January 28th, 2009

Clay’s Law


photo credit: Cheryl’s Art Box

Last week, Utah Senator Howard Stephenson (who represents the area in which I live) announced a new law he has sponsored titled “Clay’s Law”, named after Clay Whiffen. Clay was diagnosed with autism at an early age, and was put through an expensive treatment plan by his parents that allowed him to overcome the issues he had been subjected to by his autism.

Clay’s mother, Leeann, has since written a book about the experience, organized a Utah Autism Coalition, and assisted in drafting the new legislation Senator Stephenson has sponsored.

This proposed bill requires insurance companies to provide coverage for autism-related treatment to the tune of up to $50,000 per year, depending on the child’s age. Proponents argue that the inevitable increase in monthly insurance premiums would be minimal, and in the long run cost taxpayers far less money than the alternative of having these children place a burden upon the “system” in later years as they mature and are in need of more social services.

Regardless of the alleged money to be saved (and ignoring the alternative that that money would be better saved by shutting down all such social government enterprises), it is important to consider whether this action is justified and proper at all. Parents of autistic children—like any social group that stands to financially benefit—are here clamoring for the strong arm of the law to side with them and help them do what they otherwise could not do on their own. Burdened with heavy medical bills and frustrated with unmerciful insurance policies, they desire to force their neighbors to help them shoulder the load.

Whether it is through direct taxation or a government-mandated insurance coverage increase, the underlying principle is the same. Socialism in all its forms is unethical, despite its general popularity and ability to induce strong emotional responses. Were the opponents of Clay’s Law, such as myself, to express our sympathy for parents of autistic children in having to meet these large financial obligations for desired treatment, we would no doubt be met with disbelief—after all, if we really do care for these children, why not make it mandatory to help them? This argument, though, is based on the false assumption that if one supports an activity, one should support laws requiring and implementing it for everybody. Showing the antiquity of this argument, Frédéric Bastiat wrote over 150 years ago about this exact fallacy:

It would seem that socialists, however self-complacent, could not avoid seeing this monstrous legal plunder that results from such systems and such efforts. But what do the socialists do? They cleverly disguise this legal plunder from others — and even from themselves — under the seductive names of fraternity, unity, organization, and association. Because we ask so little from the law — only justice — the socialists thereby assume that we reject fraternity, unity, organization, and association. The socialists brand us with the name individualist.

But we assure the socialists that we repudiate only forced organization, not natural organization. We repudiate the forms of association that are forced upon us, not free association. We repudiate forced fraternity, not true fraternity. We repudiate the artificial unity that does nothing more than deprive persons of individual responsibility. We do not repudiate the natural unity of mankind under Providence.

Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.

We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain. (Frédéric Bastiat, The Law)

I do sympathize with the parents of autistic children, and I feel sorry for the financial strain that treatment entails. But unlike some others, my sympathy does not translate into support for socialism. The government has no moral role in compelling a private company to offer its services to an individual. If an insurance company in the future does decide to offer coverage for these treatments, then that’s great—they should be left free to choose whether that is an option they wish to pursue.

Mandating coverage, though, is hardly the appropriate course of action. Imagine your favorite car company designing a prototype that has all the latest bells and whistles. This is the car of your dreams, but it’s far beyond what your wallet can handle. It would be generally recognized as ludicrous for you to try and get the government to mandate that the company lower its prices and provide you with their new car at the price that you want to pay. Why, then, do people see things differently when the issue of health (and other social services) is discussed?

Perhaps it is because, as Bastiat also noted, socialism is wrapped up in a seductive external package of philanthropy, equality, and justice. And in this light does Clay’s Law—and others like it—manifest itself. Utahns must decide what form of government they want, remembering that when we allow our government to assume the power to give us what we want, we likewise sow the seeds of our demise.

72 Responses to “Clay’s Law”

  1. Tim Harper
    January 28, 2009 at 8:35 am #

    Well articulated, Connor. I share your disdain for calling government charity charity at all. If man requires freedom to exercise charity, why vote away freedom in the name of charity? It doesn’t make any sense.

    Lately, I’ve found that I cringe when I hear any socialist buzzword, like “collective”, “equality”, and “public good”. And I’m ashamed to admit it: I’ve given them far too much power to claim the words they want to support their policies. I too value collective thought: combining free minds together in a common purpose is far more powerful than an individual trying to solve a problem on his own. I value equality: we are all Equal before our creator, and have the same rights and are subject to the same principles of the universe of reward and consequence. I also value the public good: there is nothing better for the public good than to be free from initiated force.

    The big difference is in the route we strive to achieve these ideals. If we look back when the two plans were presented in the pre-mortal life, we can easily identify from whence each approach stems.

  2. Tom Rod
    January 28, 2009 at 11:47 am #

    I find this post exactly in line with what I personally feel.

    However, I am plagued by one argument you mention, and the attendant question: how is socialism unethical? I see it as being antithetical to capitalism. I also know modern-day prophets have spoken against it. I see it as being a tool of power for exploit. But how is the actual concept of socialism, where those better off help those worse off, unethical?

    Perhaps I misapply the sentiment in the logic chain?

  3. January 28, 2009 at 12:30 pm #

    Tom,

    The missing element is who is pushing what. If it is entirely our own choice to give to those in need, then that is what we need more of. If it is government saying “you need to give some money, so we can give it to someone else” that is entirely different.

    We can get into discussions about the difference between coersion and persuasion (the former being wrong and the latter being ok). But government = force = coersion. Ask the question: Is it coersion or persuasion? That is where you’ll find the answer to both issues you bring up.

    Is a greedy capitalist using force? Rockefeller did when he bought up extra barrels just to prevent competition. That was wrong. Does a charity use force when asking for donations? As long as they don’t do it to the point of harassment, that’s fine. Can the government ever “ask” for donations instead of taxing? During the American Revolution and during WWII, they did. But in both cases, there were other more “socialistic” approaches to supplement people’s generosity.

    Connor,

    I believe there is another reason why medical issues are considered “acceptable socialism”. NEEDS vs WANTS.

    In my opinion food, clothing, & shelter is a simplistic list of needs. I would at least add medical and fuel (source of cooking and warmth during the winter).

    Others go so far as to think that cable TV is a need. WTF?

    However, just because it is a need does not justify government sponsored socialism. In fact, it often makes society worse. While we don’t want to create problems on purpose, we can see them as opportunities.

    When everything is going well, what a boring world it is. Who can we serve? How can we help anyone when there is nothing wrong?

    When a friend is sick we can take over some chicken soup to make them feel better. When a person just lost their job we can offer support or open our home to them. When someone is grieving we can offer comfort.

    Most importantly, it is only through misfortune and the unexpected that we can find humor. Hey this guy walked on a banana peal and nothing happened. Hee hee hee.

  4. Connor
    January 28, 2009 at 2:31 pm #

    But how is the actual concept of socialism, where those better off help those worse off, unethical?

    This article directly answers your question, and should hopefully clarify this issue for you.

  5. January 28, 2009 at 2:40 pm #

    Other reasons socialism is bad. #1 it is ineficient in the distribution of resources. When you send $100 dollars to washington dc for the “welfare” program only about $28 goes to the end recipient. The remainder is syphoned off to nameless beaurocrats. The other problem is when you have a government that is so powerful that it can provide everyone with thier needs, who then stands in need of God? This is why the prophets have reffered to socialism as “soul destroying” It is truely a doctrine of Satan. When we have lack of needs the Lord will act as a provider of them if we ask in faith. People turning to government for a handout are robbing themselves of the opportunity to grow in faith.

    Study the threatening letter Giddianhi sent to Lachoneous in the BOM. He tells Lachoneous that he can either join with him in partaking of his substance (stolen goods) or he will be destroyed. (are we not threatened with destruction when we refuse to participate in govt socialism ?)

    That spirit of gadiantonism that Giddianhi displayed permeates todays society.

  6. January 28, 2009 at 2:44 pm #

    Interesting timing on this Connor. Just this week I had a conversation with a LDS friend who has 2 autistic children. He complained about how he could be rich if it werent for his autistic children and thier special needs. He went on to say that the government should give them special benefits to help them out. I told him he was espousing Socialism and that the prophets had condemned that over the years. He didnt like hearing that too much.

  7. Curtis
    January 28, 2009 at 6:42 pm #

    Study the threatening letter Giddianhi sent to Lachoneous in the BOM. He tells Lachoneous that he can either join with him in partaking of his substance (stolen goods) or he will be destroyed. (are we not threatened with destruction when we refuse to participate in govt socialism ?)

    Giddianhi or any other member of secret combinations in the Book of Mormon weren’t socialists. That verse is hugely taken out of context. All members of secret combinations in the Book of Mormon were corrupt capitalists to the extreme. One of the biggest signs of corruption in 4th Nephi was the reintroduction of capitalism.

    46 And it came to pass that the robbers of Gadianton did spread over all the face of the land; and there were none that were righteous save it were the disciples of Jesus. And gold and silver did they lay up in store in abundance, and did traffic in all manner of traffic.

    Socialism and any relation to secret combinations cannot be found in the Book of Mormon. There was no outcry against socialism in the Book of Mormon, but only against secret combinations which sought to get gain at the expense of life.

  8. January 28, 2009 at 8:30 pm #

    Curtis, did the nephites not practice a capitalist society all through out the BOM except during the 200 year period after Christ when they practiced the united order? Under the reign of the judges and under all the righteous Kings they were capitalist if I remember correctly.

  9. January 28, 2009 at 8:43 pm #

    We know that the BOM is a parallel to our day and a warning. With all the damage to our free nation that socialism is causing, what stories are there in the BOM that illustrate the dangers of socialism. Perhaps the story of King Noah?

    Help me out here.

  10. January 28, 2009 at 8:48 pm #

    Here King Benjamin teaches the people correct principles. Isnt this a condemnation of Socialism in the BOM?

    Mosiah 2:13 Neither have I suffered that ye should be confined in dungeons, nor that ye should make slaves one of another, nor that ye should murder, or plunder, or steal,

    Do we not make slaves of one another when we allow the govt’ to steal our neighbors goods and then have them transferred to us?

    They may not use the word “socialism” in the BOM but if we look deeper we can still see the message.

  11. Curtis
    January 28, 2009 at 11:02 pm #

    Nice try Marc, but it’s a bit of a stretch. Sure, you could consider socialism a form of slavery, but they were most likely not thinking of socialism back then, but were more likely thinking of the traditional form of slavery, enforced servitude.

    One of the great messages of the Book of Mormon is the idolatry that covetousness and greed is. This is a major part of secret combinations and priestcraft and it is a major reason the people in the BoM fell. The Lord is very careful to warn us in these days of the same pitfall. Our scriptures are riddled with this message. I don’t fear the influence of socialism anywhere near the way I fear greed and covetousness. It is this that will bring our society down in the end if the scriptures are any indication of what is to come.

  12. Jeff T.
    January 29, 2009 at 12:50 am #

    I agree that the Book of Mormon is a witness against both capitalistic greed AND socialistic philosophies.

    I think we have a habit (a dangerous habit) of attacking socialism by defending inequality and self-seeking behavior. No, selfish behavior never was happiness.

  13. January 29, 2009 at 10:17 am #

    Jeff, I am not defending selfish greed or any thing like that. I am defending free agency above all. Let people do what they will with thier money and let the Lord judge them as to wether or not they were generous in thier giving. It is not you or mine or the govt’s place to determine how people spend thier money. Does the church force you to pay tithing? No, it is a test of your faithfullness.

    If people were doing right, they would keep what income they need for their own families needs and then give the surplus of thier income to the church as a fast offering. In this way we could all live the law of consecration.

    Socialism with all its confiscatory taxes makes this very difficult to achieve in our day since so much of our incomes are taxed away leaving us little to give to the poor. Just another example of how socialism is “soul destroying”

  14. January 29, 2009 at 10:37 am #

    Curtis, IMO There really isnt much difference between involuntary servitude and the slavery of socialism. Under the former you know you are a slave and under the latter you just think you are free. It’s pretty wickedly genius if you ask me.

    Just because they didnt call it “socialism” in the BOM doesnt mean we cant see the parallel for our own day and situtation.

  15. January 29, 2009 at 1:03 pm #

    Greed is far more dangerous in the hands of politicians than private capitalists. The former have the capacity to institutionalize greed, while the latter do not. However the latter can become just as bad when they seek special privilege from the politicians. Let us be clear, in both cases, it is greed institutionalized through the law that is the great evil. Or as Bastiat would say, “legal plunder”

    As far as the capitalist gadianton robbers, I would say hardly so. They seem to me more like politicians to the very core

    From Helaman Ch. 7:
    4 And seeing the people in a state of such awful wickedness, and those Gadianton robbers filling the judgment-seats—having usurped the power and authority of the land; laying aside the commandments of God, and not in the least aright before him; doing no justice unto the children of men;
    5 Condemning the righteous because of their righteousness; letting the guilty and the wicked go unpunished because of their money; and moreover to be held in office at the head of government, to rule and do according to their wills, that they might get gain and glory of the world, and, moreover, that they might the more easily commit adultery, and steal, and kill, and do according to their own wills—

  16. vontrapp
    January 29, 2009 at 1:34 pm #

    Curtis, of course the BoM doesn’t talk about “socialism.” The term is a modern label to fundamental system. Just because the label didn’t exist doesn’t mean the nephites didn’t deal with it.

    One of the great messages of the Book of Mormon is the idolatry that covetousness and greed is.

    And what is socialism but covetousness and greed? “I’m not rich like you because my children are expensive.” Sounds covetous to me. “If I’m gonna pay taxes I better get some educational grants for my children out of it!” Sounds like greed to me. Yes, socialism is a dastardly evil warned against in the BoM. Don’t let the lack of it spelling out ‘socialism’ fool you. I suggest that you should fear socialism the very same way you fear greed and covetousness.
    If, as connor suggests, you truly sympathize with the less fortunate, then by all means take some initiative and help out. Don’t hand the initiative over to government.
    I just now thought of another way that socialism is ‘soul murder’ or whatever it was. With socialism, you can walk up to a stranger in an office and sue for financial aid in any number of flavors. Most likely you will acquire the finances you seek. You can hereby seize funding from your neighbors and friends and countless strangers without ever looking them in the eye. It’s cowardly and debasing, but most of all, you are not required to humble yourself, at least to the extent of humility experienced in seeking aid from a friend, a bishop, or a neighbor. God requires that we humble ourselves, that our weaknesses may become strengths. If we heap our weaknesses upon the faceless mass theft of government, we are not humbled, and our weaknesses remain. By and large, society does not learn or grow through any measure of humility. God’s wrath is kindled against us, for we are boasting in our pride, our ‘enlightenment,’ and our equality. I’ve heard the argument many times that to mandate charity robs the action of its service and love. Now I recognize this is not the only thing robbed when service is debased. The served are no longer humble, and do not receive the same blessings as one truly being served enjoys.

  17. January 29, 2009 at 1:38 pm #

    The Communist Manifesto states:

    From each according to his ability. To each according to his need.

    A parallel in capitalism is not:

    From each according to ability, to each according to work.

    The true essence of capitalism is:

    To each according to his production.

    It doesn’t matter what your abilities are. It doesn’t matter how much you work. It only matters how much you produce.

    A factory worker may produce X widgets a day. He should be paid accordingly.

    A manager provides the facilities and logistics to allow 20 workers to produce 20X widgets. He should be paid accordingly.

    An owner of a large corporation provides the overhead, sales, marketing, supplies, etc. to allow all those managers and workers to produce 30,000X widgets a day. He should be paid accordingly.

    It is when anyone in the chain believes that their cut of the profits per widget should be larger than their contribution to producing those widgets that capitalism starts to wear.

    But the market seems to have some self-correcting mechanism for that. Large corporations will fall if people at any level push too much for more than their share (outside of certain tolerances). Unions pushed for more than their contribution for car manufacturers. They are falling. Bank CEOs were wanting more than their fair share. Banks are falling.

    Socialism or Communism has no self-correcting mechanism. We have to depend on noble leaders to be wise and virtuous. But how often does that happen? If men were saints and if kings were angels . . .

    I never want to be mistaken for someone who believes that capitalism is perfect. But it has the fewest defects of any economic system that we know of, until Christ can reign on this earth.

  18. January 29, 2009 at 2:05 pm #

    I don’t think there are any defects in capitalism…all capitalism really is is economic freedom. The defects lie with human beings. However, despite all our defects, we are very resourceful and self-correcting, which is why ‘capitalism’ or economic freedom works so well. If people are left alone, things will generally work out suprisingly smooth. But when ‘holier than thou’ types step in to mandate their particular vision of society on the rest of us, chaos insues. When the Savior comes to usher in the millenium, I think many of us will be suprised at how free society will be.

  19. January 29, 2009 at 2:45 pm #

    My take on the BOM is that it is allegorical in nature. That is we can study the stories in it and draw parallels to almost any siutation we face in our day. Elder Hales in last conference spoke about Amalikiah and how he got Lehonti to come down from the high ground and therein poisoned him by degrees. Hales drew the parallel that we should take the high ground when people try to draw us into an argument since they are trying to poison us with thier rethoric. IMO we should look a little deeper and ponder the many parallels in that book and apply them. That is one of the main reasons it has been given to us, that we may be wiser than the nephites were.

  20. January 29, 2009 at 2:51 pm #

    The question I would put forth is what is the greater sin? To force everyone to be charitable and have equality, or to have total economic freedom and have people behave selfishly?

    For me, I would prefer the latter since the former sounds so much like Satan’s plan of salvation.

  21. Harold L Doherty
    January 29, 2009 at 4:47 pm #

    “Were the opponents of Clay’s Law, such as myself, to express our sympathy for parents of autistic children in having to meet these large financial obligations for desired treatment, we would no doubt be met with disbelief”

    You got that right. I have a real hard time believing you.

    But hey, I am a Canadian, a citizen of a country which spends far less on health care and whose citizens live longer and have lower rates of infant mortality than the US.

    Canada

    Infant mortality rate:

    total: 5.08 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 5.4 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 4.75 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

    Life expectancy at birth:

    total population: 81.16 years
    male: 78.65 years
    female: 83.81 years (2008 est.)

    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ca.html

    United States

    Infant mortality rate:

    total: 6.3 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 6.95 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 5.62 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

    Life expectancy at birth:

    total population: 78.14 years
    male: 75.29 years
    female: 81.13 years (2008 est.)

    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/us.html

  22. Curtis
    January 29, 2009 at 11:36 pm #

    To try to fit socialism into the warnings in the book of Mormon and other scriptures about financial excess is really looking far beyond the mark. The thought misses the message of the scriptures entirely. D&C 49:20 sums the picture up perfectly:

    “But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.”

    The world lies in sin not because there is an equalization of wealth, but because there is a discrepancy in the amount of wealth that some hold while others have nothing.

    This is a large part of the message of the scriptures on the topic of wealth. To try to twist the message of the scriptures into the criticism of socialism is truly wresting the scriptures. There may be a few verses that one could say are tangentially related such as the prohibitions against slavery, but on the whole, the great message of the scriptures on the topic of wealth is that it is not to be sought after since we have a greater purpose here in this life, greater things to be seeking after.

  23. vontrapp
    January 30, 2009 at 8:41 am #

    Curtis, I’d like you to respond to my comments about socialism being covetousness and greed. I’d like to know your feelings on that. It seems to me that you reject the idea that the BoM could denounce socialism because you think it’s the greatest thing since peanuts. Maybe I’m wrong.

    Once again, NO ONE here is advocating inequality or wealth dispersion. What we are advocating is the CHOICE to either lift up our fellow man with our means, or to humble ourselves to be lifted up. Socialism destroys both sides. There are no more blessings left, no humility, no choice, no honor, no brotherhood, just equality. Satan’s plan was all about equality back then, too. We didn’t go for it then, why go for it now? Equality isn’t an end for any means. It’s an ideal to be striven for, no doubt, but at the cost of agency and blessings and humility and the true love of Christ?? I think not.

  24. January 30, 2009 at 9:27 am #

    Ditto on post #23. Nice summary Vontrapp. The prophets over the years have been very clear that socialism is not a correct principle. I suggest anyone who doesnt understand why go and study the brethrens teachings on this. Pres. Romney in 1966 gave a conference address on this topic and explained it clearly. I’m sure you can find it online somewhere. It really helped me understand the truth better.

    Our economic station in life is a test of our faithfullness. The wealthy are being tested to see if they will humble themselves in charity toward thier less blessed brethren. The poor are being tested to see if they wether or not they will rely on the Lord for their daily bread.

    Remember, we are here to be tested and tried. Socialism destroys that opportunity for growth and testing.

  25. January 30, 2009 at 9:36 am #

    I think the reason I oppose the socialistic approach is because of my own trials in life. I struggled for years to make a living after having many health problems. After humbling myself I went to the Lord and asked him sincerely to help me find the way. He has answered those prayers and opened many doors and healed me and brought about many miracles in my life. Because I went to the Lord for help and not government, my faith has increased along with my prosperity.

    If I turned to govt’ for help I would still be sick and living as a slave to thier handouts and more importantly, living without faith.

    Matt 6:26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

  26. Clumpy
    January 30, 2009 at 11:32 pm #

    Much of socialist ideology hinges on a questioning of the fundamental meritocratic assumption of capitalism that people deserve to be rewarded in temporal ways for their work and talent. This belief leads a socialist to the conclusion that the wealthy and successful have not earned their high places in society. It’s perfectly consistent to believe in socialism if you also incorporate these ideas – to a dedicated Marxist capitalism is slavery.

    The idea of socialism scares me quite a bit because I like my financial autonomy and don’t believe that a government can take on that much power without incomprehensible corruption and totalitarian control. Socialism would only work if everybody was completely altruistic, in which case it would be unnecessary. See the paradox?

  27. Curtis
    January 31, 2009 at 1:01 am #

    Von Trapp,
    Socialism is not an ideology that makes people wealthy if it’s carried out properly. There are many socialist governments which are corrupt and members of the State enrich themselves off of the people’s wealth. True socialism says that man cannot go out and make all the money he wants without limitations. Socialism seeks to bring the standard of living up for society on the whole, but does not seek to enrich the poor and to elevate them to the level of a rich person. Is a poor person greedy because he wants enough food for his family so as to not go hungry? Is a poor person greedy and covetousness because he would like to have the medication that will save his child from illness and death? Socialism doesn’t engender greed and covetousness anymore than capitalism does in my opinion. Obviously there will be those who are greedy and covetous in any sort of economic system, but I reject the idea that socialism is what the book of Mormon is talking about when it speaks of covetousness and greed.

    It is quite obvious that when the Nephites went bad, they were always seeking to stratify society into classes with the wicked at the top. They sought to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor. They sought a better education for their kids because of their wealth and the classes became further divided. They did not go bad because the poor were covetous of the wealth of the rich. It is still wrong for a poor person to covet the wealth of the wealthy, but I cannot look into a poor person’s heart and say he is covetous because he desires a home to live in and security for his family.

    I don’t reject the idea that the Book of Mormon denounces socialism because it is the greatest thing since peanuts (peanuts aren’t so popular these days anyway), but I reject the idea because the Book of Mormon really, in no way attempts to denounce socialism. That is why I commented from the beginning. The scripture quoted is often taken out of context to say that socialism is denounced in the Book of Mormon, when really, the big denouncement of secret combinations with regards to wealth has to do with their seeking for riches that have absolutely nothing to do with socialism.

    I am not trying to defend socialism as a way of life here. I think it is a stretch to read something into the scriptures that is not there and would like to clear that point up. I haven’t had anyone able to convince me that socialism is denounced in the scriptures at all. In fact, there are scriptures which would seem to lend support to socialism such as the book of Deuteronomy and Moses’s regulations against usury and the Jubilee year of debt forgiveness and the restrictions against picking up harvest that had dropped to the ground as that was to go to the poor etc.

  28. Curtis
    January 31, 2009 at 1:06 am #

    Marc,
    You make a good point that our economic position here is a test no matter what point we reside at on the grand scale of wealthiness. However, I disagree that our agency is taken away by socialism. Our agency can’t be taken away. It was given to us by God and man can’t take it from us. Your agency is exercised in that you choose to follow the light of Christ or not, regardless of your situation in this life. There are men who spend their entire lives enslaved or in prison or in other positions which restrict their freedom. Their agency is not taken away. Only God can do that. They are still judged according to their actions and thoughts just like anyone else. I feel it is a mistaken concept to say that our agency can be taken away by socialism.

  29. January 31, 2009 at 8:20 am #

    Clay, I realize that the ideals of a principled society are sometimes hard to understand. Satan is the master counterfeiter. Socialism or anything like unto it is a counterfeit to the Lord’s plan of temporal welfare known as consecration or the “united order”. We need to be careful we are not found supporting Satan’s methods.

    This is from a Marion G. Romney talk that condemns all forms of socialism:

    Let us work for what we need. Let us be self-reliant and independent. Salvation can be obtained on no other principle. Salvation is an individual matter, and we must work out our own salvation, in temporal as well as in spiritual things.

    Go to lds.org and search “Romney In My Own Way” and you can read the whole talk. Its brilliant.

  30. January 31, 2009 at 8:35 am #

    I suggest reading Pres. Benson’s classic “The Proper Role of Goverment” where he smashes the idea that the government has any role in the redistrubution of wealth.

    Excerpt here:

    We have before us currently a sad example of what happens to a nation which ignores these principles. Former FBI agent, Dan Smoot, succinctly pointed this out on his broadcast number 649, dated January 29, 1968, as follows:

    “England was killed by an idea: the idea that the weak, indolent and profligate must be supported by the strong, industrious, and frugal – to the degree that tax-consumers will have a living standard comparable to that of taxpayers; the idea that government exists for the purpose of plundering those who work to give the product of their labor to those who do not work. The economic and social cannibalism produced by this communist-socialist idea will destroy any society which adopts it and clings to it as a basic principle – ANY society.”

  31. Clumpy
    February 1, 2009 at 2:59 am #

    Actually, Marc, ANY system other than the United Order is terrestrial at best, evil at worst. But I’ve already spoken quite a bit about this so I’ll just let it stand that even capitalism isn’t a “free” system – we reject socialism because it is a path to totalitarianism, not because everybody’s earned every dollar they have and to redistribute would constitute theft.

  32. February 2, 2009 at 12:00 pm #

    Socialism has little to do with material wealth or the lack thereof. It has everything to do with power. The power to control is the true motivational force behind socialistic endeavor. Lucifer desires to control all he surveys. He desires only glory as recompense for his efforts. Since he cannot control any who will deny him, he must enlist the aid of those who are willing to sacrifice their freedom for material possessions. Lucifer will gladly give all he has for glory. Unfortunately, many of our brothers and sisters will give their glory for a morsel of earthly pleasure.

  33. Clumpy
    February 2, 2009 at 1:06 pm #

    Again, capitalism puts the power to control in the hands of those who already have material resources for whatever reason, while socialism puts it in the hands of the government. Both are quite capable of corruption as every system and society on earth has proven, but the wealthy and power don’t have access to a military.

    It’s not as if some financial systems exercise control over their subjects while others don’t.

  34. Connor
    February 4, 2009 at 11:23 pm #

    Here’s a story of a similar bill being considered in Utah, mandating that insurance companies cover a food formula for people with allergies. The congresswoman sponsoring the bill argues that other states that have implemented the policy haven’t seen a rise in insurance premiums, but as I argue in this post, that’s beside the point. Government should not be dictating what insurance policies have to cover.

  35. February 5, 2009 at 12:41 pm #

    Clumpy,

    but the wealthy and power don’t have access to a military

    I believe you’ve distilled the issue. FORCE.

    While there are many definitions of force, surely those methods that the government has at it’s disposal cannot easily be construed as anything but force.

    Those methods that the wealthy have can be considered, propaganda, persuasion, bribery, etc.

    Notice though, how when government does it, how easy it is to use force, how accepted it is. When corporations use strong arm tactics how difficult it is (and usually illegal) and how unacceptable it is.

  36. Clumpy
    February 5, 2009 at 4:55 pm #

    @Carborendum,

    Interesting that I’ve been reading Max Weber today and he made nearly the same point which stuck with me. He defined a state (in the general governmental stance) as an entity that “successfully upholds a claim on the monopoly of the legitimate use of violence in the enforcement of its order.”

    When governments bomb, black-bag you or otherwise act in gross abuse of their powers, we often excuse it because we’re used to that sort of thing. It frustrates me to no end when one of my colleagues argues for unlimited power for police officers, TSA agents, members of Congress, soldiers etc. merely because of their government attachment and some allegiance to an abstract notion like “safety” or “order” – things that are important but not tantamount to freedom, liberty and autonomy.

  37. February 19, 2009 at 3:24 am #

    Socialism requires all to participate. Insurance is the voluntary spreading of unusual expenses over a large group. In socialism everyone is forced to participate. With insurance anyone who chooses to can not purchase insurance and only pay for exactly what they consume.
    As such, Clay’s law is not even about whether groups should spread risk over the group in a business transaction. Clay’s law doesn’t require insurance purchase, although this is highly recommended in the publication ‘One for the Money.’
    Covering Autism is no different then covering cancer, or treatment for car crashes.
    Clay’s law is about whether a business can discriminate or single out a small subset of individuals. The question is not if government should advocate socialism, but if it should protect the weak. Should the government advocate a social Darwinism of might makes right, and let the strong can kill or rob the weak because they can, or should the government provide certain protections. When governments fail to act then anarchy reigns, and people band together to form tyrannies. Government protection of the weak is needed to protect freedom. In this case minor guidance by law will help defuse the push for socialism, coverage paid for by the government.
    Marion Romney’s talk is quoted above, but Elder Romney’s concern was with able bodied people becoming dependent on dolls from what ever source state, church, or parent. With the dependency limiting their freedom, and putting them at risk if the providers supply runs out. Clay’s law is about helping disabled people to become self sufficient as adults and not dependent on the state, church, or parents.

  38. February 19, 2009 at 7:37 pm #

    Darwin,

    That is about as stupid as the government requiring Playboy to hire male models.

  39. February 19, 2009 at 10:44 pm #

    Carborendum,
    I’m sorry. I don’t follow your logic as far as how your comment is related to mine other then that they are both required by the government.
    In my argument the government mandate would be to prevent a powerful institution from abusing power to destroy the weak. (Just as the governments should use their power to prevent powerful parents from destroying their weak unborn children.)
    In your example the male models were not being destroyed by not being hired. In fact from a moral stand point they were being protected by not being hired. Should they want to do that type of work there are many other magazines that will hire them. The autistic children don’t have other options, which is why government intervention is being requested to protect them.

  40. February 20, 2009 at 7:02 am #

    A couple of additional ideas on the thread above.
    President Benson’s book which said the Book of Mormon show’s the evils of Socialism, also said the Book of Mormon showed the evils of Social Darwinism. I think Clays law is about fighting Social Darwinism and not about Socialism.
    Yes slavery is as the Book of Mormon pointed out bad, and the arguement above is that slavery is when one side is forced to provide help without being compensated. One thing to consider is does Clay’s law create slaves or free slaves and make help turn them into more equal partners in the transaction? Currently parents of Autistic children pay for other peoples treatment, without recieving payment for their childrens treatment. For example, people with AIDs recieve payment for their treatment, without providing the recipricating help through the insurance contract for Autism; or perhads the people with aids are already paying the recipricating amount, but the insurance is keeping their extra payment as profit, without providing the reciprocating benefit to parents. Either way, Clay’s law is making the contract more reciprocal. By the definition of slavery above Clay’s law helps change parents of Autistic children from slaves of the other people being insured, or the insurance company to more equal partners.
    However, I must admit that I think the slave arguement breaks down on both sides (which is why it is not an issue of Socialism), because insurance is voluntary.
    I think it is an issue of Social Darwinism, because the insurance companies are creating an unequal contract, through their power.

  41. Connor
    February 20, 2009 at 7:46 am #

    However, I must admit that I think the slave arguement breaks down on both sides (which is why it is not an issue of Socialism), because insurance is voluntary.

    Insurance itself is voluntary, but in Clay’s law (and other legislation previously proposed and passed), the government is altering the nature and terms of that voluntary relationship, using force to dictate a different arrangement.

    Sure, you could then choose not to be insured altogether and thus not be affected by it, but what I am arguing here is that the government should not intervene in private, contractual agreements of a voluntary nature. Should they do so (and as they have done so in the past), then there is no voluntary insurance agreement that can be made since government is mandating certain conditions with which I might disagree.

  42. February 20, 2009 at 12:46 pm #

    Darwin,

    I only partially buy the “other option” argument (more on that later). As for the overall argument:

    You place “fairness” and “protection of the weak” above economics as the guiding principle of business. You also make the claim that insurance companies are “destroying” those with autism. Fairness is incorrectly applied here. The destroying argument is false.

    1) A business is run on principles of economics. Economics requires fairness — true. But fair for whom? Your position automatically assumes that this proposal will be fair to the business and the public at large. Do you honestly think that a bunch of elected officials who time and time again prove they are incapable of balancing books (I might except Utah, since they tend to have a surplus quite frequently) to come and tell a business that they need to make a change in policy since “it will not significantly impact cost”?

    2) What did the insurance company have to do with the child’s autism? Did they cause it? How are they destroying him? They are refusing to help. But so are you. Have you given money to the family? Do you know what the motivation is? Maybe the business decision is that this will increase costs across the board and will eventually hurt their customers at large. There’s plenty of data to support that position. You don’t know. It’s only your knee jerk reaction to paint business as greedy. Who says? I’ll grant that maybe they did it for selfish reasons. But we don’t know. Do you know the board personally? I don’t.

    I’ve been working with several banks on some construction lately. These particular banks are fine with lending money. Why? Because when they looked at the opportunity to do sub-prime loans they realized they would go bankrupt. Then no one would get loans. They were criticized by the public because “they weren’t being fair to the poor”. Actually, they did their part to be fair to everybody. And we now see the result of other banks trying to be fair only to the poor.

    Again I ask: 1) Do you know the real reasons why the insurance companies are refusing? 2) Fair to whom?

    OTHER OPTIONS:

    Do you truly believe there are no other options? Other methods of treatment? Work arounds? Family? Charity? Is the ONLY option really just insurance or nothing? I find that hard to believe.

    So many times we want government to step in because we’ve been hurt. Sure, that might be a guideline for when government should step in. But we seem to have come to a point in society where we never want to feel ANY pain (and all too often, any effort). Yes, it is unfortunate that these families have to deal with disorders like autism. My heart goes out to them. But does that justify the use of force to get others to help?

    The reason why I brought up Playboy is that both Playboy and Hooters have had lawsuits by men who claimed that these companies “discriminated against men”. Imagine that. These men claimed they were “victims” of discrimination. These powerful corporations were preventing them from reaching their goals. A guy always wanted to be a Hooters waiter. There is no other option if his goal is to become a Hooters waiter. You have to go to Hooters.

    Disclaimer: No, I would not normally want to defend companies like Playboy or Hooters on the principles of their businesses. But in a free country, to defend your own freedom, you have to defend those you would normally oppose.

  43. February 20, 2009 at 1:56 pm #

    I have a friend with an autistic child. I haven’t spoken with him in a while. So I thought I’d call him and ask him about this issue.

    His position is that although he is more conservative and slightly libertarian (thus he would be against this law) he has accepted that we live in a socialist country now and there is nothing we can do about it. So, he might as well get as many handouts as possible.

    Yes, he found other ways to deal with his child’s autism. But if he’s going to pay taxes and insurance premiums to force this issue, he might as well take advantage of it.

  44. February 20, 2009 at 11:05 pm #

    Hi Connor:
    If I understand you correctly, your concern with Clays law is not about how it modifies the voluntary contract. Your feeling is that any modification to a voluntary contract by the government (regardless of benefit/removal of harm to society; protection of the weak/removal of Social Darwinism) is wrong. If that is the case, do you feel it was wrong of the government to close down the peanut butter plant that was knowingly selling products tainted with salmonella, through voluntary transactions?

  45. February 20, 2009 at 11:37 pm #

    Hi Carborendum:
    You have thrown out quite a lot of ideas in your two posts, and I am not quite sure where to start. Your second post seems to be somewhat of a summary, so I will start there and your response will help me answer your first post later, if you are still interested.

    If I understand your friends answer this way [(putting it back in slavery terms.) It sounds like he is saying that he doesn’t like slavery, but since we are all already slaves, and he is putting in an equal amount of work he is not opposes to his child being given enough food to meet his childs needs, like the other slaves, and their children, are already receiving; even though he has found a way to produce a little extra food on the side to keep his child from outright starving to death. ]
    Then I think your friend isn’t in the wrong.
    (I suspect that this is what your friend meant.)

    If your friend is saying [ (using the slavery terms again) that because he is a slave and can never be free. He should not only accept more food, to meet his childs needs; but he should take every piece of food he can get from his master, just because he can. ]
    Then I think your friend is in the wrong.

    Which of these interpretations do you think is closer to what your friend intended?
    How do you feel about your friend’s response?
    Do you have the same feelings about the equivalent analogy?

  46. Connor
    February 20, 2009 at 11:45 pm #

    Your feeling is that any modification to a voluntary contract by the government (regardless of benefit/removal of harm to society; protection of the weak/removal of Social Darwinism) is wrong.

    Government has a limited role, in that it (properly) exists to secure our rights and create a secure environment in which we may prosper. If the peanut plant was consciously and actively selling tainted products, then they have committed fraud against their customers, and thus the government may rightly intervene. If some lunatic knew about the salmonella and still wanted to patronize the business, then more power to them. But when one party of a voluntary contract intentionally deceives another, than of course the arbitration of government through necessary force is reasonable.

    Clay’s law has little to do with this, since the insurance company is not negatively impacting the autistic child’s life. Rather, insurance customers are demanding a service from this company which has done nothing wrong. Since they are innocent, it is wrong for the government to compel them to modify their behavior, especially for nothing more than a perceived economic entitlement.

  47. February 21, 2009 at 4:04 pm #

    Hi Conner:

    What if the peanut butter manufacturer never said that their product didn’t have salmonella, and they just said it was peanut butter. They sold it in bulk to people who sold it in individual products. The people who distributed it to the end consumer thought it was fine. Then when a small ration of people got sick and discovered that the peanut butter was bad. They were told that there was a master contract that the distributers had never seen, and they never supplied to the end customer that a small percent of people might get salmonella from the peanut butter, and the manufacture had not put the salmonella in the peanut butter?

  48. February 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm #

    Darwin,

    1) I’m not sure if either interpretation is the correct one. You kind of have to know this guy. He’s quite a character. It’s not easy to categorize him or his motives very easily. I could give some examples. But I believe that would just create more partial (and probably incorrect) categorization. You really have to experience him in person.

    2) I wasn’t really giving his response as an argument. Nor was I trying to summarize the previous post. I wasn’t even targeting you in particular when I made that post. I just thought it would be good for the entire party to get some insider information from someone who would be directly effected by this legislation (if he lived in Utah) yet would be against it. But as I’ve been thinking about it, his response doesn’t seem to help the argument either way.

    3) As for post #42. I was merely responding to your question to clarify my statement regarding Playboy hiring males.

    Here is an attempt at a summary:

    In both cases the company has to determine what the customer wants and what best way to provide that. But if different customers want different things, then a judgment call must be made to determine what is best for the business as a whole and the customers as a group. It would be easier if it were something like retail, where a local manager could come up with a unique solution on a case by case basis. But in neither case is this possible.

    You think it would be best for government to decide. I believe it would be best for the business and the customers to decide.

    When elected officials make such decisions, well . . . I’m not currently aware of any significant decisions that have gone well for businesses. I am well aware of many where it caused the business to close.

    When a large portion of customers decide though their purchasing power, the business tends to listen.

  49. February 22, 2009 at 8:35 am #

    Hi Conner:
    Here are a couple of things to consider.
    1st) Insurance companies unlike (I think) other type of business don’t have to have caused damage to be liable for it. For example, if you (I assume you have normal insurance) broke your arm and your insurance company didn’t have anything to do with the cause of the broken arm they would still be liable.
    Insurance companies can also be responsible for the complications that do not come from paying for something that the insurance company was responsible for paying for where it leads to the complication. For example, if the insurance covers a kidney transplant, and the insurance company fails to pay for it (or pay for it in a timely manner) and the customer dies, the insurance company can be held liable for the persons death. (Even if there is no life insurance provision in the policy.)
    Many parents of children of autistic children held policies that said they covered x number of speach and occupational therapy sessions a year, with nothing in their copy about autism exclusions. However, when the parents went to exersise there policy, they were told that the insurance wouldn’t pay for these for them; because in their case it is autism related (I have also heard of diarea not being covered because it is ‘autism related’.) The parent’s employers were not aware of the autism exclusion. However, the insurance companies told the parents they would not pay because autism was excluded in the ‘master policy’ that only the insurance company has access too.
    When insurance fails to cover something insurance is responsible for, they are also responsible for the later complications that follow. (You have noted above the cost of some of these later issues from lack of treatment.)
    While this should entitle the parents to a law suit. A mandate is the preferred method; because the parents aren’t interested on inflicting heavy penalties on the insurance companies that affect everyone’s premiums. if this can be avoided and their children can still get help. A mandate also helps the insurance company to avoid accepting the responsiblity for the huge penalties, so they will be more cooperative, making the resolution faster and more likely to help their children.

  50. February 22, 2009 at 8:49 am #

    Hi Carborendum:
    1) I agree that in most cases the government should avoid interfering with companies, and that typically customer business decisions are best. However, in this case most customers have been shut out of the decision process, as they tend to be limited to what their businesses offer; and most customers aren’t even aware of this issue unless they went to exercise their policy.

    2) I think that in cases where the contracts contents are dominated by one side, then Social Darwinism will occur without government interference in these cases.
    Do you feel that completely free markets will stop Social Darwinism? If they don’t should govenments be allowed to step in in these cases? If not, what if anything should be done to guard against Social Darwinism?

  51. Connor
    February 22, 2009 at 9:44 am #

    What if the peanut butter manufacturer never said that their product didn’t have salmonella, and they just said it was peanut butter.

    If they knowingly did it, they would be guilty of fraud. If they were irresponsible and didn’t have the appropriate testing in place, then they could be charged with negligence or some similar crime. But the potential fear of food poising does not, in my mind, justify the creation and maintenance of a large bureaucracy to regulate and approve every type of food sold for public sale. This creates a false sense of security, since people presume that anything approved by this small group of people must be okay for public consumption. So they lower their guard, don’t do their homework, and subject themselves to things they otherwise might not.

    For example, if you (I assume you have normal insurance) broke your arm and your insurance company didn’t have anything to do with the cause of the broken arm they would still be liable.

    They would only be liable if your (voluntarily obtained) insurance agreement specifically lists coverage for these types of accidents. But if you shove your arm into a vat of acid, and don’t have the insurance for that type of event, then they could not be held liable.

    Many parents of children of autistic children held policies that said they covered x number of speach and occupational therapy sessions a year, with nothing in their copy about autism exclusions. However, when the parents went to exersise there policy, they were told that the insurance wouldn’t pay for these for them; because in their case it is autism related (I have also heard of diarea not being covered because it is ‘autism related’.)

    Then these companies can be taken to court for breach of contract. This doesn’t mean that we need to legislate the mandate for autism coverage. Rather, one court case would see insurance companies further clarifying their autism coverage, and then you can decide which company to patronize (e.g. find one that does coverage autism-related treatments).

    While this should entitle the parents to a law suit. A mandate is the preferred method; because the parents aren’t interested on inflicting heavy penalties on the insurance companies that affect everyone’s premiums.

    I agree that a legislated mandate is the preferred method. But might does not make right. This popular option for the force of law to mandate coverage does not imply it is the proper thing to do. Indeed, as I have argued above, I think that it is not.

    As I just said, if you have a contract with an insurance company and they are not holding up their end of the (voluntary) deal, then take them to court. Or speak to management and threaten legal action. Or pursue some other option that will be specific to your case, or perhaps cause the company to clarify or fix their coverage policy. But legislation (which would also raise premiums) is unjust and immoral, since it forces every company to comply. A lawsuit affecting one company would be limited in scope, and affect only the customers of that company, who could then jump ship and look for other options if they desired to do so.

    A mandate also helps the insurance company to avoid accepting the responsiblity for the huge penalties, so they will be more cooperative, making the resolution faster and more likely to help their children.

    Actually, the free market would be far better than a legislative mandate. If parents of autistic children organized a boycott, created public awareness, and demanded change, then the companies would self-regulate in order to preserve customer loyalty and approval. Market forces are far more powerful (and moral) than using the law to compel an action.

  52. February 22, 2009 at 4:54 pm #

    Hi Connor:
    I think I can see where you are coming from for most of your response, but there is one piece I am not clear on.
    Do you think that the government should act to stop the company that is distributing peanut butter with salmonella as soon as they are aware of the problem.
    Or, should they allow the company to continue to operate that way until the damaged parties sued, and everything played out in the courts?

  53. Clumpy
    February 22, 2009 at 9:06 pm #

    Connor, I understand the role of the market and lawsuits in improving products and corporations, as well as the use of civil suits to punish corporations who have not technically broken any laws but have acted inappropriately. And I understand the role of a civil suit to, for example, punish a corporation who poisons its customers through negligence or profit-gouging that results in slipping safety standards.

    But what about a business that poisons its customers slowly, imperceptibly over several years? We don’t really have a legal mechanism for that. This type of wrongdoing would be very difficult to prove but might have been a willful attempt by the corporation to cut costs by releasing a dangerous product. How can anything but regulation keep this from happening (while admitting that it’s not guaranteed Federal agencies will catch the problem)?

    Connor, sorry for always playing Devil’s advocate but it’s really all that I know :).

  54. vontrapp
    February 23, 2009 at 9:35 am #

    This peanut butter thing is a great example of a huge pet peeve of mine. People run around screaming “the sky is falling” always calling for new laws to “save us.” My pet peeve is that these people fail to realize that in 99.9% of all cases, there already exists sufficient law to address their grievances, and making new laws is just a knee jerk reaction, counter productive, and just makes life and everything all the more complicated!

    Now, the peanut butter example. There are already laws about people dying. If people die, and it’s to the fault of another party, that party is prosecuted. Even if the deaths are not “intentional” there are even laws about that! We have enough laws people! We just need to apply them!

    So in answer to darwin’s question as per the peanut butter. Yes the government can intervene, no it does not have to sit back and wait for a lawsuit. And most of all, NO we do not need a NEW law for the government to do so, existing law is sufficient!

  55. February 23, 2009 at 1:08 pm #

    Darwin,

    I hear you, but I think you make some false assumptions.

    1) When you say that customers are shut out of the decision making process, who’s fault is that? Your solution would assume that it is the business’s fault. Unless the industry is scheming to get legislation to nullify competition, the business is rarely at fault. It is usually the government (with too much intervention) or the people (with not enough involvement or understanding) who are lacking or pushing too much.

    2) You seem to imply that social darwinism is necessarily bad. I’m guessing because you link it to Nazism or other misguided form of eugenics theories. Although linked, notice that I said these are misguided. Social Darwinism in the long run is often a good thing.

    While capitalism is one of the driving forces of social darwinsim, Darwin, it is not the only one. And of all the forces driving it, capitalism is one of the most fair and balanced of them. Other forces, such as the misguided philosophies of a charismatic leader (Hitler) are much less balanced.

    Remember, one leader’s ideas easily become unfair. But the true forces of capitalism require every transaction to be beneficial to all parties, or else there is no transaction to be made. It is the individual’s decision as to what is “beneficial”. But the overall forces of the free market will gradually drive every industry to a better outcome.

    BTW, is this Joe again?

  56. February 23, 2009 at 7:09 pm #

    Hi Carborendum:
    No Darwin is my real name.
    The reason for the follow up on Social Darwinism, is that the orignal premise for this thread was that Clay’s law was bad because it was Socialism. (Connor has since noted, if I understand correctly that Clay’s law doesn’t qualify as Socialism, because insurance is voluntary.)
    Socialism was listed as bad per the Book of Mormon, and per President Benson. However, in the same book that President Benson said the Book of Mormon exposed the evils of Socialism he also said that it exposed the evils of Social Darwinism.
    I am arguing that Clay’s Law is needed to avoid Social Darwinism.

  57. February 23, 2009 at 7:19 pm #

    Hi Vontrapp:
    I am glad you agree that the peanut butter plant should be shut down without waiting for a law suit. I am not sure Conner does. I am interested in his answer. (As you can sense this is relevant to the insurance issue.)
    As far as new laws to cover new variants of old issues. It sounds like your (Vontrapp’s) preference would be for the legislature do nothing, and just have the courts and burocracy make all the decisions based on the old laws is that correct?

  58. Connor
    February 23, 2009 at 8:40 pm #

    Connor has since noted, if I understand correctly that Clay’s law doesn’t qualify as Socialism, because insurance is voluntary.

    I have not indicated that. I stand by what I wrote in the original post:

    Whether it is through direct taxation or a government-mandated insurance coverage increase, the underlying principle is the same. Socialism in all its forms is unethical, despite its general popularity and ability to induce strong emotional responses.

    Government-enforced alterations in a private company that affect all customers (of every other similar company as well) is hardly different from enforced direct taxation.

    I am glad you agree that the peanut butter plant should be shut down without waiting for a law suit. I am not sure Conner does. I am interested in his answer.

    If somebody makes a claim of injury or fraud (on the part of the business for intentionally or inadvertently causing harm through the sale of their product), then I believe that government certainly should have the authority and responsibility to intervene, investigate, and punish any guilty actors.

    But this is America, where writs of assistance were once the kindling that helped spark the Revolution. Thus, I think that government should not have the power to so intervene domestically on its own suspicions, and nothing more. This, if taken to an extreme, creates a world where people are searched, investigated, and punished for crimes not yet committed, and for which no injury has been reported.

  59. February 23, 2009 at 9:39 pm #

    Hi Conner:
    Thank you for the clarification. If I understand you correctly, In the case of the peanut butter plant. If the government can prove harm is being done, it can act to shut down the peanut butter plant without waiting for a law suit; as long as it is not based on suspicion only, but actual evidence.
    Please correct me if I have misspoke, or misunderstood.
    If this is the case, I assume that you would not feel that the government is overstepping it’s bounds if under the same circumstances the government took actions that required the plant to correct it’s problems, while allowing it to remain in production. Is this assumption correct?

  60. February 23, 2009 at 9:45 pm #

    Hi Carborendum:
    It appears I may have mis-remembered what I read in the book by President Benson. I can find where it says Socialism and Darwinism, but not where it says Social Darwinism.

  61. Connor
    February 23, 2009 at 10:03 pm #

    If I understand you correctly, In the case of the peanut butter plant. If the government can prove harm is being done, it can act to shut down the peanut butter plant without waiting for a law suit; as long as it is not based on suspicion only, but actual evidence.

    Sure – this is the basis for warrants, where with some basic evidence of wrongdoing, the government can petition a judge to be granted the authority to intervene. But our government has far exceeded the scope of this check and balance, and instead assumes the authority to intervene as it pleases into the private lives (and business ventures) of citizens.

    …I assume that you would not feel that the government is overstepping it’s bounds if under the same circumstances the government took actions that required the plant to correct it’s problems, while allowing it to remain in production. Is this assumption correct?

    Sure.

  62. February 24, 2009 at 7:03 am #

    Hi Connor:
    That is fair enough, and especially with my memory lapse on Social Darwinism (although exact quotes are more likely to be mis-remembered then life changing events that get burned into your memory.) and as you don’t really know me. I don’t expect you to take my word for it.
    Why don’t you, and some people you trust, start to dig through your insurance contracts current ones will be interesting, but 4 years ago would be best in case they have been modified. See if they say they cover things like speech therapy, occupational therapy, or gastrointestinal specialist. See if they say anything about excluding children with autism. If the policy covers any of those things and doesn’t mention an exclusion for autistic children, then call your Dr (please keep this to Connor and his inner circle so we don’t over whelm them.) and ask your Dr. if people with similar policies that have autistic children are having their children’s treatment paid for by the insurance company. (Perhaps calling the Dr may not be necessary, as Clay’s law indicates that those children are not being covered.)

  63. vontrapp
    February 24, 2009 at 11:20 am #

    The peanut butter example is relevant to the issue, as I see it. But I don’t think I see that in the same way you do. In my view, the peanut butter is exactly analogous to the insurance. You are precisely correct in that I think the legislature should do nothing and leave it up to the “bureaucracy” and courts, as you put it, in _both_ cases.

    I wholly agree with connor on the writs of assistance thing. The government should not, on it’s own volition, go about checking peanut butter plants now. The deaths, however, are an injury, and if prosecutors can reasonably tie the deaths to the plant’s procedures (or lack thereof) then that is grounds for intervention.

    Finally. making new laws, rather than favoring existing ones, has many direct and indirect consequences.
    1) there is the cost of drafting, campaigning, and passing the legislation
    2) the cost of additional bureaucracy to administer and enforce the new legislation
    3) previous laws are rendered inconsequential, the next peanut butter plant (or anyone else for that matter) will go on to cause deaths where unhindered by the new legislation, because the old law of being held accountable for death is not enforced in favor of the new, more specific law
    4) the new law should not even be applicable to the transgressing party that spurred its creation in the first place, as per the ‘no ex-post-facto’ requirement for the rule of law to prevail, and if it does get applied ex-post-facto then we’re all screwed anyway
    5) and we already see this, our law books become so massive and cumbersome as to spawn many bloodthirsty lawyers and a completely dysfunctional legal system

  64. vontrapp
    February 24, 2009 at 11:22 am #

    And one more time, if the insurance coverage plan _does_ spell out that it will not cover autism related ailments, then the consumer should have been more careful in picking their coverage. If the plan does _not_ spell it out, then it is breach of contract, and the injured already have a course of redress, and there is no need for this new Clay’s law.

  65. February 24, 2009 at 6:30 pm #

    Hi Vontrapp:
    I do think it would have been preferable if the bureaucracies had acted to enforce autism coverage under the existing laws. However, since they have failed to do so for so long, I think that Clay’s law is needed.
    Since you are also concerned about evidence, and rightly so, can you check your policy for the same things that I asked Conner and his inner circle (perhaps you are part of his inner circle?) to check on, and then post what you found?

  66. vontrapp
    February 26, 2009 at 6:55 pm #

    It’s _still_ preferable that the bureaucracies act to enforce contracts. Because they have failed to do so for so long is all the more reason to compel them to act. It begs the question, if we can’t enforce the laws already on the books, then why do you think we’ll be able to enforce new laws?

    This is all assuming that the insurance firms are in breach of contract, which thing I do not know. And no, I’m not going to go through my insurance terms for you, because I don’t care, I’m not one of the people whining about it.

  67. February 26, 2009 at 8:23 pm #

    You care enough to reply, but not enough to investigate?

    Perhaps this is the same issue with the bureaucracies, and a new law would provide them with the clear direction they need when they are not willing to take the initiative to act on numerous tips.

  68. February 26, 2009 at 10:15 pm #

    Darwin (#56) How is Clay’s Law going to prevent social darwinism? I also noted your correction in post #60. But even if we assume it is bad (which I’m still withholding judgment on) how is this a question of social darwinism? c.f. comment #55 again.

  69. February 26, 2009 at 10:38 pm #

    Since no one has responded yet with what is in the contracts, I will let you know what I have heard. (While outside research would be more credible, argueing against this data without counter data doesn’t seem to be credible at all to me. I welcome counter or collaborating data.)
    Very few insurance policies that cover speach, occupational therapy, in states that do not cover autism coverage, cover children with autism for these even though the policies say nothing about this exclusion. (Some government employees, and employees of Microsoft are examples of exceptions.)
    In states where there are mandates for autism coverage the insurance companies are covering it.
    I understand this is not ideal, but it does appear to be the way it is.

    Vontrapp, I wish I knew of a way to get the bureaucracies act to enforce contracts without changes to the law, but I don’t. I do care about these kids, I am acting to help them become more self sufficient, and I know it is the right thing to do.

  70. February 27, 2009 at 6:16 am #

    Hi Carbarendum:
    Good question. I guess we better start with a definition of Social Darwinism. I don’t know how this board feels about wikipedia, but when I have looked at it for subjects I am familiar with, it has seemed fair and accurate. This is a quote from it.
    “Social Darwinism refers to various ideologies based on a concept that competition among all individuals, groups, nations, or ideas drives social evolution in human societies.[1] The term draws upon the common use of the term Darwinism, which is a social adaptation of the theory of natural selection as first advanced by Charles Darwin. Natural selection explains speciation in populations as the outcome of competition between individual organisms for limited resources or “survival of the fittest””

    While I agree that competition, in most instances, is a very good thing, and leads to better products at lower prices, by removing less effective organisations and replacing them with more effective ones. My concern here is when ideas from it appear to be used to justify ‘throwing out’ the disabled. You gave Hitler as an extreme example where he killed them. I would also include cases where there seems to be a combined effort to block them from opportunities. For example, if all, or large percentage of children born with a vision issue, were to be blocked from vision correction (lasik, contacts, glasses) and then blocked from all opportunities that require site, that seems wrong to me. (It would also be problematic to have them do those jobs, in the impaired state with out the correction i.e. a pilot without Lasik.)

    Clay’s law is about removing what appear to be wide spread obstacles to children with autism that would block them from overcoming the disabling part of autism. This would allow them to use their many other talents to help society (some of the greatest minds of all time have been functioning autistics); instead of being discarded by society.

  71. Connor
    February 27, 2009 at 10:21 am #

    Clay’s Law has been watered down by the Senate in an attempt to gain broader support for this invasion of the free market.

  72. March 1, 2009 at 6:33 am #

    Hi Connor:
    Thank you for the quick update on the status of the bill. The new wording is a little confusing, but I think once you read the new wording, you will find that it is just enough to make the free market mechanisms that you, and others on this board, advocated available.
    (Note: HB 188, the related bill will now require insurance companies to tell people in advance if a treatment for one medical condition is not covered if they have another medical condition. Hopefully this will make voluntary contracts available as we discussed above. )
    Right now the free market for autism insurance coverage is pretty comatose. The watered down version of Clays law is just enough to allow the free market for autism coverage to function again.

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