Saturday, May 9, 2009

John Stossel

Does America have a more entertaining libertarian iconoclast than John Stossel? I doubt it. He's been preaching common sense and personal responsibility to America's loneliest timeslot for 18 years. Check out last night's Stossel special "You Can't Even Talk About It", where he argues that anti-discrimination laws support discrimination, we should irradiate more of our food, emergency services should bill people for preventable rescues, we should eat more endangered animals, steroids should be permitted in sports, and we do too much for the elderly. He makes each of these arguments very convincingly and in classic Stossel style, the strongest points for his position generally come straight from the interviewees representing the opposing view. I'd elaborate on the arguments, but you'd be better off watching them yourselves. I'd particularly recommend the "Rescuing Risk-Takers" and "Elderly Rob the Younger Generation" segments. The unthinking sense of entitlement on display in both segments is illuminating.


Eric said...

Last year we were billed (and paid) something like $580 for a 10 mile ride to the hospital in the back of an ambulance. The only reason we called the ambulance is that the hospital told us (for reasons I do not fully comprend) that we should call the ambulance instead of driving ourselves to the Emergency Room. (In our case the patient was stable, and there was very little reason to rush -- we got no sirens on our ride and sat patiently as several stop lights.)

I'm not exactly complaining. I'm grateful for the service. It was probably worth the expense. And generally speaking, I believe anyone who can pay, should pay. The sense of entitlement we have about such things is not good. But if I had been notified in advance and had been given the opportunity to make an economic decision for our household, I might have driven to the ER in my own vehicle. $500 is no small hit.

Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake said...

You're totally right, Eric, there's definitely another side to the coin. If local governments are going to charge for emergency services, they need to make it clear.

It strikes me as strange that it's pretty commonplace to charge for emergency medical care, which I would consider an appropriate use of public funds, yet quite rare to charge for rescues, which are far more expensive and in which the victim bears more responsibility for their predicament.