Thursday, August 18, 2005

Authoritarian of the week

Although a tough choice considering the weekly swarm of meddling, noxious bureaucrats and statists that pollute our environment, Comrade Michael Decter, head of the Health Council of Canada, is my pick for the London Fog authoritarian of the week. When individual burdens and responsibilities are forcefully transformed into 'collective' burdens, peaceful lifestyle choices -although potentially harmful to the individual, but no one else - cease to be a personal matter. Your fate is in the hands of the benevolent officials who oversee the current five year plan.

A new report draws a direct line between alarming obesity rates and sharp increases in knee and hip replacement surgeries, a finding experts warn should be a wake-up call for Canadians concerned about the health of their joints -- and the cost of their health care.

The report, from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, showed people who were obese had joint replacement surgery at three times the rate of people with a healthy body weight. People who were overweight were twice as likely to undergo joint replacement as individuals with a healthy weight.

"Essentially when you connect the dots, the reality is we have a choice here. Either we're going to, as a nation, take some weight off or we're going to have a lot more hip and knee replacements," Michael Decter, head of the Health Council of Canada, said when asked to comment on the report.

"How would you rather spend our national health budget 10 years from now or 20 years from now?" he continued. "Would you like to spend it on a doubling of the number of hip and knee replacements? Or would you like to spend some money (now) to prevent that ramp up (in costs)?"
Further erosion of individual liberties are here justified in the name of more collective freedom, which means more loot and power for those with government sanction at the expense of the individuals comprising the collective they profess to protect and serve.

While it is likely true that fat people have more hip and knee problems, the forced monopoly of health care makes it every taxpayers' problem. If people had to pay for their own costs, via insurance or direct payment for services rendered, those that engaged in riskier behaviour would pay for the cost of their own habits and yes, their misfortunes too. The alternative to this is forcing people to change their personal habits against their will.

Move over smoker - Bertha is sharing your bed now.
Decter said the data show it’s time for an assault on the obesity problem similar to the successful campaigns that dramatically cut smoking rates in this country.

“It’s very clear now that we need a similar kind of effort—I guess an effort that we haven’t really made since the old ‘Participaction’ days—to sort of say: If we don’t want another two decades of ramp [up] in total hip and knee joint replacements, we have to, as a nation, do something to, I guess whatever the opposite of ‘supersize’ ourselves is, to take some weight off and be healthier.”
Next up: Government issued refrigerators with a scale attached. The occupant of the complex must step on the scale in order to receive their daily ration of food. If the citizen weighs in over the government decreed maximum healthy weight, the fridge remains sealed and the unhappy obese person is deprived of their ration until such time as they weigh in at a socially acceptable weight.


bgilliard said...

I agree, it feels unfair that healthy individuals have to pay for the healthcare of people who engaged in 'risky' behaviour. The problem is that there are a lot of 'risky' behaviours, so where do you draw the line between deserving of help and not?

MapMaster said...

It doesn't just feel, it is unfair, although I would be inclined to use the stronger descriptor of wrong. Where I draw the line between who deserves my help or not is strictly my own affair, and I'm not about to go prescribing my views on the subject to anyone else, I'm quite happy to let them help out anyone they would like. These lines that are drawn cannot be anything but arbitrary, which is fine for any individual acting on his own, but not as a policy that is forced upon everyone. I know, I'm heartless, but I'm really not actually…

Sky Captain said...

Couldn't we establish official 'classes' of people;'Citizen','Bureaucrat','Politico' etc.
To gain admission to a class,you would have to pass certain induction tests,not necessarily anything to do with academic qualification,but objectively described for the application of equality to all comers.
Everybody left over could be melted down and used as soap or food cubes.

bgilliard said...

There are people who deserve our collective help. You can't paint everybody with the same brush. Or turn them into Soylent Green.

MapMaster said...

There are people who need help, but in what sense of the word can you say they deserve help — that seems to imply that they have done something to earn that desert. I haven't done anything to deserve your help should I need it, which is not to say I wouldn't be grateful if you offered it, but I'm not justified in making a claim on your time or money. As far as the collective help business, who decides? If everyone decides voluntarily to help, then we hardly need the state making the decision. If everyone doesn't decide voluntarily to help, we must force them?

Sky Captain said...

Of course, this 'objectivity' sits well with the 'Sacred Conch' theory of authority.
Whoever grabs the instantaneous credibility needed to enforce their judgements in a deocratic dictatorship would be able to decide who gets boiled down.
After all,the Nazis only won one real election;then they grabbed the Conch and held on tight while ridding society of Jews,Gypsies,Christians who were too Christian,Homosexuals, the Non-Approved mentally ill etc etc.