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Chronicling the collapse of a failed society
I know health care reform is so 2009, but it’s an issue that speaks volumes about who we are as a culture. Our current system is brutal and barbaric, and the fact that it is allowed to exist is a testament to the predominance of primitive, animalistic impulses throughout our society. But health care, and people’s opinions about health care, are complicated issues that cannot painted with simple black and white strokes.
First let us examine the reality of our current system. As it stands now, access to medical care is considered a privilege that is based on one’s socioeconomic status. That is, if you are unemployed or poor, you do not deserve to receive quality health care. In contrast, those above a certain level of socioeconomic status have access to health care that is proportionate to their income: the more money someone earns, the better quality health care he/she receives.
What this system implies is that a long, healthy life has a monetary value, and is only available to those with adequate financial means. Sickness and the suffering that accompanies it are the default state of life, and therefore anyone who wishes to overcome them must accumulate a certain level of money to do so. There could hardly be a more obvious example of social Darwinism at work: the strong (i.e., those who prosper in our economic jungle) survive, while the weak perish. This is, quite simply, the law of natural selection applied to human society.
I would argue that the majority of Americans do not support this system. Most people are reasonable enough to realize the ferocious barbarousness entailed in such a primitive, animalistic model. Most Americans I speak to, even the most staunch conservative Republicans, have their own personal stories about how they’ve been shammed and cheated by health insurance companies at one point or another. Most people having nothing but negative things to say about our for-profit system, and the extortionate rates that we are forced to pay. Yet these people simultaneously reject any references to the successful universal health care systems in place in countries such as Canada, France and the UK. Everyone has some personal anecdote that they heard from a friend of a friend who had to wait six months for life-saving surgery in the dreaded “socialized” health care system of Canada. So they defend the current system out of a fabricated sense of necessity; they honestly think there is no other way.
Because the profit motive is seen in our culture as being absolute, few people are willing to remove it from the health care equation – at least consciously. People speak of “socialized” health care as being synonymous with inefficiency and denied care; they believe that without the profit motive, people simply would not have the impetus to offer innovative and timely health care.
The entire issue of health care in America is redolent with irony. As I pointed out in an earlier post, the term “socialized” has been redefined in the American cultural dialogue as being synonymous with “fascistic.” This is, of course, courtesy of our corporate-controlled mainstream media. When people hear the term “socialized health care,” the specter is immediately conjured of some cold, ruthless dictator administering medicine on a whim – helping this person but letting another one die, based purely on his/her own selfish and often unapparent motivations. People do not realize that a “socialized” health care simply means a system that is administered by and for the society as a whole. There is no private entity making decisions that effect the health care of all; everyone in the society has a voice in how health care is undertaken, and everyone has equal access.
The tragic aspect of all this is that the “socialized” (i.e. fascistic) system that most Americans have been programmed to fear is precisely the system that is already in place. Our current health care system is the very essence of fascism: health care is administered by the ruthless dictators that are our private, for-profit insurance corporations, and the people have absolutely no say in the process. Since generating maximum profits is the overriding goal of these private corporations, the actual health and well-being of Americans is just a coincidental by-product; some people are given care if it is deemed in the best financial interests of the corporation, while others are denied. Our current system is the one Americans believe they are fighting against: the masses throw themselves into the struggle against health care reform that would greatly benefit them, all the while clinging desperately to the very system they fear.
The preposterousness of the situation would be almost be laughable if not for the untold depth of human suffering and calamity it entails. People are dying every day because of a misunderstanding of definitions, because our corporate-controlled media has so perfected the art of doublespeak that is has manipulated the masses into supporting what they despise while kicking and clawing against the very thing that would help them most. It is Stockholm syndrome in its worst imaginable manifestation, and as long as the Democratic branch of the Big Business Party is the best option we have in Washington, there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.