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Eric Raymond needs you

Eric Raymond is the reason I’m here. He’s the guy I found while learning about Linux who gave a name to my vague sense of injustice at having to pay tax and taught me that a libertarian is a thing. Googling “libertarian UK” after reading his web site is how I found Samizdata, and found out that there were libertarians on my doorstep. He taught me that anarcho-capitalism is a thing. And that it’s okay to like guns. And that it does not make me some sort of lefty for enjoying messing about with Free Software. He explained the economics of it and gave it a better name: Open Source. And he’s out there propagandising, and making some of the software that keeps civilization ticking and not being hacked. And his code is all over the place and you probably use quite a lot of it every day.

But he has a problem.

First, Obamacare killed my wife’s full-time job and the health insurance that came with it. Then Obamacare drove personal health insurance costs into the stratosphere, so I now pay more per month on it than I do for my mortgage. $973 a month is what it costs us to go to a doctor, which is ridiculous and every politician who voted for this disaster should be hung from a lamppost. Until it’s repealed or collapses, though, the money has to come from somewhere.

You get more of the things you encourage. I think ESR needs to be encouraged. And luckily, you can, via his Patreon page.

Also, on his blog post about Patreon, there is some interesting discussion about Obamacare:

Petro says:

People are shocked when I tell them what the “bronze” plan costs a family of 4 for insurance that has insane deductibles (it looks like they went up to 5k/person 10k/family) they are shocked.

PapayaSF adds:

It’s darkly ironic that one of the original arguments for Obamacare’s outlawing of inexpensive “junk insurance policies” was that many had deductibles that were “too high.” So now we’ve got expensive policies with high deductibles that are too high…

ESR explains his wife’s job loss:

The short version is that Obamacare mandates have added so much to an employer’s overhead for anyone full-time that the full-time job is being effectively abolished. Even professionals like lawyers are being fired to be replaced with contractors who have to buy their health insurance a la carte.

It’s a double whammy – first Obamacare destroys secure employment, then it saddles people living hand-to-mouth with ruinously high costs. Our health-insurance premiums are higher than our mortgage.

21 comments to Eric Raymond needs you

  • RRS

    But – the “people” re-elected that same person.

  • Snorri Godhi

    WRT the anarcho-capitalism link i’d like to do a bit of nitpicking.
    First, it is not clear that Eric Raymond is the author.
    Moving on to the substantive issue:

    The American form of constitutional democracy was invented by the founding fathers of the United States because all previous systems had been found wanting.

    That gives the false impression that the Founding Fathers conceived American constitutional democracy from scratch. In fact, they based it on a couple of millennia of political thought and historical experience.

  • Phil B

    Well, as O’Bummer had a byzantine complexity Health Care Reform Bill that was well over 1000 pages when he was elected, I can see in my minds eye him turning up on his first day and pulling it out of his briefcase and saying “NOW we’ll implement this …”

    In other words, the unaffordability and the destruction of the system is not a bug, it was intended all along. Only an idiot would think that adding thousands of civil servants to the system would result in a reduction in premiums.

    No – only a fully statist (A La British NHS) system will deliver the kind of care that people want, not the evil private healthcare schemes. All you have to do is vote it into law to see how good it will be and what it contains …

  • Paul Marks

    RRS – yes they did, although many people stayed home saying “Romney would be no better”.

    As for government intervention in healthcare – each intervention leads to more interventions.

    Mr Romney himself said the “burden on Emergency Rooms” meant that health insurance had to be made compulsory.

    One government intervention (making every hospital open its “Emergency Room” to anyone who turned up – a move that only dates from the 1980s and was inspired by bogus media stories about women being kicked out of hospital in the middle of giving birth) was used to justify another government intervention – compulsory insurance.

    It never occurred to Mr Romney to campaign as Governor of Mass for the repeal of the Emergency Room intervention. The higher insurance costs it produced, as people were forced to pay for the uninsured in Emergency Rooms, just led him to demand that everyone be insured – if “need be” with government subsides, thus the failure known as “Romneycare” was born.

    Subsidy programs (such as Medicare and Medicaid) and endless regulations (going back to doctor licensing, exposed by Milton Friedman as a scam, and going on to endless other things), have exploded health care costs – decade after decade.

    Even in the 1950s medical insurance, or mutual aid schemes, were perfectly affordable for almost everyone – but government intervention caused health costs to explode.

    However, Obamacare is special in that the increases in costs, especially for individuals who seek medical insurance, is DELIBERATE.

    Obamacare is DESIGNED to make people dependent on government funding.

    “But it will be done via private insurance companies”.

    So what? It is still government funding.

    And the private insurance companies will be turned on in due course.

    Just as Mr Obama turned on the private companies that provided government backed student loans.

    Everything dependent on government – from education to accommodation, mortgages, to heath care.

    That is the tactical objective.

    The strategic objective is not difficult to discover.

    The destruction of “capitalism”.

    By overburdening “the system” with impossible numbers of dependants.

    Cloward and Piven tactics – although they did not invent the idea.

    It is probably already too late for reform.

  • Paul Marks

    “But what should Mr Raymond and his family do?”

    I do not know.

    I have nothing to suggest.

    For them – or for me.

    At least Mr Raymond has marketable skills My guess is that his wife has also.

    They may be able to survive – either in the United States or elsewhere.

  • Julie near Chicago

    RRS, “The People” (as you rightly put it!): 51.06% : 47.21% Obama:Romney. Spread 3.85%.

    In 2008, Obama:McCain 52.92% : 45.66%. Spread 7.26%.

    So there’s that.

    So — what? So you (I betcha!) and Eric Raymond and I and 60.9 million who voted against this thief are still on the hook for the whole mess.

    Also those who refused to vote against the Incumbent as a matter of “principle.” Some principle!

    And per http://www.statisticbrain.com/voting-statistics/ ,

    218,959,000 Americans were eligible to vote in 2012;
    126,144,000 actually did so;

    so the source says 57.5% of those eligible actually voted, whereas my computer says it was 57.6%, but we won’t niggle. So some percentage of those folks also are unjustly on the hook, such as those in the hospital in coma at the time.

    [Statisticbrain.com also lists the percentage of eligible non-voters by Reason for Not Voting. “Won’t vote on principle” is not one of them. 13.4%, however, did say “Not interested.” (“Did not like candidates or campaign issues” is a separate category.)]

    Meanwhile we have much-lauded up-and-coming “libertarian” “philosophers” telling us that there’s no point in voting because “the odds that your vote will make a difference are nearly 0.”

    May such feeble-minded persons as spread this tripe NEVER be able to afford ANY medical care in this the Land of the Free!!

  • Julie near Chicago

    Let me add to Rob’s list: William O. B’Livion comments cogently on the canard that “At least in the long run, Obamacare will decrease health-care costs and probably raise life span.”

    Followed by a good argument that Switzerland’s “solution” to paying for health care isn’t applicable to the U.S. in any case, because of the differences in population, both size and cultural makeup.

    (William’s reference to Cook County make me wonder if he, too, is or was Near Chicago.)

  • Julie near Chicago

    Let me point out the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons at http://www.aapsonline.org/ .

    This is a group of doctors who practice on contract, with (usually) a monthly subscription fee: — what are sometimes called “concierge practices.” They tend to be conservativish politically, I think, although some practice “alternative” medicine as well as Western Conventional (if I may so call it). They are certainly against (at least most) governmental involvement in health care, and have been since the organization was founded in 1943.

    They aim to make their living by providing the best care at the least cost.

    Here is the current lead posting on the site:

    Direct Payment / Cash Friendly Practices
    Mar 15, 2015

    More and more patients are looking to work directly with their physicians without the government or insurance company in the exam room.

    To see a list of physicians with direct payment / cash friendly practices please visit:


    As this list grows we will work to make it more user friendly. It is sorted by state by default but can be sorted by any other column by clicking on the column heading.

    There’s also a link for interested doctors there.

    See also the “About” page: http://www.aapsonline.org/index.php/about_us/ . This page has full contact information, as well as a “mission statement” and other info.

    I discovered them while UT-surfing. Their “Thrive Not Just Survive” series of videos is intended for docs, but gives a good feel for the project to us laymen (prospective patients). Select “Resources” in the menu across the top, and “Video” on the (voluminous) “Resources” page.

    To see what may be available in your state, visit the link above. Page introduction:

    Cash / Direct-Payment-Friendly Practices

    The below physicians [sic] will accept payment directly from their patients without involvement of the insurance company or government. AAPS is providing this list for information purposes only. The information contained in the list was supplied by and is the responsibility of the physician/practice not AAPS.

  • Fred Z

    Massive tax evasion, coming at you real fast.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Good heavens! Smited?? Only three links, no mention of the dreaded Toob…. Ah well, in due course I expect. :>)

  • Nicholas (Rule Yourselves!) Gray

    I don’t think that the American Founding Fathers created the Constitution from scratch. The U.K. has two chambers of Parliament, which was an innovation- all previous governments had one (The Roman Senate was unicameral). The Supreme Court does seem like an innovation, and it sometimes seems to work as intended, so that is new. The President is like an elected King.

  • Rob Fisher

    Julie, I think he comments here sometimes.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Yes, Rob, he does. So does PapayaSF. In fact it’s interesting how many Samizdatistas one runs across here and there in Cyberspace.

    Thanks for the link, by the way. I did leave the same comment about the AAPS there.

  • Edward MJ

    Goes to pledge.

    Due to European Union VAT regulation, we are now required to add VAT to your new and edited pledges at a standard rate based on your location.

    Oh ffs. Guess I’ll try again later behind a VPN then. Also, Patreon needs to support Bitcoin.

  • Andrew Duffin

    I’m sure Mr. Raymond is one of the good guys – in fact, one of the greatest of the good guys.

    But I do rather wonder whether there might not be something to consider here:

    1. I write software
    2. Software ought to be free
    3. I am hard up, give me money

    Isn’t there some sort of flaw?

  • Joshua

    Andrew: That’s a total mischaracterization of ESR’s take on open source. Eric was the one who preached that open source is a tool of capitalism and can and should be monetized. The specific type of work he does is infrastructural, and as a result doesn’t generate much revenue. It relies largely on corporations understanding their dependence on them and donating money. The one that was largely behind the funding of his current project isn’t doing as well, but the project is no less important.

  • Joshua

    To be more clear, he also stated that he /could/ make money off of software, open source too, but he’s trying not to abandon the important infrastructural project he’s currently working on to do so. This is an attempt for him to contribute where it’s needed instead of abandoning it for himself.

  • Foo Quuxman

    @Andrew Duffin

    You are confusing ESR with RMS, for ESR it is more like:

    2. The best way to create quality software and the way that maximizes economic value is open source.

  • Rob Fisher (Surrey)

    Also, if he is successful, it will be proof that people do value his work. If he fails to raise enough money he will indeed go and do something else. I don’t see any contradiction.

  • Open Source does not mean Free, but rather Collaboration.
    Those of us who contribute do so that we can make our support of other clients easier.
    It would be nice if public institutions such as local councils and the like collaborated on developing common systems, and yes the systems used by the NHS come into that framework rather than the hundreds of millions of pounds pumped into systems that have never worked.
    We would be a lot better off today if money was used in the right places to fund the right people …

  • ESR made a fortune off the LNUX IPO. Where did that all go (I appreciate that he has cerebral palsy and never makes a thing about it)?

    The guy overplays his role as a software developer (to the extent that there was once a sort of factcheck site about him), but as a *writer* he was great – very effective at using good imagery to get his point across.

    His important contributions though were to the intellectual acceptability of open source software, rather than to libertarianism.