2012 – The Year in Review and a Call to Action for 2013

For many of us, 2012 was a tumultuous year – and it’s still not over.  With only a handful of days remaining before we go  over the “fiscal cliff”  businesses and individuals alike are eagerly awaiting action on the part of our duly elected government.  Whether action comes or not I submit to you that the action, regardless of its nature, will fail to materially change the course our country is on.

Far from a fatalist, I am merely reflecting on the year past and the vast number of crisis and actions taken to mitigate those crisis.  With all that has happened, we still find ourselves mired in a sluggish economy with seemingly insurmountable debt and limited prospects for reprieve. 

So what should we do?

I for one will take a slogan from history – I will Keep Calm and Carry On.

When I was in college I took a philosophy class – Philosophy 146, Critical Thinking.  The professor used a text called Attacking Faulty Reasoning by T. Edward Damer.  It succinctly covers 63 fallacies of logical argument and provides exercises that will assist you in identifying and defending against them.  At the time I hated this class and as such, I went to registrations on the last possible day to convert the class to pass/fail and I am sure I passed by the narrowest of margins.  Since that time I have studied this 166 page text almost continuously.  Each time I open it’s pages I find new insights and new tools that I feel have helped me achieve the success I have had to date.

So what does this have to do with the year in review?

For those of you that follow me regularly you know I am an advocate of consumerism in health care.  The cost of health care continues to rise and I have spoken and written extensively on the underlying reasons why but at the end of this year, I can distill all of my activities and all of my suppositions down to one single premise.

An informed consumer is an efficient consumer.

This axiom can be applied to almost everything.  In health care its a fairly direct association because we are talking about consumerism in its purest capitalistic sense.  But being an informed consumer goes beyond the material buying of tangible products. Being an informed consumer requires both the understanding of what is being consumed and the ability to recognize red herrings (Page 132 of the 2nd edition of Attacking Faulty Reasoning). Take for example politics, an art full of promise and deceit.

As an informed consumer of government, I am more keenly aware of who my direct representatives are, what they are doing and what they stand for more than ever before.  Sadly, most of a given politicians constituency is woefully disconnected from both current events and the political landscape.  Therefore, through necessity, politicians pander to the uninformed using every fallacious argument they can get their hands on to win the hearts (not necessarily the minds) of their voting district.  I do not fault them for these tactics as this is the sad necessity.  Rather I fault the American people for abdicating their hard fought right and more importantly responsibility to be an informed consumer of government.

While this message will likely reach only a handful of readers, I feel it is still my responsibility to voice my opinion and to call on those that read this to take a stand in 2013 and to spend the time that is necessary to familiarize yourself with your local, state and federal government representatives.  If you are displeased with their actions, research the issue at hand to be sure that you understand all the facets of the issue and then contact them to voice your opinion.  I truly believe that we are governed by a representative government.  The problem is not that the elected officials are not representing our interests, the problem is that we are uninformed on the issues and as such are unable to express our desires.  In that event, our officials are left to govern us based on their educated understanding of those issues – a practice which by and large works well but can, at times, have dire consequences.

Take the time, do your research, understand the issue and act.  Since the inception of this great country hundreds of thousands of people have given their lives to secure your freedom to do just that – don’t let their contribution, their sacrifice go to waste.

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