When I was a kid, I used to always watch whatever it was my grandma was watching, though usually detached. I didn’t have a heart for the sexy mustachioed “Magnum PI,” but I did kind of watch “The Equalizer.” And then there was “20/20.” These old people talked about everything with such pathos and authority (for my pre-teen mind at least), that this curious little ADD-booger head was always hooked into their respectable themes and stories of seniors being scammed and children swapped at birth. Such respect was earned that I followed Barbara and company through some other haunts, even being intrigued by the gabfests and pre-Oscar interviews (dreaded as they are).
John Stossel and his (not-as-sexy-as-Magnum-PI’s) mustache also got respect. Back then, he seemed to be sensible and for the little guy and gal. (Or at least that’s how he presented himself – and I believed him.) But those were different times, and I saw things differently. Recently, when I reviewed some old footage of his, I found him to be an obstinate ideologue and the shrewdest (though perhaps not the brightest) of Libertarian Defenders – and a bit shady. Always ready to denounce any public good taken by the state and to praise Ron Paul and unfettered capitalism (the kind where the rich are really rich and the poor are really poor), Stossel looks a bit daffy in recent light – a precursor to Fox News on an integral broadcast newsmagazine show.
His latest tirade on health care may be the mother of them all, exposing himself for the misogynist and impractical hack he is. In yet another attack against anything approaching universal health care – which “kills the markets,” Stossel laments (emphases mine):
Yesterday, President Obama stood in front of a bunch of women in Massachusetts and said, ‘No longer will those evil insurance companies be able to charge you women more.’ Women go to the doctor much more often than men! Maybe they’re smarter or maybe they’re hypochondriacs. They live longer. Who knows? But if it’s insurance, you ought to be able to charge people who use the services more, more.
Stossel’s arguments are rooted in both classism and misogyny (and you can bet a number of other intersections, too. Consider that Black and Latina women are much more likely to be uninsured or underinsured than their White counterparts). Being an ideologue for his Austrian School of Economics means that he must must MUST look through the lens of privileged, wealthy, white males. He cannot consider the perspective of women or why women may need more of one thing or another. He cannot even consider that women go to the doctors more because, you know, BIOLOGY?
The same biology that gives us babies. Babies are important for society, and for Stossel’s ideology. This is because babies are the next generation of consumers and workers. The next generation is integral to energize the economic markets. Since women bear the brunt of bringing in the next population upon their bodies and their health, it would only make sense that their bodies are given a special prominence in all things having to do with their reproductive health.
It is for this reproductive health – not hypochondria – that women darken the doors of clinics and hospitals more than men. It is the cost of having a society that women’s bodies are cared for by health professionals more than men. It’s good for that Free Market deity that Stossel and Ron Paul ramble on about.
And Stossel should be grateful they do. I mean, how else is he going to get people gullible enough to believe his dreck if not from the next incarnation of precocious ten year olds?
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