Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Death Machine

[The recent resignation of Kathleen Sebelius as HHS Secretary, and the emergence of the true consequences of the Affordable Care Act in terms not merely of premiums and deductibles, but also of physicians and hospitals willing to subject themselves to its terms, have prompted me to reprint the following, which first appeared at Eternity Road on March 6, 2012. -- FWP]

Imagine a giant mechanism that sucks living human beings irresistibly into its maw, grinds them to bits, then burns the bits and throws the ash to the winds.
Now imagine the sort of person, or institution, that would invent such a thing.
Now imagine the sort of person, or institution, that would operate it.

Your Curmudgeon isn't trying to horrify you for no reason. He's trying to prepare you for his tirade of today. If the above has persuaded you that it’s likely to be something you'll regret having read, you're forgiven. To the rest: Read on.


Some years ago, your Curmudgeon penned a series of essays on the pro-death forces at work among us. Since then, he's revisited that theme when the opportunity presented itself. Such a time is upon us today.

Death is not the ultimate evil, as anyone who's watched a beloved elder relative endure unrelieved suffering from a prolonged terminal disease would know. But he who inflicts death upon innocent others is evil, indisputably so. Worse yet is the man who seduces others into paths that are likely to cost them their lives, whether by concealing the risks or by persuading them that self-extinction is their social responsibility.

Persons of that latter type are at work among us, and in significant numbers, at that.

Death is less an event than a process. The concluding event -- the irreversible departure of life from the body -- is almost always preceded by enabling conditions that create a path toward it. Death's seducers have as their aim the creation of such conditions, and of walls around them that make the ultimate descent unavoidable. The key enabling condition is the destruction of rational consciousness of the probable consequences of one's decisions and actions.

The usual technique for bringing about such destruction is distraction.

You might think that a man aware that extreme hazards pertain to a course of action would be disinclined to ignore them. And indeed, it's a difficult thing for someone entirely in his right mind to imagine. But a sufficiently powerful distractor can make the typical person turn aside from anything at all, including mortal peril.

Integral to the technique is the choice of a positive inducement to shift one's focus. A skilled seducer will tempt you into a lethal course by downplaying the risks and emphasizing the pleasures. "You needn't worry about that now," he'll say. "There'll be time to deal with that later. Anyway, think of all the fun you could have at this!"

Of course, the higher and more obvious the risks, the more powerful must be the inducement to court them. The strongest inducements are tied directly to our hard-wired drives to prosper and reproduce. Thus, it's plain that the most powerful distractors known to Mankind are sex and money.

And with that, we come to politics.


The flap over the ObamaCare mandate that employers provide medical insurance of a particular standard has recently generated an outcropping that any intelligent American of the times before the world wars would have viewed with incredulity. That outcropping, of course, is about the requirement that such a medical insurance policy cover contraceptive and abortifacient drugs.

The spectacle of Sandra Fluke, a thirty-year-old law student at Georgetown University, lying openly and ludicrously to Congress about the cost of her contraception was only the beginning. Radio personality Rush Limbaugh leaped into the fray unwisely by focusing on Distractor #1 -- sex -- and calling Miss Fluke a slut and a prostitute for demanding that Georgetown U. provide her with contraceptives at no cost to her. The thunder of denunciation from the left-wing media was immediate, and to be expected. That Limbaugh would offer an apology for his characterization was not. Neither was it appropriate that he do so.

The common understanding of the term slut is one who is heedlessly and indiscriminately promiscuous. If we grant even a shred of credence to Miss Fluke's claim that her contraception costs her $3000 per year, she's going through enough condoms and / or contraceptive jelly to provision any NFL football team for that entire period. She's certainly not spending that much on birth-control pills, the cost of which averages about $10 per month. Thus, to accept her statement as factual, we must conclude that some such football team is spending each and every night of the year with Sandra Fluke and no one else.

If Miss Fluke is telling the incredible truth,slut would seem to fit her.

Of course, there is an alternate explanation: Miss Fluke might be a serial purchaser of abortions. Those cost a bit more than birth-control pills, condoms, or contraceptive jelly. But enough abortions to sum to $3000 in a year would render a woman sexually incapable, possibly for life. Somehow, your Curmudgeon doubts that this is the real state of Miss Fluke's affairs.

However, a third possibility exists. Thanks to American Spectator's Jeffrey Lord, we know a bit more about Miss Fluke than she might want us to know. Given all that evidence, it seems likely that Miss Fluke is a paid shill for the political forces that support ObamaCare in its most extreme demands. At the very least, it would fit the pattern of her previous political involvements. It would also explain her otherwise inexplicable choice of Catholic-affiliated Georgetown for her law school.

Through Sandra Fluke and others like her, the Left is purveying sex, a subject about which the typical American is reluctant to take a firm stand even when he has one, to distract us from the all-important fact about ObamaCare: It puts the power of life and death over innocent Americans into the hands of the federal government.


Other distractors are clustered tightly around the sexual one: the conflation of pregnancy with disease; the specious notion that the cost of contraception equals "lack of access" to it; the observation that birth-control pills are sometimes prescribed to relieve menstrual difficulties; and the pervasive female entitlement syndrome that's blanketed American women these past few decades. In combination, the distractors have deflected a substantial part of the nation from the core of the ObamaCare controversy: Is medical insurance a right, or merely one more good to be purchased in the marketplace by those who desire it?

The promoters of "universal health care" have attempted to palm a card on us by equating medical insurance with health care of any kind. Everyone wants to be able to purchase the medical goods and services he needs, or will need in the future. If ObamaCare's promoters can convince us that that will be impossible without comprehensive medical insurance, we'll buy into their equation.

Here's where Distractor #2 -- money -- is deployed against us. We know the fragility of our lives; we know the limitations on our resources. That wild conceptual leap from financial limitation to the truncation of life or health is one of the largest reasons so many people have been seduced away from proper attention to the death machine embedded within ObamaCare.

The government cannot compel young people to become doctors or nurses.
It cannot compel companies or charitable institutions to operate hospitals.
It cannot compel companies to provide medical products or services, particularly at some arbitrary price.
It cannot guarantee that an ailing American will be able to find a provider able to help him, regardless of how sweeping his insurance coverage might be.
It cannot even guarantee that companies will willingly sell the sort of medical insurance it prefers, at the price point it dictates.

What ObamaCare attempts to do is to universalize a particular standard for medical insurance at a low fixed price to the beneficiary. It's a poorly disguised price control scheme, constructed as a mandate laid upon employers.

Price controls lead inevitably to shortages. That whose price is limited to a level below what the market dictates will swiftly vanish, as current and potential providers turn their efforts in more profitable directions.

With the cost of medical products and services rising as the American populace ages, a price control on medical insurance is a guarantee that a dwindling pool of medical resources will have to be divided among a swelling number of aged, infirm, and sick Americans.

Take a guess what institution will do the dividing, deciding whose life is disposable and whose is too precious to waste. One guess should be all you need.


Your Curmudgeon has skipped blithely over the Constitutional arguments about ObamaCare. Those are likely never to be placed beyond all dispute; that pernicious phrase "general welfare" is simply too seductive to those who favor the expansion of the State to cover every aspect of human life.

It's virtually certain that the Left will continue to use sex and money to distract Americans' attention from the death machine hidden within ObamaCare. Money will lead the parade. People are already somewhat disturbed about the cost of medical care. They want to assure themselves that they'll be able to afford what they need. For several decades, the route toward such confidence has been medical insurance, which has already become widespread owing to favorable tax treatment of employer-provided noncash benefits.

When attentive observers of the course of government-controlled health care and government intrusion into various markets make public note of the perils involved, the Left responds with other distractors. The use of sex, though relatively recent in this connection, is one of the most potent in their arsenal. Rest assured, they'll continue to use it. We who love freedom and respect human life must remain ready to counter it.

Let The Curmudgeon's Carbohydrate Aphorism apply:

"Keep thine eye fixed upon the doughnut, lest thou pass unaware through the hole."

And pray.


Pascal said...

Maybe your links to eternity road still work Fran, but I am consistently getting the following response from both of your links to your old site. "
System Offline

12:00 AM (Eastern): The system is down for a scheduled software upgrade. The upgrade will only take a few minutes, but back-ups and system checks add time to the update process. Thank you for your patience. The site will be online as soon as possible."

I don't know where your second link is to be found, but here is the active link to your first one.

You're welcome.

Anonymous said...

I maintain that the phrase 'general welfare', when taken in the context of the original items of the US Constitution applies to the States that make up the union/confederation, not the individuals within the states. If you view the original articles sent for ratification as a whole, the intent seems to be focused almost exclusively on the relationship between the federal government and the sovereign states.

Perhaps that is the way it should have remained.

Steve S

Joseph said...

I thought Sandra Flake skipped a decimal point. This is similar to the science teacher who told his class that if the world food supply were divided evenly it would come to 266 calories per person.