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Health care is the new weather. Everyone likes to talk about it (especially in an election year), but no one wants to do anything about it. Except talk some more.

I’m glad that a lot of people see a need for change. But I imagine if you took a poll about the weather on any given day, you’d get similar results.

At least the weather has a chance of changing for the better if you just wait. Not so with health care. Someone has to be benefiting from the current situation and its progressive worsening (my premiums are going up nearly 30% this year and I already pay a ton out of pocket as it is). And I doubt those someones will green-light reform without putting up a huge fight.

It’ll all come down to who pays. People will be stirred up against higher taxes, not realizing that a heavier financial burden will be taken off their backs. But maybe that paradigm is shifting. People may be realizing they get something for their taxes, whether it’s war, health care or clean roads.

If you don’t want to pay for it, stop complaining. Save your gripes for the weather.

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Republicans normally embrace calls for personal responsibility. But that doesn’t seem to be happening in the debate over gas prices and what to do about them. That’s the irony in the recent mockery of Barack Obama’s mention of properly inflating tires.

Set aside all the studies showing savings from adequate inflation versus gains from domestic drilling. It’s also a moral issue, the kind Republicans would embrace in most other arenas. Why shouldn’t people be encouraged to take charge of their own lives and curb energy use wherever they can? The market may set an outrageous price for a gallon of gas. But we don’t have to sit back, play the victim and demand government action.

We can use fewer gallons. Or, at least when it comes to political debate, we can just move on to the next brouhaha. But not before I share with you the lead on this real-life press release (written by someone who clearly deserves a raise):

BETHESDA, Md., Aug. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — No matter where the presidential candidates are on the campaign trail, the issue of skyrocketing gas prices is always a top concern. The Car Care Council applauds both candidates who have recently discussed vehicle maintenance as a way to save energy, citing proper tire inflation and regular tune-ups. In fact, according to the survey by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA), 75 percent of drivers said they are better maintaining their vehicles because of rising gas prices.

If I remember one book from college (or more accurately, one series of books), it’s the Gulag Archipelago, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who died yesterday.

Sure, I read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich in high school, like so many others. But it was the Gulag Archipelago that made an impression, It wasn’t assigned reading, but the three or four volumes were right there on the reserve shelf in the college library where I worked. It guaranteed a semester’s worth of absorption for the 10 hours a week I spent on the job.

One quote still stands out from all those thousands of pages, though I might mangle it a bit here: “Most men go through life without knowing what deep well of evil they may fall into.” Hopefully you get the gist.

The book, more than any other, opened my eyes to the fatal fallacies of ideology, whether on the left or on the right. They ultimately elevate ideas over people, allowing for atrocities both big and small in the name of a better tomorrow, a better homeland or a better whatever. I never really trusted any ideology again, no matter its appeals to fairness and reason. Often enough they are mirages themselves.