Posted by: Harold Knight | 09/10/2010

The term “healthcare industry” is an oxymoron. 9/11 Conspiracy Theories are worse than that.

(In which I prattle on about all kinds of stuff I know nothing about. Hypergraphia never sleeps.)

This morning I was awake at my usual 5 AM, up and ready to go. I sat down at the computer after making coffee and making sure the cats were taken care of. And then there was nothing.

Jeffrey Miron's inspiration?

Jeffrey Miron's inspiration?

Obviously, that’s not true. Lots of stuff is rambling around in my head, but nothing is coming to rest in any place where I can grab hold of it and run with it. I don’t have an idea—much less a thought or any way to develop it. I can’t pull a rabbit out of this hat. The hat is empty, even for a magician’s trick. There’s just no rabbit there, either in the hat or up my sleeve or wherever magicians stuff rabbits. But I have to write anyway. I have no choice.

I’d like to write about politics. I don’t know anything about politics. What I see I don’t like. President Obama is not the brilliant politician he appeared to be when he was elected. He hasn’t been able to communicate the vision of what his administration is doing. No one will ever call him “The Great Communicator.” Perhaps that’s because he has too much to communicate. In order to be “The Great Communicator,” one must have, as did Ronald Reagan, nothing to communicate. Except selfishness and a blind dedication to the capitalist mantra of “let’s accumulate more capital” so we can rule the world. So beginning to change the way we all find the resources to take care of our bodies so everyone has the same health care is too much to communicate. The naysayers continue to call it “Obamacare,” as if he, himself, invented it. Never mind the attempts for the last 50 years to rein in the health-care “industry.”

You’d think a university professor would be professional enough to use real logic and rhetoric when he talks about political issues in public (especially on Public Broadcasting’s Newshour) but Jeffrey Miron, economics professor at Harvard, used the term “Obamacare” in a so-called debate about whether or not to extend the Bushycuts (let’s fabricate a name for the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy).

Jeffrey Miron, by the way, is a “libertarian,” which means he is the ultimate capitalist. That is, he believes NOTHING should get in the way of the accumulation of wealth—basing his political and economic theories on the Horatio Alger stories about poor boys rising to security and wealth by working hard—and by having older men as mentors, men who have already made it.

The term “healthcare industry” is, as I have said before—and I’m sure I’m not the first to say it—an oxymoron. But then, everything in the United States has to be geared to make a profit or it can’t survive because

Capitalism is a system in which the endless accumulation of capital is the raison d’etre. To accumulate capital, producers must obtain profits from their operations, which is possible on a significant scale only if the product can be sold for considerably more than it cost to produce. In a situation of perfect competition, it is impossible to make profits on such a scale: a monopoly, or at least a quasi-monopoly, of world-economic poser is requited. (1)

The point of making everything into an “industry” in America is to make everything make money. So the “product” of the healthcare industry (the care of our health) has to be “sold for considerably more than it cost to produce.” Get over it, those of you who think there’s some “moral” or “socially beneficial” aspect to allowing people to live healthy, happy, and productive lives. There’s no “moral” issue here—it’s all about profit. Ask Jeffrey Miron. Let’s make up another word. Libertarian economics is an “Oxymiron.”

The true capitalist

The true capitalist

At least ole Jeffrey was against the Wall Street bailouts, unlike his buddies, the Harvard (and Cox School of Business at SMU—see my posting from yesterday) MBA types (from Bernanke to Paulson to the hot shots at Goldman Sachs).  But he didn’t oppose them for any issue of morality or goodness—only that the bailouts ultimately thwarted the “free market,” that is, the unimpeded accumulation of capital.

What else is on my mind today that’s making me have to write but not settling down to anything worth saying? Oh, yes. September 11, 2001. Whatever I say here, someone who reads this will be offended. As I have said before (geewhiz, is everything I’m saying today something I’ve said before?) anyone who believes the destruction of the WTC was an “inside job” is just plain NUTS. Period. Dick Cheney may have done much to destroy “the American Way of Life,” but not that.

I’m still mystified how a gentle, smart theologian like David Ray Griffin could have succumbed to the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory. He don’t know nuthin’ about the military or physics or engineerin’ or architecture, but he’s sure got his dander up ‘bout all them things. Good grief. Science is science is mythology. But mostly science. Give it a break, Dave.

I’m going to use his book in class—to help my students understand logical fallacies. The first is the fallacy of Ad Populum, or the “appeal to popularity.”  That is, most people have positive feelings about X; therefore, X is true. Griffin actually says (this scholar of scholars):

A Zogby poll taken that May [2006] indicated that 42 percent of the American people believed that ‘the US government and its 9/11 Commission concealed. . .critical evidence that contradicts their official explanation of the September 11th attacks. (2)

You can fool some of the people some of the time. . . .

He also uses the fallacy of Ad verecundium , the “appeal to authority.” That is, person X is deemed to be an authority on the subject; person X says the proposition is true; therefore, the proposition is true.

Moreover, if my 9/11 books are nutty. . . .then people who have endorsed them must also be nuts. The list of nuts would hence include economist Michel Chossudovsky, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern. . . .theologians John B. Cobb, Harvey Cox, Carter Heyward, Catherine Keller, and Rosemary Reuther. . .professor of culture Mark Crispin Miller. . .historians Richard Horsley and Howard Zinn. . . (3)

I know (that is to say, have taken classes from or been in gatherings with) John Cobb, Carter Heyward, and Rosemary Reuther. None of them is an authority on engineering or any of those other sciences. I hate to be rude, but what are their opinions worth? Come on, Dave (I’ve met him under similar circumstances—as a former student at Claremont).

Enough said about that—except that I can find not one scientific scholarly article about Griffin’s conspiracy theory. So I guess all the engineering faculty at SMU has been bought off by the university because of the Bush library.

I’m writing about 9/11 already. Maybe I’ll post it tomorrow. I do have one question, though. Google 9/11 and you get over a billion hits. I wonder how on earth over 100 people a day find my posting for December 3, 2009 by Googling 9/11. Can anyone figure that out?
(1) Wallenstein, Immanuel. “Structural Crisis.” New Left Journal 62 (Mar Apr 2010), 133.
(2) Griffin, David Ray. Debunking 9’11 Debunking: an Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory. Revised and updated edition. Northampton, MA: Olive Branch Press, 2007, p.2.
(3) idem. 13.


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