That being said, selective concern is far better than no concern.
Except many of the instances of expressed concern seem to be misleading, or logically stretched. Curiously enough, they also almost always seem to be directly aimed at an overall policy, government or politician that the far right itself politically opposes.
Here's a quick example of both of these points, at once.
Yesterday, we noted how the very popular blog Althouse cited the Washington Post, while missing essentially the entire point of the linked piece, and then some.
Today, Althouse, presumably as non satire, promotes the following monstrosity:
Think about it. Yesterday, we were talking about how the government "has ways of changing behavior" to deal with the supposed medical expenses studies attribute to obesity.If studies show that divorce damages health, then horning into our marriages will become the government's business too. Obviously another blue pill. You expect us to pay for the red pill, when there's a blue pill?We certainly understand the well warranted concern over government dictating what people can and can't do. But while the very general idea here, in theory, is solid, the example given is absurd.
The claim made in the first part of the above quote, that "yesterday, we were talking about how the government 'has ways of changing behavior'" regarding obesity and health, is extremely misleading. And the connection, after that, to the idea that therefore, studies show that "divorce might be bad" health wise, is incredibly specious, or simply flat out stone cold illogical (aka, preposterous.)
The Wall Street Journal article discussed "yesterday" quotes someone from a non profit Trust concerned with promoting health, not, "the government." Calling that "the goverment" is wildly irresponsible.
The relevant portion of the WSJ article:
Unless you address obesity, you're never going to address rising health-care costs." Obesity-related conditions now account for 9.1% of all medical spending, up from 6.5% in 1998, the study concluded.It was awkwardly stated -- and maybe he even meant worse by it; but "ways to change" certainly can mean mean "ways" without compulsion. In any event, once again, it is a Trust for health, not the government.
Health economists have long warned that obesity is a driving force behind the rise in health spending. For example, diabetes costs the nation $190 billion a year to treat, and excess weight is the single biggest risk factor for developing diabetes. Moreover, obese diabetics are the hardest to treat, with higher rates of foot ulcers and amputations, among other things.
The new study's look at per-capita spending may offer a shock to the wallets of people who haven't yet heeded straight health warnings.
"Health care costs are dramatically higher for people who are obese and it doesn't have to be that way," said Jeff Levi of the nonprofit Trust for America's Health, who wasn't involved in the new research. "We have ways of changing behavior and changing those health outcomes so that we don't have to deal with the medical
consequences of obesity," added Mr. Levi, who advocates community-based programs that promote physical activity and better nutrition.
But it was precisely that "chilling locution" that set off the wave of fright of the possibility of, say, "the government telling people they could not get divorced," because, like a million other things, divorces are correlated with slightly higher disease rates. (And we don't even know if the lack of a divorce in an otherwise unhealthy living situation, might or might not be similarly correlated, since there is no way to account for this variable, it seems.)
This leap to divorce -- aside from the over ominous reading of a non profit Trust analyst (who may or may not (but probably) meant promotional advocacy means), with the government itself -- is simply a ridiculous leap of logic. It helps illustrate how the far right's thinking is often grounded in hysteria and specious speculation, that the far right itself often confuses for "common sense.'
We see it done on a repeated basis.
Normally, it just goes right on unchecked, for the most part; even, sometimes, helping somewhat to frame our national discussion. (Since, as long as loud enough voices say it just convincingly enough, our media likes to then parrot it as reasonable and one "side" to some debate.)
On this little bit of "chilling locution"/divorce zaniness, it was of course promoted by that overly popular bit of horse malarkey, instapundit itself. Shocker, that. Note to Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds -- who actually teaches law -- perhaps you should read the things that you link to? Although, in quite a telling symmetry, it is clear that this site that you linked to, also does not.