Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death Panels
. . . but you can't have both. On the matter of McCarthy vs the Editors, I'm with Andy. I think Sarah Palin's "death panel" coinage clarified the stakes and resonated in a way that "rationing" and other lingo never quite did. She launched it, and she made it stick. So it was politically effective.
But I'm also with Mrs. Palin on the substance. NR's editorial defines "death panel" too narrowly. What matters is the concept of a government "panel." Right now, if I want a hip replacement, it's between me and my doctor; the government does not have a seat at the table. The minute it does, my hip's needs are subordinate to national hip policy, which in turn is subordinate to macro budgetary considerations. For example:
Health trusts in Suffolk were among the first to announce that obese people would be denied hip and knee replacements on the NHS.
The ruling was part of an attempt to save money locally.
The operative word here is "ruling." You know, like judges. You're accepting that the state has jurisdiction over your hip, and your knee, and your prostate and everything else. And once you accept that proposition the fellows who get to make the "ruling" are, ultimately, a death panel. Usually, they call it something nicer — literally, like Britain's National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).
And finally I don't think this is any time for NR to be joining the Frumsters and deploring the halfwit vulgarity of déclassé immoderates like Palin. This is a big-stakes battle: If we cross this bridge, there's no going back. Being "moderate" is not a good strategy. It risks delivering the nation to the usual reach-across-the-aisle compromise that will get Democrats far enough across the bridge that the Big Government ratchet effect will do the rest.
After my weekend column recounted the experience of a recent British visitor of mine, I received an e-mail from a gentleman in Glasgow who cannot get an x-ray for his back — because he has no sovereignty over his back. His back is merely part of the overall mass of Scottish backs, to which a government budget has been allocated, but alas one which does not run to x-rays.
Government "panels" making "rulings" over your body: Acceptance of that concept is what counts.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
"Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death Panels"