DIY Dentistry in England

This is exactly why I’m against nationalized health care (My Emphasis).

Six percent of those questioned in a survey of 5,000 patients admitted they had resorted to self-treatment using pliers and glue, the UK’s Press Association reported.

"I took most of my teeth out in the shed with pliers. I have one to go," another respondent wrote.

Others said they had fixed broken crowns using glue to avoid costly dental work.

Valerie Halsworth, 64, told British television’s GMTV she had removed seven of her own teeth using her husband’s pliers when her toothache became unbearable and she was unable to find an NHS dentist willing to treat her.

My mom just had some dental work done, and we were talking about, unpleasant as it is, we appreciated living in a country where we had access to dental care. The nationalized healthcare system in England has reduced the quality of its dental care to third-world levels, at least for the poor who can’t afford the more expensive private dentists.

It’s a terrible idea that doesn’t work, and it’s insane that some people think we should imitate that system. The current health-insurance system is broken, but a nationalized health care system would only be worse.

(Via Boing Boing)

“Why We Banned Legos”

The National Review Online has an interesting article about why an after-school program (temporarily) banned Legos from their classroom:

“The children were building their assumptions about ownership and the social power it conveys — assumptions that mirrored those of a class-based, capitalist society — a society that we teachers believe to be unjust and oppressive.”
. . .
“As we watched the children build, we became increasingly concerned.”

Mm-hmm. As a result of this concern, the teachers banned Legos while they discussed with each other and the 5-9 year old children a new social order for their Legotown. (Seriously, they call it that throughout their article.)

When they re-introduced the Legos, they decided to combat the “unjust and oppressive” capitalist society that was being developed in their classroom the only way that Communists know how: State Controls.

  • All structures are public structures. Everyone can use all the Lego structures. But only the builder or people who have her or his permission are allowed to change a structure.
  • Lego people can be saved only by a “team” of kids, not by individuals.
  • All structures will be standard sizes.

That last line’s pretty sad. All structures will be standard sizes. You may not build a sky scraper, an airport, a space ship, or any other interesting project. You may only be one of the faceless horde, with your box that is exactly the same size as everyone else’s boxes. Also, anyone can use your box, whether you want them to or not.

Way to take all the fun out of playtime guys.

Capitalism is prevalent because it works. It works really well. Ask the Soviets and the Cubans. Ask the Chinese, who are experiencing economic revival as they embrace capitalism. It doesn’t matter that not everyone gets and equal piece of the pie; in fact, society breaks when everyone gets the same thing. Instead of progress–better healthcare, more food, more clothing, advanced technology–you end up with lots of boring boxes of standard size.

(Via the Liberty Belles)

The Right Way to End Poverty

Recently, I had the opportunity to go to a meeting called “Small World/Big Future,” in which Erik Peterson discussed seven major trends that he predicts will change the world between now and 2025. These trends include changes in demographics, improvements in technology, and rapid information distribution, among others.

During his speech, Mr. Peterson, senior vice president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies mentioned a commonly cited statistic: More than half of the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day. To me, this is almost unimaginable; how can you survive on so little?

So, clearly, much of the world is extremely poor. Organizations have developed to help people out of poverty by giving them money, clothes, medicine, and so on. While these are good and noble things to do, these organizations have failed to actually stop poverty. The problem can be summed up in the old cliché “If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day. If you teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime.”

You can’t just send food, water, medicine, and money; you have to help local people generate their own income. Many times, there are people in these developing nations who want to start a business, but simply can’t afford to because they can barely survive on their current incomes.

That’s where Kiva.org comes in. Kiva is a non-profit organization that helps connect people the United States and other wealthy nations with these entrepreneurs. Kiva lets you loan small amounts of money to these entrepreneurs to get their businesses started. (I do mean small amounts of money; some of these entrepreneurs only need $250 to get started.) Once they’re on their feet, they’ll repay you with interest. [ED-Thanks, Scott!]

This isn’t just charity; it’s an investment. And, frankly, investing in these nations is the most sustainable way to help them pull themselves out of poverty.