The terrifying nihilism behind Leftists’ desire for socialized medicine

Premature baby feetI was recently brought face to face with the nihilism that underlies the Left’s desire for socialized medicine, which they’re sure will bring with it the perfect statistics that routinely gladden socialist nations when the UN or WHO or some other Left-leaning world body compares healthcare statistics in various parts of the world. Invariably, those comparisons always show the U.S. health care system in a poor light. Who cares, of course, that the statistics are utterly bogus? They’re so beautiful to the statist eye.

My insight into this nihilism came during an evening with some friends and neighbors.  The story is a bit long but, I think, worth it. It all began when my son expressed dismay at data from his AP Environmental Science text-book:

In 1900 the U.S. infant mortality rate was 165. In 2011 it was 6.1. This sharp decline was a major factor in the marked increase in U.S. average life expectancy during this period. The United States ranks first in the world in terms of health care spending per person, but 54th in terms of infant mortality rates.

(G. Miller, Scott Spoolman, Environmental Science, p. 100.)

My son didn’t want to believe that America, which he thinks is a great country, could rank so low in something as basic as infant mortality. As it happens, I knew that those numbers were wrong, so I immediately spoke up. I got as far as saying “Those numbers are wro…” when a far-Left physician in the room literally shouted me down.

“This is not political. We don’t need to hear any of that right-wing crap. You’re going to turn this in a political argument. This is science.” The other guests looked stunned.

I tried again. “I’m not talking politics. This is about statistics. You need to know that….”

Again, the Leftie physician cut me off. “Little Bookworm, don’t listen to her. She’s just going to go on with her political crap. The problem is with the U.S. medical system.”

I tried again. “Let me finish. This is a statistical problem.”

Leftie cut me off again. “No, don’t go there.”

I ignored him and went there anyway. “Stop!!!” I hollered at the top of my lungs. The room fell completely silent. I finally had my say.

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Welcome to the wonderful world of Obamacare!

Thanks Obama for the fine for not having insurance Because the the plan I had that was 398.00 a month for my family…

Posted by Benjamin Miller on Tuesday, October 6, 2015

(If the Facebook post doesn’t appear, go here.)

(UPDATE:  And looking at that IRS letterhead, please remember those dim, but never forgotten days, when Obama & Co. swore six ways ’til Sunday that this wasn’t a tax, so it didn’t need to originate in the House.)

And then think about voting for Ted Cruz:

Ted Cruz promises to kill the regulatory state

The Bookworm Beat 8-15-15 — Found It On Facebook edition, with stuff both dumb and smart

People seemed to enjoy my last foray into Leftist posters, all of which I found on Facebook, courtesy of Leftie friends. I thought, though, that after subjecting you to the insanity, I’d also include some smart snark from the sane side of the political spectrum. First, though, the crazy stuff, with my comments (if any) following each image:

It's not Obama's fault

I find amusing this defense of Obama’s myriad failures — that Republicans have been obstructing him — considering that (a) Obama owned all of Congress for the first two years of his administration and (b) Boehner and McConnell have been his lap dogs for the last seven plus years.

Australian hates Republicans

I include the above as an example of the incisive political analysis that characterizes the Left.  When people are this ignorant about economics, it suddenly becomes understandable that they are perfectly happy to bypass the collective wisdom of the marketplace and to invest all of their faith in a government bureaucracy.

Bernie's college idea

And speaking of economic ignorance, Bernie continues to amaze.  I haven’t been able to find a wonderful poster making the rounds on the Left in which Bernie expresses bewilderment that student loans charge higher interest than mortgages.  He seems unclear on the whole concept of security.  If I don’t pay back my mortgage, the bank at least gets to keep my house, which may have some value to offset my default.  However, when the gal with a major in Womyn’s Studies and a minor in Gender-free Puppetry defaults on her $200,000 student loan from Smith, the taxpayers are left with nothing.  There is no value there to offset the default.  And Bernie just can’t seem to grasp that when the risk is higher, so is the cost.

Oh, and about those tuition-free four-year colleges in Europe. . . .  When I was in England, probably around 20% of English students went on to college.  Nowadays, the average seems to float around 30%.  In America, almost 70% of graduating students go on to some form of higher education.  In other words, more than twice as many students in egalitarian America go on to college as to those in still-class-bound Britain.

In addition, American colleges and universities have become grotesquely expensive, in large part because infusions of federal monies over the past thirty or more years have created a tuition inflation far in excess of the inflation rate in the rest of America.  The way in which schools teach calculus probably hasn’t changed over the years, but the necessity of a vast bureaucracy dedicated to lesbians, and another vast bureaucracy dedicated to women, and yet another for blacks, and one more for Hispanics, and a whole hierarchy for disabled people, and this “free” education has taxpayers funding, not education, but a hard-Left propaganda machine that is desperate to get its tentacles into every young person in America.

Once that happens, all of America will be like a college campus.  This doesn’t mean that Americans will be learning things and basking in new experiences.  It means that Americans will be living a Kafka-esque nightmare of political correctness, the tyranny of microaggression claims and trigger warnings, virulent attacks on men in an effort to destroy them, etc.  I don’t want to fund that.  Do you?

Bernie's anti-war position

There are a lot of Bernie posters populating my Leftie friends’ Facebook pages, so I don’t have to hear the man speak to get an idea about his idiocy.  In a world with ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, and other forms of radical Islam, is he really prepared to head a government that de-funds defense?  Obama has already weakened America’s defense almost to the breaking point.  Sanders, idealistic to the point of moronic stupidity, seems to want to finish the job, with our only defense against militant ISIS being his plaintive 1960s cry to “give peace a chance.”

Even worse than the fact that Bernie is mouthing this type of idiocy is the fact that so many of my friends — all of whom are college educated incidentally — think this is a great idea.

Leftists don't understand religious freedom

In other words, according to the Left, freedom of religion means that you are totally free to be religious in the privacy of your home and within the four walls of your house of worship.  Otherwise, to the extent religion informs your values, you are a theocratic dictator in the making and you’d better shut up and shut up good.

I’ve tried to tell my Leftie friends that, if they had imposed this view of religious freedom on America in the 19th century, we’d still have slavery, child labor, the 7 day/80 work week, child brides, etc.  America’s greatest humanist strides came when people of faith applied those teachings to the world around them.

DeGrasse pretends to be a scientist

The asterisk to that statement, of course, is that “It’s OK to change your opinion based on the newest evidence* . . . *unless that evidence proves definitively that the whole anthropogenic climate change mania is built upon theories that have been proven invalid every time they’ve had the opportunity to play out in real time.”  Challenge AGW, and suddenly Tyson is all about “shut your mouth.”

Insanity in voting for a third Bush

Okay — even though I found this on a Leftie Facebook page, I have to agree with it.  Even Lefties can be correct occasionally.

Planned Parenthood services for men

Here’s my rebuttal to the above poster:

Planned Parenthood


Yes, my poster attacks the Left’s War on Women meme, but the argument is the same assuming it’s true that Planned Parenthood provides healthcare services for men:  Now that we have ObamaCare, why do we still need to pass extra Federal funds on to Planned Parenthood?  Isn’t that double-funding the organization.  With ObamaCare, it becomes apparent that the only reason to fund Planned Parenthood is to pay for abortions which, theoretically, aren’t supposed to be part of ObamaCare’s funding.

Bernie Sanders calls for socialized medicine

Leftists are stuck in a perpetual time warp.  The reason the rest of the industrialized world had free health care is that, for the entirety of the Cold War, America took care of the military costs for all those “free” health care nations.  That was really nice of us, but it left us with less money for such self-indulgent things as “free” medical care that was actually funded by America.

In addition, medical care in the rest of the world sucks.  Sure, everyone can see a doctor for free, but you might have to wait so long you die or, if you finally do see a doctor, the care is so bad you might as well have died waiting.  In other words, the rest of the world gets the same kind of care we foist on our Veterans at the Veterans Administration.

And now, a few words and posters from sane people, none of which need any further comments:

Navy SEAL job interview

Colorado River on EPA

EPA pollution and liberal hypocrisy

Separate church and state when state is your church

Party of old white people

Sexual consent double standards


Hillary and the server

McCarthy on guns

SCOTUS decisions open thread

Supreme CourtThis morning, the Supreme Court issued two decisions.  In the case of Obamacare, contrary to long-standing precedent that requires courts first to look at the statute’s wording and then, if that is not helpful, to check out the legislative history that led to that wording (Gruber demonstrates the wording was intentional), Justice Roberts held that it was the Court’s responsibility to rubber-stamp the law.  My take is that in so holding, the Supreme Court just rendered itself irrelevant.  That is, if it’s no longer looking at the law under a constitutional rubric, but is simply following the legislative desire as stated at the time the Court rules, who needs it?

Or as Justice Scalia says:

The Court’s decision reflects the philosophy that judges should endure whatever interpretive distortions it takes in order to correct a supposed flaw in the statutory machinery. That philosophy ignores the American people’s decision to give Congress ‘[a]ll legislative Powers’ enumerated in the Constitution. Art. I, §1. They made Congress, not this Court, responsible for both making laws and mending them. This Court holds only the judicial power — the power to pronounce the law as Congress has enacted it. We lack the prerogative to repair laws that do not work out in practice, just as the people lack the ability to throw us out of office if they dislike the solutions we concoct. We must always remember, therefore, that ‘[o]ur task is to apply the text, not to improve upon it.’ Pavelic & LeFlore v. Marvel Entertainment Group, Div. of Cadence Industries Corp., 493 U. S. 120, 126 (1989).

Trying to make its judge-empowering approach seem respectful of congressional authority, the Court asserts that its decision merely ensures that the Affordable Care Act operates the way Congress ‘meant [it] to operate.’ Ante, at 17. First of all, what makes the Court so sure that Congress ‘meant’ tax credits to be available everywhere? Our only evidence of what Congress meant comes from the terms of the law, and those terms show beyond all question that tax credits are available only on state Exchanges. More importantly, the Court forgets that ours is a government of laws and not of men. That means we are governed by the terms of our laws, not by the unenacted will of our lawmakers. ‘If Congress enacted into law something different from what it intended, then it should amend the statute to conform to its intent.’ Lamie, supra, at 542. In the meantime, this Court ‘has no roving license . . . to disregard clear language simply on the view that . . . Congress “must have intended” something broader.’ Bay Mills, 572 U. S., at ___ (slip op., at 11).

With regard to the FHA decision, which apparently says that disparate impact claims can be brought under FHA, I have less to say, because I’ve thought about it less.  It strikes me, though, that it gives an activist FHA unlimited power to make up things as it goes along.  That can’t be good.

Out of the mouths of babes — Obamacare and economics

Taking moneyThis is a post about Obamacare, but I think it needs to start with my daughter’s great insight about our neighborhood grocery store, which recently sold out to a so-called “high-end chain.” So far, the only thing high about the store under its new ownership it is the prices its charging. It’s selling the same meats Wal-Mart sells (not that there’s anything wrong with that), except that it’s promoting them as boutique specialty meats and pricing them accordingly (and there’s a lot wrong with that). When the neighborhood moms get together, they don’t have a lot of nice things to say about the newly configured market.

I decided to ask my teenage daughter what her peers in the neighborhood had to say about the new store at the same old location. Her answer, which I’m quoting verbatim, was marvelous, and should be read by every Leftist in America:

It’s okay. I like the soups. But otherwise, it’s really expensive. Now that my friends and I are all driving, if we want food, we either go to a restaurant where we can totally order what we want, or we go to Safeway, which is a lot cheaper. Basically, the local market is the kind of place you go when you’re spending other people’s money — like yours, Mom.

Could there be a more perfect statement of the problems that arise from government handouts?

Her little statement resonated especially strongly with me today, because of a discussion I had with a pro-Obamacare person this morning. What sparked the discussion was the fact that both Forbes and the New York Times had Obamacare offerings. Forbe’s offering is an article Steve Moore wrote about the false statements Obama made in a speech claiming that Obamacare was a success. The New York Times offering is a 35-minute-long video following the healthcare travails of a diabetic man in Kentucky, both before and after Obamacare went into effect.

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The Bookworm Beat 6-8-15 — the “heat wave” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265Thanks to global warming, we didn’t have our usual heat wave in May this year but, instead, had a series of extremely cold, often foggy and windy, days. Also, thanks to global warming, we didn’t have our usual three-day long heat wave in the first week of June this year, with the weather instead continuing to be extremely cold, as well as foggy and windy. Today, however, we had a hot day, so I guess that damn global warming is backing off a little.

I spent my day writing legal documents, and shlepping my mother to various appointments. I would have preferred to recline at my computer, reading and writing, while taking sips of a cool ice tea. Still, I am singularly blessed to have paying work and a living mother, so I can’t complain too much. (Or more accurately, I shouldn’t complain too much. Sadly, my temperament being what it is, I’m always capable of complaining.) I’m still working away, making up for work time spent with Mom, but there’s so much I want to share with you, I’ll just sneak in a few minutes of blogging here.

Captain Picard supports embattled British gay bakers

Considering that Patrick Stewart, aka Captain Picard from Star Trek : The Next Generation, is a good, card-carrying British Lefty, I almost fell out of my chair when I read this:

Patrick Stewart has weighed into the ‘gay cake’ debate, saying that he supports the right of the Christian bakers to refuse to ice messages they find offensive.

Ashers Bakery lost a court case after refusing to make a cake with the words “support gay marriage” above a picture of Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street.

The McArthur family who own the bakery were found guilty of unlawful discrimination and fined £500.


While many celebrated the ruling as a blow for equal rights, Patrick Stewart said that he backed the bakery.

Talking on Newsnight, the actor said: “Finally, I found myself on the side of the bakers.”

Stewart argued that nobody should be forced to write specific text that they disagreed with.

“It was not because it was a gay couple that they objected, it was not because they were celebrating some sort of marriage or an agreement between them,” said Stewart. “It was the actual words on the cake they objected to. Because they found the words offensive.”

He continued: “I would support their rights to say no, this is personally offensive to my beliefs, I will not do it.”

Make it so, Captain Picard!  Make it so!!!

Netanyahu goes on the offensive against the world

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is going on the offensive, not just against the Muslims raining rockets down on his country, but against a world that sits silent while this happens, only to speak up when Israel dares to respond to these deadly attacks:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the international community on Sunday morning for failing to condemn Gaza rocket fire at southern Israel.

“I did not hear a single member of the international community condemn the attack, and the UN did not say a word,” Netanyahu said. “I’m interested to see if the silence will continue when we act in self defense.”

“It should be clear: the hypocrisy that is sweeping the world will not chain our hands from defending the citizens of Israel,” he added.

Caroline Glick has also noticed that Netanyahu is taking on the world, and she too thinks it’s a good thing:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government is less than a month old, but it’s already apparent that it is different from its predecessors. And if it continues on its current diplomatic trajectory, it may do something that its six predecessors failed to accomplish. Netanyahu’s new government may improve Israel’s position internationally.


The flagship of the diplomatic war against Israel is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Participants in the movement propagate and disseminate the libelous claim that Israel’s use of force in self-defense is inherently immoral and illegal. Over the years BDS activists’ assaults on Israel’s right to exist have become ever more shrill and radical. So, too, whereas just a few years ago their operations tended to be concentrated around military confrontations, today they are everyday occurrences. And their demands become greater and more openly anti-Semitic from week to week and day to day.


The time has come, then, for Israel to take the wheels off the wagon.

For the past dozen years or so, pro-Israel activists in the US in particular have been fighting an uphill, lonely battle against the organizations promoting the BDS movement. Among their top complaints has been the constant refrain that the Israeli government has undermined their actions by standing silent or denying what was happening or treating Israel’s defenders as the moral equivalents of its adversaries.


All the while, Israel’s diplomatic standing has gone from weak to incapacitated.

Against this backdrop, statements and actions by the new Netanyahu government are encouraging because, unlike its predecessors, it seems to have stopped playing the fool.

At the outset of this week’s cabinet meeting, Netanyahu spoke out angrily and specifically against the BDS movement and warned that Israel must not blame itself for the BDS haters’ assaults against it.

As he put it, “The last thing we need to do is to bow our heads and ask where we went wrong, where we erred. We have done nothing wrong and we have not erred. We are not a perfect country; we do not pretend to be such, but they are setting standards for us that are both twisted and higher than those for any other country, any other democracy.”

It’s high time Israel stops making nice with her enemies worldwide and, instead, starts calling them out on their gross and blatant hypocrisy. Meanwhile, Israel lives up to her standards by doing everything she can to protect those Druze citizens living in Syria.

Stay classy, United States Air Force

I’m ambivalent about Air Force General Hawk Carlisle’s decision to call an ISIS fighter a “moron.” As all those great cartoons and movies from WWII show, there’s a lot to be said for ridiculing the enemy. However, I think that ridicule somehow works better coming from the public sector, rather than from a high-ranking officer. It seems to diminish his rank, more than it ridicules the enemy.

Be that as it may, I think it’s also bad to boast about using social media to target terrorists. Armed with this knowledge, I suspect that next time the terrorists will be more careful.

Here’s some good WWII social satire:

A boxer remembers his tough, tough grandfather

Dustin Fleischer is an up-and-coming Jewish boxer training at Gleason’s gym in Brooklyn. He comes by his toughness honestly:

Fleischer, who grew up in Monmouth Beach on the Jersey Shore, can recount his grandfather’s tale of survival in dark detail: how he hid in the attic while the Nazis murdered his family; how he was shot three times while trying to escape a concentration camp; how the gun jammed and he was left to die in the heart of winter; how he miraculously survived and slept between horses to stay warm; how he joined the Jewish resistance.

“As far as a fighter, it gives me so much strength in the ring to have his bloodline run through me,” Fleischer says later. “To know that he could survive something like that. It pushes me to reach my goal of becoming a world champion.”

Incidentally, as the same article explains, Jews have periodically made a name for themselves in the boxing world, going all the way back to the late 18th century in England.

A victory in King v. Burwell could unshackle the economy

I wrote here the other day about the fact that a lot of Republicans are worried that, if the Supreme Court overturns Obamacare, Republicans will be in trouble because they’ll be viewed as having destroyed the subsidies that so many Americans have come to know and love. Richard Pecore, however, points to an upside that could and should make all those petty subsidies irrelevant:

Without subsidies, the employer mandate is toothless, because employers are only fined if their uninsured workers go to an exchange and get a subsidy.

Employers who have been struggling to keep their workforce under 50 (where ObamaCare kicks in) and use part-timers (who aren’t subject to ObamaCare) won’t have to worry any more.

Nullifying the employer mandate is likely to ignite a hiring boom.

According to the US Chamber of Commerce, that looming mandate has caused 21 percent of small businesses to reduce workers’ hours, 41 percent to delay hiring and 27 percent of franchises (such as fast-food restaurants) to replace full-timers with part-timers.

People facing a penalty for being uninsured will also come out ahead. Without subsidies, most will be exempted from the penalty, saving them $2,000 on average next year.

Despite Democrats’ dire warnings, the poor won’t be hurt. An amazing 89 percent of people who are newly insured because of ObamaCare are on Medicaid, which won’t be affected.

Thank you, Mr. Pecore, for that cheering reality-check.

“I defaulted on my student loan because I’m an entitle s**thead.”

Lee Siegel has a New York Times opinion piece in which he explains why he defaulted on a student loan secured by the taxpayers of the United States of America. The short version is “I’m an entitled s**thead who chose an expensive college that I couldn’t possibly afford and then, when the bill came due, which would have forced me to take a real job to pay it, I stared deeply into my navel, and decided that, being an entitled s**thead, I could do whatever I wanted and leave the bill to working and middle class Americans.”

If I had my way, the Siegel’s of the world would be prosecuted and, ideally, imprisoned for fraud and various types of theft. Back in the day, I did something weird: I went to colleges I could afford, so I required minimal student loans and, when I left college, I worked hard and spent little so that I could pay off those loans.

Bruce Jenner will always be a mere simulacrum of a woman

D.C. McAllister has an interesting point, which is that being a woman isn’t simply about the proper chromosomes, boobs, vagina, hormones, etc. — instead, it’s about the sum total of our life experience growing up female, which mostly means our life experience going through puberty. Just as boys had the dubious delights of cracking voices and uncontrollable erections, girls got embarrassing in-your-face boobs (or equally embarrassing non-existent boobs) and periods with all the pain, inconvenience, and inevitable embarrassment.

Those experiences are part of who and what we are. We didn’t go to a grocery store to buy the bits and pieces we need, or to have cut off the parts we no longer want. We developed along with our sexual identity.

Incidentally, if you haven’t yet read Mark Steyn’s brilliant post on what it use to mean to be a transsexual, and how the Left has managed to pervert even that experience, drop everything and read it. Here’s the core idea but, as always, Steyn develops it so well, at such length, and with so much elan you must read the whole thing to appreciate it fully:

The coronation of Caitlyn is ultimately not about the right to choose which of the two old teams you want to play on. It’s about creating a cool new team. The “T” was always the relatively sleepy end of LGBT, and didn’t ostensibly have much in common with the other three-quarters of the acronym. The company it keeps only makes sense if the object of transitioning is not to “pass” but to create a new assertive identity group in and of itself.

Feminist Elinor Burkett is irritated by something else, which is that everyone who celebrates Jenner’s coming out party is also reinforcing the old-fashioned, 1950s-style stereotypes of women as emotionally-sensitive bimbos obsessed with clothes and make-up.

Kevin Williamson shreds the NYT’s attack on Marco Rubio’s driving record

If you haven’t read Kevin Williamson writing about the NYT’s attack on Rubio’s driving record, you must. I’m running out of time, so let me just repeat that: read it!

The Bookworm Beat 6-6-15 — the “I’m still standing” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265I’m sorry for the long silence, but to quote Granny Clampett, “I was just plumb tuckered out.” Between escalating work demands and the usual family demands, I haven’t had either spare energy or spare time. It was only two days ago that I stopped being in denial and accepted that, for the time being at least, I have a 3/4 time legal job that requires a heightened level of commitment and organization. (Incidentally, I’ve found that, for managing large projects, Microsoft’s One Note, when combined with a good calendaring program, is very helpful.) I still intend to blog, but I just need to buff up my time management skills a bit.

And that’s it for the excuses. On to the post itself:

It’s not such a wonderful life

Victor Davis Hanson has scored another home run with his post examining at Obama’s new world order as another Pottersville:

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In honor of Ted Cruz’s announcement — a re-run of my post about his epic stand against Obamacare

Ted CruzIn 2013, Ted Cruz was the only one who wholeheartedly, bravely, boldly, took a stand against Obamacare.  The GOP was appalled.  I, of course, am appalled by the GOP — quislings, all of them.

Today, Ted Cruz announced that he’s running for President:

In honor of Cruz’s announcement, I’m rerunning the post I did in the run-up to Cruz’s promised filibuster of Obamacare, back on September 25, 2013: “Is Ted Cruz’s promised Obamacare filibuster the equivalent of King Leonidas’s stand at Thermopylae?


"I will do everything necessary and anything possible to defund Obamacare."

“I will do everything necessary and anything possible to de-fund Obamacare.”

Most people, whether Democrat or Republican, agree that Ted Cruz’s planned filibuster in the Senate is doomed. It will do nothing to stop Obamacare’s inexorable path towards implementation. (To understand precisely what the filibuster is about, Ace has a good, short explanation.)

Because Ted Cruz is nobody’s fool, I’m guessing that he too knows that it won’t stop Obamacare from getting fully implemented within the next few months. Why, then, is Cruz engaged in this quixotic effort? I think I have the answer, but you’ll have to bear with me, because it involves taking a little trip back, back in time . . . to the Battle of Thermopylae.

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Crony capitalists fear that the Supreme Court might gut Obamacare

The reality of ObamacareBack in August 2009, I wrote about a conversation I had with a Leftist physician regarding the upcoming legislation that would turn into Obamacare. One of my contentions was that Obamacare was a step to single payer and would end up bankrupting America’s existing medical establishments. He disagreed. Here’s the relevant part of my post about that conversation:

What this doctor likes about mandatory universal health care is that it forces the voluntary uninsured into the system.  He thinks it grossly unfair that they are not paying into the system, while people who need insurance are paying.  If there were more money in the system, the person with a preexisting condition would not be required to pay as much for his insurance.  In other words, he thinks that the insurance system should be a cross between an uninsured motorist requirement and social security.  He freely admits that this is a government mandated spread the wealth approach, and one of which he approves.

Because he has a philosophical approach that requires everyone to be in the health care market, whether they want to be or not, he is unperturbed by CBO numbers projecting vast increases in the cost of health care under the new plan.  He thinks the CBO people, being accountants and not doctors, have no idea what they’re talking about.  What he envisions is a brave new world in which the government simply provides more insured people who will use medical services.  He finds it inconceivable that universal health care (which is a system by which all people are insured, but medical care providers continue to be privately owned) can shade into a single payer, government-owned system.

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My run-in with an Obamacare fanatic

AngryBecause I have a careful social life, which sees me discuss parenting issues with liberals and politics with conservatives, I’ve never spoken with a true believer about Obamacare.  Last night was my baptism in fire and, I have to say, staring into the maddened eyes of someone who sees Obamacare as a divine gift to the American people was an unnerving experience.

I went out to dinner with a group of people, some of whom I knew, and some of whom were spouses I hadn’t yet met.  For the most part, the evening was delightful.  Unfortunately, it ended on a sour note, when I unwittingly found myself speaking with an Obamacare fanatic.

I actually hadn’t planned on discussing politics, especially since I knew I was the only conservative in the bunch.  Obamacare came up accidentally because a few of us — all middle-aged people with bad eyes — were talking about how expensive prescription glasses have become.  Not unnaturally, this led to a discussion about the rising costs of medical care overall.

The initial discussion was about the perverse incentives of the insurance marketplace since WWII (separating consumers from providers so that consumers have no incentive to shop or bargain for lower prices); about the costs of more sophisticated medical treatments (it’s not only leeches any more); about high compensation for doctors (it’s justified by their training, but is all that training really necessary?); and about the fact that Medicare caps result in hospitals trying to recoup money by charging $100 for a box of Kleenex.

At this point, one of the spouses, whom I’ll call Tiny Tim, announced that Obamacare would correct all this.  Everyone, he said, will get better insurance and better medical care, all for a lower price, and there will be no more uninsured.  (Hmm….  Where have I heard that before?)  I rained on his parade by saying that many of the uninsured were not lining up to buy insurance.  Instead, those enrolled under Obamacare were often previously covered people who had been forced onto Obamacare when they lost their own insurance.  (See my discussion about that issue here.)  Moreover, those who did not qualify for subsidies were seeing substantial increases in their premiums and deductibles, caused in part by increasing medical costs.

At this point, I offered not a statistic but an example:  I know a woman from one of my conservative groups.  She’s single, self-employed, in her high 50s or low 60s, and was forced onto Obamacare at the end of 2013.  When I saw her at a luncheon about three months ago, she was livid.  She’d liked her old insurance, which was affordable and provided the coverage the wanted.  Her new policy after she lost her old one doubled her premium and her deductible, and saw her paying for a lot of things she didn’t need or want (such as fertility treatments).

Somehow this anecdote enraged Tiny Tim.  He drew himself up to his full height of 5’2″ (I am  not exaggerating), tried to lean over the table to get into my face (something you can’t do when your short), shook his stubby little finger at me and, with spittle flying from his mouth, announced that I was a liar.  “There is no such woman.  You’re lying!  Lying!”  Let’s just say he failed to intimidate me.

When I insisted — truthfully — that there was such a woman, Tiny Tim next announced that she then must be the liar and, if not a liar, she is a moron.  Why is  she a moron?  Tiny Tim, with no information whatsoever, had a ready answer:  She’s a moron because this gal’s former insurance was garbage, and came complete with annual or lifetime caps that would ruin her when she became terribly ill.  Garbage, he kept repeating in his shrill little voice.

Focusing tightly on my powerful belief in individual liberties, rather than on his bulging eyes, and spittle flecked lips, I replied that the gal is an intelligent, experienced career woman who bought this policy on the open market because it worked for her, and she could afford it.  Tiny Tim could not be calmed.  He screamed out again that she was a moron and had no idea what was good for her.  Obamacare knows what’s good for her, he said, and is giving her the policy she needs, whether she’s smart enough to appreciate that or not.

In other words, cut through Tiny Tim’s angry, abusive hysteria and you suddenly find smug, arrogant Jonathan Gruber:  Americans are stupid, can’t possibly know what they want or can afford, and must have a beneficent government force them to do things that they cannot afford and do not need because the government knows best.

Once Tiny Tim put his cards on the table, I was gearing up to make a cutting riposte, when I suddenly felt the ghost of my father at my shoulders.  The one thing I share with my father, alav ha-shalom, is that when I get angry, I get really nasty, which means that, rather than focusing on the issue, I get personal — kind of like Tiny Tim was doing to me and to the woman he’d never met but knew, nevertheless, was a moron.

Unlike Tiny Tim, who seems to be all anger and no conscience, I always hate myself after I lapse into crude ad hominem attacks.  Being nasty is not a way to win an argument, nor is it a way to gain either the respect of others or your own respect.  I could feel that nastiness bubbling up in my, overwhelming logic, humor, assertiveness, and wit.  So I left.

As I explained to my sister when I discussed the matter with her, Tiny Tim didn’t chase me away; my Dad’s ghost did, and I am thankful.  Today I can look back on the interlude with amusement, rather than embarrassment and shame.  I also look back on it with something approaching despair — Tiny Tim may have been emotionally defective, but he’s also America’s “power” class, insofar as he’s highly educated, holds an excellent job, makes a nice income.  These attributes obviously lead him to believe himself better and smarter than the average American, and therefore well-equipped to deprive them of their liberty “for their own good.”  Multiply him by all the other Americans who have emerged and are still emerging from our university systems, and we have a very big problem.