Saturday, August 22, 2009

What's the matter with Kansas her?

Remember the woman who yelled "Heil, Hitler!" at a Jewish man because he's proud of Israel's national health service and then openly mocked him when he got emotional talking about having to pay 8,000 dollars for 2 hours in an emergency room without health insurance? It turns out that just prior to that she had been interviewed by a local news station.

She's a perfect example of the sort of phenomenon Thomas Franks wrote about in What's the Matter with Kansas?: middle class Americans voting against their economic interests because they've bought into conservative populism which blames supposedly-atheistic liberalism for social and political ills.

She identifies herself as a conservative Republican who believes in "biblical values." She says that healthcare needs to be reformed, but the government doesn't need to take over health care (a nationalized health care system isn't being proposed) and that health care for illegal immigrants should not be funded (it's not). So right out the gate, two of the reasons that she gave to oppose health care reform are fictions - fictions which happen to be heavily subsidized by the insurance industry.

Following up on why immigrants shouldn't have health care, she explains that while she herself has health insurance, her husband, who works "2.5" jobs, does not. She mentions this to point out that no one is obligated to give anyone else health care, or, for that matter, anything. "There is no natural born right" to it, she says.

First of all, while I myself am not a Christian, nor someone who subscribes to "biblical values," it's my understanding that Jesus wasn't exactly a Randian libertarian, and was kinda big on being charitable to those who are less fortunate than you. The Old Testament's got some stuff in it that would seem to frown on making fun of someone on the verge of tears because he had difficulty paying a health care bill. Like Proverbs 21:13, for instance: "If you close your ear to the cry of the poor, you will cry out and not be heard."

That aside, saying that no one has a right to health care or that anyone is obligated to give it makes as much sense to me as saying no one has a right not to get robbed or have their house burn down; or that anyone is obligated to protect you from theft or to prevent your home from burning to the ground. It's like saying no one has a right to be able to check out a book in a public library, or a right to have buses that will take your child to a public school.

We pool our resources as a society to provide such things because it helps to engender a democratic society where not just the rich and powerful have access to health, education, safety, and the general benefits of living in a wealthy nation; and because it reflects common values we share as a society: compassion for the sick, poor, weak, and unfortunate.


Dan Doel said...

'she explains that while she herself has health insurance, her husband, who works "2.5" jobs, does not.'

Boy, that sounds like a great situation. I can definitely see why she'd be against the government helping her husband to get insurance.

Ikiru said...

For the zillionth time, I'll say it. I don't understand how people who reject biological Darwinism so readily accept (and promote!) social Darwinism. Notice that in almost every instance this is true.

Of course, this is all the more pathetic because its not like she is some sort of aristocrat herself. She's just a tool.