Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Sunday, March 21, 2010


It's a beginning and not an ending. Have a beer, hug an ally, smile at the thought of the lives saved today, and then start organizing and agitating and pushing to make it better.


Khephra said...

Wow. It never ceases to amaze me when otherwise intelligent individuals are subverted into advocating against their best interests.

Dale Carrico said...

Only a very frivolous person would think the failure of reform last night would be more in line with the best interests of the left than its success. But, by all means, you have my condolences.

Khephra said...

That's just silly. How does the passage
of a fundamentally classist piece of legislation serve the interests of progressives? Who wins? Who loses? To reciprocate your snark, if you think the passage of this bill invigorated the Left, you have my condolences.

Have you any exposure to Slavoj Zizek?

Dale Carrico said...

There are many differences that make a profound difference in the lives of literally millions of actually-existing people in this country in respect to lifesaving access and greater affordability both to our broken for-profit healthcare system (you get no argument from me as to its catastrophic brokenness even in the aftermath of this reform, nor would you from most of the other activists across the left who you likely condemn as well for their refusal to mourn this obvious, though limited, victory) and to freshly funded community clinics.

If these differences in outcomes yielded by the difference between passage and failure of this reform vanish for you into the diffuse indifference of the assignment "fundamentally classist," I fear that you look to have rendered the otherwise vitally useful term "classist" more or less vacuous by my lights, while I daresay you fancy that this little bit of attention-grabbing performance art makes you, quite to the contrary, much more revolutionary. To put it mildly, I disagree.

It's always easy to dismiss anything as nothing when you stick to the cheap seats. The assertion of a belief that makes no discernible difference to conduct is not a difference that makes a difference according to the venerable pragmatist chestnut, and I fear that some members of the theoretical left are, according to such distinctions, all too often ill-distinguishable in their declared beliefs from the right in respect to concrete outcomes. As a conspicuous member of a theoretical left myself, a fairly radical one at that, and yet one who actually thinks post-structuralist interventions too often get a bad rap in terms of their critical and emancipatory political potential, I've got to say I find your apparent obliviousness to an obviously inadequate but also obviously progressive outcome particularly painful to observe.

By way of conclusion, yes I've been exposed to Zizek, and more to the point I've read every book Zizek has published in English, and since 1994 every one upon publication, since you ask. I personally consider Zizek a blogger without a blog, useful and useless in about equal measure, and both at his best and worst when regarded as a kind of court jester.

Khephra said...

You are terribly full of yourself aren't you? If you've read Zizek and still ignore ideologic context, you might try a reread.

And if you think this bill isn't classist, I would take from that admission that your perspective is so fundamentally biased that I might should agree to disagree and engage myself more productively outside your blog.

Dale Carrico said...

I call them as I see them. What matters most is that you're boring me on my own blog. Doing so persistently is a punishing offense in my book. If saying so is being full of myself, whatev, Mary.

One isn't "ignoring ideologic[al] context" by simply making different pragmatic calculations from some silly narcissist who fancies themselves revolutionary from their rubber inner-tube on a lemonade ocean -- nor is it a denial of the articulation of any legislation by class-interests in a palpably class-organized society such as our own to identify progressive impacts in such legislation where they nonetheless exist as they do in the case of HCR.

It's not the Revolution, sure enough, but if it's the Revolution you're waiting for do please do us all a favor and hold your breath while you're waiting.

Let's just end this joyless ritual, shall we? You can keep pretending over and over that I'm a stealth corporate-militarist assimilationist sellout even though that is a palpably idiotic thing to say about a queer feminist green democratic socialist like me just because I won't blow you kisses for this attention-grabbing performance art you've mistaken for political relevance, and I'll just keep replying to your charges by saying dismissive things like that over and over again. I don't much expect you to change your views until you have grown up a bit more (likely true whatever age you happen to be, but especially so if you are younger than thirty-three) and certainly you aren't saying anything I haven't heard a bazillion times before and am hardly going to change my views over either.

If it hurts your feelings to be ridiculed by someone whose politics should probably make them an ally I propose you either take a hard look at these superficially considered views you've taken up upon misreading a little theory here and there -- even taking Zizek entirely at his word is no excuse for the nonsense you are talking, I must say -- or simply stop reading my blog.

After all, I'm not interested in the least in what you're selling in this particular vein. You might as well give it up and simply declare me a hopeless reactionary elitist as compared to your own shining stunning radicalism.

Dale Carrico said...

Ten Things Radical McRadical Khephra's Too Radical to Give a Fuck About:

1. Once reform is fully implemented, over 95% of Americans will have health insurance coverage, including 32 million who are currently uninsured.

2. Health insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny people coverage because of preexisting conditions—or to drop coverage when people become sick.

3. Just like members of Congress, individuals and small businesses who can't afford to purchase insurance on their own will be able to pool together and choose from a variety of competing plans with lower premiums.

4. Reform will cut the federal budget deficit by $138 billion over the next ten years, and a whopping $1.2 trillion in the following ten years.

5. Health care will be more affordable for families and small businesses thanks to new tax credits, subsidies, and other assistance—paid for largely by taxing insurance companies, drug companies, and the very wealthiest Americans.

6. Seniors on Medicare will pay less for their prescription drugs because the legislation closes the "donut hole" gap in existing coverage.

7. By reducing health care costs for employers, reform will create or save more than 2.5 million jobs over the next decade.

8. Medicaid will be expanded to offer health insurance coverage to an additional 16 million low-income people.

9. Instead of losing coverage after they leave home or graduate from college, young adults will be able to remain on their families' insurance plans until age 26.

10. Community health centers would receive an additional $11 billion, doubling the number of patients who can be treated regardless of their insurance or ability to pay.

Seth Mooney said...

Dale, you consistently frustrate my inclinations to rest on laurels of bitterness regarding things i'd personally like to see change a sight quicker. I guess I'll just have to keep organizing. It's funny how bitching-as-political-practice gets in the way of the actual political work of organizing, no?

Dale Carrico said...

Seth, I consider that an enormously bolstering comment. Thanks. You may be interested to know that part of what I am doing in my blog in this vein is frustrating my own inclinations to get stuck in that sort of demoralization or rationalization or abstraction to the cost of educating and agitating and organizing for best and ever better outcomes in the left wing of the possible.

Mark Thompson said...


This is what I read about the bill:

"The main features of the bill include hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to Medicare, and the requirement that individuals and families obtain insurance or pay a fine, thus providing a new influx of cash-paying customers for private insurance companies. Businesses are under no obligation to provide their workers with insurance, paying only minimal fines if they do not."

"Obama agreed to sign a last-minute executive order confirming that no federal funds would be used for abortions under the terms of the bill."

"With Medicare, people knew that when they reached the age of 65 they would receive medical coverage under the government-run program. With this so-called “reform,” by contrast, nobody knows what to expect."

If this is true, why aren't you more critical of the bill?

Dale Carrico said...

I am critical of the bill. And if that is all you read about the bill you have blinders on.

Go cry in your basement or have a beer with the Republicans who share both your sadness and many of your talking points if you are truly so desolated at the passage of this obviously progressive and also obviously imperfect HCR.