Tag Archives: Sweden

Are we ever going to run out of oil and natural gas?

Story from Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology. (H/T Stop the ACLU via ECM)

Excerpt:

Researchers at KTH have been able to prove that the fossils of animals and plants are not necessary to generate raw oil and natural gas. This result is extremely radical as it means that it will be much easier to find these energy sources and that they may be located all over the world.

“There is no doubt that our research has shown that raw oil and natural gas occur without the inclusion of fossils. All types of rock formations can act as hosts for oil deposits,” asserts Vladimir and adds that this applies to areas of land that have previously remained unexplored as possible sources of this type of energy.

“With the help of our research we even know where oil could be found in Sweden!” says Vladimir Kutcherov, Professor at the KTH Department of Energy Technology in Stockholm.

Together with two research colleagues, Professor Kutcherov has simulated the process of pressure and heat that occurs naturally in the inner strata of the earth’s crust. This process generates hydrocarbons, the primary elements of oil and natural gas.

According to Vladimir Kutcherov, these results are a clear indication that oil supplies are not drying up, which has long been feared by researchers and experts in the field.

Maybe this will help some of the overpopulation/resource scarcity people on the left to stop trying to impose totalitatarian government on the rest of us? I don’t mind if they obsess over the end of the world, but could they please engage in their religious speculations in private? Leave the energy policy to the grown-ups.

Bad news for social conservatives in Sweden and Quebec

First, in Sweden, the socialists want to ban homeschooling.

Excerpt:

The Swedish Association for Home Education (ROHUS) is asking for support from the international community to stop an attempt by the Swedish government to outlaw homeschooling. The new legislation argues that because a child’s education should be “comprehensive and objective” it must be “designed so that all pupils can participate, regardless of what religious or philosophical” views of parents or children.

When you give the government your money, you give up the right to choose. If you keep your money, you keep your right to choose. If you think that the government should take your money and then provide you with services like health care, education, welfare, therapy, etc., then you just gave up your right to choose. You gave up your liberty for security.

I think that Christians give their money away thinking that the government will act in their own best interests. That is, that a secular government will act in the interests of Christians. Maybe Christians think that their interests lie in “helping the poor”, and that a big government is needed to do that. But when government gets that money, they will use it in ways that cannot possible be as good as you would use it yourself.

Let me be clear. If you are a Christian, and you give money to government to take care of you, then you cannot complain with a secular government bans homeschooling or outlaws voucher programs. Obama isn’t going to take your money and defend homeschooling or create voucher programs. He was elected with the help of teacher unions, who are opposed to any education provider other than government-run schools.

The time to act in your own best (Christian) interests was when you still had the money in your hand. Don’t give your money to the government because they tell you some sob story about taxing the rich and helping the poor! What they really want to do is to take your money and pay off their political donors, like abortion providers, trial lawyers and unions. They cannot possible spend the money as well as you could have spent it yourself.

Christians need to be fiscal conservatives. They need to learn economics. They need to think with their heads when voting.

Quebec schools impose same-sex parenting curriculum

Same-sex marriage activists always ask the same question, “how does allowing me to marry hurt you?”. I don’t think they are interested in an answer, but here is one answer. When the government decides that marriage is what we call a bunch of people having sex and living together, then there is no reason to prefer traditional marriage in the schools. And the curriculum will be modified to reflect that.

And this is what is happening in Quebec.

Excerpt:

The Quebec Ministry of Education has funded the development and implementation of training for primary school teachers promoting inclusiveness for families with same-sex parents, and will be implementing it in Montreal and Quebec City, reports Le Journal de Quebec.

Estimated to have cost the province between $50,000 and $80,000, the training involves a three-hour session for teachers on location, with a kit of materials including videos, brochures, and activity books for students.  According to Manon Boivin of la Coalition des familles homoparentales (the ‘Coalition of Same-Sex Families’), who is training the teachers, “It’s almost a recipe book with all the ingredients to make of our schools schools that are inclusive and more open.”

Boivin, who herself has a 5-year-old daughter and raises her with her same-sex partner, commented: “Often, in the face of homophobic insults, teachers do not know what to say….We will make an offensive to inform the schools.”

This is similar to the first story. Well meaning Christians feel that poor people should not be excluded from health care or education. So they hand the government their own money and ask government to take over health care and education. It’s “compassion” for the poor. And then the government does take over these things – but in a secular way.

The government is not going to spend your money that you gave them on things that are in keeping with your religious values. They were elected by certain groups, and they must reward those groups. If you want the freedom to teach your children what you believe, don’t vote for bigger government and higher taxes. Don’t vote for things like single-payer health care and environmental regulations.

And stop hating wealthy people and big corporations! The government is much, much worse than either of those two – the wealthy people and big corporations can’t ban you from homeschooling your kids and they can’t forcibly indoctrinate your children in views you don’t hold. Only government can do that! Think! Don’t give them your money, don’t let them take care of you. Handle it yourself!

Sweden legalizes sex-selection abortions

Story from Hot Air.

Excerpt:

Sweden has approved gender-specific abortions, allowing parents to rid themselves of an unwanted daughter in a closely-watched ethics case…

Last month, I noted the opposition of the abortion-rights group Center for Reproductive Rights to the same practice in China, where the state’s one-child policy makes gender selection more important for parents.  Sweden has no such restrictions; in this case, the woman already had two daughters and wants a son.  CRR opposed the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, putting their fright over what they call “fetus rights” over their objections to gender-specific infanticide.

At least Sweden remained consistent.  Unlike the CRR, their decision reluctantly noted that the woman’s motivation was irrelevant if one accepts that someone can “choose” to end human life as a right.  One wonders whether CRR will protest this decision in Sweden as they do in China, extending their intellectual confusion over the nature of “choice” as an absolute right.

Keep in mind that Sweden is the most secular nation in the world. What did we learn from the responses to our survey of atheists that would explain why they would support such barbarism?

We learned that atheists believe:

  • There is no such thing as human rights or human dignity, objectively speaking
  • There is no such thing as moral values or moral duties, objectively speaking
  • The purpose of life is happiness in the here and now
  • There is no ultimate significance to any actions – it doesn’t matter what you do, your end is the same
  • Our actions are biologically determined, so we’re not responsible anyway
  • There is no after-life, no accountability after death for actions
  • Morality is determined by each person’s personal preferences, or arbitrary cultural conventions

On atheism, the weak have no objective human rights or human dignity, because people are just arrangements of matter, not creatures made in the image of God. On atheism, there is no purpose for the weak, such as the purpose of freely coming to know God, that would give them dignity and value, regardless of their social utility.

So, the strong can oppress the weak, even to the point of slavery or murder, in order to maximize their own happiness in the short time they are allotted to live. On atheism, why not? Why let anyone else offend you, burden you and diminish your happiness, if you can use force to silence or destroy them?

Jim Demint scores against Democrats on health care

Senator Jim Demint
Senator Jim Demint

Great news! Senator Jim Demint tried to pass a bill guaranteeing more liberty in health care, and he succeeded. The Heritage Foundation‘s blog The Foundry has the story.

His bill read, in part:

The Senator from South Carolina, Mr. DeMint, moves that the managers on the part of the Senate … be instructed to insist that the conference report on the concurrent resolution … shall not decrease the number of Americans enrolled in private health insurance, while increasing the number of Americans enrolled in government-managed, rationed health care.

Remember, Obama’s goal is to control our lives, by controlling the free market:

This language is important because many aspects of Obama’s health care budget seek to expand the numbers of Americans enrolled in government-managed health care, which necessarily then “crowds out” private health care forcing more Americans into government managed care.

Those voting against DeMint’s motion (and therefore for the unlimited expansion of government rationed care) include:

Bingaman (D-NM)
Brown (D-OH)
Burris (D-IL)
Cardin (D-MD)
Durbin (D-IL)
Harkin (D-IA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Levin (D-MI)
Merkley (D-OR)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Sanders (I-VT)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Udall (D-NM)
Warner (D-VA)

I also spotted this story over at the Pacific Research Institute. This should be a wake up call to all those who believe that nationalizing health care would give them more freedom.

Excerpt:

In 2005, the Supreme Court of Canada found that elements of the province of Quebec’s monopoly over health care violated citizens’ human rights, because of the government’s failure to deliver care.  Since then, other Canadians have launched similar lawsuits in other provinces.

In British Columbia, the monopolistic provincial health plan is suing Dr. Brian Day, an orthopedic surgeon, for allegedly receiving direct payment from patients for performing surgeries in his clinic. Mindful of the 2005 Supreme Court decision, the province has adopted a novel legal tactic: claiming that health care is not a right!  If that is the case, then the government’s monopoly obviously cannot violate citizens’ rights!

We need to learn from countries like Canada, who have already tried socialized medicine. Or we could look at Sweden. Either way, we shouldn’t be adopting failed health delivery systems.

Walter Williams evaluates Sweden’s single-payer health care system

Walter Williams is my second favorite active economist, just behind Thomas Sowell. (I also like John Lott, Robert P. Murphy and Jennifer Roback Morse – see my blogroll for links) In a recent article, Williams takes a look at how well Sweden’s single-payer, socialized health-care system is working out for its customers. The productive Swedish taxpayer forks over a lot of money to the government. What do they get in return?

First, what is socialized medicine? (which we are moving toward, since porkulus passed)

  1. Producers pay huge amounts of taxes to the government .
  2. Low-achievers pay nothing, since they have no income.
  3. When you want treatment, you have to get in line behind everyone else – especially behind special interest groups, such as people wanting sex-changes.
  4. The taxation is compulsory, the treatment of patients is at the government’s discretion.

Williams begins his article by evaluating the UK’s National Health Service:

A recent study by David Green and Laura Casper, “Delay, Denial and Dilution,” written for the London-based Institute of Economic Affairs, concludes that the NHS health care services are just about the worst in the developed world. The head of the World Health Organization calculated that Britain has as many as 25,000 unnecessary cancer deaths a year because of under-provision of care. Twelve percent of specialists surveyed admitted refusing kidney dialysis to patients suffering from kidney failure because of limits on cash. Waiting lists for medical treatment have become so long that there are now “waiting lists” for the waiting list.

And then there’s Canada single-payer socialized system:

…after a Canadian has been referred to a specialist, the waiting list for gynecological surgery is four to 12 weeks, cataract removal 12 to 18 weeks, tonsillectomy three to 36 weeks and neurosurgery five to 30 weeks. Toronto-area hospitals, concerned about lawsuits, ask patients to sign a legal release accepting that while delays in treatment may jeopardize their health, they nevertheless hold the hospital blameless. Canadians have an option Britainers don’t: close proximity of American hospitals. In fact, the Canadian government spends over $1 billion each year for Canadians to receive medical treatment in our country.

The article cites Sven R. Larson, who recently completed the book “Lesson from Sweden’s Universal Health System: Tales from the Health-care Crypt,” published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (Spring 2008). The first thing about socialized health care is that you don’t pay for treatment like you shop at Wal-Mart. The government takes your money and makes sure that everyone is treated equally, regardless of each individual’s earned income and lifestyle choices.

Mr. D., a Gothenburg multiple sclerosis patient, was prescribed a new drug. His doctor’s request was denied because the drug was 33 percent more expensive than the older medicine. Mr. D. offered to pay for the medicine himself but was prevented from doing so. The bureaucrats said it would set a bad precedent and lead to unequal access to medicine.

When health care is free for consumers, demand increases. Doctors and drug companies stop producing since the government won’t let them make a profit. Since the government is the single-payer, then the only way to stop the shortage is to ration medical services, often based on leftist victim ideology. Socialists don’t trust you to make your own decisions about how you earn income or how you spend it.

Here’s a bit more from the article:

Malmo, with its 280,000 residents, is Sweden’s third-largest city. To see a physician, a patient must go to one of two local clinics before they can see a specialist. The clinics have security guards to keep patients from getting unruly as they wait hours to see a doctor. The guards also prevent new patients from entering the clinic when the waiting room is considered full. Uppsala, a city with 200,000 people, has only one specialist in mammography. Sweden’s National Cancer Foundation reports that in a few years most Swedish women will not have access to mammography.

Wow, that smacks of fascism! But that is where socialism inevitably leads. In Canada, you can’t even buy your own drugs and treatment, even if the government puts you on a waiting list (dying list?), or if it won’t pay for treatment at all. Private purchases of health care or medical drugs are illegal in Canada. (except for Quebec, oddly enough, because of a recent court decision).

The problem with a system in which low-risk producers pay for the services, but don’t use them while high-risk victims use the services, but don’t pay for them, is that there is no incentive for people to be healthy. As people act more and more recklessly, the government steps in and starts controlling their lives in order to reduce costs. Fascism.

Socialized medicine redistributes wealth in order to equalize the outcomes of good lifestyle choices and poor lifestyle choices. The more that lifestyles are equalized, the less personal responsibility there is among the citizens. Eventually, the government takes control of people’s lives to reduce costs. This article shows how it’s happening in Canada, as they try to ban trans fats:

A mammoth government program is a poor excuse for further encroachment on people’s lives–maybe fewer government entitlements would encourage smarter and healthier habits. If the ban is the sword of the nanny-state crusader, surely the health-care system represents his shield.

Freedom means deciding how much security to want, based on your own free choices and the risks you assume.

A useful podcast on health care and government, featuring Sally C. Pipes on the Dennis Prager show is here. For a good explanation of supply, demand and shortages, see this Von Mises Institute article.

UPDATE: Saw this UK Telegraph story on a single NHS hospital (H/T Stop the ACLU):

NHS managers were yesterday accused of putting targets and cost-cutting ahead of patients as a report into at Mid-Staffordshire Hospitals trust found up to 1,200 people may have died needlessly due to “appalling standards of care” at a single hospital.

…Last night patient groups voiced concern that managers who should have spotted failings at the trust but did not raise the alarm have been promoted to key jobs in the NHS and health care regulation.

…The investigation into care between 2005 and 2008 found overstretched and poorly trained nurses who turned off equipment because they did not know how to work it, newly qualified doctors left to care for patients recovering from surgery at night, patients left for hours in soiled bedclothes and reception staff expected to judge the seriousness of the condition of patients arriving at Accident and Emergency.

Doctors were diverted from seriously ill patients to treat ones with minor problems to make the trust look better because it was in danger of breaching the Government’s four-hour waiting time target.