Let's start with something Glenn Greenwald said recently. It's very difficult to understand why the reporters and pundits who have been wrong about almost everything insist that they should be taken seriously and that their advice is valid. They will admit they were wrong, will admit that they failed, but insist that everyone should still listen to them (get more things wrong). Glenn Greenwald reports:
According to[Jeremy] Scahill (via email), [Chuck]Todd approached him after the [Bill]Maher show and the following occurred:
Right as we walked off stage, he said to me "that was a cheap shot." I said "what are you talking about?" and he said "you know it." I then said that I monitor msm coverage very closely and asked him what was not true that I said on the show. He then replied: "that's not the point. You sullied my reputation on TV."
Media stars are so unaccustomed to being held accountable for the impact of their behavior -- especially when they're on television -- that they consider it a grievous assault on their entitlement when it happens.
They admit they were wrong, that their thought processes are flawed, their information was bad, they trusted the wrong people, and their conclusions were wrong, but you must still listen to them--why? Just because. Because they say so, because they demand it. Because they want it. There's no other reason for their behavior than their sense of entitlement. Any criticism interferes with that lovely feeling of specialness that they believe they were born or imbued with, and since that entitlement is all they have, it drives them into a fury to be told that they don't deserve what they have. Megan McArdle, after being wrong on almost everything that ever wafted through her Swiss cheese skull, pouted that someone actually held her to account for her support of Bush during his illegal invasion of Iraq and trashing of the country, and ours:
You, and most of the other people on these boards, seem to be conducting an argument with some monstrous amalgam of every war supporter you ever tangled with, not with me. I understand your rage. But the fact that you were provoked does not give you a right to provoke me. At least I am confining my comments to the people who are actually behaving like . . . well, you know . . . not unleashing it on every person who opposed the war.
I will not now, nor ever, "admit" that having supported the war makes me an immoral moron, and frankly I'm astonished that the war opponents think that there is any possibility that they will wring such a concession from anyone. Do you behave when you are wrong in the way that you are demanding I do? Would you apologize to a girlfriend who has said the sort of things to you that the commenters on other threads have said to me?
What's even more astonishing is that the people who opposed the war wonder why they have been shut out of the discussion. This is why. Many of the people complaining seem to think that a discussion consists of screaming invective.
McArdle knows she doesn't have a leg to stand on here. She wasn't smart enough to listen to dissenting voices and in her arrogance assumed that whatever she thought would be correct. She can't tell liberals to go away and stop criticizing her because they were right and she was wrong. But she'll never admit she doesn't know what she is doing, so she goes on the attack. Yeah, the left was right but they were mean, so nobody has to listen to them and McArdle can continue to be wrong without interruption. It's just about the most feeble excuse for ignoring reality that one can imagine, but that's Our Megan.
McArdle is grossly wrong on health care as well, of course. National health care or some variation of it is successful in many countries, but McArdle's reasoning is based on emotion, not facts. If we go back far enough we can see the real reason McArdle is against national health care: She doesn't want to help anyone else. It is truly that simple.
Assuming, arguendo, that we believe in making social-justice-enhancing forced transfers, I'm not sure that this particular transfer meets the needs of social justice. One might argue that the transfer should flow to those whose need is greater, but as a class, the old and sick are wealthier than the young and healthy. They have more assets, many have a guaranteed income, and few have children to support. Moreover, a need-based transfer would argue for some sort of means-tested programme, not an indiscriminate giveaway to anyone who happens to be sick.
Moreover, as a class, the old and sick have some culpability in their ill health. They didn't eat right or excercise; they smoked; they didn't go to the doctor as often as they ought; they drank to much, or took drugs, or sped, or engaged in dangerous sports. Again, in individual cases this will not be true; but as a class, the old and sick bear some of the responsibility for their own ill health, while younger, healthier people have almost no causal role in the ill-health of others.
Perhaps they deserve it by virtue of suffering? But again, most of them are suffering because they have gotten old, often in high style. The young of today have two possible outcomes:
1) They will be old and sick too, in which case they are no less deserving of our concern than today's old and sick
2) They won't ever get to be old and sick, which is even worse than being old and sick.
As a class, the old and sick are already luckier than the young and healthy. Again, for individuals within that class--those with desperate congenital conditions, for example--this is not the case. But I'm not sure it's terribly compelling to argue that we should massively disadvantage a large group of people in order to massively advantage another, equally large group of people, all to help out the few who are needy, or deserving, or unlucky.
If you're sick it's your own fault, see? Which means that forcing employers to pay for your health care is a case of massively advantaging yourself over your poor employer, who is just trying to run a business and shouldn't have to pay for his employee's unhealthy life style. Which is why McArdle pays for her own health insurance. Oh, wait--she doesn't. She lets her employer foot the bill.