In the sixth century B.C. there suddenly evolved a foundation for Western society, continuing to today, and from which all the physical sciences and social institutions, such as liberal democracy, have benefited. This sudden foundation was the development of Greek philosophy - from the pre-Socratices (Thales, Anaximander and Anaximeines), to Plato and Aristotle.

As Alfred North Whitehead famously said, all of Western thought is a series of footnotes to Plato.

What was the cause of this explosion of critical thought? One theory is that it was due to the introduction of metal coinage. This dispersed an economic prosperity and a social mobility that unleashed human potential.

This empowerment of economic freedom and social mobility is exactly the same benefit unleashed by universal health care in all the advanced countries of the West - all except our own, of course. This freedom from fear of financial ruin due to illness is a release from bondage.

But we remain shackled by ignorance. We parrot the phrase, given to us by others with vested interest, that we cannot save ourselves because we cannot "afford" it - as if the meaning of life is merely a question of budgeting.

Indeed, the insurance companies, and their primary shareholders, cannot afford it - it would be the end of them. For the bondage of the populace, your bondage, is their cash cow. How much every month do you pay them?

We need merely to see that the promise of universal health care is not a burden, but a gift, with a greater return on every precious dollar than any other social expenditure.

RUSSELL NOBLETT, MD

ROANOKE

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