The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

On Health Care, Rightwing Nutbags Choose Lies & Misinformation Over Civil Discourse

Posted by mattusmaximus on August 12, 2009

Okay, so the hot U.S. political topic of the day is health care reform.  I am not going to make this a post about advocating for or against a specific kind of legislation, though personally I do have my preferences.  Rather, this post is about the manner in which the debate, or lack thereof, is progressing concerning this all-important topic.

Sadly, there is a large amount of misinformation and outright lies being spread about health care reform, and much of it is being fueled by uncritical & hysterical thinking via TV ads and the Internet.  Most of these lies are being spewed by various rightwing groups with the express purpose of derailing any kind of reform, and the movement is encouraging people not to take part in a civilized debate & discourse (which is needed).  Rather, this movement is actively encouraging people to attend Congressional town hall meetings solely for the purpose of disrupting them with angry shouts and even death threats.  Yes, that’s right – some members of Congress have been getting death threats.

So what can one do to cut through all the b.s. and get “just the facts”?  I’d say the best thing to do is go to a non-partisan source, such as  They’ve been doing a bang up job of looking into various claims about health care reform, as well as some of the outrageous garbage which is causing such a stir.  Let’s take a quick look at some of the big lies repeated of late, and how takes them on…

1. Claims that Congress is pushing Canadian style health care which will lead to “rationing” – wrong!

2. The claim that the House health care bill pushes suicide and/or euthenasia is nonsense.

3. Family Research Council falsely claims abortions will trump care for the elderly in public plan.

4. Conservatives for Patients’ Rights says premiums could nearly double for those who buy their own insurance. Experts we consulted disagree.

Now, are there people on the other side who are stretching the facts a bit?  Sure. points that out as well, but that’s not what I’m primarily concerned about here.

Again, my real beef is not with the politics (because I, too, have my preferences & concerns about certain proposals), it is with the manner in which the politics is being played out by those on the rightwing in this discussion.  They don’t seem to care that they are actively encouraging hooliganism & a lack of critical thinking by spreading so many lies and whipping people up into a frenzy.  And encouraging people to explicitly not interact with those whom which they disagree in a reasonable manner is damaging, and – potentially – dangerous.

This is the opposite of what our democracy should be about, folks.  At a time when civil, open, and sensible discourse is needed, these rightwing nutbags are doing what they can to undermine not just critical thinking, but democracy itself.

8 Responses to “On Health Care, Rightwing Nutbags Choose Lies & Misinformation Over Civil Discourse”

  1. asharpminor said

    Great Blog, well argued and much needed.

  2. Troythulu said

    Excellent post, I commend you for being one of the few voices of reason on this subject I’ve seen yet. If Carl Sagan were alive to see this, I suspect he would be appalled. Well said!

  3. Me said

    Thank you for this article. You (in an unbiased way) clear up some facts about the healthcare reform issue. I agree that some conservatists are debating this… poorly to say the least (If Chuck Grassley’s debt and deficit dragon is any indication).

    • mattusmaximus said

      Thank you very much. I have my preferences, but I’ve done what I can to leave those biases out of the article. I’m all for reasoned debate & disagreement, but this craziness is too damn much. It is my profound hope that the Republican party regains some semblance of sanity, and the first step is for the GOP leadership to have the moral courage to stare down the rightwing nutters who are driving it over a cliff.

  4. […] On Health Care, Rightwing Nutbags Choose Lies & Misinformation Over Civil Discourse […]

  5. […] On Health Care, Rightwing Nutbags Choose Lies & Misinformation Over Civil Discourse […]

  6. […] On Health Care, Rightwing Nutbags Choose Lies & Misinformation Over Civil Discourse […]

  7. […] On Health Care, Rightwing Nutbags Choose Lies & Misinformation Over Civil Discourse […]

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