Let the 30-Year-Old Die!: The Christianist Party Shouts for Crucifixion

This is a must-see. It’s the Republican audience’s reaction to a debate question directed last night to Ron Paul by Wolf Blitzer. The gist of the question was the following:

Should society let an employed 30-year-old experiencing a catastrophic health crisis, but lacking insurance, die?

Ron Paul said no, but not the audience. The audience wanted blood. The crudity put me in mind of the crowd response that Pontius Pilate got to another 30-year-old facing the prospect of death: “Shall I crucify this man?”

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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25 Responses to Let the 30-Year-Old Die!: The Christianist Party Shouts for Crucifixion

  1. andrewclunn says:

    Fuck yeah! Let the damn leaches in society die! HELL YES!

    • santitafarella says:

      Andrew,

      I appreciate your honesty, but to my mind your position is a reductio ad absurdum: there surely must be some common sense limits on your libertarianism.

      For example, the number of employed and uninsured 30-year-olds stricken by a treatable life-threatening disease is a small number and is never going to bankrupt federal or state governments to take care of the occasional ones that run up a $1,o00,000 hospital bill. In the grand scheme of things, such persons are not parasites on their communities, just unlucky. A thirty year old who is medically treated and lives is likely to put far more into a community (over a lifetime) than he takes out, even after factoring in a $1,000,000 hospital bill. The real parasites are the bankers, etc who lobby congress and skew the system in truly gross ways. Not an uninsured worker who lands in a hospital.

      I could, for example, imagine a libertarian supporting a catastrophic health bill for the community as a whole (one that wouldn’t pay for the first $100,000 of a hospital bill, but would then pick up the tab beyond that). $100,000 would certainly be a hardship to pay off for an uninsured person over a lifetime, but at least the person would be treated and go on living.

      Such a federally backed insurance scheme would be akin to FEMA: something for an extreme emergency.

      The state could certainly afford such base insurance protection for citizens as a whole, and without breaking a financial sweat. Catastrophes are, by their very natures, catastrophes (things that are rare).

      I just think it would be very corrosive to society (and the human heart) if the uninsured were simply chucked out of hospitals to die. We don’t want to, even on libertarian principles, develop the kinds of attitudes that breed (historically) cruelty.

      But this video is definitely a Rorshach test for separating liberals from conservatives.

      —Santi

      • andrewclunn says:

        So we have a guy who is employed, can afford health insurance, and chooses not to. There wasn’t any, “He couldn’t afford it!” or, “He was denied coverage!” sob story. He just chose not to because he either didn’t want to plan ahead, was making a calculated risk, or expected the public at large to coddle him if things went bad.

        Now if we can’t say to that guy, “No, you do not have a right to your neighbors wealth in order to pay for your care.” then we can not then deny anyone. Anyone who has a need must therefore be guaranteed that need by society, and you then only have a right to your property so long as someone else does not have a need, which then gives them a greater right to it.

        You are right Santi, this is a wonderful litmus test for whether someone is a communist or not. And I hope one day you have the guts to admit to yourself that you are in fact a communist.

  2. concerned christian says:

    Santi,
    First, I believe that you as any good teacher will do, threw a nasty polemic accusation to get the students fired up.
    Second, I do not trust Wolf and I believe he showed his bias by creating such a far out hypothetical situation, most of these debate moderators get failing grade in fairness in my biased opinion..
    Third, can you tell me how much money should the society spend to keep a person alive? If this guy is well off he should spend whatever amount he is willing to spend before asking the society to pay for him. If he does not do that he is a free loader and we already have enough of those.
    Finally, I will ask you a similar question; every year many nitwits against all sane advice decide to climb mountains like mount Rainier in winter and get stuck and when they are rescued they are asked to pay the cost. Do you believe that we are mean spirited to ask them to pay?.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I’m 29. I work 60+ hrs a week. Barely making ends meet. It’s either food or health insurance. If I fall off a roof tomorrow, I’m screwed. I should die because legislators cannot “eat their peas”? The hypocrisy of these cheering sickos with whom claim to be christian. These are the same people who actually get excited when we go to war. Like it’s a game. What is this world coming to? Are there any moderate people left. Cheering a dead thirty year old. Unreal…

  4. David Yates says:

    Titling this “The Christianist Party Shouts for Crucifixion” is, I’m afraid, more than a little disengenuous. When the camera switched to the audience, yes, there were some applauding, but there were also quite a few who weren’t — and it appeared that there were even a couple people shaking their heads — and, to be truthful, it would also appear that the applause was more to show agreement with Dr. Paul’s support for personal responsibility than for the hypothetical 30 yr-old’s medical predicament. As well, at the end (and it was only at the end that the question of death was introduced), when Wolf asked Dr. Paul if “society should just let him die,” there was a single person who shouted, “Yeah!” That’s it. Hardly a whole “party” — “Christianist” or otherwise — clamouring for blood. And finally, who’s to say that that single person was a Christian?

  5. Paradigm says:

    Isn’t America cruel enought as it is? Generally speaking desperate people tend to cost society a lot of money by committing crimes. So what you save in health expenses you lose in police and law expenses. On top of that you get the “corrosive” climate, crime victims (and their medical bills) and so forth. Even to a cruel and stingy person, there is no real benefit.

    Andrew: If Santi is a communist, then surely Sweden is a communist country? But note this: all the large corporations are happy to do business here. People have better health, live longer and claim to be happier here. With less desperate people comes less crime, conflicts, lawsuits and general insecurity. And even in this global recession we have a pretty strong economy.

    That said, our welfare generosity goes too far sometimes. We actually let tax payers finance the rescuing of mountain climbers, which is crazy. Everyone should finance their own hobbies.

    • andrewclunn says:

      Whether someone thinks that the government should manage health care is a separate question from whether (in a society where the government does not manage health care) a blatant freeloader has a right to health care. I stand by my statement.

    • David Yates says:

      “Isn’t America cruel enought as it is?” This reminds me of Michelle Obama’s statement that America is “just downright mean.” And she should know. The U.S. is so mean that when she was hired at the University of Chicago Hospitals, not as a nurse, doctor, or janitor, but in order to run “programs for community relations, neighbourhood outreach, volunteer recruitment, staff diversity, and minority contracting,” she was paid over $100,000/yr. That’s disgusting! And in 2005 (coincidentally just as her husband was ascending to national prominence), she was promoted to the position of Vice President for Community and External Affairs and put in charge of managing the hospitals’ “business diversity program,” which carried with it a measely raise to $316,962/yr plus benefits. How cruel! How can they possibly expect anybody to live on that?!? I’ll bet they were so mean to her because they were racists! (And let’s note that this was a job that was considered so vital to their ongoing operations that when she quit to become First Lady they didn’t even bother to replace her.)
      Later, I remember seeing a news segment of the First Lady “volunteering” at a soup kitchen for the homeless. Surrounding her particular station was a veritable gaggle of homeless patrons of the kitchen, and virtually every single one of them was excitedly photographing her with their cellphones. LOL!! How cruel does a nation have to be that it would saddle these “poverty-stricken” people with all those monthly cellphone charges?!?

  6. Paradigm says:

    David you are way off topic. I guess you don’t wont to discuss the actual outcome of health care in America and Europe. But in the long run I think most Americans will accept a system with a few freeloaders in exchange for better health for all.

    And with all the homeless, the murder rate, the same life span as Cuba, the most law suits in the world etc, America seems pretty grim to me.

    • andrewclunn says:

      I sounds to me like you’re buying into the lie that the US presently has a free market system.

      “One of the methods used by statists to destroy capitalism consists in establishing controls that tie a given industry hand and foot, making it unable to solve its problems, then declaring that freedom has failed and stronger controls are necessary.”
      – Ayn Rand

      • santitafarella says:

        Andrew,

        That’s funny. That’s what Paul Krugmann says about what the Republicans have done over the past few years to Keynesian policies: knee-capped their full implementation and so declared them as both tried and failed.

        —Santi

      • andrewclunn says:

        The difference being that I can point out to you exactly how the government is stifling the health care industry and Krugmann’s argument basically comes down to, “$700 Billion isn’t enough!’

      • santitafarella says:

        Well, one important reason the economy nearly plunged into a depression in the first place has to do with the lifting of 1930s regulations on the banking industry. This was cheered on by Ayn Rand’s most well known admirer, Alan Greenspan.

        Given what just happened, do you favor the relaxing of banking regulations again? Shall we have no federally enforced traffic lights on the industry at all? Let the banking industry completely regulate itself?

        I myself think the industry is ginning up for another corrupt debacle precisely because it lobbied to keep stronger regulations from being put in place by the Democrats and Obama in 2009.

        —Santi

      • andrewclunn says:

        Wrong! Check out the Community Reinvestment Act. That’s where your bubble came from. The government promoting the creation of bad loans to boost home ownership numbers.

      • Paradigm says:

        In other words we have the American model, whatever you choose to call it, and the European welfare model. And then we have the hardcore libertarian model that never left the drawing board. You prefer which?

      • andrewclunn says:

        You mean the model that was in place everywhere pre-World War 2? Yeah, that’s the one I want.

      • santitafarella says:

        Andrew,

        The promotion of bad loans to poor people was one part of a much larger regulatory problem: the banks made bad loans across the board precisely because they incurred no risk. Instead of incurring risk and holding the loans themselves, they were able to sell them off in derivative packages to investors. The ratings agencies, being in bed with the industry, gave these investment products high investment ratings. It was all corrupt—you can’t just blame it on poor people applying for a loan and being accepted for the loan. Most people don’t walk away from a loan officer second-guessing what they qualify for.

        All of this would have been completely illegal in the 1970s (prior to the beginning of Reagan era banking deregulation).

        Then the bankers used their “too big to fail” status to buy Congressional votes to bail them out. Surely, Andrew, you must own, as a libertarian, what this says about human nature and why some government regulation has to be in place to prevent markets and political systems from becoming corrupted in this way.

        Unfortunately, the only way to stop the lobbying corruption as it now exists is to drive the size of the federal government down into the 15-20% of GDP range and instituting a balanced budget ammendment so that the government does not have the latitude to bail out the banks in that way ever again. So, ironically, the libertarian agenda is advanced by the very corruption that adheres to capitalism.

      • andrewclunn says:

        So now when I blame the government for bad regulations that incentivized bad loans, I’m blaming poor people? Stop before you hurt yourself Santi.

    • David Yates says:

      You’re right, I was off-topic. But by all means, let’s discuss “the actual outcome of healthcare in America and Europe” all you want. But why stop there? According to the CIA World Fact Book, the life-expectancy for the average American is 78.37 yrs; in Denmark – 78.63; Greece – 79.92; UK – 80.05; Jordan – 80.05; Ireland – 80.19; Norway – 80.2; Sweden – 81.07; France – 81.19; Canada – 81.38; Japan – 82.25. But hold on, in a country like Bahrain it’s 78.15; in Cyprus – 77.82; Cuba – 77.7; Libya – 77.65; Albania – 77.41; Kuwait – 77.09; and Mexico – 76.47. Okay, I’ll stop.
      The reason I list all these figures is to say: If life in the US is “pretty grim” as you put it, does this mean that life in places like Bahrain, Libya, or Albania is just a tiny bit worse, but more-or-less the same? Or that life in places like Greece or Jordan is considerably better? I kinda doubt it.
      People tend to migrate where life is genuinely better and do you honestly think that millions of illegal immigrants from Mexico scurry across the border into the US just to hang on for 1.9 more years of life-expectancy? If life is so miserable there, why are more people from all over the world immigrating to the US than to anywhere else? Why are there far more Europeans moving to America than there are Americans moving to Europe? Moreover, why aren’t there tons of people flocking to Japan (where there’s hardly any immigration at all!)?
      “(S)ame life span as Cuba”? Yeah, if the figures above are indeed true, there’s only about a six month difference in average life-expectancy. Yet, ever since Castro’s ‘Revolucione’ practically any Cuban capable of tying two toothpicks together have done so and tried to float about 170 miles through shark-infested waters trying to get to the US. How many American’s have done the same to “escape” to the “workers’ paradise” of Cuba? And another question we should be asking is, why haven’t those Cubans tried to float to the Dominican Republic, where they could expect only a few month’s worth decrease in life-expectancy to 77.31 yrs? Or heck, why not escape to the Cayman Islands where they could expect an whopping increase to 80.68 yrs?!? These places are far closer. This is especially puzzling since the US is such a “cruel” and “grim” place to live according to you.
      Maybe it all has to do with the fact that life is a whole lot more than govt-funded healthcare. Maybe it also has to do with that increasingly rare concept of freedom. And at least a part of freedom means being able to make your own choices. And more, being an adult means taking responsibility for those choices. Being citizens of free nations we expect to be able to decide for ourselves which make and model of car we’d like to buy, what size TV we’d like to purchase, the style of our furniture, our clothing, our cellphones, etc. But when it comes to it, these are trivial matters compared to our healthcare, and allowing the govt to step in and decide for us the manner of our healthcare is to cede to them not just a measure of our personal responsibility as adults but a measure of our freedom, as well. All things considered, I would prefer to remain both an adult and maintain my freedom.

      • Paradigm says:

        “The reason I list all these figures is to say: If life in the US is “pretty grim” as you put it, does this mean that life in places like Bahrain, Libya, or Albania is just a tiny bit worse, but more-or-less the same? Or that life in places like Greece or Jordan is considerably better? I kinda doubt it.”

        The thing is that just a single year is a meassure of a lot of health. Remember that smoking – one of the unhealthiest thing you can do – reduces you life expectancy by 10 years. So the 2.7 years difference between USA and Sweden is a big deal. Then you take a few exceptions of poor countries with a high expectancy to further discredit this meassure. But anyone can see for themselves the overall pattern. At the top we have countries like Monaco, Hong Kong, Canada, Sweden, Japan, Switzerland, Australia. There is a reason for that.
        (Here is the list if anyone is interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy)

        “People tend to migrate where life is genuinely better and do you honestly think that millions of illegal immigrants from Mexico scurry across the border into the US just to hang on for 1.9 more years of life-expectancy? If life is so miserable there, why are more people from all over the world immigrating to the US than to anywhere else? Why are there far more Europeans moving to America than there are Americans moving to Europe? ”

        I think Mexicans leave for America because 1.9 years is a lot in terms of health and standard of living as I mentioned above.

        More people immigrate to USA than any other country because it’s a big country. If you look at new citizens per capita it is Canada, Belgium and Sweden who top the list.

        As for Europeans leaving for America but less in the other direction, this has to do with who is leaving. Rich Europeans can pay much less tax in the US so they have a stronger incentive. Also, this immigration is very small today.

        Your missing several things here.

  7. Paradigm says:

    “You mean the model that was in place everywhere pre-World War 2? Yeah, that’s the one I want.”

    Eh, everywhere? Germany was a Nazi dictatorship. Russia was run by the Communists and was a feudal monarchy before that. Sweden was run by the Democratic Socialists before and after WW2. And America was recovering from the Great Depression with FDRs New Deal. None of these regimes were remotely libertarian.

  8. Paradigm says:

    Even if discuss health care only, Russia and Sweden clearly did not apply your favored model since the financed it through taxes.From what I’ve read the German government funded a lot of the health care even before the Nazis came to power. They did so with the idea that a little socialims will prevent the bigger socialism.

  9. Keira says:

    Hi. I am wondering if you’d be interested in doing a link swap? I see your blog: https://santitafarella.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/let-the-30-year-old-die-the-christianist-party-shouts-for-crucifixion/ and my blog are centered around the same topic. I’d love to
    switch links or possibly guest author a article for
    you. Here is my personal contact: keirapoulin@gmx.

    net. I highly recommend you contact me if you’re even slightly interested. Appreciate it.

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