Nazis, Commies, and Death Panels

It's the year in hyperbole!

In 2009, investigative pundits, politicians, and protesters discovered that the United States of America was being overrun by a coalition of Nazis, communists, and remnants of the Romanov dynasty. The heavy breathing was largely bipartisan (though the "Tea Party" protesters sucked up most of the media oxygen) and wonderfully insane. Here are but a few notable examples from the year that was.

In August, Rush Limbaugh spotted similarities in the slick logo accompanying Obama administration's health care initiative (which features the caduceus, a symbol employed by medics and ambulance companies the world over) with the Nazi eagle clutching a swastika. Not to be outdone, the following day Rep. Brian Baird (D-Wash.) said those venting their frustration at ObamaCare in town hall meetings were using "Brown Shirt tactics" to stifle debate. In case his constituents thought he was being hyperbolic, Baird underscored that he took the comparison "very seriously."

As I pointed out soon after Baird made his historically illiterate comparison, one cannot expect a congressman—a job for which the intellectual bar for entry is distressingly low—to know that Hitler's goons "disappeared" as many as 600 political enemies in the months following the Nazi seizure of power. During the tumultous town halls, an Obama supporter disappeared half of a protester's finger but no one, as far as I know, was murdered.

At Townhall.com, conservative writer Kevin McCullough warned that ours was to soon be a nation of unwilling Mengeles: "This week President Obama exercised for the first time a policy decision that shares a trait held in common with Adolf Hitler." Doctors, he argued, would be forced to perform abortions in Obama's reich, even if they were morally opposed to doing so: "In the 1930's and 40's as Hitler wished to use his captive 'lesser-humans' for 'experiments' in his final solution. He too forced doctors to do things they did not wish to do."

Even those denouncing facile Hitler comparisons were compelled to engage in a bit of reductio ad Hitlerum of their own. According to Vanity Fair writer James Walcott, the Tea Party participants "evoke Hitler not because they fear another Hitler, their very obsession with Nazi imagery betrays their attraction; no, they're longing for a Leader, a Hitler of their own." In case you missed the subtlety, Walcott identified former Republican Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin—criticized by others for displaying an Israeli flag in her office—as "Hitler in high heels."

In late 2008, both the New Yorker's Steve Coll and New York Times columnist Frank Rich argued that a Weimar-like atmosphere could be found at John McCain rallies. In 2009, Rich bested his previous low, writing that while Republican crowds were fascistic, the leadership was engaging in "Stalinism in full purge mode."

It was the contentious health care debate, though, which provoked the year's most hyperbolic political discourse, from Palin's now-infamous "death panel" post at Facebook (recently flagged as the "lie of the year" by the website PolitiFact) to Democratic Florida Rep. Alan Grayson's comment that opponents of ObamaCare wanted the uninsured to "die quickly." (When his comments were compared to the "You lie!" outburst of Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), Grayson objected that his comments were more "like a Bob Dylan protest song.") MSNBC host Ed Schultz, frequently seen denouncing conservative "psycho talk," one-upped Grayson, bellowing that "[T]he Republicans lie! They want to see you dead!"

Nor was it just unknown congressmen and low-rated cable hosts accusing Obama's critics of wanting to kill Americans. Writing from his perch at The Washington Post, blogger Ezra Klein accused Joe Lieberman of being "willing to directly cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands in order to settle an old electoral score." In a rare in-house response, Post writer Charles Lane publicly rebuked Klein's "disgusting" argument, saying the he "essentially accuses Lieberman of mass murder because he disagrees with him on a policy issue about which there is considerable debate among people of good will across the political spectrum."

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) went for the "throw a bucket of mud and see what sticks" approach, thundering that those opposed to the health care bill were, "The birthers, the fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups, it is unbearable to them that President Barack Obama should exist." As the Washington Post's Dana Milbank later observed, Whitehouse also compared obstructionist Republicans "to Nazis on Kristallnacht, lynch mobs of the South, and bloodthirsty crowds of the French Revolution." Of course, it always comes back to the Nazis.

So here we find, in 2009, the defenders of reasonable, high-minded political discourse—from writers at the New York Times, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, mimicking the psychoses of their opponents. Indeed, when Census worker Bill Sparkman committed suicide, disguising it to look like a politically motivated murder, the left-wing blogosphere erupted with accusations that the death was the obvious result of anti-government nutjobs. "This is the kind of violent event that emerges from a culture of paranoia and unsubstantiated attacks," wrote Allison Kilkenny at The Huffington Post. But the paranoia and unsubstantiated claims were, in this case, inverted.

It is true that Palin's death panel comment, the birth certificate dog whistle, Michelle Bachmann's assorted lunacies, and Glenn Beck's bizarre argument that Diego Rivera's Leninist murals at Rockefeller Center demonstrate a corporate-communist conspiracy are worthy of scorn and mockery. But none of this unique in American politics, or to the right. Recall that just a few years ago, Naomi Wolf charted America's forthcoming fascist apocalypse. (It is usually at this point that one is required, by journalistic law, to insert a reference to Richard Hofstader.)

It isn't worth arguing with those who claim, with a frighting earnestness, that the Nazis provided Europe's blueprint for universal health care or with those who believe that Glenn Beck's fan base is one giant sleeper cell (Gawker's Alex Pareene recently wrote that "Glenn Beck is an actual terrorist, and the people attending his rally in DC...are al-Qaeda in America."). And it is distressing the number of "life-long conservatives" who told me that we were bearing witness to a communist takeover of Washington. I wondered if they had simply sat out the anti-communist conservatism of Whittaker Chambers and Malcolm Muggeridge, or if they had ever heard of the Gulag. Surely, these former cold warriors—the most noble of conservative causes in the previous century—knew the difference between crippling budget deficits and the Moscow purge trials; between the difficulties faced by Democratic heretics like Sens. Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson and the great chronicler of state-sponsored genocide Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

But this is bare-knuckle, or perhaps just knuckle-dragging, politics, not history. We cannot expect our elected officials, the broadcasters paid to gin up anger, the tea party rabble comparing Norwegian health care to Dachau and confusing Leninism with Tsarism, to abide the unwritten rules governing historical analogy. Hyperbole is part of a fine American political tradition—from denunciations of FDR as a Soviet stooge to charges that George W. Bush was part of Nazi collaborationist family—and it certainly didn't begin with the election of Barack Obama. And let us hope it is here to stay, for it is more stupid than pernicious, and terribly entertaining for those of us bored by 3,000-page health care bills.

Michael Moynihan is a senior editor of Reason.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    You Philistines! Why would you desecrate such an iconic image??? WHY!?

  • ||

    Word on that.

  • Dan||

    Good points made here, but this piece strains way too much to cite the occasional inanities from liberals as "proof" that both "sides" are to blame.

    The right-wing craziness is far more pervasive, and, incident for incident, far crazier. It's also highly organized, and therefore, much more dangerous (if not necessarily Nazi- or Qaeda-like).

    And the most important consideration: on the right, this lunacy is *mainstream.* Most of the pretend Republican leadership (in politics), and most of its actual leadership (in the media) believes or says all the crazy stuff. And some huge proportion of right's constituency does, too. On the left, it's a small minority -- and a tiny minority among the actual politicians.

  • Jeff||

    I am heartened to know that you are part of only a small minority.

  • MattXIV||

    And it wouldn't be complete without the predictable "but the other side is worse" whining.

  • ||

    Dan|12.23.09 @ 6:00PM|#
    "Good points made here, but this piece strains way too much to cite the occasional inanities from liberals as "proof" that both "sides" are to blame.
    The right-wing craziness is far more pervasive, and, incident for incident, far crazier. It's also highly organized, and therefore, much more dangerous (if not necessarily Nazi- or Qaeda-like)."

    And after they stop laughing at that, what do you do for the second act?

  • Liberal SpokesPerson||

    Remember, kids!

    Every single Tea Party attendee was armed and wants to shoot the president.

    Everyone right-of-center is a dangerous government-hating anarchist (including big-government Republican lawmakers).

    Nobody on the left has EVER committed violence, especially in the cause of getting us out of armed conflict.

    All Democrats are good, honest people who never steal, take bribes, or have someone beaten up by union thugs for not agreeing with their views.

    So sayeth we!

  • ||

    And the most important consideration: on the right, this lunacy is *mainstream.*

    You've got to be kidding. The mainstream media buried the ACORN stories (at least three separate videos that I know of), buried Climate-gate and regularly referred to tea-partiers as "tea baggers" (with full knowledge of the negative connotations therein). They fact-checked Sarah Palin's (a private citizen now) book, but never, ever fact-check Obama's speeches (which as has been shown here are full of lies and half-truths). Obama blames "the last eight years" implying "it's all Bush's fault", but apparently he forgets that the dems controlled both houses of Congress since 2007. Never once has he been called on it by the media. I could go on.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Ya knowwwww... I'm really glad my memory functions properly.

    About 2.5 years ago, I was walking through Union Square park virtually twice a day through Bush = Hitler posters and a few months later I was in Portland finding globs of angry hippies protesting everything from agricultural innovation to international business using the same sorts of hyperbole. Now I live in Los Angeles, and you don't even want to know the kinds of idiocy I've heard out of "liberals".

    I'm sorry Dan, but you're flat out wrong. Craziness is pervasive in both the "left" and the "right", because fundamentally - you are all the same people. You all want the state to control more of people's lives - you just have different methods & focus. Same end result, however.

    That said, from 12-15 years of really paying attention and having traveled all over the US and lived in 4 cities in very different regions, I have to say - I have always found the left's brand of crazy to be far more vitriolic, venomous and hyperbolic in general. That said, this could be because when "conservatives" cry about socialism, they are in fact, dead on. They just don't realize that their people are just as much socialists as anyone on the left.

    Oh well...

  • ||

    "The left" is far more adept at demonizing "the right" than the other way around. Anyone who is not on board with the "progressive" agenda is lumped in together as reactionary troglodytes. It doesn't matter if you're Rush Limbaugh or a cult of gay haters or a midwest, church going farmer who thinks marriage is sanctified by God to be between a man and a woman or a libertarian minarchist or a survivalist militia type. If you are not a "progressive" by their definition you are all tarred with the same brush.

  • Eric||

    I completely agree with you Sean. Here's a list of George Bush socialism just off the top of my head:

    1. No Child Left Behind.

    2. The Patriot Act.

    3. The TSA.

    4. The no-bid contract to Halliburton to rebuild Iraq (this is actually Facism, a type of socialism)

    5. A war in Iraq with no clear aggressor (Think Germany's attack on Poland in WWII).

    6. Medicare, Part D. Conservatives rail against Obama's health care plan and then say on the other side of their mouths that this is okay, presumably because it was signed by a Republican president. Idiotic.

    Conservative and Liberals are two sides of the same statist coin.

    Government is a false god.

    E.R. Evans

    Libertas!

  • JoshInHB||

    Dan -"On the left, it's a small minority -- and a tiny minority among the actual politicians."

    Thank god.
    If they weren't a minority we might see things like.

    The leader of the House calling american protesters Nazi sympathizers

    The leader of the Senate calling them "Hate Mongers" (?)

    A Congresscritter saying on the record that Republicans want sick people to die quickly.

    The president lie continuously to get a bill, any bill passed.

  • juris_imprudent||

    Now THIS is first class trollery!

  • ||

    'Good points made here, but this piece strains way too much to cite the occasional inanities from liberals as "proof" that both "sides" are to blame.'

    Dan, You must not have been watching MSNBC...

  • Eric||

    I'm getting a shiver up my leg reading this.

  • JJ||

    They also seem to think the opposition to Health Care and every other Obama program is from hardcore right-leaning conservative GOP shills. Some of us are middle of the road libertarians with liberal social leanings and fiscal conservative dreams. Not everyone is a crazy, wanting Obama to fail because he is a democrat or (heavens forbid) an African American man. Both sides almost seem to forget the fact that there is a significant middle road group of people in this country. People who want homosexuals to have the same rights as heterosexuals and at the same time don’t want Washington to spend us into oblivion. We can have a country that is diverse, free, and fiscally sound. Get rid of the hand outs, they just create an atmosphere of laziness and entitlements.

    Good article, my only critique would be that the Glenn Beck example was kind of weak. It was something mentioned on one episode as a look to the past, and the interesting design choices employed at 30 Rock. A better story would have been the NEA propaganda story, whose propaganda one can see today, or even the Van Jones debacle.

  • Drue||

    I wonder what extremists are going to call each other now that Hitlerum Ad Absurdum is so cliche?

    "Oh yeah ... well, you're a ... a ... double evil SPACENAZI!!!Nyah!!!"

    I recently saw a 40-year-old episode of "Green Acres" where kids were protesting Arnold the Pig being prevented from attending classes. I almost choked from laughter when one of the kids shouted out and called the principal "NAZI!!!"

    Apparently, 2009 wasn't the only year of hyperbole, but it does have more media outlets than other years.

  • Joel||

    Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) went for the "throw a bucket of mud and see what sticks" approach, thundering that those opposed to the health care bill were, "The birthers, the fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups...

    I saw the video. It's more like he whined it.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Don't forget "tenthers"... you know, those dangerous folks who think the 10th Amendment actually *means* something.

  • Jeffersonian||

    That's just crazy talk. We all know the only part of the Constitution the Founders really meant was the "general welfare" phrase.

  • crayon||

    Typical response from a liberturdi- oh, wait...

  • crayoniside||

    Another halfwit comment from the king of same.

  • Constitutupation||

    I know I am, but what are you?

  • Brian Trust||

    Everyone posting here is a megaracist.

    No, wait, a gigaracist!

  • Jeffersonian||

    Giga is so 2008. We're shooting for teraracist now.

  • ||

    Brian Trust|12.23.09 @ 7:36PM|#
    "Everyone posting here is a megaracist.
    No, wait, a gigaracist!"

    gigaracist^3!
    Goooogleraci....
    Ah, the hell with it.

  • ||

    Entertaining, albeit part of the vast, Nazi-wing conspiracy.

  • alan||

    I wondered if they had simply sat out the anti-communist conservatism of Whittaker Chambers and Malcolm Muggeridge, or if they had ever heard of the Gulag. Surely, these former cold warriors—the most noble of conservative causes in the previous century—knew the difference between crippling budget deficits and the Moscow purge trials; between the difficulties faced by Democratic heretics like Sens. Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson and the great chronicler of state-sponsored genocide Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

    I've often wondered why Michael Moynihan is uniquely tone deaf among Reason's writers to comparisons to communism and the modern liberal agenda. Maybe, the source of this bit of cognitive dissonance occurs because he sees communism almost solely in terms of political phenomenon in a set parameter of history whereas most of us libertarians (note, not Conservatives which was the focus of the article, Chambers, for one had little in common with libertarians even after he broke rank) view it to be an economic manifestation with political consequences. The particular history of communism has occurred, and the actors in that history have been defined by the events that have occurred, and that seems to be Moynihan's focus, whereas we are more concerned about how the theoretical model of socialism still warps our everyday lives than we are with one instance and manifestation of Marxist creed in history.

    Note, whether it be hypebole or not to compare the health care reform with the gulag, you will still wind up in jail if you refuse to conform to the dictates of the bill as it is currently written. Ass rape in an American jail, versus death by exhaustion in a Russian gulag. So hard to chose.

  • alan||

    blimey, that 'hype' and that 'bole' could use an 'r' between them.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    Geez, can't you see anything clearly?

    Clearly, when government panels decide to ration health care for the masses (for example how often you can get tested for certain types of cancers, even if they run in your family history), they won't be the literal or even figurative equivalent of death panels. No, these government panels will just be government panels. And cancer doesn't kill people anymore anyway.

    It's all been settled: if you think anything else you are deserving of mockery. And you're also spouting off hate-speech, which may get you something worse than mockery.

  • ||

    When there are groups of bureaucrats who will determine when life saving medical care is denied they will be "death panels". They will determine which of the sick "deserve" to be saved. "Killing panels" would be hyperbole, because it is indeed the illness that will kill them.

    Denial of life saving medicine panels?

  • ||

    If there were actually to be government boards deciding what treatment you could get, this would be somewhat fair. The reality is that there would be government panels deciding what treatment would be covered by government medical insurance, much as there are insurance panels now. This wouldn't prevent a person from buying treatment themselves. If denying payment is the same as sentencing someone to death, then insurance companies sentence people to death all the time. Because it isn't, they don't, and death panel is a stupid phrase.

  • alan||

    The only alternative you have to offer is a system that emphasizes price distortion and a conflation of want and need, and that is a far worse way to manage scarcity than what occurs through the market.

  • ||

    government panels deciding what treatment would be covered by government medical insurance, much as there are insurance panels now. This wouldn't prevent a person from buying treatment themselves. If denying payment is the same as sentencing someone to death, then insurance companies sentence people to death all the time. Because it isn't, they don't, and death panel is a stupid phrase.

    So while there will be mandatory "Universal Health Care" that will be massively regulated, there will still be private insurance and even pay for service? Oh, you are one of the retards who thinks this is nothing more than "free medical insurance" for the needy. Because Barak Obama looked into the camera and said, "Let me be clear, we can have liberty and the Nanny State at the same time"

    Calling the bureaucrats who will determine who gets what treatments "death panels" is NOT "sentencing someone to death" nor did anyone other than you claim that it was. The current bills, all of them, lead to single payer. Which means people will have to appeal to government committees, lets call them "panels" and they will absolutely ration life and death medical treatments.

    To some extent today, doctors and families and insurance companies form what amounts to "death panels". The Leftists would exclude all of these, leaving only the equivalent of a DMV worker to determine if you "deserve" medical treatment.

    It will be Karmic when your day comes.

  • ||

    That's how I feel about the "death panel" comment. Is there ever going to be, anywhere, ever a line the creates "death panels"? Of course not; in the UK they call it "NICE." I'm sure in the future, our "NICE" panel will be called something like the "Inter-governmental Commission on End Of Life Options" or something like that.

  • SIV||

    "Hitler in high heels."

    More like Ilsa

  • ||

    "It is true that Palin's death panel comment, the birth certificate dog whistle, Michelle Bachmann's assorted lunacies, and Glenn Beck's bizarre argument that Diego Rivera's Leninist murals at Rockefeller Center demonstrate a corporate-communist conspiracy are worthy of scorn and mockery."

    Ummm, yeah, but not the stuff from the other side? Why isn't the stuff said from the left every single day worthy of scorn and mockery?

  • ||

    It's ridiculous that both sides are accusing each other of being like Hitler, but it's not surprising that they're doing this. Aryan hate groups on the right and forced abortions on the left.

    They're really trivializing the actual terror and trauma that was inspired by Hitler, shouldn't they save it for some real hate-monger or better yet...a Charlie Chaplin look-alike?

  • ComradeZero||

    A group of people who compare recycling laws to stalinist tyranny complaining about hyperbole?

  • ComradeZero||

    A group of people who compare recycling laws to stalinist tyranny complaining about hyperbole?

  • alan||

    Comrade Zero, your repetition is oppressive, and it obviously forms a pattern and we know patterns are how you can discern conspiracies from mere advantageous coincidence.

    For the record, it isn't the tyranny of recycling that is annoying, it is the stupidity. If you can beat the market by going through my trash, by all means, you have my permission to go through it. But, the last time I checked, there wasn't a single recyclable material that wasn't a losing proposition without edict or subsidy.

  • ||

    I take my used beer cans to a machine, dump them in, and get money out. Recycling aluminum must be a winning proposition to someone.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Aluminum is actually a winning proposition, I believe. As is used cooking grease. Beyond that, not much fits that bill... Colored paper definitely doesn't, cardboard... no, newspapers... no, glass... typically not.

  • SIV||

    glass... typically not.

    I've about had it with you "peak sand" deniers.

  • ||

    But, but... the polar bears!

  • ||

    -The government now controls the banks, and many private investment institutions. The government now controls who can start a business, buy a house, keep their company operating during a tough time, etc.

    -The government is seizing other industries, like the automobile industry, and handing them over to their allies in the unions.

    -The government is getting ready to limit speech on radio stations through a de facto fairness doctrine called "localism." The government now has the power to shut down speech they don't like.

    -The government is now planning to seize control of health care by means of destroying the private insurance industry. Once private health care fails, the government will ineviatbly grab the collapsing industry.

    -The government is going to start regulating CO2 production. Everything we do, from breathing to driving to making cars, creates CO2. This gives the government the power to do whatever they believe is necessary to stop CO2 from endangering polar bears.

    Am I crazy to think that the government seizing control of vast portions of the private sector? Am I paranoid to worry that handing the government power to control everything from the ability of my wife and kids to get surgery to Rush Limbaugh's ability to speak?

    Right, Left, does anybody really want a person from the opposite party in charge of this much power? They may not be able to shoot people in the streets but they can prevent them from getting a critical operation. They may not be able to seize control of the entire private sector, but they can deny them loans and regulate them out of existence. They can't set up reeducation camps, but they can amke sure that nobody is ever educated about alternatives like freedom and capitalism.

    If you think that Big Government is nothing to fear, what are you doing writing for Reason, Mr. Moynihan?

  • alan||

    Excellent points you have made, and if MM doesn't think there is anything to worry about from Marxist in America, I give you Detroit.

    http://karendecoster.com/wp-co.....00x226.jpg

  • Chrispy||

    I'm not sure if that's meant to be ironic or not, but that's just a picture of Joe Louis' fist. Not only does it have nothing to do with "Marxist in America" it's probably one of the best things Detroit has ever produced (and current troubles notwithstanding, that's saying something).

  • alan||

    Whoops, wrong damn link. I was linking to a story on the The Wayne State University Center for Urban Studies, but some how got that internal linked image instead. I'll try to find it later, after things settle down here.

  • Pantera||

    Jesus Christ, my political memory only remembers the Bsh years and this Hitler stuff still makes me laugh. Does anyone on the right remember Chimp McBushitler? Or how Donald Rumsfield (there's a name I havn't heard in a while) slept in a bed made of Iraqi children's bones every night?

  • Chrispy||

  • Chrispy||

    Maybe a working link would be better:
    Sarah Palin was right

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    Watch it there buster, you're on the verge of being mocked and scorned.

  • ||

    Moynihan must have had a woman like Palin shit on him, considering how he endlessly repeats that "death panels" are hyperbole.

    When the government does start making all decisions about health care they will fucking absolutely have panels or committees that decide who dies.

    Fuck you Moynihan. Socilaized medicine, by fucking definition, would include "death panels" even though they would probably be called something like "People's committee for the efficient distribution of health services.

    Every time that I read that "death panels" is "hyperbole" I think that either Moynihan doesn't know what the word means, or he is simply trying to cover for sucking Obama dick before the election. Probably the latter.

  • ||

    Best column I ever read. Beyond brilliant. The basis of a new religion, the final document superseding the Torah, the New Testament and the Quran. Your words will change the world forever as we henceforth sweep away the old calendars and mark today the first day of M.E., Moynihan Era.

    On the other hand, your column is insidiously evil beyond the comprehension of anyone with a shred of God-given soul, you vile Devil-spawn. How DARE you suggest whatever you are suggesting, you object of my scorn and mockery? You should have a Death Panel convened against you and be thrown in a Gulag, you hater of good souls who only seek to prevent Death Panels and Gulags.

    Boy the holidays stress me out.

  • Pedantula||

    This article missed a better point than it made: for most people who are not educated in abstract political theory, using analogies (even badly overdrawn analogies) is the closest thing they have to a test of principle.

    Silly as the consequences sometimes are, its better than what happens when people refuse to distinguish between differences of kind, and differences of degree.

  • Tim||

    I agree, personally I think Beck is what would happen if you gave a 16 yr old C student a copy of The Road to Serfdom.

  • ||

    Fascism = Government-controlled private business. The Nazi Jew hatred was a relatively unique phenomena.

    Socialism = Government-owned businesses.

    What the government does not own outright is currently being forced to accept diktats from the central government on everything from CEO pay to what sorts of cars they can produce. Fascism and socialism are not just analogies, they are realities in the United States of America. The fact that we have not yet reached the point of gulags and secret police does not mean that we will not.

    The general pattern is clear. Government expansion of control from free speech to health care. Focus on just one instance, and you miss the entire picture. Focus on now, and you will miss the inevitable future massive expansions of the massive expansion.

    What good is education if it makes you miss the truth right in front of your face?

  • alan||

    Good observation. I remember a guy told me, 'Ho Chi Min at least fed the people'. I tried to use the biblical parable of Joseph and the seven fat years to help him understand what that means in context but quicly realized it was wayyy over his head. So I stated, if I took over your kitchen and doled out a cup of rice to you, and kept the steaks in the freezer for myself, would you be thinking me for feeding you that cup of rice. The parable was much better and nuanced and applied directly as an historical parallel, but the later analogy with many flaws at least got through to the guy.

  • Adam||

    (Gawker's Alex Pareene recently wrote that "Glenn Beck is an actual terrorist...")

    The Blingee guy? Really? We're taking him seriously now?

  • ||

    "It is true that Palin's death panel comment, the birth certificate dog whistle, Michelle Bachmann's assorted lunacies, and Glenn Beck's bizarre argument that Diego Rivera's Leninist murals at Rockefeller Center demonstrate a corporate-communist conspiracy are worthy of scorn and mockery."

    ---FULL STOP. What sort of flabby thinking is this?

    What do you call a panel that determines what procedures will be paid for (or not) based on patient health, when such a system is the only recourse most of those patients will have? Are you unfamiliar with the guidelines in the UK (such as for dialysis over the age of 65) which achieve the same result? Are you unaware that Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of Rahm and a Special Advisor for Health Policy for the white house, co-wrote a whitepaper (which Wikipedia does it's best to whitewash) on how scarce medical resources should be spent on people over 15 and under 40 because of something the paper termed "Quality Adjusted Life Years"? you could follow this link, but it's been scrubbed, but I can send you a copy if you wish.
    http://www.ethics.va.gov/YLYC/.....001001.pdf

    Is it your position that the IMAP (Independent Medical Advisory Panel) which Harry Reid exempted from Congressional review without a super-majority vote will NOT be used to determine what Medicare (and any public option monies) will NOT be spent on in this socialist scheme, or do you deny that it's socialist, there will be cost overruns, and demands for cost controls that will amount to rationing? Were you not paying attention when the government decided that mammograms don't have to be done till 50, or that CA just dropped its reimbursement for such tests prior to 50?

    Then you actually cite the loons at the St. Petersburg Times (Politifact) to string Palin's dead on comment with birther's and mural conspiracy theories? --Beck has nailed several of these people by the way. That's called effectiveness, in case you LP pretenders are wondering what it is when someone actually succeeds in obtaining political objectives. And I guess I need to be refreshed on what Michelle Bachmann said that was so loony, because all I can remember is she said the democrats want the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to fail, and they did and still do.

    Palin did not lie. Her assessment was accurate, despite what Wikipedia and the St. Petersburg Times says.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Hey hey! I wrote about QALY units quite a while back in a screed against Peter Singer: Why We Must NOT Ration Health Care

  • ||

    Were you not paying attention when the government decided that mammograms don't have to be done till 50, or that CA just dropped its reimbursement for such tests prior to 50?

    The federal gov't and the state of California did not outlaw mammograms for people under the age of 50. They simply said that for people living off of taxpayers (ie Medicaid and Medicare recipients), you cannot get free mammograms before you're 50. In other words, if you want a mammogram before the age of 50, pay for the fucking thing yourself. How is that a bad thing? The plethora of data suggests the incidence of breast cancer under the age of 50 is so low, that women under the age of 40 do not appear to benefit from the screening. This is a recommendation from 1999, before the issues mysteriously became so politicized.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu.....inalpos=34

  • Public Service Announcement||

    Libertarian/Conservatives have been working for decades to infect the media with this hyperbole, so this shouldn't come as a surprise to you.

    Libertarians aren't above it. In fact, they, and the Think Tanks that fund them, help to feed it. Take a look at the comments on this site.

    It's personality disorder central.

  • LibertyBill||

    I dont know where you get your facts from but Libetarians (with Freedoms Phoneix being an exception) typically dont engage in the stuff. Last time I checked alot of it is directed to us from both sides. Many on the right called us terrorist sympathizers for our opposition to the Patriot Act.

  • ||

    Amen. However, I must point out there are many 'right-leaning' libertarians (Neal Boortz, some other guy named Eric Dondero who is on here often) that rabidly support the Patriot ACT.

    To second your point, many people have labeled Ron Paul a terrorist sympathizer.

  • Pedantula||

    PSA is using a favorite last refuge argument against Libertarianism (though really it works equally well against any coherent ideology). Goes like this:

    Premise 1: Most people do not have and do not want a consistent set of beliefs.

    Premise 2: Libertarians do.

    Conclusion: Libertarians suffer from a social adjustment disorder, because they willingly choose something that puts them apart from the greater part of humanity.

  • k||

    And your point is?

  • abercrombie milano||

    I dont know where you get your facts from but Libetarians (with Freedoms Phoneix being an exception) typically dont engage in the stuff. Last time I checked alot of it is directed to us from both sides. Many on the right called us terrorist sympathizers for our opposition to the Patriot Act.
    reply to this

  • nike shox||

    is good

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement