In its never-ending quest to act as the Official Organ of the Obama Administration (OOOh -Ah), The New York Times is finding new inspiration in Trofim Lysenko, the Stalinist agronomist whose peasant background, unwillingness to acknowledge errors, and willingness to send his scientific critics to their death catapulted him to the head of the Soviet Institute of Genetics.
Lysenko promised to “turn the barren fields of the Transcaucasus green in winter” through a process of exposing seedlings to cold, but his primary success lay in purging “bourgeois” adherence to the scientific method and replacing it with a “proletarian” belief that the plant world would respond to Marxist-Leninist pressures in ways identical to humans. Unfortunately, because plants lack the forethought to worry about other plants sending them to Siberia, Lysenko met only with limited scientific success.
However, his ideas spawned a tremendously successful academic-political movement, Lysenkoism, which proved that militant adherence to Marxism/Leninism combined with public humiliation of politically incorrect peers could transform entire intellectual disciplines with great efficiency. What wheat seeds refused to do, intellectuals adapted to, and by the 1940’s, Lysenkoist mediocrity was so prevalent among un-purged Russian scientists that the Soviets were, happily for us, stymied in their efforts to build nuclear weapons.
The practice of Lysenkoism begins with a political hypothesis (ie. “Stalin will like this”) and proceeds to subjugate all data to that theory. It is not so much a scientific method as a filing system, like all grand collectivist schemes, and what it produces mainly is more bureaucracy, rather than more bread, or automobiles, or healthcare.
But Lysenkoism is very good at manufacturing bureaucracy. Freed from the constraints of reality and the limits of the natural world, academics have proven to be especially resourceful at institutionalizing pet beliefs.
Beliefs are easier to grow than wheat, and for this reason, Lysenko retained absolute power in the Soviet Academy of Sciences until he didn’t anymore, at which time he was declared officially no longer “immune to criticism” and deposed in the manner to which he had become accustomed to deposing his enemies.
Nonetheless, Lysenkoism beats on in the heart of every utopian bureaucrat. It moistens the pen that writes thousand-page regulatory bills and re-animates the botoxed brows of Today Show hosts who toil in the fields of daytime television, squashing dissent to the President’s Healthcare Great Leap Forward.
Granted, our cadres of official journalists are still awaiting the Great Leap Forward in media centralization that was sadly postponed when the Internet amplified voices other than their own. They can only dream of confessions like this one, written (or at least signed) in 1949 by one Professor B. Kederov after he failed to appropriately admire one of Trofim Lysenko’s proclamations. The idea that a thought crime could consist of not praising a leader fulsomely enough would have seemed alien in America a few years ago:
I consider it my party duty to state that I fully agree with the criticism and definitely denounce the sermon of alien cosmopolitan viewpoints that I permitted myself to carry out. The danger of such viewpoints becomes especially obvious now, when all along the ideological front our party and the entire Soviet nation are engaged in a determined struggle against corrupt bourgeois ideology and against bourgeois cosmopolitanism as the ideological weapon of American imperialism; in this condition, the slightest advocacy of cosmopolitan viewpoints is direct treason to the cause of communism.
Lacking, for now, the power to extract public confessions, our fourth estate is limited to accusing the President’s opponents of thought crimes like racism and churning column inches of apparatchik prose denouncing “bourgeois” opposition to Obamacare’s record-breaking harvest of successes.
Such reporting requires papering over of great expanses of facts to the point of Lysenkian absurdity. For example, in response to the high costs already being imposed on small businessmen and other individual insurance purchasers, the Times on Sunday ignored that problem entirely, denounced the naysayers, and proclaimed that Obamacare was actually helping people who dream of becoming small businessmen in the future. Don’t look at dour old facts, said the Times, look to the possibilities of an imaginary future. This is Lysenkoist reporting at its best:
In the weeks since the health insurance marketplaces of the Affordable Care Act went online, a well-publicized ripple of alarm and confusion has permeated the ranks of small-business owners. But less well known is the response of another contingent: newcomers to entrepreneurship who see the legislation as a solution to the often insurmountable expense of getting health insurance.
The article profiles Rajeev Jeyakumar, co-founder of an “online job marketplace” website who just found out that he qualifies for enough public aid to pay $74 a month for health insurance in Manhattan that “even includes dental,” he gloats. Lucky him: we are all subsidizing his teeth cleaning as he plays venture capitalist. But Jeyakumar is chipping in by “refraining from using his Citi Bike membership or playing sports, lest he sustain an injury requiring medical care” until his taxpayer-subsidized health insurance kicks in.
The moral of this tale is understandably fuzzy, as the Times leaves out all pertinent facts, such as how much Mr. Jeyakumar’s health insurance will cost if he actually earns any money and ceases to be subsidized by the rest of us, or what he had planned to do if he had been mowed down by a bus prior to the time that the mere promise of Obamacare magically transformed him into a socially conscientious, non-Citi Bike-riding citizen.
Both Mr. Jeyakumar and Constantina Petrou, another web-based consultant profiled in the article, believe that they can now hire employees because of Obamacare. Petrou claims she has been unable to hire full-time employees because of the price of healthcare but that Obamacare may enable her to do so “depending on the new costs of coverage.” These costs, which would seem to be the point, are not further discussed. Jeyakumar imagines he will tell his still-imaginary future employees to “shop the new health care exchanges on their own” and “bump up their salaries to cover the cost.” Petrou “will either pay for a portion of the individual plans that her employees shop for on the exchange, or she may take advantage of tax credits and offer a small group plan,” the costs of which are also not discussed.
All of these options existed before the magic of Obamacare, only the promise of cheaper coverage has been replaced with the reality of massive price hikes. But there is no need to discuss this if you are the New York Times and the purpose of your article is to attach negative adjectives like “alarmed” and “confused” to small businesspeople who are not appropriately “excited” and “happy.”
Besides, notes the Times, many more jobs are being created thanks to the problems that have been created by Obamacare. Even the failure of the website and the “alarm” and “confusion” of small business owners are turning out to be job creators. When government policies create a famine, the peasants will find new markets for their potatoes:
Jack Hooper is among those who see the law as a business opportunity … As he began investigating his own health care options, he realized that the Affordable Care Act could provide more than just access to coverage for his family … He anticipates that premiums will remain expensive, pushing many Americans to high-deductible plans, and that these people will need help in managing care-related expenses.
Hooper anticipates meeting that need, and he anticipates a big demand for his services:
Based on his previous experience working for the federal government, he says, he is not surprised by the problems that have emerged in the Healthcare.gov site. Entrepreneurs like him will end up providing the ultimate solutions to the problems that have emerged from the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Hooper says.
In other words, Mr. Hooper’s future small business success depends on charging money to small businessmen who cannot afford to pay medical bills that are not covered by the expensive new insurance they are required to buy under Obamacare: Obamacare is thus “opening doors for entrepreneurs.” The series of magical beliefs required to commit this to the page probably wouldn’t make a Lysenko blush, but step-by-step we’re getting there.