Sunday, February 08, 2009

Let'em die on the street

That appears to be the right-wing answer to our medical care crisis here in America. Let them die on the streets.

Just as Hitler started with the mentally retarded, the elderly, the infirm, so have our right-wingers. Someone suffering from dementia will not shoot the people who forced him or her onto the street. We're talking low-hanging fruit here. But as this "solution" to our health care crisis is increasingly applied to ordinary people, what our leaders are going to find is that people do not willingly die upon command in the service of an inhumane and vicious ideology that puts money over people. If something is not done, we face the same sort of crisis that faced the nation in 1932, when there were food riots nationwide and the threat of a Communist revolution. Except that, now that Communism has been discredited as a feasible economic system, my fear is that instead we're going to fall for a charismatic fascist dictator instead...

The sad thing is that this nation has the resources to care for everybody who needs medical care. Every other OECD nation with the exception of Mexico and Turkey provide care for everybody who needs medical care, and few of them are as wealthy as the United States. But here in the United States, ideology is more important than people. We are in the thrall of ideologues who will do only what is ideologically correct, who will do only what their Party commissars tell them via the media is the "right" thing to do, and the result is going to be national disaster. "Let them eat cake" simply is not a viable ideology to use to govern a nation. It leads to detached heads every time -- and, unfortunately, not always the right detached heads.

-- Badtux the "Let them eat cake" Penguin


  1. Can you imagine a charismatic fascist dictator who would promise universal health care, though? That's merciful and soft and gay! Fascists don't promise nice stuff. I reckon the pledge would be to take away "the free medical care those greedy Baby Boomer retireees are getting with YOUR tax dollars! Down with Medicare leeches!" Might seem far-fetched to a rational penguin such as yourself, but I see that sentiment on libertarian econo-blogs popular with Gen X'ers.

  2. Actually, IIRC, there *was* an attempt to create something resembling a fascist regime in the US in 1933 - industrialists reached to a charismatic Marine general, who promptly reported everything to the authorities, quelching the quasi-coup...

  3. BT, am I losing my mind (wait, don't answer that quite yet), or were you temporarily back on blogspot yesterday?

  4. Even Mexico has made the commitment to universal health care, on principle. (I blogged on this a while bakc in connection with Mexico City's scheme to provide Viagra out of public funds partly as a hook to get older gentlemen into low-income clinics). It's just that Mexico hasn't got the money to cover the vast need.

    And don't even get me started on how shameful our record is on maternal and infant care, ocmpared to evn many poor and poorly-governed nations.

  5. 618, I have a post further down.

    Yossi, yes, I'm aware of the so-called "Businessman's Coup". It's unclear whether Smedley Butler was making things up or not. He had some rather radical ideas there in the last decade of his life. I would have to do a lot more research before putting too much credence in General Butler's report.

    Bukko: The problem with your notion is that the Gen X'ers have mothers and fathers who will be going onto Medicare shortly. They might mouth off but they aren't going to put *their* mommy and daddy up in their spare bedroom, or, worst yet, move back in with mommy and daddy. Regarding charismatic fascist dictators promising nice things, do note that universal health care has been one of the things they generally promise in order to get elected. Huey Long, for example, built Big Charity in New Orleans and promised free health care to all Louisianians during his reign down there. But you're right, American fascism has some unique traits that make it a long shot that such a thing could come to pass... luckily American fascism's unique traits also make it hard for American fascists to get the sort of broad popular support needed to assume power.

    -Badtux the Healthcare Penguin

  6. Sungold, Mexico's problem is that their tax base sucks. The nation has the wealth to provide universal education and health care on a reasonable basis, but it's concentrated in the hands of a handful of oligarchs who aren't going to let loose of it in order to educate or provide health care to mere untermenschen, unseemly darkies, thus why Mexico is the least-taxed of all the OECD nations. (Mexico's power elite pretends that it has more Spanish blood than the Indio untermenschen and thus is better, even though if you look at them you can't see any visible difference between them and a typical Mexican mud peasant). Mexico is what our own oligarchs want for the future of America -- a handful of filthy rich wealthy people who control the majority of the assets of the nation, and vast masses of cheap workers living in hovels to use and abuse as slaves.

    - Badtux the Socioeconomic Penguin

  7. Dude,

    It's gonna get uglier.

  8. Not like up here where we know our enemies by the cut of their clothes?

    even though if you look at them you can't see any visible difference between them and a typical Mexican mud peasant).

    Hmmm. You're not counting the Bushes?

    But you're right, American fascism has some unique traits that make it a long shot that such a thing could come to pass... luckily American fascism's unique traits also make it hard for American fascists to get the sort of broad popular support needed to assume power.

    Hi Rick! I've seen it there too. You'd think they didn't have families wouldn't you?


  9. Tux, I have a more jaded view of Americans than you, so I can easily see how a substantial minority of Americans wouldn't care if their moms and dads were left on the figurative ice floes.

    All the children who had been beaten when young or raised by alcoholic/druggy/mostly absent parents (which explains how Rethuglicans are created, IMHO) wouldn't fight that hard to extend the lives of those parents. Many of the children who DO have loving hearts would struggle through what they could do at home, as countless generations have. I could see how U.S. society would accept letting the older generation die, but then, I'm sour on the States. I might eventually turn into BBC.

    Americans also have this cultural trait of internalising their suffering. Many of are conditioned to expect nothing from the government; or to blame ourselves if we're in bad health or poor. I can forsee the mass of the populace saying "It's all my fault, so I'll just lay down and die quietly." Such is the behaviour of sheeple.

    Another factor that fascists like the 2012 Petraeus/Palin ticket can emphasise is "We have to prevent illegals from abusing the hospitals!" Under the guise of keeping aliens from entering the emergency rooms, they could make it nearly impossible for ANYONE except rich insured people to get treatment. I can see it happening, but once again, I'm gloomy. I hope I'm wrong.


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