Lying or Clueless?: Attempting To Understand The Right

I have spent ten years monitoring the Religious Right and one thing I have never been able figure out is whether they have decided to intentionally lie whenever it suits their needs or if they just don’t know what they are talking about most of the time, especially when I see things like this anti-healthcare reform screed show up on Concerned Women For America’s website:

The government is paying for your treatment, so the government decides which treatment you should get – if any at all.

The treatment the government decides you should get may well be based on a proposed treatment allocation idea called the Complete Lives System and devised, among others, by Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel, President Obama’s Special Advisor for Health Policy.

The policy is laid out on a recent article in the Lancet. This from pages 428-429:

When implemented, the complete lives system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most substantial chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated . . . the complete lives system justifies preference to younger people . . . Additionally, the complete lives system assumes that, although life-years are equally valuable to all, justice requires the fair distribution of them.

Here’s what this means in plain language:

1. The Complete Lives System will divide Americans into those who are more worthy of treatment and those who are less worthy of treatment. Top priority will go to those between 15 and 40 (because they have the best potential for longer, healthier, and more productive lives, that is, “complete lives”).

2. The youngest and oldest will have less chance of a shot at medical treatment because, statistically, the chances of them attaining “complete lives” are much lower than among 15-40 year- olds.

3. Oh, yes, and even those lucky 15-40 year-olds who make the privileged cut might not get what they need, because “complete lives” will have to be distributed “justly” across the population.

There it is:

Living, or have great potential for a “complete” life? Between 15 and 40? The Government will likely OK necessary medical treatment (unless, of course, what should have been coming to you needs to be “justly” given to someone else).

Living, but don’t have such a great potential to get to a “complete” life? Younger than 15? Older than 40?

You are judged incomplete. You are damaged. You have little potential for attaining completeness.

Complete, you live.

Incomplete, you die.

As I explained before, if you actually bother to read the article, you immediately see that it focuses on the allocation of “very scarce medical interventions such as organs and vaccines” of which there is very clearly a finite and limited number. It is not talking about limiting healthcare treatment, but rather focuses on how best to allocate finite medical resources.

This piece on CWA’s website was written by Mark P. Mostert, who just so happens to be the Director of Regent University’s Institute for the Study of Disability & Bioethics.

You’d think somebody who specializes in ethics wouldn’t be spreading garbage like this … but you’d be wrong.

But the question is whether Mostert is intentionally lying or if he is just clueless about what the article actually says. 

I genuinely don’t know, though I suspect that in situations such as this, it is a combination of both in that they’ll “learn” just enough to allow them to advance their agenda, but do so utterly without concern for whether or not what they are saying is true or even accurate.