Mike the Mad Biologist

In the midst of the Conservative War on Contraception, there’s a broader assault by conservatives on public health initiatives. At Salon, Alex Koppelman does a good job rebutting the conservative opposition to vaccination, infection control, and figuring out if someone has AIDS (further fisking is available from IDSA). There’s no reason to repeat this fine work, but it really does highlight just how unserious movement conservatives have become.


This mindless backlash reminds me of Michael Fumento, and his opposition to influenza prevention:

In my post, I challenged him to offer alternative public health priorities. Since he hasn’t, I’ll assume he’s just not serious about saving lives through public health interventions. But I was wrong about one thing in my earlier post: I thought Fumento’s agenda was to support his rabid anti-governmentalism. While it is, in part, there’s a deeper narrative he is trying to support: that liberals are anti-science** and “alarmist.”…

Fumento isn’t serious about public health. If he were serious, he would list other, serious health priorities that should be addressed instead. If he were serious, he would have something to say about how preparing for a pandemic would aid the current and real threat of ‘ordinary’ influenza. But he’s not serious. He’s just trying to bash liberals.

There’s no there to these complaints. Even if you grant that these provisions shouldn’t be funded in this bill (and I don’t), this would hardly be the first time that good legislation is tucked inside another bill. What we’re seeing is a related form of Conservative Oppositional Disorder that goes like this:

1) Liberals support public health.
2) Liberals are sissies.
3) God hates sissies.
4) Therefore we hate sissies.
5) Therefore we oppose sound public health measures.

Sure, I’m being facetious (partly, anyway). But what’s the conservative solution for alerting people who don’t know that they’re HIV-infected? What’s the conservative solution for reducing the 99,000 annual deaths from hospital-acquired infections? Do they even care? This isn’t a real complaint, but a way to beat up on Democrats.

I’m surprised they didn’t propose either capital gains tax cuts or invading Iran….

Comments

  1. #1 bob koepp
    February 4, 2009

    I don’t consider this a “conservative” alternative. But I think it’s simple enough that it could be put into practice very, very quickly….

    Guaranteed universal access to “basic” healthcare, with “basic” stipulated to mean “whatever was state of the art 20 years ago.”

  2. #2 DrBadger
    February 5, 2009

    I’m surprised they didn’t propose either capital gains tax cuts

    That seems to be their solution to everything.

    Tax cuts to rich people –> they could afford paying insurance for poor employees –> poor people get healthcare

    too bad what happens is: Tax cuts to rich people –> rich people keep the extra money for themselves

    How is it that no one seems to notice that tax cuts haven’t worked in the last 8 years?

  3. #3 Dunc
    February 5, 2009

    How is it that no one seems to notice that tax cuts haven’t worked in the last 8 years?

    I believe the standard argument is that they haven’t worked because they’re not permanent or deep enough. I heard one talking head (John Bolton, I think) a few months back seriously claim that the credit crunch happened because people suddenly noticed that their tax cuts were going to expire in 2011.

  4. #4 george.w
    February 7, 2009

    I’m surprised they didn’t propose either capital gains tax cuts or invading Iran….

    Patience, they will. They’ve been very busy since getting their asses kicked in November.

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