Human Rights Part Six (Conclusion)

Baseline

There are four areas of privilege I want to suggest as a baseline for all humanity.  If my previous post sounded like a manifesto of the republican party, this will sound like something from the socialist party.  We will all be much better off doing away with labels.

Education

I call for free education up to and including terminal degrees.  This needs to happen immediately.  Knowledge is free.  No one has a copyright on math.  No one owns an equation.  No one collects royalties for the proper use of grammar.  Knowledge is universally free; it is just not universally available.  Education is simply the process of imparting knowledge from one person to another.  That is a minimal cost.  We have more, cost effective ways of imparting knowledge around the world for minimal cost, than at any other time in history.  As technology goes up, the price just keeps going down.

Who does it benefit to have an ignorant population?  Dictatorships, and other types of political systems I would happily see destroyed.  It benefits people who want to control other people, or take advantage of other people in some way.  Economics teaches that we can charge more for a scarce resource.  We have created artificial scarcity of resources in education that has caused nothing but harm to society.  Knowledge is abundant and free.  Passing that knowledge along is easy and cheap.  Knowledge is power.  It is past time we start empowering individuals.

Jobs

These newly empowered individuals are going to need a job.  Frankly, many of these will become job creators.  All will become more qualified for better jobs.  There should never be a such thing as an able-bodied person who wants to work, but is unemployed.  In a well-ordered society, this should not happen.  In America, this is happening all the time, to a frighteningly large percentage of the population.

A big part of the problem is poor information allocation.  It is stupidly difficult for qualified people looking for a particular job to find the company that has an opening for that very job.  It is equally difficult for the company to find that qualified seeker.  With the number of resumes and applications already digitized, no one should ever have to fill out a speculative job application again.  You can go to a major shopping mall and fill out ann application with all 300 stores.  If you’re lucky, five of them are hiring, and one of them will look at your application.  What a waste!

Here’s a thought.  Produce a single application format.  Let everyone fill it out digitally, ONCE!  Let a government supercomputer, or for that matter, a ten-year old Dell in some closet, work away at matching applications with available jobs.  Everyone with an application on file would, at least, always have a few good prospects.  That is a cheap solution to half the problem.  The other half of the problem is the people who are not qualified for any available job.

The qualification part of the equation is mostly eliminated by the free education program.  There is still the matter of creating enough jobs.  This country has not been very creative when it comes to creating jobs.  Not everyone will do well in school.  Some people simply do not have the mental capacity.  That does not mean they cannot work.  Everyone should be able to contribute.  These are the people who need the government to provide them with minimum-wage jobs.  It is not a Well Fare check; it’s a paycheck.  That makes all the difference.  Trading positive contribution for income should not be that complicated.  A minimum-wage job should be a basic human privilege

Housing

If the first two things are done right, then this one should be a no-brainer.  Everyone needs a place to live; not everyone can afford a $2,000 mortgage.  Since many of these new incomes are low, there has to be low income housing available for every working family.  A part of being in the system means that you are either in school getting a higher education, or you are gainfully employed.  (I am not considering persons with disabilities at this time).  Among the able-bodied, there are no exceptions.  No school, no work, no housing.  To be in government housing is to be in school or at work.

Either way, society wins.  A person in school might not have to pay any rent while in school.  After the first two years, they might be required to work part-time and start paying something for housing.  The details don’t really matter.  A person who completes a degree is far more likely to become a contributor to society at a far greater level than the initial investment of two to four years of housing.  If a person has a job, the housing bill, including utilities, would be a simple percentage of total wages, taken out from the top.  Again, every body wins.

Healthcare

Besides education, there may not be a system in need of a more radical overhaul than healthcare.  I’ll try to keep this short and simple.  A vast amount of individual wealth is lost on just trying to stay alive.  Severe chest pain that leads to an ER visit, that turns out to be gas, that is cured by a sip of Malox, can cost upwards of $15,000.  You either don’t pay for it, incurring debt that limits your ability to finance other necessities.  or you try to pay it, thus limiting your ability to pay for other necessities.  You, and society lose either way.

As far as the mess that is insurance…  Oh, never mind.  I don’t even want to get started with insurance.

Time for me to say something unpopular.  The largest, and most wasteful medical expense the world will ever know is that which is associated with the end of life.  The last two weeks of life are killing this country because we just can’t face death like mature human beings.  The money spent by the government during that period, alone, could fund a national healthcare program for the rest of us.  Currently, we do not have a healthcare system; we have a death care system.  That is untenable, immature, and damaging to the evolution of our species.

Currently, our death care system invests the vast majority of its money and technology in about two weeks of denial.  If a person wants to invest their own money in keeping a terminal loved one, technically, alive for a couple of extra weeks to the tune of a few million dollars, be my guest.  But, when your grief and denial costs me $15,000 for a sip of Malox, we have a problem.  We have a problem.  Isn’t it past time we stop investing in death, and start investing in health?  If we did, everyone in the world, not just this country could enjoy the benefits of a healthier, if slightly shorter life.

Well, that’s it: my manifesto for human privilege, and my understanding of human rights. I will reveal a poorly kept secret to the reader of all six parts.  I did not end up where I thought I would when I started.  I began this exploration of the subject as a card-carrying member of the Rightest religion.  My thoughts on human rights were probably much the same as the average, non-religious liberal.  (Labels).  In the end, it is more important for me to know true things than to hold my ground on a given position.

It is also important to acknowledge that I don’t have all of the answers.  Heck!  I may not have any of the answers.  But what I do have, for the first time, is a well-reasoned hypothesis.  Naturally, emotion plays a part.  It provides fuel for reason; it does not replace it.  I have seen many people emote on the subject of human rights, and present better rhetoric than me.  But I have seen few attempts at a reasonable thesis.  This is mine.  I welcome yours.

David Johnson

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