Megan McArdle–currently blogging at the Atlantic— continues to defend a post, which she initially posted at her previous bloggy home.
…as a class, the old and sick have some culpability in their ill health. They didn’t eat right or excercise; they smoked; they didn’t go to the doctor as often as they ought; they drank to much, or took drugs, or sped, or engaged in dangerous sports. Again, in individual cases this will not be true; but as a class, the old and sick bear some of the responsibility for their own ill health, while younger, healthier people have almost no causal role in the ill-health of others.
Perhaps they deserve it by virtue of suffering? But again, most of them are suffering because they have gotten old, often in high style. The young of today have two possible outcomes:
1) They will be old and sick too, in which case they are no less deserving of our concern than today’s old and sick
2) They won’t ever get to be old and sick, which is even worse than being old and sick.
As a class, the old and sick are already luckier than the young and healthy. Again, for individuals within that class–those with desperate congenital conditions, for example–this is not the case. But I’m not sure it’s terribly compelling to argue that we should massively disadvantage a large group of people in order to massively advantage another, equally large group of people, all to help out the few who are needy, or deserving, or unlucky.
Translation: The old and sick are mostly to blame for their oldness and sickness so why should the young and healthy have to carry their burden when they are not to blame?
Left unasked (and unanswered) is the question, “Who helped the youth and healthy grow up young and healthy? Or did they simply spring from the Earth with no help from any other living beings?
Can anyone guess Ms. McArdle’s age? Maybe this photo will help.
Will we still need her? Will we still feed her, when she’s 64?