Vail Daily letter: Watch those assumptions |

Vail Daily letter: Watch those assumptions

Lee Smith
Vail, CO, Colorado

“Why America Failed: The Roots of Imperial Decline,” the final volume of historian Morris Berman’s trilogy on the decline of the American empire, was published last year.

In it Berman argues that a generalized obsession with personal material gain has turned our country into a spiritually bereft “nation of hustlers” with no moral compass.

While reviewers have noted that Berman cherry picks the data he uses to support his thesis, a letter like the one by Peter Bergh on March 9 inclines me to believe Berman is on to something.

Bergh does not give his age, but I am fairly confident he is less close than I to the age at which he would cut old folks off from access to health insurance. Operating with the same amorality that leads others of what I suppose to be his generation to get their kicks by burning homeless vagrants alive, Bergh proposes to deny access to health insurance to American males at age 76 and to females at age 81.

This, he thinks, would save the health-care system from bankruptcy. Like most other Americans, Bergh has been bamboozled into believing that the health-care system is burdened by too many patients receiving too costly treatment, when actually the system’s trouble stems from domination by conscienceless insurance giants and pharmaceutical companies (whose dominance has been increased by Obamacare).

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I have a modest counter-proposal. Professor Berman cites studies showing that 42 percent of U.S. adults (69 percent of adults under 30) don’t know what year the colonies declared independence from Great Britain, that 77 percent of students in the Oklahoma public school system don’t know who George Washington was, etc.

I propose that everyone in Bergh’s generation who cannot pass a simple U.S. history quiz be taken on cruise ships to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and dropped off there. I don’t propose killing them, only denying them access to passage back to shore. My plan would raise the general level of intelligence in the U.S. population.

Lee Smith

Red Cliff

Editor’s note: Actually, Peter Bergh is a white-haired retiree who lives in Edwards.

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