Most of the population prefer to use the free, government subsidized health system though.
In the US it is a complete mess. Half of all healthcare spending is done by the government anyway (Medicare, Medicaid, government employees, army/veterans etc) and hence paid for by tax payers according to their income but not available to most taxpayers. The other half is paid for by charities, individuals, companies and by taxpayers (the government chooses not to collect tax on premiums paid by companies). Add in "insurance" companies which act as middle men between the payments and the healthcare delivery, plus a lot of regulation, and a large number of people whose jobs are to try and increase or decrease payments from the other groups and the whole thing is an unholy mess.
Circumstances seem to be debatable, though.
As for consciously deciding to get drunk when sober, I normally decide to get tipsy. It is when I am tipsy that I decide to get absolutely hammered.
But then again according to statistics, drinkers live longer, have more sex and have higher IQs than teetotallers, plus for most of human history it was one of the few sources of clean water, so is not an entirely stupid activity.
In the UK dentistry is not covered by the National Health Service. (More accurately it can be but the vast majority of dentists opt out.)
As for waiting lists the UK did significantly increase spending in order to reduce them. (The UK also had one of the lowest per capita spending rates in the EU.)
However every health system anywhere has to do some form of rationing. There aren't an infinite number of beds, doctors, machines, or money for that matter. When there is some waiting then whatever is being waited on can achieve 100% utilization although queues can easily get out of hand. How to do the rationing is very tricky. Ultimately some value has to be put on human life. Spending $5000 on a course of treatment instead of $100,000 where the latter has 5% better outcomes needs to be decided.
I don't know about the whole country, but in the cities I've lived in recently it's been no problem to get NHS dental care, at least for the basics. I guess I can't fault your words technically, but I think "In the UK dentistry is covered by the National Health Service" would be at least as accurate as your version.
Don't worry, your nervousness will be replaced by anger soon enough.
You can pick where you want to live based on what you like. A state in the US is almost as big as many countries, so you can think of the US as a conglomerate of many countries.
However Massachusetts is having some adverse selection going on as people who otherwise could not afford health care are going there and putting a drain on the system. They are also having a shortage of family doctors.
What is making the states very upset at the current federal plan is that they loose the opportunity to decide for themself how they want the state to run.
Same goes for Europe and its member states I guess.
Hospitals in the US are obligated to treat any emergency patient regardless of whether they can pay.
And even if you do have insurance or the ability to pay, or (AFAIK) if a hospital waives payment for someone indigent, there's still a metric ton of paperwork to be filled out, which makes doing my taxes seem simple and fun by comparison. Don't even get me started on the catastrophically bad state of medical record-keeping.
[somehow Democracy Now seems appropriate for a Stallman discussion]
But the "lot of money" thing is just reality: health care costs a lot of money, period. And it must be paid. Coming up with a regime to do so without leaving people out or inappropriately burdening them is a hard problem, and frankly no entity, government or private, can claim to have solved it "well".
I should also add that even if you don't have money, you still have access. I was seen at a clinic at Mass General (http://www.massgeneral.org) recently by making an optional $2 donation.
Medical care is a "right" in the sense that it's something you shouldn't have to ask for permission to seek, but we aren't entitled to it. It's a service that can be provided and bought on the free market like all other services.
If granting one person a "right" means violating someone else's rights (that is, their right to choose how to direct their energy and the fruits of their labor) then it's unjust.
In any case, rights can and are sometimes eclipsed by others. The idea of natural, absolute rights is just ridiculous.
Is it your position that everything can be justified by a persons ability to get up and move?
Maybe in a hypothetical world where you can find this hypothetical free market. In the real world, health care can be treated as a fundamental right because there are enough doctors available.
When something is reasonably considered optional, ideally and hopefully you aren't forced to pay for other people's partaking of that optional service.
Healthcare is not one of those things. It's optional in the sense that everyone has the option of refusing medical care, even if sometimes that means dying, but it's not optional in that almost every sane person with more than a minor cut or sniffles or food poisoning opts for medical care if it is available rather than the alternative.
Other mandatory goods and services, like food, clothing, housing, city utilities (water/electricity), even internet access, work better in a mostly private model for a couple major reasons. First, the price variance for the necessary part of those goods and services is very low compared to variance for the medical costs someone might incur. Second, a lot of people can afford and want more than the bare necessities. Not so with medical care, where few people can afford major surgery or routine treatments for some major chronic conditions.
Another aspect of medical care is that we benefit even if we're never treated. Do you know anyone who has ever needed significant medical care at a hospital? I doubt your relationship with those people means nothing to you.
Why not think of it as insurance instead (social security)? Less desperate people means less muggers on the street. Less sick people means less risk to get infected yourself. Plus, should you ever happen to fall on hard times yourself (god forbid), you would be provided for.
I believe in selfishness as the best basis for a society, and I still think it is in favor of social security and public health care.
Discussing fundamental rights is bound to be bullshit. The only right that exists is the right of the stronger party (established by guns, majority votes etc). If the stronger party believes x is a right, it is a right. So if a majority of voters in a democracy is convinced x is a right (perhaps because the better smooth talker convinced them), it can become a right. That is all there is to it. Philosophy is irrelevant.
To my mind, 20 minutes is hardly an unreasonable delay when you're not an emergency. To make a snide remark about it when you're a guest in the country and getting the advantages of their free health services is just poor taste and bad manners.
Frankly, there's a reason why I used the word 'appreciate' rather than 'respect' and that's because while RMS has done much good for the world, he's also an extremist and a fundamentalist who's publicly held convictions in some areas indirectly damage the cause he's fighting for.
But it's scary to imagine a world without the counterpoint that RMS singularly embodies.
In a way, he evokes images of the Dalai Lama: In (metaphorical) exile, regarded as a heretic from many, and revered as a guiding beacon by others.
There was a time when some of the things he talks about mattered (1980s), and that time has long gone.
The general public don't buy "computers" to tinker with any more. They buy them just like they buy a toaster. As an appliance to use. The software or hardware it runs is irrelevant. All that matters is the user experience, and if it fulfils the purpose - does it make good toast.
The Open Web Honeymoon is rapidly coming to an end and our ability to ignore his ideas is also rapidly coming to end. His ideas are regaining their importance fast, because the victories circa 2000 that allowed us to pretend he was crazy because our world was comfortable are being walked back. The classic Right to Read  is no longer a far-out vision but very nearly a matter of some switches being flipped in existing software and hardware. I see a developing consensus group on HN that we can ignore RMS as a loon, but now's a terrible time for that to take root. We're going to get stomped in the next several years if that happens. The fight for the openness of the next hardware generation has started and we're barely showing up.
The market decides these things extremely well. We don't need people shouting and taking extremist positions.
The only thing that matters is "Does this device solve a problem I have, and satisfy my needs?". If the answer to that is yes, then I don't care how open/closed/walled garden it is.
So, your bright spots are a fading category under active attack (web browser choice), a dubious walled garden (XBox 360) from the same company working to kill our browser choice, and a phone platform which as I've said goes back and forth between open and not depending on the who, what, and when, with basically a single project standing between us and the whole platform being effectively closed (CyanogenMod). (I'm assuming you're not claiming the PS3 as open after the openness was retroactively removed by Sony. There is nothing stopping Microsoft from doing that either.)
This isn't extremism to be ringing the bell, our insertion into the trunk is nearly a fait accompli, and again, we're barely showing up to the fight.
On the contrary. RMS's extreme views on software freedom are more relevant than ever before.
In the 2000's we have seen computers turn from general purpose programmable machines into walled gardens where you need a permission from the manufacturer to write and sell programs that run on them. That's pretty much the opposite of free software.
I also can't easily modify my toaster to fry sausages, because of the toaster company not releasing the design schematics and moulds. It's not free hardware!
You say that like it's at all relevant to the problem.
RMS isn't about helping people "tinker" with computers. He's about something much bigger than that. Freedom from monopoly business models.
Google has an absolute monopoly on search, but it's still providing the best search out there, so I use it.
I refer to business models that seek out monopoly status through techniques such as vendor lock in. Not just businesses that find themselves in a position of monopoly.
Hint: You can't make it on another toaster.
He needs better line filtering I'd guess!
Kindly funded by the Spanish government :)
- Stallman felt ill halfway through a lecture he was offering in Barcelona, probably due to a blood pressure spike;
- he asked the staff for medical assistance;
- meanwhile, he continued the lecture with some difficulty, but in a good mood;
- the lecture was suspended when the ambulance arrived, and was eventually cancelled;
- after being attended by the medical staff, he was well enough to walk out of the building;
- no further details on his health.
Let's hope the hospital doesn't offer him breakfast.
It's perfectly OK to attack his ideologies but I don't see why you'd hate him personally as if he's some villain that is hurting people in some way or another. The guy is merely advocating his ideals. He's not enforcing them. He's not dominating any markets and enforcing his ideologies on people. He's not profiting of his ideologies. He doesn't even enjoy any power. If you don't like him, you can easily ignore him. You won't be affected.
IMHO, he hurts several things. He hurts free software, and he hurts the software industry as a whole.
I'd die just to watch it.
By the way, "he did not, for example, have a heart attack". Really? There are no confirmed details but he definitely didn't have a heart attack? Well are there confirmed details or not? If he didn't have a heart attack then there's at least one confirmed detail, right? Why the need to clarify that one point? I'm not saying its a lie but whenever someone tells me "I don't know what happened but I know this one thing didnt happen" they're either guessing or hiding something.
There's a strange warped perspective at play.
(Shrug) I am my actions and beliefs. There's nothing else to me. I don't know about Stallman, though.
e.g. Dutch pedophiles have formed a political party to campaign for legalization. I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children.
It is all right for someone to be skeptical about any commonly held view, except when it's about sex with minors.
In any discussion about any kind of sex with anyone under 18 whatsoever, if you're not 100% fully completely convincedly against it, then you're a bad person!!1
Why can't we just discuss this? Like we can discuss anything else? Especially in the US, where the norm appears to be that the KKK people and the Westboro Baptist nutcases are insane, but they should still be allowed to say what they think? Why is that ok with nazis and homo haters, but not for people who are merely skeptical about the current social norm wrt sex with minors?
It's this same attitude that allows governments to block half the internet, it's to seek out the child pornographers! What, you're against my law? Hey guys, this one here is in favour of child pornography!
Note: I completely share the common opinion that sex with minors is bad and that there are only very few edge cases to be found where it isn't (e.g. a sexually active couple, both 17 years old, one turns 18 and is now a peadophile? surely not). I just think that, like everything else in the world, if we're civilized, we'll allow the discussion.
reg: Stallman is an important voice.
detractor: He’s also advocating pedo.
reg: He’s still an important voice.
HN reader: Actually, he isn’t advocating pedo. <- new perspective
also, my compliments for not turning this into a flamewar. in retrospect, it would seem that i was about to.
Attraction to 17 year olds is ephebophilia.
He's not discussing it. He's just expressing an opinion. It's an opinion which appears to be based in ignorance. Without any reference to evidence it's just an opinion, and it's unfortunately close to the opinions given by paedophiles.
People have spent many years trying to get the harm done by paedophiles taken seriously. It's frustrating when someone with a large audience blurts out the same ignorant nonsense that victims have been fighting for years.
So, feel free to say that sexual abuse with children is not harmful - just make sure to read some of the extensive evidence before you do.
If advocating for better understanding of something and simply not buying into the "think of the children" argument can be called advocating for something, well no. That's dishonest and disheartening, and reeks of a vendetta, or at the very least, a petty mind.
It's one thing to support something. It's another thing to be skeptical.
You'd have to have something more than just conjecture from RMS. Nothing I've read or found suggests he is an advocate.
And yes, I realize you are just asking this question.
"Dutch pedophiles have formed a political party to campaign for legalization.
I am skeptical of the claim that voluntarily pedophilia harms children. The arguments that it causes harm seem to be based on cases which aren't voluntary, which are then stretched by parents who are horrified by the idea that their little baby is maturing."
He's probably wrong about the harm, but even being wrong doesn't void his right to free speech, or to life.
The question (which is unethical to research) is "does voluntary pedophilia harm children?"
In all honestly, the answer is "probably most of the time". Right now, we can't say with absolute certainty that the answer is "probably most of the time". However, the cost of finding out the answer is via a controlled experiment too great, and given the ethics of science today, it definitely shouldn't be researched. We have a lot of reason to believe that children aren't mature enough to handle the consequences, and there are very common negative consequences associated with pedophilia that have been noted for decades. This evidence strongly points to the idea that it is bad, but it isn't proof any more than an apple falling is proof of gravity (it's a case for, but not a proof of). Our society saying "it's bad" isn't proof either.
What Stallman is writing is that he is skeptical of the claim that it is bad. That is a belief, and as already mentioned, testing it would be incredibly unethical. That doesn't make you a bad person for saying that without proof, you refuse to accept a claim.
While what he says may seem heretical, to burn him as a heretic is wrong. Until he says "we should test this" or "I support this group and/or changes of current laws", he hasn't suggested anything that would endanger/harm anyone. The proper response isn't "HERETIC", it is facts that we do know that suggest that this belief is likely (even if not proven in a formal study to be) wrong. For example, bed wetting, PTSD, sexual repression, hypersexualized behavior, extreme depression are symptoms experienced later in life. I don't know what the voluntary/involuntary ratio is, but this suggests that there are serious psychological consequences. Experts in the field would know more. The point being that in an open society, we discuss and counter, not silence and shut down.
Many people believe P = NP despite the years of no solution and a general consensus that researching a polynomial time algorithm is a waste of time. We don't have a proof that P =/= NP, so we can't counter, so we can't counter those who believe it, even if we regard their beliefs to be misinformed or likely to be wrong.
I can’t read the man’s mind, but I do know that he has made a choice to discuss the subject and a choice to poke holes in an argument made by one side of the subject, and the choice to leave that comment right there without any attempt at balance or qualification.
I wish we could just relax and have faith on the preservation of such basic rights as free speech, but, unfortunately, this is not the case. It's all too easy to condemn someone for having an opinion we consider dangerous and to suppress their right to state it. We all must learn to live in a world where some people disagree with us in very fundamental ways, because, if we don't, we'll end up living in a world we'd rather not.
He never actually advocated pedophilia, so what awful practices are you saying that he advocates?
That's repugnant. Why do people still invite him to conferences? Surely there's less-objectionable representatives of his views on software.
I do not agree with them, but I defend their (both Dutch pedophiles and RMS) right to state their opinions. Even if I strongly disagree with both.
That said, conference speakers are there at the discretion of the organizers. Not being able to speak is a rights violation; not being able to speak at a conference is not.
I'm glad you didn't say something to the effect of "Not being able to speak is a rights violation; not being able to publish it on the web is not." but you can clearly see it's a small leap from one to the other. After all, the servers, routers and wires always belong to someone.
Which is pretty much what raganwald wanted to happen: fear, uncertainty, and doubt have been successfully seeded.
I'm proud of you for lending your username on HN to remind everybody how truly awful of a person he can be, but I fear that even your clout cannot save this comment from people that love him.
It has lead to people being hell-banned for inoffensive things, the worst I've seen is someone hell-banned because their double post got such a large amount of down-votes.
I got an earful about him from other people both publicly and privately, and I also recall a thread right here on HN a while back where there were allegations of (and spirited discussion about) his interest in getting young men into his hotel room at conferences.
I’m definitely not criticizing anyone who wishes him well, wishes poorly of him, or just wishes he would step out of the limelight (there seem to be more than a few people who consider him an liability to the open source movement at the moment regardless of past contributions). I was just trying to stick my finger in the wind and ask other people how they feel, not suggest how people are supposed to feel.
But oh, right, other people said those things, not you. You're just reporting, in a comment thread about the man's uncertain physical health, asking if it's "acceptable" to wish him well.
After a cursory search, the only such discussion I could find was about John Draper, not Stallman. http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1914498
From what I understand, Stallman doesn't even stay in hotel rooms.
That it was said six years ago and you dredge it up in an entirely unrelated topic shows that you are more interested in grinding an axe than discussing the matter at hand.
The wonderful thing about having a smattering of French and Latin is that I can recognise "damned with faint praise" even in a language I don't know.
(Hint for the mono-lingual: http://translate.google.com/#auto|en|Stallman%2C%20conocido%...)
I hope he doesn't overexert himself.
You can ask him yourself, if you want: firstname.lastname@example.org
He replies to almost all emails within a couple of days.
EDIT: He actually answered a very similar question in his reddit AMA :
22. two_front_teeth: Suppose your doctor told you that you needed a medical procedure to
survive but that the procedure would require inserting a device inside
of your body which ran proprietary software. Would you be willing to
have the procedure done to save your life?
RMS: The only way I could justify this is if I began developing a free
replacement for that very program. It is ok to use a nonfree program
for the purpose of developing its free replacement.
You don't want to have a buggy pacemaker with unencrypted unprotected wireless access.
Moreover I don't feel comfortable using a technology that is owned, developed and maintained exclusively by one company.
In some ways, it's best not to think too hard about this.
If it were open source you, or anyone who was fitted with the pacemaker could look at the rules that control it.
Making _anything_ visible and open to criticism instantly makes its creators more accountable and adds pressure for them to try and be responsible.
Free eyes have lower marginal cost to the consumer than proprietary ones.
If the Oracle suit taught me anything, it's to be careful when using APIs.
"And the issue doesn't really arise for software that goes in a watch or a microwave oven or an automobile ignition system. Because those are places where you don't download software to install. It's not a real computer, as far as the user is concerned. And so, it doesn't raise these issues enough for them to be ethically important."
He's changed his mind about servers since then, so I wonder if he also has since changed his mind on devices?
> However, if I am visiting somewhere and the machines available nearby happen to contain non-free software, through no doing of mine, I don't refuse to touch them. I will use them briefly for tasks such as browsing. This limited usage doesn't give my assent to the software's license, or make me responsible its being present in the computer, or make me the possessor of a copy of it, so I don't see an ethical obligation to refrain from this. Of course, I explain why they should migrate the machines to free software, but I don't push them hard, because that would be counterproductive.
Sure, he raises that alarm early and often (and in an annoying voice), but he's been right more than once about issues nobody else had considered before.
The first fatalities from software in medical systems were in mid-80's when an X-ray machine gave excess radiation to patients because of a programming mistake. I recall it was an integer overflow.
This issue is more serious than just making fun of RMS's extremist views.
(sorry for the lack of links to sources, I'm sure you can find them if you're interested)
RMS: "Rajoy (Spain's president) wants to kill us all."
Well there you go, Richard.
Even though I mostly disagree with the man's politics, I must say that it takes a smart prick to make a contextually accurate and funny joke in a foreign language at an indecisive moment like that.
In Spain, the head of state is the monarch and the head of the elected government is known as the "Presidente del Gobierno", or president of the government. Although a counterpart can be found in other parliamentarian systems such as the prime minister in the UK, the Spanish president of government is not primus inter pares but the undisputed head of the government.