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I discriminate every day.

When buying products for the shop I discriminate against products which are poorly made or over-priced. I discriminate against suppliers who do not have items in stock when they say they do, or who charge too much for delivery, or don’t respond to questions.

I do the same when at the supermarket or liquor store. I discriminate. I choose based on my perception of differences between products. I do it every day.

Social welfare organisations also discriminate. They have to.

Several years ago I was a member of Synod in the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane. Legislation was introduced which would enable to provision of welfare services to particular groups. There was a page listing the ways in which those groups and individuals would be identified. In other words, how services would be offered in a discriminating way, so as to target people most in need. Then at the end was the assertion that all services would be provided without discrimination.

I objected to that on the basis that the entire preceding page set out the kinds of discrimination that would be used to target services. The Church is supposed to be about the truth, always and everywhere. It was doublespeak to set out at length what kinds of discrimination would be employed, and immediately after to say “all services will be provided without discrimination.”

They couldn’t even say “without discrimination on the basis of race or gender,” because some services were to be offered to refugees, to women, to aboriginal people. So why say “without discrimination” at all, except to appear righteous, pious, etc?

Of course, I was howled down. “We can’t discriminate!”

“But the whole preceding section sets out the ways in which you intend to discriminate.”

“No it doesn’t.”

It was a bit like this:

John Stossel writes in praise of discrimination when it comes to health insurance.

I have never had car insurance. I have been driving for over thirty years; cars, tractors, trucks, motor cycles. I have never had an accident. Motor vehicle insurance is a scheme designed to allow bad drivers to be subsidised by good ones.

Insurance only makes sense when you have no control over the level of risk. In every other circumstance, insurance will always be the careful and responsible subsidising the careless and lazy.

Health insurance is a perfect example. It is a scheme designed to allow the fat and lazy, smokers and heavy drinkers, the sex addled and gluttonous to be subsidised by people who make choices which lead to better health.

I have never smoked. I have a couple of drinks most nights, never more. I am approximately the right weight for my height. I run or walk every day. I look after my teeth. I have only been in hospital once, for one night. It makes far more sense for me to put aside a little money for health care on a regular basis than to put money into a collective in which I not only pay for the foolish choices others make, but also for the bureaucracy that supports them.

Other people have the right to make whatever choices they want. If they want to chain smoke, have casual sex and live on chocolate and beer, well, more joy to them. But I don’t see why I should have to pay for the consequences of those choices. Of course, if they had to pay for the consequences of their choices, they might choose differently.

Until then, until someone offers health insurance specifically for people who don’t make those choices, and which doesn’t offer expensive non-therapies like chiropractic, homeopathy and reiki, I’ll just look after myself.

Is that discriminatory? You bet.

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