“I heard that this was coming, so I’m not surprised by the timing,” our in-house healthcare expert Jud Anglin wrote in response to yesterday’s letter from a Laissez Faire Today reader.
If you missed it, one reader received a notification from his health insurance provider the day after Election Day. Inside the email was a link to check out a “rate renewal letter.”
“The main thrust of this letter (and that’s exactly what it felt like — right up my backside),” your fellow reader wrote, “was that starting Jan. 1st, my health insurance ream-iums would be increasing by almost 15%, for the second time.”
Here’s what Jud wrote in response…
“My wife and two boys were dropped by their private market insurance about a month ago.
“Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, the largest plan in the state, announced a rate increase of more than 13% on Oct. 22.
“So that was before the election. Probably didn’t help Kay Hagen. (See: link)
“Going forward, I recommend that all readers avoid the Obamacare open exchanges like a late-stage Ebola patient bleeding profusely from both eyes.
“Go with a catastrophic plan combined with a health savings account.”
“There is no utopia, as you may think,” one reader, David G., wrote on Tuesday.
“We, as humans, need someone to lead us. Otherwise, we have anarchy.
“The problem is, most, if not all, politicians work for themselves, instead of doing what is best for their constituents and the country as a whole.
“An alternative to our government is socialism, or worse, communism. To not vote means you don’t have any reason to complain.
“I could go on, but you get the point.”
Eh… not sure I do, David.
But I’ll get to that in one moment.
The old “If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain” bumper sticker slogan has been strong in our mailbox this week.
Yeah, that one.
It was all in a reaction to our “don’t vote” missive on Election Day.
It was also our biggest reader mail deluge in LFT history. (I know I’ve said that before, but for real. Even bigger.)
It took us until today to read through all of them.
And your fellow LFT-ers didn’t hold back.
“You’re worse than the socialists,” one reader said.
“At least I didn’t stick my head in the sand,” said another.
“DEFEATIST!” another screamed.
“All that is necessary for the forces of evil to prevail in this world,” quoted yet another, “is for enough good people to do nothing.”
To be clear, just because one doesn’t vote does not mean he or she is a complacent human being. Or worse than a socialist. Or has his or her head stuck in the sand.
In fact, there are many things individuals can do every single day to promote freedom and fight the status quo — and voting isn’t one of them.
Even while you’re out running errands, you can make a much bigger impact in one day than that limp, government-sponsored vote ever will.
What can you do? We’ll get to that in a moment.
First, you’re right about one thing, David: There is no utopia.
Everything else? Disagree.
We, as humans, don’t need someone to lead us. We need to learn to lead ourselves. That’s the next stage of human evolution. And the sooner we understand that, the better.
The current administration (and last… and one before that… ad infinitum) should be proof enough of this.
And are you sure that the only alternatives are socialism or communism? That’s simply a shortage of imagination, my friend.
And here’s the thing I’m most confused about…
At what point, I wonder, did we adopt the belief that only those who accept the status quo have a right to criticize it?
When did that become OK in the “freest country in the world”?
It’s odd to me that the same people who are most adamant about protecting core American values — such as freedom of speech and assembly — can have another, completely contradictory belief:
The belief that those who choose not to participate in a government they didn’t consent to in the first place should not be allowed to voice an opinion about it.
Here’s how I see it…
If I don’t agree with the fundamentals of the system, then why should I engage in it at all? Why should I waste my life’s nonrefundable energy?
Especially when voting does absolutely nothing to change the fundamental things I disagree with.
For example, the last 13 years have proven, without a shadow of a doubt, that…
Privacy is being destroyed no matter what party is in office.
Regulators and bureaucrats will tell us what we can and cannot put in our bodies and how we’re allowed to educate our children no matter what rubber duck wins the race.
Police and government agencies will still confiscate assets at gunpoint under a donkey or an elephant.
Bombs, drones and welfare programs are bought with our tax dollars in either spectrum.
As long as the government grows, the train is on track.
The kicker? Central bankers (100% unelected, mind you) wave their wands and materialize trillions of dollars with or without the president’s consent.
They answer to no one. In turn, savers and retirees get punished so that insolvent governments, banks, and the uber-wealthy can ride a manufactured gravy train — all under a blue or a red cape.
Who benefits? Surely, it isn’t you and me.
By voting, I’m not exercising my freedoms as an American. I’m merely consenting to have my opponent’s agenda violently thrust upon me if I lose. Or consenting to whatever my victor has in store for me after he’s elected — despite what he might promise prior to Election Day.
The “lesser of two evils” argument? Bunk.
As an individual, there isn’t a single person in the government that represents me.
My government consists of leaders I didn’t choose. These leaders push policies that I don’t believe in. They use money that I earned, but did not consent in giving them.
And if I refuse to give them my money so they can do things I don’t want them to do with it, they’ll take it by force.
My vote doesn’t change any of that.
At no level — as a law-abiding (save for excessive jaywalking and periodic ripping tags off of mattresses) and taxpaying citizen — does the current status quo work in my favor.
So you’re telling me I have no right to complain if I don’t flick a few buttons at a voting booth? It’s a ridiculous thing to say to someone in an apparently-free society.
The nature of the current system is that some people have a right to tell others how to live their lives. And it shows.
And sorry, I don’t agree with it.
I’ll end this Friday rant with a little piece from George Carlin:
Enjoy. (Even if you don’t agree with it. Come on! It’s funny!)
“I believe if you vote,” Carlin said, “you have no right to complain. People like to twist that around, I know.
“They say if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain, but where’s the logic in that?
“If you vote and you elect dishonest and incompetent people and they get into office and they screw everything up, well, you are responsible for what they have done, you caused the problem, you voted them in.
“You have no right to complain, I on the other hand, who did not vote, who, in fact, did not even leave the house on Election Day, am no way responsible for what these people have done and have every right to complain as loud as I wanted at the mess you created. Which I had nothing to do with.”
“So what’s the alternative?” one forward-thinking reader asked.
Well, it was the great polymath “Bucky” Fuller who wrote:
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Rather than voting to foster social change (which it so clearly doesn’t), I’m much more interested in things that — even if it’s bit by bit — make this current (and frail) socioeconomic order obsolete.
What things, you ask?
Well, for one, medical tourism. Which is challenging the currently stagnating U.S. healthcare system.
Lamestream news won’t tell you, but many developing countries have, or are building, world-class healthcare facilities. And the timing couldn’t be better. Health care costs in the developed world are going through the roof.
That’s why, soon, I’ll be packing my bags and heading off for Thailand — where I will put myself under the foreign drill and take a tour of a few of their world-class hospitals.
You’ll be the first to know — and hear all about what’s happening in the medical tourism sphere (and how it benefits you) — when the time comes.
What else can be done?
Investing in Bitcoin — an idea that has the potential to completely sideswipe the current monetary system and turn it into something more equitable for all.
That’s cool, sure.
But what makes Bitcoin really amazing is that everyone is talking about it. And it’s inspiring a global conversation on what money really is — and how we can do it better. That’s something I can support.
Or bone up on natural cures and separate yourself from Big Pharma.
Or buy only organic to fight against the Monsanto machine.
Another example is taking a Lyft or an Uber instead of a traditional, anti-competitive, highly regulated taxi cab.
Or staying at someone’s home through Airbnb rather than hotels — or buying services through Fiverr — and giving some monetary power back to the middle-class whose jobs are being destroyed.
You can also choose to use apps like the up-and-coming Robinhood, which will soon allow you to bypass your broker and trade stocks 100% commission free (they’ll make money with ads, not commissions). It goes without saying what happens to Wall Street if this idea catches on.
Small, constructive actions are also like snowflakes — and can lead to huge avalanches of change.
You vote every single day with each dollar you spend. Using them wisely has much more impact than a scrap of paper at the voting booth.
If you’re interested in making real change, but you’re only making your vote count every couple years, then you’re wearing stilettos and trying to run a marathon.
First step, take small actions to make yourself — and your community — more self-reliant.
It’s actually fairly easy to get more prepared than 99% of the American population for any type of disaster. And for less than $200.
And what about more sustainable forms of agriculture?
I’ve taken a recent interest in aquaponics and will soon help a friend build an aquaponic farm in Baltimore. They’re building it in the westside, which is one of the biggest food deserts in the country.
And, as I mentioned last month, I signed up to the community-based social network Nextdoor — that way, I’m more informed about my surroundings and can, in turn, inform others of what’s happening on my street.
The list goes on.
In short, I invest my time, energy and money in ideas that solve the problems I see and fight the current status quo…
And I don’t vote.
Until next week,