Poverty or stupidity

John Scalzi laments the death of a boy due to an infected tooth:

Some folks will want to blame the insurance system in the US. Some folks will want to blame the dentists. Some folks will want to blame the government. Some folks will want to blame the mother. Some folks will blame some combination of any or all of the above.

I’m not particularly interested in whom to blame. You all can argue about that. I just think it’s a shame that ultimately this kid is dead for no other reason than because he was poor.

While I agree that it is a genuine pity, one must note that the routine $80 tooth extraction “might” have saved him. Furthermore, don’t two operations and six weeks of hospital care cost a bit more than $80? How does poverty apply to being able to afford the latter and not the former?

Finally, how on Earth do two young boys manage to have seven cavities between them? Obviously we don’t know the facts, but I’m guessing that the family’s poverty didn’t get in the way of buying relatively expensive high-sugar trash instead of less expensive basic foods.

Scalzi is an intelligent man, but in this case, he’s letting his ideology sabotage his cognitive functions. Not only is it clearly NOT the case that there is “no other reason than because he was poor”, but there’s no indication, let alone proof that it had anything to do with his mother’s poverty.

And what about the boy’s father? Apparently he doesn’t come in for any of the blame… let’s just say it isn’t likely to be difficult to deduce some of the unreported facts of this sad case.

Poverty in Western society is relative and it cannot be solved by government action. Intelligent individuals with liberal leanings will continue to render themselves functionally stupid until they manage to get this through their decades-thick skulls. The only reason that it’s nearly impossible to see a doctor or dentist without insurance is due to the government policies that actively discourage them from doing so.

And if you think more government involvement is the answer to that, I’d strongly suggest visiting the UK or the Netherlands to understand just how badly that will backfire on you.