Posts tagged ‘liberty’

Drugs, Employment, Change, and Community

The misuse of prescription painkillers, heroin and synthetic opioids like fentanyl is, by now, painfully well known. The U.S. tops the world in drug deaths; in 2015, more people died from overdoses — with two thirds involving an opioid — than from car accidents or gun violence.

The epidemic is also having a devastating effect on companies — large and small — and their ability to stay competitive. Managers and owners across the country are at a loss in how to deal with addicted workers and potential workers, calling the issue one of the biggest problems they face. Applicants are increasingly unwilling or unable to pass drug tests; then there are those who pass only to show signs of addiction once employed. Even more confounding: how to respond to employees who have a legitimate prescription for opioids but whose performance slips. “That is really the battlefield for us right now,” said Markus Dietrich, global manager of employee assistance and worklife services at chemical giant DuPont, which employs 46,000 worldwide.

The issue is amplifying labor shortages in industries like trucking, which has had difficulty for the last six years finding qualified workers. It’s also pushing employers to broaden their job searches, recruiting people from greater distances when roles can’t be filled with local workers. At stake is not only safety and productivity within companies — but the need for humans altogether, with some manufacturers claiming opioids force them to automate work faster.

The opioid crisis is creating a fresh hell for America’s employers

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Just a few miles from where President Trump will address his blue-collar base here Tuesday night, exactly the kind of middle-class factory jobs he has vowed to bring back from overseas are going begging.

It’s not that local workers lack the skills for these positions, many of which do not even require a high school diploma but pay $15 to $25 an hour and offer full benefits. Rather, the problem is that too many applicants — nearly half, in some cases — fail a drug test.

The fallout is not limited to the workers or their immediate families. Each quarter, Columbiana Boiler, a local company, forgoes roughly $200,000 worth of orders for its galvanized containers and kettles because of the manpower shortage, it says, with foreign rivals picking up the slack.

“Our main competitor in Germany can get things done more quickly because they have a better labor pool,” said Michael J. Sherwin, chief executive of the 123-year-old manufacturer. “We are always looking for people and have standard ads at all times, but at least 25 percent fail the drug tests.”

The economic impact of drug use on the work force is being felt across the country, and perhaps nowhere more than in this region, which is struggling to overcome decades of deindustrialization.

Economy Needs Workers, but Drug Tests Take a Toll

[W]hen it’s suggested that our current set of arrangements won’t last forever people immediately imagine Mad Max, as if no other alternative exists. Things are going to change. They always have and they always will. The future will just be different. That’s absolutely not the same as saying the world is coming to an end. Clear eyed individuals who are paying attention can start to get a feel for who the new winners and losers are likely to be and place themselves in the best possible situation ahead of the curve. That’s a pragmatist’s view – not a doomer’s.

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If small scale agriculture was made redundant by mechanization and industrial scale production, then industry itself was hammered by other equally powerful forces. Everything has a beginning, middle, and end.

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The most recent iteration of the Zombie Apocalypse has already begun to unfold in some places. Suburbia was exactly the right thing for a particular period of time. But that era is winding down. The modest tract homes and strip malls built after World War II are not holding up well in an increasing number of marginal landscapes. I have been accused of cherry picking my photo ops, particularly by people who engage in their own cherry picking when discussing the enduring value of prosperous suburbs. But there’s too much decay in far too many places to ignore the larger trend. The best pockets of suburbia will carry on just fine. But the majority of fair-to-middling stuff on the periphery is going down hard.

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The future drivers of change will be the same as the previous century – only in reverse. The great industrial cities of the early twentieth century as well as the massive suburban megaplexes that came after them were only possible because of an underlaying high tide of cheap abundant resources, easy financing, complex national infrastructure, and highly organized and cohesive organizational structures. Those are the elements of expansion.

But once the peak has been reached there’s a relentless contraction. The marginal return on investment goes negative as the cost of maintaining all the aging structures and wildly inefficient attenuated systems becomes overwhelming. The places that do best in a prolonged retreat from complexity are the ones with the greatest underlying local resource base and most cohesive social structures relative to their populations. The most complex places with the most critical dependencies will fail first as the tide recedes.

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Over the long haul Main Street has a pretty good chance of coming back along with the family farm. But the shorter term in-between period of adjustment to contraction is going to be rough as existing institutions attempt to maintain themselves at all costs.

Postcards From the Zombie Apocalypse

A slew of reports finds a fresh reason for the chronic inability of American companies to fill skilled jobs: not a lack of skills, and hence a training-and-education crisis, but a surfeit of drug abuse, per the NYT’s Nelson Schwartz. Simply put, prime-working age Americans without a college diploma are often too drugged-out to get the best jobs. Opioids remain at high levels, but the surge in drug use is now heroin and the powerful contaminant fentanyl.

The reports suggest a circularity to the crisis in America’s rust and manufacturing belts: the loss of jobs and wage stagnation has led to widespread disaffection, alienation and drug abuse; and drug abuse has led to joblessness, hopelessness and disaffection.

But the numbers are all over the map. Some employers and economists say up to half of job applicants do not clear drug tests; others say it is 25%. In the chart above, Indeed economist Jed Kolko, using data from the U.S. Current Population Survey, found that 5.6% to 5.7% of working-age adults didn’t work last year because of illness or disability, an unknown percentage of which were because of drug use.

Many Americans are too drugged-out to work

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“The sine qua non of liberty is refusal to live by lies”

“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”
Saint Pope John Paul II

“Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”
James Madison, Speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention on Control of the Military, June 16, 1788

“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
C. S. Lewis

The ruling class also refers to abortionists as providers of medical services for “reproductive rights,” and indicts as “extremists” those who illustrate what the abortionists do with photos of what surely look like children, with arms, legs, and heads chopped or burned. Yet each of these little ones’ DNA shows him or her to be a son or a daughter of a particular mother and father. Lincoln argued that no one has the right to exclude any other person from the human race. Why is it right so to dispose of millions of little sons and daughters? By what right does anyone dishonor as “extremists” those who show the victims for the human beings they are?
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But science is reason, not pretense. Only the power of government can translate scientific illiteracy into scientific pretense. What President Dwight Eisenhower warned against in his 1961 farewell address has become our reality: “domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money.” Government money is the means by which ruling-class power has become the scientific pretense by which we are instructed what to eat, how to shower, what medical care is proper and what is not, and what to think about right and wrong.
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Demands from on high to join in mouthing lies call forth a visceral reaction: “Who the [expletive deleted] do they think they are to impose this warp of reality on us?”
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As the great Solzhenitsyn reminds us, the sine qua non of liberty is refusal to live by lies.
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Americans tell pollsters that we distrust our bipartisan ruling class. Accusations of racism, sexism, ignorance, etc. have not convinced us. People who pay attention to public affairs are not ignorant about how these accusations contrast with reality.

Standing Up to the Ruling Class, by Angelo M. Codevilla

“What would you call a society that made adoption incredibly hard and abortion incredibly easy? I’d call it sick at heart.”
Peter Hitchens

“The whole point of a free society is to reduce the number of things that are political, particularly at the national level. When everything is considered political, the totality of life is politicized. And that’s just a clunky way of describing totalitarianism.”
Jonah Goldberg

“The real conflict in political theory … is not between individualism and community. It’s between voluntary association and coerced association.”
David Boaz

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Sir John Dalberg (Lord Acton)

“‘Bipartisanship’ sounds like a good idea in theory, but it usually ends up as broad congressional agreement that the American people have too many liberties or too much money.”
Jonathan Blanks

“It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been motivated by the fear of not looking sufficiently progressive.”
Charles Péguy

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Cheerful Warrior for the Cause of Liberty – Leonard Liggio, RIP

Leonard Liggio, RIP

Being bitter is not that way to advance the ideas of true and radical liberalism. That is one of the thoughts that popped into my head in thinking about this great man — he was always a cheerful warrior for the cause of liberty.

Peter Boettke talking about Leonard Liggio

He was the least outwardly colorful and voluble of the faculty (which also included George Smith, Randy Barnett, and Leonard’s old pal from Students for America and Circle Bastiat days, historian Ralph Raico). But his calm erudition helped even raw, green undergrads grasp and value that there were layers and layers to this set of libertarian ideas, that they were not just bracing wild radicalism (though they were that, and all the better) but also deeply rooted in the history and ideas of Western civilization, a truly humane, yes, approach to the social order that promised not just liberty per se but also peace and wealth.

Leonard Liggio, R.I.P., by Brian Doherty

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ObamaCare for the FAIL

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Catholic? Sign Up with First Catholic health-care sharing ministry, CMF CURO

Link to sign up on the CMF CURO web site.

The first Catholic health-care sharing ministry, CMF CURO, launched in Washington, D.C., Thursday night at the Catholic Information Center, just blocks from the White House. Teaming up with veteran Samaritan Ministries International, it’s a Christian community solving some of the conscience problems that have arisen in health care in recent years. And it’s not just a response to Obamacare’s Department of Health and Human Services abortion-drug, contraceptive, and sterilization mandate, or even to Obamacare itself. It’s a response to a medical culture that increasingly is not centered on the human person and his dignity. This community model seeks to be a radically different approach to health care and insurance, fostering solidarity in prayer and practice.

Christians have always been foundational to health care in America (think of the Catholic religious sisters who have built and staffed hospitals throughout American history!), and this is an example of men and women of all vocations stepping up to the leadership plate.

In an interview with National Review Online, the co-founders of CMF CURO, David Wilson and Mike O’Dea (who is also executive director of the Christus Medicus Foundation), and director Louis Brown talk about what it is, how it works, and why it is such an important development. – Kathryn Jean Lopez

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[Mike O’Dea, executive director of the Christus Medicus Foundation]: CMF CURO is for all active and practicing Catholics and Christians, but may be especially beneficial to the uninsured, independent contractors, the self-employed, and small-business owners. The ministry is also an option for individuals seeking affordable care or wanting to supplement other coverage, and employees seeking to opt out of their employer plan. I would also say that CMF CURO is an option for individuals seeking an alternative to the federally funded exchanges, and those seeking Christ-centered Medicare gap coverage. It is for all those who understand that the best, most fulfilling health care is Christ-centered health care.

Something Healthier: Christians get intentional about health care.

@CMFCURO

The costs to join look to be identical to that of Samaritan, $180 a month for an individual over age 25 and $405 for a two-parent family (here are the details on how much it costs to join CMF CURO).

This is probably some of the best news that I’ve heard in a while regarding alternatives to conventional health insurance. While it was always possible that a new ministry could be started, its members would not have received the same exemption from Obamacare’s tax on being uninsured that members of the existing ministries did. By partnering with Samaritan, the Christ Medicus Foundation has found a way to provide a sharing option for members of the Catholic faith who could not in good conscience sign on to the statements of faith required by the other ministries.

I’m hopeful that there will be more good news down the road along these lines, as I’ve also heard from someone else that is attempting to put together a Catholic-specific sharing option embedded in one of the existing ministries. Until then, if you’re Catholic and looking for a way to stay true to your faith while still having a way to pay for major medical bills if they arise, I hope you’ll check out CMF CURO!

A new(ish) health care sharing ministry for Catholics!

@SelfPayPatient

CMF CURO – First Catholic-based Health Care Sharing Ministry

Link to sign up on the CMF CURO web site.

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CMF CURO – First Catholic-based Health Care Sharing Ministry

Today [October 2, 2014] at the National Press Club at 12pm in the Zenger Room, the Catholic 501(c)(3) non-profit Christ Medicus Foundation is announcing the creation of CMF CURO (www.cmfcuro.com), a Catholic Living Health Care Ministry. CMF CURO is a member-representative to Samaritan Ministries International (“Samaritan” or “SMI”), offering Catholics the first Catholic health sharing ministry. Headquartered in Troy, Michigan, CMF CURO is being launched to provide Catholics and all people of faith with affordable access to medical care that protects their religious liberty and the Gospel of Life based on Catholic teaching.

Over 300,000 Americans are members of health sharing ministries nationwide and they share over 200 million in health care costs per year according to the Alliance for Health Care Sharing Ministries (http://www.healthcaresharing.org/hcsm/). Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), members of health sharing ministries in existence prior to 1999 are exempt from the ACA’s individual mandate. CMF CURO provides Catholics an affordable alternative to secular medical insurance that is consistent with Catholic teaching, allowing Catholics to protect their religious liberty and their individual right of conscience.

The Christ Medicus Foundation, in Partnership with Samaritan Ministries International is Launching the Nation’s First Catholic based Health Care Sharing Ministry, CMF CURO

CURO in Latin means to care for, cure, heal, and watch over.

CMF CURO is a Catholic Living Health Care Ministry offered by the Christ Medicus Foundation (CMF).

CMF CURO is not insurance. It is Christian caring.

cmfcuro.com

Link to sign up on the CMF CURO web site.

@CMFCURO

Obamacare vs. Samaritan Health-Care Ministry: A Case Study

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I Have a Dream!

I say to you, my friends, even though we face difficulties today, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights. I have a dream, that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

I have a dream, that one day all across this country, all people will …. [more]

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Free Will and Liberty

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Libertarians Do Not Deny The Importance of Community

Libertarian Jesus

Libertarian Jesus

Libertarianism is not a comprehensive ethical philosophy. It does not tell us everything we need to know about how to be a good person, or a good neighbor. It does not claim that all actions that you should be free to do are equally virtuous, or even morally permissible. Libertarianism is a political philosophy. It is a theory about the proper size and scope of the state, and about the proper spheres of force and freedom in our lives. Accordingly, libertarianism as such has no answers for many of our most important moral questions. Rather, it holds that individuals should be left free, as much as possible, to answer those questions for themselves, in their own way. This is an uninspiring vision only if one’s idea of inspiration necessarily involves not only collective action in the pursuit of a common overarching goal, but compelled collective action. Libertarians do not deny the importance of community any more than they deny the importance of moral virtue. What they deny is the necessity or appropriateness of centralized state coercion in bringing about either.

The libertarian vision of a society is one of free and responsible individuals, cooperating on their own terms for purposes of mutual benefit. It is a vision that draws its support from a wide variety of moral and empirical beliefs with deep roots in the public political culture. And it is one that contemporary critics of the market would do well to take much more seriously.

Matt Zwolinski

Why do you people love the state so much? It doesn’t love you.

Michael Munger

Libertarianism is a diverse school of thought. It is not a monolith.
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26. Fascist Ignorance: This one should be familiar: Libertarian opponents were outraged—OUTRAGED—when John Mackey pointed out quite correctly on NPR that Obamacare is a fascist policy. Fascism is, of course, a doctrine that calls for significant State control over private industries, to be carried out in the service of State ends. So the fallacy of fascist ignorance is a form of ad hominem in which a libertarian opponent refers to the libertarian or his views as “fascist” despite, strictly speaking, holding fascist views herself. (One might also refer to this as the “Chicken calling the cow ‘poultry'” fallacy.)
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30. Who Will Build the Roads?: This familiar duck has a thousand variations, but the idea is that because the opponent has never seen it nor can imagine it being done without the State, it follows that it can’t. But of course, it (roads, aid, education, and the rest of it) can.

Effectively Irrational: 30 common fallacies used against libertarians

Continue reading ‘Libertarians Do Not Deny The Importance of Community’ »

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I Have a Dream

I say to you, my friends, even though we face difficulties today, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights. I have a dream, that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

I have a dream, that one day all across this country, all people will sit down together voluntarily at the table of brotherhood without being compelled by the heavy hand of the state or by forces of political correctness. (And especially free of the heavy, groping hands of strangers dressed up as TSA agents touching our children and our private parts.)

I have a dream, that one day even the state of California, a state suffering from the heavy hand of the government, being oppressed with high taxes and numerous regulations, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and liberty, and its elected officials will recognize that those who govern least govern best.

I have a dream, that one day all of our children will be literate, numerate, and have a basic understanding of economics (TANSTAAFL).

Continue reading ‘I Have a Dream’ »

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