Links to Consider, 12/10
Alex Tabarrok on Canada's two-tier health care system; Nicholas Ebersadt on demographic projections; Russ Roberts and Yossi Klein Halevi; Graham McAleer on Robert Kaplan
Canadian woman is diagnosed with cancer, told she has 2 years to live at most, that she is not a candidate for surgery but would she like medical help in committing suicide? She declines, comes to the United States, spends a lot of money, and is treated within weeks. Her health insurance is refusing to pay.
Every country has a two-tier health care system. Anyone can get the medical procedures that government will pay for. Additional services go to those who can pay for procedures themselves.
With the rise in (voluntary) childlessness around the world, growing numbers of elders will have no relatives—or no close relatives—to count on.
Consider these projections for Japan from a few years ago: on the projected trajectory, almost 40 percent of Japanese women born in 1990 will complete their lives without biological children— and slightly over half will finish their lives without biological grandchildren
Today, we are feeling the cultural and political impact of single, childless women who are young. Try to imagine what they will be like when they are old.
Russ Roberts talks with Yossi Klein Halevi, a well-known Israeli historian. They discuss the Arab narrative, which is that Jews are aliens who settled within Arab territory and then had the gall to establish their own state within that territory. Klein points out that the history is more nuanced. Parts of what is now Israel were sparsely populated before the Zionist movement began, and in some places Jews were the majority, but they were subjected to Arab rule. And, contrary to the Arab narrative, Jewish subjects were often mistreated by Arab rulers.
Still, the Arab narrative has some basis. I would say to consider it in light of the controversy in Europe over Arab immigration there. Imagine if the Arab immigrants in France wanted to carve out a separate state that included part of Paris, and this state would have its own religious and cultural norms. France, and other European countries, must contend with the “otherness” of Arab immigrants.
The problem for Jews has always been that they are “the other.” This was the problem that Zionism was supposed to solve, by creating a state where they are not the other. Instead, relative to their Arab neighbors, Israeli Jews are still “the other,” and they are feared and hated, just as Arab immigrants to France are feared and hated by part of the native population there.
I thought that the most interesting point that Halevi raised in the podcast is that October 7 revealed to Israelis the fragility of their state. I would note that Israel has no strategic depth, its adversaries seem relentless, and the world is filled with people who sympathize with its enemies, even when those enemies act barbarically. Halevi says that October 7 provided a preview of what a military defeat would mean for the Jews of Israel: slaughter and the cruelest possible acts of torture. He predicts that this will lead Israelis to examine fundamental questions about the meaning of life, just as this can happen to an individual who experiences a close encounter with death.
Graham McAleer reviews a book by Robert Kaplan that argues in favor of an empire rather than a collection of ethnonationalist states.
cosmopolitan empire succeeds because it is not shackled to one very bad assumption that dogged American empire: the utopian belief that “the American history of freedom [is] more relevant to Syria and Iraq than Syria’s and Iraq’s own histories.”
…Monoethnic modern states are toxic, Kaplan contends, and after a century of experimentation in the Greater Middle East a political form that keeps generating ghoulish images on social media. There is a hundred years of evidence that “empires are more natural and organic to world geography than modern states.”
It sounds as though Kaplan is Yoram Hazony with a minus sign in front.