Buddha nirvana

Us Like Buddha

Posted in Buddhist by buddhanirvana on August 25, 2009

Generally speaking, a fallacy is an underlying error of reasoning which on the surface seems reasonable—when in fact it is not.  Looking at the current health care debate a fallacy has been put forward in the form of self-responsibility vs. universal health care coverage which leaves no one behind.  What makes this a fallacy is that self-responsibility and universal health care are not mutually exclusive.  Both, in fact, can go together quite nicely.

Yet, so hostile is the present dispute because of this fallacy which now boils down to rugged individualism vs. socialism that there is not even a chance that minor differences can be settled to allow for some kind of compromise in which self-responsibility and universal health care can come together.

A large part of the hostility shown in this debate stems from a conservative subculture that likes to paint a picture of itself as being proudly American and Christian, and an elitist corporate system that is supporting them, that wants maximum profits at the expense of those who can least afford the current price of health care.  Perish the thought that at the current rate 260,000 people in ten years will die because they will be unable to get health care due to the systemic weakness of the U.S. health care system.

One thing lacking both in the conservative subculture and health care corporations is compassion (karuna) which, while being fundamental to Buddhism, has no place in either the general conservative ideology or in the nation’s HMO board rooms. 

While all of Buddhism, under the banner of compassion, is built upon the elimination of suffering and equally the curtailment of craving which leads to it, the present trend line in the U.S. seems to suggest not the elimination of suffering, but rather its increase.  If you think about it, making and keeping a nation sick is actually profitable.  If this sounds sinister, consider this:  U.S. physicians kill 250,000 Americans a year—which is the third leading cause of death in the U.S.  If this were an airline, more than one Boeing 747 would be crashing everyday!  Yet despite these appalling figures, physicians are going on with business as usual.

Although this is unsettling for some who have an almost child like belief in the goodness of America, the facts with regard to health care are not at all encouraging.  Of course I have my own views of what should be done from a Buddhist standpoint and it begins with the radical overhaul of how physicians are trained whose narcissism, according to Professor John Banja of Emory University, greatly contributes to medical errors and the overall rotten smell of the entire medical system.  By the way, if you are interested in John Banja’s book, its title is, Medical Errors and Medical Narcissism


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