driving home this afternoon some learned soul on national public radio rhapsodizing about efficiency and costs and rationing in medical care. a medical ethicist, in other words, harvard law and yale medical, or some such.
in short, in favor of the death panels.
bear with me for a second. it seems as though i digress & wander, but, i do not.
i just finished 25 years of law practice not so long ago, which practice was of course, preceded by three years of law school. in law school i learned several things, one courtesy of either "peter torts," or john jacobson, professor of "contracts," and that was, "widows never loose and rail roads never win." it was funny, and not entirely true, but it does hint that the law is not entirely free of intellectual bias.
i also learned that in labor law, during democratic administration workers always got pop machines in the lounge while during republican administrations it was deemed o.k. if management withdrew the pop machines, upon one ground or another. likewise, i learned that in social security administration rulings on disability & pension issues, during democratic administrations the administrative law judge always went to the applicant on close cases, that while during republican administration your client had best be really sick, and then some, were he or she to get a permanent disability status ruling.
life is like that.
and, so is death.
the "death panels," those review boards which will decide whether people who cannot provide for their own very costly medical procedures & regimens are worthy of receiving such medical services at public expense. the factors which will determine the receipt or the rejection of public funds will consider the utility of pumping public money into a person in order to prolong life, with regard to the future benefit of the entire society, and whether it is worth it to extend life in consideration of age and other general factors of health.
you may anticipate that "elites" will sit on these boards, persons learned by education, professional experience and activism's of one sort or another, to likely include medical ethicists, doctors, lawyers, sociologists, counselors and others similar. in attitudes, disposition, and life experience. (o.k., it is a sentence fragment, this i know. but, it gets the point across, doesn't it.)
anyone care to take a very wild stab at guessing to whom they will favor dispensing public funds in order to keep alive? well, yes, quite likely they will see the wisdom in prolonging the life of others such as themselves, who have contributed to society by long lives in academia, the professions, the arts and letters, and other such professionals and avocations that have contributed to the well being of others.
and, most likely, they will not turn a blind eye to such matters as social class and political orientation, because these are not matters removed from community values and community contributions still to be made during a period of prolonged longevity.
in the eyes of democrats during democratic administrations, it probably won't hurt to be an aged old duffer who was a democratic activists, and who will speak the "lingo" of the death panel, and the death panelists.
in short, the death panelists are quite likely to choose in favor of prolonging lives much like theirs, and in seeing to it that attitudes and dispositions much like theirs are preserved. in the immortal words of former governor albert d. rosellini of washington state, accused of nepotism in the hiring of many relatives and friends, "what, you don't expect me to hire my enemies, do you?"
why should, and why will, the "death panels" operate any differently than any other form of political patronage in the history of mankind? if you do not think that the "death panels" will operate this way, you are a very kind and gentle person, quite naive, and almost totally blind to the way the world works.
if you are old, & ugly, & garrulous, & quarrelsome, and you haven't done very much for others, or not have done very much at all, and you forthrightly announce your intention not to do so, but just to stay at home and watch the ball games, it won't be too difficult to handicap the likelihood of you getting a "scholarship" for the next ten years, will it?
you figure it out, who gets the additional franchise.
john jay @ 03.16.2011 (my birthday, this day 63 years ago.)(some of these issues are quite fresh, eh?)