The Age of Selfishness “No Obligation to Pay for Others”

I believe we live in an age of selfishness. I believe that many people pay lip service to the thought that we must help the less fortunate but do little or nothing about it. Sadly, some of them, are flat-out opposed to the idea.

As you all know the congress is considering the repeal and replacement of Obamacare. One of the key issues is coverage for pre-existing conditions. Simply defined those are medical conditions you have prior to coverage by a health insurance company. If you lose your insurance due to job loss or any other reason and get insurance from another company  it is possible that conditions that were covered are now pre-exisitng.

Virtually everyone has at least one and probably more pre-existing conditions. If you have one or more that go back to birth they likely won’t be covered unless you are allowed in a high risk pool and there’s no guarantee that there will be any. So, medical bills for those afflictions will comeout of your pocket. It is a hotly contested issued with the far right being mostly opposed.

Last month, in a sobering monologue for his show, the host of Jimmy Kimmel Live told the world how his newborn son underwent heart surgery to treat congenital heart disease. Kimmel commented that the disease is now a pre-existing condition.

Former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh who is renowned for his opposition to all things compassionate responded almost immediately with this highly insensitive tweet.
“Sorry Jimmy Kimmel your sad story doesn’t obligate me or anybody else to pay for somebody else’s health care.” How can any human with a heart say that about a newbornj — how?

That tweet goes a long way toward explaining why Walsh was one of America’s most famous “Deadbeat Dads” for not paying some $117,437 in child support to his ex-wife and three children.

The Walsh comment is greatly troubling to me because it is the height of arrogance, insensitivity and selfishness. I am bothered that people actually think that way because all insurance works on the principle that costs are shared by all of the insured or “The Risk Pool” in order to keep premiums down. When that is not done premiums go up, sometimes so high as to be unaffordable. So, while you may have access to health insurance, you may still go without because you don’t have the money to pay for it. If Walsh applied his philosophy to all insurance he might see the light. I wonder what his premiums would be for Fire, Life, homeowners, auto insurance and all the rest if the “Risk Pool” concept is abandoned?

Walsh says, “no one is obligated,” but don’t we have a moral obligation to help each other? Every major religion says we do. Most of the great philosophers agree. In case you are involved in a discussion of this nature, petrhaps this small sampling of quotes will help you make your point.

• “Compassion is the basis of morality.” Arthur Schopenhauer

• “No one has ever become poor by giving.” Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank: the play

• “More smiling, less worrying. More compassion, less judgment. More blessed, less stressed. More love, less hate.” Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

• “For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.” Neil deGrasse Tyson

• “for there is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one’s own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.” Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

• “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” Dalai Lama XIV, The Art of Happiness

• “It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business.” Mahatma Gandhi

• “Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” Albert Einstein

• “Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.” Andrew Boyd, Daily Afflictions: The Agony of Being Connected to Everything in the Universe

• “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop

• “Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, it’s at the end of your arm, as you get older, remember you have another hand: The first is to help yourself, the second is to help others.”
Sam Levenson

• “I find the best way to love someone is not to change them, but instead, help them reveal the greatest version of themselves.” Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

• “When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” Maya Angelou

• “I have no idea what’s awaiting me, or what will happen when this all ends. For the moment I know this: there are sick people and they need curing.” Albert Camus, The Plague

Finally, I think everyone remembers this admonition “Treat others as you want to be treated.” Would you like to be left dying because no one would help?

And — from where I sit, that’s the truth



One thought on “The Age of Selfishness “No Obligation to Pay for Others”

  1. I think there were three big steps in that direction: the first when we decided to allow corporations and their “limited liability” to exist, the second when they became “people,” and the third when somebody decided that the only moral responsibility a corporation has is to maximize the shareholders’ profits.

    Stupidity is the same as evil if you judge by the results.
    M. Atwood


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