When Your Body is No Longer Yours

Many civil rights activists agree: your body, you business. If you’re not hurting anyone else, what’s the business of others if they perceive that you’re hurting yourself? In the past, these activist issues have extended to protect freedom of choice to have an abortion, freedom to smoke cigarettes and ingest other substances that might not be beneficial to your mind and body, and other bodily freedoms, as long as they did not, as a consequence, inflict harm on others.

However, the temptation to control the body of a citizen – thereby robbing the citizen of its most essential right, and reducing the citizen to an effective slave to the whims of the State Health Ministry – is very powerful. A society is a complex entity, and a politician who desires a predictable, machine-like State which operates in a certain way towards a particular purpose, will do what he can to control the variables of the system.

Even just one uncontrolled variable can throw the whole complex societal system out of whack, we learn from chaos theory (it’s called a metastable state, for anyone who wants to know), history, and excellent science fiction like Orwell’s 1984.

This push for absolute control has spelled the downfall of other perfectly good societies. Big Brother can’t be everywhere at once, and if there’s one citizen who isn’t completely controlled, then there exists the possibility for chaos to erupt and for the whole system to collapse.

That’s why the road towards tighter and more extensive controls starts with the loss of basic civil rights: once one has been corrupted, the others soon follow. The most basic civil right is the right to body autonomy; it is reasonable to fear that once the right to body autonomy has been corrupted, other civil rights will follow.

Body autonomy has been eroded over the past twenty or so years. The test case – of whether or not Americans could be so bamboozled – was anti-smoking legislation. Get into private businesses to control the bodily decisions of private citizens, and anything is possible.

The logical question in the minds of some politicians that followed from the outstanding success of anti-smoking legislation was: if we can change the behavior of an individual by claiming that behavior is harming others, how do we go about convincing the populace that more general behaviors are potentially harmful to others?

The answer: by first making bodily behaviors your neighbor’s financial responsibility instead of just your own, and then by redefining “harm” to include any arbitrarily “unreasonable” financial burden.

It’s taken a while, but the path has been laid and we’re now firmly traveling down it. Here are the steps towards the ultimate establishment of bodily ‘serfdom’:

  1. Cultivate a “preventative” healthcare system. Get in bed with anyone who’s hawking a bottle of Fountain of Youth Elixir [TM].
  2. Cultivate a fearful attitude in the population. Overestimate deaths, diseases, and average costs from those stereotypical ills a “preventative” healthcare system claims to eradicate. Frame our existence as one in “crisis.” Suggest such ills are contagious, and call their set an “epidemic.” Frame the situation as one in which public health is at risk.
  3. Promote a government-controlled healthcare system by painting private care blackly and public care as cheaper, more efficient, and better quality. Use classist arguments to suggest that only the rich can afford decent healthcare, that their healthcare is excessive, and they should be paying for a more moderate policy plus a few policies for others.
  4. Once government-controlled healthcare is established in some form (all it needs is a toehold, as in Massachusetts), burrow ever-deeper into the hide of Americans, tick-style. Argue that since healthcare is no longer private, the costs of healthcare are therefore shared by everyone.
  5. Use this argument to suggest that those who do not endeavor to follow “preventative” health measures are deviant, and are financially “harming” their fellow citizens via their “irresponsbility.”
  6. Draft legislation which scapegoats certain easily-identifiable groups of deviants which  fines them, enslaves their bodies to meet arbitrary wellness “requirements,” forces their children into camps or otherwise divests the deviants of parental rights, and in general slowly divests the deviants of all their basic civil rights if they don’t “comply.”
  7. If this works, then make up new maladies, and find new ways to finger other groups of people who didn’t before fall into a deviant class. Slowly divest all citizens of their civil rights when they fail to “comply” to be responsible and not cause “undue harm” to their citizens financially or otherwise.
  8. The step after this one frightens me, honestly. I’ll leave it up to your imagination.
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