Is It a Good Thing?
On thinking about current issues
By Richard E. Noble
How do we determine if someone or something is worthwhile? Are they good or bad? Is it good or bad?
I have tried to develop my own formula. Let's take universal health care for example.
First I ask myself: Would it be a good thing or a bad thing if every child who gets sick in America is able to see a competent doctor and be treated properly? I don't ask how this is possible or what it will cost or how it would be executed fairly or how it would be administered or even whether it is being suggested by a Republican or a Democrat. I simply ask if it were possible would it be a good thing or a bad thing. If I lived in the best of all possible worlds would this be good or bad?
I think that it would be a good thing.
Would it be a good thing or a bad thing, living in the best of all possible worlds, if all Americans and not just children were able to receive good health care treatment?
My answer is yes.
So then, it is my opinion that as a goal for our society, or the world for that matter, we should be looking and attempting to provide good health care for all people young and old.
The next question should be: How do we go about working to accomplish that goal.
To my way of thinking the debate should be on how we go about achieving that desirable goal and not on whether we should be trying to achieve that desirable goal. And in the mean time, while these tactic are being debated we should definitely be doing something to achieve that goal whether or not that attempt is proper or improper, perfect or imperfect, right or wrong, Republican or Democrat.
We have been avoiding tackling the positive goal of adequate heath care for all Americans since the Wilson administration at the turn of the century. If we were dealing with a highly contagious disease here, we would all be dead by now.
Education? In the best of all possible worlds is the notion that everyone should be able to receive an education equal to that individual's desires and capabilities a good thing or a bad thing?
Again, I am not asking how this is to be achieved or who should pay, or how it should be administered etc. I am first asking if this goal of education for all is a positive or a negative thing.
In America this goal has been accepted as positive since before the Colonies formed their first union. Back in the days when the Eastern seaboard of this continent was a wilderness, education was considered mandatory by even the humblest of communities. Public education is an American tradition.
So, once again, I would say that this is a positive goal.
Again the arguments over this goal should not be who should be eligible to receive an education and who should be denied. The debate on this issue should be on how the positive goal of education for all to an individual's maximum potential should be achieved; not on whether or not it should be achieved.
What about "a living wage"?
In the best of all possible worlds would it be a good thing or a bad thing that all people willing to work for their living receive a wage that they can live on and support and care for their families in that society?
This seems to be in the category of a no-brainer. Why would anyone want to live in a society where the wages that they were paid for their efforts in life were not adequate to sustain them? Why would any society choose to promote a policy that paid its citizens inadequately and required them to take up residence in a sewer or under a bridge or in an alley or starve or eat inadequately?
This seems dopey but yet this is exactly the case in societies all over the present world. We live like this because the so called principles of economics (supply and demand and free markets) are the true commandments from our multiple and various gods. We have these commandments today as opposed to loving thy neighbor as thyself, all men are created equal, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Hopefully a hundred years from now humankind will look back on this time and think of it as a part of the irrationality of a primitive and evolving civilization rather than a necessary fact in a cold, cruel world.
Again, I do not think that the question should be whether or not our citizens should be paid living wages or not but how we can achieve this obvious desirable goal of every worker being paid at minimum, a living wage and not just a competitive wage.
This problem has been debated since the beginning of human society. We have supposedly advanced beyond chattel slavery and now we must finally and at long last advance above wage slavery and step into the realm of the morally acceptable and socially responsible.