November 11, 2009
The state giveth, the state taketh away
Camille Paglia praises Nancy Pelosi for displaying what a lot of people would call balls if they had any. Pelosi, argues Paglia, is "sets a new standard for U.S. women politicians and is certainly well beyond anything the posturing but ineffectual Hillary Clinton has ever achieved."
a basic feminist shibboleth like abortion rights became just another card for Pelosi to deal and swap.There's also a scathing indictment of the health care bill:
....this rigid, intrusive and grotesquely expensive bill is a nightmare. Holy Hygeia, why can't my fellow Democrats see that the creation of another huge, inefficient federal bureaucracy would slow and disrupt the delivery of basic healthcare and subject us all to a labyrinthine mass of incompetent, unaccountable petty dictators? Massively expanding the number of healthcare consumers without making due provision for the production of more healthcare providers means that we're hurtling toward a staggering logjam of de facto rationing. Steel yourself for the deafening screams from the careerist professional class of limousine liberals when they get stranded for hours in the jammed, jostling anterooms of doctors' offices. They'll probably try to hire Caribbean nannies as ringers to do the waiting for them.And she asks,
....why are we even considering so gargantuan a social experiment when the nation is struggling to emerge from a severe recession?It's the old one-two punch. They don't want the free market to recover; they want to deliver a knockout punch. Even the most "idealistic" of them imagine that they're FDR, whose policies prolonged the Depression, but ushered in more big government.
To repeat myself, not only do they know that socialism doesn't work, they realize that's the whole idea. Not a bug, but a feature. If it doesn't work (which it won't), it will require more government to fix it. Socializing health care will go a long way towards creating a self-replicating, perpetual motion government machine. Getting it started is so important that sacrificing a shibboleth like abortion here and there is a no-brainer.
Besides, with the government's foot firmly in the door, abortion can later be added, by a new bill, amended regulations, or even judicial fiat.
An opportunity for intervention by the courts would be made especially likely if David Frum turns out to be correct in his contention that the bill would ultimately ban all abortions.
These exchanges mingle public and private dollars on complex sliding scales of subsidy. That almost certainly will mean no abortion coverage for any exchange-sold policy, whether the individual purchaser herself receives a subsidy or not.As all insurance and all health care become Sovietized, you don't think the courts are going to sit around and allow their bureaucratic comrades to cut off a right which emanates from their penumbra, do you?
Here's what one of Frum's commenters said:
The window will open when everyone thinks that the door is closed and when nobody's looking the law will quietly change and abortionists will be able to kill babies on Uncle Sam's dime. Guaranteed!When everyone pays for everyone's health care (and the individual free market ceases to exist), then everyone will pay for everyone. If abortion is a "right," it will be everyone's responsibility to pay for it.
A libertarianish commenter raised an interesting but (IMO) unavailing economic argument:
I don't see why tax dollars should be paying for someone's mistakes. If they want an abortion let them pay for it themselves.Sorry, but that does not work, for many reasons. Fat people, people with lung cancer, people with STDs, skin cancer patients who sat in the sun, people whose cuts and burns became infected from a lack of personal hygiene, and even pneumonia victims who went out in the cold without dressing properly and forgot to wash their hands -- all of these and more can be said to someone else's mistakes. By what standard is anyone to determine which mistake should go untreated -- especially under a system where we all pay? With the government in charge of health care and private care ultimately withering away, where would they go? But the main reason that commenter is barking up the wrong tree is economic, and was answered here:
Setting the morality of abortion aside, the average pregnancy and birth incurs about $12,000 in medical expenses, for low-birthweight babies the average cost is higher, and for very low-birthweight babies the cost may be astronomical (not to mention that the child may have problems that continue into adulthood). If a policy covers pregnancy, on purely economic terms, wouldn't the insurance company heave a sigh of relief any time a woman had an abortion (at a cost of perhaps $350)?That's not even factoring in the saved CO2 emissions. Every human born into life is a wasteful environmental hazard. Abortion is the ultimate cost cutter. The only thing cheaper than that would be sterilization. On the government's dime, of course.
Like it or not, we'll all be in the same pool. As an individualist, I don't like being in the same pool with -- much less having my health care decisions managed by -- people who see my breathing as a threat to the planet, but I guess that's why I have this blog. I can complain to my heart's content, and my heart is never contented.
Of course, now that I live in Ann Arbor, perhaps I should write my Congressman, John Dingell. He has spent most of his legislative career fighting for government health care, though, and as his congressional website points out, so did his father:
At the beginning of every session of Congress, Congressman Dingell introduces the national health insurance bill his father sponsored when he was a Member.So while I might have fun speaking "truth to power," I don't think he'd consider my letter to be very persuasive. It is no exaggeration to say that there is no man in Congress more in favor of government health care than my Congressman.
And really.... How persuasive is any opinion to those who disagree with it? On the other hand, how persuasive is an opinion to those who agree with it? Those who agree agree, and those who disagree disagree.
But that still leaves emotional satisfaction and possible entertainment value. Ultimately this means that writing to my Congressman would be a bigger waste of time than writing this blog post.
So why not combine both? The more I thought about it, the more it occurred to me that if this whole process is in fact a waste of time, the time that is wasted should be wasted in a proper manner!
Besides, people pray, don't they? I realize that to an atheist, prayers are a waste of time, but even if God does not exist, prayer nevertheless offers a form of emotional release and possibly satisfaction. And if we assume the state has replaced God, then writing to those who rule the state is probably less of a waste of time than prayer, because unlike God, the state's existence is known and not open to dispute.
What is and what is not a waste of time is relative.
(Letter to Congressman Dingell appears below.)
November 11, 2009
The Honorable John D. Dingell
Re: H.R.3200 ("America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009")
Dear Congressman Dingell,
Because you are a major congressional figure in support of government health care, I realize that writing a letter in opposition to the idea is highly unlikely to change your mind. Many people would consider that impossible, and it would be very reasonable for them to assume that a letter like this is waste of time.
Yet I decided to write anyway -- precisely because so many people would consider it a waste of time. The fact is that you are my congressman, and I have to object in principle to the idea that it is a waste of time to write to one's congressman, even when that congressman's position is as well known and unshakable as yours is on health care. Moreover, I suspect that this has caused you to receive fewer letters from the opposition, and I think that redounds to the detriment of the old fashioned principle that citizens should write their congressmen on matters of importance to them. That a congressman is known to have a different position from a constituent should not deter that constituent from contacting him anyway, and it should never be considered a waste of time. Not even by a constituent from the overwhelmingly left-leaning city of Ann Arbor.
Let me interject that I feel honored to have a Congressman who is a former NRA Board Member as well as a founder of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action. Because I suspect that many Ann Arborites might not appreciate your longstanding support of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, I want to let you know that I am one constituent who does.
However, I strongly oppose the massive health care bill which passed the House last weekend, and I wish you had voted against it. As it is not yet a done deal and may yet revert to the House, I would also urge you to vote against it in the future. This hugely interventionist legislation moves the country towards socialized health care, and I believe it will lead to rationing, lack of choices, and ultimately a drastic diminution in the standard of medical care. Not only do I believe socialized medicine is morally wrong, but in light of the severe recession, the timing of this bill could not possibly be worse. I hope you reconsider your position.
Very truly yours,
posted by Eric on 11.11.09 at 12:28 PM
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