Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Healthcare Reform, Hysteria and Ayn Rand

I am certain that this will be my most controversial blog post. With no doubt important and divisive battles rage on in American Town-Halls, and with good reason. Ideological differences split conservatives and liberals right down the middle on the topic of  health-care reform. Like with past controversies, mass misinformation and hysteria abound, causing many people to make bad decisions in unintentional ignorance. Some Americans angrily shoot down the idea of reform without consideration, quickly saying that it subverts the constitution by being socialistic. As of this writing, several of the most controversial parts of the bill have been removed or considered for removal, such as government-run insurance. 

Mass Hysteria

Take a look at any town hall meeting in America and you can tell that lies are mixed with the truth, confusion blends in with misinformation, creating a caustic blend of slippery slopes and arguments from ignorance. People freely accuse Obama of promoting Nazi-like death-camps, spreading dirty rumors online to confuse others. Flip through the television channels and you will see that, while the same video clips may be shown on the same stories, the words used to describe them remain very subjective.  

This is a very personal fight for all parties involved. Violence and personal attacks erupt from both sides of the conflict. Republicans and Democrats suppress each others ideas to promote their own views. Everyone is passionate for their own views, as the battle between liberty and equality is being brought into question. Silence has become immoral.  Needless to say, this is a time of mass media hysteria.

Fear of Socialism and Randroids

By far the most radical accusation that some opponents have created is that America will turn into a socialist state if reform is made. This is clearly a slippery slope, fallacious and unconvincing, it comes directly out of McCarthyism, the 1950 crackdown on freedom of thought.

Quite possibly the worst part of these kinds of fallacies is that the people who sling them around do not know enough about socialism to understand it and how it will relate to the health-care bill. The most radical opponents of health care reform have been indoctrinated with the pretense that any effort towards social equality are the precursor to fascism. Such people represent the most close-minded of participants in this debate, using the little experience they have with such concepts to brutally attack this bill.

I myself used to be a devoted adherent of Objectivism, the philosophy of writer Ayn Rand. Atlas Shrugged was my first exposure to philosophy and frankly, it strongly distanced me from understanding socialism. I suspect that same blind belief in capitalistic values is what causes the slippery slopes and rapidly spreading fear of reform. However, this phobia represents only the most irrational and illogical reasons opponents of heath-care reform have. Other opponents have stronger justifications of their opposition to reform. However, such justifications are based off misinformation and being lied to.

 

"It is clear that Republicans have decided 'no health care' is a victory for them," ~ Andy Stern

Why are we Fighting

The healthcare reform debate is set to be the first strongly divisive decision that President Obama has put forth so far. Such a battle teaches us about other people and the ideologies they hold, that is their interpretation of the Constitution. If we go even deeper into the debate, fundamental questions about human nature are raised.

How important is accurate interpretation to making good decisions?

Why do people grossly spread misinformation to cause others to blindly support their cause?

How does adherence to a philosophy cause an unwillingness to understand different ways?

How should the documents of America’s founding be interpreted?

At the heart of the health-care debate are these questions. To take in the turbulent events of the last week wisely, such questions must be answered.

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