10 November 2010

A dozen steps toward a better America

Mary's World, a blog I've just started reading, recently posted an interesting question: "What is your ideal America?" Mary's answer largely revolves around taxes, but it occurred to me to take a stab at the question too.

An "ideal" America, of course, could not exist; if a society were truly perfect, any change would by definition be for the worse, yet a society which could never change would be stagnant and boring. Even to approach the "ideal" would require implausible things (the entire Christian Right reading The God Delusion and embracing atheism? Ah, sweet dreams!) So I tried to think of a dozen things which would make America as close as possible to what I consider "ideal" while still being at least somewhat plausibly possible in the real world. These are examples of the kinds of change I consider worth fighting for.

(1) Research and development of medical technology would be fully funded, including embryonic stem-cell research and anti- aging therapies. This is by far the most effective way to reduce human suffering.

(2) Marijuana and prostitution would be legal, regulated, and taxed, like any other kind of business; harder drugs would be assessed on a case-by-case basis. The prison population would plummet and the end of the illegal market would de-fund the criminal drug gangs which are devastating our neighbors Mexico and Columbia.

(3) The tax-exempt status of religious entities would end.

(4) High-quality education would become a top priority, to keep our country a leader in a world defined by ever-accelerating technological change. No more talk of teaching ancient Middle Eastern mythology alongside evolution in biology class.

(5) The conservative movement would be a rational interlocutor in a necessary debate about the proper size, scope, and role of government, rather than ranting madly against gays, abortion, secularism, climate science, etc. and whipping up paranoia.

(6) Legislators and judges would never use Leviticus or Sharî'ah as a basis for laws or rulings.

(7) There would be no more prohibition or discrimination against harmless forms of sexuality which merely happen to differ from the preferences of the majority (equal marriage rights for gays, no DADT, etc.).

(8) Foreign policy would be based on building good relationships with democracies which share common interests with us, not on currying favor with gangster-regimes which brutalize their own people and are doomed to collapse in the long run, or with failed societies culturally locked into hatred of modernity.

(9) Farm subsidies would end (in combination with #2 and #3, this would take a huge bite out of the deficit).

(10) Corporate tax policy would reward creation of jobs within the US and penalize transfer of productive activity out of the country.

(11) The colossi of the corporate world would grasp that their own future depends upon a prosperous and healthy nation and planet, and act accordingly (a parasite that kills its host dies with it).

(12) The safety net would resemble what Germany or France have: generous enough to leave no one without medical care or in abject poverty, but not so lavish as to remove incentives to work.

14 Comments:

Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Nice read/ posting and link Infodel, much of which I solidly agree! Thanx

10 November, 2010 08:03  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

But of course I forgot to add, not in agreement with Mary's fantasy of Green Bay Packers beating the Cowboys as they did the other night annually ... Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh ... we owe ya'll one Mary. :)

10 November, 2010 08:11  
Blogger Sue said...

I'm glad I found Mary too, she's a smart gal!

I love your list Infidel, you need to run for higher office, say... President??! Every thing in the list if enacted would make for a wonderful life...

10 November, 2010 10:03  
Blogger maryb1161 said...

Again I say Bravo Infidel756! You hit this out of the park with the focus and clarity that would never be allowed to coalesce in my muddled brain.

Sorry Ranch, but that win sure felt good. Every year we played Dallas it was an automatic loss. Now we can put the world back in line and go back to losing to Dallas, but I will always have that 45-7! ;)

10 November, 2010 10:23  
Blogger Jack Jodell said...

You have some outstanding ideals posted here, Infidel 753. I don't agree so much with #3, because not all churches are money-sucking vacuums or reactionary institutions. Some are heavily engaged in much-needed charity and have a more progressive bent. But the other ideals seem pragmatic, fair, and of overall benefit.

10 November, 2010 11:04  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Much thanks for all the encouraging comments! Sue, believe it or not, there was a time (long ago) when I thought the idea of running for President seemed kind of cool -- but after seeing how Obama and Hillary were demonized, I shudder to think what they'd do with an atheist with a half-British accent!

10 November, 2010 13:19  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

I have to say I agree with your points on how America could be better. I especially like #11.

One more that I'd add:

Encourage our population to eat less and be more active.

10 November, 2010 14:11  
Blogger Sue said...

Half British accent, Woo Hoo, how sexy!!

10 November, 2010 15:49  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Oh ... come now Mary ... you know good and well statistically, the Cowboy's dont beat the Packers all the time annually. Actually, what a great NFL rivalry they have been, heh? I dont know if your old enough to remember the "Ice Bowl" game? Lambeau Field (Spelling?) is such a classic stadium Girl ... and in the winter outdoor's, they dont get any tougher, I love Lombardi as well as Favre ... and YES! I love those Packers! Actually for the records Mary ... our Quarterback Tony Romo (we lost him for the season due to a broken collar bone the week before the Packers match up), was influenced in your stadium as a kid, attending Packers game's where he was inspired by Brett Favre to play ball!

10 November, 2010 23:02  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

One more addition here if I may.

I would definitely legalize of course pot ... but a real issue as well is addiction to other drug's, pot actually is not "physically" addicting, I smoked it for year's daily, but I was a cocaine addict as well, and the support for this is far lacking here, and I would of course legalize certain drug's in controlled enviroment's too.

As far as the health thing ... well this is why I was so skeptical that we would even see a slight PO here ... it is a multi billion dollar industry, I lived and have familia in Toronto, Ont, who are in the countries medical field, and when I stayed in London,UK I used the public health care they had ... care as well as prescription's were nearly nothing, and I wasnt even a citizen, and was treated well. We are told how awful their system's are, death panel's, etc, etc ... and so many who never lived in these place's dont know the reality, here you pay and dont know what to expect basically ... there you have at least some fairness and consumer protection as well as Germany and France especially that IS NOT just profit driven.

Also I am pro choice ... but believe in taking it a step further in what I see as an overall beneficial direction. I raised 3 daughter's and understand unwanted pregnancies as well (I also believe in promoting selective type breeding, I mean we dont breed our pet's this way, why should human's deny themselves?) but ... I would state/ gvmnt fund abortion, as well as give incentives for a reduction in pergnancies and state funded birth control in our school's as well, for any child that requested it.

And YES ... I am in strong support for taxation of all religious institution's. Even my particular church of 30 year's now, advocated such!

11 November, 2010 00:04  
Blogger godlizard (aka dotlizard) said...

I try to avoid contemplating ideal versions of society, as the vast chasm between that & reality tends to cause my right eye to twitch noticeably, and that just makes me look crazy.

My ideal is far less defined; what I like to do (when I do indulge in these types of things) is imagine a world where evolution favored cooperation exclusively and punished aggression, in which there were no words for war, murder, oppression, or hate. In such a world, the concept of predatory business practices would unthinkable, and the urge to accumulate resources beyond practical levels of comfort & joy would be considered freakish and evil. I am not talking about a spartan sensibility; in this fantasy world needs & wants would be provided for, within reason, and generously. Health, comfort, and knowledge would be considered basic human rights, and social acceptance of differences would be the norm. We wouldn't have the conflicts that humans have now & have had for æons & æons, because it would simply not occur to us to struggle against one another.

So, you know, life, liberty, and the absence of a need to pursue happiness -- it would just be.

Face it, I'm a commie.

11 November, 2010 02:07  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

SK: Encourage our population to eat less and be more active.

You certainly have a point there. At least where I live, the majority of the population is at least somewhat overweight. It's terrible. Michelle Obama has gotten into the issue somewhat, but that will just convince the teabaggers that being slender is evidence of Communism.

Sue: Heh:-)

RC: Most of the people talking horror stories about European health-care systems don't know what they're talking about. Remember that claim that Stephen Hawking would be dead now if he lived in Britain?

GL: Welcome back! I knew Formspring wouldn't keep you away from the real world (I mean the internet) forever.

imagine a world where evolution favored cooperation exclusively and punished aggression, in which there were no words for war, murder, oppression,

Ever read James Hogan's The Gentle Giants of Ganymede?

11 November, 2010 03:20  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh ... How can I forget that one! :)

But even to this day ... all prescription's I heard from a gal that I know in UK, are still only around $6/ 7 (pounds, dont have the symbol on my keyboard) last she told me, I reckon around $10 buck's American dollare's, which is cheap ... I mean ... I know American's/ Texan's who have to drive to Mexico to fill script's because here they spend hundred's a month actually, and that's with full coverage premium insurance plan's too. And I know so many here that were denied having much expenses covered in their plan's that were buried as condition's in page's of fine print, I could go on and on with this actually. What I am saying basically is ... say here I spend 50% of my paycheck on health care etc (just an example figure) I have no protection as far as what they will pay, or decline with their board's and underwriter's, and if I try to challenge it, would be tied up in possibly a couple year's of litigation's, where in one of those countries I mentioned, it is so simple ... I pay the same amount through taxes though (which American's bitch are robbery taxation in those countries) but I actually get more for my buck there because of the government oversight and protection's ... here all they had to do ... was a board of director's or underwriter's look at the cost of the surgery or care, and decide themselves ... well ... it's cheaper to do this and more profitable, so cancel their ass. And what can you do about it? I simply felt I got more bang for the buck in those place's is all, and it was so less complicated ... no filing all these claim's, pay later refund's, cash back, or all the rest of the stuff we have to do here even ... I just went to the hospital ... they seen me, took care of me, gave me a script, I didnt have to file any form's or anything, they didnt even ask for insurance or even money actually ... accept a few buck's to fill the script at the store.

11 November, 2010 07:14  
OpenID snoringdogstudio said...

A very good list, Infidel. I'd add: Fully funded public health programs alongside universal healthcare. Public health programs have taken a beating at the hands of heartless conservatives and libertarians who proudly and defiantly blame the individual who's suffering from addiction, disease, etc. A better America would certainly be one a lot more compassionate than it has been.

12 November, 2010 03:32  

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