Thursday, August 13, 2009

Eleven Questions

If you get the chance you might wish to ask your congressperson a few questions about the health care reform bill he or she will be voting on this fall:

  1. Has the congressman (or woman) actually read and studied the bill?
  2. Will the bill result in a single payer system?
  3. Will the bill result in rationing of care and longer wait times?
  4. Will the bill reduce medicare benefits?
  5. Does the bill open the door for the elderly and infirm to be pressured into accepting death?
  6. Will the bill pay for health care for illegal aliens?
  7. Will the bill pay for abortions?
  8. Will the bill require that abortions be provided by objector institutions like Catholic hospitals?
  9. Will the bill vastly increase the deficit?
  10. Will the bill require congressmen (and women) to participate in the same program as the rest of us?
  11. Will the bill cause our taxes to go up?

The fact is that for most of our elected representatives the answer to the first question is "no," and according to almost everyone who has read the bill the answer to the other ten questions is "yes." It's no wonder people are irate about it.


Re: The Volt

Jason emails us to clarify something in yesterday's post titled 230 mpg! He writes:

I just think everyone needs to recognize that a for-profit business (i.e., General Motors before the takeover) invented and innovated the vehicle. A government-owned entity may have been at the helm when the car was issued, but not when it was first created. An important distinction that must be made, I think.

He's correct, of course. My lament in the last line of the original post was due not to thinking that a government- owned company had produced such an innovative vehicle but rather due to the fact that when GM accepted a public bailout and then began closing down dealerships which were not well-connected to the Democrat party, I decided that I personally wouldn't buy any more of their products.

Now they tempt me to violate my pledge with the Volt. Luckily, there will be other models coming out from other manufacturers that I'm sure will be just as attractive.



Author and actor Ben Stein who, you may recall, figured prominently in the documentary movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed has been let go from his job as a business columnist for the New York Times. Stein writes about being expelled by the Times in a piece at The American Spectator. It's only his side of the story, of course, but it sounds like he got fired for being critical of President Obama's policies. This wouldn't be so bad if the Times were at least honest that he was released for ideological reasons, but apparently they weren't.

Check out Stein's account at The Spectator. It's an interesting story.


Nudging the Old Folks

Lee Siegel at The Daily Beast is an Obamaphile who can't resist an opportunity to discredit conservatives, but even he can't go along with those who are trying to pooh-pooh conservative concerns that the Democrats' health care plans would push the elderly toward euthanasia:

[O]n one point the plan's critics are absolutely correct. One of the key ideas under consideration-which can be read as expressing sympathy for limitations on end-of-life care-is morally revolting. And it's helping to kill the plan itself.

Make no mistake about it. Determining which treatments are "cost effective" at the end of a person's life and which are not is one of Obama's priorities. It's one of the principal ways he counts on saving money and making universal healthcare affordable.

Siegel then goes on to wonder why a good guy like Obama would be sold on a provision that would in a dozen subtle ways, "nudge" older people toward declining care which would use up resources that might be better spent on younger people with more years to live:

Where is Obama coming from? Why is such an apparently humane man not more strongly condemning a utilitarian initiative straight out of Victorian England? A good part of the explanation has to do with the University of Chicago Law School milieu that Obama comes out of. By far, the most influential figure in that world is Judge Richard Posner, who teaches law at Chicago and publishes streams of pompous, robotically written books that are much praised and little read.

Judge Posner is both an enthusiastic advocate of euthanasia and an energetic eugenicist. He once wrote of Oliver Wendell Holmes' ideas about eugenics-Holmes believed that a just society "prevents continuance of the unfit"-that "we may yet find [Holmes'] enthusiasms prescient rather than depraved."

Cass Sunstein, who is Obama's nominee for regulatory czar, is a disciple of Posner and believes in what Time magazine describes as "the statistical practice of taking into account years of life expectancy when evaluating a regulation." In other words, Sunstein believes that the lives of younger people have a greater value than those of the elderly. This, obviously, would have a radical bearing on end-of-life considerations.

This is interesting. We have on several occasions (see here and here) pointed out that President Obama has surrounded himself with progressive eugenicist/euthanasists. His science czar and at least two of his closest medical advisors each favors culling the weak, whether passively or actively isn't clear, from the population. Now we see that this position is even more widespread in his administration than we thought. Cass Sunstein was on Obama's list of possible nominees for the Supreme Court and Judge Posner surely exerted influence on the President in his days as a law professor at the University of Chicago.

It's alarming that eugenic ideas are suddenly becoming respectable again. They were commonly held among progressives back in the early decades of the 20th century but fell into social and political odium because of their association with the Nazis in the thirties and early forties. Progressives found it in their interests to mask their affinities for fascist enthusiasms and to seek to convince people that fascism was an ideology of the right whereas they, the progressives, were men and women of the left. The fact is, however, that the fascists were all leftists and that the holocaust grew out of a German eugenics movement that included in its orbit Americans like Oliver Wendell Holmes, Woodrow Wilson, and Margaret Sanger.

Now with the emergence of the Obama presidency, the advocates of eugenic policies feel safe to reemerge from their closets and speak openly about their vision of an America where people who are elderly should be expected to get out of the way of the younger generation. How much longer will it be before those who suffer mental retardation and other serious debilities will also be expected, for the common good, to be euthanized? How long will it be before we slide down the slippery slope right back to the Germany of the 1930s? It's no wonder the older folks at those town halls are so angry.

People scoff at such a suggestion and say that couldn't happen here. That's simply false. What will happen here is whatever is logically entailed by the worldview of those who have the power to impose their will on the rest of us. Secular utilitarians see nothing special about human beings. We're not, in their view, created in the image of God, and we're not persons who possess inherent rights and dignity by virtue of our possession of the imago dei. In the eyes of such men as the President is surrounding himself with, we're resource consumers whose value to the collective, and thus our indispensibility, is determined by the value of the contribution we're able to make to the whole. Eugenicists see humanity in much the same way as a farmer sees livestock. The herd is there to be bred, managed, milked, sold and slaughtered to suit the needs of the moment.

When the government takes it upon itself to "nudge" the elderly toward death we're well on our way toward the world of Lois Lowery (The Giver), Aldous Huxley (Brave New World), and George Orwell (1984). If you haven't read any of these works you really should. Start with Orwell.