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How do I live in a country this over the top in its evil?

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Yes, but the trend is upwards... And in this case, pharmaceuticals aren't inherently dangerous anyway, we're not talking about relying on healing crystals or heroin. I think most people are sympathetic to "there were no other options" for the drugs that turn out dangerous.

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9 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

Thank you for this post. Perhaps others tempted to rush in to chastise someone as unpatriotic or overly pessimistic before understanding where they are coming from will learn to think twice before passing judgment.

Your case is one with which I wholeheartedly sympathize.  I simply do not have the right to patronize you, pity you, or presume to advise you and I will not because I am not in your unfortunate and serious position and although I can try to imagine it I cannot fully understand your experiences. 

I can promise you I won't belittle your experience or insult the reality you face by treating this as some philosophy undergrad snide fest. 

Your life and your health are yours.  No one has any moral right to deprive you of your freedom to pursue either of them as punishment for merely being alive in the wrong society.

I hear you.

Thanks. I haven’t take taken anything stated here as snide, though.

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9 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

T Perhaps others tempted to rush in to chastise someone as unpatriotic

Straw man. No one mentioned patriotism, before you.

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On 2/9/2018 at 1:04 AM, happiness said:

Avoid debate and try to block out current events. Focus on my life and generating enough funds for more offshore treatments. 

Where is this debate and news? When I turn on the TV, channels are reporting that a Trump staffer was a wife beater. But, not just that: that is only background. The bulk of the discussion is about whether the White House knew and how they acted on the knowledge. But, even there, a lot is about what they knew and how they spun the story in public. 

Switch from the Democratic channel to the Republican channel and it is more of the same. 

Occasionally, you have things like taxes or immigration make it back to TV news. The thing to remember on these topics is that rhetoric is not the same as action. Trump says he'll build a border wall, but it is in his political advantage to come up for re-election saying the Democrats obstructed him, and if you elect him one more time -- along with a few more Republicans (or "better" Republicans) -- he will build it the next time around. You can really rest comfortably in the knowledge that after both sides have staked out this position or that, the actual ship will move in one direction or the other, but not too much. Paying close attention does not have any utility: it's just a modern day genre of soap-opera. (The exception is when something targets you directly: e.g. if you are an immigrant and have to make decisions, and need to figure out the precise details of what is playing out.)

When it comes to news watching and debate following, my advice would be to do less of it. Give yourself some objective rule: like no news and debate of certain days of the week, or whatever works. 

Instead, pick up an actual long-form book and read it. Even if you choose a book about crises (lol), odds are it will still pay off more than paying attention to things you will not remember happened a few years from now, and won't impact your life too much more than the average impacts you can expect anyhow.

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On 2/9/2018 at 1:04 AM, happiness said:
  1. Avoid debate and try to block out current events. Focus on my life and generating enough funds for more offshore treatments. 
  2. Say the Hell with it all, it’s been fun.

Most of the time I’m in mode #2, but sometimes read an article like the one I posted, and my blood just boils over.

My blood boils over easily, if I'm not mentally vigilant. The strategy to counter that's worked for me most is remembering that boiled blood has generated little value for me in past life instances, and that the most probable outcome to getting boiled is self-misery and that's it.

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On 2/9/2018 at 1:04 AM, happiness said:

I’ve tried to deal with the issue constructively by presenting the pro-freedom side wherever I could, but found that pretty much every time I’ve either been downvoted into oblivion or treated to the most banal displays of irrationality one could ever hope to come across.

Might be time to accept that this result may as well be a metaphysical fact, and move on to other uses of your time.

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14 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

Where is this debate and news? When I turn on the TV, channels are reporting that a Trump staffer was a wife beater. But, not just that: that is only background. The bulk of the discussion is about whether the White House knew and how they acted on the knowledge. But, even there, a lot is about what they knew and how they spun the story in public. 

Switch from the Democratic channel to the Republican channel and it is more of the same. 

Occasionally, you have things like taxes or immigration make it back to TV news. The thing to remember on these topics is that rhetoric is not the same as action. Trump says he'll build a border wall, but it is in his political advantage to come up for re-election saying the Democrats obstructed him, and if you elect him one more time -- along with a few more Republicans (or "better" Republicans) -- he will build it the next time around. You can really rest comfortably in the knowledge that after both sides have staked out this position or that, the actual ship will move in one direction or the other, but not too much. Paying close attention does not have any utility: it's just a modern day genre of soap-opera. (The exception is when something targets you directly: e.g. if you are an immigrant and have to make decisions, and need to figure out the precise details of what is playing out.)

When it comes to news watching and debate following, my advice would be to do less of it. Give yourself some objective rule: like no news and debate of certain days of the week, or whatever works. 

Instead, pick up an actual long-form book and read it. Even if you choose a book about crises (lol), odds are it will still pay off more than paying attention to things you will not remember happened a few years from now, and won't impact your life too much more than the average impacts you can expect anyhow.

I have Google alerts set up to send me articles on regulatory policy pertaining to adult stem cell therapy. While not a popular issue, there is a battle raging on among interested parties on the internet, in the media, and in the legislatures, where there have been a few credible attempts at deregulation. The odds have always been stacked against patient freedom, and the progress has mostly reflected that, but there have been a few positive developments, most notably a Texas law that makes federally prohibited adult stem cell therapies legal at the state level starting in the near future—it remains to be seen whether the FDA will interfere. In the last two years there has also been an explosion of clinics offering a legal kind of stem cell treatment that doesn't meet the FDA's ever-changing definition of a "drug," and this has provoked much negative press, always outrageously biased and clearly intended to fearmonger, spread misinformation, and drum up public support for regulators to stamp these treatments out of existence. 

So, I have to stay abreast of what's happening on the regulatory front since it has such important implications for me. I wish it was easy to set it aside when I'm done processing the latest news.

Edited by happiness

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9 hours ago, happiness said:

So, I have to stay abreast of what's happening on the regulatory front since it has such important implications for me. I wish it was easy to set it aside when I'm done processing the latest news.

I know you have mentioned your personal context in other topics, but it is hard for people to keep track. You should have reminded us of your personal context in the opening post. Otherwise a question like "How do I live in a country..this evil?" will be interpreted in a general "average person" context: particularly if the concrete being highlighted impacts a small portion of the population. In your context, since you are within that portion, the issue is critical to you. Best to make that context clear.

It is totally coherent that a particular country may be the best country to live in, from the context of one person, and a pretty lousy country to live in for another. A slave (with internet access) in 1777 could have asked: "How can I live in a country that is so evil as to make me a slave"? Some immigrants also face such heavily context-based questions. The same for you.

This topic probably needs a re-boot, as: "How do I live in a country that denies me a chance to medical treatments that could hugely benefit my life?"

If the law absolutely denies access to some supposed cure, then it is clearly evil. One cannot point to it's more plausible intent to "protect patents". Anyone who wanted to protect patients would different laws. They may enact laws about what warnings have to be in place, and enact laws to ensure that patient consent is genuine and informed. 

What are laws like, regarding adult stem cell therapy? As a patient, are there some specific treatments that you would like to try, but to which you are denied access, absolutely, regardless of any right-to-sue etc. that you are willing to sign away? 

 

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1 hour ago, softwareNerd said:

A slave (with internet access) in 1777 could have asked...

Come on now.

A few house slaves aside, most were denied use of their masters' internet.

1 hour ago, softwareNerd said:

I know you have mentioned your personal context in other topics, but it is hard for people to keep track. You should have reminded us of your personal context in the opening post. Otherwise a question like "How do I live in a country..this evil?" will be interpreted in a general "average person" context: particularly if the concrete being highlighted impacts a small portion of the population. In your context, since you are within that portion, the issue is critical to you. Best to make that context clear.

This has been a sticking point for me, in these kinds of conversations, for a while now.

Of course the poster has a personal context relevant to this question. There doesn't exist a person without a personal context, and anyone's answer to this sort of question will necessarily reflect that context. The idea that a question like this can be meaningfully answered (or "interpreted") in some abstract "general 'average person' context" is suspect, at least, and in several discussions I've put to you that assessing the morality of the US legal system, or etc., depends greatly on who you happen to be. If you -- or a loved one -- is rotting in jail due to unjust drug laws, for instance, then it's probably not going to look like such a great system.

An "average person" (by which we mean -- what, exactly? white? male? middle-aged?) needs to be able to take this sort of thing into account. It's as though saying that the society in Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" wasn't so bad... so long as your number doesn't come up. And perhaps it's equally true that the person who feels the scourge of society should remember that things aren't so bad for many others in the community, but I guess it's sensible that we will all be biased towards our own experiences, for better or worse. The slave in a Roman mine won't be greatly heartened to know, I don't expect, that his forced labor furnishes someone else's villa.

So if we're insisting on someone like happiness providing "personal context," then maybe the folks who constantly come in with "this country and its laws aren't so bad" also need to provide their personal reminder of "for me, in my situation."

When we recognize that there yet remains institutionalized injustice, in our system or any other, that means that real evil is being visited upon some actual person. If you can live well enough with the tax laws, or whatever, then you can and more power to you, but let's not neglect the fact that not everyone emerges unscathed.

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1 hour ago, DonAthos said:

And perhaps it's equally true that the person who feels the scourge of society should remember that things aren't so bad for many others in the community, but I guess it's sensible that we will all be biased towards our own experiences, for better or worse.

I'm certainly aware that most people still see things as, on balance, tolerable.  But I never forget, and neither should those other people:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

  --Martin Niemoeller

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8 hours ago, DonAthos said:

So if we're insisting on someone like happiness providing "personal context," then maybe the folks who constantly come in with "this country and its laws aren't so bad" also need to provide their personal reminder of "for me, in my situation."

The context would be just your average citizen or legal immigrant: so, no serious disabilities. I suppose one should add the caveat that the context would be someone who has most of their life before them: to learn and earn.

To be clear, the U.S. is not the only country where the average person can have a fairly comfortable life, Most of Western Europe would qualify, as would Australia, New Zealand and Japan. The recently-Third world is a bit different. There are still very large proportions of their populations that are very destitute and have few mechanism to change that. Still, even in places like China and India (per capita GDP of $8K and $2K respectively, the upper middle class -- at per capita still below the U.S. -- are able to lead comfortable and happy lives.

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No government is 100% good or 100% evil, and they all hurt some people more than others.

However, the notion that this means that you can't possibly OBJECTIVELY judge some as better than others is nonsense. You can judge them based on the OVERALL harm and OVERALL good they each cause, and judge the western, semi-capitalist governments are MUCH, MUCH better than other governments.

Objectively judging a government has nothing to do with your personal circumstances. If you go to Singapore, for instance, get caught smuggling drugs and sent to prison for life for it, that doesn't suddenly give you license to lose objectivity in judging their system of government. Declaring it more evil than Venezuela's government, because in Venezuela you would've only gotten three years, would be just as wrong given your personal situation as it would be given mine (as an unaffected observer).

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On 2/11/2018 at 6:31 PM, DonAthos said:

Of course the poster has a personal context relevant to this question. There doesn't exist a person without a personal context, and anyone's answer to this sort of question will necessarily reflect that context.

An Objectivist should be able to stay objective in his judgements even if he is personally affected by the subject at hand.

An objective person wouldn't judge a country based on how it does by him alone. He would judge it based on how it does by EVERYONE. Equally.

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39 minutes ago, Nicky said:

An Objectivist should be able to stay objective in his judgements even if he is personally affected by the subject at hand.

An objective person wouldn't judge a country based on how it does by him alone. He would judge it based on how it does by EVERYONE. Equally.

Absolutely agree. 

Your right to life, and the state's prerogative and claim to its moral rightness in potentially causing your death by violating your right to live, are Objectively independent of whether you are currently now healthy, or sick, resigned to dying or want to voluntary try some new healthcare (drug or procedure) as of yet unapproved (by the FDA).  These are also independent  or whether you are still alive despite the State's violation of your rights, or whether you have died because of the State's violation of your rights.

Objectively, the level of the State's evil is to be assessed and understood fully regardless of which kind of person and which situation you find yourself in because:

your rights are violated equally

even if the consequences of those rights violations, because of differing circumstances, have not been visited upon you in equal measure.

 

Likewise, when considering a man who kills one person out of 10,000 he meets, on one night out of 30 years, he must be objectively judged just as evil, whether you one of the 9,999 sitting in front of your screen waxing eloquently about the nature of evil, or the one who faced the murderer in the last precious moments of your life, in bloody terror, fear, or panicked rage, wanting with all your being not lose everything you had and were.  I agree.   But let us be crystal clear of one thing, this man is not a 0.01% a murderer, and 99.99% a normal benevolent, let people go type person, the simple matter is that he is 100% a murderer.  Just think about why this is so.

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6 hours ago, Nicky said:

An Objectivist should be able to stay objective in his judgements even if he is personally affected by the subject at hand.

An objective person wouldn't judge a country based on how it does by him alone. He would judge it based on how it does by EVERYONE. Equally.

This misses the purpose, and thus the proper means, of evaluation. You do not judge (i.e. evaluate morally) a system, or anything else, "based on how it does by EVERYONE. Equally." The purpose of evaluation is action, and insofar as your actions are meant to benefit the self, your evaluation must be according to the self as well.

Is a peanut butter sandwich a healthy snack/meal? It depends. It depends on who you are -- your personal context. If you are deathly allergic to peanuts, then no, a peanut butter sandwich is not healthy. Not for you, not in your situation. The allergic may yet recognize that other people, in other contexts, may eat and enjoy peanuts and peanut butter; but his own evaluation of the healthfulness of eating a peanut butter sandwich is negative, as it must be if evaluation is to perform its role: which is a guide to action for the purpose of living, happiness, etc.

An Objectivist sees no conflict between the fact that he is personally affected by a given subject (which is, per "Fact and Value," for instance, all of them) and his ability to assess that subject objectively. What I've described above is objective. What objectivity does not require is some "value of a peanut butter sandwich" for some abstract "everyman" who does not, in fact, even exist.

This is why softwareNerd is correct, when he writes:

On 2/11/2018 at 6:21 AM, softwareNerd said:

It is totally coherent that a particular country may be the best country to live in, from the context of one person, and a pretty lousy country to live in for another.

This however...

6 hours ago, Nicky said:

If you go to Singapore, for instance, get caught smuggling drugs and sent to prison for life for it, that doesn't suddenly give you license to lose objectivity in judging their system of government. Declaring it more evil than Venezuela's government, because in Venezuela you would've only gotten three years, would be just as wrong given your personal situation as it would be given mine (as an unaffected observer).

...is bizarre and has nothing to do with the purpose of evaluation, etc. I imagine someone sitting in a Singapore prison for life (for something which ought not be a crime), singing the praises of their government, because of how it is supposedly better for "EVERYONE. Equally." (than what? Venezuela? is that the standard?) as opposed to the factual destroyer of his actual, one-time-only life on Earth.

And yes, sometimes people need direct personal experience to give them perspective, particularly when lacking in any (or all) of information, imagination or empathy.

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On 2/11/2018 at 6:21 AM, softwareNerd said:

What are laws like, regarding adult stem cell therapy? As a patient, are there some specific treatments that you would like to try, but to which you are denied access, absolutely, regardless of any right-to-sue etc. that you are willing to sign away? 

 

Statutorily, a preparation of cells qualifies as “drug” subject to FDA regulation if the cells are “more than minimally manipulated.” 

The specific treatment I need calls for a patient's stem cells to be isolated from his bone marrow and culture-expanded to grow them to multiplicity. The expanded cells are then implanted into an arthritic joint, where, if the process is performed by skilled hands, they are well-documented to be capable of exerting reparative effects.

In 2010, the FDA sued the company that pioneered this procedure on the grounds that the expanded cells are "more than minimally manipulated" (see ARI's commentary). The FDA prevailed, and it is now illegal for any doctor to administer culture-expanded stem cells in the US without obtaining a biologics license, the cost of which is so burdensome that it renders the procedure economically unviable in today’s regulatory environment. The cause also seems obstructed by parties with serious conflicts of interest. 

The former FDA commissioner said this:

“When I was commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from 2005 to 2009, I saw firsthand how regenerative medicine offered a cure for kidney and heart failure and other chronic conditions like diabetes. Researchers used stem cells to grow cells and tissues to replace failing organs, eliminating the need for expensive supportive treatments like dialysis and organ transplants…

For example, in August 2010, the FDA filed suit against a company called Regenerative Sciences. Three years earlier, the company had begun marketing a process it called Regenexx to repair damaged joints by injecting them with a patient’s own stem cells. The FDA alleged that the cells the firm used had been manipulated to the point that they should be regulated as drugs. A resulting court injunction halting use of the technique has cast a pall over the future of regenerative medicine.“

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to project that, by the end of the ensuing decade, the FDA vs. Regenerative Sciences decision will probably have resulted in millions of preventable deaths.

Edited by happiness

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10 hours ago, DonAthos said:

I imagine someone sitting in a Singapore prison for life (for something which ought not be a crime), singing the praises of their government, because of how it is supposedly better for "EVERYONE. Equally." (than what? Venezuela? is that the standard?)

Strawman.  It isn't about this at all.  It's about being objective when comparing governments.  Is it possible to evaluate two governments side by side or not?  Is it possible to reason that Singapore is better than Venezuela?   

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1 hour ago, Craig24 said:

Strawman.  It isn't about this at all.  It's about being objective when comparing governments.  Is it possible to evaluate two governments side by side or not?  Is it possible to reason that Singapore is better than Venezuela?

"It isn't about this at all"? All right, let's review then:

The OP (along with the thread title) is not about "comparing governments," but dealing with the difficulties of living in a system where "the majority of people" support policies that -- in some cases -- make actual human life impossible.

The first response that happiness received -- that "there is nowhere better than here" -- is not necessarily true. It may be true that there is nowhere better than here for DavidOdden, just as it may be true for me that "there is nothing better to eat than a peanut butter sandwich," but neither of these are universally true, and to say that they are (in the name of "objectivity") is to forget the role that context plays in objective thought. For instance, if happiness could secure the treatments he needs in some other country then it may well be better for him to move to that country to receive those treatments.

Is "nowhere better than here"? Not necessarily for happiness, not necessarily in that case. (Note that I am here employing happiness in a completely hypothetical capacity; I've no idea about whether this is likely, or possible, and do not mean to comment on his actual situation.)

Then JASKN wondered whether the US is truly evil (or "over-the-top evil") and he concluded that it is not, because he is still somewhat free (he "can still get on the internet and badmouth any branch of the government," and etc.).

These comprise the two main responses. (Well... there is also Nicky's "response" of "most board members disagree" and "all the rational people I know can handle reading the news," which, in a better forum, would have been called out well before now; but I have already given him enough attention.)

So if the response is, "but it is better here than elsewhere," that may be true (or it may not -- more in a second), but it doesn't actually speak to the matter at hand. If the response is, "things aren't so bad for me; therefore, things aren't so bad for you," then it is an utter failure.

Yes, it is possible to evaluate two governments -- or to reason that X is better than Y -- but not without a context. Value requires a valuer, and Singapore (or the United States) may be the best option for some yet not for others. For the sake of further precision (albeit risking a touch of clarity), let me amend that slightly to say that it may be possible to evaluate two governments without a personal context, but not in any meaningful fashion. Evaluation is not some activity disconnected from life -- we evaluate things for a purpose, and that purpose guides and shapes our process of evaluation. If a person "evaluates" two countries from a standpoint outside of his own context, then he may well conclude that "this is the best/better country to live in" and be correct in all cases except for himself. This is pointless at best, and at worst lands the drug smuggler in a Singapore prison for life, and -- as I've imagined it -- spending his time singing the praises of the "relatively free" government there.

Besides which, some "comparative" approach does not render the evil actions of any given government, Singapore or the US, less evil; and if we mean to speak to the OP or even simply the title of this thread, it does not necessarily help us to understand how to live in a country where such evil is tolerated or promulgated by our fellow citizens.

What value is this comparative approach, then? It appears to be meant as a palliative, because "there is no such place as Galt’s Gulch." But some people are working towards the creation of Galt's Gulch, or something like it, because they do find the present situation intolerable. Those who are content with the status quo have no real reason to struggle against it -- and I mean that as no criticism. But let's not tell others that they must be content, as well, especially when their situation/context is potentially different from our own.

For I maintain that those who say that the US is "not so bad" are able to do so, in part, because they have been fortunate in their experiences; there are other people for whom the US is so bad. (They are the people in "The Lottery" whose number has not been drawn... yet.) In point of fact, I do not expect that someone rotting in a Singapore prison for life, for "crimes" which ought not be crimes, will be constructing odes to the supposed relative merits of their system. He will be too intimately familiar with its failures -- and the personal consequences of those failures -- for that.

And if you think that's what "objectivity" requires -- for the chained-and-whipped slave in the Antebellum US, say, to praise the US government because of the relative degree of freedom it allows for the people in the North -- then I fear that your approach to both "objectivity" and judgement are mistaken. It is not about assessing things according to some average, or some generic "everyman," or (ahem) "EVERYONE. Equally.", it is about assessing things according to whether they further your personal, individual life and happiness -- and then acting accordingly.

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13 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

Is the procedure allowed in Europe, or elsewhere?

https://www.regenexx.com/common-questions/are-the-regenexx-procedures-performed-in-the-u-s-approved-by-the-fda/

I'm sure it's allowed in a lot of places, but it's only performed in the Cayman Islands (a British territory).

Quote

Regenexx®-C is a cultured stem cell procedure that is available only in the Cayman Islands. While our same-day stem cell protocol (described above) is the premier stem cell treatment available in the United States, some patients may benefit from the expanded numbers of cells that are delivered by a cultured stem cell procedure.

The Regenexx-C Procedure, which is only performed at Regenexx Cayman, involves harvesting the cells on the patient’s first visit, growing them to larger numbers over approximately two weeks, testing the cells, then re-injecting the cells during the patient’s second visit.

Anyhow, unless someone else picks up the research, it's probably a dead end. This company is mainly US based, so they have no incentive to keep advancing it, just to be able to sell it in a clinic on a small island.

 

Edited by Nicky

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18 hours ago, softwareNerd said:

Is the procedure allowed in Europe, or elsewhere?

As Nicky noted, the proprietary Regenexx procedure is approved in the Cayman Islands, where the regulations are less stringent than in the US (I had 20+ joints treated at the Cayman clinic last year with good results). Cultured stem cell treatments in general aren’t freely practicable anywhere to my knowledge, but are still performed in certain places throughout the world either through specials favors from local governments or where their legal status is uncertain. Japan also recently passed a law that significantly deregulates stem cell “drugs,” allowing them to skip phase-3 clinical trials (the most burdensome part of the approval process).

 

Edited by happiness

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Not only are patients denied their rights to purchase the treatments which support their health and life, doctors, technicians, researchers, health care professionals are denied their right to create and trade value in support of their own livelihoods.  The more I think about the good being denied being sacrificed to protect the weak, the ignorant, the bureaucrats.... grrr.

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On 2/10/2018 at 11:52 AM, JASKN said:
On 2/9/2018 at 1:04 AM, happiness said:

I’ve tried to deal with the issue constructively by presenting the pro-freedom side wherever I could, but found that pretty much every time I’ve either been downvoted into oblivion or treated to the most banal displays of irrationality one could ever hope to come across.

Might be time to accept that this result may as well be a metaphysical fact, and move on to other uses of your time.

That's my conclusion.  I just don't waste my time with the anti-liberty types any more.  If a person doesn't now respect the individual and his rights, he's history as far as I'm concerned. I might make an exception for the young and naive, but that's it. Everyone else has had their opportunity to learn and either used it or didn't.

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21 hours ago, DonAthos said:

Yes, it is possible to evaluate two governments -- or to reason that X is better than Y -- but not without a context. Value requires a valuer, and Singapore (or the United States) may be the best option for some yet not for others. For the sake of further precision (albeit risking a touch of clarity), let me amend that slightly to say that it may be possible to evaluate two governments without a personal context, but not in any meaningful fashion. Evaluation is not some activity disconnected from life -- we evaluate things for a purpose, and that purpose guides and shapes our process of evaluation. If a person "evaluates" two countries from a standpoint outside of his own context, then he may well conclude that "this is the best/better country to live in" and be correct in all cases except for himself. This is pointless at best, and at worst lands the drug smuggler in a Singapore prison for life, and -- as I've imagined it -- spending his time singing the praises of the "relatively free" government there.

A tyranny is objectively worse than a free society, regardless of any particular person's context, for all the reasons Rand so eloquently expressed.  But evaluation must always take into account the particulars of a person's life so, for a particular person, a tyranny might not be objectively worse than a free society.

This is a paradox, if not a contradiction.  But it has a simple resolution: Get rid of the mind/body dichotomy at its root.

For an irrational person, one might say that he's better off in a mixed economy like that of the US, if he can physically survive much better than he could in some poorer country.  But a rational person recognizes that he must take into account not just his physical well-being but his psychological well-being.  He will understand that, no matter how comfortable his life is, he will have it at the cost of either refusing to see the world around him or of living in a state of constant revulsion.  Neither is an appropriate way to live for a rational animal -- and this is precisely what the OP expressed.

 

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