A straightforward article about longevity in the U.S. unwittingly reveals one of the prime memes besetting the American mind. The article, in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, points out that “national data indicate the United States is falling behind other nations in life expectancy rates.” That is – pay attention now – based on the fact that “more than 80 percent of U.S. counties fell in standing against the average of the 10 nations with the best life expectancies in the world.” Sounds like one of those convoluted sports statistics, doesn't it? All it means is that, compared to the top 10 countries on Earth in terms of life expectancy, the U.S. isn't so hot, if you take county-by-county statistics as your criterion. Well, OK – no big surprise there, since those stats have to include places like Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, Baltimore, D.C. -- you get the idea. There are certain people out there who simply insist on dragging down statistics like this, and embarrassing the rest of us. And the way they do it is many-fold: poor pre-natal nutrition, substance abuse, STDs, negligent child care, a culture of violence, poor nutrition, unhealthful lifestyles, and so on. These are all things that people in the U.S. can get away with with scant interference from the government, because they, by and large, belong to ethnic and racial groups that have been what I called “triaged” -- i.e. given up as hopeless. I doubt that the “top 10” have comparable groups of any significant size. Could be wrong, but...
You see, our history of genuine diversity as well as our PC pro-”diversity” culture virtually dictate that we will have certain subgroups that simply don't read off the same page as the rest of us when it comes to nutrition, general health, and lifestyle factors. And no one dares to challenge them, because that would be considered “racist”, or “discriminatory” -- so we wind up with stats like this, and everyone is rendered uneasy, but there is nothing that can be done.
But here's the real crux of the matter: “Despite the fact that the U.S. spends more per capita than any other nation on health, eight our of every 10 counties are not keeping pace in terms of health outcomes.” Notice that bit about spending “more per capita”... and notice that the obvious premise is that the more we spend, the healthier we ought to be. But actually, the exact opposite is the case. We spend what we spend in order to compensate for the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle – you know, obesity, lack of exercise, junk food, processed food, and so on. It could almost be said that the most healthy society would spend the least per capita on health – because they are oriented toward prevention rather then “cure” (which really means “treatment”, often of questionable utility). The only problem with this notion is that it would put the society in question in the same category as some fly-blown hellhole in sub-Saharan Africa... and that would be grossly misleading.
Another reason we spend so much per capita on “health” is that we aren't really spending it on “health” at all. We're spending it on treating symptoms of illness – i.e. of poor health – but not on treating causes. And this is all in pursuit of a medical model based on pathology rather than health maintenance, and which involves treatments that are generally invasive and non-holistic. And to add to this, we have “big pharma”, which relentlessly pushes medications that are highly-refined and far from natural sources, and which are based, again, on the allopathic model rather than something more in tune with natural processes (like homeopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, etc.). And the funny thing about “big pharma's” remedies is that they tend to cost many times what more modest and unassuming holistic remedies cost, even though they may be no more effective and, in fact, come with a vast array of negative side effects and toxicity factors. So we wind up drugged, cut (subjected to surgical procedures of questionable value), “chemed”, radiated, and so on – all at a hideously high price... and we wind up no healthier than the “top 10”, who, I suspect, have a more rational, less fetish-prone view of medicine than we do.
We pay dearly, in other words, for our Puritanical, life-hating, character-armored “battle against nature” orientation toward medicine. We pay dearly for our Protestant-based core hatred of the body. We pay dearly for “scientism” -- the notion that the guys in white coats know so much more about medicine than the granny ladies and herbalists of old that the latter should be thrown in jail for “practicing medicine without a license”. So it's no wonder we're in this fix. We're sick, and getting sicker – and we don't understand why, because we spend so much. It's not unlike the situation with the public schools – we get more for less every year, and persist in being baffled because we don't want to face up to the real facts. And on some level, our built-in Protestant masochism tells us that feeling, and being, sick is our natural lot in life; it's what we deserve. So the racket that is “modern medicine” rolls on, dominating the discussion and forcing its will on Congress, and therefore on the legal system. They are perfectly happy when everything costs more... and they are perfectly happy when the competition (i.e., various forms of holistic medicine) is mercilessly suppressed. The overall health of the citizenry is of no concern to them – only their power base and their monopoly on resources. And it's not even as if they never do anything right; that's not the point. Mere life expectancy is not the only possible metric; there is also that thing called “quality of life” -- and that is the very thing that is never brought up in conversation, except when the time comes to end a life because it lacks “quality”. Then they're all for it; but in the meantime they couldn't care less. A drugged, cut, “chemed”, and radiated populace that can barely deal with the most ordinary demands of everyday life, and that anticipates with dread the dawn of every new day – that's just groovy, as long as they get their cut. We have, in short, no “wellness” industry, but a “sickness” industry – and as its power expands, you can naturally expect an ever-higher proportion of the populace to qualify as being “sick” in some way, life expectancy notwithstanding. We are already seeing this at an early age, with grade-school kids, who are turning out to have various “syndromes” in truly shocking numbers. But that is, again, a power play on the part of the medical profession (not to mention the public education racket, social workers, etc.). Once you define childhood, per se, as “pathological”, then you've assumed control over all aspects of a large and growing (literally as well as statistically) proportion of society – and, please note, a rationale for removing them from their parents' authority. Oh no, don't assume that this is a separate issue; it's one and the same. What I call the “pathologization” of society is a racket on many fronts, and not the least is the transfer of authority over children from their parents to the state (as represented by the the public education cartel).
Do you see how the walls start to close in? The medical model – based on the Protestant mindset – metastasizes, and reaches out, like The Blob, to surround and devour an ever-larger portion of the populace, and therefore of our resources (not to mention our attention, fears, and sheer terror). They scare everyone to death with an ever-expanding array of fearsome ailments (many of which are “incurable at this time, but we're working on it, but we need more money," etc.). They play blackmail games with hideously expensive drugs and “treatments”, in order to coerce the citizenry into forcing the government into paying for it all. They push the Utopian, and therefore impossible, notion of “the best available medical treatment for all”, and thereby eat up even more in the way of national resources. And then they pretend to be hurt and offended by ObamaCare, when in fact it's the program of their dreams – requiring “the best possible” medical care for all citizens with price as no object. And when there is no competition for medical services – a state of affairs long-since assured by the medical lobby – then there is no limit to what can be charged the citizenry, either directly or by way of charging the government, which ultimately forces the citizenry to pay the bill.
So when all of this is considered, it's actually a miracle that our “outcomes” are as good as they are. One could chalk it up, I suppose, to American DNA to some degree – the idea that this country was settled by the tougher members of the species. One could also allow for the possibility that not everyone is mesmerized by the pronouncements of the medical establishment, and that “home remedies” are still more in vogue than anyone wants to think. But can it be denied that the emphasis on life expectancy is superficial, and that quality of life is something few want to discuss, because that discussion would inevitably lead to a consideration of more holistic, less violent (and violating) forms of medical care – to, in fact, a serious consideration of prevention, which is still an idea valued only by a small minority? From the perspective of living in Pittsburgh -- which, I would say, is a pretty normal place, public health-wise -- I can guarantee that the whole notion of prevention, and of healthy lifestyles, is the province of the educated elite, and that “Joe Sixpack” thinks no more about it than he does the price of brown rice in Japan. The typical person in this area is pasty, overweight, flabby, and eats what amounts to garbage at every meal. They might – might – start thinking about their health once they're lying in the ICU with tubes running in and out of every orifice... but up until then, “fuhgeddaboutit”. And, I guess, this is a sign of one of the few remaining freedoms we have left – to overeat and poison ourselves to death with “comfort foods”. But then the medical establishment pretends to be shocked – shocked! -- at the result. Maybe if they changed their message, they would get a result more to their liking. But wait, no... that would erode their vast power base. Better to remain a wealthy elite ruling over a society of sick people – yes, that will surely insure our survival and prospering as a society.