Gov. Rick Scott’s gutsy piece, “More Medicaid? No Thanks” (TAS, September 2012) sparked some thoughts: One of the huge problems with federal/state “partnerships” is that they introduce more debt where it would otherwise be avoided, and more legal counterfeiting where it would otherwise be impossible.
This generates financial leverage of the worst kind, which will lead to disaster when higher interest rates inevitably kick in. It also generates political leverage of the worst kind, whereby federal czars and czarinas exercise extreme influence over state and local activities, even when federal “funding” is just a small percentage of the programs’ costs. I add quotation marks because the “federal funds” don’t come from some magical stash. After all, Uncle Samta can only give away what he already pilfered from hapless citizens. The only real federal magic lies in hoodwinking the taxpayers, who all too often accept the illusion that somebody else will be paying the bills. Most state and local politicians seem to fall for this scam, along with the gullible among us. But I suspect that in many cases the pols know pretty well what’s going on, and play along just to expand their own political leverage.
Thank goodness for courageous souls like Gov. Scott who understand the reality of it, and are willing to stand up for what’s right. We’ll be better off with far more state and local control and far less federal leverage. Let’s hope that the coming election gives us a jolt in the right direction.
Drexel Hill, PA
Jonathan Aitken offers some excellent “Advice for Septuagenarians” (TAS, September 2012). I would like to add the point that Pascal’s Wager offers an argument that ought to be particularly persuasive to them for taking Mr. Aitken’s advice to heart.
Briefly: The wager is quite straightforward. If there is a God, then there is a huge advantage in believing in Him and living one’s life accordingly, versus not doing so. If it turns out there is no God, then the (much smaller) consequences in this life are all that matter, and indeed it is not at all clear that one has lost anything by believing. Therefore, a rational person should believe, live one’s life accordingly, and cultivate one’s faith.
Now, all of this is especially true as one gets older, for several reasons. First, we have less time to postpone grappling with these fundamental questions. Second, as our time on earth grows shorter, considerations of what might happen in the next life become stronger. But third and most importantly, as we grow older the cost-benefit analysis of the consequences in this life more and more heavily favor believing. That’s because the worldly pleasures one might gain by not believing (sex, drugs, rock and roll, etc.) are less salient, and the comforts of faith—which are real and which are physical, mental, and emotional—are more salient. That is, what you give up by believing becomes less and less valuable, and what you gain by believing becomes more and more valuable.
I DON'T CARE whether this gets printed or not. All I wanna say is that I want that T-shirt on the cover of your September issue, but you don’t seem to have an online shop!
Via the Internet
Recently, probably suckered in with a book promo, I resubscribed. But I haven’t read the magazine. Wife brings home. Announces it. Throws it somewhere into the gathering piles of crap—a future bog? Who knows. I ask for it later on way to the euphemism. DON’T KNOW WHERE! This continues for three days. Finally, we decide this d--n thing shall not win this time. Crap flying hither, yon, and about. IT RISES! I clutch it and rabidly panting am porcelain bound. We ponder and decide. Why is it never read? Because your covers suck. Your cover almost doesn’t LOOK like a cover at all. Maybe someone turned the mag inside out to an ad? No gloss. No depth. No appeal. I ended up reading the Pacific Standard even though your mag finally made it into the throne room. Sorry. The cover got me, kemo sabe.
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I just read Roger Scruton’s article “Waving, Not Drowning” (TAS, July-August 2012) and was once again enlightened by his insightful perspective on disturbing social trends. However, I was dismayed to see that this will be his last regular contribution to this fine publication. I have particularly enjoyed Mr. Scruton’s interesting insights and unique presentation on a wide variety of relevant topics.
He has many talents and obviously has mastered several disciplines in his wide range of life experience. Mr. Scruton has a special ability to present complex ideas and associated philosophical insights in a clear and comfortable manner that’s engaging and friendly. Reading his articles often feels like having a relaxed conversation over a cup of tea. I suppose you could say that I have developed a vicarious friendship with Mr. Scruton through his fine writing.
While there was no indication as to the reason he is discontinuing his regular contributions I certainly hope that he will reconsider and continue to submit frequent, if not regular, articles in the future.
Via the Internet
Managing editor Kyle Peterson replies:
Our sentiments exactly. Mr. Scruton, having finished his new book, How to Think Seriously About the Planet (Oxford University Press), has moved back to England and on to other endeavors.
He remains most welcome in these pages.
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