Monday, July 17, 2017

Maximum Hyperbole

This came up on my facebook feed the other day, posted by a liberal friend. It wasn't a viral meme or anything, just something he wrote. But it struck me as being the most hyperbolic thing I've ever read. I used to comment on these things. In this case, I was able to quickly create a 3-point rebuttal to dismantle the notion. But what's the point? At some point it feels like lecturing the neighbor's dog not to bark on a Sunday afternoon. The dog's going to bark regardless, and from a certain perspective it makes sense for the dog to bark.

I realize that there is no real need to go into this for most readers here. But one of the major benefits of writing a blog is it's therapeutic value, like a journal. One can put the rebuttal out for people who might appreciate it, while not annoying those who can't be bothered to think. Lincoln used to write letters to people who were annoying him and then not mail them. I can guarantee you that if he was alive today he would be a prolific blogger writing under a pseudonym. At any rate, my 3-point rebuttal.
  1. The Republicans opposing the bill come from the conservative wing, not the liberal. That in itself is all you need to know. (And, in fact, the defection today of two more conservative senators doomed it to the waste bin, where it properly belongs.) They might respond that no liberal Democrats support the bill, but that only means that they are all, every one of them, partisan hacks who don't know what's good for them. They won't support any legislation proposed by Republicans. They would probably reject single-payer healthcare if it came from the wrong side of the aisle. The Republican plan is not repeal; it is rename. The major tenets of Obamacare remain. The government has still declared lordship over one sixth of the American economy. The Senate bill keeps all that in place, but renames it and makes it a Republican program. So the left keeps, conservatively, 90% of their favored policy, while all the downside is pushed over into their opponent's court. No savvy businessman would ever turn down such a sweet deal. The Republican say "we'll give you liberal healthcare and take all the blame when it fails." And the Democrats despise it! Their lack of leadership is laughable. On the other hand, we can reasonably blame the failure of the bill on Trump. No, he didn't invent the healthcare fiasco, but at some point he changed his campaign promise from Repeal to Repeal & Replace. He clearly did so to try not to scare off the blue-collar Rust Belt Democrats who ended up giving him the election, but at the cost of not being able to actually carry out the promise of substantial reform. Still, no change in policy is our second-best option, so we'll take it. The Democrats think they've won a victory here. Let them play pretend, I guess.
  2. The principle underlying the notion that not providing state-run healthcare is equivalent to murder is generally that not providing people with anything is equivalent to stealing that thing. We've heard this kind of stuff before from that camp. For instance, feminists shriek into the night about the evil Republicans denying their right to healthcare by not paying for their birth control. Not giving them birth control is the same as forcing them to be pregnant against their will. And forcing someone to be pregnant against their will is rape! So not giving them money is rape. It's just a shakedown. The problem with the principle that not giving is the same as taking is that there is no limitation to it. Not giving someone a home is the same as kicking them out on the street. Society should provide food or it is inflicting starvation on the destitute. There's no end to the things society should provide. Status, entertainment, companionship, sexual satisfaction, even indulgence of addictions and fetishes must be provided by the state, or it is causing people to live in agony. We're already living in a world where the taxpayer is obligated to provide sex-change operations and hormone "treatment" for the mentally ill.
  3. The final rebuttal to this is that it is profoundly hyperbolic. Passing the Senate bill, which would have cemented Obamacare into the legislative record, was seen as equivalent to killing millions of people per year. This is so easy to disprove that it's pointless. Can liberals show that after the law went into effect around 2011 that millions of people were saved per year? Of course they can't. And that assumes the Senate bill repeals Obamacare, of which it does nearly the opposite.
This shit is so stupid we shouldn't even be talking about it. But tens of millions of your fellow Americans believe it to be true. This is the fundamental flaw of democracy. Anyone who could believe such utter nonsense should not be allowed within 200 yards of a ballot box. In democracy everyone has equal say in who the president is. Where is there an analog to this approach to managing large organizations? Look at businesses. They face constant competition, and poorly organized businesses are ravaged by market forces. And there are no businesses of consequence where all workers have equal say in who the CEO is. Do companies set policy based on the opinion of the majority? No. If they tried they would fail, yet we have no problem running a country that way. There's this expectation that the country is just fated to perpetual success. It's a sucker's bet. Short the system.

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