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Stop Making Things Up

Friday, September 11, 2009 at 12:49 PM EDT

Sarah Palin, in honor of the troops who sacrificed their lives so we can keep speaking English, would you please stop making things up?

Palin was one of the ones to coin the phrase “death panels” when absurdly caricaturing the end-of-life counseling option available under proposed health care reform legislation. Palin made her comments in a Facebook note and she was widely criticized for fear mongering. CNN reports that Palin has reiterated her debunked death panel claims.

In a Wall Street Journal editorial, Palin attacks president Obama’s approach to health care. Among other things, palin summarizes her own rationale for using the death panel phrase, admitting that “establishment voices [non-ignorant people] dismissed that phrase, but it rang true for many Americans.”

Her article is representative of the public opposition to health care reform in several significant ways:

  1. It ignores the experiences of countries in the rest of the world
  2. It ignores America’s experience with a private insurance dominated market up to this point
  3. It places a high premium on cheap rhetoric to overcome numbers, history, analysis, and reasonable proposals.
  4. It relies on irrational fear of change instead of constructive reasonable arguments
  5. It encourages rumors that are blatantly not true (”death panels” is the most obvious example)
  6. Fails to propose any cogent alternative to the current crisis, other than to effectively encourage the same market forces that brought us to this point

I have heard good alternatives to Obama’s approach articulated by several individuals. (By and large, their approaches are not mutually exclusive with the president’s, and should not be seen as a reason to oppose his). There are some reasonable people out there. It is a shame that the public dialog has been so intellectually one-sided because the most public of the public opposition includes idiots like Palin and the town hall screamers.

Even if they can’t change all of those items listed above, it would be nice if people like Sarah Palin would stop making things up.