Argument falls short

Mr. Mullen’s letter on healthcare appearing last week was very interesting because, despite the use of a whole bunch of angry sounding words, he managed to assert not one verifiable fact. So, as a reasoned argument in support of whatever he was advocating, perhaps something like “Obamacare bad,” the epistle missed not only that target but the entire arena of constructive human discourse. Not even close. Our learned leader and master communicator, would probably describe it as: “So sad. Crooked Hillary. Lock her up.”

As a partisan rant, though, it was superb, something well worthy of Fox News. I’m certain Mr. Mullen was literally frothing at the mouth upon completion of his missive, a good rant will have that effect. However therapeutic and self-satisfying such an endeavor is, it only typifies the great cultural chasm that now separates Americans into two bickering tribes. It is so easy to fall into the trap of hurling invectives instead of advancing ideas. “Obama is a Marxist Kenyan Muslim” is much more fun to write than to articulate a proposition supported by facts that are susceptible to verification and dispute.

But, if Mr. Mullen tries hard and practices, I’m certain he will someday be able to produce a fact-based, convincing argument concerning healthcare, or other subjects. He will need to start with short, simple propositions. Then, the fun part comes in gathering facts and articulating an argument based on the facts. For example, I wish he had developed his argument that Obamacare “destroyed jobs and devastated the finest healthcare system anywhere in the world” with some facts showing that the reduction in the 2009 pre-Obamacare number of 48 million uninsured persons to the current level of 28 million persons (www.cdc.gov.Nationalhealthsurvey — see how easy that is?) was a bad thing; or, had specified a few facts behind the statement that “Seeing a doctor is becoming a rare experience,” when I, with Medicare, have been treated by more than a dozen in the last two years, including 5 or 6 specialists, or, had just named one “federal bureaucrat … placed by the government between patients and their doctors.”

In these Trumpian (“Fake news”) times, when the discourse spewing forth from our president, the highest model for our social intercourse, is nothing but the lowest of personal insult and political diatribe, honest objectivity seems a bit too bland, but I wish Mr. Mullen the best of luck.

Patrick Radcliff

Vienna

COMMENTS