From the Tea Party Debate:
Wolf Blitzer >> You’re a physician, ron paul, you’re a doctor. You know something about this subject. Let me ask you this hypothetical question. A healthy 30-year-old young man has a good job, makes a good living, but decides I’m not going to spend 200 or $300 a month because I’m healthy, i don’t need it. But something terrible happens, all of a sudden he needs it. Who will pay if he goes into a coma, who pays for that?
Ron Paul >> In a society that you accept welfarism and socialism, he expects the government to take care of him.
Blitzer >> What do you want?
Paul >> What he should do is whatever he wants to do and assume responsibility for himself. My advice to him would have a major policy.
Blitzer >> He doesn’t have that and he needs intensive care for six months. Who pays?
Paul >> That’s what freedom is all about, taking your own risks. This whole idea that you have to prepare and take care of everybody —
Audience >> [applause]
Blitzer >> but congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?
Audience >> [shouts of “yeah!”]
Weird exchange to be having in this day and age, but it does get right to the heart of the health care and spending question, doesn’t it! And then comes this clearly false message, lofted through the digital transom the same way that Nigerian Prince keeps asking me for money!
Hi, friend. Yeah, it’s me! I’m the guy Wolf Blitzer was talking about Monday night at that Tea Party debate. You know, the 30-year-old man who was feeling so good that he decided to skip buying health insurance, and then wound up in a coma? Pleased to meet you!
People are making a big deal out of the fact that Ron Paul would let me suffer the consequences of my inaction. And they’re making an even bigger deal out of the way that Tea Party crowd cheered for the idea that the Congressman would let me die. They’re being called heartless killers and a bloodthirsty band of modern Marie Antoinettes, except instead of “let them eat cake”, the motto is “let them stop eating totally, choke on their poor choices and decrease the surplus population,” which I’m pretty sure is something Dickens said, or one of his characters. I don’t actually remember. I had a pretty short life and didn’t have time to learn much. But enough about me – I’m just a rhetorical device.
There’s lots of hand-wringing over this episode, mostly from people who fear that we as a society have come to a very cold, brutal place where it is better to let people die than to think about an increase in government spending. But no one has asked me what I think! And I’m the one who’s going to be allowed to expire, right? And frankly, though this may surprise you, I think I deserve it. That’s right. It’s all my fault. I lived an uncharmed life. I made a bunch of mistakes. So let me die, already!
Before you start protesting, I have to tell you that my string of fatal errors began long before I decided to save a few bucks on health insurance. The first thing I did wrong was this – I allowed myself to be born without a name.
That’s right. I let God (in this case, Wolf Blitzer) create me as a fully-grown adult, destined to live only as long as it took for him to ask his question. I had no identity, no parents to speak of, no siblings, no spouse or domestic partner and no children. All I had was a good job, robust health, a cheapskate attitude, and eventually, a coma. That’s everything there ever was for me. No obligations. No connections. No one loved me and I made a bad, selfish decision. Who wouldn’t want to kill off a guy like that?
Regrets? I wish I’d insisted on a name. Even something as weird as “Hypothetical Q. Blitzerman” would have been good enough to bring a few of those Tea Party people over to my side. My folks might have named me “Hypothetical” because of the fruitless years they spent trying to conceive me. I’ll bet they couldn’t believe their luck when I finally arrived. I’m guessing I had siblings too. A spunky little sister, Antithetical (Ann) and an egghead baby brother, Theoretical (Theo).
I’d like to think I did OK in school, made lots of friends, played back up wide receiver on the football team, sang a song (badly) in the school musical, fell in the fountain at prom and ruined my rented tuxedo.
Before I got my good job I’ll bet I worked some truly lousy ones and probably served you a hamburger along the way. There was a time when a fishing pole and a sleeping bag were the only possessions I cared anything about. Until I met this girl who wasn’t impressed with my aimless life. So I finished school, got married, got that job and got her pregnant, all in a few, short, crazy, wonderful years. Of course I felt invincible, so when we made up the family budget we put hundreds into health care for her, and I used my health money to save for a house, instead. Calculated risk.
Did I mention I was never very good at gambling?
Anyway, things went wrong and who do I have to blame but myself? Yeah, Wolf Blitzer brought me into the world but I made all the critical mistakes. I should have insisted that my “good” job have health care attached. How else can you call it “good”? And I should have demanded that he give me a name, some friends, and a few relations.
I’ll bet if Wolf had put my brother Theo in league with the Libertarians or made my sister Ann a leading light in the Tea Party movement, they would have at least paused for a moment before shouting out their enthusiastic support for my needless, premature death.
Like I say, it was totally my fault.
If Wolf Blitzer and Ron Paul were about to bite into Turkey Burgers tainted with Salmonella, could the government regulation-forced recall come quickly enough to save them? Should it?