will still have diminished services, if any at all. The biggest kick in the face is those who cannot purchase health insurance will be taxed. So the poor are being punished for being poor.

    Just recently I spoke to a member of the Temple of Witchcraft about the ACA. It was before the ruling had been announced. She hoped it would not pass because she felt the quality of care would diminish because the government would be micromanaging the care delivered. I countered with “the worst healthcare is not being able to access because you lack money”. She shrugged her shoulders in apathy.  I was disappointed a Pagan healthcare provider was more interested in denying Americans the right to care but I wasn’t surprised. Her attitude is what I’ve come to expect of those who work in the system, Pagan or otherwise.

    What appalls me the most is the vast majority of healthcare providers —
    from doctors to occupational therapy assistants — who do not support
    single payer.  Too many times I listened to a doctor, nurse, nursing
    assistant, respiratory therapist, dietary aide, birthing assistant, whomever lambast single
    payer. The belief that healthcare is a privileged is based racism and classism of the provider and of the system. For almost
    two decades I worked in the system and such racist, classist remarks are what drove me out of the industrial medical system. In
    the nearly 20 years I worked in  healthcare I came across only a few who
    believed in single payer but none of those few worked politically to guarantee all Americans access to affordable, quality healthcare regardless of health status, marital status, employment status, or religion.
    Rather, they believed in their heart healthcare is a right but never
    really voiced that opinion because of fear of reprisal.

    Will the US live up to constitutional values of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”? Not in my lifetime. I don’t think I’ll live to see single payer. And that’s one sad statement.

  • Just like with higher education, governmental interference can only result in worsening standards and inflated costs. The very notion that a group of people can vote to coerce someone to buy something they may not want is totalitarian and unwise. 

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    “If we take the ethic of “an harm ye none” seriously[…]”

    I do, and it leads me first to support of the liberal state, using the classical rather than the political meaning of “liberal.” Part of the deal is that one is safer than in the state of nature. Another part (the “liberal” part) is that one is safer from the government of the state than one would be without it. Your interpretation of “an ye harm none” has a great deal of focus on the latter but seems to ignore the former.

    We have a state. It’s incredibly pollyannaish to assume that the people who invented this state got it perfectly the first time. Hel, they modified their own first effort when they wrote the Constitution; remember the Articles of Confederation? And they wound up including a right of “petition for redress of grievances,” a tacit (if somewhat forced) admission that their work product was not perfect. Reform is not the enemy of the system, it’s part of the system.

    IMHO if we take the ethic of “an harm ye none” seriously we don’t vote Republican. But that’s me. I don’t extend that to “Friends don’t let friends vote Republican.” I know the difference; I hope you can see it too.

    Starhawk’s quoted excerpt pretty much sums it up for me as a Pagan. Well, she’s a mature lefty Pagan and I’m a mature lefty Pagan, so there you are.

    Blessed be.

  • What are you referring to?

  • Nicre

    Eventually, those who choose not to buy insurance will need health care. What if they can’t pay for it? Should we tell them to curl up and die?   It would seem to me that if everyone is not “forced” to buy insurance
    that those of us who do (and who pay taxes) are then forced to pay for
    the health services, emergency room visits, etc, of those who do not have insurance.

  • Aine

     “I sometimes wonder if the Pagan community has lost sight of the ethic “an harm ye none.””

    That is a /Wiccan/ ethic, not a pan-Pagan one.

  • Actually, the Rede is not “An ye harm none”. Even the shortened version “An it harm none” is misleading. It is “An it harm none, do what ye will”, which means, more or less, if a contemplated action will result in no harm, you are free to act with liberty. If, on the other hand, it might cause harm, it’s usually best to act in the fashion which causes the least harm. 

    There is NOTHING (or at least very little) that we can do that will result in no harm to anyone or any thing. But we must consider what is best for all, and try to act in that manner.

    With health care, some of us may disagree, but the truth is that we have millions of people with no insurance, and a number of people in this country who would not mind seeing such as these die when they are sick.

    The hands of our hospitals are tied – they must treat all comers, and that means that ALL of us who do have insurance, or who are self-paying, are paying for those who cannot afford care – and paying a great deal more than we would if these people were able to have regular care. It costs a whole lot less for an annual physical and blood pressure medications than it does to treat a stroke.

    As a transgendered Pagan and a veteran, as a person with a disability, I’ve seen NOTHING on the right that I can support. There was a time when I leaned conservative – but that was prior to the moral majority hijacking the Republican party. For a time, I considered libertarianism, but that has failed as well. Civil rights are too important to vote on because the majority will always supplant the minorities. The politics of fear are too powerful – look at what happens with equal access bills, designed to allow transgendered people the simple right of using a bathroom without fear.

    The unfortunate truth is that we, as people, need some form of structure, some form of government. How much is appropriate is the question. Is it too big now? In some areas, maybe, in others, it may be too small. And that’s a question that voters are asked each and every year. But with all the fighting, all the territory staked out, all the arguments and acrimony, it doesn’t get answered.I’m happy for this health care law – it will give me the opportunity to get my business off the ground and to hopefully get off disability. I’ll be able to afford my own insurance. That’s not a bad thing.

  •  That polling would have been perfect to include in the article and would have provided the kind of substance I was looking for. Thanks for including it here. (Citation, please?)

    The question isn’t just a matter of “fair and balanced” — it’s sociologically significant if our movement (as you state above) leans Left. We only need to look at how Christianity came to be associated with the Right in the last quarter of the 20th century to see the results of publicly “marrying” a religious movement to a specific political idealogy. How many people (especially younger generations who don’t remember, say, the leadership of mainstream Protestant clergy in the Civil Rights movement) hear “Christian” today and mentally correlate to “Right-Wing Republican wing-nut?” If the public face of our movement becomes associated with progressive liberalism, is that a Good Thing or a bad one? Or does it really matter?

    What this brings up is the question of whether  Paganism a Big Tent, politically-speaking. I have posited elsewhere* that much of the chasm between the Heathen/reconstructionist polytheisms and “mainstream” Paganism is based on an honest disagreement over values, a gulf nicely summed up by the wildly divergent reactions to the ACA.

    I’d love to know if the poll you’ve cited above included members of these burgeoning movements, or if it was confined to the Wiccan/Neo-Pagan mainstream. That could make a HUGE difference.

    In any case, I am sorry if my first post appeared confrontational or accusatory. I am a huge fan of you and your work; sometimes my Libra-activated demand for “exact balance” gets the better of me.

    *Editorial: “Heathenism, a Return to Tribal Religion,” W&P #24.

  • So? You’re still forced, regardless if a person has insurance or not. At least allow people the dignity to choose how to live their own lives.

  •  Not necessarily. I’ve seen it widely adopted outside of the Wiccan community. Of course, that’s my own experience. YMMV.

  • Here’s some hard data:

    The Witchvox/Wild Hunt joint 2008 presidential poll:

    To back that up, 2008 exit polling show that Obama won 73% of those who listed their religion as “other” and 75% of the “nones.”

    Bonus: Eclectic Pagans are now the majority in our community. Second biggest is Wicca, at 38%.

  • “There is NOTHING (or at least very little) that we can do that will
    result in no harm to anyone or any thing. But we must consider what is
    best for all, and try to act in that manner.”

    I do not know what is best for all. Therefore, I refuse to invoke the force of the state to impose my will on any peaceful individual, especially on complete strangers.

    “The unfortunate truth is that we, as people, need some form of structure, some form of government.”

    Why is it unfortunate? If it is unfortunate to have some over-reaching organization such as “the government”, then should we not consider and implement better alternatives that suit us as individuals and voluntary communities best?

  • Everyone wants health care when they need it and everyone pays for it one way or another.

    Remember: There Is No Such Thing As A Free Trip To The Emergency Room For Someone With No Health Insurance.

  •  Thanks for the data, Jason.

  •  You obviously define “classical liberal” much differently than I do. Classical liberalism promulgates the ideals of limited government and individual liberty. The argument you make for this health care plan fails both criteria of classical liberalism. Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek would most certainly oppose what’s popularly known as “Obamacare”.

    It’s not Pollyannish at all. It is merely to demonstrate that politics is a highly imperfect process. You want universal health care or what’s been passed already? The possibility exists that the right wing (of which I am NOT a part of) will be energized and sweep the legislature and White House in November, therefore being in a prime position to repeal Obamacare. You put your faith in the whims of government and the security you so hope for is automatically up for repeal or “reform” on a constant basis. In the meantime, who REALLY benefits? The politicians and those who hold positions of privilege. It’s a protection racket that too many people have fallen for — hook, line, and sinker.

    In the meantime, people such as myself who practice alternative healing and live our lives aimed at a healthy mind, body, and spirit are on the hook for something we largely do not need. I practice nonviolence and attempt as much as possible to live a life of mutual consent. Now I will be forced to participate in a system that further perpetuates the cycle of coercion I oppose.

  •  It was already addressed in your response above. Thanks.

  • As Ron Paul explained during the debates, people without health insurance are not simply allowed to die under the current system. But Dr. Paul failed to follow through on that logic, and to further explain that we are all right now under the current system paying for the health care that is already provided to the uninsured.

  • Cara

    If people took a closer look at the ADA ruling, the Left wouldn’t be smiling and the Right wouldn’t be so upset.  Judge Roberts, who is a firm Federalist, is a sneaky, sneaky, sneaky brilliant man.  But I’ll get back to that in a moment.

    Anne’s questioning if Pagan = Progressive politics and the short answer (from my viewpoint) is that many Pagans would like that to be so.  The even shorter answer to that question is yes.

    Second – I have as much respect and support for the idea that we should trade liberty for health insurance as I do for trading liberty for security.  It’s the same and works out the same.  Poorly.  Perhaps we could combine the two?  The TSA can now do health screenings with their handy latex gloves and use the scanners to look for explosives AND tumors.  
    Third – if these were Christian bloggers quoted talking abortion being a sin and it should be illegal we (as a Pagan community) would be trashing them for legislating their religious beliefs onto others.  Correct?  But when we do it, it’s OK.  I’m not knocking Jason or the bloggers, many of whom I greatly respect.  Just throwing that out there for us to think of.  It’s a fine line when we talk of how our religion affects our political views, and it does – and we cross over (pun intended) into legislating our religious views.  Or is there really a difference?OK – back to why people on the Right should dry their tears and those on the Left should sober up a bit.  Congress, and the Executive branch, have spent the last 50 years growing their area of power and control through the Commerce Clause.  The past 5 years SCOTUS has been pushing back at this expansion and encroachment, but lightly.  In this ruling, Roberts cut that whole area off. The Commerce Clause is no longer everyone’s favorite prom date.It also came down heavy in favor of State’s rights.  I can’t think of another ruling in the last 70 years that spelled out more clearly that there are real and clear limits to what the Federal government can do to the State.  In Obamacare, there was a provision that if States didn’t expand Medicare, the Feds would take away all federal funding for Medicare to the State.  7-2 the justices said the Feds don’t have the power to do this.  Removing funding has been a sledgehammer the Federal government has used for decades to force states to comply with their dictates.  No more.

    There’s more.  Much more.  And when the dust settles, and more SCOTUS decisions on important issues come rolling down the pipe in the next 2 years, this was only a win for Obama and Liberals in the very, very short-term.  Because Obama and the Left got what they wanted on Obamacare, they are going to have to suck it up and pretend it’s a real victory instead of the Trojan Horse it really is.

    Bonus – opponents of the Individual Mandate get another bite at the apple in 2014, when the tax comes into effect.  The ruling by Roberts says that Congress has taxing authority and this is a tax.  But taxes can’t be adjudicated until someone PAYS the tax. Plus, SCOTUS likes to delay making decisions whenever they can on political issues if a political remedy is possible.  There is an election coming up…..

  • Here is what that old socialist Teddy Roosevelt had to say on the subject:

    The supreme duty of the Nation is the conservation of human resources
    through an enlightened measure of social and industrial justice. We
    pledge ourselves to work unceasingly in State and Nation for:

    legislation looking to the prevention of industrial accidents,
    occupational diseases, overwork, involuntary unemployment, and other
    injurious effects incident to modern industry;

    The fixing of
    minimum safety and health standards for the various occupations, and the
    exercise of the public authority of State and Nation, including the
    Federal Control over interstate commerce, and the taxing power, to
    maintain such standards;

    The prohibition of child labor;

    Minimum wage standards for working women, to provide a “living wage” in all industrial occupations;

    The general prohibition of night work for women and the establishment of an eight hour day for women and young persons;

    One day’s rest in seven for all wage workers;

    The eight hour day in continuous twenty-four hour industries;

    abolition of the convict contract labor system; substituting a system
    of prison production for governmental consumption only; and the
    application of prisoners’ earnings to the support of their dependent

    Publicity as to wages, hours and conditions of labor;
    full reports upon industrial accidents and diseases, and the opening to
    public inspection of all tallies, weights, measures and check systems on
    labor products;

    Standards of compensation for death by
    industrial accident and injury and trade disease which will transfer the
    burden of lost earnings from the families of working people to the
    industry, and thus to the community;

    protection of home life against the hazards of sickness, irregular
    employment and old age through the adoption of a system of social
    insurance adapted to American use.

  •  TANSTAAFL. There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch (Robert Heinlein: The Moon Is A harsh Mistress)

    I think we can all agree that noting is ever truly free. Somewhere along the line, someone has to pay. I think we can all agree that health care is important and we would like to see greater access to it. My concern is the method by which this issue is addressed: by coercion or peaceful means.

  • AshleyLynphoto


  • PaganND

    I don’t think it’s true that healthcare providers, in the main, oppose the ACA. MANY healthcare providers I know of lean very much towards single payer. 

    Also, people who do not purchase insurance are exempt from the tax if premiums would run more than 8% of their income, even with subsidies. 

  •  “The supreme duty of the Nation is the conservation of human resources…”

    Well, gee. That just about sums it up, doesn’t it? We’re no longer human beings. We’re now human RESOURCES.

  • Cara

    That’s actually from the Progressive Party Platform of August 1912 – although Teddy was the first Presidential candidate for the Progressive Party.  He lost to Wilson in that election.

  • BryonMorrigan

    As usual, I see a lot of incorrect usage of political terminology going on around here…  Here is the breakdown of the terms as they are (correctly) applied to American politics*.

    If you are fiscally right-wing (“small gov’t,” low taxes, less regulation, pro-“free trade,” etc.), and socially right-wing (anti-gay, pro-Christian, anti-abortion, anti-drug legalization, etc.), then you are a CONSERVATIVE.  (Fiscal Libertarian/Social Authoritarian)**

    If you are fiscally left-wing (pro-environmental regulation, pro-trade regulation, socialized medicine/Obamacare, pro-welfare/Social Security/etc.), and socially left-wing (LGBT rights, separation of church and state, religious equality, gender equality, etc.), then you are a LIBERAL.  (Fiscal Authoritarian/Social Libertarian)**

    If you are fiscally right-wing, and socially left-wing, then you are a LIBERTARIAN.  (Fiscal Libertarian, Social Libertarian)

    If you are fiscally left-wing, and socially right-wing, then you are a FASCIST.  (Fiscal Authoritarian, Social Authoritarian)***


    *In many other countries, for example, “Liberal” can denote someone who is “Libertarian” or “Conservative” under the American definitions.

    **There are a few issues that go outside the general paradigm of the Libertarian/Authoritarian model, such as “gun rights,” which is championed by Conservatives and Libertarians (and Fascists, historically…for some odd reason), and opposed by Liberals, and “drug legalization,” which is championed by Libertarians, but avoided by most Liberals, and opposed by Conservatives.

    ***However, most scholars consider Fascists to be primarily right-wing, as their most “important” policies (dealing with race and social issues) are far-right.  (i.e., When one thinks of Nazi policies, their economic policies aren’t the first things to usually come to mind…)

  • I need fertility treatments and this isn’t going to help me. Since it doesn’t take effect until 2014 I’ll be to old for most doctors to consider treating me. We’ll be paying for something I’ll never use. However, if I did have it now then the hospital would allow me to set up a payment for my tests and treatments. Since I don’t have any now, because my employer doesn’t offer it, I can’t even set up payment plans and have to pay in full upfront for everything. 

  • PaganND

    I myself felt that we needed single-payer healthcare…..but also that the medical system needed reforming. quite heavily! The current system is geared too heavily towards recompensing medical procedures (e.g. amputations) and not enough towards recompensing healthcare that helps support health (e.g. nutritional counseling for diabetics.. or better yet, to prevent diabetes.) It doesn’t tend to include alternative practitioners and practices, though there is language in the ACA that starts blowing through that barrier. That having been said, the ACA is not perfect, but it is a start. 

    I do have concerns about being asked to purchase insurance from private organizations which are not highly regulated. Being told I have to carry insurance, or have universal coverage, is not the problem for me. It’s having to support companies that have put profit ahead of care that I am worried about. They had better have their fees highly regulated! I also understand the concerns of those who are worried that this may end up dictating how they practice, and who worry about being able to find healthcare that does not meet “government approval.”  Nevertheless, I support the ACA. Too many people cannot afford basic care. And, like Starhawk said, even a healthy lifestyle does not guarantee that someone will not eventually need medical care. (At some point, we all do. And some of the best medical care is the care you get to prevent illness, or to keep something from progressing further.)

    Most of the reaction from the healthcare provider community that I have seen is positive (towards the ACA). I think that the younger generation of providers have shifted towards single-payer healthcare, though it’s true the older generation tended to oppose it. Justice Robert’s ruling was interesting, to say the least, and I am not sure that there are not some legal booby traps in there (see the comment above about the Commerce Clause.) 

    I’m currently in the  initial stages both of setting up my practice (I’m a licensed naturopathic doctor) and in working with some others to start finding solutions for affordable, sustainable, community based healthcare. Long term, we can’t go on as we have in this country.  

  • Sunweaver

    From a religious standpoint, I feel that it is the responsibility of the polis to enact laws that are equitable and that protect the rights of the people. Access to health care is a right, not a privilege.
    I understand the desire for smaller government, but there are certain places where governmental regulation of industries is necessary and the health and safety of the sons and daughters of Columbia is one of those places. Air quality, water quality, food safety, drug purity– all regulated by the government and with good reason.

    If given their druthers, the insurance industry would only grant access to their services to the healthy and rich. To quote Bono,

    “Don’t believe them when they tell me
    There ain’t no cure
    The rich stay healthy
    The sick stay poor

    I…I believe in love”

    And if I believe in love (and I do), then I believe forcing the insurance industry to provide services to everyone, preventing them from denying access to the sick and poor, is an act of compassion. Compassion is central to my belief and practice and, as a Priestess, I think this a step in the right direction.
    Apollo bless the sick and injured of our nation.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Taking the basic concept of  “an harm ye none” seriously is what leads me to support the mandate. I don’t see the mandate as harm; I see it as a way to get people to take care of themselves and each other. I see it in much the same light as I see my taxes going into Social Security, welfare and Medicare/caid. 

  • Kilmrnock

    Well let me speak for some recon’s , altho the hard line Heathens may oppose it alot of us Recons will support the ACA. I consider myself a Liberal Liberatarian in the true form of the word , not the Ayn Rand types or what is politicaly a liberatarian today . What most call a Small l liberatarian . Most thinking people realise our current health care/ insurance system is broken , bigtime . Altho ACA is a step in the right direction it doesn’t go far enough . Single payor as the rest of the so called civilised world has is where we should be .Our freinds on the political right have made this issue a political football , with the devisive political climate we currently have this may be the best we get for a while .Much of the recon movement have a simular political stance as i do ……….small l liberatarian , w/ left leanings .Just for the record , speaking only for myself i am one of those pesky independants.With current conditions w/ the right being obstructionist , i will probably vote for Obama again , as the least of two evils , i am not completly happy w/ the Dems but the current right is frikkin nuts . Horrid environmental policy , the war on woman , support of the 10 % etc .Not to even mention the Repubican parties ties to the extreme lunitic fringe , the NAR, RR crazies, the so called Republican base . Those folks scare the shyte out of this Sinnsreachd/Druid .These guys still think Reaganomics is a  good idea , the same trickle down policies that got us in this mess in the first place, deregulation etc. Altho the left has become well a bit whimpy here of late , they are still the least of two evils . The  best choice for us and the planet, our beloved mother earth.   Kilm  p.s. One of my favorite quotes was from Ghandi , when asked what he thought of western civilisation he said …………he thought that would be a wonderful idea .paraphrased , of course.

  • Leea

    My few cents…relatively few people or groups have looked at this issue in terms of what is morally right. As far as fears of meddling-I trust them to protect me from enemies of the state, put out fires, provide clean water. Further I don’t believe I’ve ever meet anyone who will refuse their medicare benefits (tax?) when the time comes.

  • You could all just move to Australia 🙂 

    I get a basic level of health care for free and if I want more choice 0r want to move through the waiting lists faster I can pay for heath insurance as a top up which costs me around $220 a month for the highest level cover for the whole family. 

    If I find my self in a situation where I have to go to hospital (which I have on more than one occasion) I can choose to use my free government supplied healthcare or my private health insurance depending on what will be the best at the time.

    My regular medications are subsidised and I never have the worry of being bankrupted by medical bills. 

    That’s just how it is here. I could never understand why the concept is so frightening for people in the US. 

    Surely everyone getting the opportunity to, I don’t know, not die, is worth paying taxes for?

  • kenneth

    We do provide some care to the uninsured now, but we do it in the most moronic, expensive way imaginable. Rather than spotting them the $100 for regular doctor visits and wellness care, we wait till they have a crisis, then pick up the $10,000 ER visit. The fact that we don’t call that a “tax” in no way negates the fact that it is. We all pay it, one way or another, and the patient has worse and worse outcomes, so that the next visit will be $20,000 etc. This is the same logic that’s used to dismiss public education as a communist waste of money, and then spends $60,000 a year for 25 years on an inmate who became a screwup for lack of opportunity. 

  • kenneth

    I see it as a shabby but hopefully workable first step to single payer. There is almost no way to design a worse system than what we have now. It is absurdly expensive, to the point that it has helped destroy our economic competitiveness and virtually guarantees long term high unemployment. It provides poor outcomes for all of that. It actively works to maximize the number of people with advanced chronic diseases in order to provide fantastically expensive drugs and procedures to limp them along for decades with no real improvement in quality of life. 

  • kenneth

    Well, that’s the thing with most “libertarians” and government bennies. They have no problem with the ones that help them – the Medicare and Social Security which often pay out at much higher rates than they personally contributed. The subsidies for their kids’s educations or for the nice highway to the middle of nowhere where they live, or the defense contract that brings makework jobs to their district etc. Government money is only evil socialism when they think someone of a lower class or darker skin tone may be getting a free ride. 

  • Cara: That’s actually from the Progressive Party Platform of August 1912 – although Teddy was the first Presidential candidate for the Progressive Party.  He lost to Wilson in that election.

    More specifically it is from the section on “Social and Industrial Justice” of the program. Although Teddy lost, most of what the Progressives proposed has since been enacted into law. And now we can cross off “the adoption of a system of social insurance” to protect Americans “against the hazards of sickness”.

    For more on the comparison of Obamacare to Teddy Roosevelt’s 1912 campaign platform, check out an old blog post of mine: Teddy Roosevlet was a Socialist!.

  • Amanda

    Germanic Heathen here. I’m one of those people who think we should have single-payer system and ACA didn’t go nearly far enough. If it works for all the rest of the civilized world, including Scandinavia, Germany, the UK, etc, then why not here? I’ve never quite understood why my more conservative coreligionists like Dan Halloran can go on and on about how great Germanic culture is, but ignore how all the Germanic countries seem to have figured this thing out and it works great for them. Countries like Norway and Sweden have some of the highest standards of living in the world. They’re also some of the most liberal socialist welfare states in the world.

    I’m just looking at the empirical evidence here. What has worked before? What has worked for other people? Why do we need to reinvent the wheel? We pay about twice as much money for healthcare per capita than European countries, and our lifespan is lower, and our infant mortality rate is higher.

    I support the ACA because I guess it helps some. It outlaws some of the most horrible things private insurance companies do, so that’s good. The irony of the court decision is that if Congress had gone with Medicare for All, that would have without question been Constitutional.

    It just really disturbs me how much conservatives are willing to deny objective reality. Things like global warming, evolution, and how single-payer health care systems are what works best.

  • What Liberals wanted (and still want) was single-payer universal healthcare. Obama is far from a Liberal in my book, being one myself. 😉 This was by no means a “Liberal” victory… maybe it could be called a Centrist one.

    I don’t like the mandate, because it’s basically a give-away to the insurance companies, which is most likely why our tie-breaking SC Justice upheld it. 

    But on the whole, there are some provisions in this that are going to help a lot of people. The pre-existing condition part, just to name one. As a Liberal, I don’t think this “healthcare reform” went far enough to even be called such, and it’s far too corporate/insurance company co-written for my tastes. But at this point, it’s better than nothing. (Something I’ve found myself saying a lot these past few years…)

    My stance has always been that healthcare should not be a for-profit industry in the first place, and that healthcare should be a human right, not a luxury only the wealthy among us can afford. What “liberty” is there in dying because you couldn’t afford adequate healthcare?

    Right now, we have a system wherein we continually pay our health insurance company, who has a vested interest in trying to give us as little return for our investment as they can get away with, to increase their bottom line (profit). There’s something seriously wrong with that, and it needs to change.

  • Leea


  • As another Aussie, I couldn’t agree more, Jo.

    My wife needed major non-emergency surgery a few years ago: without the government safety net we would have been forced to SELL OUR HOUSE to pay for it, or take out loans for insurance that might even have disallowed the claim for the surgery as ‘experimental’. (The stories I have heard about HMOs in the US are horrifying.)

    She had to wait two months on a waiting list, but that was understandable – others who needed more urgent care got it. It isn’t a perfect system, but what is?

    The American political discourse has it that you pay taxes to maintain an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, and this isn’t in the least controversial. But paying taxes so that your poorest citizens can access affordable health BEFORE it becomes an emergency is deeply radical and divisive.

    This leads me to believe that you Americans, collectively speaking, are absolutely crazy.

  • Thelettuceman

    NT Pagan here.  I don’t care one way or another.  I won’t be able to afford either the fine or the health care.  As someone who got into a motorcycle accident two years ago and had to see his chiropractor instead of his general practitioner doctor (as this individual refuses to see people without insurance, flat out, and does not take credit card payments), I could care less what happens.  Oop, there’s my disillusioned cynicism.

  • How can there be dignity to live our lives if we have death on one side, bankruptcy on the other, and crushing debt on another?  Most people who have health insurance can’t engage in it because the payments are too high.  For those of us who don’t have health insurance, the choice often comes down to “Can I afford this hospital/doctor/etc. visit?  How much longer can I afford to be sick?”  

    To me, universal healthcare is the far more dignified option as it takes the proverbial boot off of the poor’s neck, and the knife of tension out of the poor’s back.  I feel this is a step in the right direction, but falls far short of what I would hope can be a more compassionate country that takes care of its citizens.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     It is part of the Wiccan rede. There is no ‘Pagan rede’ because there is no monolithic form of Paganism. Merely a lot of ‘tradition-bleed’ due to eclecticism.

    If you look to the Northern traditions, you will find that they often take vociferous exception to that notion.

    Here in Britain, ‘An ye harm none’ used to be part of the Pagan Federation’s constitution, but was removed since it was at odds with Heathen ideals that include the protection of household.

    Hel, a proper reconstructionist Heathen should not ever leave home without a weapon.

    (Other than that, not really disagreeing with much you said.)

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     Why should someone support someone they do not know or care about (or possibly even dislike)?

  • LeohtSceadusawol

    It is pretty hard to apply Dunbar’s number to modern society, isn’t it?

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     If someone doesn’t pay for a service, why should they expect to benefit from it?

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     You really think you can force people to be compassionate?

  • LeohtSceadusawol

    “healthcare should be a human right, not a luxury only the wealthy among us can afford.”
    Paid for by whom (and why?)

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     That is the corporate term for it. (Most jobs I have ever had, the company has had a Human Resources – HR- department in charge of hiring and firing.)

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     In Britain, the US ‘left wing’ is seen as being to the ‘right’ of our ‘right wing’.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     You know, those Germanic countries you listed are predominantly Christian, and have been for longer than the USA has existed, right?

    Using them as examples of (historical) Germanic culture doesn’t really hold up too well.

    As for the healthcare systems working… I am in England and can tell you that the NHS is a shambles. I honestly think it would be far better to pull the entire thing down.

    I certainly disagree with the notion that one person should be forced to pay for another.

  • Sundragon0330

    That doesn’t mean all pagans follow it.

  • Carmelo

    A very interesting and useful blog.
    Pax et Fortuna

  • Because if you do not, they end up using those services anyways (ER, police, fire, etc), and then not paying for them, leaving you (and me) on the hook for it.

    It actually fits pretty nicely in the idea of personal responsibility – they will (statistically) use those services at some point, and this holds them personally responsible by forcing them to pay for it (or at least have insurance to have the insurance company pay for it).

  • Ishtar

    Germany has adopted universal health care since the late 19th century.  I grew up with universal Health care. I was quite shocked when I read some of the Christian reactions to the ACA (especially the Catholic ones who should know better as most Catholic countries do have something similar – even Italy!). It is interesting for me to read the Pagan reactions to it. Thank you for collecting.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     Let them die/burn/etc. I’m not a humanist, not going to pretend empathy.

  • Sun Dragon

    “Who are any of we to make a decision for *anyone*?” 
    Who are any of we to say what form of ethics we should ALL follow, such as the WICCAN Rede, even if we may be non-Wiccan pagans?

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     “Anne’s questioning if Pagan = Progressive politics and the short answer
    (from my viewpoint) is that many Pagans would like that to be so.  The
    even shorter answer to that question is yes.”
    The shortest answer is ‘no’.

    The longer answer is that, whilst many (most?) Pagans support progressive politics it is not (and should not be) an integral part of Paganism.

    Paganism is religion, not politics. People can be interested in both, but need to remember to keep them apart.

  • Harmonyfb

    Paid for by all of us, because it’s best for our country to have a strong, healthy populace, and because it’s the right thing to do.

  • Harmonyfb

    Let them die/burn/etc.

    When it’s your house on fire, will you expect the same level of compassion from your neighbors? Or will you expect them to help, even if you don’t live up to their standards?

    When you’re having a heart attack, will you expect them to bring help, or stand around and say ‘let him die’?

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     I expect nothing from strangers.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

    Define ‘right’.
    That sounds very much a case or morality, which (as we are all very aware) is extremely relative.

    I’m English. We have a ‘universal healthcare system’ (the NHS), and many people here complain about how poorly it works. I simply go a step further and believe it should be dismantled.

  • Harmonyfb

    Therefore, I refuse to invoke the force of the state to impose my will
    on any peaceful individual, especially on complete strangers.

    Really? You don’t favor the rule of law? You don’t believe in traffic lights? Speed limits? How about food safety laws? Construction codes? Should that peaceful con artist be permitted to defraud you? Should drivers be allowed to go any which way they like on a street, too bad if you got in somebody else’s way?

    Please note that the government imposes the will of the people on all sorts, every day. Do you really truly advocate anarchy, or are you just complaining about the one thing you don’t want to do?

  • Amanda

    Predominantly Christian? Eh, I guess it depends on how you define that. European countries are also some of the most SECULAR countries in the world. Maybe they’re Christian in name only, but it’s nothing like it is here in America as far as religiousity goes. If Christianity gives you universal health care, America would have it.

    The NHS isn’t perfect. No system is going to be perfect. The question is: is it better than what we have here? The answer seems to be yes, by any way you measure it. People are always going to gripe and complain about what they have, but I have several British friends, and all of them agree that they’d rather have the NHS than what we have in the USA. (And who says we have to have exactly what the UK has? Maybe Germany’s system is better. Maybe we can learn from their mistakes and make an even better system.)

    As for one person being forced to pay for another, we’re going to have to pay for one another whether we like it or not. That’s just a law of nature, really. Having a bunch of sick people around is bad for everyone. That’s how you get epidemics, for one thing. Unless you cut yourself off from the rest of the world completely, then having a healthy populace is good for you too. I’m sorry that objective reality doesn’t conform to your ideology.

  • Cathryn Meer Bauer

    Hedgewitch/Druid-type Pagan here.  I am rejoicing at the passage of this act despite my agreement that it doesn’t going nearly far enough for several reasons.  I think it is best we can realistically hope for in the current political climate, and I admit to being happily surprised at the Supreme Court decision.  First and foremost, I believe it will save lives.  My professional life has put me in a position to see that literally hordes of people in this country are disenfranchised.  Working first as an office manager in a homeless placement office in San Francisco and later on as a court reporter frequently assigned to a large courthouse in a low-income, high-crime part of the Bay Area, I saw a truly staggering number of individuals and families in desperate straits each and every working day.  I suspect that those who regard the ACA with suspicion have not had the chance to see this for themselves, nor are they considering how much we pay in taxes for crisis-based public health services.  Far better and less expensive to us all that someone with diabetes, for one example, can receive services and education that will keep her out of the emergency room rather than struggling along until she is found (or not) in diabetic coma.  The ACA will not please everyone, nor will it meet all needs.   But something of this sort simply had to be done given the amount of poverty and unmet health needs in this country. 

    I was working in D.C. the day the Supreme Court made its decision.  I was reporting a legal proceeding at a government agency whose name would rightly be synonymous in many minds with social conservatism.  At the start of a break, I turned on my iPhone, and my NY Times app sent the headline rolling across the screen.  I told the group about it.  I find it interesting that every attorney present expressed great satisfaction with the decision.

    I believe that at some point, we are all in this together and that part of the function of any organized society is to be mindful of those who are unable to care for themselves or do so fully.  I acknowledge that this statement can legitimately be debated, but still, there I stand. 

    From actively seeking political change, I learned that the trick, so to speak, was getting the first, small change in direction, e.g., one cosmetics manufacturer agrees to dispense with animal testing or a drug company makes reducing its use a priority.  I see the ACA in this light.  We need so much more, but this is a step down the right road.  The way to keep it going is to vote in each and every election.  

    Cathryn Meer Bauer

  • The Affordable Care Act is no more “coercive” than Medicare, Social Security, Minimum Wage, The Clean Air Act, etc.

    The laws that regulate air traffic safety are “coercive”. Should we get rid of those? How about the “coercive” laws that regulate automobile safety, drug safety, etc. Or the laws that make it a crime to sell children’s pajamas made of highly flammable material?

  • Cara, you’ll note that most of us quoted did not really support ACA.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

    I define ‘predominantly Christian’ by the fact that the majority of religious people follow one denomination or another of Christianity. You’ll also find that, in many European countries, the largest percentage of people self identify as Christian.

     Living in England, I feel I have something of a say in the NHS. Of course, I am but one tax payer.

    We need epidemics. They are a part of nature in action, being a mechanism to maintain a balanced and healthy population of a species.

    Objective reality works fine for my ideologies. Human interference, on the other hand, doesn’t.

  • Nick Ritter

    “The longer answer is that, whilst many (most?) Pagans support progressive politics it is not (and should not be) an integral part of Paganism.”

    And that is part of Cara’s larger point, I believe. This may not have been clear from her response above, but I have the advantage of having read some of her other writing on the subject of progressive politics and the “Pagan Umbrella”.

  • Reverend Greenhat

    However, if the
    private system is broken (no preexisting conditions, can be dropped at any
    times, rates that go up with each visit, etc), then the government must step in
    so everyone can have access to it.

    I know dozens
    of people without insurance because a provider will either reject them, or they
    simply cannot afford it, even though work.

    We do volunteer
    to help people, but when was the last time a volunteer was able to successfully
    preform a lifesaving procedure? Volunteers are limited in what they can do, and
    if the free market system fails us, as it has with health care, then another
    system, in this case the US Federal Government, must step in to make sure that
    the people are provided for.

    Who cares if we
    have the world’s largest military if the citizens are to dead to need that
    level of protection?

    You want
    government out of health care, then get health care to start being for the
    people they treat rather than the corporations that sponsor them.

    Is the ACA the best option? No. Is it better than our current options? Yes.

  • Sun Dragon

    No, Gene is apparently an anarchist. I visited his Facebook page, and he seems to have an interest in anarchy. 

  • I’m one of those crazy people who’s very unhappy about it, simply because now I *have to* buy it. I’ve lived almost my entire life without some form of health insurance, and I’m totally cool with it. When I’m in dire need, as in bleeding out in a gutter someplace, I’ll pay out of pocket. I really, really dislike and distrust doctors and hospitals, so it really had to be an immediate need. Physicals? Gyne visits? No spank you! You go, they tell you “oh, there’s a follow-up needed”, and just so they don’t get sued for malpractice, they run a gazillion unnecessary and expensive tests. I’d rather keep my money and take my chances.

    I lopped off part of my finger before, stared at it curiously as it started to squirt all over the place, ran the tap for 20 minutes, got some paper towels and Scotch tape and went back to work. (Gashed the same finger a few years later and did the same thing. My primary fingerprint is quite interesting!) I had Hamthrax, knocked me on my ass for two weeks, and my cure was good old-fashioned Robitussen and soup – when I wasn’t on all fours trying to gasp for air, that is.

    Here’s the thing – I have access to it already through my husband’s job, but even if it wasn’t crazy-pricey, we honestly can’t trust bossman to pay his share. Sure, $$$ is deducted from people’s checks, but if bossman doesn’t send in /the/ check, people show up to the doctor’s office and are handed a bill in exchange for service – or are surprised with one arriving in the mail down the road. People have already quit over that happening in the past! (They must have had someplace else to go.)

    So what are people like me supposed to do? If you rat out your boss, you can find yourself fired for a non-reason. Sure you can sue later, and heck, you might even end up with a tidy settlement. But in today’s economy, how many of us can take such a risk? At least if it was single payer, where it was just taken out of our taxes and healthcare was just *there*, like how the roads are *just there*, I wouldn’t mind.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Pagans more or less have to support one point of progressive politics, the First Amendment rights of minority religions. This does not say anything about Pagans; it says something about America that this has become a progressive position.

  • So true. I would still favor single payer health care, Medicare for all, as the rational way to keep drug prices and the price of care down. Why spend .33 cents of every health care dollar just to pad the profits of an insurance company?. However, what Obama put together is probably the best he could get given the GOP pro-insurance lobby opposition. I suspect that most here have not read the Affordable Care Act and hardly know whats in it. There is some really good stuff in there (See; What is Obamacare (The Affordable Health Care Act) and what
    exactly does it do? )  As an herbalist and a Druid I want to see good coverage for naturopathy, acupuncture and other natural methods. It is a national disgrace that we can’t provide basic healthcare for all our citizens, even as we cheerfully spend trillions on war (why aren’t people complaining about a war tax?)

  • I live in Massachusetts where we have state health care. I have the same doctor as before and pay a premium based on my income. I get excellent coverage. Massachusetts was doing poorly in job creation under Romney, before Commonwealth Care came into full effect. Now that we have a Democratic governor again we are doing fine with jobs and almost every person in this state has health care. The GOP is lying to you folks.

  •  Oh, and that has me thinking of another thing, for employers who are close to, at or just over the 50 employee rule, take a wild guess what they already do and will do more of it in the future – STOP HIRING/START FIRING people.

    They’ll just open another business in a different family member’s name, drag employee names from one Quickbooks field to the new one, and surprise! They now work for XYZ and not ABC according to the next paycheck, even though they still get their check from the same guy. Messes with not just the health insurance dealie, but also with a number of other fields, making it look like you left one job for another, when you did nothing – they did!

  • While many Pagans are happy about this, most small business owners are NOT.  Locally, there is already talk of hiring freezes, dropping insurance and just paying the fine, and even layoffs.  Way to wreck the economy.  🙁

  • We do that all the time – it’s called laws. Speed limits, boating laws, environmental regulations – all of this is people – the citizens of America, making decisions for other people who happen t be here. It’s how society functions.

  • Nick Ritter

    That’s a fair point, Baruch, and one that it would be silly to argue against. Despite the agreement among Pagans on this one point of the First Amendment though, one sees Pagans who are politically liberal decrying Pagans who are politically conservative as “un-Pagan”; hopefully that sort of thing is less common now, but I have seen it in the (recent) past. 

    That kind of behavior suggests that agreement on this one point of the First Amendment does not really amount to an embrace of “progressive politics”, neither in the eyes of leftward-leaning Pagans, nor of those who are rightward-leaning.

    Which brings up the central question: Is “Paganism” primarily a religious or a political identity?

  • Most? You mean, except for the small business that are happy about the ACA being upheld, and are breathing a “grateful sigh of relief.”



    So, yes, SOME small businesses are unhappy with the ACA, and SOME are happy with it. Don’t confuse your perception/limited experience with the total reality. 

  •  The average American taxpayer doesn’t have a $3K tax hike to pay for air traffic control… this is financed by airlines and commuters who pay for tickets.

  • “Only a third of small business owners want the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act; a plurality of 50% would like it upheld, with minor or no changes. This support grows after learning more details about the law’s key provisions: Only 34% of small businesses want to see the healthcare law overturned, while 50% want it to remain intact with, at most, minor changes. After learning more about its specifics, only 28% want to see it repealed and a 56% majority want it to be kept, as is or with minor changes. A 55% majority say they want it upheld because we need to make sure everyone has health coverage.”

  • Thorbjorn Leifson

     There is always death on one side.
    No matter what. 

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    “I want to see good coverage for naturopathy, acupuncture and other natural methods.”


  • Mia

    “Why should someone that doesn’t know me have to pay for something I
    choose not to pay for but expect to be able to use whenever I want?”

    Clearly it’s been evolutionarily advantageous for some species, including humans, to be social and pitch in for the group.

    Given your apparent interest in Recon Heathenry you seem to have forgotten how important contributing to the community is. If you’re a hermit in the woods far away from other humans that’s one thing, but if you live in proximity to others then your actions DO affect others, and vice versa. Might as well make it a beneficial effect rather than a detrimental one, because some sort of effect will happen anyway.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    I quite agree with the point in your second-last paragraph here, Nick. I’ve overheard one bluff, male Pagan in a discussion with another bluff, male Pagan exclaim: “A thirty-eight? You can’t have any fun with a thirty-eight!”

    Paganism is clearly not primariy a political identity. People come to Paganism because they are in one way or another drawn to it or, increasingly, raised it it, and it forms how they worship — clearly a religious identity.

  • Philanthropy and “liberality” were important virtues among ancient Pagans, and this is especially well documented in Greco-Roman Paganism. In fact, the old chestnut “bread and circuses” refers to the fact that both food and entertainment were heavily subsidized or even free in Pagan Rome.

    Sadly, many Pagans have bought into the myth that Christians “invented charity”. For example, in their “History of Pagan Europe”, Prudence Jones and Nigel Pennick wrote that Christians “introduced” humanity to the very notion of “charity, the spiritual worth of the poor,” which is the kind of abject nonsense one expects from Christian propagandists, not from well educated Pagan authors!

    As Geoffrey Rickman has pointed out, in his book “Roman Granaries and Store Buildings”, The distribution of food to the poor by the early Church mirrored “although in a smaller way, the distributions and frumentationes of the [Pagan] Roman Empire.” [p. 157] Moreover, the free (or heavily subsidized) distribution of food in Rome was done under the auspices of the Goddess Ceres, who, in addition to other job descriptions, is known as the Goddess of the Plebs. (for more on Ceres and the plebs see Barbette Stanley Spaeth’s “The Roman Goddess Ceres”, especially the third section of the first chapter: “The Early Republic”, as well as the entire fourth chapter, which is devoted to The Plebs).

    Historian Ramsay MacMullen has also done an invaluable public service in deconstructing the ludicrous notion that early Christianity was “from the start a socially revolutionary movement” (another bit of nonsense from Jones and Pennick). See, in particular, pages 7-8 of MacMullen’s “Christianity and Paganism in the Fourth to Eighth Centuries”.

    But even earlier we find, in the literature of ancient Egypt, the following:

    I have not oppressed servants….
    I have not defrauded the poor of their property…..
    I have not caused harm to be done to a servant by his master.
    I have not caused pain.
    I have caused no man to hunger.
    I have made no one weep.
    I have not killed.
    I have not given the order to kill.
    I have not inflicted pain on anyone…..
    I have not stolen milk from the mouths of children…..
    I have given bread to the hungry man, and water to the thirsty man,
    And clothes to the naked man,
    and a boat to the boatless.
    [The Book of the Coming Forth By Day, aka “Egyptian Book of the Dead”, Book 125]

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     “Clearly it’s been evolutionarily advantageous for some species, including humans, to be social and pitch in for the group.”
    I agree, so long as that group falls within reasonable numbers (See my previous comment on Dunbar’s number.)

    “Given your apparent interest in Recon Heathenry”
    Don’t mistake an interest for an adherence.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     I actually think that ‘Paganism’ is primarily a social identity. Distinct from both religion and politics, but often confused with both.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

    “why aren’t people complaining about a war tax?”
    An extremely good question, but an entire topic on its own, don’t you think?

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     I have no problem with charity – the willing aiding of another.

    What I have a problem with is the forcing of someone to aid another.

  • kenneth

    “already talk of hiring freezes, dropping insurance and just paying the fine, and even layoffs….”
    As opposed to what? The four-year freefall of the economy and complete disappearance of a living-wage economy and the middle class? 

  • Kilmrnock

    Lori my freind …………….quess you are a fairly young one , i personaly have Asthma , and last year had a heart attach , the heart attach costed almost 7o k dollars , all told , cost me personaly almost 8 k dollars w/o health insurance those like me would die or be a large burden on the system . And just for the record we already pay for the uninsured though higher rates . Altho a step in the right direction this doesn’t go far enough. The common middle and lower middle class cannot just afford top pay out of pocket for a major health expence , not to even mention the lower class and working poor .not to even mention what my meds cost . If the insurance copanies had thier way i would be uninsurable myself …………the pre=existing condition bit . We need the kind of insurance the rest of the civilised world has , why is this so hard to understand . Kilm

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     Laws are not ethics. They are a code of conduct to be adhered to at threat of punishment for transgression.

  •  I was privileged to be on a conference call “town meeting” with my congressperson last night (Fred Upton, R-MI) and he named a majority of small businesses in our area that were unhappy, laying off people, and undergoing a hiring freeze… this is in SW – MI… many lamented that they had just recovered from our last governor’s crippling business taxes, and were considering hiring and / or expanding.  He put the figure of those who were unhappy at around 73%. 

    Naming names isn’t gonna do much for those outside the area; you’d not recognize them.  One that’s nationally known is Stryker, maker of medical products, who will be laying off one hundred people.

    One major trouble with the state-sponsored insurance, which is supposed to take up the slack, is that MI is bankrupt, and hasn’t the money to insure people.  FL is suing over the plan.  Sooo, businesses are gonna drop their employees’ health insurance and simply pay the fine, which is cheaper, and the employees are gonna look to the state-sponsored healthcare plans and find… NOTHING. 

  • I’m pushing 40, so I’m starting to get up there. 🙂 And, I am adamant I have to be dragged into a hospital kicking and screaming. No damned needles, and especially no condescending doctors.

    I broke my ankle waiting tables, it went completely backwards and dislocated, broke it in two places. No insurance of course, I thought I sprained it, so knowing I really did need to go to the doctor, I was going to hoof it the four blocks. Didn’t even occur to me it was a workman’s comp thing until the guys on the floor MADE me go. 😛 They told me then (’96) the pins and plate should come out 10 years later, but ahhh – no thanks. Even if I had the money, even if it was free, I ain’t going through that again.

    I wasn’t even raised to like doctors. I remember the one time I was shot at when I was 8, I ran home crying, showed the bullet hole to my mom. She seemed to believe me it was indeed a gunshot, but she said it was small and probably just a graze. (It turned out to be a .22 – nothing to concern yourselves with, folks!) She put a band-aid on it and sent me back to school (I was on lunch break). The teachers at school flipped out, and THEY were the ones who made me go to the hospital, with the cops of course asking me who did it. (How should I know?! I was busy counting change in my hand to get us a gallon of milk.)

    My dad died from cancer in 2005, completely missing the White Sox winning the World Series. I firmly believe if he would have left it at simply cutting the rot out, he would have lived, because it was the treatment that ended up killing him. From that, I’ve said should I get something like breast cancer, of course knock on wood it doesn’t happen, they can cut ’em off and give me new ones – perkier, if you please. No treatment. Just the basics.

    For a week, my husband put us on the new Cadillac plan at his job, and I said fuggit, I’ll do a gyne checkup, pretty much to see how it works. I’ve got serious girlie problems, and I know it, and it was the first time in 17 years someone was probing down there. I told them NO extra tests, just what the insurance will cover, and what does the bitch do? She checks me for STDs – even after I said I’ve been with the same guy for over a decade. And of course, she says yes, just by the basics she can tell, I’ve got some giant cysts in there, which is what causes me incredible, debilitating pain each month. Says I need to schedule for an ultrasound, and blah blah blah.

    I get a bill a couple weeks later, saying no, I don’t have STDs (DUH!), but because they checked for it, I need to pay another $15. Do you know what I did? I canceled that appointment, and we canceled our insurance. Proof of another scam.

    That was what – 3, 4 years ago? I still suffer and am trapped in the house every. single. month. because going out will cause me outward embarrassment, and I’m in pain. Advil Liquicaps eases it. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to go back. Not just because of the money, but because that bitch all but called me a liar.

  •  The Gov. of FL states that Obamacare is gonna cost taxpayers of that state taxpayers will see an increase of 1.9 billion dollars per year.  And all of those small businesses you say are so thrilled?  According to the “Wall Street Journal”, the Small Business Lobby opposed the measure, along with the governors of 25 other states, including MI.

  • So basically, even with private health insurance coverage, your monthly premium is no more than what I pay for mine. And mine’s been heavily subsidized by my employer. *starts researching moving to AUS*

  • So far, you’ve cited two Republican politicians. Both of whom have  vested interest in making the ACA seem terrible for business. You also don’t mention that the NFIB is a conservative lobbying group. 

    You’ve provided no real proof that MOST small businesses in America actually oppose this. 

    Come back with non-partisan statistics, or leave it alone on this thread.

  •  Exactly right. I don’t agree with all the military spending, using my taxes to kill people, but if I say so I’m told to leave the country. Yet using taxes to *help* people is somehow crazy talk.

  • I’ve been in the emergency room more times than I wish to count, and every single time, without fail, I’ve been treated like shit. When I was hit by a car at 6, almost killing me and leaving me in various degrees of body casts for almost a year, I was treated like shit. I’ve been in car wrecks, shot at, chin busted up, etc., etc., etc., and every time, without fail, I was treated like shit.

    THAT is why I’m pissed. I am now being forced to pay for something I do NOT want. F**K Dr. House and his evil minions. They say it’s like car insurance, that you have to have it. Uhhh, no, it’s not. I can choose not to own a car. Why can’t I just pay out of pocket like I have been – when it’s a dire emergency? And when it’s something I feel I can take care of myself, I’ll do just like I have been.

  • Thorbjorn Leifson

     I think we also need to think of another possibility here.  That those that the aid goes to may or may not want it in the first place. 

    I know that some may look at an issue like this and think that those there would be know way that some would wish this, but I know for myself that I take great pride in the fact that I do not readily ask for assistance when times get tough, and overcome obstacles in my way on my own. 

    Who are we not 0nly to force people to aid others, but to force aid on others without their consent?

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     I agree wholeheartedly.

    I don’t want charity. Yes, my pride could kill me, but what else do I have, but my pride?

  • Hmmm, let’s see, articles that suggest small business owners aren’t thrilled with Obamacare:

     Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council.  Link to their press release :

    Note, it’s gonna be challenging to find many business councils and organizations with liberal or even bipartisan opinions.  Even many local C of Cs are considered conservative.  Sooo, instead, we’ll check out some news reports: Tampa Bay business news… despite the headline, I saw more negative comments than “mixed reaction” from business owners.

    CNBC:  Many business owners cited uncertainty, others are leery, and others are stating that the policy is downright bad for business. In a TN business news journal, people are either concerned, confused, or worried. 

    I have about fifty more, if you’d like me to post ’em.  NONE of these sources have statements of support, happiness, or “sighs of relief”.

    Perhaps this is why Pagans seem so enthused by government-sponsored healthcare:  The Pagan Census has median income rates for Pagans, notes a disparity between level of education and expected income, suggests underemployment amongst our religious practitioners, and speculates that Pagans may have more interest in spirituality than in using their eduction to gain high-paying jobs.  (I’d not put this so kindly, LOL; I’d make more observations about many of our fellow religious practitioners’ challenges with ambition and disdain for the working classes and fear of money.  But I digress). 

    Suffice to say is that those with lower incomes will benefit from government-sponsored healthcare, paid for by taxpayers, and thus are inclined to be Liberals and in favor of Obamacare.  Could this be the reason for Pagans’ support of the measure?

  • Articles about “worried’ business owners doesn’t really prove anything one way or another.  You could post a thousand, and it wouldn’t necessarily present an accurate picture, especially since journalists have been focused on the Republican talking point that the ACA is bad for business. “Business owner not all that worried” isn’t headline material.

    As for your armchair analysis of Pagan values concerning income, I’d rather you left that for your own media outlet. Having traveled to many Pagan events, and met many amazing Pagans, I think your interpretation of their “challenges” is colored more by your political frame, personal biases, and a selective sample, than the total reality. 

    Time to move on.

  • Congress is to vote on repeal on July 11th — write your representatives — pro or con.    Here’s how to find your congressperson:  Look on your voter registration card for your district’s number.   Click on your state.  Match the number.  There are phone numbers and email addresses.

  • kenneth

    You’re free to live according to this personal code of quasi-stoicism of yours, but don’t expect most of us to see it as a virtue or a standard of care we should force on society as a whole.

     I know medical people can be a pain in the ass. I’ve helped train some of them and I’m on that career track myself. But what you seem to see as a sort of frontier stoicism is nothing more than recklessness and slow suicide. Some people get away with blowing off doctors and checkups, and live to their 90s in relatively good health. Most do not. 

      A more typical outcome is what happens to a work friend of my moms. Took great pride in never seeing a doctor for 20+ years. All that time, diabetes was happily devouring her nerves and small blood vessels. She’s now “celebrating” her golden years with near-total blindness, amputations, and basically just living a helpless home-bound lifestyle. Some home repair fraud artists took advantage of her weakness to loot her home of jewelry, which was about her only source of backup wealth. Boy, she really showed those prick doctors!

        All such people who pass themselves as hard assed libertarians who will live or die on their own terms and own dime never, ever make good on that promise. They talk like tough lone wolves who owe nothing to the rest of the world and will take nothing in return. Well, when it all hits the fan, they end up with their snout in the public trough just like everyone else, even more so. 

    Unless you have freakishly good genetics, and freakishly good luck, your approach to medical care is going to end in disaster. When it does, you’ll:

     1)Have problems that are 10-100 times more expensive than preventing them would have been. 2) Go bankrupt. 3) End up on Medicaid, Social Security disability etc. Libertarians have a funny way of becoming the biggest specimens caught up in the safety net of socialism.

    That said, if people like you want to opt out of that safety net, you should have that right, but there should be no turning back. People who opt out can sign something irrevocable. They won’t pay the premiums or the penalty, but then there’s no getting back in. You sign away your eligibility for Medicaid, public aid of any sort, anything you didn’t feel like contributing to. People who think they’re truly hard enough to live and die on their own like they did in the 19th Century need to ride that train to the last stop. 

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Luna, I agree with your sentiments, and I have nothing against Australia or Aussies, but if you go you will be paying to support the armed forces of Oz in their defense of their nation-continent in a tough geopolitical neighborhood.

    Nor will you escape American military presence. The US and Oz have just inked a deal to host US forces there in the US pivot to pay much more attention to the Pacific, ie, China.

  • Thorbjorn Leifson

    ” You’re free to live according to this personal code of quasi-stoicism of
    yours, but don’t expect most of us to see it as a virtue or a standard
    of care we should force on society as a whole.”

    Take our help.

    Take it….

    Take it….

    Take it…

    Ya know you want it….

    Oh yeah, you like that….

    Take it…..

  • Really? 

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     “You’re free to live according to this personal code of quasi-stoicism of yours”
    Not any more, she’s not.

    “All such people who pass themselves as hard assed libertarians who will
    live or die on their own terms and own dime never, ever make good on
    that promise. They talk like tough lone wolves who owe nothing to the
    rest of the world and will take nothing in return. Well, when it all
    hits the fan, they end up with their snout in the public trough just
    like everyone else, even more so. ”
    It is really quite simple. Let them die. If they do not pay for a service, they should not have access to it.

    “You sign away your eligibility for Medicaid, public aid of any sort,
    anything you didn’t feel like contributing to. People who think they’re
    truly hard enough to live and die on their own like they did in the 19th
    Century need to ride that train to the last stop. ”
    I agree completely. It is about consequence of choice.

  • “… but to force aid on others without their consent?”

    What, precisely, are you smoking?

    Except in the case of underage children, or people who are discovered unconscious and in obvious need of medical attention, everyone is perfectly free to forego any and all medical treatment for as long as they like, up to and including death. And if you really want to make double sure, get “do not resusitiate” tattooed on your forehead.

    All this talk about people being “forced” to pay taxes (shock!) is already ridiculous enough. I mean are these same people raising hell about the portion of their taxes due to tax increases under Nixon, Reagan and the Bushes? And by the way, those tax increases helped to fund vast expansions of the federal government, including whole new agencies such as the EPA.

    But where on earth does anyone get the idea that the guvmint is now going to force people to undergo unwanted medical treatment? Oh, this suddenly reminds me of one other category of people who might conceivably be subjected to involuntary medical treatment.

  • Thorbjorn Leifson

     Too much? 


    I just don’t think it is right to force someone to accept your help either. 

    Some people aren’t going to want it.  I think that is a POV that is overlooked by all the people screaming about how others (usually) should have this provided for them. 

    Not every one is going to want it. 

  • Thorbjorn Leifson

    Um, so, the issue is the requirement for everyone alive to have some form of insurance, and somehow this means to you medical treatment? 

    I’m not sure that I could pass that large of an amount of hyperbole without requiring medical attention myself. 

  • Cara

    Well – it’s been good for businesses who help small businesses find us citizens living in other countries to hire so they don’t have to provide them with health insurance and can pay them 50% less But for the most part – Obamacare doesn’t affect small businesses as it only applies to businesses that have 50 or more employees.  So as long as they stay under that number, they are fine.

    What will be more interesting is to see how many medium size businesses dump coverage and opt to pay the fine since the fine is only $2000 per employee. 

    Heck – private citizens might drop coverage.  The fine is maxed out at $1200 a year and that is far, far less than most pay for premiums and out of pocket and they can sign back up at any time for insurance if the crap hits the fan and they’ll be covered.  I’m unclear why people who are basically healthy wouldn’t do this.  

  • And that’s all I’m saying. I’m NOT immune to pain. Pain sucks. But pain is a whole lot cheaper than paying a guy in a white jacket who has a god complex.

    I’ve come to accept that once a month, there’s a couple days where I can’t leave the house. And at least now, I have a job that allows me to get away with that without having to bring a change of clothes with me. I don’t even talk about it really, it’s become “just a thing”, but this whole making me pay for shit I don’t want sets me off.

    I’m still pissed our landlord made us by renters’ insurance. Sure, it’s only $100 a year, but we don’t have anything that’s really of value. We’ve been robbed before, and our car broken into a few times, and yes it sucks, but what did the crackheads take? CDs? DVDs? Video games? We’re not exactly housing nice shit here. We do, however, carry the full coverage on our car, which is a 97 but only at 120k. Not for us, but in case we hit someone else. When I lived in Wisconsin, there was no auto insurance law, so we didn’t have it.

    My dad didn’t go to any damned doctors until it was bad. It was all the chemo that killed him! The one thing he loved, possibly even more than me, was his baseball, and he was robbed of that. Maybe he would have seen at least *one* game, even just spring training if he would have just gotten the basic care. One lousy game. But no, he was robbed just after his 52nd birthday. That set me off.

    And when that doctor scammed me a few years later, that was the last straw. Not to mention the dentist who put in false porcelain fillings on me when my mom’s work gave her basic dental care. Yeah – I went to a local dentist some years later for a bad toothache, and her x-rays showed the fillings were all fake – just a thin coating! I didn’t have any cavities, and that’s with only seeing the dentist for the required school checkups to that point (no work done). So add that all together, on top of the bad treatment I’ve gotten my entire life, and you have someone who will only go kicking and screaming.

    I will NOT go to a damned doctor unless it’s dire. Not chopping off part of my finger – oh boo hoo I need a couple stitches. Not Hamthrax. Not falling two stories off a building and landing flat on my back. (I hit the just-watered grass, so all I did was lose my breath and ruin my outfit lol.) That’s how I was raised, to not go running for help for every scratch, cough or sneeze. You live. You deal. I resent paying for something I don’t want.

    And like I said, and will say, if it was at least coming out of my taxes, like mixed in with all the other stuff I shell out to our accountant, fine. Personally, I’d rather see income tax abolished and just a flat, jacked up federal sales tax instituted, so everyone pays (even those working under the table and yes, tourists, too), according to what they buy.

    I fail to see what’s wrong with me being pissed off about this? And like I said too, if I have to go and get it, what’s going to make hubby’s bossman send /the/ check? He’s already not done that several times. We’ve already been talking about this, saying what do we do – tell the govt,
    “No sorry, we can’t buy it, because bossman doesn’t pay his bills half the time, and we can’t really afford it as it is, much less get our own.” Yeah, like that will fly. So we out his boss, he gets pissed, and hubby gets “laid off”. Uh-huh.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     “All this talk about people being “forced” to pay taxes (shock!) is already ridiculous enough.”
    It isn’t that ridiculous. Look at the Poll Tax Riots in Britain ( ) for another example of people railing against a new tax.
    (Funnily enough people complained that the community charge was unfair, as it asked everyone to pay a flat tax, rather than making some pay more than others for the same service.)

  • Rabbit Matthews

    This article was very interesting, but the comments tell an even more engaging story. The story I see unfolding here is one of suffering and its many different forms, and how that suffering brings each of us to our own conclusions about right and wrong. I see so much raw power here- so many people who are book smart, people who are streetwise, people who are self-made, people who are strongly opinionated. If only we could get that tremendous force of power behind a common cause of community wellness! I do not see how it is possible at this time due to the very fragmented nature of the opinions expressed here, but I want each and every one of you here to know that I have read your comments, that I see the truth you are holding based on your own experiences and wisdom, and that I wish for each of you the very best of health and healing possible. Having worked for several years in public health as a community health educator, the one thing I know to be true for everyone one of us is that prevention and education have the greatest potential to keep us out of the hospital and in good health. At whatever level you are doing it, I honor your own effort to keep yourself as educated and current as possible about the matters relating to your body and wellness.

  • Luminous_Being

     Don’t we force people to pay for libraries?  Whether you visit them or not you are contributing to their existence because as a society we have agreed that we value having access to libraries. 

  •  Yeshe, thank you for your calm and wise approach to this intensely divisive topic. Please feel free to expand on your views on this topic more fully at your blog for us at or I’d be interested in a longer article, say for the Water issue of Witches&Pagans.

  • Thorbjorn Leifson

    What dollar amount from your taxes goes to fund the local library? 

    I think if the feds came out and said that ACA would cost them an additional .03 they wouldn’t have as much of an issue with it. 

  • Kilmrnock

    Lori , if i hadn’t gone to the hospital when my heart attack hit …………i wouldn’t be here to have this wonderful discussion w/ you , or spend the rest of my life w/ my loving wonderful wife . At 56 i wasn’t ready to die or give up yet . the type of attack i had , they call a widow maker , i literaly owe my life to them and good luck . Your type of stoicism isn’t for me .    Kilm

  • Luminous_Being

    People have been arguing that it seems unethical to force others to pay for a service they may not use.  Does it only become unethical or counter to one’s spirituality at certain dollar amounts?  I have no idea what sum I actually contribute to the roads, police departments, fire departments, libraries or schools I may or may not use but am forced to pay for.  But I am ok with that because these things benefit my community.  

    If my neighbor’s house is on fire the whole neighborhood chips in to pay for the fire department to come and put out that fire.  The whole neighborhood is forced to pay for the public schools that only some of our children attend but that’s all right because our whole society benefits form educated children.  And that is definitely a value I hold at a spiritual level though not a value i would expect all pagans to hold.

  • Luminous_Being

    Whereas I would agree with Carol Hanisch when she stated “The Personal is Political.”

  • Thorbjorn Leifson

     “People have been arguing that it seems unethical to force others to pay for a service they may not use”

    Not only that, but there are several people here, myself included, that don’t want it.  That is a perspective that is left out of this argument.  Some of us do not want help. 

    “Does it only become unethical or counter to one’s spirituality at certain dollar amounts?”

    No, it becomes more of an irritant as the dollar amounts increase.  Hence the comparisons of it to libraries, and other public works are not appropriate. 

    “Does it only become unethical or counter to one’s spirituality at certain dollar amounts?”

    Good for you.  If someone comes to me and asks me for help, I am more than willing to offer it.  If I see someone that needs help, I offer assistance. I do not go around forcing help on everyone regardless of their desires. 

  • By all of us, to “promote the general Welfare,” to quote the Constitution. 

    We are only as strong as our weakest link. In fact, contrary to popular opinion, our healthcare system in the US is 37th in the world, well behind all the countries with some form of universal healthcare, according to the World Health Organization.

    England is #18, if you’re curious, so whatever complaints you may have, you’re still doing a great deal better than we are. At least if you get cancer, you likely won’t be facing bankruptcy, like so many here do.

  • “As for one person being forced to pay for another, we’re going to have to pay for one another whether we like it or not.”

    Excellent point, and one so many don’t take the time to consider. All of us are *already* paying for the uninsured through higher premiums. AND we’re paying more than we would through a single-payer system, because we’re paying the extremely high emergency medical costs of people who could not afford preventive care/regular check-ups/screenings and were forced to wait until things got serious to seek medical attention. 

  • Charles Cosimano

    In practical terms, there will probably be two immediate results.  First there will be probably significant uptick in non-filers, which will strain the system.  Second, there are going to be those who will figure out that the penalty is cheaper than the insurance. 

    Politically, it has energized the Republican base and probably will increase their vote in November.  At the very least that means they hold the House and may get a majority in the Senate.  If Romney were an interesting candidate it could probably even get the White House and it might.    What that means is while they may not have the votes for repeal, they certainly will have the votes to block enforcement funding and implementation funding if they choose to hold the isue.

    And then there is the little matter of trying to figure out what this law actually says in its 2700 pages.  No one has even really looked because they were all waiting for the Supreme Court.

    This mess is by no means over.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     This isn’t about libraries.

    If we start listing other things that people may not want to pay for, we could be here all day.

    Not to mention discussing how people see society.

    Obviously, this isn’t an issue in isolation, but it is the issue that is being discussed. Bringing up lots of other things may give clearer pictures of what individuals think about ‘the bigger picture’, but it detracts from the topic.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     Actually, a lot of people with serious cancer to end up in serious financial trouble. The treatment may be free (or subsidised), but the inability to work can play havoc with income.

    “We are only as strong as our weakest link.”
    I agree with this. Makes you wonder why you don’t just remove the weakest links, doesn’t it? That would be the logical thing to do.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     Possibly a slightly different usage of ‘Politics’. Yes, interpersonal relationships often have a political method, but that is significantly different to societal politics.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     You should *have* to pay for the uninsured.

    As I said, if the person does not pay for a service, they should not benefit from it.

    It’s not like I get free bus rides, after all.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     That is your choice.

    Lori’s choice is significantly compromised. She can either pay for a service she is unlikely to ever use or she can be punished for not paying for a service she is unlikely to ever use.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     “If only we could get that tremendous force of power behind a common cause of community wellness!”
    Define ‘community’.
    Define ‘wellness’.

  • MertvayaRuka

     “Makes you wonder why you don’t just remove the weakest links, doesn’t it? That would be the logical thing to do.”

    The logical thing to do would be to take a good long look at every society from the Spartans on forward that felt purging the “weak” and the “unfit” was a good idea.

  • MertvayaRuka

     “I’ve overheard one bluff, male Pagan in a discussion with another bluff,
    male Pagan exclaim: “A thirty-eight? You can’t have any fun with a

    Friend Baruch, I only take issue with your statement because it assumes that only conservative right-wingers like guns. They may be the loudest proponents of the Second Amendment, but that doesn’t give them the sole rights to its exercise. 🙂

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     It worked pretty well for the Spartans.

    Of course, the main reason historians claim they fell was the institutional homosexuality.

    I tend not to look at things from just a human angle, however.

    Look at nature. When a herd has sick or injured animals, those are culled by natural means.

    As a society, humankind is only as strong as its weakest members, yet it strives to keep the weakest alive far more than the strong.

    Where’s the logic?

  • Yes, no doubt.  However, is it morally right to limit a person’s options to dying from a preventable, treatable, or a disease/infection/condition/etc. that one can cope with simply because they cannot afford the preventative or allopathic care?

    I would have to say no.  Withdrawing water from a person dying of thirst, begging for a drink is no different from a person dying of disease begging for a cure when both are close at hand.

  • No more than you can force people to be rational, non-racist, or happy.  You can provide the conditions for those things to be engaged in, but force?  No.  

    However, the policies we enact can be better directed towards compassionate treatment of human beings, animals, the world itself.  

  • Harmonyfb

    I simply go a step further and believe it should be dismantled.

    I’m American. Let me give you a close-to-home example of how non-universal healthcare works:

    My coven’s former high priest went to the doctor with shortness of breath. Because he was uninsured, he waited for many months to do so. Because he was uninsured, he did not have the money to pay for any tests. Because he couldn’t pay for any tests, he got misdiagnosed with asthma. The inhaler he was prescribed did nothing to alleviate the blood clots in his lungs. He died at 33.

    If we’d had universal healthcare, he’d have gone right away, and he’d have gotten the test that would have led to a correct diagnosis and treatment. 🙁

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    “Bringing up other things” illuminates the logic being used in the conversation. If an argument makes no sense when applied to libraries or roads, it probably makes no sense when applied to health care.

    The term for this is “argumentum ad absurdum,” for good reason.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    It’s another peculiarity of America that gun ownership has become a conservative issue.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    There are documented cases of monkey tribes taking care of an injured or disable individual. Your image of Darwinian selection is actually Social Darwinism, a fallacy.

  • Thelettuceman

     Like many things in the political climate of this country, the issue of the Second Amendment has been polarized.  Why?  Because one side -has- to be “anti-” the other side.  Within the rhetoric of this constant political/ideological tug-of-war, the basic human right of owning the means to defend oneself has been claimed by one champion, and reviled as an adversary and evil by another. 

    Unfortunately, it is rare for politicians to be vested in a dialogue of similar ideals.  The parties and ideologies are so polarized that Liberals or Democrats who may believe that the Second Amendment is one requiring protection is looked at as an Other.  And it has caused a number of those in the middle to be labeled as conservative (politely) or redneck (impolitely) because of their support by people on the left.

    It is a filthy, dirty mire when the choices become an either/or.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Lettuceman, it’s a bit more complicated that mere reflexive opposition.

    Gun control advocates were originally shocked at how easily the supposed assassin of President Kennedy got his purported weapon, and are appalled at the number of Saturday Night Specials floating around our cities and the carnage that arises therefrom.

    Gun ownership advocates were appalled at the overreach of the control folks to ignore the needs of hunters, rural dwellers and ordinary people who live in bad neighborhoods.

    They’ve been shouting past each other ever since. They got identified left and right because most rural dwellers are conservative and most big city politicians are liberal.

    It was downhill from there.

  • Iris WolfSage

    In the thick of the healthcare reform battle, I didn’t think in spiritual terms: it was purely enlightened self-interest. I’m a cancer survivor and I don’t want to have to go through that again; nor would I want anyone else to have to go begging for the right to live, thrive and survive.
    Now that I’m reflecting on our hard-fought battle through the glass of the Spirit, this analogy comes to mind. My cancer, my arthritic knees, my cataract-ridden eyes are hindrances in my forward progress through the roads of Life. I do not begrudge them: life happens. I do get angry when a smug, self-important bureaucrat — like a health insurance industry worker — blocks the road and won’t let me get those hindrances addressed so I can keep going. And I really get pissed off when the sociopathic dog-eat-dog Hobbesian asshole standing next to that smug, self-important bureaucrat tells me I have no right to be well and hale, that I’m deadwood that the world would be better off without, and to just go away and die. My hackles go up, I want to draw my sword, and I snarl, “Get OUT of my WAY!!”
    So the real question here is, which bureaucrat is limiting our freedom? The aide down the hall at Health and Human Services, that has healthcare and wants everyone in the country to have it too? Or the pencil-pusher in the glass tower, dreaming of a corner office and smirking “Sorry, good luck” at your back while you’re walking out the door and trying to figure out how to survive?
    Remember that first and foremost, a nation is composed of her people. We could have the best roads, the cleanest air and water, the most efficient communication systems, the most wholesome foods, the most prestigious schools, world-class public art, vigourously-growing wildlands, the best-equipped and -trained armed forces, but none of it makes any sense if we’re all sick and dying.

  • Iris WolfSage

    I don’t see the government as force. I see it as a trusted central rallying point — by the Constitution, the government is We the People. Wisely, the Founders and Framers made us a representative republic because getting 350 million together in one place at one time to decide anything would be best described as a goat rodeo of catherders — on a good day. We elect representatives; those representatives appoint staff and aides to help them do their jobs.
    I digress.
    Do you think I enjoy having to identify Eagle as my totem? I’m a Wolf-Panther, why do I have to honour Eagle? And yet I do, because we decided as a group to adopt Eagle as our national totem and I honour him in the interest of the group. It diminisheth neither Wolf nor Panther if I do so.
    “I know people who, if their income tax was a little bit lower, could
    have saved their homes from foreclosure. Could I morally demand a raise
    in income taxes knowing people could realistically lose their homes?
    Could I morally demand that tax be raised if the unintended consequence
    could result in another negative impact?”
    Would you feel better if your friends lost their home because one of them got cancer and racked up hundreds of thousands in medical bills over a period of 4-5 years? Or if they, like that poor suffering bastard in Tennessee, had their house burnt down because the mayor of their town (who was probably on the take) privatized the fire department and they didn’t pay for services. Taxes are what we pay for civilization. If nothing else, I’d rather pay $700 a year in taxes for healthcare than go hungry and bankrupt trying to pony up $1000 a month to line some plutocrat’s pockets.

  • Iris WolfSage

    Why do you keep using that phrase, “forcing my will”? That’s like saying you’re forcing your will on a drowning person by throwing them a liferope. People are dying, the ACA is opening the way out of a desperate situation.
    Dying because you couldn’t afford healthcare is hardly a noble and heroic end.

  • Iris WolfSage

    Because my neighbour’s prosperity is my prosperity. We’re all interconnected and it’s in my interest if everyone around me is functioning to the best of their ability. Same goes for them, especially.
    Like, say I live next door to a school. The county loses some tax revenue, so the school has to close down, and becomes a shooting gallery, a gang hangout, a squat. Not so nice living next to that building now, is it?

  • Iris WolfSage

    Actually, those who can’t afford healthcare will have their taxes cut via tax credits to help them pay for it.

  • Iris WolfSage

    The law also allows for sovereign states to improve upon the Federal law and instate single-payer programs of their own. Vermont was ahead of the curve, they’ve their own system in place. Other states are following; my own state of Oregon is looking at it and we’re hoping to be, not just ready for ’14, but showing other states how to innovate on healthcare delivery systems for their residents.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     Enlightened self interest only goes so far.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     Yet this is, in essence, what universal health care is designed to do – force those who are affluent to pay for those who are not. For no tangiable return.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     I wouldn’t say probably, as individual situations are, by definition, different.

    I can answer the question with the same – people should not be forced to pay for libraries. It should be pay as you go.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     Okay. Fair enough.

    Now, why should anyone else be forced to pay for that treatment?

    Surely, if people were concerned enough for him, they would have found a way to raise the money for him?

    I am not saying that charity is bad. Not even remotely.

    I positively encourage charity (in the right situations), but what I do not condone is forcing someone to pay for another person.

    Or, indeed, someone being forced to sign up to a service they do not want.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     And there is documented evidence of elephants grieving.

    If you look hard enough, you can find evidence for whatever stance you want.

    However it still stands as true that letting nature take its course is a good thing for the whole ecosystem.

  • Iris WolfSage

    “We’ll be paying for something I’ll never use. ”
    How do you know that? As a woman, you have a 1-in-3 chance of getting cancer. Your husband/significant other/mate/whatever, as a man, has a 1-in-2 chance. That’s not even taking things like random accidents into account.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Leoht, cooperation and compassion *are* nature taking its course, in many species close to us. It”s a fallacy to identify “nature” with the war of each against all.

  • Baruch: ” … cooperation and compassion *are* nature taking its course  …”

    This is especially true with us humans. We are intensely social and cooperative by nature. Even competition requires a group of people all working toward a common goal.

  • Thelettuceman


    Aye, I know, generally, about the beginnings of the issue.  I’m speaking more generally of the now, where it seems that there are few politicians that will tow the other group’s line.  It seems to have -become- reflexive opinion now, whether or not the individual in question truly believes it or not.  That’s what I was lamenting.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     I didn’t say they weren’t.

    But I don’t agree that helping someone to stay alive is always the compassionate thing to do.

    Sometimes, the best thing for a person, and for society as a whole, is to let them die (with dignity).

    Beyond that, this legislation is not compassion. It is coercion.

    “We are intensely social and cooperative by nature.”
    How many times do I have to mention Dunbar’s study on the optimum community size?
    I am not denying the fact that the human animal is a social and cooperative species. Buy that sense of community fails at a relatively low number.

  • Those who are affluent very often become that way by balancing their massive amounts of money by policy, low wages, lack of healthcare, mass firing and layoffs, and a boatload of other policies that bilk, defraud, and/or actively harm their workers.  They, in their turn, force horrible conditions and conditions in which many simply cannot make it onto their workers, often because they are the only gig in town, or the only one willing to hire.  

    In short, they take advantage of people, and often the support networks that allow many of us to live.  Walmart was, not too long ago, sued because it intentionally did not give people enough money to get their own health insurance and actively encouraged its workers to sign up for government health insurance.  

    So, to be blunt, I don’t care as much for the affluent’s return on this investment, though it is false to say that there are no tangible returns for the affluent under a single-payer healthcare system.

    For one, there is increased productivity and less sick days taken because your workforce is healthy.    For two, a happy, healthy workforce is more likely to be loyal and work even harder, especially when they do not have to jump through a thousand hoops between the company’s insurance (if they even have it) and the healthcare they need.  

  • MertvayaRuka

     The Spartans were a state whose existence would have been impossible without the Helot slave class. Their soldiers, while undoubtedly brave and strong, were also arrogant, short-sighted and unimaginative. They lived in constant fear that the vast underclass they relied on would eventually revolt. Doesn’t sound like it worked too well to me.

    There’s also the problem of exactly who gets to define “weak”. If it isn’t you, the there is nothing to stop that definition from including you.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     The workforce is replaceable. An influx of cheap migrant workers in many countries shows this.

    The heart of capitalism is the exploitation of others for personal gain.

    It may suck, but that is its basic nature.

    My main interest is freedom. Yes, the capitalist system should have an opt-out option (that doesn’t require vast sums of money), but it shouldn’t be destroyed, either.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     ‘Weak’, at a  societal level, would logically include anyone who is a net drain.

    Now, the argument starts when we discuss what, exactly, constitutes a ‘drain’. If only because ‘value’ is a qualitative concept.

    I know a man, for example, who is bed-bound with little/no chance of recovery. He is a significant fiscal drain on the State, though various benefits he receives. I don’t see why a random person should have to pay a penny towards the guy. It is of no benefit to them to do so.

    However, he is of personal benefit to me and I would willingly give to him what money I would save through lower taxation.

    On its own, my money would not be enough, but I am not the only person who cares about him and they, too, would also not hesitate to pay for his needs.

    This is what I mean when I talk about charity over coercion. A simple freedom of choice.

  • Thorbjorn Leifson

     ‘I would have to say no.  Withdrawing water from a person dying of
    thirst, begging for a drink is no different from a person dying of
    disease begging for a cure when both are close at hand.’

    I have no problem giving water to a thirsty person.  However, if that same person says that no, they do not want my water, they should have the right to do so. 

  • Rhoanna

    And the average American won’t be paying $3K because of the ACA either. In 2016, the maximum penalty for a family will be $2,085 ($695 for an individual). And that’s assuming they don’t have insurance, which the vast majority of American’s have, and make enough that the penalty is less than 2.5% of their taxable income. So no, the average American won’t be paying $3k, or anywhere near it. 

  • Obsidia

    Thank you, Jason, for providing perspectives from many of our Pagan teachers, healers, and thinkers.  I have to say I agree with most of them!  As a Healer, I feel that every one who needs healing is someone who is on a spiritual journey.  Healing is about resolving blockages in ourselves, aligning our energies with universal energies, and transformation of ourself and our world.  I work for the time when the Temples of Healing will include all types of Healing, including Dreaming, Oracles, Herbalism, and other “witchy” ways.  I myself have used these Healing paths, until one day I had use for a Surgeon!  We all need equal access to Healing Technologies.  Healing is a labor of love; and healing for the Planet is part of it, too.  Keep moving toward creating the Temple of Healing as the Earth itself!

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Lettuceman, this is true of quite a few issues these days. I’ve begun to think it’s regional. I recently re-read “American Nations” about how the country is, sociologically, the federation of several “nations” — like Yankeedom and Appalachian — stemming from the first European settlements. I find it a good read.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Leoht, Dunbar’s number is simply the number of people who can form a society by direct interface without mediating institutions like cops and courts. It has no relevance to how those mediating institutions for larger societies should do their thing. That’s the realm of political science; Dunbar’s number is primatology.

  • Obsidia

     >Enlightened self interest only goes so far.

    As a Witch, I believe that whatever I put out returns to me.  How far does that go?  Pretty far.

  • Ignoring that in order to throw that ‘life rope’ of health care, you must first take money from everyone to buy that ‘rope’, and you have secondary effects on the cost of health care for everyone, just as federal funding for well-intentioned student loans and grants has exploded tuition costs for everyone.

    Your comparison is flawed.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     The point is that Dunbar’s number shows how the human mind is geared towards small, intimate communities, not grossly inflated societies.

    People are more likely to (be willing to) extend aid to those they have a meaningful connection with.

    Just so as you know, you’re talking to a tribalist, not a left/right wing dichotomist.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     “how the country is, sociologically, the federation of several “nations””

    I have often wondered why the USA stays U. (It’s one of the things I don’t understand about the American Civil War.)

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    LEOHT, I got sick of the cramped reply to reply to reply space. You wrote:

    “The point is that Dunbar’s number shows how the human mind is geared towards small, intimate communities, not grossly inflated societies.”People are more likely to (be willing to) extend aid to those they have a meaningful connection with.”Just so as you know, you’re talking to a tribalist, not a left/right wing dichotomist.”

    Dunbar’s number is the size of a human troop in the state of nature. There is no basis for taking that as an optimum community size. Clearly humans can deal with larger societies; they’ve been doing it for millenia.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     This goes back to my other point of single topics.

    ‘human troops in the state of nature’ is a brilliant term. It implies that humans are urrently living outside the state of nature which, from the point of view of nature based ideology such as ‘Paganism’, doesn’t sound like a great idea.

    Not only that, but Dunbar’s number is not JUST about a raw nature state for the human animal, it is found in situations such as tribal communities, the Roman army, and others.

    I am not saying that the tribal unit should be the only form of connection, but is should be the most important one.

    I am also not convinced that humans can deal with larger societies. Compare the harmonious society of a San tribe with the joys of modern city living.

    Aaaand I find myself getting closer to the old ‘overpopulation’ topic…

  • I expect nothing from strangers.”
    Then that is precisely what you shall get.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    “State of nature” is a term of art, and admittedly ill-defined. It usually means humans before society, which is silly because humans probably had society before evolving fully to homo sapiens. But there it is.

    Dunbar’s number is also found in scientific community. It’s about the size a specialty gets before it splits into two sub-specialties. It operates all the time but not always in obvious ways.

    Humans are dealing with larger societies all the time. The question is,  how are societies dealing with humans? Large-scale society always needs tinkering lest it go sour. Hence, eg, the amendment clause in the US Constitution.

  • LeohtSceadusawol

    I don’t believe in the law of return (be it karmic or three-fold.)

  • LeohtSceadusawol

     You’ll not get me to agree that large-scale society needs anything other than ending. It simply doesn’t work.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Well, then we must agree to disagree. I don’t dispute the validity of Dunbar’s number, just hold that it’s the beginning of the conversation, not the end.