Health Care and Isolation

In the Fall of 2002, a relentless propaganda campaign was launched to rally the American people behind a predetermined invasion of Iraq. The conversations originally hinged on WMD but the focus was adapted when that justification collapsed.

The Summer of 2009 will be remembered for its own propaganda campaign. Republicans, centrist democrats and business leaders in the pharmaceutical and insurance industries have saturated the Media in response to health care reform proposals.

These propagandists have rallied around a set of familiar talking points, some of which say:

– Reform will “ration” health care
– Patients will lose the freedom to choose their care
– Doctors will earn less and have less incentive to practice medicine

I don’t wish to argue against these points, though I think it’s clear they have virtually no merit.

Far more insidious is the anti-social assumption that underlies the opposition to health care reform.

They tell us that other Americans are parasites. Turns out they want to eat terrible food, not exercise and then they want us to pay for their health care! This violates our economic freedom!

This assumption undermines more than just health care reform. It says, in essence, that one American shouldn’t give a damn about another American. It spreads fear, encourages hostility and enables isolation.

But isolation has always been the function of elite propaganda. The campaign for the invasion of Iraq isolated Americans in relation to the world, stoking our paranoia to absurd levels. The same can be seen in the dismantling of welfare, the attempt to overhaul Social Security and, tragically, past iterations of resistance to health care reform.

And for good reason. In the current health care scheme, the public loses out. If we were to unite and demand reform in the context of our interests, this country would be shaken up in the best possible way.


  1. Chris

    Excellent post, it reminds me of a theory I read a while back. In general, our country has a weaker system of safety nets than other “mature” industrial powers. The theory said that this was because of the deep racial divide between whites and blacks. Richer white folks were easily convinced to oppose safety nets and welfare because they didn’t want their money going to the black people they hated.

  2. Ian

    The Republican Party: Turning middle America against itself since 1981!