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amagi
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In my city, Chicago, a series of fatal incidents involving fires, colapsing buildings, and the like over the last year have led to demands for far more extensive government control of building safety standards. I cannot recall hearing even one dissenting voice amongst the calls for greater regulatation. Everything from sprinkler systems in almost every room, to massive renovation of older buildings, to elevators built on the outside of buildings has been proposed--all to be mandated by the government of course.

I am curious to know what your responses would be to those who argue for such compulsory building standards.

Could someone tell me please where I might find writings in the Objectivist literature on this issue, as well as on the issue of the FDA (besides Greenspan's essay "The Assault on Integrity")? I would also like to know of any worthwhile non-Objectivist sources that make the case for a free market in building safety, and/or in food and drug safety.

Any information will be appreciated.

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In my city, Chicago, a series of fatal incidents involving fires, colapsing buildings, and the like over the last year have led to demands for far more extensive government control of building safety standards.  I cannot recall hearing even one dissenting voice amongst the calls for greater regulatation.  Everything from sprinkler systems in almost every room, to massive renovation of older buildings, to elevators built on the outside of buildings has been proposed--all to be mandated by the government of course. 

I am curious to know what your responses would be to those who argue for such compulsory building standards.

Could someone tell me please where I might find writings in the Objectivist literature on this issue, as well as on the issue of the FDA (besides Greenspan's essay "The Assault on Integrity")?  I would also like to know of any worthwhile non-Objectivist sources that make the case for a free market in building safety, and/or in food and drug safety.

Any information will be appreciated.

About building standards:

In Alberta, Canada and probably lots of other places there is a building code, which is a fat book that describes in detail how a building must be built. It is enforced by law. If the inspector doesn't like the way the building is being built, then there is hell to pay.

Of course in the completely free world there would be no such law. But there could be a non-government organization that would, upon request, inspect the building process and give its stamp of approval if the building met the standard. This stamp of approval might be of business value to the contractor, the landlord, the person who sells the building, and of interest to the person who buys it or rents. The contractor or landlord could even brag the the building exceeds the standard. :) There could be several companies in the inspecting business, perhaps competing. A landlord might brag that his buliding exceeds the standards of all of them. :)

The vaue of the stamp of approval would depend on the reputation of the inspecting company.

----

About doctors: (slightly off specified topics, but on the same general idea)

Roughly the same idea would apply to doctors as to buildings.

For my purposes, I consider any doctor who is not IAHP certified a quack.

http://iahp.cisnet.com/

The following doctors are IAHP certified.

http://drbass.com/

http://www.iig.com.au/anl/fielder.html

http://goldberg.getwebspace.com/doctor.html

http://healingbyregeneration.com/

http://vetrano.cjb.net/

http://www.alecburton.com/

http://drsidhwa.com/

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there could be a non-government organization that would, upon request, inspect the building process and give its stamp of approval if the building met the standard. This stamp of approval might be of business value to the contractor, the landlord, the person who sells the building, and of interest to the person who buys it or rents.

Jerry you hit the nail right on the head. This would be an ideal way for there to be objective building codes and standards in a completely free market society.

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For my purposes, I consider any doctor who is not IAHP certified a quack.

http://iahp.cisnet.com/

Be sure to tell that to the neurologist who, after you first tried fasting, injects a tissue plasminogen activator to break up a clot in your brain artery that would have killed you fifteen minutes later! :)

Oh yeah, I forgot. The holistic hygenics crowd never gets a brain clot because they wash their hands so thoroughly. :(

For christ sake, you worship a man, Shelton, who worships Cro-Magnon man, and you have the audacity to call practioners of modern medicine quacks? :)

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Be sure to tell that to the neurologist who, after you first tried fasting, injects a tissue plasminogen activator to break up a clot in your brain artery that would have killed you fifteen minutes later!  :)

Oh yeah, I forgot. The holistic hygenics crowd never gets a brain clot because they wash their hands so thoroughly.  :(

For christ sake, you worship a man, Shelton, who worships Cro-Magnon man, and you have the audacity to call practioners of modern medicine quacks?  :)

I said "for my purposes".

You are entitled to your opinions and to your false insinuations about NH and Shelton and me. All that is irrelevant to the point that I was trying to illustrate by an example. That was that certification of doctors does not need to be by government. Certification can be by non-government organizations, and I have free choice on which is the best for my purposes.

(But I kinduv expected that this example would get a response from you, and I was right.)

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I said "for my purposes".

When your "purposes" include publicly damning the entire profession of modern medicine and calling each of them a "quack," you cannot hide behind the veil of your feelings. Judge, and be judged.

You are entitled to your opinions and to your false insinuations about NH and Shelton and me. 
Would you like to debate the issue on the facts? Of course, that would require that the facts at issue be objective scientific facts, not appeal to the ignorant musings of people who worship Cro-Magnon man.

All that is irrelevant to the point that I was trying to illustrate by an example.  That was that certification of doctors does not need to be by government.

Oh, bull. :( Who are you kidding? If that were really the point you wanted to make, you would have done so without reference to calling the entire medical profession quacks (excluding, of course, your holistic natural hygenicists). This is your pet mantra, and you have been doing this publicly for years. You can get get away with your ignorant slurs unchallenged on the public groups, but I'll do my best not to let you get away with that here.

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The vaue of the stamp of approval would depend on the reputation of the inspecting company.

For my purposes, I consider any doctor who is not IAHP certified a quack.

What is the certification process in telling some one not to eat? What is the "stamp of approval" this organization can give a doctor? How could anyone lose their certification? Catching their patients a McDonalds?

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The only problem with hiring someone to inspect the quality of your products is that if they constantly turn down certification because of high standards, less businesses will come to them and this will reduce their profits, which results in the company giving out more positive reviews. There is of course, the opposing effect of the public eye which also rates the quality of the certifying establishment

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The only problem with hiring someone to inspect the quality of your products is that if they constantly turn down certification because of high standards, less businesses will come to them and this will reduce their profits, which results in the company giving out more positive reviews. There is of course, the opposing effect of the public eye which also rates the quality of the certifying establishment

What it would result in are reasonable, objective standards that don't totally disregard the costs involved in meeting them, which is generally the case when those standards are set by government. (Just try to build something, anything, in California. See this article for an example.) The inspector has to consider the value of his certification to the end consumer, governments don't. When the standard is set unreasonably high, whether by government or a private inspector, the cost of meeting it exceeds the value added. The difference is that the private inspector can't force everyone to abide by his standards. It's a good thing that an inspector will relax his standards, or perhaps create varying grades of standards, to meet the needs of his clients.

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The only problem with hiring someone to inspect the quality of your products is that if they constantly turn down certification because of high standards, less businesses will come to them and this will reduce their profits, which results in the company giving out more positive reviews. There is of course, the opposing effect of the public eye which also rates the quality of the certifying establishment

If an inspecting company has a very high standard, so high that few contractors can meet the standard, I would expect that meeting this very high standard probably would be worth more. Much like an instructor who is stingy with praise and those rare time time when he gives praise it is like a medal.

Botvinnik (former world chess champion) was famous for being hard to impress and being a tough critic. Botvinnik once described Tal (former world chess champion) as "essentially a skilled tactician". Actually Tal was one of the most brilliant tacticians in the history of chess. When Tal heard Botvinnik's statement, Tal (knowing Botvinnik's reputation for being hard to impress) said: "Hey! Not bad!"

I imagine something similar might happen with an inspecting company that is hard to impress.

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What is the certification process in telling some one not to eat?  What is the "stamp of approval" this organization can give a doctor? How could anyone lose their certification? Catching their patients a McDonalds?

In the present system a person has to get an MD to be a doctor. The MD comes ultimately from government. (You might say it comes from a school, but the whole process is regulated by goverment.) Anyone who does doctoring without an MD is prosecuted by law. This is the present system.

In a completely free world, there could still be certification of doctors, but it would not be done by government, and it would not be enforced by law. Certification of doctors could be done by non-government organizations. An example of this in real life right now is IAHP. There would be much more of the same in a completely free world.

To illustrate how non-government certification of doctors could work, take an imaginary example, the WDA (Witch Doctor Association). Any person who wanted to set up shop as a witch doctor would be free to do so. There would be no law against it. But if he wanted credibility he might get WDA-certified. Then he would be taken more seriously as a witch doctor.

Let us suppose that someone does not have a WDA certificate but falsely claims that he does, in order to make himself look better and get more business. Then the WDA could take him to court and charge him with fraud and he gets nailed. Note well, he is not getting nailed for practising witchcraft without a license, there is no such law; he is getting nailed for falsely claming that he has a WDA certificate, a simple case of fraud. (Let us assume that all the necessary paperwork has been done so that he can be nailed by law.)

Of course the value of having a certificate from the WDA would depend on the reputation of WDA.

Now let us imagine that someone says "WDA is a bunch of malarky! It is completely unscientific!" So they come up with a rival organization with the idea of promoting something more scientific. It is the ISW (Institute for Scientific Witchcraft). Now we have competition. Competing certificates. Competing doctors.

Obviously WDA and ISW are imaginary, and an attempt to be funny. IAHP is a real example in real life, and it demonstrates that the idea is possible, not just the raving of a lunatic.

I do not see why government-certified is better than IAHP-certified. If not being government-certified qualifies a doctor as a quack, then from a different point of view, not being IAHP qualifies a doctor as a quack. Why should government dictate to me who is legit and who is a quack? I make that judgment for myself.

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Building codes set minimum standards for safety in buildings. The limits in building codes are to ensure that a building stands up when it is finished.

In a capitalist society, absent of government enforcement of building codes, the high standards would still be adopted by insurance agencies, mortgage financial companies, and other interests to ensure the safety and life cycles of buildings can be met or exceeded.

Many organizations which are private interests such as ASTM, UL, and NFPA have standards that are adopted into building codes. Absent of the actual codes, these standards would continue to exist and it would be well nigh impossible to construct, sell, or even perceive of a project that would not comply with such standards.

Absent of any building codes, there still is the even more ominous problem of liability exposure for a failure to design or construct a sound, functional building.

For example, many of my industrial building designs have to comply with Factory Mutual, a private insurance standards organization whose codes are far stricter than the local building codes.

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From the very start the AMA was based on socialism.

"100 Year of Medical Robbery by Dale Steinrich"

http://www.mises.org/fullstory.asp?control...=&title=&Month=

First I will quote 3 paragraphs without comment. Then I will quote the same 3 paragraphs again with comments in square brackets.

-- [begin quote] ---

History

The American Medical Association (AMA) was founded in 1847 around two propositions: one, all doctors should have a "suitable education" and two, a "uniform elevated standard of requirements for the degree of M.D. should be adopted by all medical schools in the U.S." [1] In the days of its founding AMA was much more open--at its conferences and in its publications--about its real goal: building a government-enforced monopoly for the purpose of dramatically increasing physician incomes. It eventually succeeded, becoming the most formidable labor union on the face of the earth.

AMA's initial drive to increase physician incomes was motivated by increasing competition from homeopaths (AMA allopaths use treatments--usually synthetic--that produce effects different from the diseases being treated while homeopaths use treatments--usually natural--that produce effects similar to those of the disease being treated). This competition did serious damage to the incomes of AMA allopaths. In the year before AMA's founding, the New York Journal of Medicine stated that competition with homeopathy caused "a large pecuniary loss" to allopaths. [2] In the same issue, the dean of the school of medicine at the University of Michigan railed against competition because it made treating sickness "arduous and un-remunerative." [3]

Apart from reversing rapidly declining incomes, allopaths also wanted to rescue their public reputations, which quite reasonably suffered given their proficiency in killing patients through such crude practices as bloodletting ("exsanguination") or mercury injections (poisoning). A few allopaths desired adulation normally reserved for star athletes and actors. The Massachusetts Medical Society opined in 1848 that physicians should be "looked upon by the mass of mankind with a veneration almost superstitious." [4]

--- [end quote] ---

Now comments:

-- [begin quote] ---

History

The American Medical Association (AMA) was founded in 1847 around two propositions: one, all doctors should have a "suitable education" and two, a "uniform

[ Who decides "suitable education"? This should be decided, not by government, but by non-government organizations and free market. ]

elevated standard of requirements for the degree of M.D. should be adopted by all

[ Standards should be decided by non-government organizations and free market. ]

medical schools in the U.S." [1] In the days of its founding AMA was much more open--at its conferences and in its publications--about its real goal: building a government-enforced monopoly for the purpose of dramatically increasing physician incomes. It eventually succeeded, becoming the most formidable labor union on the face of the earth.

[ The American Medical Association is a government-enforced monopoly, plain and simple, and was planned that way from the start. ]

AMA's initial drive to increase physician incomes was motivated by increasing competition from homeopaths (AMA allopaths use treatments--usually synthetic--that produce effects different from the diseases being treated while homeopaths use treatments--usually natural--that produce effects similar to those of the disease being treated). This competition did serious damage to the incomes of AMA allopaths. In the year before AMA's founding, the New York Journal of Medicine stated that competition with homeopathy caused "a large pecuniary loss" to allopaths. [2] In the same issue, the dean of the school of medicine at the University of Michigan railed against competition because it made treating sickness "arduous and un-remunerative." [3]

[ There is nothing wrong with making money. But it should be done by free market, not by prohibiting competition by force of law. I don't believe in homeopathy, but it should be allowed to compete, as should allopathy. ]

Apart from reversing rapidly declining incomes, allopaths also wanted to rescue their public reputations, which quite reasonably suffered given their proficiency in killing patients through such crude practices as bloodletting ("exsanguination") or mercury

[ Bloodletting would not survive a free market. ]

injections (poisoning). A few allopaths desired adulation normally reserved for star athletes and actors. The Massachusetts Medical Society opined in 1848 that physicians should be "looked upon by the mass of mankind with a veneration almost superstitious." [4]

[ I will repeat that last part:

"physicians should be "looked upon by the mass of mankind with a veneration almost superstitious."

To me, that is an obscene statement. ]

--- [end quote] ---

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From the very start the AMA ...

The shrillness of your endless smearing of the medical profession is truly pathetic. You have been doing this for years on public forums, and in all those years I doubt you found a voice like yours in response. Why do you come here, to a forum dedicated to the philosophy of Objectivism, to stand on your pulpit and spew out your ridiculous doctors-are-quacks mantra?

If you take your holistic natural hygenics to a new-age board, you can all fast and wash your hands together.

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The shrillness of your endless smearing of the medical profession is truly pathetic...

I agree. He's only been here for a few days, and already this is wearing thin. Posting propaganda and groups of links as Jerry has done is explicitly against forum rules.

Jerry--this is a warning. If you insist on continuing your ranting/propaganda spreading here, you will be shown the door.

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The shrillness of your endless smearing of the medical profession is truly pathetic. You have been doing this for years on public forums, and in all those years I doubt you found a voice like yours in response. Why do you come here, to a forum dedicated to the philosophy of Objectivism, to stand on your pulpit and spew out your ridiculous doctors-are-quacks mantra?

If you take your holistic natural hygenics to a new-age board, you can all fast and wash your hands together.

About my last post:

1. I was not shrill. I simply stated facts, with the possible exception of the last sentence.

2. I was criticizing the AMA as socialism. The AMA is socalism. Do you think the AMA is capitalism?

3. Natural Hygiene is not holistic. (Even if Steve Solomon seems to think it is.)

4. NH has nothing to do with New Age.

5. NH is not about washing hands. Hygiene is a science that goes back at least 2500 years to ancient Athens. Hygeia was the goddess of health. Hygiene is the science of health. Look in any good dictionary.

I was not aware that the pursuit of rational values (such as health) and freedom (including health freedom) are contrary to Objectivism.

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I agree.  He's only been here for a few days, and already this is wearing thin.  Posting propaganda and groups of links as Jerry has done is explicitly against forum rules.

Jerry--this is a warning.  If you insist on continuing your ranting/propaganda spreading here, you will be shown the door.

I wasn't aware that posting groups of links is against the rules. I will try to remember that.

For the purpose of avoiding "ranting/propaganda", what is the difference between "ranting/propaganda" and stating unpopular views?

Hygiene (the science, not washing hands) is one of the ways that I try to apply Objectivism in my life. To me, philosophy is not mere philosophy but living it. For example when I call them quacks, I -act- on that view. It's not just a rant. Even with a terminal disease with not long to live, I have stayed away from all doctors for 4 years.

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I was criticizing the AMA as socialism.

Oh please, Jerry, who are you kidding? If you want to talk about ideas, then do so. Instead you wage an endless campaign against the medical profession with your doctors-are-quacks mantra.

I was not aware that the pursuit of rational values (such as health) and freedom (including health freedom) are contrary to Objectivism.

They are not. Now, if you will focus on rational values and freedom in the form of actual ideas, instead of disguising your incessant doctors-are-quacks mantra with such thinly veiled rationalizations, then maybe what you say might be related to Objectivism instead of your obsession with demeaning the entire medical profession.

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If an inspecting company has a very high standard, so high that few contractors can meet the standard, I would expect that meeting this very high standard probably would be worth more. Much like an instructor who is stingy with praise and those rare time time when he gives praise it is like a medal.

if you are in business of any sort, such as I am, you will need to insure your business, unless of course you are extremely wealthy and so self-assured that you will never be held liable for anything.

Once that happens, the insurance companies impose their own standards upon you such that their interests are protected. Your adhering to such standards helps protect your interests, by setting quality and safety standards you wouldn't set absent of insurance.

Does this make the insurance companies "socialist?" I think not.

What it does, in my view, is it makes private enterprise a higher standard than the government.

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