March 2010


Universal Health Care would be a disaster! It would be too expensive, there’s no way a country could pay for that and keep a healthy economy! Giving people things for free just makes them lazy! What if I have to wait longer in line and… you know what? I can’t fucking do this.

Fuck it. I can’t pretend this debate is a debate anymore. There is not now, nor has there ever been a meaningful counter argument. We can afford it, we can make it good, we have a responsibility to do so. Debating the anti-health care contingent with facts, figures and logic is like marshaling an army to defend your base, only to realize your opponent is just one in a jeep making explosion sounds with his mouth. The only things keeping people from embracing a universal health care system are fear and greed. Fuck those people.

I’m going to go ahead and get all anthropology* on you. Health Care, such as we are capable of, has always, historically, been free and available to all people to the best of our abilities. Sure, maybe the best health care available was trephining someone, but it was there. In the 20th century, medical care has followed the same arc as a great many social services (law and judiciary, wealth distribution, education) and becomes a role of the church and religious structures, then moves into the public sphere, eventually coming under the control of the state. At least, it has in pretty much every country other than the US.

Homo Sapiens take care of each other. It’s how we’ve survived; it’s what we DO. If, as a human being, you are told you have the option to make sure no one has to die of a treatable disease and you don’t go for it, you’re a piece of shit. If you’re told we can totally eliminate the number one cause of bankruptcy (which is really bad for the economy), by not taking every last dollar a sick person’s family has, and you aren’t on board, you’re a piece of shit. There’s no debate to this. If you’re worried you have to wait for care, the answer isn’t about overall levels of health care, and making as many people as healthy as possible, the answer is you’re a piece of shit. If you think it’s socialism, it’s not important that health care is a service, not a means of production, and thus doesn’t really relate to socialism, it’s important that you know you’re a piece of shit. If you don’t think people should get freebies, it’s not that you’ve lived such a sheltered and blessed life that you’ve never developed the empathy to understand and relate to people in trouble, it’s just that you’re a piece of shit.

I don’t have enough energy left to waste it giving real answers to people are motivated by greed and fear. Stand up straight, join the human race, do the right thing by helping your fellow man, or fuck yourself. Those are the options. If you can honestly say that keeping a profit motivated system is, in any meaningful way, better than a system motivated by a desire to make people healthy, there is something wrong with you. You’re sick. You might want to look into moving to one of the many, many countries where you can get some help with that.

*Marvin Harris being the source on most of this.

Well, if you do, I wrote another story in the same character’s voice. It’s about how much the narrator likes swimming. He likes swimming about as much as he dislikes the Talking Dog.

It’s the PBR logo, but instead of

PABST
Blue Ribbon
beer

it says

IRONY
Totally Stupid
crap

I’m willing to grant that there are some mixed messages.

NOTE: The word Socialist (capital S) refers to the Socialist party. The word socialist (lower case s) refers to the school of political thought.

There are a lot of reasons to hate FOX*, but the one that has gotten to me more than any other is the whole “Obama is a Socialist” fear mongering they’re doing. A current Google search has more than four and a half million hits for the search terms Obama and Socialist, but the whole thing is fucking absurd. Obama isn’t a Socialist, he’s not even a socialist. He’s a moderate Democrat. I would know, I’m a socialist, and he doesn’t come remotely close to representing my values.

Being a socialist is pretty great. It’s fun to argue with someone and say something like “of course every citizen deserves medical care,” have them counter with “that sounds like socialism,” and be comfortable saying “man, we should BE so lucky.”

See, having the government pay for and/or administer health care is not socialism, any more so than public schools, police and roads. These are public services, services which every person in the country deserves access to. This, to my mind, is the absolute LEAST that a person should be able to expect from their government.

The most immediate response when I out myself as a socialist is that I have something against free enterprise. I find this one amusing, as I’m a huge proponent of free enterprise, it’s part of the reason I agree with socialism. Honestly, I’d be in favor of the complete dissolution of all national corporations. Anything that ought to be on a national scale (internet, phone, railways) should be passed to the national government. Anything that ought to be local (grocery stores, restaurants, farms) will be owned and operated by people who actually live in the area and can see the impact of what they do. This doesn’t mean a product can’t be carried nationally, it just means that rather than a single chain carrying the same products everywhere, each product would be sourced for a specific local clientele. Locations would develop a culture. There wouldn’t be as many obscene benefits available to huge chains, making it far more likely that a startup could become competitive if there is indeed an unsatisfied desire in consumers.

I’m well aware that the scenario above is not traditional socialism, so just to verify, yes, means of production for essential goods like oil and sustenance food farming in the hands of the government. This still leaves local farms to produce foods people actually want under their own agency. Are there problems? Sure, but I can’t help but feel a greater affection for an organization chartered under the notion that its purpose is to serve the public good, rather than to make money from the public regardless of the outcome.

I’m honestly interested in some counter arguments, so if you think I’m full of shit, by all means let me know. A position like this succeeds or fails based it its ability to resolve or adapt to criticism.

*MYSPACE JOKE

Here are some things I have opinions on.

Drinking at Lunch: PRO!

Drinking at lunch is great! You get to come back to work a little tiny bit drunk, but it only lasts for like an hour! I’ll grant that drinking at lunch is a sometimes thing, but I am categorically in favor of it.

The Free Market: CON!

I don’t believe in The Free Market. I don’t mean that I disagree with ideals of Free Market capitalism, I mean I don’t think it is a thing. If the Market is not regulated by an outside force, it will fall into monopolies and oligarchies who will control it from within, generally at the expense of the consumer and bottom rung employees. The Free Market is dumb.

Lady Gaga: PRO!

I want to be clear that I have no interest in her music in any way. I am just happy that if a person has to be famous, it is her. She got famous and immediately said “I know, I’ll dress like a loon, get naked, and staunchly support safe sex and gay rights!” Lady Gaga, KillAllTheWhiteMan supports you in a way that does not involve actually listening to any of your songs.

The internet is the greatest collection of information in history. No library has ever rivaled it, and certainly, none has been faster. Look, check this out:

All I had to do was go to Google and search for “Pictures of Bears.” Do you have any idea how long it would have taken to find a picture of bear cubs doing Karate before the internet?

AWESOME.

It occurs to be that it’s probably pretty weird being the Didn’t Get Famous guy from:

  • Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
  • That Show Tom Hanks Was on Where He Lived Part Time as a Woman
  • Wham