It appears that Tommy Douglas might be dead enough:
This statement of fact, supported by international comparative studies, was political heresy until recently. Canadians were repeatedly told – and they loved being told – that Canada’s health care was the best.
Now, at least a few provincial leaders have dropped the clichés, which were never supported by hard evidence anyway. From this new starting point – truth – serious discussion can begin. (Little progress, after all, could occur from clichés – why consider change if you have the best of something?)
Something else happened recently, too. Canadians no longer believe, according to the latest public opinion data from the Environics Institute, that more money is the answer to what ails the system.
We've been given false hope before. Those with longish political memories will recall the Chaoulli decision which, so many believed, was the beginning of the end for Medicare. Bad ideas die hard. Bad ideas that have wormed their way into the national psyche even more so. Living here in the Imperial Capital I run into well schooled people who sincerely believe that Medicare "defines us as a nation." The more schooled they are the more likely they are to believe in the "sacred trust."
While fading as a cultural phenomenon, in part because the boomers are aging, Trudeaupia is still quite alive. It lives among the well educated, or perhaps more accurately the well schooled, because they have been thoroughly indoctrinated in its precepts. As a graduate / survivor of the Toronto School Board and the University of Toronto I can attest to the continuous bombardment of propaganda regarding multiculturalism and the welfare state. America is painted as a Dickensian nightmare where the poor starve for lack of food and the middle class goes broke because of health care debt.
These things are solemnly taught and solemnly believed. It need not be added that very few of these graduates / survivors can tell John A Macdonald from Ronald McDonald. Those ignorant of their history, culture and traditions are easier to manipulate. Into the vacuum of young people's heads goes the nonsense that Medicare defines us as a nation. After all, what else could? There is no other point of comparison. The schools teach little history. The Canadian MSM, despite its protestations about diversity, shows precious little to Canadians of the outside world, except caricatures.
When I point out that the Swiss and Dutch have universal health care systems that are mostly run and funded by the private sector, I am looked upon with bewilderment.
Such educational indoctrination is only effective for those in the top third or so of the Bell Curve. There are certain things so foolish only people with university degrees can believe. Their sense of themselves is entwined with the educational process. Their success in progressing through the system confirms their adherence to its objectives and values. While supposedly taught to engage in critical thinking, very few actual do. A sad fact attested to whenever I ask of this cohort: Why do you believe that? The question is not simply hard to answer, but the very idea of asking such a question is alien.
The bottom third of the Bell Curve is largely immune to educational indoctrination. Beyond being able to read, write and perform basic arithmetic education as such is largely wasted upon them. Most could probably leave school at 12 or 13 with little real impairment to their career prospects, at least in a society less credential obsessed than our own. This is no indictment of this cohort. We speak here only of intellectual capacity. There are some very stupid people who are diligent, honest and profoundly decent. They are in many cases morally superior to their more intelligent counterparts. I've meet more than a few millionaires who are stupid, but clever and hard working enough to have been successful.
The middle third of the Bell Curve is an expected blend of the two. Some what susceptible to educational and media influence, they are often too inattentive for these influences to be very deep. While thinking the "Right Way" carries a small social prestige for this cohort, financial influences are usually more important. With those in the bottom third financial (free stuff) and emotional (fear and greed) influences are overwhelmingly the driver of political behaviour.
To a long-term thinking politician and intellectual activist these groups must be appealed to in different ways. The bottom third can be bought off with free stuff, the top third with propaganda and the middle third with a combination of both. Education is more of an influence with the top third, while the media (which the top third views with some skepticism) has more of an impact with the middle third. The bottom third doesn't really pay attention to the media.
When trying to reform health care in a more free market direction, this is the intellectual fortress we are facing. The bottom third are terrified of removing any kind of government support. After decades of dependency they do not believe they can survive on their own. This includes even a large number of the working poor. The middle third would be apprehensive about reform but if a practical program could be presented, and presented in such a way that could be impressed on their ADD crippled brains, it could work. The hardest job of pushing for reform is with the top third.
This is why, in defiance of logic, history and economics we still have a socialized health care system. There are practical universal health care systems. These are not libertarian castles in the sky but lived realities in civilized lands. In Switzerland and the Netherlands the inability to pay does not impair the ability to receive medical treatment. It works and has worked for decades. You simply have to look and conduct a bit of research to find out.
But the top third are, to a certain extent, True Believers in Medicare. To them it is a sacred trust and a nation defining program. I've often described Medicare as a Cult. So it is. An act of collective madness blindly adhered to for the sake of a moral ideal. Until that ideal is challenged and intellectually discredited in the minds of the top third, we are stuck with a decaying socialized health care system.