If Calling People ‘Stupid Racists’ Won’t Win the Health Care Debate, What’s a Better St rategy?

I’ve been watching the angry mobs lobbying against health care reform with increasing trepidation. It seems pretty clear that many of those in attendance are tied to extreme right-wing racists, such as the militias.


(Image from here.)

And yet, as Gene Lyons accurately points out in a piece on Salon.com today, ‘you won’t win the healthcare debate calling people ‘stupid racists.’ Agreed.   (h/t to Paul Younghouse at Brainstorms for both these links.)

So then, the question becomes, what’s the better – more effective – strategy for addressing the deep racism running through the health care debate?   Anyone?


  1. Paul

    It’s funny we hear Republicans say that they do not want “faceless bureaucrats” making medical decisions but they have no problem with “private sector” “faceless bureaucrats” daily declining medical coverage and financially ruining good hard working people (honestly where can they go with a pre-condition). And who says that the “private sector” is always right, do we forget failures like Long-Term Capital, WorldCom, Global Crossing, Enron, Tyco, AIG and Lehman Brothers. Of course the federal government will destroy heathcare by getting involved, Oh but wait, Medicare and Medicaid and our military men and women and the Senate and Congress get the best heathcare in the world, and oh, that’s right, its run by our federal government. I can understand why some may think that the federal government will fail, if you look at the past eight years as a current history, with failures like the financial meltdown and Katrina but the facts is they can and if we support them they will succeed.

    How does shouting down to stop the conversation of the healthcare debate at town hall meetings, endears them to anyone. Especially when the organizations that are telling them where to go and what to do and say are Republicans political operatives, not real grassroots. How does shouting someone down or chasing them out like a “lynch mob” advanced the debate, it does not. So I think the American people will see through all of this and know, like the teabagger, the birthers, these lynch mobs types AKA “screamers” are just the same, people who have to resort to these tactics because they have no leadership to articulate what they real want. It’s easy to pickup a bus load of people who hate, and that’s all I been seeing, they hate and can’t debate. Too bad.

  2. Darin Johnson

    What makes you so sure opposition to socialized health care is racist? I am sure there are racists who oppose socialized health care, just as there are racists who support it. And in each case, their arguments for or against may manifest their racism.
    But you seem to be saying that opponents of socialized health care are generally racist — or perhaps that opposition is itself racist.
    How do you know? I, for one, seriously doubt the inference. And if I’m right, it explains why calling the opponents racist is a bad strategy. You might as well accuse them of being Loyalists. Or manatees.

  3. Kristen

    I think this is a great question you pose, Jessie.
    This reaction (“you won’t win the healthcare debate calling people ’stupid racists'”) is really common. Replace “healthcare” with any other political issue, and we’ve all heard this before so many times. It translates to “you won’t win over whites by calling white people racist.” It’s a duh, and problematic in its inference that logic or nice words or something can convince whites that racism is real and in need of dismantling, even though this has never seemed to work (props to the white racial frame concept in helping us conceptualize this).
    And too often this argument that pointing out white racism isn’t the most convincing political strategy is used to silence any dialogue about racism at all… and this gets even hairier because white people are so defensive about being called racist that they hear it even when no one said it (I’m thinking of umpteen comments on this site alone).
    It makes sense to me not to call those people who oppose healthcare reform racists, but to call attention to the ways in which racism is undergirding and fueling the healthcare reform opposition. Tim Wise has been doing this, and I think he’s about as “effective” as anyone can be.

  4. jwbe

    >If Calling People ‘Stupid Racists’ Won’t Win the Health Care Debate, What’s a Better St rategy?
    Arrest them for inciting racial violence and inciting violence toward the president.
    and how many counter rallies are there? What is the reaction of ‘average whites’?

  5. Nquest

    How do you know? I, for one, seriously doubt the inference. And if I’m right, it explains why calling the opponents racist is a bad strategy.

    The “bad strategy” is pretending that there is a strategy what would work with the town hall attendees making the news (or the media making them the news) due to their irrational and overly emotional outbursts or assert of [2nd Amendment] rights that have nothing to do with the health care debate.

    So the only thing the behavior of those labeled racist explains is that it’s really not about health care with them which is the very thing that lends credence to the charges/observations of racism. That and all the misdirected (or selectively directed) and often racialized angst and suspicions.

    How do you know? I, for one, seriously doubt the inference.

    And?? What you, a perpetual racism denier, “doubt” carries no weight whatsoever. Doubt and deny is just what you do just like the town hall people who believe in the “death panels.” They just believe it no matter what. No amount of facts to the contrary, no amount of proof that their fears (and your doubts/denials) are unfounded, have no basis in fact (but plenty basis in partisan hypocrisy — i.e. Republicans were came up with the end-of-life counseling section and supported it at before they were against it, conveniently, when they can use it against Obama in a way that continues to feed the racist White hysteria and fear of a Black president using race-neutral policies to give Blacks reparations (Glen Beck’s view) or, being the racist he is (Beck, Limbaugh, Buchanan, etc., etc. views… you know, he did sit in Rev. Wright’s church all those years), using said “death panels” to kill off old White folks HITLER style.

    When this is the kind of stuff that’s given regular, constant and loud air play that fact that every single person at the town halls isn’t racist is IRRELEVANT — i.e. something else that you have a habit of doing (always dwelling on the IRRELEVANT).

    Quick note on how IRRELEVANT this rationale of yours is. Anti-reparationists, such as yourself, are good for mentioning how not all Whites owned slaves, yada, yada, yada… Going by that logic, it’s clear that it’s IRRELEVANT whether ALL whites at these town hall events are racist. Slavery lasted for centuries regardless as to whether every individual white person owned slaves.

    Beyond that, your argument is just plain stupid in the first place because it goes without saying that some of the White folks in attendance, if only the White Democratic congresspersons themselves, are pro-Obama and don’t frame issues they have with the president’s or other Democrats positions on the issue in either blatantly racist ways or in a “I want my country back”, “back to the way the RACIST, SLAVE-OWNING FOUNDERS intended” manner.

    How does anyone know??? Darin, there is a long history of this kind of stuff where White people’s racist opposition to Black progress, symbolic or otherwise, is often couched in supposedly non-racist terms. There is a long history of the White working class fighting hard against their economic interests when they perceive, again, Black progress/advance as a zero sum game.

    How does anyone know?? Well, the racialized, quickly believed myths about illegal aliens being covered with the health care bills being proposed. Sorry but all the things walking around like ducks, talking like ducks are just naturally going to lead to the conclusion that there are a whole lot of ducks or quacks making noise.

    These folks are complaining about government spending but overwhelming/vast majority of them voted for Bush/Republicans who spent money like crazy (note: the deficit argument didn’t work with Republicans re: the Iraq war), borrowed money to give tax cuts to the wealthy which has lead to a wealth gap that, like the economic crisis, is the worst since the Great Depression.

  6. Nquest

    One interesting to note about this is how CONservatives/Republicans were big on calling for moderate Muslims to denounce the actors involved in the 9/11 attack.

    Indeed, with Glenn “prove to me that you’re not working with our enemies” Beck’s hysteria laced interview with Rep. Keith Ellison, by their own standard, these White people — who had no problems equating all Arab/Muslims with the 9/11 terrorists, who echoed the Glenn Beck’s of the world and had no problems approving of Bush’s war which bombed all kinds of innocent dark(er)-skinned Iraqis — got some proven to do.

    But I don’t even have to rely on that. It’s easy to tell who the “good White people” are and I don’t even insist that they denounce the lunatic fringe… just don’t apologize for (as in apologetic excusing), defend, rationalize and try to put the proverbial lipstick on the mud-dirty pig…

  7. Darin Johnson

    I see. So socialized medicine is about “black progress”? Maybe the Left should get its story straight and then come back to the debate. You want single-payer, you don’t. You insist on a “public option,” or maybe not. It’s about coverage for 47 million uninsured (ha!), it’s about black progress. I’m confused.
    Here’s an irony for you. Glenn Beck’s argument is the same as yours. Do you realize that? He’s saying exactly what you’re saying, only he’s opposed to it and you favor it. You and Glenn Beck are on the same page. You should be pen pals or something.
    You’re being disingenuous when you demand applause for not calling on conservatives to denounce their lunatics. The fact is, you don’t want them to. You want the opposite: to re-enforce the perception that they’re one and the same. Well, that’s nonsense. By the way, I’ll take the conservative lunatics over the lunatics we saw over the last eight years any day of the week. Would you like to have a contest to see which side’s lunatics are loonier? Please take me up on this!
    Is “wanting our country back” a call for a return to slavery? Really? I’d like to know specifically who you think is calling for a return to slavery. That’s not a trivial charge, and you should back it up or stop making it.
    I’m sure you understand, by the way, that opposition to something that might benefit blacks is not necessarily based on racism. It could be based on simple self-interest, i.e., that it makes the subject himself worse off. I don’t have to think about how socialized medicine affects blacks to know I’m opposed to it. I oppose it because of the effect it will have on me and my family. It’s pretty simple, really. I’m not thinking about race at all. Of course, I strongly believe socialized medicine will make everyone, including blacks, much worse off.
    By the way, capitalizing “CON” in “conservative isn’t very clever. It’s just a way for you to show which side you’re on, like an “Obama ’08” bumper sticker or a Mets hat. I suppose this is important; you don’t want to be confused with Glenn Beck.

  8. Can we just stop letting Darin hijack every thread on this site? That means not responding to his baiting? He has demonstrated time and again that he cares nothing for factual evidence, studies, research, etc on these issues. And when challenged to respond, or to explain how he “knows” certain things to be true–like how he “knows” he’d have made more headway in his career if only he were black–he backed off, accused me of attacking him, and thus, subtly avoided having to engage the issue and be shown a fool. He is trolling here trying to be diversionary. I would recommend that he be ignored completely. Do not answer his questions. The answers are frankly often to be found already in the previous postings: answers based on research done by scholars. If no one engages him he will likely go away.

    Now, as to the question at hand about health care. Thanks Kristen for the nice comments about what I’ve been trying to do with this issue, in writings and on CNN the other day. I think there is a big difference between calling people stupid racists and noting the racial resentment to which the right is appealing in many cases. I called it the “background noise of much of the most blatant hostility to the president.” Granted, to die-hard conservatives, they won’t see the difference. But I don’t care about them. They are not the folks who need persuading, so the fact that Limbaugh and O’Reilly both attacked me on air the other day, for instance, is a good thing: yes, Tim Wise the leftist was “discredited” in the eyes of a bunch of right wingers who already weren’t interested in what I had to say. So what? The counter-hegemonic narrative was put out there, and for those willing to explore the nuance, we can run with it.

    The problem I have with this Salon piece, is that it seems to conflate bringing up the racial aspect of SOME of the key opposition, with calling people stupid racists. This is part of the white racial frame, it seems to me. There is a difference between saying that racial resentments are being stoked, and saying person x is racist. The author of this piece seems to think that everyone who mentions the former, not only means the latter, but means it the way that some person on his facebook page means it, and said it. This is a straw man. And it’s dangerous and wrongheaded.

    Here’s why:

    1. Racism is part of the opposition and worth calling out in its own right. When you say, as Beck has, that health care is really just about reparations, or when you say that the only way to get a job in the Obama administration is by hating white people, as Rush has, or when you say whites are experiencing today exactly what blacks experienced under segregation, as Buchanan has, or when you say “the left sees white people as the problem and therefore, replacing them with people of color is the solution” (as in, on the supreme court) as O’Reilly said, etc., you are obviously pushing certain buttons. To ignore this is to ignore a profound ethical wrong on the part of those pushing this meme.

    2. Racism, unchallenged, can sink health care reform, even if there are other non-racial reasons one might oppose it. In other words, darin is right that racism isn’t the only reason one might oppose the plan, or Obama generally. And no one here has said otherwise. But the fact is, even if there are other reasons, make no mistake, racism could be sufficient to kill in particular the “public option.” And anyone who denies that racial animosity and resentment is among the biggest reasons for opposition to THAT piece of the reform, hasn’t paid attention to the past 40 years of research, indicating that whenever we talk about social program spending, to benefit the “have nots” or “have lessers,” most whites perceive the effort as being about “taking” from us and giving to “them.”

    Once upon a time, whites loved government spending; e.g., when it was going to us, and pretty much only us, as in the New Deal programs, from which blacks were often blocked; or the FHA and VA loan programs, or the GI Bill, or the Homestead Act, etc. But once government spending became associated in the white mind with racial redistribution, opposition rose. This is what Martin Gilens shows so clearly in Why Americans Hate Welfare. Nowadays “public” anything is usually associated with folks of color (think about it, public housing, public schools, public transportation), so the connection is not hard to imagine here…

    Anyway, if opposition to government spending is linked in the imagination with black and brown folks “getting” something they don’t deserve, than a) it is impossible to disentangle the racial motivation from the larger opposition, and b) that racial resentment/racism may be sufficient to kill the legislation, even if there are others (like hard core libertarians and Ayn Rand cultists) who would oppose anything by government other than war making. So, for those who want the reform, to ignore racism or not call it out will leave in place the factor that could be both necessary and sufficient to torpedo the reforms.

    Also, we need to remember that part of getting any progressive, social justice oriented reforms passed, is mobilizing OUR SIDE. It is not mostly about “converting” the opposition, or convincing moderates. The former are dug in, and they aren’t moving because of a well crafted essay, speech, or the presentation of mere facts. LIberals who believe in pure reason and the notion that people respond to their rational self interest if you just show that to them, have been asleep in history class. The moderates, on the other hand, are radical, and by that I mean, radically committed to their non-commitment. They are on the fence because they like it there and need the comfort that middle-of-the-roadness offers, oftentimes. So trying to get them, though possible, will often be at the expense of crafting a message that will…energize the base: the left, folks of color, progressive union folks, etc.

    We have to give people something about which they can get fired up. And frankly, mere facts won’t do it. There has to be a moral imperative, and that can’t just be a deracialized version, which ignores racism, but one that engages it. People of color can see the racial stuff behind this,. If white leftists and progressives ONCE AGAIN ignore it, or downplay it, or insist on a bland colorblindness, so as to finesse the matter, a) it won’t work, and b) it will only deepen the rift between the white left and folks of color. Allyship means solidarity, NOW on this issue. and that means we need white folks to call out the racism. Trust me, I doubt Limbaugh or O’Reilly would have bothered going after me had I been just another person of color challenging white supremacy. It would have been “ho hum, what else is new?” to them. But when we as whites put forward a counterhegemonic narrative, it throws people off stride. I mean, Limbaugh actually felt compelled to spend time saying the founding fathers didn’t believe in white supremacy! He was unable to hold court on his own turf, because what I said on CNN made him come over and debate on mine. I doubt he would have bothered to try and counter a black person’s critique of the founders. But if a white guy dissed them, oh shit! He had to put out that fire…

    Then the next day I was getting messages from folks of color and white allies saying that that part of the presentation–where I said that people wanting to “go back to the nation the way the founders envisioned it” were, whether deliberately or not, pushing racial resentment buttons because they had “seen it” as a white supemacist state–was the best part of the show, because a) they had never heard any white person say that on national television, and b) it was the kind of thing that gave them support to keep telling the truth out there, on health care and other issues.

    In other words, while we want to make sure to frame the race discussion as it relates to health care in a way that puts the focus on the systemic, and the way people’s buttons are being pushed/manipulated, we cannot ignore the racial button that is central to that.

  9. Nquest

    2. Racism, unchallenged, can sink health care reform, even if there are other non-racial reasons one might oppose it. In other words, darin is right that racism isn’t the only reason one might oppose the plan, or Obama generally. And no one here has said otherwise.
    And that’s the rub. The lazy logic deployed by racism deniers assumes that the presence of non-racial reasons/factors effectively eliminate racism as a factor as if no problems or issues exists due to multiple factors… as if people’s opposition to issues can’t come from more than one consideration/motivation.

  10. Jenni M.

    Tim’s analysis of the situation is spot-on as always. As a white anti-racist I am particularly emboldened by the last part of the post, however, where he discusses the need to incorporate anti-racism in any serious progressive co-alition, AND the power of a counter-hegemonic narrative, especially when it manages to reach the widely public stage. I didn’t see the O’Reilly piece, but I did hear the Limbaugh reaction, and you definitely had him spinning – what a pleasure! As you note, it will not throw off the die-hard right-wingers, but our energies are better spent in other places. Putting the counter-hegemonic narrative out there, though, and watching the “opposition’s” fumbling response is so exposing, and there is power in that. Now, *that* is a public sociology that I can get excited about.

  11. Darin isn’t doing that good of a job dressing up his white racial frame in intellectual. I mean, first of all, no one said all opposition was based on racism and/or all opponents are racist. Tim may have already pointed this out; but, I find that one thing racism-deniers do is exaggerate the claim being made by anti-racists so that they’re (the deniers) have a strawman that can easily be knocked down and/or justifiably resisted with violence. Now, in response to anti-racists pointing out the racist-tone underlying some of the anti-Obama/healthcare rhetoric, they claim anti-racist are calling all opponents racist even though we’re not. On Easter 1873, white Louisianians massacred black men of Colfax as they were pushing back against “negro rule.” The exaggeration there was that freedmen wanted to “rule” white men the way whites ruled blacks. ~ So anyway, it’s obvious, Darin, part of you wants to address your own racism, that’s why you keep coming back. But you’re afraid of what it means for you if claims of racism are true, so you’re here trying to convince academics in the subject that you’re right and they’re wrong based on your limited understanding and experiences. Trying to ease your conscience. Yeah, I know you hate being psychoanalyzed ~ but I hate empty, nothing discussions.

  12. Nquest

    Darin isn’t doing that good of a job dressing up his white racial frame…
    I’ll be honest. I get a kick out of Darin losing all pretense of trying to be objective, etc. and just showing his azz. Post#8 was hilarious. It’s like I have a way of winding him up and letting him go… of the deep end.
    Wise is right. Darin, to use his term, is too “stupid” to actually engage things people actually say so he prefers playing with straw and it’s just so entertaining.

  13. distance88

    “…Allyship means solidarity, NOW on this issue. and that means we need white folks to call out the racism. Trust me, I doubt Limbaugh or O’Reilly would have bothered going after me had I been just another person of color challenging white supremacy. It would have been “ho hum, what else is new?” to them. But when we as whites put forward a counterhegemonic narrative, it throws people off stride…”
    Very, very true words. Thanks for this.

  14. Darin Johnson

    Wow, you guys really got me nailed! I’ll be sure to print this all out and give it to my therapist next time.
    Tim, when you say “racism is part of the opposition,” what do you mean? Do you mean that there are people who oppose socialized medicine who also happen to be racists (undoubtedly true), or do you mean that there are people who oppose socialized medicine BECAUSE they’re racists (doubtful)? You wouldn’t suggest that Glenn Beck would favor socialized medicine if a white guy was pushing it? And Limbaugh opposed it the last time it came up, too, so his opposition is not based on race, either. The reason this matters is that you say racism could sink socialized health care, but I don’t see it. In fact, I don’t see it having any effect at all.
    Your point 2 is a major stolen base. Like I pointed out before, you can oppose a thing without thinking about who the beneficiaries are if you know that you personally will be harmed. Glenn Beck’s point on this topic is more subtle than you’re giving him credit for. He’s not saying he opposes socialized medicine because it is “reparations.” Rather he’s saying Obama favors it because it is. Now, you’ll point out that this is a fine distinction, and I agree. But I’m sure you’ll agree that there’s a difference between accusing somebody else (Obama, in this case) of racism is different than admitting to being a racist. In fact, this website is predicated on that.
    I’m not sure the logic behind your time line for white progressivism is quite right. Yes, there was more support for socialism in the first half of the 20th century than there is now. But it’s very difficult to attribute the change in attitude to racism, especially when you consider the other major source of data: the performance of the countries that moved much further to the Left than the US ever did — especially Russia and Germany. You don’t think World War II and the Cold War had something to do with the change in attitude about socialism? Of course they did. Since then, we’ve seen the benefits of steps away from socialism, such as low marginal tax rates and welfare reform. It’s possible to support free market economics without ever thinking of race. Believe me. However, some of the most passionate defense of capitalism comes from people like Milton Friedman and Jack Kemp, who discuss its power to help the poor. Health care is no different. In fact, their thinking makes Glenn Beck’s over-the-top comment more palatable, because the economic case for socialize medicine is so miserable.
    Your last couple paragraphs is pretty revealing, don’t you think? You seem to have pretty much abandoned any pretense of color-blindness or impartiality or individuality. You’re putting all your eggs in the basket of “racializing” the issue. I wonder if that’s smart. I mean, anti-racism, like feminism, has wide support when people think it means impartiality, level playing-field, etc. But when it means quotas and affirmative action support drops off pretty fast. Do you think energizing the radical, racial left will be enough to get this agenda through? I don’t. It won’t even be close. No, I’m afraid you’re going to have to bring some of those middle-of-the-road white folks along. Of course, success would eventually mean the end of this racial-grievance racket, so maybe failure is better in some respects. What do you think?

  15. Nquest

    You seem to have pretty much abandoned any pretense of color-blindness…
    Darin, please cite where Tim Wise or anyone else you disagree with here have extolled the virtues of or voiced said “pretense” of “color-blindness” or STHU.
    I mean, the least you can do is know your audience instead of continually approaching people here based of bs stereotypes and old-school talking points that no intelligent debater (i.e. one who actually knows the positions of the people s/he is talking to) would begin to believe would be relevant, much less hold sway…

  16. jwbe

    >Wow, you guys really got me nailed! I’ll be sure to print this all out and give it to my therapist next time.
    Great that you go to a therapist to overcome your racism:-) Yes I agree that racism is in some or many cases a mental disease

  17. Wow.
    @nquest – He is entertaining, isn’t he? And with every attempt to discredit someone, he shows his own bias and ignorance, or just plain on lack of reading comprehension skills.
    @ everyone in general – To Tim’s point about stoking racial resentment based on taking from deserving whites and giving to undeserving people of color, I think the racism in that logic (not Tim’s logic, the logic of the argument against anything “public”) is multilayered. First off, let’s just deal with the fact that helping out people earning less than $250k will mean helping out 99% of white people; numerically, there’re tons more white people in need than people of color. As for the racism, it’s racist to suggest that the majority of people of color are undeserving; racist and ignorant of facts. It’s racist and ignorant of the facts to suggest that people of color just want to take from white people as some sort of revenge. It’s racist, ignorant of the facts, and just plain stupid for these people to align themselves with, or think themselves members of, the “haves” when part of their argument is that they “have not.” Then the plan is to help you, er, duhr! Now that I’ve said all that, hopefully I can say this without too much trouble: if government welfare for private citizens, as opposed to corporations, really were only about racial redistribution, I personally don’t see that as a problem. As financial stats show, whites are better off and they’re better off because of past and present racism. It’s not as though everything they have was earned simply by their hard work and not also by denying someone else equal opportunity and the fruit of their labor. So I personally think racial redistribution – and mind you, no one is suggesting it in terms of healthcare – is more than fair, it’s just.
    @ Darin – No one’s suggesting socialized medicine. But, to respond to your opposition, the US ranks far below other industrialized nations with socialized medicine in terms of healthiness and life expectancy. We have an infant mortality rate that’s higher than Nicaraugua. It’s not as though our healthcare system is the envy of the world. There is not health organization that ranks the US healthcare system as the “best in the world.” The only people who do that are people who, regardless of the facts, have to believe everything American is better if for no other reason than their ego. Now, granted, if a person can afford treatment, we do offer perhaps the best treatment in the world – which brings me to my next point. NOT EVERYONE CAN AFFORD TREATMENT! 60-70% of bankruptcies are do to medical emergencies, NOT credit card debt or overspending, but MEDICAL EMERGENCIES. The fact is, healthcare in the US is already being rationed. The reason there appears to be “enough to go around” now is that a substantial part of the population is getting none at all. I think part of what people who decry “rationing” of healthcare are missing is not just that healthcare is already being rationed; but, the reason it would be “rationed” in the terrible way they envision is because more people, if not everybody, would be getting some healthcare. The other thing that bothers me about the “rationing” argument is that it’s not as though we can’t just lower the cost of medical school and start training more doctors and nurses, thereby increasing supply. It’s telling that supply-siders in general don’t get that.
    And if Darin’s defense, cause Lord knows he needs one, if you keep engaging him and calling out his lame attempts to leave the discussion, he will eventually try to pretend he agreed with you all along, as though there was some misunderstanding or miscommunication somewhere. If you’re patient about it, you can systematically debunk all his “evidence” and “questions” and leave him without any fallacy or myth to fall back on. Though, I’m sure most of you don’t have that kind of time. I’m just saying it’s possible. So please don’t read the first sentence and think that I support Darin’s views.

  18. Darin Johnson

    No one’s proposing socialized medicine? Really? What do you think public funding is health care is? What do you think federal coverage mandates are? Do you understand what “socialism” is?
    Please show me the countries we rank below in terms of life expectancy. Oh, and make sure you control for risk factors that don’t relate to health care (e.g., accidents, obesity, homicide, genes). Alternatively, maybe you could compare the life expectancy of Swedes in Sweden with the life expectancy of Swedes in Minnesota. That would be interesting. But please for the love of God don’t come back with another “disparate impact” datum. They’re meaningless.
    The statics I’ve seen suggest that life expectancy in the West is about the same everywhere. Improving medicine (or simply cutting spending in half) will have basically no effect on lifespan. What it will effect is quality of life. That’s what I’m interested in.
    This infant mortality canard really stinks. You Lefty’s keep bringing it up, and I don’t know if you’re truly ignorant of the explanation or if you just think nobody will know what you’re up to. Which is it? You don’t REALLY think infant mortality is lower in Cuba, do you?
    If you believe that only those earning above $250,000/year are going to be paying for all this pie-in-the-sky nonsense, I’ve got some beachfront property in Arizona I’ll sell you. That’s almost beside the point, though. It’s extremely likely that this plan will make most people worse off, whether they pay higher taxes or not. Socialism never works. At least not on a large scale. You inevitably kill the goose.
    Listen, I’ll be the first to say that the health care system in the US is screwed up. But the proposal from the Left are all just more of the things that are screwing it up already: more third-party payment. Less accountability for patients and doctors to do cost/benefit calculations, more regulation. If you smash your thumb with a hammer, the solution is not to hit it again.
    No1KState, where have you addressed my questions and evidence? You keep saying you have, but honestly I haven’t seen it. In fact, you guys all seem to tend towards the bullying, demagogic approach to debate (if I had a dollar for every time somebody’s declared victory without once engaging my substantive points…). That’s fine, I’m in your house, and I’m sure I can take it. But it’s no good for you once you get outside this particular echo chamber. It won’t play in Peoria. Thank goodness.

  19. Paul

    I am always glad to see Americans voicing their opinions, I may not always agree with them, but I enjoy it, so please keep boycotting Whole Foods Market, Inc., companies keep dropping sponsorship of the “Glenn Beck” BS, Astroturfers keep showing up at town hall meeting and get your shouts in (we all know you can’t articulate your position and are all about hate) they hate and can’t debate, sweet.

  20. Darin – It’s not my fault you can’t read. I’ve addressed your questions and evidence. I suppose you’re referring to the fact that I don’t take your evidence as credible; but sorry, it’s not. The IQ stuff has been debunked. There is no scientific evidence that there are clear differences between races; Olympic track meets are not the same as scientific study. And even if there were differences in races, that still doesn’t justify the racism we see.
    I’m not going to do something for you that you can do for yourself when it comes to finding those stats about life expectancy and infant mortality (abortion isn’t counted). You can google.
    It’s not socialized medicine because there won’t be any public funding for it. And there is not evidence that “socialized” medicine is worse than “free market” medicine. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. And really, if there’s one thing that shouldn’t be left to the “free market,” it’s a person’s health. Healthcare is one aspect of society that shouldn’t be “for profit.”

  21. Darin Johnson

    See, you just did it again! You have no answer.
    Regarding your statement that we’re not talking about socialized medicine, I don’t quite know where to start. How about fascist medicine? Or corporatist medicine? Totalitarian medicine? Pick one, any of them works just fine for me. We’re talking about a single-payer, publicly run program. Everything short of that is seen as first step in that direction, and we all know it. I’m not going to pretend otherwise, especially when I think any step in that direction is wrong.
    I’ve never understood the argument that health care is too important to be left to the free market. The track record of the free market in providing goods — including essential goods — is far superior to the state’s. Should we socialize food, too? It’s the triumph of hope over experience.
    I’m not sure why profits bother you (that’s the element of the free market you mentioned). The profit component of health care spending in the US is a rounding error. You could drive all profits to zero and you wouldn’t change spending much. Well, that’s not true — spending would be zero since health care would cease to exist. But you get the idea.
    In a socialized “market” it’s true that you don’t have a profit motive in the same sense that you do in a free market. But that doesn’t mean people suddenly start behaving altruistically. They continue to pursue their own best ends based on the choices available to them (i.e., public choice). That produces a market based on influence, corruption, grievance, and failure. This is particularly true when the power is evolved to the higher levels of government, i.e., the state and federal rather than the local. Markets require discipline, and it’s much easier to discipline a for-profit company than a federal government.
    So that’s more or less my argument against socialized medicine. Race is not involved even a little. I assume the effect of socializing medicine will be especially bad for the working poor, the lower middle class, who will find themselves with no options and no control over their health care. The rich will be worse off too, of course, but they’ll suffer less. Being rich has it’s advantages.
    It’s not your fault I can’t read. Hm. That’s an interesting statement. I’m going to remember you said that. I agree with you, by the way. If I can’t read, it surely isn’t your fault. I wonder if there are other areas we can apply that principle…

  22. We’re not talking about single-payer healthcare. The “public option” will be like medicare for anyone who WANTS it. The govt does pretty good with other things – post office, schools, police and fire departments, etc. Mind you, have no problem with profits. Profits are what the world is made of. But by definition, if someone can’t afford to offer a profit to a healthcare provider, then they don’t get treatment. That’s not right.
    No, it’s not my fault if you can’t read. I’ve answered your questions in other posts. Some questions I’ve answered at least twice. I’m not going to rehash what you could’ve read before. Remember complaining about the length of my posts and about my “sermonizing?” Yeah. It’s not my fault you didn’t read all that.
    And to answer your baseless question about applying the principle of no-fault to other situations – Sure. We use it in divorces. If a there were a mechanical problem with the speedometer, you can get out of a speeding ticket; that’s something that’s “no fault.” But when blacks make less than whites even when education, experience, “people skills” and other things are held constant, that’s an “at-fault” situation. And yes, it’s whites who are at-fault.

  23. no one is saying it’s *your* fault. (sometimes, it’s not all about you, mr. johnson.)

    but if you support and benefit from systems/institutions that are inherently biased (racially or socio-economically) and you’re not part of the critique of those systems, then, yeah. it’s not too hard to say that you’re complicit in it.


  1. Posts about racism as of August 20, 2009 | Discrimination Law News

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