So there’s this group called SIGMA (the capitalisation is important, I’m sure), who are a bunch of science fiction writers making various suggestions to the US government on how to protect the nation. And one SIGMA member is Larry Niven. And Larry Niven says … oh hell, I just don’t have the calm state of mind necessary to paraphrase this. Just let me quote the National Defense Magazine:
Niven said a good way to help hospitals stem financial losses is to spread rumors in Spanish within the Latino community that emergency rooms are killing patients in order to harvest their organs for transplants.
“The problem [of hospitals going broke] is hugely exaggerated by illegal aliens who aren’t going to pay for anything anyway,” Niven said.
Which just goes to show that Niven has never been in hospital recently. Even I, outside the United States, know how difficult it is to qualify for a doctor to even look at you without producing copious documentation and letters from your insurance company, saying the ocular once-over will be reimbursed. (Go visit Ashley Ladd’s blog, if you don’t believe me.) Does he honestly believe that so-called “illegals” really swan into hospital, get treated for spinal injuries, and then swan out again while agilely side-stepping the bill? “Illegals bankrupt Mayo Clinic!” Yeah, right. If I was in a foul mood, I’d sic Orcinus on these guys.
To his credit, Jerry Pournelle did comment that the suggestion was politically incorrect. Not morally reprehensible, mind you, just politically incorrect, thus confirming that form does indeed trounce substance in modern debate.
It does eventually get funny. Quoting from the magazine again:
… the writers used … [the 45-minute panel discussion] … to pontificate on a variety of tangentially related topics, including their past roles advising the government, predictions in their stories that have come to pass, the demise of the paperback book market, and low-cost launch into space.
Bwahahahahaha. And David Brin, who I kinda respected up till now, ranted on the “lack of funds being spent to support citizen reservists to back up the military” (right, just what the US needs, more guys with sanctioned phallic substitutes):
“It is impossible for you to succeed without us!” he shouted at the assembled officials, while banging his fist on the table and at one point jumping off his chair to wave a mobile phone in their faces.
Actually, I don’t disagree with what he’s saying, but, you gotta admit, the way he said it was less than … [*snort*] … rational. Put that together with the imagined antics of the rest of the esteemed group, and I can hardly keep a straight face as I type this.
Oh man, I love me some right-wing nutcases! Pity Heinlein is dead … that, ah, gentleman would’ve fitted right in.