Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Poison for your Brain: Stephen Hawking should be DEAD! Long live Stephen Hawking!

Thanks to PZ for pointing this out:
"The controlling of medical costs in countries such as Britain through rationing, and the health consequences thereof, are legendary," read a recent editorial from the paper. "The stories of people dying on a waiting list or being denied altogether read like a horror script...

"People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the UK, where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless."

The paper has since been notified that Hawking is both British and still among the living. And it has edited the editorial, acknowledging that the original version incorrectly represented the whereabouts of perhaps the world's most famous scientific mind. But it has not acknowledged that its mention of Hawking misrepresented the NHS as well.

"I wouldn’t be here today if it were not for the NHS," Hawking told The Guardian. "I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived."
Well, that's a pretty clear conditional statement from the IBD: "If Stephen Hawking were British and therefore subject to the NHS, then Stephen Hawking would be dead." Guess what? Stephen Hawking is British and therefore subject to the NHS, and Stephen Hawking is not dead; the conditional statement is false, and the argument which the point is supposed to support is therefore stupid. OK, fine, flawed. But still.

I will never understand how such out-and-out lying passes muster in the American populace. Sure, sure, Investor's Business Daily may have made a merely-ironic-but-honest mistake... but seriously, nobody over there knew that Stephen Hawking is British? And nobody thought to check before going to print?

What are you, new?!

This isn't funny any more. "Atheists have no morals" is funny. "Obama wasn't born in the USA" is funny. "Stephen Hawking died for lack of health care" is funny. But these are all funny because they're manifestly false and relatively harmless in my day-to-day life. "Baseline nationalized health care dedicated to raising the minimum standard of living will result in mandatory euthanasia and no children getting any health care at all" is not funny; it's obviously false and stupid, stupid, stupid. It's a kind of stupid that is downright dangerous, if you ask me, since the other lies from the Right are matters of empirical fact which can be disproven with even passing knowledge of... well, anything. This, right here, is not that. This is something else.

This is different because it's screwy logic that preys on a clear and obvious misunderstanding of the pitch: if you listened to Obama at all, you'd have to know that what he says is not matching up with what is said about that. So the citizens on the Right who buy this horseshit are in the unenviable position of either A) thinking themselves informed for listening to the commentary on an issue alone (and buying it despite its obvious insanity), without actually paying any attention to the issue itself, or B) hearing the commentary and being informed on the issue and still going with the commentary, in flagrant defiance of all logic.

I don't know which is worse.

Le sigh. Look, it's like this: everyone is afraid that, should shit hit the fan, someone I care about might not have access to health care. That's a rational fear, and I get it. However, if you live in America, that's a rational fear in the current situation. It's been a rational fear for... forever. The people you love will die, and some of them will die for stupid reasons you don't like. That's how it goes, man. Obama's proposed changes are aimed at minimizing the extent to which this happens, and that means putting a price tag on human life just like we do now. You know why we put a price tag on human life? Because sustaining human life has a cost. Who's gonna pay yours? You do! Well, more accurately, you pick up where your parents left off as soon as you enter the work force and file independent on your tax returns. You make money, and you use some of that to sustain your life, and you do what you like with the rest. And right there, whatever it is that you spend before you get into your disposable income, that's the cost of your own personal Human Life, plain as day in beautiful green dollars and cents. Hooray!

But what if shit happens and you don't have enough? Well, that's what insurance is for, and insurance isn't going away - it's being supplemented. It's getting better. The uninsurable have a baseline below which the government won't let them fall, and while the quality of that thing will vary with the costs of doing that thing, the private sector will now have an objective goal: do it better than the government. If you think you can get something better from the private sector, fucking go for it! More power to ya! (Just be prepared to pay!) If you can't, or don't want to, then Obama's changes are for you, and suck though they may compared to something you can't afford anyway, it's better than nothing at all which is where things are right now. And if you've got the money to afford health care on your own, then nothing will be able to get in the way because you can afford it.

Fuckin' Hell, what is so hard to understand about this?

1 comment:

Mr G Montag said...

To which I add and the scary thought that it literally seems impossible to understand the arguments from the right.

You know what, it's just struck me that all those anthropologists and Rortian Wittgenstinians were doing it all wrong going to the Amazon to find their incommensurate conceptual schemes because here they are and you know what, Davidson was right because they sure as fuck don't look meaningfully like what I would term a speech act or even thought.