Dum Pendebat Filius

A sniff in the kortevar, that what you cry for, yeled? A prert up the cull, a prang on the dumpendebat?

Am I dreaming?

Sometimes I read something that just makes my jaw drop. I have to read it multiple times to make sure I’m not missing something. Then I have to make sure I’m actually awake, that it isn’t all a dream. I had one of those am-I-dreaming? moments this morning, when I saw Sarah Palin’s comments on healthcare reform. Readers, this is just surreal:

The Democrats promise that a government health care system will reduce the cost of health care, but as the economist Thomas Sowell has pointed out, government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama‚Äôs “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

Palin refers to, but does not link to, something she read by Thomas Sowell (or, more likely, something somebody told her Sowell said — Palin, by her own admission, is not much of a reader), so I don’t know whether the quotes she puts around “death panel” and “level of productivity in society” are just what they call “scare-quotes,” or whether she’s quoting something Thomas Sowell said, or what.

But that’s kind of beside the point. What makes me wonder whether I’m actually reading this, or if it’s all a weird dream, is the sheer lunacy of her assertions.

Does she actually, honestly believe that President Obama has proposed to convene a “death panel” that will judge the “level of productivity in society” of individual American citizens, and deny said citizens access to health care if said citizens are not deemed sufficiently productive?

Aside from the fact that no such proposal has ever been made, that’s one of the craziest things I’ve heard all year. Is there any human being who actually believes something that wacky?

Readers, I think that’s too crazy even for Sarah Palin to actually, literally believe it. I think she’s playing her admirers for a bunch of fools, which is pretty much par for the course in America in the year 2009.

We Americans are in very deep trouble, readers. Our economy is in very bad shape. Our armed forces are still bogged down in two completely useless wars in Southwest Asia. There are a lot of problems we need to solve. Yet we citizens have to go out of our way to get the most basic facts about any of the issues we’re facing as a nation. How come?

Well, one of the biggest problems is that we’ve got a political press corps who believe, and openly state, that it’s not their job to evaluate whether the utterances of public figures are true or not, a press corps that is just hopelessly addicted to bullshit, gossip and trivia, whose idea of “reporting” boils down to He said this, and she said that, and how will that affect their popularity ratings in the next public-opinion poll?, who could not care less about policy — they find it boring — and prefer to look at politics as an extension of celebrity gossip. We’ve got a completely polarized electorate, who look at everything through the lens of tribal affiliation (and this, readers, is basically why I quit blogging, because I’m just as guilty of that as anybody, and I’m sick to death of it).

All our political “news” is just thinly-disguised celebrity gossip, and all our political “commentary” is just one-sided propaganda and bullshit from a bunch of rich people who collect big fat paychecks from even richer people to play their viewers (or readers, or listeners) for a bunch of fools. Olbermann and Maddow are just as bad as Hannity and El Rushbo when it comes to playing their audience for fools (although they’re not quite as nasty and hateful as their right-wing counterparts, I will give them that).

Worse, we are living in a culture that openly scorns knowledge in favor of belief. If you know something I don’t, that doesn’t matter — what I believe is just as important as what you know. President Bush governed our nation for eight years on the basis of what he believed, rather than what he or anybody else knew, and look where it got us, readers.

And so maybe that’s why Sarah Palin feels comfortable saying, apparently in all seriousness, that President Obama would like to put her parents and her son in front of a “death squad” — because that’s what she believes, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not in real life, because she believes it?

That’s a possibility. But I still don’t buy it. Not even Sarah Palin is ignorant enough to believe this “death squad” bullshit. No, she’s playing her fan base, the unfortunate souls who actually take her seriously, for a bunch of fools. That’s how we roll in today’s America.

Filed under: Political by dumpendebat at 2009/08/08 - 15:20


  1. Kitschmonster:

    May I use this in my class? My h.s. kids have a tough time doing exactly what you write about. They rarely think for themselves and are all too happy to parrot their parents’ views which seem mainly to be fox news propaganda. Your piece is well-written, intellectually amusing, and cuts through the absurdity of Palin’s logic. I wish you wouldn’t give up the blogging. But that’s selfish of me. I have a buddy who recently moved to Vermont to teach Latin at a small boarding school. He has spent the summer without television or news media of any kind and he tells me he couldn’t be happier.


  2. dumpendebat:

    We’ve got a lot of important decisions to make in this country, and our news media just simply refuse to do their job. They can’t be trusted, not because they’re driven by any political bias, but because they flat-out do not give a flying fuck about policy. They care about trivia, and they care about gossip. Our elections are all about personality and “character.” Current events are mostly about who’s doing better in the polls right now, and what it might mean in the next polling cycle. This is what passes for “news.”

    The news media are very afraid of being accused of “bias,” and besides, it’s much easier (and a lot more fun) to write about personalities and arguments than it is to write about issues and policies, so they have decided that their job is just to “report the controversy.” A said this, and B said that. End of story. Never mind if what A said wasn’t true — it’s no longer the news media’s job to care about that kind of thing.

    And political commentary is all about tribal affiliation. It’s a very human trait to want to be part of a tribe, but tough decisions can’t get made when all you have is two completely polarized tribes, neither of which believes the other one is even capable of acting in good faith. The news about healthcare reform last week was all about these gangs of hooligans disrupting town hall meetings, and various pundits and talking heads arguing over who’s a Nazi and who’s a brownshirt. No one has time to actually talk about the healthcare-reform proposals — it’s all about the argument and the anger. How is anybody supposed to think seriously about healthcare reform when the newspapers and the cable news shows won’t talk about anything but who is angry and who called whom a Nazi?

    That’s the kind of culture in which ignorance thrives. We’ve been stuck on stupid for quite a while now, and it shows no signs of improving anytime soon. I’m very worried about the future of America, because a democracy can’t keep going forever on a steady diet of stupidity.

    Sure, you can use this if you like.

  3. Dave Fourputt:

    Hey Dump.

    Check out this link. Bill makes some good points similar to yours.


  4. Dave Fourputt:

    And this one also:


  5. dumpendebat:

    Thanks for the links, Fourputt.

  6. troll:

    gss B. Hssn sttng, “W wll hv t tll th dctrs, nd y nd yr grndmthr, tht myb th prtn s nt th bst ptn nd myb sh shld jst tk pn pll,” s jst tlk?
    Wh s th “w” n hs sttmnt? Jst skng.

  7. Stram:

    Happy Labor Day, Filius.

  8. dumpendebat:

    And the same to you, my friend.

  9. Hank Dagny:

    Stram and Dump ought to get a room and continue to toss each other’s salads properly.
    At least you allow comments Dump, unlike Stram the Coward.
    Dump, did you know Stram never uses his backyard, but hides in his garage, for fear someone might challenge him on his communist stance?

  10. dumpendebat:

    A blast from the past… a typical classy, thoughtful, and intelligent comment from Hank Dagny.

    Hank, have you forgotten? You got banned from this site like a year and a half ago. You got banned for this very reason: all you ever contribute is a bunch of nasty personal insults. I understand that’s how you “win” arguments, but nobody’s arguing with you anymore.

    Think of yourself as a vox clamantis in deserto if it makes you feel any better about yourself, but nobody’s listening, buddy. Go find somebody else to insult.

    You are not welcome to leave comments at Dum Pendebat Filius.

  11. Stram:

    Now that’s hilarious. Hank Dagny, the guy who frantically and comically closes his garage door before exiting his car when he sees me in that back yard. This from a guy who never crawls out of his house. Hank Dagny, the tough guy who when I show up at a family function wimpers, pouts to his wife and runs home whining.

    I feel bad for you Filius for having to listen to that nutjob. I feel it’s my fault. ‘Hank’ is definitely close to losing his mind. He’s been out of work since last October and of course it’s the liberals’ fault. Seriously, Hank has gone schizo.

    It’s comical, and schizo, that he brings up my back yard. I am constantly, when not working, in my yard while on the other hand Hank is basically a hermit who never comes out of his house. We have almost one acre lots – I mow my own yard – he has a lawn service. I did a couple of fairly big landscaping projects this summer and he did nothing but sit on his flimsy ass playing video poker and reading his Limbaugh Letter all summer long.

    So, sorry to bother you with this shit Filius. It all started up again this week when Schizo Hank answered some poor commenter, ‘rev. ray’ over at Liar’s Quorum and Hank accused him of being ‘Stram’. I couldn’t help it – I should have ignored the little punk – but I chimed in and made him look like a fool again. He’ll yelp on his keyboard for awhile and hide in his basement.

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