Word has reached Cromer on the debate taking place in the good ol’ US and A over the creation of a more equitable healthcare system. This blog is not the place to extend that debate. However, one offshoot has been this meme which keeps popping up on Facebook like an efflorescence of herpes.
‘No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day’
Now, whereas I agree with the sentiment, I shall refuse to post it as my status, and would discourage anyone else from doing so – anyone with more than half a brain, that is, who is capable of independent and rational thought. Let’s look at this statement in detail. The first clause runs
‘No one should die because they cannot afford health care’
No sane person would ever disagree with this statement. The truth of this is self-evident. I can’t believe that anyone exists who would, if asked directly to agree with this statement, would demur. To post this as a statement with which one can agree or disagree is, therefore, to polarize what is in fact a complex issue. Such a statement might be congruent with exhortations to the effect that anyone who doesn’t take Jesus into their lives immediately is doomed to hellfire and damnation. Let’s look at the second statement.
‘…and no one should go broke because they get sick’
Again, this seems a self-evident truth. However, I’d caution all wide-eyed American liberals and followers of the documentaries of Mr Michael Moore that even with the wonderful NHS in the good ol’ U of K (an institution which I can say, hand on heart, continues to save my life) people do go broke because they get sick, because the good ol’ U of K will refuse them the drugs they need on grounds of price. Even in the best socialist utopias, resources are finite., and this will certainly be true of any similar system, even in the US and A.
The final statement, though, is the most pernicious.
‘If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day.’
This implies that anyone who doesn’t follow this blind totalitarian diktat also doesn’t agree with the self-evidently true statements preceding them. Whereas I agree with the first two statements, I find that the third disgusts me for the same reason that I am disgusted by extreme politics – or religious movements – in which people are required to hang up their brains and indeed all powers of reason to follow the herd.
It’s also quite disgustingly humorless, self-righteous and po-faced. In the words of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus, some people are so lofty you think they’d shit marble.