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Mark me down for 'unreasonable,' thanks

danps's picture

Reasonable men adapt themselves to their environment; unreasonable men try to adapt their environment to themselves. Thus all progress is the result of the efforts of unreasonable men.
- George Bernard Shaw

Trolling through some recent history I found this from hipparchia from back in March. Jason Rosenbaum:

The argument that single-payer health care would be more efficient is a straw man. Both health care reform plans would increase efficiencies and save a great deal of money. But only one can get 60 votes in the Senate.

The HCAN strategy all along has been to calculate based on some unknown formula what is politically feasible at the moment (curiously, without seeming to take into account the effect that energetic activism can have on feasibility) and direct all its energy towards that goal. It's a reasonable and legitimate plan, I wish them success on it, and for reform advocates generally (including single payer) their success is all our success. I still don't like it, though.

First, it's asymmetrical. Do you think AHIP is so finely calibrating its strategy? Hell no. They're trying to burn the motherfucker clear to the ground. We need to be the equal and opposite reaction by repeatedly and loudly demanding our entire wish list. Second, it's not our job to think about, or even care, if the perfect is being the enemy of the good. That's for politicians to consider, not activists. Our job is to ceaseless agitate for the best policy. Our elected representatives can worry about the perfect, the good, the realistic and the rest of the sausage-making process.

We may end up with a robust public option, and if so it will be a vast improvement on the status quo. It would also potentially create a firm, reliable progressive voting bloc in Congress to offset Blue Dogs. It would be a paradigm shift in Washington too, as the first example since perhaps Medicare of government taking on a large project in order to provide for the common good. We've been nibbling at the edges for decades. All that could change if the savvy approach of HCAN and others comes to pass. But should they be inclined to pat themselves on the back, they should consider that just maybe it was single-payer activism that created the political room for it. And in any event that's just a nice, big step towards single payer - not the end of the effort. I won't be going anywhere. How 'bout you?

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Submitted by lambert on

As you say, Dan:

The HCAN strategy all along has been to calculate based on some unknown formula what is politically feasible at the moment (curiously, without seeming to take into account the effect that energetic activism can have on feasibility)

WikiPedia, but I believe that Soros is the exponent:

In sociology, reflexivity is an act of self-reference where examination or action 'bends back on', refers to, and affects the entity instigating the action or examination. In brief, reflexivity refers to circular relationships between cause and effect. A reflexive relationship is bidirectional; with both the cause and the effect affecting one another in a situation that renders both functions causes and effects. Reflexivity is related to the concept of feedback and positive feedback in particular.

An example is the interaction between beliefs and observations in a marketplace: if traders believe that prices will fall, they will sell - thus driving down prices, whereas if they believe prices will rise, they will buy - thereby driving prices up.

Then again, the reflexivity may exist, but solely within Versailles.

danps's picture
Submitted by danps on

Thanks lambert - great extension of the point.

Submitted by lambert on

I don't think, at this point, that we can assume that whatever goes on in Versailles has anything to do with anything outside Versailles. So, there may indeed be reflexivity -- just not reflexivity that is visible to the peasants. Which, when you think about it, is the position you would want peasants to be in. Eh?

Submitted by hipparchia on

They're trying to burn the motherfucker clear to the ground.

b-b-b-b-but --- the public option is going to save us tons of $$ because if it wouldn't, then the insurance companies wouldn't be so opposed to it!

you can't blame ordinary people for thinking this, since most of us have limited resources and have to make careful and considered decisions about what we spend our time and money and energy on. not so with ahip. they have tons of money and can afford to waste lots of it fighting anything and everything, on a ll fronts, whether it would make a big dent, a small dent, or only a tiny scratch in the insurance industry's profits.

ahip, or pharma, or the ama, or whoever, screaming about something is not a reliable measure of how important that something might or might not be to real people.


we are not, as it stands right now, on track for a 'robust' public option. not the part that's being done out in public anyway, though i suppose it's always possible that a po on the scale that hacker originally envisioned back in 2001 is going to happen behind closed doors.

even if they bring that off, i'm not going to give hcan any real credit. i firmly believe that robert kuttner is entirely correct, it's just as politically feasible to bring off a huge po as it is to jump directly to single payer. in which case hcan can be faulted for having stalled the process.

if what hcan brings us is a firm reliable voting bloc[k] that in turn gets us a tiny medical refuge that only 5% of the population can take advantage of ten years from now, you'll be able to mark down a large segment of the population as 'unreasonable'. the scary part is that many of the unreasonables will gravitate towards right-wing populism, viewing govt and 'progressives' as weak, ineffectual, and corrupt.

but yeah, mark me down for one of the unreasonables if we get anything short of hr 676.