Sophistry: Obama, Painkillers and Pained Words

I want you to pay very close attention to the whole of Obama’s response to the woman’s question on treating her 105 year old mother. Because it is with biting irony that he uses the language of Liberty to pull the American public in, only to conclude with a crafty manner of describing the absence of Liberty as the solution.

Everyone is honing in on “…maybe she would be better off not having the surgery but taking the painkillers” quote. But you’d be missing a lot if you let the first part of his response go unnoticed. With thanks to Hot Air for the video, pay attention here:

Is this not astounding? The now-infamous painkiller remark pales in comparison to this sophistry. That and the fact that he gives this response without answering the woman’s question.

The questioner’s mother needed a pacemaker. But she was 100 years old. And though her doctor said she needed a pacemaker to go on, an arrhythmia specialist declined to do it because of her age and, like a government bureaucrat would, by reading her file rather than seeing her. When the arrhythmia specialist actually saw her in person – at her doctor’s insistence – he changed his mind about the level of risk and went ahead. As the questioner put it, he did so when he saw “her joy of life.”

Her question is essentially about care for the elderly, the removal of personal care and the weight of impending additional impersonal bureaucracy under Obama’s government health care takeover plan. His answer is a plate of spaghetti. With a side of painkillers.

Question: “Outside the medical criteria for prolonging the life of someone who is elderly, is there any consideration that can be given for a certain spirit, a certain joy of living, or quality of life; or is it just a medical cut off at a certain age?”

President Obama: “Yeah, we’re not gonna solve every difficult problem in terms of end of life care. A lot of that is going to have to be we as a culture and a society making better decisions within our own families and for ourselves. But what we can do is make sure that at least some of the waste that exists in the system that is not making anybody’s mom better that is loading up on additional tests or additional drugs that the evidence shows is not going to improve care, that at least we can let doctors know and your mom know that, you know what, maybe this isn’t gonna help. Maybe you’re better off not taking the surgery, but taking the painkiller.”

We don’t need a massive bureaucracy and government health care to make “better decisions within our own families and for ourselves.” We can do that just fine without. In fact, we can do so better without. Because a government system – which is designed to squeeze out free-market providers – resorts to rationing, which is a wholly impersonal method of distributing short supply based primarily on statistics. the “better decisions” are made by computer models and the bureaucrats running them and crunching the numbers. And, let’s be clear: 105 is not a good number for any of the modeled systems, from Canada to Britain.

Yes, Obama ropes you in with the citation of Liberty with talk about “better choices.” Because he knows full well that Liberty resonates resoundingly with the American public. It is of dismissive consequence, it seems, that the very function of a central government system is to centralize that decision-making power. Individual decision-making is the very definition of Liberty. And it can only be brought to the central government system by wresting it from where it exists: With American citizens and their doctors, on the fringe.

Obama answers the woman by saying that the government and its bureaucracies can make better decisions than you and she can. And if you will just allow him to help by creating this centralized government health care system, you and she will be making better decisions by extension.

He’s subtly fishing for buy-in at this point. The hook is baited with your Liberty.

After prattling on about waste in the private system – which another massive government bureaucracy can defy historical precedent and squash like a bug – he concludes that “we can let doctors know and your mom know” that a certain treatment might not help. Didn’t her doctors quite successfully resolve that conundrum all by themselves without the aid of a benevolent and brilliant government distribution system – five years ago when she was a mere 100?

His answer is unmistakable: The Federal Government can make that decision for you.

What’s more, there is no “maybe you’re better off” inquisitive dialog with a national health care system. Ask a Canadian. Or ask a Brit. It’s perhaps better to envision the dialog if the IRS were to suggest that “maybe you are better off” choosing option A vice option B.

Obama’s answer is pure sophistry.

Oh, and he said “painkillers.” That might have gotten your attention. But that’s not the heart of what he said by a country – or downtown Chicago – mile.

Excellent: Voters Rebelling Against Government Run Health Care
Scorched Earth Politics