on the dollar. Again the customers suffer; doctors will notntake them on. Too much hassle, not enough money, toonmuch government entanglement.nIt is a curious thing: while the ex-communist blocnstruggles to throw off the incubus of state control, Americannpoliticians and businessmen rush to its fetid embrace. Alarmnbells should clang from every steeple whenever the breathlessnargument is made that bureaucracy can fix a problemnwhose origin is bureaucracy. Why not equally expect mothsnto patch up a coat sleeve? One thing and one alone willnwork in the health policy context. That thing is reversion,ninsofar as possible, to the economic ethos of T/ie Doctor andnits era. Let no one, or at least as few as possible, standneconomically between doctor and patient. Let the marketplacenwork.nBut cold as a stethoscope the counterargument willncome: a Honda Accord is a commodity; a red snapper filletnis a commodity; health insurance is not a commodity; youncan’t shop, compare, evaluate it in the same objective,nexperiential way. Maybe not, but you can do some robustntire-kicking with the hospital and the insurance company.nThe fundamental idea that one increasingly hears, by way ofnanswer to the national health care lobby, is to trustnemployees to buy their own health insurance — the kind andnquantity they want, at the cost they prefer, with the carrier ofntheir own choice. “Every year,” writes Regina E. Herzlingernin the September 1991 Atlantic, “employers would transfernthe money they now spend on health insurance to theirnemployees, who would use it to buy their own policies.”nTRADITION ANDnAUTHENTICITY IN THEnSEARCH FOR ECUMENICnWISDOMnTHOMAS LANGANno. ‘iir emergingnworld system isnbringing the greatntraditions and culturesnit has spawnedninto ever more intimate ‘nand dangerous contact. Langannargues that we must struggle towardna unity of discourse respertfiilnof genuine experiences of varyingncivilizations if we are to livenpeacefiilly on one planet.n248 pages, $35.95n20/CHRONICLESnAGAINST THE BARBARIANSnAND OTHER REFLECTIONSnON FAMILIAR THEMESnM.E BRADFORDnccnpnJ. his book may be hazardousnto the’ideologies of the ‘politicallyncorrect,'” writes Walter Sullivan.nMany people wiU not agree withnBradford’s opinions. But all whondip into these provocative essaysnwill find much food for thoughtnon subjects as varied as thenongoing battle over thenliterary canon or popularnstereotypes of the fi’amers ofnthe Constitution.n280 pages, $37.50nQualified health care expenses could be deducted fromntaxes up to the amount of the transfer.nA task force of market-oriented experts from major thinkntanks says let’s permit people to set up tax-free medicalnsavings accounts for small medical expenses. Furthermore,nhospitals, before admitting patients, would talk prices withnthem. It would be possible at last to say, “no, don’t do that tonme, it’s not worth the money, do this instead” — not unlikentelling the car salesman you don’t really need magnesiumnwheel covers. The task force, coordinated by the NationalnCenter for Policy Analysis, based in Dallas, lays out atnmeticulous length its plan for letting people buy what theyncan afford and shun what they can’t afford or don’t need. Ancertain meticulousness is required in scholarly circles, butnthe simplicity of the thing sticks fastest in the mind.nWhat a fine 20th-century formulation — that we own ournbodies. What a logical answer to the health care mess,ngranting us permission to care for those bodies as we thinknbest. Choice in schools, choice in health care, choicenin — how much else? The possibilities are infinite once younget started. Hardly a department of modern life is uncircumscribednby government rules and regulations. Economic andnsocial distortion seems our lot in life. Maybe our forebearsnhad to lie around in parlors rather than in fresh-smellingnhospital rooms with remote-controlled TV, costing twonhundred dollars a day. Still, these forebears had an instinctnfor liberty of mind and independence of action. A gloriousnand salubrious tonic, human freedom. Too bad we evernentrusted the prescription to Washington, D.C. <§>nPLATO’S POLITICALnPHILOSOPHYnPrudence in theRepufificnand the LawsnZDRAVKO PLANINGnIn this major addition to Platonicnscholarship, Planinc offers a boldnnew interpretation of the Republicnand the Laws. Arguing that scholarsnhave misread these works for manynyears, he refutes the commonnconception of Plato as a politicalnidealist and challengesnconventional interpretationsnof two of thenmost influential works innWestern civilization.n304 pages, $37.50nUNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI PRESSn2910 LeMone Boulevard • Columbia, MO 65201 • 1-800-828-1894nnn