Tyler Cowen on Health Care Reform: And Deer Hunting

by on September 6, 2007 · 6 comments

Tyler Cowen’s New York Times piece on health care reform.

Which brings me to the topic of Deer Hunting With Jesus, which in its later chapters touches on the troubles of the health care system. This book has gotten a good bit of attention in liberal circles.

This book concerns the adventures of one educated urbanite amongst his backwoods fundamentalist relatives. The thesis: these are the supporters of conservatism, yet it is conservative policies that have landed them in their plight.

Alas, for we have here another example of a sort of fatal conceit. It is not worth writing about at great length. It consists of making fun of one set (fundamentalists, for example) for a failure to be open, informed, logical, and thoughtful, while at the same time failing to subject one’s own beliefs (concerning the cause of the problems in the health care system, and the best solutions for example) to the same sorts of requirement.

I suppose people have always had this tendency, and it ought not to be so annoying. Nonetheless it drives me completely batty. The other day on the train, for example, I heard a young man holding forth at length on the virtues of informed, critical thinking, which he found to be in decline. Fine. But in the next breath he was castigating liberal parents who support home schooling. How could they, he asked, possibly support home schooling? And went on to discuss the shortcomings of homeschooled youngsters he had (almost no) experience with, and the lack of training of homeschooling parents. Blah blah blah. Except there is one problem. And that is that the research on home schooling shows that on the whole homeschooled kids do just fine–even in the area of socialization. Even when their teaching parent has only a high school edication, they tend to perform well above grade level in academic skills.

Harumph. Yes, this thread is a potpourri of stray thoughts. What of it?

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