Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What the Walrus Said

We do like fact checking. It helps us get the facts straight, you see. That's a good thing. We like facts, but only when they are true facts, and not false facts. False facts are bad. Get it? Which brings us again to mikael moore and his spongy but persistent tumescence for all things non-American, the most recent exemplar of which is socialized medicine. We've already glanced at Cuba's gulag-like clinics, and we peeked at the NHS of Great Britain. Let us now consider health care in Canada.

In Sicko, moore uses a brief clip of an appearance by one Sally Pipes on "The O'Reilly Factor" as an example of the ignorance of an ignorant American, who is ignorant. Alas, Pipes is not American. Poor Pipes. Everybody should get to be American. Damn these borders! Damn them to Hell!!! But I digress. In fact, I'm wrong. Pipes is now American, formerly Canadian. This might perhaps undermine moore's point -- or at least his evidence.

What then is the opinion of this knowledgeable Canadian (whose ignorance appertains only to her Americist tendencies)? "There's a good reason why my former countrymen with the money to do so either use the services of a booming industry of illegal private clinics, or come to America to take advantage of the health care that Moore [sic] denounces."

"Government-run health care in Canada inevitably resolves into a dehumanizing system of triage, where the weak and the elderly are hastened to their fates by actuarial calculation." Both her mother and her uncle died as a result of this sort of 'dehumanizing triage.' It's so bad, says Pipes, that she "can honestly say that Moore's [sic] preferred health care system is something I wouldn't wish on him."

According to Pipes, The Toronto Star -- left-wing even by Canadian standards -- characterizes moore's film as "overwrought and factually challenged." They should know. When a Star reporter challenged moore's positions at Cannes, he petulantly exclaimed, "You Canadians! You used to be so funny! You gave us all our best comedians. When did you turn so dark?" Who could counter that most trenchant riposte? But just who is this "us" and "our" he talks about? Socialists? Propagandists? Islamists? Do any of these have comedians? A mystery for another day.

moore claims that long waiting lists are a result of care that is so excellent that Canadians are just living too dang long. Ruined by success, he'd say. The fact is, there are too few doctors. Costs, don't you know. "Today, according to the OECD, Canada ranks 24th out of 28 major industrialized countries in doctors per thousand people." That, in case you're not a math genius, sucks. Says moore, "the only way [US corporations] can turn the big profit is to not pay out the money, to not provide the care!" This may or may not be true, but it truly is what Canada is doing. And if profit is the deciding factor, by moore's reasoning our system must be excellent, since "85% of hospital beds in the U.S. are in nonprofit hospitals, and almost half of us with private plans get our insurance from nonprofit providers." But perhaps it's best not to inconvenience ourselves with troublesome facts.

Is a government monopoly on health care the way to go? In June of 2005, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that such a system was a "violation of basic human rights."

Numbers, however, and comparisons and court rulings and facts are all pretty, um, linear -- awfully Western and consequently bad. Isn't there some more emotional way we can prove our case? Oh my yes, I've got proof all right. More than you can handle. Super proof. In fact, somebody call the DuVaNCi Cod guy, cuz I've found a secret Nostradamus-like prophecy in the sacred writ of Lewis Carroll -- not a quatrain, however, but, uh, a sextrain. (Oh grow up -- sexrain is just as bad.) So here's your proof, Mr. Skeptical Logic Guy. Get ready. Here it is:

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes -- and ships -- and sealing-wax --
Of cabbages -- and kings --
And why the sea is boiling hot --
And whether pigs have wings."

Don't you see it? The proof? It's so obvious! The cabbage is clearly Cuba, and what kings could it be but those of Great Britain! Canada then is surely to be found in the broad-sailed ships at its surf-beaten shores, and in the sealing-wax of the great sap-dripping forests that skirt its wide plains. As for the shoes, we'll have to wait for moore to pull them out of his ass, the way he does with his facts. Al Gore's the man to see about the boiling seas, and we'll look to the Learjet liberals to find the flying pigs.

I love it when things work out so perfectly. What? My premise is flawed? No, your premise is flawed. Haven't I just put a bunch of words together? -- shaped them with the consummate artistry of the master craftsman? That proves I'm right.

mikael and me, the walrus and the carpenter -- what a team.


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