Squaring the Culture




"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

10/16/2009 (9:10 am)

Life Under "D"

I was bemused this morning while scanning the Drudge Report at the number of headlines that remind us all what life is like when the Democrats rule the roost. It ain’t pretty.

U.S. troop funds diverted to pet projects
Study finds $2.6 billion taken from guns and ammunition

Senators diverted $2.6 billion in funds in a defense spending bill to pet projects largely at the expense of accounts that pay for fuel, ammunition and training for U.S. troops, including those fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to an analysis.

This reminds us of two important facts about Democrats: 1) They hate the military. They’ve expanded every aspect of American government so far except the Defense Department. Here, they’re using Defense as a piggy bank for pet projects. 2) You can’t pay attention to what they say, only to what they do. To listen to them, Afghanistan was the Right war, the Must-Win war, and they were the True Patriots who loved our soldiers. All lies. There exists no necessary relationship, in the minds of Democrats, between what they say and what they intend; they’ll say whatever they think you want to hear, then do whatever they feel like doing. They are liars.

Harry Reid Suggests Health Care to Cost $2 Trillion

Oops. I guess saving half a trillion reining in fraud and inefficiency in Medicare won’t pay for the national health care proposal after all, will it? (And, let’s face it, if they actually knew how to save that money by improving Medicare, they’d have done it already, wouldn’t they?) Seriously, what reason does any sane person have to believe the cost projections produced by Congressional Democrats, ever? When have they ever been anything but grossly wrong on the low side? Ever?

Elect Democrats, inflate the deficit. Works every time. Only, this time, it will demolish the currency, too. Not to mention turning our medical care system into Cuba’s. Wheee!

Deal may return Zelaya to power in Hondouras… Developing…

The one instance in the Western Hemisphere where a liberal republic executed its laws properly and defended themselves against a lawless neo-Marxist coup, and we backed the wrong side. Whatever they say, Democrats feel stronger sympathy toward World Socialism than they do toward American liberty. Seriously.

Foreclosures: ‘Worst three months of all time’
Despite signs of broader economic recovery, number of foreclosure filings hit a record high in the third quarter – a sign the plague is still spreading.

The President told us it was necessary, unavoidable, that we had to swell the deficit to unheard-of size in order to stimulate the economy and stop the wave of foreclosures. He told us it was so urgent that we had to pass it in the middle of the night, before anybody had even read the bill. And then, he told us that his recovery package was “… a major step in the fulfillment of his election promise of helping millions of Americans troubled by foreclosure.”

It didn’t work. Democrats’ economic plans never work — because they do not understand economics, and they think government spending is good for an economy. Even though Japan tried exactly this strategy in a similar situation in the 90s, and it did nothing. Even though the US tried this strategy in a similar situation in the 30s, and it did nothing. Even though the currency is on the brink of collapse. Government spending, to Democrats, is like bleeding to an 18th-century physician. The patient died the last 30 times, but it’s still the right thing to do. Real experience doesn’t count, we have to do what is consistent with Democratic theory because Democrats are the Smart Ones™.

Plus, this…

Obama says he’s looking at any way to create jobs

Didn’t he insist that he was the only candidate who knew how to do that? Why doesn’t the fact that he’s still using the same language a year later, all his attempts so far having failed, surprise me?

And just out of curiosity… has he considered getting the government the hell out of the economy’s way and letting free markets stimulate innovation, while looking at “any way to create jobs?” Why do I think that hasn’t come up?

How about this one:

Limbaugh dropped from group seeking to buy Rams…
Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh blames others for dropping his Rams ownership bid

So Rush Limbaugh won’t get to buy into the St. Louis Rams after all. Big deal, right? Except, in order to accomplish this, Democrats politicized sports and assassinated the character of a private citizen, inventing racist quotes out of thin air in an irruption of vitriol and gibbering rage, like demons reacting to holy water, simply because they don’t like the man. Character assassination is just about the only thing Democrats do well. They do it well because they have lots of practice. Just ask Rush. And Clarence Thomas. And Sarah Palin. And George W. Bush. And Carrie Prejean. And Robert Bork. And Newt Gingrich. And Linda Tripp. And Katherine Harris. And the list goes on, and on, and on…

Meanwhile, Democrats caution us how mean-spirited conservatives are. Pardon me while I spit.

By the way, notice the subheading, which was written by Yahoo News. It’s a lovely little demonstration of how Democrats take responsibility for the filth they launch at others. Notice how it’s implied that somehow, it’s only Limbaugh’s deficient personal character that leads him to “blame others” for his being removed from the group buying the Rams. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the flood of lies produced by Democratic media hounds. No. It’s Limbaugh’s own fault, but he lacks the character to admit it. Find it in the dictionary under “projection.”

And then there’s this, the creepiest part of all:

LEAKED MEMO: ‘ORGANICALLY’ PRODUCE NETWORK TV TO PROMOTE GOVERNMENT ‘SERVICE’ AGENDA…

Wow. The entertainment and news industry in league with the White House. What happened to “the watchdog of liberty” and “speaking truth to power?” Suddenly, instead of a free, independent press, we have Brave New World, or 1984 and the Ministry of Truth. And we are not free to pursue life, liberty, and happiness; we have a moral obligation to serve Obama. This is how Democrats interpret the American experiment in government. Did you like “War is Peace?” How about “Liberty is Serving Obama?”

There’s more, but I’ve depressed myself enough. Even this last headline is not sufficient to lift my spirits:

Fox News Poll: 43 Percent Would Vote To Re-Elect President Obama
If the election were held today, 43 percent of American voters would back Barack Obama for president, according to a new Fox News poll.

It’s taken less than a year for voters to remember why they handed the government to Republicans ‘way back in 1994. Give Democrats control, and it’s like you’ve turned a valve on a fireplug leading from hell, and you’re pouring raw evil into the streets. Nothing good comes from it; they promise that everything will get better, and everything gets worse. But because they control, they get to direct what wealth hasn’t been sapped out of the system yet into the hands of their crony buddies, while they remove your liberties, smear their opponents, and turn the Land of the Free into a Socialist Worker’s Paradise.

Those numbers will continue to drop, but what of it? Will the wave of Republican, Libertarian, and Unaffiliated legislators that replace the Democrats in the coming elections have the courage to reverse this flood? Will they systematically list, then systematically repeal, every step of this full-tilt flight into Stalinism? Do they have the guts to do it while the wholly-owned subsidiary of World Socialism, the American Press, screeches in our ears how they’re making war on the poor and needy and re-instituting Hitler’s Third Reich?

We are SO screwed…

10/14/2009 (2:34 pm)

Progressivism, the Religion

I’m in the first chapter of Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism, and I’m delighted to find that he’s accurately identified the religious character of American progressivism.

The one thing that unites these [variously fascist] movements is that they were all, in their own ways, totalitarian. But what do we mean when we say something is totalitarian? The word has certainly taken on an understandably sinister connotation in the last half century. Thanks to work by Hannah Arendt, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and others, it’s become a catchall for brutal, soul-killing, Orwellian regimes. But that’s not how the word was originally used or intended. Mussolini himself coined the term to describe a society where everybody belonged, where everyone was taken care of, where everything was inside the state and nothing was outside; where truly no child was left behind.

Again, it is my argument that American liberalism is a totalitarian political religion, but not necessarily an Orwellian one. It is nice, not brutal. Nannying, not bullying. But it is definitely totalitarian — or “holistic,” if you prefer — in that liberalism today sees no realm of human life that is beyond political significance, from what you eat to what you smoke to what you say. Sex is political. Food is political. Sports, entertainment, your inner motives and outer appearance, all have political salience for liberal fascists. Liberals place their faith in priestly experts who know better, who plan, exhort, badger, and scold. They try to use science to discredit traditional notions of religion and faith, but they speak the language of pluralism and spirituality to defend “nontraditional” beliefs. Just as with classical fascism, liberal fascists speak of a “Third Way” between right and left where all good things go together and all hard choices are “false choices.”

The idea that there are no hard choices — that is, choices between competing goods — is religious and totalitarian because it assumes that all good things are fundamentally compatible. The conservative or classical liberal vision understands that life is unfair, that man is flawed, and that the only perfect society, the only real utopia, waits for us in the next life.

I’ve been saying for decades that the current version of what we call “liberalism,” which its adherents are calling “progressivism,” feels like a religion, and its adherents exhibit all the characteristics of True Believers. These Believers take as axioms — as dogma, really — the inherent virtue of radical egalitarianism, multiculturalism, and moral relativism, dismiss all other views of truth as hopelessly backward, and ultimately celebrate the ascendancy of the enlightened apex of human development, namely themselves.

Understanding that progressivism is a religion explains lots of things. It explains why progressives consider holding their political position the apex of moral virtue, and holding contrary positions, the depths of moral vice. It explains why progressives are impervious to reasons, statistics, or sound arguments that do not support their point of view. It explains why they feel perfectly justified in controlling even the smallest decisions of the populace. It explains why they feel no compunction of conscience while breaking every conceivable law or rule of civil behavior in the pursuit of power. It explains the fervor with which they pursue political power. It explains everything: they’re True Believers.

I produced a decent definition of “religion” in my post on Darwin Day this year:

…“theism” is not a useful definition of religion: there are major, recognized world religions that contain both many gods (Hinduism, Shintoism, Buddhism) and no gods (Confucianism and Taoism.) A better definition of religion would be “a dogmatic set of cohesive ideas purporting to explain the nature and purpose of the universe, and from that to derive how Man should live.”

Progressivism is nothing if not dogmatic; you can’t even raise questions about their presuppositions without getting scoffed at. They definitely have ideas regarding the nature of the universe, and they not only have derived from those ideas how Man should live, but consider themselves the rightful executors of the power to make them live that way. Oh, yes, progressivism is a religion, alright, and a highly coercive one at that.

Some will object that they can’t be religious because they do not believe in God. I’ve had that conversation with atheists of various stripes; they want me to get it through my head that Atheism is not belief, but the absence of belief. That’s like saying that on a sunny, warm day we are not experiencing weather, but the absence of weather. If the topic is “What is the universe, and how should we live in it,” the answer may or may not include God, but all answers to that question are addressing the same topic. The answer that says “We must work together under one Government to create a world without racism, sexism, homophobia, or unfairness” is as much religion as the answer that says “Fear God, and keep His commandments, for such is the whole duty of man.”

1apunchAs with all True Believers, their cognitive dissonance runs deep. They can hurl the most incredibly vicious racial epithets at black conservatives like Sowell, Thomas, and Rice (remember Clarence Thomas as a lawn jockey?), and then claim that conservatism is the source of all racism without the slightest awareness of the irony. They slur conservative women with utter, unrestrained viciousness (Katherine Harris “applies makeup with a trowel” and Michelle Malkin is “a mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick”) but consider conservatism the bastion of sexist hate and suppression of women. They ruminate about conservative talk show hosts “blowing up like a blimp” and fabricate out of thin air racist quotes to accuse their opponents, but wonder how conservatives can be so mean-spirited. They cannot even watch Sarah Palin on TV without screaming curses at her, and regard capitalists and conservatives as evil incarnate, but lecture us about tolerance and getting past our differences. Because they are The Good Ones, it is simply not possible that they could do evil; because their beliefs are the very definition of tolerance, open-mindedness, and multicultural harmony, what they do simply cannot ever be considered intolerant, bigoted, or vicious.

Adherents engage in a pretense of intellectual discussion among themselves because Reason sits high in their panoply of gods; but it is pretense only, and impervious to serious engagement from outside its own circle of self-congratulation. Ask any conservative what it takes to get a progressive to engage them in reasonable conversation; every one of us who has tried can count on one hand the number of times we have succeeded in getting a cogent, polite response to a sincere intellectual challenge. I’ve been trying for at least 25 years, and still know only a handful of progressives who can talk politics with me without hurling insults. Conservatives can play drinking games betting on how many words it will take before the progressive resorts to sneering: my record is four words. I’m not kidding; a friend asked me “Why Iraq?” and he interrupted with a sneer after “What was intended was…” When Rush Limbaugh gets a call from an acknowledged liberal, he times how long it takes before he gets called a derogatory name; it’s invariably less than 2 minutes. Ask any conservative how many times he’s been called “Nazi,” “fascist,” “racist,” or various shades of “imbecile” simply for offering a contrary idea to one held by a progressive. In my experience, there is no connection between the idea offered and the accusatory response; “fascist” is a definition. To the progressive, intelligent conversation begins with “are you a believer?” If the answer is “no,” then it’s simply an article of faith that what follows is “fascist,” “sexist,” “racist,” or “greed,” and can have no merit.

And then, there are the Christian progressives. These are becoming increasingly common, as the shaming and fault-finding directed by the culture at large toward Christians for remaining faithful to an “outdated” sect take their toll. Increasingly, devout Christians are succumbing to the lie that using other peoples’ tax money to engage the government in programs for the poor is somehow a Christian act. Theft is never Christian; and the notion that the government can force righteousness on a people is as demonic a notion as ever infected a Christian mind. More to the point, though, the dogmatic assumptions of progressivism are biblically unsound; man cannot be perfected through political activism, it is no virtue to make all outcomes equal regardless of performance, and showing love to people of different races and cultures does not imply that all practices are of equal moral worth. By committing to the progressive Utopian vision, no matter how well-intentioned or filled with Christian-sounding endorsements, Christians are serving among the legions of a foreign god.

One must remember when engaging progressives that one is most likely engaging what I would call a Brittle Fundamentalist. Brittle Fundamentalists can only see the world in black and white; they can accept no grays. Consequently, they will resist with intense fervor any effort to move them from serving the goals of progressivism, and simply disbelieve any fact you produce that does not fit their picture of the world. But, like all Brittle Fundamentalists, there is a breaking point; if the preponderance of the facts from a trusted source at any time forces them to acknowledge that they’ve been wrong on any subject, the entire house of cards can collapse in a matter of days. They can quickly become conservatives if they ever permit themselves, even once, to let a contrary thought in. Their faith is inflexible, and that makes it breakable.

The fact that Western civilization has been overtaken by a non-Christian — I should say an anti-Christian — religion, it is clearer than ever that the path to saving Western civilization is not political, but religious. The culture will not be turned by winning a series of elections; the culture will be turned by religious revival, and by nothing else.

10/09/2009 (3:01 pm)

Suicide

I found this in a collection of 15 Australian cartoons that apparently have never been printed by American publishers. I think it’s difficult for a cartoon to express more profoundly the current condition of Western civilization.

suicideofthewest

If you’re wondering why I might imagine the US upholding Western Civilization single-handed, and why I might implicate both liberalism and Islam in the suicide, perhaps it’s time for us to review an article I wrote about 20 months ago highlighting a couple of erudite Europeans’ observations about why the US is resisting the spread of Islam while Europe is not (Vasko Kohlmayer is a naturalized American citizen, but hails from the Czech Republic.) This information is still current, and extremely important. The short version is that Islam is a religion of conquest, and only a competing religion seems to have the energy to resist its spread; post-Christian hedonism has apparently leached out the West’s capacity to care, and also its capacity to reproduce at a level that will sustain civilization.

09/12/2009 (4:24 pm)

Can You Hear Me NOW?

Politico says they expected between 20,000 and 200,000 people in Washington DC today to protest the expansion of government. A friend who was there says it was more like 2 million. Expect the government propaganda channels (ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, TBS, and so forth) to downplay the numbers, but the people there in Washington saw what they saw.

Mr. President: can you hear us now?

090913_obama_socialist_ap_624

parasiteinchief

astroturf1

The first photo is from Politico, and was taken by AP. The next two photos are from the New York Times web site. Click on the photos to visit the sites.

09/08/2009 (10:10 am)

As the Race Meme Rises…

obamafam2

Back in April when President Obama’s “likeability” rating touched 80%, I predicted, agreeing with Jonah Goldberg, that when that rating fell as it inevitably would, the fall would be blamed on racism. It was an easy prediction, and now it’s happening.

The LA Times today notes a precipitous fall in the President’s support among whites, over a photo of the First Family sporting the caption, “The Obama family returns from Camp David. It’s unclear whether President Obama’s ratings slip is based on policy or personal issues.”

Among white Democrats, Obama’s job approval rating has dropped 11 points since his 100-days mark in April, according to surveys by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. It has dropped by 9 points among white independents and whites over 50, and by 12 points among white women — all groups that will be targeted by both parties in next year’s midterm elections.

“While Obama has a lock on African Americans, his support among white voters seems to be almost in a free fall,” said veteran Republican pollster Neil Newhouse.

The writer goes on to list all the controversies stoked by conservatives that he thinks have nothing to do with policy: the inflammatory comments of Van Jones, the invitation of a terrorist-defending attorney to a White House Ramadan celebration, Obama’s plan to address the nation’s schoolchildren, concern over whether Obama was eligible to run for President. He ties these to pre-election controversies over Obama’s association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright… and then subtly slips a Race Bomb under the sofa. He does not actually say “race” — plausible deniability, I suppose — but there it is, in black and wh… oops, I mean in full colo… wait, no, I mean as plain as day.

One black congressman, Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), was quoted last week alleging that opposition to Obama’s healthcare policies was “a bias, a prejudice, an emotional feeling.”

“Some Americans have not gotten over the fact that Obama is president of the United States. They go to sleep wondering, ‘How did this happen?’ ” Rangel said, according to the New York Post.

Of course, it’s not unclear at all why his popularity has fallen. Even the so-called “personal” issues are not about race, they’re about radicalism. The public is beginning to recognize that we elected a full-blown radical, and that what he intends is a radical shift that they did not, and do not, approve. At the core, the public hates his policies.

This actually gets explained in the LA Times article — neatly split between pages 1 and 2 on the web display (the added emphasis is mine.)

Democratic pollster David Beattie conducted a survey last month in one competitive congressional district that found that more than a quarter of independents believed Obama had not proven his natural-born status. The same sentiment was expressed by nearly 6 in 10 Republican women — a group that Beattie said would be important for a Democratic victory.

He declined to name the district because the polling was private, but said that such questions about Obama’s background seemed to be a “proxy” for voters’ growing unease with Obama’s ambitious agenda, which has included a potential push to create a government-sponsored health insurance plan.

Surveys show that the vast majority of Americans like Obama personally, but that they are increasingly skeptical of policies that seem to expand the scope of government.

“We’re having an economic culture war,” Beattie said.

“The criticisms of Obama are about the fundamental role of government in our economy.”

The decline was inevitable because his policies are starkly socialist, and America is far from a socialist nation. Sooner or later the dislike of his policies would morph into a dislike of the man, and the numbers would show up in the polling.

The resort to racism was inevitable because leftists in America generally believe their relevance lies in their defeat of racism, sexism, homophobia, and militarism. These are the “Liberals Lost in Time” (LLITs, I call them), who continue to talk, write, and argue as though they were battling 1960s attitudes and laws. It’s pitiable in a way, that some adults can only sustain a sense of purpose by continuing to pretend that they live in an embattled past, glorying in the camaraderie of an entirely imaginary struggle against a long-dead foe.

It seems to be the case that primarily whites are responding to the appearance of radicalism in Obama’s back yard, but the LA Times is (again, predictably) raising the wrong question. The question is not, “Why are the whites leaving,” it’s “Why are the blacks not affected?”

There is no “white bloc” vote, but there most certainly is a black one, and it’s at the same time the most potent predictor of political leaning in American politics, and the least sensible one. Democratic policies have ripped the black community to shreds, enslaving multiple generations to the dole, encouraging the breakups of families, planting genocidally-minded clinics among them to reduce their numbers, blocking students from escaping failing inner-city schools, ensuring massive dropout rates from colleges. One would think that black voters would tire of being condescended to by self-righteous activists they know to be motivated by white guilt, and would recognize the routinely devastating consequences of the policies arising from this pathetic, twisted zeitgeist. However, so long as power in the black community flows from church leaders in bed with Democratic city ward masters, inner city blacks will continue to vote for those politicians most thoroughly committed to their continued poverty. The enslavement of the blacks continues unabated in the Democratic party.

08/20/2009 (12:55 pm)

Death Panels Already Exist

ezekiel_emanuel1One of my readers directed my attention to this article from American Thinker, which makes the case that Congressional Democrats have already created the mechanisms through which the government will make, then enforce, care decisions according to cost-benefit algebra. Death panels are not in Obama’s plan because they already exist.

Of course, “death panel” is not precise; it’s just gruesome jargon. This portion of the health care debate rages over how, when, and by whom decisions should be made to cease treatment of the elderly or terminally ill because the cost of further care is greater than somebody wants to pay. In a sane system, care ends when the patient chooses not to pay. Under national health care, care ends when a bureaucrat chooses not to pay. Defenders of Obama’s or the Democrats’ plans love to point out that today, care ends when the insurer chooses not to pay, but they are badly mistaken for several reasons. First, shortages are not nearly so severe, and prices not so prohibitively high, when the government is not manipulating the market, so fewer such decisions are necessary in a free market; second, even if the insurer says “No,” private care is available at the patient’s expense that would not be available under a government plan; and third, appeals (and, if necessary, lawsuits) are possible with an insurer that would not be possible under a government plan. Even with insurers in the mix (who are so prominent in our current system because of government meddling), the final decision is made by the patient and his or her family where it should be made, and not by an unconnected bureaucrat.

However, the Democrats have apparently side-stepped the debate (who’s surprised?) by inserting language into unrelated legislation, the Stimulus bill. Pay attention; you’re going to learn how vague laws and unread legislation can be used to implement tyranny. This is tricky.

Critics call attention to two regulatory boards created by the Health Care portions of the Stimulus bill: the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (HIT), and the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER). The HIT coordinator is the administrator responsible for building a national patient record system, a measure that will certainly improve health coordination if the system is built correctly. The portion of the Stimulus bill that creates the HIT coordinator position spells out the process of creating, coordinating, and propagating this new, central database of health information to public and private health care providers around the nation. In my mind, this is a rare measure that might actually fall within a legitimate definition of the role of the national government, and if our nation’s fiscal health were not in crisis, I might even favor it — but wait ’till you hear what’s buried in it.

The HIT legislation states that it “…reduces health care costs resulting from inefficiency, medical errors, inappropriate care, duplicative care, and incomplete information….” Then the legislation sets up the means by which a nationwide information system will be created, with review, strategic planning, testing, and financing. Finally, it says it will phase itself in over several years by paying a financial bonus to doctors and hospitals who become “meaningful users” of the system. “The Secretary [of HHS] shall seek to improve the use of electronic health records and health care quality over time by requiring more stringent measures of meaningful use selected under this paragraph,” it adds, regarding the payment standards for doctors and hospitals separately.

Now, if I were paranoid, I might note that this is vague enough that literally anything might be slipped in, in the definition of a “meaningful user.” I might further note that the bill contains a mechanism by which the Secretary of HHS might add new restrictions at will, without oversight from any source, and without the public’s knowledge. Since it is entirely at the whim of the Secretary of HHS, he or she could say that a “meaningful user” is one who uses the system’s recommendation of the most cost-effective treatment — after inserting a cost-benefit calculus into the system. In this manner, a clever definition of “meaningful user” could incent doctors and hospitals to implement a value-assessment standard for care decisions, like the one Democrats have been favoring.

Why would I be so paranoid as to imagine such a thing?

Two reasons. The first is that former Senator and nominee for HHS secretary Tom Daschle wrote a book in 2008 entitled Critical: What We Can Do About the Health Care Crisis, in which he described measures almost identical to those in the Stimulus bill, and explained how he would use them. His intentions and the legislation by which he would achieve them were covered back in February by New York’s former Lieutenant Governor Betsy McCaughey in this article on Bloomberg. Since the bill she wrote about at the time was an interim version, I verified that the wording on which she reported actually remained in the final bill. It’s all there. With Daschle or somebody familiar with his intentions at HHS (like, say, the radically pro-abortion Kathleen Sebelius), we can expect doctors and hospitals to be required to use the new patient and treatment database as a means of restricting care by cost, or forfeit healthy incentive payments by the government.

madbobThe second reason is the other commission, Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER). Remember when I said that given fiscal health, I might even favor the national patient information system? The Comparative Effectiveness Research body is another story; the government has no business performing this analysis at all.

“Comparative effectiveness” is jargon in the Progressive policy world for rationing on the basis of cost-benefit analysis, using language uncomfortably reminiscent of the Eugenics craze of the early 20th century. Naturally, the language speaks of “social justice,” but such justice is defined as certain citizens sacrificing their rights (not voluntarily) for the benefit of other citizens who produce more. You are blessed, citizen! You have been selected to sacrifice for the good of all! And it speaks of the “maturity” to enact such “difficult” measures, like this smug essay by a medical school prof at UCSF.

Take the comments by CER board member Ezekiel Emanuel (Rahm’s brother), taken from recent medical journals by Betsy McCaughey:

…Emanuel wants doctors to look beyond the needs of their patients and consider social justice, such as whether the money could be better spent on somebody else.

Many doctors are horrified by this notion; they’ll tell you that a doctor’s job is to achieve social justice one patient at a time.

Emanuel, however, believes that “communitarianism” should guide decisions on who gets care. He says medical care should be reserved for the non-disabled, not given to those “who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens . . . An obvious example is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia” (JAMA, Feb. 27, 2008).

Translation: Don’t give much care to a grandmother with Parkinson’s or a child with cerebral palsy.

He explicitly defends discrimination against older patients: “Unlike allocation by sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious discrimination; every person lives through different life stages rather than being a single age. Even if 25-year-olds receive priority over 65-year-olds, everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years” (Lancet, Jan. 31).

By Emanuel’s logic, discrimination against blacks, women, gays, Jews or any other group would be justifiable, so long as that group is given the opportunity to pay it back against their oppressors at some other time. This is insane, but it’s the sort of rationalization that has been going on for years among Progressives, who wonder whether humankind is a cancer on the planet.

The CER panel is modeled after the board in the UK’s national health system called the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, or NICE. NICE is, simply put, the UK’s health care rationing board. It decides what sort of care is appropriate on the basis of a cost-benefit calculus that says that Britain can only afford to spend up to $22,000 to extend a life for 6 months.

From the Wall Street Journal:

What NICE has become in practice is a rationing board. As health costs have exploded in Britain as in most developed countries, NICE has become the heavy that reduces spending by limiting the treatments that 61 million citizens are allowed to receive through the NHS. For example:

In March, NICE ruled against the use of two drugs, Lapatinib and Sutent, that prolong the life of those with certain forms of breast and stomach cancer. This followed on a 2008 ruling against drugs — including Sutent, which costs about $50,000 — that would help terminally ill kidney-cancer patients. After last year’s ruling, Peter Littlejohns, NICE’s clinical and public health director, noted that “there is a limited pot of money,” that the drugs were of “marginal benefit at quite often an extreme cost,” and the money might be better spent elsewhere.

In 2007, the board restricted access to two drugs for macular degeneration, a cause of blindness. The drug Macugen was blocked outright. The other, Lucentis, was limited to a particular category of individuals with the disease, restricting it to about one in five sufferers. Even then, the drug was only approved for use in one eye, meaning those lucky enough to get it would still go blind in the other. As Andrew Dillon, the chief executive of NICE, explained at the time: “When treatments are very expensive, we have to use them where they give the most benefit to patients.”

And it is this board that the Stimulus bill recreates in the form of the CER. But it is delusional to think that Obama’s health care proposal contains death panels. We’re bearing false witness, says the most patently dishonest President in our history (yes, worse than Clinton.) With all due respect, Mr. President, you can shove that self-righteous posturing right up your ass.

McCaughey, in the Bloomberg article, states that the Stimulus bill language requires that Medicare care decisions include the findings of the CER. This is not entirely clear in the language, but then, that’s the point. The Secretary of HHS has latitude to define a “meaningful user” as anything he wishes, and to impose more stringent standards as time goes along. Without oversight. Or letting anybody know, aside from the hospitals who must comply if they are to be reimbursed for installing the patient records system.

No, there are no laws saying “We are going to withhold care from granny.” Who was naive enough to imagine that there would be, if such a thing were to come about? But Daschle explained how he would slip it in, empowering an unelected bureaucracy to make the hard decisions about health care rationing that elected politicians are politically unable to make. They are unaccountable for our good, don’t you see?

The demographic impact of the Baby Boom on medical care and Social Security has been apparent for some time now. It has been amplified by the loss of 50 million potential wage-earners to abortions. But now, it appears that Progressives have chosen to deny the Boomers any say in their own demise; simply because it is convenient, not to mention consistent with their misanthropic world view, the Obama administration is preparing to solve the demographic crisis by simply allowing the Boomers to die with only minimal care. He’ll never say so, of course. We’re bearing false witness if we mention it. Holocausts never arrive through the front door.

08/10/2009 (10:57 am)

Gotta Repeat This

Not an original find, but then, what is? Craig Ferguson skips some pretty important milestones, but he’s got the basic theme dead on: we deify youth and stupidity. Worth the 3:19.

What he’s missing, of course, is the vast contribution made to this by progressive dogma starting in the 1960s; it’s not just a Madison Avenue thing, although advertising is also part of the picture. This is why I detest the movie, Dead Poet’s Society, a film that everybody of my generation likes. Sure, it’s a good film with a clever script, but it deliberately paints the characters in such a way as to deify the stupidity of youth over the experience of their parents. Civilization survives by the aged passing along to the young what they and previous generations have learned. Break that inheritance, and the culture drifts and eventually beaches in ruin.

I got it from Baseball Crank, but he got it from The New Ledger, who got it from Jonah Goldberg.

07/25/2009 (3:00 pm)

The Holocaust Begins

buchenwald16

I argued back in February that the weakened life ethic produced by abortion and by the selfishness of the Boomer generation, a decade of economic hardship, and the coming collapse of Social Security, will combine to produce mass killing of the elderly, first as “voluntary” euthanasia and later (but not much later) becoming a lot less voluntary. Several events in the advocacy of President Obama’s national health care scheme are vindicating my prediction.

The current House resolution for health care reform, H.R. 3200, contains a clause entitled “Advance care planning consultation” (Section 1233) requiring senior citizens to meet with a health professional every five years to discuss living wills and limits on measures to be taken when life-threatening conditions occur. Why a state-employed health professional? Why not a private attorney? Why is it required by the state? The clear answer is that with the state paying for medical care, ending life sooner reduces expenses for the national system. Patient’s rights advocates correctly note that the measure is likely to pressure seniors into making life-limiting legal decisions they might not otherwise make. In fact, that’s the point of the consultations.

Erick Erickson from RedState also circulated an email message on Friday reporting an overheard conversation between an aide to Rep. Paul Tonko (D, NY) and an alleged lobbyist regarding the House health care bill. The conversation included the observation that “probably the best part of the bill is the increase in Hospice care which will solve the prolonging of life issue.” Hospice care, as opposed to hospital care, limits access to life-extending technological procedures. To claim that hospice care “solves the prolonging of life issue” suggests that a national health plan will cover hospice care but not hospital care for certain, life-threatening illnesses, with the result that patients will be required by the state to die quietly rather than prolong their lives.

It’s really been pretty obvious that that’s where we’re heading from the discussions of health care “rationing” that we’ve been hearing. Erick at RedState.com listed several prominent progressives who have publicly advanced the weird survival calculus that supports consciously weighing dollar cost against survival odds; Peter Singer wrote just 10 days ago advocating a specific scheme, accompanied by an incredible flood of disingenuous rationalizations supporting the ethics of such a scheme.

They argue that since the calculation is taking place already, there is no reason the state should not engage in it. What they omit is the fact that whatever such calculations take place today, take place in the mind of the person whose survival is on the line, or among that person’s responsible family members. It is one thing for an individual to decide that his own wealth should be saved for his children rather than spent prolonging his life; it is another thing entirely for the state to make that assessment. The former is self-sacrifice; the latter is murder.

The moves to limit care for the elderly give the lie to the entire premise for national health care. Advocates for Obama’s plan argue that the reason for a national program is that some individuals cannot obtain care. Their solution does not provide care for more people, it simply shifts the right to decide who gets care from the market to the government. Just as many people will be denied care, but executive-branch bureaucrats get to decide which ones. I cannot see this as an improvement.

The holocaust has been predictable for decades. We’re just now beginning to see the pieces of it come together. As can be predicted by anybody familiar with 20th century history, wherever Marxian notions appear, mass deaths are likely to follow.

We are so screwed…

07/15/2009 (3:42 pm)

And While We're Talking Palin…

David Kahane, pseudonymous Hollywood writer, today has an explanation on NRO from the point of view of the Democratic Party regarding why they took (past tense, in his mind) Sarah Palin down. Mind you, I don’t think “Kahane” is really a Democrat; he just writes for one on TV. He’s telling it pretty directly, though. Listen:

I don’t know why I’m telling you this, but maybe now you’re beginning to understand the high-stakes game we’re playing here. This ain’t John McCain’s logrolling senatorial club any more. This is a deadly serious attempt to realize the vision of the 1960s and to fundamentally transform the United States of America. This is the fusion of Communist dogma, high ideals, gangster tactics, and a stunning amount of self-loathing. For the first time in history, the patrician class is deliberately selling its own country down the river just to prove a point: that, yes, we can! This country stinks and we won’t be happy until we’ve forced you to admit it.

In other words, stop thinking of the Democratic Party as merely a political party, because it’s much more than that. We’re not just the party of slavery, segregation, secularism, and sedition. Not just the party of Aaron Burr, Boss Tweed, Richard J. Croker, Bull Connor, Chris Dodd, Richard Daley, Bill Ayers, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and Emperor Barack Hussein Obama II. Not just the party of Kendall “Agent 202” Myers, the State Department official recruited as a Cuban spy along with his wife during the Carter administration. Rather, think of the Democratic Party as what it really is: a criminal organization masquerading as a political party.

There’s a lot more, and it’s very satisfying. He ends up where I won’t go, though; recommending a Rules For Radicals retaliation strategy.

Read the whole thing. It’ll get your juices flowing.

06/26/2009 (12:37 pm)

It's Still Here

I found this on The Anchoress this afternoon, and had to post it myself.

The kids on this video began singing to their mother, who was in a coma from a head-on collision. Eight months later, here they are on America’s Got Talent. Listen:

Ironically, what we’re seeing here is both the best and the worst of America. The virtue at the heart of the story is the children singing to their mother, and to others in the hospital. The vice is the pit into which talented children like this might fall if they take the media-amplified adulation to heart. The recent death of the immensely talented, immensely troubled Michael Jackson highlights this ugly downside to American consumerism; he bought the entire glittery package, and attained the peak of stardom. What did it profit him, in the end? He died young, twisted, in trouble, and alone, an object of pity.

Ultimately, America is about people hitching what little they have to the grace of God, in order to bless the people they love, like these kids did. The fame, wealth and adulation are just icing, and you can die from eating too much icing.

The inmates may be running (and ruining) the asylum for now, but the heart of America is not dead. It gives me hope that what we’re facing is not death, but chastisement. The true America will rise again. God bless America.

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