Friday, August 11, 2017

Tar Water

The philosopher George Berkeley (after whom the California city is named) thought tar water could cure every ill.

Famine and disease wracked his native Ireland in the 1700s, prompting Berkeley to propose a cheap and easy solution in his book Siris: A Chain of Philosophical Reflections and Inquiries Concerning the Virtues of Tar Water.

Siris—the title referred to the Nile, whose waters the ancient Egyptians believed a cure-all—became a best-seller, making every literate man and woman in the British Isles, in the words of Horace Walpole, "mad about tar water."

The book claimed tar water was a "distillation of divine fire,” originating from a “secret and occult source.” Like the waters of the Nile, it could cure anyone of any affliction. Berkeley stopped short of calling tar water a panacea, but noted that “twenty-five fevers in my own family [were] cured by this medicinal water, drunk copiously.”

As prescribed by the philosopher, this cheap and plentiful elixir had the power to turn impoverished Ireland into a medical utopia.

Our own brand of tar water—courtesy the GOP—is freedom, a cure-all with the power to make America a medical utopia. Freedom from federally-backed health insurance, to be specific.

As Congressman Mike Burgess, referring to his party's plans to gut Obamacare, insists, “If the numbers drop, I would say that’s a good thing, because we’ve restored personal liberty in this country."

Little matter 50 million citizens could go uninsured, the GOP says: they're free. Live free or die.

Or maybe, live free and die.

As Granny said, "When you have your health, you have everything."

As Bobby said, "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

Powered by Blogger.