Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.”     George Washington

June 27, 2007

PETA Swerves Into the Truth

by Stephen Littau

Even organizations as wrongheaded and extreme as PETA can swerve into the truth on occasion. PETA’s president and founder Ingrid E. Newkirk wrote a letter to Michael Moore (the Fat Ass from Flint) in response to Moore’s upcoming crockumentary SiCKO; a film which advocates socialized healthcare and criticizes America’s current healthcare system. So what is PETA’s beef (pardon the pun) with the Fat Ass’s movie? The beef is that, due to his weight, he apparently eats a lot of beef.

Dear Mike,

Congratulations from PETA on your reviews for SiCKO. Although we think that your film could actually help reform America’s sorely inadequate health care system, there’s an elephant in the room, and it is you. With all due respect, no one can help but notice that a weighty health issue is affecting you personally. We’d like to help you fix that. Going vegetarian is an easy and life-saving step that people of all economic backgrounds can take in order to become less reliant on the government’s shoddy healthcare system, and it’s something that you and all Americans can benefit from personally…

[…]

Yes, America’s healthcare system needs to be fixed, but personal responsibility is a big part of why people look and feel as ill as they do.

Obliviously, PETA has an agenda here trying to convince the Fat Ass to become a vegetarian; I wouldn’t begrudge the Fat Ass his steak and eggs (as I would not give up my right to eat tasty animals) but rather encourage moderation of diet (though I am not the best person to preach such a message either. I could stand to lose a few pounds too). What Newkirk writes toward the end of her letter is very interesting, however. About the last thing I would expect to hear from a leftist is anything having to do with “personal responsibility.”

I do not believe that Newkirk’s point was that the U.S. should adopt more of a free market approach to healthcare opposed to the Fat Ass’s socialist/Hillary Clinton model but may have inadvertently helped make such an argument. Under socialist and communist systems, there are few rewards for individuals making good choices. Those who make very poor choices strain the system yet they receive the same benefits as those who have made better choices. Shouldn’t we be moving away from this sort of system and instead see what the free market has to offer?

I cannot for the life of me understand why health insurance operates so differently from virtually every other kind of insurance. The auto insurance industry charges lower premiums for drivers who have better driving records than those with wrecks and tickets. Home owner policies are less for people who choose to live closer to a fire station. Life insurance companies give better rates to those who are at or close to their ideal weight, don’t smoke, don’t drink excessively, or otherwise live a life of minimal risk. It seems to me that if the health insurance industry followed the same model, healthcare would be much less expensive and the healthcare providers and health insurers would make more profit than they do now.

Even more than the free market reasons for opposing socialized medicine, there is also a moral argument to consider. We simply cannot demand freedom if we are not willing to accept responsibility. We cannot oppose the war on (some) drugs on moral grounds if we are not willing to tell those who wish to harm their bodies that they should also be responsible for their own trip to the hospital (and all other expenses they incur from making a bad choice). Those of us who choose not to smoke, drink excessively, or overeat should not be expected to pay more for those who do. Living in a free society means taking responsibility for your own choices.

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6 Comments

  1. Ad hominem really destroys your credibility. Patrick Henry would be ashamed to be associated with your blog.

    Comment by mullingitover — June 27, 2007 @ 2:58 pm
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  4. The President of PETA is not Mr. Newkirk it is Ms. Newkirk,Ingrid. I think that says a lot to the shallow content of this article. Go to the Peta website and get your facts right, then try again.

    Comment by E. McGill — June 28, 2007 @ 11:46 am
  5. Mullingitover:

    That’s a fair criticism. Calling Michael Moore the Fat Ass from Flint is a little immature on my part. I could have just as easily stuck to the facts to make my point but isn’t poking fun at the news makers part of being a blogger/commentator? You don’t think that Patrick Henry, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and the other fore fathers made ad hominem attacks on King George?

    Comment by Stephen Littau — June 28, 2007 @ 1:51 pm
  6. E. McGill:

    I did as you suggested and found that you are right: the president of PETA is a woman not a man. I have made the necessary corrections to the post. I do my best to be accurate in my writing but inevitably, writers make mistakes from time to time (maybe someday I’ll be as perfect as you). Now that I have addressed this error and that I have admitted to another reader that my ad hominem attack on Michael Moore was immature, in what other ways do you find my article to be “shallow”? Judging by the tone of your comment, I think you have more problems with my post than getting the sex of the PETA president wrong.

    Comment by Stephen Littau — June 28, 2007 @ 1:52 pm

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