- Termites Working Together
In the current political climate there seem to be some poles that are forming…On the right you have the GOP, Randians, and other individualistic-minded folk that believe that Government should be small (whatever that means). They also believe that “They did it alone (whatever that means).” In effect, they believe that any type of Government-funded/organized/facilitated action is a step towards the slippery-slope of something evil (Socialism, Communism, Collectivism, etc.).
Which brings me to Ants, et. al. There are dozens (100′s?) of examples of species working together for the greater good of the species. It can involve specialization of activity, often based on physical characteristics; or it can even be inter-species. For example, see this very interesting post regarding different species working together to make their ‘collective’ lives easier:
My point is simply that there is clear evidence outside the human species that intra and inter-species collaboration is a positive and mutually beneficial activity. I wish that some of the aforementioned ‘segments’ could see the grand things that the human species has accomplished by working together: modern plumbing, road infrastructure, the creation of a legal system, educational systems, healthcare, firehouses, police stations, etc. There are a crazy number of activities that we, collectively, have contributed funds to, that, in-turn, have come back to benefit us. Do we think the US would have spread electricity as fast as it did without government coordination? Or school-based childhood vaccination programs?
Which brings us to today. I am not an apologist for big Government or high taxes, but I am in support of a functioning, ever-improving, federal government that works for the people and not special corporate interests. There is scale in supporting things like healthcare if we all pitch in. Building a common US military is also a great example of collective behavior. We have one (albeit multi-faceted) defense system to protect our society. It works. Defending our borders and interests is not necessarily a “profitable” enterprise like Apple making iPads, so it makes sense for our society to share the cost. Likewise, to defend against disease and chance that can lead to personal bankruptcy and the destruction of families and individuals, we can work together to collectively hedge our bets. To leave this hedging to an unregulated private sector will always lead organizations to seek profit and there is NO profit in helping sick people, only cost.
We can discuss the details of a public option. Should certain procedures be regulated or not included in the base-healthcare? Should there be age limits on certain procedures? Should certain expensive drugs not be covered? These are very difficult decisions to be made. Clearly, everyone can’t have everything all the time. But if everyone had something all the time, I think we could improve the entire US economy, US productivity, and even save corporations a fortune on healthcare expenses.
If termites can work together, we can too!