You may have assumed that woke activism was a sideshow, destroying academic institutions and The New York Times.Yet here it had penetrated an important, once-revered government scientific agency and it was affecting, not who gets to edit the Times op-ed page but basic questions of life and death for millions.
For liberals, this should be especially terrifying–most crucially for backers of “Medicare for All” and other ambitious health plans. I think I’m one of them — I’ve always supported some kind of universal, national health insurance. Medicare seems like a program that works–why not expand it? Claims from conservatives that this gives government too much power have always seemed like a rote application of abstract dogma. Did Medicare — run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — have too much power? Hard to see how. There’s no obvious rationing. No death panels. Of course there are always worries about cost-cutting, and the insidious culture of “good death,” including creepy end-of-life maneuvers (like the UKs infamous Liverpool Pathway). Yet we could seemingly rely on voter demand for care to overhwelm lugubrious proponents of medical austerity.
But what happened last week was not abstract: The near-hijacking of a universal medical instiution, and a potential denial of care, not in the name of budget-cutting but in the name of two-wrongs-make-up-for-racism social justice. Fight it and you’re not just self-interested and wrong. You’re self-interested and wrong and racist.