“Such is blogging” is the new ‘truthiness’
The fact that obesity is getting some attention as a health problem in the context of a debate about the cost of health care in the US is for her conclusive evidence of … what? Oh — it turns out, in her “analysis (sic) that the attempt to provide coverage for 50 million uninsured Americans and to reduce the impact of a disastrous incentive structure within the health care sector so as to reduce the per-insured cost of health care is in fact merely a cover for rich white people to make everyone thin like them. I’m not kidding. In her own words:
Look at the uptick in stories on obesity in the context of health care reform. Fat people are a problem! They’re killing themselves, and our budget! We must stop them! …How far are we willing to go beyond calorie labelling on menus to get people to slim down?
How far indeed? McArdle tells us–measures, unspecified that “aren’t just a way to save on health care; they’re a way to extend and expand the cultural hegemony of wealthy white elites. No, seriously.”
No, seriously Megan, shut up. This is just crazy….birtherism for the gliterate crowd.
The proposition with which this post began was that McArdle knows nothing of economics or political economy, beyond that minimum of jargon needed to cloak her adolescent Randian delusions in the veneer of policy knowledge. In this post, her manifesto on why she opposed national health care, she demonstrates the arguing skills of a six year old (that conclusion contained within an assumption not in evidence); the reportorial effort and acuity formerly celebrated in The National Enquirer (the too-good-to-check school of journalism), and an understanding of modern biomedical research exceeded by the potted plants in Building 68 at MIT.
Of course, with every assault Megan has doubled down with even more dumb when she should really take refuge in the only topic that she has any vested interest in discussing: her impending wedding. But, no.
…everyone is linking to this post by Ben Domenech which, like, totally proves that I don’t know what I’m talking about regarding pharma research, so I should probably point to this post by Derek Lowe, pharma researcher, which questions Ben Domenech’s analysis. It’s true that I oversimplified both pharma and academia’s role: academia sometimes develops drugs, while pharma does basic research. Such is blogging. The broad point is that basic research and developing a working drug are two different activities, and neither is "real" innovation. I don’t want to stop government from funding basic research, and never said I did. But producing drugs does not seem to be the government’s core competence.
Which means that after starting the debate, and then spending the week being smacked around like the piñata full of bullshit candy that she is, she just blows it off and delivers us back to square one: "what are the government’s incentives?" which is the essence of her truthiness:
It used to be, everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. But that’s not the case anymore. Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything. It’s certainty. People love the president because he’s certain of his choices as a leader, even if the facts that back him up don’t seem to exist. It’s the fact that he’s certain that is very appealing to a certain section of the country. I really feel a dichotomy in the American populace. What is important? What you want to be true, or what is true?
Truthiness is "What I say is right, and [nothing] anyone else says could possibly be true." It’s not only that I feel it to be true, but that I feel it to be true. There’s not only an emotional quality, but there’s a selfish quality.
Such is Megan McArdle.