Best Experienced With: Sweet; Ballroom Blitz
(please right click on the link below to open up the suggested background music to this evening’s treatise. You may want to grab a Foster’s or two, as well. This is the abridged version……..the first one read like a Tolstoy novel.)
Several weeks ago, when the healthcare debate reached a fevered pitch, I got a call on the bat phone from Rahm Emanuel asking us to shelve a completed Mind of Mully MLOG in the interest of national security. Mr. Emanuel also pulled out the Interstate Commerce Clause, the broadness of which always sends shivers down my spine. Clearly the administration is afraid of our gathering here and clearly I am afraid of The Man. Now that the “Free Healthcare for Everyone (!)” Law has passed both houses, I am permitted to publish. Rahm, you magnificent bastard: I read your book.
Rahm and crew were terrified that two things I have taught sales and marketing professionals for years would leak into general circulation before they had their bill passed. These two basic postulates are:
- There is an infinite demand for free
- There is zero value placed upon free
Free, for lack of a better word, sucks. There is no discipline or hard work involved in anything free. If it is free, most folks seldom think about consequences or cost. Free tends to attract those unwilling or unable to own the consequences of their choices and behavior. Outside of open source code, some aspects of the internet, and the government cheese that kept me afloat during under employment in 2009, free sucks. There is an infinite demand for free and there is no value in free.
Before diving in, some qualification for the Mind of Mully newbies. Depending on the issue, I am moderate, liberal, or conservative. No choices along party lines: all choices follow my ethical compass and what passes for reason in The Attic. Mostly, I am an unbridled capitalist, a business person, and a lifelong profit maximizer.
My career adventures have been in medical/surgical healthcare arena, where top line revenue and share prices have grown each year since the Social Security Act of 1965. Anyone in my market space wailing that their profits are in jeopardy with the passing of this law is either disingenuous or a complete moron. When the pie gets bigger, everyone gets a bigger piece. The profit maximizer in me loves the “Free Healthcare for Everyone (!)” Law. The pragmatist and John Stuart Mill fan in me fears this legislation. As “utilitarian” as it may seem on the surface, this law will not help those outliers paraded in front of the general populace as examples of who died because they did not have coverage. It’s going to help the lazy people and those who make poor choices far more than it will help those with terminal mesothelioma.
It was far easier to tug on heart strings with a mother dying of inoperable cancer than it would have been with a fat guy riding helmetless on a motorcycle with a bottle of Wild Turkey in his leather vest pocket and a Camel filterless hanging out of the nicotine stained left side of his mostly toothless meth mouth.
Was fortunate enough to be raised by a Director of Critical Care mother who saw people die each day and a pragmatic father who would have been the first to call the emperor stark naked. Although it took him thirty-six years, dad taught me to be responsible and accountable for my choices. My mom taught me that people die every day and some terminal illnesses should not be chased with technology, hope, and experimental medicine. Please understand that mom has a heart the size of Alaska: she simply knows that as sad as it is, people get really sick and everyone dies.
Were she the architect of this bill and the motorcyclist described above ran his bike into a pole, mom would send the ambulance there as rapidly as possible to harvest his kidneys for those more deserving. She would leave the motorcyclist’s kidney-less body lying by the light pole for a road crew to pick up. If he had bad kidneys, she certainly would not pay to keep that man on life support for ten years in a chronic, expensive vegetative state. Bad choices are bad choices. Let’s call the motorcyclist “Zac” after a member of the Hanson Brothers band.
Let’s say Zac is a good motorcycle rider, but has a body mass index (BMI) over 30 because he has not seen exercise since his sixth grade Presidential Fitness Test in 1977 and his eating choices are awful. Mom would not pay for any of the resulting co-morbidities listed in the chart below. She would allow Zac to choose his mordidly obese lifestyle; however, none of us would have to pay for the resulting carnage.
The Camel cigarette? Same thing. Mom, like any trained health professional, would point at the chart below and tell you that the heart and lung disease can be (believe it or not) prevented by not smoking. She would also pay for none of the diseases caused by smoking. Mom used to smoke. Dad still smokes two packs a day. We would hold our family to the same rules because The Lord forces The Irish to own the consequences of our choices. It is in our DNA.
Did you have to pay your caterer in advance for your wedding dinner? Did they tell you exactly what you were going to get? Did you have to qualify for your home loan and show them that you could pay for the house each month for the duration of the contract? During that process, did the lender put in writing precisely what you would receive in return? Have you ever signed a contract with a “we will figure out the details later” clause? Me neither. My representatives in Washington DC did that for me by proxy last week, but I’m not moron enough to sign anything with a “we will figure out the details later” clause. And I’m certainly not Pollyanna enough to cheer and dance in the streets when it got signed.
One of my Master’s Ethics professors, Craig Dunn, was a brilliant and talented individual. To this day on his SDSU web site there is a wonderful list of logical fallacies in arguments. Most all of the logical fallacies were used by both the right and the left during the past fourteen months and rapidly snatched up in the mouths of lemmings as truth. Much like logical fallacies directed at Gypsies and homosexuals in Germany back in 1938. The words below are Mr. Dunn’s. As you read through them, you’ll be able to see where each was applied by both sides in the healthcare debate.
Fallacy of Bifurcation
Occurs when one presumes that a distinction is exclusive and exhaustive, when other alternatives exist.
* America, love it or leave it.
* Companies can either make a profit or be socially responsible.
Fallacy of Mob Appeal
Occurs when an appeal is made to emotions, particularly to powerful feelings that can sway people in large crowds.
* I (Paul Tsongas) almost died of cancer, therefore you can trust me to be a good president.
Fallacy of Hasty Generalization (Faulty Induction)
Occurs when an isolated or exceptional case is used as the basis for a general conclusion which is unwarranted.
* I had a bad relationship with the first person I ever dated. I’m sure all relationships are bad.
* The government’s bailout of Penn Central was a fiasco. Therefore, the government should never provide bailouts
If you have time to repeat loudly whatever the last sound bite was from the last talking head discussing the “Free Healthcare for Everyone (!)” Law, please take the time to read back though the debate from the last year. Look for the numerous logical fallacies. Then, look for the numerous “we will figure out the details later” clauses. It’s an entertaining exercise and at the very least, a fantastic example of what fear and passion can do in marketing. People buy with their hearts.
The Mind of Mully
I’m reaching out for something
Touching nothing’s all I ever do
I softly call you over: when you appear
There’s nothing left of you….
Should you care to read through again and listen to another song while doing so, Rage Against the Machine’s Know Your Enemy works just as well as Ballroom Blitz for this treatise. Click here…..
Then you have to end it with this:
The Mind of Mully
I got no patience now………..
So sick of complacency now…..
Time has come to………………
Know your enemy.
Do your own research. Read more than Wikipedia. Argue logically with your own thoughts. Avoid group think and lemming like behavior. Stand up for what you believe in and learn to agree to disagree, respectfully. What a boring world this would be if we all believed the same things and felt the same way. It would be like Canada, as will our healthcare…………eventually.
Thanks for joining this evening. Tommorrow we will have a lighthearted discussion on hiring, firing, and dating. That’s our Palm Sunday tradition up here.