(This post is inspired by David Brooks’s column yesterday, Bentham v. Hume. I have some other friends who may add to the health care debate.)
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE COKE: Methinks the Lord Almighty, in his gracious favor, hath endowed our nation with a splendid and ancient constitution, which provideth for health-justice in its regard for the Common Weal of the people.
MR. LYCURGUS: Coke is a too well-dressed heir of the Athenians! A law must be laid down to order the life and health of the people. Their military fitness will be honed and regulated by alternating periods of physical regimen and mental focus. All shall receive the same: a denial of the comforts that coddle weaklings!
MR. CHIEF JUSTICE COKE: Nay, but the wisdom of our ancestors should not, and shall not, be interrupted by the prerogative of the executive.
MR. PLATO: It is not his prerogative, or will, that is to be sought, but his wisdom. The philosopher-king of the state is likely to lead the polis into the form of wise living that is a model for each person himself. Consider how, among the lions, it is the alpha male who sets the tone and character of the pack. Or rather, how the head of the body displays the personality to each part.
MR. HOBBES: Instead, it is the head that turns the body! If God will not punish the sins of our health care system on earth, one must act as a god, that the order might be established among our ill and warring selves. It is only then that public health might be realized.
MR. FREUD: But if that health is only a defense mechanism against our immature development, people need interaction with a therapist to understand the power of eros to produce unconsciously the disorders of our body and the discontent of our civilization. The Public Option is merely a projection of the president’s repressed unsocial self, and possibly a phallic symbol of power and opportunity.
MR. ST. PAUL: Oh! Father, help me to think on holier things: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable. This thorn in my side …
MR. MARX: – is just the conscious superstructure of the unconscious forces of –
MR. NOSTRADAMUS: We already know what you are going to say! Shut up!
MR. LOUIS XIV: This is why a group of counselors should not be trusted to debate or make policy decisions. I have resolved to declare a system of health administration, emanating from the throne and lifting up the great French people, while destroying the Huguenots and slighting the nettlesome Dutch, whose decentralized trade I take to be a symptom of their religion.
MR. WESLEY: A person’s free conscience must choose the correct provider. When he is coming to the right coverage, I think his heart will be strangely warmed.
MR. LOUIS XIV: Heretic and enemy of the state!
MR. HARRINGTON, with his friend, MR. SIDNEY: How can the state’s enemy be the very person who makes up the state, who is its substance and its beneficiary?
MR. LOUIS XIV: L’etat c’est moi!
MR. HEIDEGGER: You see, we’ve really complicated this matter by confusing what we mean by “health.” Let us further our enquiry into BEING by recalling the experiential roots of the word itself, so that they can enlighten our understanding of the world we interact with.
MR. FOUCAULT: Health is actually defined by its opposite, disease, a condition marked by exclusion and rejection. Thus, disease has historically been associated with the opposite condition of the society’s self image, the society itself finding methods of violence to purge themselves of their “unhealth” in order to purify and amplify the cultivated image of itself.
MR. MARX: Public health administration is a means of the bourgeois ruling class enforcing its ideals. Inevitably, they will cause their own –
MR. NOSTRADAMUS: Enough of your predictions!
(MR. LUTHER nails some thoughts to the door, MR. POPE LEO X asks him to please not deface his door, and MR. HENRY VIII confiscates the property. It will not be used to build a hospital.)
MR. NIETZSCHE: This is crazy.
Bryan Wandel works in government finance and has studied history, accounting, and religion. He is a member of the editorial board at Humane Pursuits. Bryan’s writing has appeared at Comment Magazine, First Things, and elsewhere.