You want to know what caused all those earthquake deaths in Haiti as compared to Chile? A Tea Party mental disorder. That is the laughable premise put forward by Joe Conason in a supreme stretch.
If the earthquakes in Chile and Haiti carry any message for those of us fortunate enough not to live in those places, perhaps it is that government regulation could save your life — while right-wing ideology may kill you someday.
For those of us unfamiliar with geological terminology, it may come as a shock that the Chilean quake, rated 8.8 on the Richter scale, was roughly 500 times more powerful than the Haitian quake in January, which rated 7.0. Yet in Haiti, probably more than 200,000 lives were lost; in Chile, the number of dead is estimated at about 800. While that is still a terrible tragedy, the Chilean death toll is far less than 1 percent of that in Haiti.
Conason continues digging himself deeper into his obsession with Tea Parties:
Here in the United States, however, anti-government ideology is a pandemic mental tic that has now developed into a virulent disorder afflicting a large number of citizens — including many of our self-styled conservatives. Infuriated because their party cannot permanently control the White House and the Congress, they have gradually persuaded themselves that all government is evil, that all taxation is theft and that all regulation is tyranny. Or at least that is the tone of their rhetoric.
If the Chileans had adopted this kind of manic and reflexive attitude, many more of them would undoubtedly be dead today. The "free market" extremists who call themselves conservative probably wouldn't worry much about the loss of life, because they are far more concerned with ideological consistency than with practical effects. But the rest of us might consider the wiser approach of Friedrich von Hayek, the Austrian economist whose work is often cited by the extremists when they claim to be defending freedom.
In "The Road to Serfdom," perhaps his most popular work, Hayek explained that he saw no reason why "the state should not assist individuals in providing for those common hazards of life against which, because of their uncertainty, few individuals can make adequate provision.
Has anybody out there noticed Tea Party protestors denouncing earthquake building codes...or police, fire, and other emergency services? No? I thought not but that won't stop Conason. He's on a roll with his false premise so let us allow him to conclude his comedy of the absurd in which he makes it seem that Hayek would have supported ObamaCare:
It is worth noting, not so incidentally, that the great philosopher of the market was writing about health care rather than earthquakes or tainted food or untested drugs in the passage quoted above. But the principle is the same — and ought to be remembered whenever we hear the preposterous din of the Tea Parties and their corporate sponsors.
We now await the Conason column in which he blames rampant obesity on Tea Parties.
UPDATE: Welcome InstaPundit readers!