Monday, September 26, 2011

"Let Him Die" Demagoguery

There was an incident at a Republican Party Presidential Debate yesterday that some dishonest demagogues on the left have decided to twist beyond recognition for the sake of a few rhetorical political points.

At the CNN Tea Party debate, Wolf Blitzer asked Ron Paul what he would have us do if a 30 year old healthy person were to freely choose not to have health insurance, but ends up needing 6 months of intensive care. should we let him die?

A couple of hecklers in the audience shouted, "Yes," and some demagogues on the left want to brand the whole of the Republican Party with this answer. Thus proving that deceptive misrepresentation is also a key moral value of the left.

There is a new web site, that deceptively edits and presents the events of the debate. Their commercial is a carefully edited version of what really happened that aims to paint all Republicans with the heckled comments of a few in the audience.

Imagine somebody trying to brand all atheists with an answer to certain anti-theist (e.g., that the teaching of religion to a child should be considered abuse and thus be made criminal) might cheer at a debate.

If you want to see the full context of the question and the answer, you can watch thus video: Let Him Die

The correct conservative answer to that question - and the answer that Ron Paul gave and was applauded for by the vast majority of the audience - was not "let him die" but "let us provide a more cost effective and humane form of care than a government bureaucracy can provide."

First, because government tax-payer funded health care will become the feeding trough of drug companies and corporate hospitals lobbying the government to pay more and more money for less and less care. These wealthy corporate organizations can afford to invest millions of dollars for tweaks and adjustments to the red tape, each of which drains another $1.00 out if each of our pockets, bundles it into a big package, and deposits $100 million into the corporate bank account. Only, all of those $1.00 additions are adding up to a health care system that Americans cannot afford.

Second, because private care helps to build a community. Previously, as Paul said, churches took care of this function. And though some of my atheist readers may loathe to read this, churches were an early form of health insurance. People came together in a congregation, and when somebody in the congregation cane upon rough times, the others stepped in to help out. This is something atheists often lack, much to their detriment. There are a whole lot of reasons for going back to the concept of local, community care for those who need it.

So, no, the conservative answer is not "let him die". The conservative answer is, we should trust his care to a community that can provide a higher quality, more cost effective and compassionate form of care than any red-tape bureaucracy designed to rob each of us for the sake of the wealthy can provide.

This is the conservative answer.

It is not my answer. A couple of the problems that I see with this answer is that communities of this form tend to be all of one economic class - so poor communities form poor congregations with limited resources. Another is that many of these communities adopt a strong "us" versus "them" mentality, and often exclude - sometimes violently - people that the congregation counts as "them" - Jews, blacks, atheists, Catholics (for a protest group), Protestants (for a catholic group). Increased care for those within the community often comes with hostility often erupting into violence against those outside the community.

But, I hold that these are issues that social scientists need to research.

Another issue that left-leaning individuals with a sense of integrity and honesty should confront are left-leaning demagogues who want to distort and twist the issues because it gains political points. An eagerness to win elections by deceiving and manipulating the voters is not a value that people of honesty and integrity should be willing to tolerate.


tk said...

It makes me giggle that because a few folks on the left have done what you said, you then charge in with this whitewash of a comment: "Thus proving that deceptive misrepresentation is also a key moral value of the left" ... really? A "key moral value"? Didn't you just, um, paint the whole "left" in a single stroke, there? Seems a tad on the demagogish side to me...

Alonzo Fyfe said...

I think a search of YouTube and other web sites will show that what I criticize here today is far more commen than "a few folks on the left" - including President Obama's own political comments yesterday.

Obama: "You've got audiences cheering at the prospect of somebody dying because they don’t have healthcare and booing a service member in Iraq because they're gay."

Here, again, an attempt to brand a whole party with the attitudes of a small number of hecklers.

But, politically, it works.

Unknown said...

I find it very difficult to subscribe to a political ideology without committing some degree of intellectual dishonesty.

Kristopher said...

it is a shame that leftist sites stop the clip before Paul can respond fully (what’s the point of asking a question and then not listening to the answer) they should be condemned for that.

but the crowd (not just one heckler) cheered when Ron Paul said people should be held responsible for their decisions, implying that he would let the person die, that’s what the crowd cheered for first, and Ron had to tell them to hold on and quiet down while he clarified what he meant.

After that when Ron said that he thinks the person should receive medical attention the crowd cheered again.

If leftists are saying a crowd of republicans cheered for the idea of letting that person die. They would be correct the crowd did cheer for that, first. (Which is what Obama said in your quote)

The crowd also cheered for giving the person medical treatment at the expense of local church communities instead of the federal government. But the first response of the crowd should still be condemned

if they said the republicans as a whole wanted to let him die that would be a lie. But again the headlines focus on the crowd not on the republicans

if that were the end of it, then there would not be such a big deal but the crowd continued to cheer for just the idea of killing and death later in the debate.

The moderator said Perry as governor had executed a larger number of people than normal. The crowd cheered. There was no discussion about whether the people executed in Texas were more deserving to be executed then normal and thus they cheered. no, they cheered merely the idea that more people had been killed than normal.

if someone says the crowd at the republican convention oddly celebrated death compared to what one might assume of a normal crowd of Americans being given the same information. That would seem to be true

if someone says all republicans cheer for death. that would be false, but I haven't seen anyone make that claim

if someone were to say that "it seems on average people who consider themselves republicans and attend debates are more pro death than an average sampling of the American population" is a proposition that was supported by events at the last republican debate. That would be true.

One might say "I agree with the idea that execution in general lowers crime through deterrence and is an effective tool that should be used to lower crime. but cheering the fact that the number of people who have been executed this year has risen is not the same thing and it has a very different implication. It is not wrong to condemn people who cheer for that and it is not wrong to condemn the people in the republican party who were on stage and sat back in silence without condemning that celebration of the idea of killing when they had the opportunity to do so. The republicans are guilty of creating a culture that does not properly condemn the cheering for death. Obama was right to condemn the cheering of a person dying because of lack of health care. He would have been wrong if he condemned republicans as a whole for wanting to let people without healthcare die.

I think the true bigotry that can be seen here is when the left call the person who shouted "let him die" a tea partier. What evidence do they have that he was part of the tea party movement? The leftwing demagogues are using one person making an ass of himself to paint the whole tea party movement. It is not clear that he is a member and even if he was he had not been elected to represent their views on political issues. The true bigotry we see from the left on this issue is their need to demonize (in this case undeservedly) the tea party label.

if someone looked at this and said. It is unfair to paint the Republican Party based on the ranting of a tea party nut. They are still making a bigoted statement. and I see that headline all over the airwaves

Alonzo Fyfe said...


The 'responsibility' claim can be understood in the same sense that one might look at sky diving or taking part in a rodeo. People die in these activities. But this is not good enough reason to ban these activities. Free people are free to take their chances - play the odds - and if things turn out badly, lay the blame solely on their own shoulders. That people ought to have the freedom to take risks and to assume for themselves the consequences of their actions is what the crowd was cheering.

Also, cheering the death penalty cannot easily be equated to cheering death. Instead, it communicates just how much we detest those who take an innocent life. Or, if one believes in deterrance, an actual willingness to protect innocent life that liberals who fail to deter murder obviously do not care to protect.

As for my own position, I am opposed to the death penalty, but I understand the arguments of those who disagree. At the same time, I am very much in favor of giving people the freedom to take risks so long as they accept the responsibility when the gamble turns out to be a loss.

Kristopher said...

your right. i am sure they had the inent of cheering for the idea of personaly responsibility and and the death penalty as a practice. both of which might very well be worth cheering for.

but when they cheered was inapropriate to meet that goal. if you want to cheer the death penalty as a practice they should cheer after Perry's response about the pro's of the death penalty, which we all knew was coming, not after learning that more people had been killed in texas than normal.

i suppose my point was that their overexuberance had theym cheering for the wrong things in the wrong places. sending the wrong messages

if we find killing is necassary then, when we kill someone, the correct response is not jubilation. it is a calm measured claim that it was tragic but necassary for the continuation of a good society. done in a serious and solemn manner to show the seriousness of the situation.

the same was true when osama bin ladin was killed. people cheering in the streets reinforces the idea that killing is not that bad as long as you think you have a good reason. which I would bet most killers feel like they do.

if instead the nation had reacted with steely resolve. that they had done something we should feel uncofortable about, killing another human bieng, and yet in this instance (and perhaps other instances) we need to overcome this feeling of discomfort with killing when it is necassary. but this does not mean we should feel no discomfort. and it certainly does not mean we should get warm fuzzys.

to see a complete lack of discomfort with the idea of killing broadcast across the united states is not good.

we could see killing as the lesser of two bad options or we could see killing as a good option. only the former will reinforce a aversion to doing harm to others in the community and the latter will weaken that aversion.

the death penalty might not be effective deterence but it might be an effective practical solution to prison over crowding. if they are too dangerous to live in society. but we can't afford to keep them out of society... i dont know. quite frankly i dont have enough information to make an informed decision on the subject.

but the idea of cheering every time we talk about pulling the switch is repugnant. the same goes for the death of a hypothetical rodeo clown. to cheer his performance of that activity is fine but to cheer for it as he is being killed by a bull is not the correct time.

the crowd was more worried about supporting their pet political agenda then they were about supporting an aversion to harm in the community. thats why they were wrong.

mojo.rhythm said...

I'll admit I was absolutely horrified beyond belief when that Tea Party crowd erupted in catcalls and cheers upon hearing that Rick Perry had executed over 230 inmates.

What if even one of those people was proved to be innocent? Would they be cheering then?

JJR said...

Ah yes; The wealthy and destitute both have the freedom to sleep under bridges at night; The wealthy simply choose not to exercise this freedom.