On Don’s Behalf
The July 30-Aug. 5 Alibi letter from A. Pat ["Don-ology"] labels Don Schrader "crazy" and his behavior "antics." That's quite understandable, but I've a very different opinion to share from two viewpoints—one from having known Schrader continuously and fairly well for many years, the other from my linguistics/psychology teaching background in universities including Stanford and Georgetown, and from my experience as founding owner of two multistate corporations.
A guy as radically distinct as "near-naked Don" is easily misperceived as crazy, his behavior misread as outlandish antics. What's also easy is to be unaware of his absolute integrity, his near-unparalleled communicative openness, his extraordinarily high ethical standards, his unwavering adherence to (mostly) admirable principles and his dogged devotion to practicing what he preaches. I diametrically differ from Don in that my sexuality is hetero. And as father and grandfather of six males, I vehemently disagree with his semi-approval of sex with too-young males. Some of his values and practices are clearly impracticable for many people trying to earn a living and raise kids, but in the main over the years I've found most of Schrader's values and practices to be highly admirable. Having dealt professionally and closely with the psychology of many hundreds of people of at least 30 languages and cultures around the world, I've come to appreciate Don in general as (no exaggeration here) the most genuinely and consistently Ghandi-like American (I've supervised Hindi language instruction) I've ever met. Even in my own family, Don tends to be looked at askance with embarrassment or disdain, but I have discerned him more fully and clearly after numerous hours seated at tables outside La Montañita Co-op, listening to him interpret major sociological issues at a level of conceptual competence and articulateness equal to that encountered in some of the world's finest universities, and never with any trace of guile or hidden agenda, and with nondisparaging acceptance that most people lack his unflagging self-discipline. I believe that Alibi readers who know Schrader well firsthand will agree that I've described him here fairly and accurately.
[Re: News Feature, "Health Care on Life Support," July 16-22] Simon McCormack did a reasonably good job of discussing some of the problems currently facing American health care and some of the “reform” options now percolating in Congress. But, as is too often the case, the story aligns “free markets” with the status quo. Dr. Jason Cohen in particular is quoted in the story saying that certain doctors, insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry support the current “privatized model.”
While I’d like to give the media the benefit of the doubt in confusing the current health care system with a free market system, one would think that it would be hard to overlook the fact that government spending on health care accounts for 46 percent of all such spending. That hardly sounds “free market” to me.
Additionally, federal tax policies favor third-party-purchased coverage by allowing employers to purchase coverage tax-free, thus taking cost decisions out of the hands of individuals and reducing the incentives for average workers to be cost-conscious consumers when it comes to health care. As if that is not enough, states also regulate care, thus piling on costly mandates. New Mexico has 51 of them.
America’s health care system is by no means perfect, but the supporters of “reform” have not shown how still more government intervention in health care will result in higher quality, less expensive care.
Paul J. Gessing
President, Rio Grande Foundation
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