Friday, August 14, 2009

Death Panels never die

I haven't heard a peep in the news about this being VJ Day; the day when WWII was over and the last military victory the US ever had. Sure, we've blown many things up and lost tens of thousands of our soldiers and killed millions of people, but those weren't so much wars as attempts at interfering in other countries that had not declared war on us, some of them based on invented scenarios.

I tuned in to MSNBC this afternoon wondering if this country of born-yesterday geniuses would bother to remember the end of the largest, deadliest war in human history, but what I got was a panel of simpletons trying to lend dignity to the idea that having Medicare pay a consultation fee to your doctor should you happen to seek counseling about what to do if you have a fatal disease will lead to summary executions.

"It's the slippery slope argument - it's easy to see how you can go from the government being involved in health care decisions to the government executing you."
say the smug voices. No it isn't actually, not even if you're currently hospitalized with paranoid delusions. It isn't because paying your doctor bill is not getting involved in the decision making. It isn't because there is no slippery slope argument, only a slippery slope fallacy unless you can establish that paying someone's bill gives you the right to kill him - and you can't.

Yesterday I replied to yet another viral e-mail purporting to show how Barak Obama is insisting that Our military personnel should "pay their own damned insurance since they're volunteers." It was followed by endless expressions of undying hate. Of course it's another fraud -- I've yet to get one that wasn't -- but in return for my polite reply showing how the words came not from Obama but from the comedy writers at the Daily Show, I got an e-mail so hideous and grotesque with hatred of "liberls like me" it was quite incomprehensible.

When it gets to the point where ordinary Americans with ordinary, respectable lives and credentials are less coherent, more hate filled and more willing to believe the utterly preposterous simply because our president had a black father, there is reason for the reasonable to worry. There is great temptation for many of us simply to wash our hands of this dirt and let the country go the way of the Third Reich.
"The Death Panel idea has legs because it's easy to understand"
said the Republican apologist on MSNBC. Lies are designed that way, the truth just is what it is. Let's hope the country is more than it seems.

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