Further Destroying the Right to Die: Beginnings of a Metaphysical Critique of Obamacare

Posted on July 13, 2012


Okay, Facebook friends, I get it. I’ve seen your witty political cartoons and dubiously strung together metaphors. I get that Obamacare is simultaneously ruining and furthering the nation. And to be honest, I have conflicting feelings about Obamacare. Not because it is cruel to insurance companies or because it gives people new chances at health. Rather because I would like to have the health insurance to remove these pesky, painful wisdom teeth, which have been causing me distress for a little over a year now, but I also remain ideologically terrified and opposed to body policing.

The conservatives have stumbled onto an interesting argument that they are, of course, probably for political reasons as well as a desire not to question the question, not going to make. Perhaps even better, this conservative objection to Obamacare throws the issue around the circle and into radical critique. People should not be forced to buy health insurance and, subsequently, should not be punished for refusal.

However not for the same-old surface reasons (here’s where the scales tip to the radical left). It is, for all intents and purposes all but illegal to die in the US. Euthanasia is illegal, suicide wishes are strictly not to be catered to, and now if you can afford not to die, you have no choice in the matter (unless you have thought ahead and signed a DNR). The blatant removal of the choice to die is perhaps the most basic removal of freedom. You must continue being. You must be treated. Go to the doctor. “I can’t afford it” is no longer an excuse. The government has an interest in keeping a large, growing, healthy population, and if you don’t want to be a part of it, it doesn’t matter. The government needs your healthy body to play in the biopolitical global field.

The argument that is separating the radical from the liberal is this: should we respect the individual’s right to die and right to choose, or should we assume that everyone will always choose life (and that those who wouldn’t need fixing) and as such ought to be able to afford healthcare? As I’ve stated, I feel very conflicted. But if the national dialogue shifted from taxes and affordability to quality of life, personal choice, and the ethics of death, I feel that conservatives, liberals, and radicals could finally hash out some fundamentally ideological issues and we could perhaps come one step closer to actually changing political power and mechanics. Obamacare is the perfect issue to use Heideggerian metaphysical critique to practical political benefit.

Posted in: Obama, Politics