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Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Seldom do reductio ad absurdum arguments occur in nature. But behold, we have one in the form of Nadya Suleman, a.k.a “Octomom,” that repellent pile of protoplasm that managed to excrete eight children via the wonders of publicly-financed Science, adding to an extant assortment of six rug rats and thus creating a menagerie of 14.

At first, The People were absolutely dewy-eyed about Nadya’s achievement. Here was a reproductive feat of literally canine proportions, done in vitro instead of doggy style, with a potential to paint a fresh new face on Mother’s Day. But then things got ugly.

The People learned that Nadya was and is chronically on the public dole, so that her outsized contribution to America’s gene pool was totally on their tab. Dewy eyes turned to death threats, probably due to blind rage, but maybe because many of The People thought the 14 kids deserve a better mother. We can only conjecture.

The obstetrical Chinese Fire Drill that must have been her delivery reportedly required 46 medical personnel, funded by The People, who will also be seeing to the care & feeding of her eight high-risk newborn cherubim and their six older siblings. It takes a village? This is a freaking village.

And speaking of Chinese, let’s be reminded that since that country’s healthcare is a government entitlement, said government “entitles” women to pop out only one little comrade per lifetime. Past that, you get on said government’s bad side, which in this case includes fines, pressures to abort the pregnancy, and even forced sterilization after second or subsequent pregnancies. But Nadya lives in California.

So back to that reductio ad absurdum: Should a single childless woman who is on welfare and wants to biologically replicate herself be availed of publicly-funded in vitro fertilization and subsequent prenatal care, perinatal care, pediatric care, Head Start services, and so forth? Given the modern day zeitgeist of entitlement, particularly in California, many would probably say that it’s her “right.”

Okay, then how about if she wants a second child under the same circumstances? Certainly, a case could be made. Doesn’t her firstborn have a “right” to a brother or sister? And if that second sibling were to be the same sex, doesn’t the mother have a “right” to try a third time to bear a child of the opposite gender?

Such a 1-2-3 scenario is the de facto family-planning strategy for most private sector twosomes who hope (or have hoped) to have one of each. Should someone on welfare not have the same prospect as any other woman to have a nicely balanced assortment of progeny?

Again, many would say yes. But where does it stop? A fourth or fifth or sixth or…or a fifteenth?

Hold your answers for the end. In the meantime, note that what’s repugnant about this conversation–or should be–is the notion of The People’s agents being enfranchised to dictate your reproductive options.  But that’s exactly what happens when The People pay for things. It’s also why it’s problematic to have a brother or sister in The People’s Republic.

Intrusions upon individual dignity are endemic of government entitlements–and can be instigated and justified by ad hoc public fury over the latest public outrage. Consider socialized healthcare and obesity.

It bemuses me that many of the most vituperative, in-your-face proponents of socialized healthcare I’ve encountered are morbidly obese people who smoke & drink. Suggest to them–just for the sake of argument–that you don’t feel like supporting their lifestyle or its imminent consequences, and they’ll impart in no uncertain terms that how they live their lives is none of your damn business. Just shut up and pay up.

Well, maybe for now, Fat Boy. However, 15 percent of Americans fit the clinical definition of obesity in 1980. That figure more than doubled to 34 percent by 2004, which is 72 million plus-sized adults, many who will be seated next to you in Coach.

Given that geometric slope, the numbers clogging the healthcare system with the consequences of their excess avoirdupois could be almost 144 million by the year 2032.  The rest of America, who will be disproportionately paying for it and unable to get appointments for their nonfat illnesses, are going to be really pissed. And they will demand that government “Do something.”

This will legitimize all manner and form of intervention into people’s lives for their own good. Regulations about calorie intake, restaurant portions, menu disclosure, food ingredients, etc. will grow and fester. Keeping track of your compliance will only be a matter of voiding your reasonable right to privacy. Register your fat ass. Report to your local Healthcare Center and weigh in. It’s already happening in Japan.

Whole new areas of human conduct can be criminalized. Pizza will be a misdemeanor. Big Macs a third-degree felony. And let’s not even get started on alcohol and tobacco, trace evidence for which, perhaps, will void your National Health Insurance Card altogether.

After all, if The People are paying for your healthcare, The People have a legitimate interest in making sure you confine your intake to 2000 daily calories, exercise moderately, avoid red meat, and eschew tobacco and alcohol. Not doing so can be bad for your health. The People will make sure of it. Just ask Nadya.

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