Show, Don’t Tell

Throughout this healthcare debacle, the side wanting the government run, single payer option is trying to scare people by claiming the attempts to repeal Obamacare are attempts to kill you. Alarms are sounding with claims that the purpose is to eradicate the poor. They claim the purpose of repealing Obamacare is to benefit the rich. They claim all kinds of things and I can only surmise that the reason for doing so is either they don’t really understand what they’re talking about or they’re engaging in malicious smears.

I’m willing to be charitable and accept that the majority of those fearing death and destruction are just not educated on the subject. But isn’t that true about most subjects? How many people know the names of local judges? Or the name of their mayor? Or police chief? How many people can tell you how all the products end up in the grocery store, from farm to shelves? How many people ever read the End License User Agreement before clicking the accept button before installing software?

Human beings have biologically evolved to survive, to pass on their genes to the next generation. And that’s it. Everything else is gravy. The brain is not naturally good at philosophy, logic, reason, ad Infinitum. Richard Carrier describes this problem rather well when he writes, “We know for a fact that our cognitive faculties are poor…they do not work very well. So badly designed are they, that it took us thousands of years to invent “workarounds” for our failing faculties, technologies that “bypass” their defects, and help us learn about reality contrary to our biologically evolved inability to do so. Language. Logic. Formal mathematics. Scientific method. Critical thinking skills. Even physical instruments, which correct for countless limits and defects in our sensory and cognitive abilities. These we all had to invent.”

With this in mind, is it no wonder the average person isn’t really working with all the information on most subjects? We have to train ourselves to overcome our own brains. This takes dedication to study and research. And that is a luxury most people don’t have time for. Most of the time, we’re spending our day earning enough money to pay bills to acquire food and the needs of survival. This is what we were built for because for most of human history, we didn’t have leisure time. We only had the time to work on surviving.

In the age of the Internet, there seems to be no excuse for not being educated on subject matters deemed important to you. However, I also understand we simply don’t have the time to investigate everything, no matter how important. But speaking on matters we haven’t done some homework on leads to misinformation and chain letters and urban legends. And misinformation is the politician’s job.

Politicians always have all the answers, don’t they? They’re all experts in every category but as we just examined above, this can’t possibly be true. It’s why we small government folks want politicians out of as much of our lives as possible. And that’s what we should be saying regarding healthcare, to fend off the unjustified alarms that we don’t care about poor people.

This brings me to the way we’re presenting the small government message.

One thing we should immediately stop doing is using the argument that healthcare isn’t authorized by the Constitution. That argument doesn’t work. The counter to that is that the Constitution is an old document that needs to be updated. Or that it is indirectly in the Constitution because of the General Welfare Clause. For better or worse, that’s what you’re up against. Besides, using that argument makes it look like the Constitution is some holy text you’re unwilling to acknowledge has faults. So let’s stop doing that.

What we have to do is show why repealing Obamacare, why getting government out of healthcare is better for everyone. We have to show it’s not because we don’t care, it’s because we do care. Simply saying government doesn’t belong in healthcare, while true, is not going to convince anyone. Don’t tell people, show people.

When someone asks why I’m against government run healthcare, what I lead with today is the example of what’s going on in merry old England. Here, let me quote from the article at Forbes on the troubles of the British National Health Service (NHS):

  • NHS doctors routinely conceal from patients information about innovative new therapies that the NHS doesn’t pay for, so as to not “distress, upset or confuse” them.

  • Terminally ill patients are incorrectly classified as “close to death” so as to allow the withdrawal of expensive life support.

  • NHS expert guidelines on the management of high cholesterol are intentionally out of date, putting patients at serious risk, in order to save money.

  • When the government approved an innovative new treatment for elderly blindness, the NHS initially decided to reimburse for the treatment only after patients were already blind in one eye — using the logic that a person blind in one eye can still see, and is therefore not that badly off.

  • While most NHS patients expect to wait five months for a hip operation or knee surgery, leaving them immobile and disabled in the meantime, the actual waiting times are even worse: 11 months for hips and 12 months for knees. (This compares to a wait of 3 to 4 weeks for such procedures in the United States.)

  • One in four Britons with cancer is denied treatment with the latest drugs proven to extend life.

  • Those who seek to pay for such drugs on their own are expelled from the NHS system, for making the government look bad, and are forced to pay for the entirety of their own care for the rest of their lives.

  • Britons diagnosed with cancer or heart attacks are more likely to die, and more quickly, than those of most other developed nations. Britain’s survival rates for these diseases are “little better than [those] of former Communist countries.”

Giving information like this is going to be much more persuasive than saying healthcare isn’t in the Constitution.

People operate on three things: Their experiences with a subject, their knowledge of a subject and their emotions regarding a subject. About the only thing you can have some control over is providing correct information. The other two are not something you can do much about and as we examined above, it’s just the way we evolved. It’s better to run away from rustling in the bushes because it might be a lion as opposed to thinking it’s just the wind and being wrong.

We’ve had big government for so long, it’s sometimes difficult to see not having it. Most of what we in the United States have experienced and are emotionally wrapped up in is a cradle to grave babysitter. So it’s going to take a lot to get people out of that mind set. Right now they’re conditioned to believe without it, they’ll starve and die. And thus the passing of endless memes and hyperbole around social media predicting doom and gloom if healthcare isn’t a government operation.

You’re working with an imperfect animal built to seek safety and survival above all else, currently living in a country that’s conditioned it to rely on government to provide these things. So it’s going to be a long journey to small government using persuasion and non-aggression. Because what a lot of people think when you propose cutting it out of their lives is kind of scary when it’s all they know. If they think you’re pulling the safety nets away without replacing them with something better, they’re not going to get on board. Use examples of what will work, show them there’s better nets.

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