Noam Chomsky: US Scandalous Healthcare symptomatic of populations’ failure to defend Democracy | Choice of disenfranchised masses to have blind faith in ruling elite

As the title suggests, in this interview and article by C.J. Polychroniou, Noam Chomsky unveils his expansive view of the United States.

truthout

truthout

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/39064-noam-chomsky-the-us-health-system-is-an-international-scandal-and-aca-repeal-will-make-it-worse?tsk=adminpreview#disqus_thread

Chomsky claims that the rejection of healthcare and lack of a real labor presence is symbolic of the much larger issue in the United States > that people do not participate or defend democracy, but are willing puppets of a political realm ruled by a wealthy few, to whom the population simply does not oppose, but subjugate their passions and dreams to agree to the system dictated by a ruling class – who the population could overpower with their force, if they simply wished to stand up for their rights to represent and govern themselves.

I’ve basically excerpted the article, juggling it around a bit to put the most poignant parts from the conclusion – at the beginning – for those who have no time to read. Hence it’s a sort of ‘cliff notes’ version of the article.

And as I posted on Facebook regarding this Truthout article, thank you so much Noam Chomsky for being the expansive and insightful person whom you are!

Noam Chomsky-information website

Noam Chomsky-information website

“The US health care system has long been an international scandal, with about twice the per capita expenses of other wealthy (OECD) countries and relatively poor outcomes. The ACA did, however, bring improvements, including insurance for tens of millions of people who lacked it, banning of refusal of insurance for people with prior disabilities, and other gains — and also, it appears to have led to a reduction in the increase of health care costs, though that is hard to determine precisely.

Returning to your question, it raises a crucial question about American democracy: why isn’t the population “demanding” what it strongly prefers? Why is it allowing concentrated private capital to undermine necessities of life in the interests of profit and power?

….The question directs our attention to a profound democratic deficit in an atomized society, lacking the kind of popular associations and organizations that enable the public to participate in a meaningful way in determining the course of political, social and economic affairs. These would crucially include a strong and participatory labor movement and actual political parties growing from public deliberation and participation instead of the elite-run candidate-producing groups that pass for political parties. What remains is a depoliticized society in which a majority of voters (barely half the population even in the super-hyped presidential elections, much less in others) are literally disenfranchised, in that their representatives disregard their preferences while effective decision-making lies largely in the hands of tiny concentrations of wealth and corporate power…

Turning finally to your question again, a rather general answer, which applies in its specific way to contemporary western democracies, was provided by David Hume over 250 years ago, in his classic study of the First Principles of Government. Hume found “nothing more surprising than to see the easiness with which the many are governed by the few; and to observe the implicit submission with which men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers. When we enquire by what means this wonder is brought about, we shall find, that as Force is always on the side of the governed, the governors have nothing to support them but opinion. `Tis therefore, on opinion only that government is founded; and this maxim extends to the most despotic and most military governments, as well as to the most free and most popular.”

Implicit submission is not imposed by laws of nature or political theory. It is a choice, at least in societies such as ours, which enjoys the legacy provided by the struggles of those who came before us. Here power is indeed “on the side of the governed,” if they organize and act to gain and exercise it. That holds for health care and for much else.”

The House of Representatives, dominated by Republicans (with a minority of voters), has voted over 50 times in the past six years to repeal or weaken Obamacare, but they have yet to come up with anything like a coherent alternative.

Comparison of the attitude toward elementary rights of labor and extraordinary rights of private power tells us a good deal about the nature of American society.

The expulsion or mass killing of Indigenous nations cleared the ground for the invading settlers, who had enormous resources and ample fertile lands at their disposal, and extraordinary security for reasons of geography and power. That led to the rise of a society of individual farmers, and also, thanks to slavery, substantial control of the product that fueled the industrial revolution: cotton, the foundation of manufacturing, banking, commerce, retail for both the US and Britain, and less directly, other European societies. Also relevant is the fact that the country has actually been at war for 500 years with little respite, a history that has created “the richest, most powerful¸ and ultimately most militarized nation in world history,” as scholar Walter Hixson has documented.

Administrative costs are far greater in the private component of the health care system than in Medicare, which itself suffers by having to work through the private system.

Comparisons with other countries reveal much more bureaucracy and higher administrative costs in the US privatized system than elsewhere. One study of the US and Canada a decade ago, by medical researcher Steffie Woolhandler and associates, found enormous disparities, and concluded that “Reducing U.S. administrative costs to Canadian levels would save at least $209 billion annually, enough to fund universal coverage.

Another anomalous feature of the US system is the law banning the government from negotiating drug prices, which leads to highly inflated prices in the US as compared with other countries. That effect is magnified considerably by the extreme patent rights accorded to the pharmaceutical industry in “trade agreements,” enabling monopoly profits. In a profit-driven system, there are also incentives for expensive treatments rather than preventive care, as strikingly in Cuba, with remarkably efficient and effective health care.”

Carol Keiter, the blogger

Carol Keiter the blogger

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Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition

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Hilarious Pharma ads | Corpocrisy posing as Democracy

Speaking of comedy. Here in the USA, pharmaceutical commercials have in the last 5 to 10 years surpassed those of the automobile industry in terms of bombarding the public airwaves. Saturday Night Live or some comedy act should do a spoof on these. The commercials are hilarious, without intending to be satirical. The first 5 seconds of the advertisement talks about this or that wonder drug and what ailment it conquers, followed with a voice talking as fast as humanly possibly (as if reading the fine print) packing all of the warnings of the drug into the remainder of the 60 second spot. There are so many potential hazards and risks of the drug that they can barely squeeze all of these ‘warnings’ into the ad. Hilarious! Then there’s always an authoritative voice recommending that you ‘consult your physician’ which is basically through ‘power of suggestion’. My family would laugh at these ads, as my father WAS a physician, and the big pharma were turning the scenario upside-down. Instead of a patient consulting their doctor to examine their condition and give advice, the pharma’s are suggesting what their verdict for treating this or that condition is, without having a clue about an individual person’s situation or the overall context of what may be causing these symptoms to occur. The pharma’s suggest that you should be running to ask your doctor to prescribe this or that, while they are at the same time wooing the doctor’s with conferences in exotic places and practically throwing gifts at them, luring them in to suggesting these drugs to their patients, the more the merrier. It’s a joke. A dangerous joke. And since all drugs are distilled from some sort of plant or substance that is organic – which occurs in nature – it’s important to maintain a healthy planet where things can grow. Most dis ease can be prevented; through healthy diet, drinking lots of water (replenishing that which already makes up 75% of our body), having a healthy attitude, alleviating stress. Balancing healthy amounts of exercise and physical movement with having a very sanctimonious relationship to the act and art of eating; cooking and eating is fun, delicious, and something that can bring people together. Meals can be cherished, rather than rushed.

It’s the unintended hilarity of the pharmaceutical ads that reminds me of how upside-down and hypocritical the America political system functions. The country is not even remotely a ‘democracy’, but a plutocracy. It is wealth that lubricates people’s entry into the political arena. The rise of politicians has little to do with a person’s credentials or leadership qualities. Excellence seems to have been eclipsed by BIG MONEY. Now private companies funnel money to the party, discretely, so that its source can not be determined or traced. Democracy, no longer. Transparency? Far from it. Corpocrisy i.e. corpocrazy, is the standard. No longer individuals consulting their politicians to represent what they believe is ‘healthy’ and their ‘rights’, but the BIG MONEY dictating what they prescribe; which often loops into more money coming right back to their source.