Monday, January 02, 2012

ANNALS OF COMMUNITARIAN CONSERVATISM, CONT. You may recall that last weekend David Brooks told his readers how Rod Dreher had moved back to his old homestead because small-town folks are so nice, and invited them to check out Dreher's "communitarian conservatism" (i.e., the scam formerly known as Crunchy Conservatism) at his blog at The American Conservative.

I wonder how those who took Brooks' invitation enjoyed this heartwarming recent post in which Dreher commiserates with an understandably anonymous doctor about what leeches the poor are:
["Dr. Smith"] said that many of the patients he sees “are people who are poor because they just don’t want to work. They’ve never had a job and they never will have a job. They’re fine with that.” 
He said that the general public has no idea how much money is wasted on medical fraud and abuse by members of the underclass, and on treating people who have no intention of being anything other than dependents on the state, and who will demand treatment “if they as much as stub their toe” because they don’t have to pay for it...

The observable common behavior [of the poor] is so strange, irresponsible, and wholly dysfunctional that it’s hard to relate it to any norms we recognize as healthy, or even sane. But one is not permitted to say things like this out loud, or one will be accused of heartlessness, and worse.
Yet here's Dreher saying it out loud; what a brave fellow! Be nice to him, now, he just lost his sister.

It's been a while since I read the Bible. Was this Jesus guy Dreher claims to worship as big an asshole as he is?

UPDATE. Some commenters observe that Dreher, like his intellectual forebears, distinguishes between the "deserving poor" and the "undeserving poor." Slocum observes, "The Christian conservative thing to do would be to throw some money down on the ground and get a good ole bumfight going. That's how we see who deserves what."

Commenter g asks, "If you 'as much as stub your toe' and get treatment, the doctor gets the payment, not the patient. What motivation would the patient have to get treatment if he doesn't need it? Aren't most perpetrators of Medicaid fraud the medical professionals, not the patients?"

Medicare and Medicaid frauds do indeed enrich unscrupulous doctors, pharmacists, and health care professionals -- like these charming HMO execs I wrote about elsewhere, who are charged with shunting their sicker, less profitable customers off to hospices, from which they allegedly received kickbacks.

The Obama Administration has been working hard to cut medical fraud. But that's not the solution Christians would prefer; rather than crack down on the industrious capitalists who cheat the system, they'd prefer to throw poor people whom they suspect of malingering out of hospitals. They seem to believe that, like hippies, the poors fuck up the system out of sheer malevolence, not from any rational cause.

UPDATE 2. You know, I really shouldn't blame Dreherism on Christians. Many evangelicals support government services to the poor, and there's no reason to assume that all Jesus people share Dreher's way of looking at things. It's easy to be misled by the very visible public perches occupied by retributive Christians, and thus perpetuate the feedback loop that associates ordinary followers of Christ with religious hucksters.

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