Henry Rollins: The Cost of Being Human

[Look for your weekly fix from the one and only Henry Rollins right here on West Coast Sound every Thursday, and come back tomorrow for the awesomely annotated playlist for his Sunday KCRW broadcast.]

See also: Henry Rollins: New York Was Where Things Took Off

This one really grabbed me. I heard this clip from the recent Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C. Ben Carson, director of pediatric surgery at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center for almost 40 years and now a Fox News contributor, said this:

"You know Obamacare is really I think the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery, and it is in a way, it is slavery in a way, because it is making all of us subservient to the government, and it was never about health care. It was about control."

Just my opinion, but I think you would have to be an utter moron to say that and an even bigger one to agree.

All this is getting really old, even though the Affordable Care Act and its operational, glitchy website (as predicted) has been in effect for only a few weeks now. Oh, and the buying of health insurance on the open market is just like the buying and selling of human beings? Oh. OK. It's not the worst thing since slavery and it's not much like it, either. About control? No. It's about getting millions of people to work together and help drive down the cost of health care. It's about Americans conspiring to not toss under the bus their fellow Americans treading water at their minimum-wage jobs and those with pre-existing conditions.

If you want to go the scorched-earth, Obamacare-is-like-slavery route and choose to stay uninsured, you will have the Palinesque guts, the Cruzian fortitude to wave off the ambulance that will appear to scoop you up should something bad happen to you, right? Certainly, you wouldn't let them take you into an ER because hey, if you can't pay, then you can't play, right? Right? Cracker?

The thing is, you don't have the guts. You will go to the ER and I will pay for you via hiked premiums. You will nanny-state me, pussy.

It's one thing to buy a copy of Atlas Shrugged. You actually have to read it to get anything out of it. You realize that if the people who rely on the ER for care and can't pay actually took this idiotic, Ayn Randian route that I just described, there would be a noticeable upsurge of death in the states that occupy the lower half of America. Bullet and beer sales plummet! The end times!

If you study the animal world at all, you can quickly conclude that humans are perhaps one of the most ill-equipped to live on the planet. The sustained presence of the species over the centuries has as much to do with its ability to control and destroy its environment as its ability to adapt and live in it. Adaptation is not compromise! It leads to evolution and, oh, forget it.

Humans can't run fast or all that far. Can't handle extreme weather without substantial modification. Their teeth are problematic and prone to fail, nails are not much good for much more than idle scratching or picking. They can't climb all that well and easily fall prey to any predator that wants to eat them. A hyena can literally crush and chew bones like breadsticks. You have the newest cellphone and rarely use your turn signal.

Homo sapiens are the neurotic, cowardly, litigious, mean-spirited, Botoxed bitch of all the animals. Might be hard to face that information but that's the case.

Another pain-in-the-ass fact about humans is that they are expensive. To get a human through a life lives of broken bones, knock-me-over-with-a-feather susceptibility to myriad viruses and whatever else might befall someone will cost money. We are incredibly selective when it comes to our love for human life. Affordable healthcare for your fellow Americans is not "death panels."

I recently watched an interesting documentary called N.E.D., which stands for No Evidence of Disease. It is about a group of six gynecologic cancer surgeons who also have a rock band, which they use to bring awareness to what is known as "below the belt" cancers. The doc follows these insanely hardworking and dedicated people from their homes, to the stage and to the patients they care for.

Watching the patients often break into tears as they describe their lives and what they think their futures hold was hard. They are so vulnerable, so brave, just dealing with the hand they were dealt.


For these surgeons to do their work, it takes money. It takes a lot of people kicking into a large pool to help people like yo mamma. You know, all that Christlike stuff about loving your fellow human and all that. Either you're on board with that or you're not.

The thing that bugs me the most about people like Ben Carson is that even before push comes to shove, they can't hack it. They prove it over and over. They have not the vision, the moral strength, the patriotism or the guts to really walk their talk. They are veal in suits. One look at their heroes tells you all you need to know. Ted Cruz, a soft man who always looks like he's about to cry, is their poster boy.

This mythical überperson they think they are and that all others should be just doesn't exist and shouldn't have to in the most exceptional country in the world.

The America they want is the one that revealed itself to me in the summer of 1984. Reagan, the tax-raising, Medicare-expanding president, was in office. I correctly figured that America was a place to be survived. I lived my life by what I saw right in front of me. I learned to scramble. It has served me well.

The pain and misery that Congress and these other mopes have put America through for the last several weeks cannot go unanswered. Humans are infinitely problematic, constantly breaking down, exceptionally difficult to maintain, saggy squishes who breed like field mice. Deal with it.

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