You have to understand, I really like the World Socialist Web Site. I agree with them about 90% of the time, and am actually impressed with the reporting and analysis at least once a week, often much more frequently, which is pretty damned good. So when they blow it, I take it personally.
Here is a passage from Sandy English’s review of the new book by Junet Diaz: “In his spoken language, Oscar uses ‘a lot of huge-sounding nerd words like indefatigable and ubiquitous.’ But he wouldn’t find these in most science fiction, so he must read other things—history, science, the New Yorker—to acquire these words, and these works must have an effect on him.”
I can’t blame the reviewer for not being familiar with the subculture of fandom, but, really, Sandy English ought not to discuss science fiction without having read some of it. Pfui.
It fascinates me, in reading over the discussion of “a fundamental human right,” how often various people make arguments of the form, “If there is a fundamental right to freedom from pain, that means that any doctor has to stop whatever he’s doing and treat this person’s pain, right now.” Or, “That means every individual has the right to treatment from the best specialist there is, no matter where he is or what he’s doing.”
I’m having a lot of trouble wrapping my head around this way of thinking. One of the rights few would deny is the right to life, yet no one claims this means Joe Supercop of Sydney, Australia, has to fly to Hamtramck, Mi, because Vicki Victim is having a knife pointed at her. Hell, next time you’re in the hosptial, look at the “patient’s bill of rights” they have posted. You might read something like this: “If you have severe pain, an injury, or sudden illness that makes you believe that your health is in serious danger, you have the right to be screened and stabilized using emergency services. These services should be provided whenever and wherever you need them, without the need to wait for authorization and without any financial penalty.” Does this mean that the hospital is obliged to fly in Dr. Flash Gordon from San Fransisco because he is especially skilled in ER work?
I’m not, here, concerned so much with the particulars of medical rights as I am with the bizarre method these people are using: to claim that one has a right to certain services is to claim one can demand those services from some particular individual?
The scary possibility is that these people, following the logic of their argument, believe no one has any right to anything ever. The more likely possibility is that they don’t agree that pain relief is or ought to be a fundamental right, and have run out of arguments supporting their position. I really hope it’s the latter.
Let us pay attention to what is going on with Ron Paul. The issue at this moment is not the number of our friends who have “drunk the kool-aid,” the issue is how he has been consistantly ignored by the mass media–ignored far more than his numbers are worth.
What does this tell us? I hope it doesn’t tell us that the major newspapers and television and radio networks are corporate entities working hand-in-glove with their political partners–that is, I assume we knew that. What is signficant is this: They aren’t ready for Ron Paul yet. They don’t need him yet. Yet. They believe their pet Democrats like Clinton, Edwards, Obama, and Kucinich will be enough to act as a lightning rod for the anger and discontent directed at Bush.
At some point in the future, there may be a Ron Paul, probably under a different name, who does get media attention–and that’s when we need to be scared, because the next thing that happens involve street battles and open class warfare. Open class warfare.