About Me

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Armchair theorist, poet, and occasional IT manager, Sascha B. is equipped with a Master's Degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas, and is not afraid to use it. His work has been published by the University Press of America, Edwin Mellen Press, University of Texas Press, and a variety of small journals nationwide. He is also the proprietor and baker for 3141 Pie, of which you should eat many.

The Deal

I stopped blogging in 2013, when life overtook me. My father became ill and died shortly thereafter, and my mother was left with increasing dementia. I became the primary caregiver, and now orchestrate my mother's care and our family estate.

Now, I am coming up for air again.

Looking for the next book to read. All suggestions welcome.

My reading list is over here.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Tail Wagging The Ideology

Here's the problem with fervent belief: it tends to blind us to what's actually going on around us. When a person is utterly convinced of their own ideological bias --- Objectivism, free market, socialism, conservative Christianism, Orthodox Judaism, white supremacy, black supremacy, free love, authoritarianism, whatever --- if you have a preconceived set of notions about what is important, and what the outcomes of your actions will be, then you will, guaranteed, miss what is actually going on around around you. Because if anything in this life is certain, other than death and taxes, it is that the Law of Unintended Consequences is king.

Paul Krugman has a blog post today implicitly illustrating this bracing concept. His example, the cost of prescription drugs in the market model of Medicare-D vs. costs in the nationalized model of the VA, is exemplary in illustrating why so many folks on the far right side of the fence are still touting a solution that has already proven to be the poorer of two options.
Obama called for using Medicare’s purchasing power to reduce drug costs; Paul Ryan, in his hissy fit response, held Medicare Part D — which specifically denies Medicare the ability to bargain — as an example of the cost savings that can be achieved through privatization
But you see, Medicare-D doesn't work as well as the VA model. It just doesn't. It costs a lot more, and does less to control those costs. But Ryan is already convinced that market forces will always provide the better solution. So when faced with the reality that the VA in its non-market, socialized approach, has costs which are 40% lower, he does the only thing he can do: ignore reality, and press harder for what he knows must be right. And when I say convinced, I mean conviction in the most religious sense.

There is no difference between political ideology and religious faith when approached this way; if I suddenly had incontrovertible proof that there was no afterlife, I doubt that many religious people would simply shrug and stop believing.

Ideological beliefs must be approached less as universal dictates and more as moral guides. When your beliefs are countered with a reality that sings a different song, you need to reconsider your approach, or face the wrath of heaven.