by Bruce Patterson, August 26, 2017
More in anguish than anger, some Post-War, Post-Holocaust veteran declared that, once we’ve set our minds to it, we Americans can do most anything except know the reasons why. As evidence, consider that today scores of millions of American citizens don’t have enough money to properly “interact” within our glorious Free Market in Health Insurance. A Free Market being serviced by Wizard of Oz Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) made up of skyscrapers loaded with computers, neck-cinched techno-coders, 3-D printers and, way up high in the penthouses, tiny little Money Men hiding behind curtains and putting out jobs reports, market forecasts, thunderous threats and nasty Proclamations.
As our Vanguard Political Party makes the Free Market Great Again by liberating Private Capital from the quicksandy swamp of international treaties, federal regulations, ruinous taxation, the illegal expropriations of Private Property and our mountainous molehills of tyrannical public health, labor, consumer protection, environmental and international laws and what have you, every day we’re benefiting from a growing economy and, with the forward march of our successes, we’re seeing the spreading of Prosperity.
Under our new Alt-Right National Liberation Front, the Nuremburg Principles, the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are also being tossed into the Trashcan of History. To hear our primetime Wall Street Prophets of Profit tell it, all that’s standing in the way of even more vigorous and sustained Economic Growth that’s delivering the Best of All Possible Worlds is the so-called Public Interest. There is no Public Interest; it’s a myth. All that matters is one's economic activities and if they are zilch then, by definition, you are not just worthless but a burden on the virtuous. You’re a liability.
Yet, if you really believe in Pure Free Market Principles, then you’ve gotta wear the results of their applications, or “Apps” if you’re lazy of tongue. You’ve gotta remember that, in the 1840s, England’s 1st Pure Free Marketeers (pirates) instigated their extremely atrocious Opium Wars against the innocent Chinese people and, simultaneously, manufactured mass famine in Ireland in the names of the Free Market and—you guessed it—Free Trade. In order to prove that Laissez-faire Capitalism is one of God’s Greatest Gifts to Humankind (that plus the Scientific Theory of WASP Supremacy and its crossed-eyed, drooling stepchild called Social Darwinism) rank cynicism being the real White Man’s Burden.
Also, as is only right when speaking in the name of Fiscal Responsibility, America’s sick, lame and lazies shouldn’t get any medical care unless it’s an emergency. This while, from the Fiscal Conservative’s point of view, most visits to some HMO’s gold-plated Jiffy Lube Service Stations are the result of people being denied preventative care as a matter of National Policy.
Since, at least according to the Free Marketeers, preventative healthcare is just another commodity on the Free Market no different than, say, buying avocados or importing Braceros, buying hysterectomies, C-Sections or Viagra, wonder drugs, miracle salves and lotions, body paints, sprays and spray-paints, anything you might desire as a matter of fact. But—listen carefully—if you haven’t got the money then just naturally—and just as God and the Founding Fathers had intended it—you can’t participate in the Free Market in Health Insurance.
Anybody remember those old Western roadhouses and the wide-spot watering holes sporting jumbo white light bulbs strung between poles with clouds of moths dancing around them? I’m talking the old time ma and pa kind of places where they hung professionally painted signs announcing how, as the lawful proprietors of this here lawful establishment, they Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone? That conceivably very long list of miscreant types begins with those individuals of whatever station that ain’t laying down any money. No money, no get, no say, no seat, no complaints, no shit from you, boy. Come back when you’ve gotta job, yah bum!
Plenty more Americans go without adequate preventative care because, never having been properly introduced to the privilege, they’re afraid of getting spoon-fed some way-too-late medical news that’ll wind up killing them and/or bankrupting their families. Since nowadays not many of the young can personally afford to lay out large chunks of their monthly discretionary income simply to buy the services of what’s essentially a Protection Racket, a wise young person is forced to roll the dice with his or her long-term health and “life expectancy.” For instance, in the incredibly rich Fracking Oilfields of Texas, an American woman is about ten times more likely to die from pregnancy than a woman living in Sweden, or Spain, or in plenty of other countries a whole lot poorer than Fracking “Pro-Life” Texas.
We’re told there’s no Free Lunches in this world. “Get your mitts off that apple, little girl! You, boy. Get your toes back behind the line where they belong. Hold your tray level with both hands now; wait your turn, stop your fidgeting.”
What we used to call the “Work Force” is now reduced to non-union wage slaves denied job security, living wages, and the government protection they so reliably pay for, and so desperately need and righteously deserve. What they need, they deserve, says a Free People, and that includes access to affordable family healthcare (Single Payer? No shit.) Healthcare includes preventative care, prenatal care, postnatal care, nutritional assistance, housing assistance, employment assistance, the opportunity to join or organize a union, to publicly assemble, to strenuously object and to most unequivocally demand righteous “redress” are rights as American as homemade Apple Pie served hot off the wood stove.
Then who can forget that right up front in our American Declaration of Independence it’s asserted before God and all the world’s peoples that we ourselves have proclaimed as “Self-Evident” our right to pursue individual Happiness? And pursuing Happiness for either oneself, ones family or grouping is one extremely difficult task when the Free Market in Human Labor declares—no “input” required from you—that The Global Free Market has declared you and yours Obsolete and therefore, like timber faller’s axes, buggy whips and taxi drivers, Expendable: dead inventory destined for a Liquidation Sale.
A bitter punishment you being unemployed through no fault of your own and still getting blamed—and punished—for your laziness and lack of “initiative.” From cradle-to-grave you taking these kinds of injuries and insults from senile spoiled brat rich kids so lacking in a Work Ethic and hand/eye coordination that, forced for once to bend over to tie their own shoes laces, they’re likely get tangled up and strangle themselves.
Nowadays just catching a ride in a Free Market ambulance for a few blocks through some skyscraping dystopian Auto-Megalopolis to some soaring HMO citadel sporting Bell Towers and flying buttresses, then going up in a high-speed freight elevator and being rolled down some very long hallway under very bright lights to some windowless wailing waiting room, there to join the other pod people waiting for legal contracts to work through, sign and then, once they’re done, to wait for somebody else to come and determine whether or not whatever ails you is in fact an emergency and, if so, how much of one, before disappearing with you stuck waiting again.
Stuck again till finally somebody else comes and tells you to be patient and then, as a bonus, hands you a number like you’re a customer standing in some old big city neighborhood delicatessen being run by a family of funny-talkers from across the seas somewhere. Even before you’ve been issued your diagnosis and introduced to Your Treatment Schedule, you’ve already spent enough money to book a coach seat—as in “stagecoach”—on a wide-bodied commercial airliner flying round the world.
A Free Market in Healthcare? Is your life really worth whatever you can or can’t pay? You got kids? What are kids worth in dollars (Sentiment has no Market Value)? In short, are we Healthcare Consumers no different than a pound of Mortadella that’s been freshly thin-sliced and then the slices rolled like cigars into the innards of hard-crusted sandwich rolls a foot long and a hand high? In the Free Deli Market in Blockbuster Sandwiches, you as a customer do your talking with your money. And so Capital Unchained, at its very best, leaves so much to be desired that absolutely no way can it be mistaken for the Best of All possible Worlds except by those who believe in Mother Goose. At its worst, Capital Unchained means war as Corporate Growth and population control.
When the Golden Calf is seen as society’s Deity, Freedom means Survival of the Fittest. It means good old 19th Century, American-style laisse-faire Social Darwinism packaged, then as now, and sold as God’s Will and the Law of this here WASP Land. The Law of the Jungle is another blessing Jesus had bestowed upon us True Blue and Grey White males of soldiering age. Cut, sliced, diced and served hot off the flames and atop of scoop of wormy grits.
Like all those who’ve never been counted as Stakeholders, today's disinherited are absolutely right to contemplate rebellion. We Americans were born in Rebellion against God’s armed representative here on Earth and, in case you’ve missed it, traditionally the most patriotic among us took intense pleasure and pride in whipping the English at their own game; and whipping them so finally and unconditionally that we turned their world upside down. Liberty was born in Rebellion and never should we forget that.
Sometimes opening one’s eyes requires opening one’s heart, and the process is so elementary we rarely notice it. The opposite happens, too: our eyes and hearts clamp shut. Like we’ve fallen so low down we’re cornered and getting rat-packed: keep covered, submit, don’t think, don’t beg, keep covered.
Life is War; War is life. I know how low we can go; might say I’ve earned a bachelors’ degree in human inhumanity. Real young I got real old and it’s been a half-century and millions more slaughtered in war ever since. It’s like we’re war addicts, vampires or something. Or maybe we’re trapped in somebody else’s Big Idea. You know, as citizens we’re lab rats like US soldiers have always been lab rats. Here’s what is crystal clear: Healthcare is not a Human Right in this country only because the worst among us are after all we have by inflicting us with inhumanity, ignorance and shame. Think you’re belly-crawling now? Try belly-crawling across quicksand. Try belly-crawling into the ocean. Belly-crawling gets you nowhere fast. To hell with nowhere.