Monday, August 10, 2009

Using the "N" word

Nazi. Apparently, there is a rule about using the word "Nazi" to insult someone. I thought the Democrats invented it or reintroduced the rule during the Bush era (Pelosi, Reid, etc.), but Godwin's law which has a history, colloraries, and variations, was stated in 1990, according to Wikipedia, a source I don't usually cite, but hey, sounds about right.

"As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches." Mike Godwin, 1990

But even that has a history.

"You can tell when a USENET discussion is getting old when one of the participants drags out Hitler and the Nazis."[1989]

I used to be part of a USENET discussion group, and this does indeed sound like USENET. In fact, things got so nasty at the writers group, particularly some twit from Britain who hated me, I started my own blog in 2003, so I could toss the detractors into the trash on a whim or at will. And I never said a thing political.

However, using the Nazi analogy with medical costs control goes way back according to a 1949 article in NEJM:
    "For instance, beginning in 1933, the Germans began killing "defectives" of various kinds, in part because they were unproductive ("useless eaters") and therefore were costly to the society. The pragmatic, cost-benefit dimension to the murders was illustrated in the widely used high school mathematics text cited by Dr. Leo Alexander. The text, Mathematics in the Service of National Political Education, included such problems, Alexander noted, as "how many new housing units could be built and how many marriage-allowance loans could be given to newly wedded couples for the amount of money it cost the state to care for the 'crippled, the criminal and insane,'" ("Medical Science Under Dictatorship," New England Journal of Medicine, July 14, 1949)."

    "Daniel Callahan readily admits that he wrote Setting Limits because of the acute and inexorably increasing problem of medical care costs, particularly with regard to the elderly. He does not advocate euthanasia for people past a certain age; but by having the state--through Medicare--refuse to pay for certain expensive life-extending procedures such as coronary bypass operations once that age has been reached, the result of his design is..." see his Setting Limits: Medical Goals in an Aging Society (1987).
I wonder if now that he is turning 80 if he is changing his mind on the costs of eldercare. Is Callahan a Democrat? To judge from his contributions, yes, but he did spread it around to cover his bases. In thought, his heart belongs to Obamacare.

Regardless of who started with the Nazi words (I say the Bush haters did), it's clear that smearing the people who turn up at the town halls and calling them unAmerican when they try to protest legislation they don't like is counter productive for the Obama administration. It just makes him and his purple shirts look like a you-know-what.

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