The Mind Of Aaron Carroll

My experience after submitting a comment to a post on the liberal blog The Incidental Economist nicely illustrates the working of the liberal mind these days. The blog, which is well regarded within the media, claims to contemplate “healthcare with a focus on re-search,” and because it’s “evidence-based,” the administrators require readers who post a comment to provide citations that support “any claims that are not obviously true.”

Recently, one of TIE’s contributors, Dr. Aaron Carroll, authored a post about what he called a “ridiculously fantastic” JAMA article that compared the quality of healthcare in the U.S. to that in other countries. The article was ridiculously fantastic apparently be-cause it found U.S. healthcare substandard when compared to mostly European countries. The good doctor studies healthcare quality and it’s not unusual for him to use Europe to bash the quality of U.S. healthcare.

In my comment to the post, I suggested that social and cultural factors (i.e., factors re-sulting in behavior that’s not good for health), for which doctors and hospitals cannot be held responsible, explain the poor showing, and that when such factors are taken into account, U.S. medical care is the best. I also suggested that liberal criticism of U.S. healthcare by referencing Europe is really criticism of our government’s inability to control our lives.

Well, Carroll had a conniption over my comment (good thing he’s a doctor – he could monitor his own vital signs and prescribe a sedative, if needed). He responded with an irrelevant, sarcastic comment, and stated that this was my “last factless freebie com-ment.” No attempt to explain that my facts were incorrect or my reasoning misguided, just a threat to shut off further discussion.

In a reply to Carroll’s “factless” reference, I pointed out that TIE itself lacks factual sup-port for its political position. For example, one of the most important aspects of reform is choosing how to organize and regulate healthcare. And from reading the blog, it’s clear that TIE supports a centralized, big government approach to healthcare, yet it takes this position without any evidence whatsoever of its value.

One of the fundamental facts about social life is that decentralized economies founded on markets and competition are far superior to centrally directed economies. This is based on almost a century of “natural experiments” (including the ridiculously fantastic natural experiment still playing out on the Korean peninsula), not to mention economic theory. The superiority of competition is one of those “obvious” facts for which a citation is unnecessary.

But liberal wonks like Carroll ignore this crucial evidence and because centrally directed economies harm everyone eventually, the result is a disconnect between the wonks’ goal (presumably to help the poor) and their method of attaining the goal. After pointing all of this out, I finished my second comment by asking Carroll if he might address this dis-connect.

Alas, rather than address the issue, Carroll responded by deleting my second comment. Evidently, this is his response to obvious facts that he doesn’t like, which would be the cyber equivalent of placing his hands over his ears and chanting “LaLaLa, I Can’t Hear You.” So much for discussion and intellectual honestly.

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