"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Obamacare: Killing the Old for "Hope" of the Future

I knew that Obamacare was going to be a cruel and inflexible plan. Government bureaucracies that do not answer to the electorate, which are not affected in any way by real world results, which are completely unaffected by consumer wants, needs, and complaints, are not in any way empathetic. They cannot be. It would be like expecting a snake to fly through the air. Bureaucracies are simply not designed to do be responsive to those for whom they serve. Yet, I found this specific provision in the horrendous House version of the health care bill to be beneath contempt, even with my basement expectations. I could not let it simply pass by.

From Betsy McCaughey a former lieutenant governor of New York per the New York Post (h/t to Quite Rightly at Bread upon the Waters): "One troubling provision of the House bill compels seniors to submit to a counseling session every five years (and more often if they become sick or go into a nursing home) about alternatives for end-of-life care (House bill, p. 425-430). The sessions cover highly sensitive matters such as whether to receive antibiotics and 'the use of artificially administered nutrition and hydration.'"

A person representing the sole possible provider of health coverage for this individual (the federal government) will counsel seniors on end-of-life care? A bean counter whose only purpose is to decrease costs will lecture seniors about end-of-life care? As the burden of spiraling health care costs staggers the government, can you even begin to imagine what these counseling sessions would be like? I'm thinking of something out of the movie Soylent Green (remember Edward G. Robinson's experience at the euthanasia clinic?). Sacrifice indeed...

Obama has often been lecturing us untutored and unwashed masses on the value of and need for sacrifice-- as if the concept is completely foreign to our foolish, greedy and rapacious natures. But the concept of sacrifice is not so pure as Obama's rhetoric would have us believe. Speaking in sweeping generalities amid hollow praise for patriotic platitudes (the most common recipe for Gerald Warner's "Obamaguff"), Obama's speeches and soundbites would have us believe that sacrifice is a moral quality rather than an action. It is not.

A moral quality is something that informs our actions. While we inaccurately speak of doing good, what we actually mean is to perform actions that coincide with our sense of good (wherever that comes from and whatever that sense may be-- I'm not writing this post to argue about that). In other words, we cannot actually "do good," and can only "act good." Being judged good is based on the performance of good actions or, some would argue, the lack of performing a tempting but evil act.

Sacrifice is altogether different. It is an action, as one may sacrifice. The morality of sacrifice is based upon the context of the action. Sacrificing oneself to save others (the old war movie cliche of throwing oneself on a grenade to save civilians for instance), is often construed to be a good act, while greedily sacrificing a child to save oneself (like Billy Zane in the unimpressive film Titanic) is generally thought to be bad. This is all obvious and common knowledge, I know (that's why I'm using the movie references)-- but the distinction between an action and the reason to perform an action is often overlooked and confused. It is important to understand the clarity of the line between the two.

To sacrifice is to do something-- in the sense that it is the result of a decision based on deliberation. It is the deliberation that makes the action good or not-- and not merely the performance. Even self-sacrifice is not always a good thing. Joseph Goebbels sacrificed the lives of his six children, his wife, and ultimately himself to Hitler's National Socialism. Would you construe that as a good act? Various devotees of communism willingly sacrificed their lives to the altar of Marxism (among with the vast majority of those coerced to do so) within the Soviet Union. Was their self-sacrifice to keep a tyrant like Lenin in power a good act? While self-sacrifice is often viewed as noble (especially by those who ascribe to the altar on which the devotee offers oneself up), it is important to distinguish between nobility and morality. They are not synonymous.

The intent of Obamaguff is not to blur the line between action and ethics, nobility and morality. It is not Orwellian doublespeak (a concept that couldn't actually work). That would be giving it far too much credit. Instead, Obamaguff is the direct result of Obama's own belief system that refuses to distinguish one from the other for political conveniences' sake. What is disquieting is how unquestioningly the public and media has, if not simply accepted, tolerated Obamaguff.

So, while Obama urges us to sacrifice in the midst of empty and meaningless references to Normandy and the Founding Fathers-- all amid town hall/devotional cheers-- the machinations of the federal government offers us this heavy-handed, top-down travesty of a bill to sacrifice our elders upon. We shall send out counselors to urge seniors to forgo expensive treatments and hurry them to their inevitable graves. Let them not burden the youth and the bright hope of the future. Obama's much vaunted hope is not for the hopeless it seems.

1 comment:

  1. Yukio, thank you for writing this. The amount of suffering Obama's automatons so casually prescribe for others is incomprehensible. It is good to know that someone else out there is horrified. I wish, as they learn their lesson (and they have many opportunities to do so), the rest of us did not have to accompany them!

    Wishing you continued inspiration as you work on your novel.