CPAC Speaker Claims Princess Diana MURDERED By Socialized Medicine (Spoiler: She Was Not!)
At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) yesterday, an orthopedic surgeon named Dr. David Schneider terrified a crowd full of, well, the kind of people who go to CPAC, by telling them Princess Diana was killed by socialized medicine — and before she could ever go on a date with Donald Trump. Oh, the humanity of it all!
"Socialized medicine killed Princess Diana," the announcer revealed before asking one of the panelists to explain why.
"Princess Diana was in the car accident in France," Dr. David Schneider, an orthopedic surgeon, told the crowd. "They actually don't have any trauma specialists in France."
"For the first hour after that accident, she was still in that tunnel," he continued. "And after an hour, they took her to a nearby hospital and she was alive for another three hours and they couldn't control the bleeding from her pulmonary artery."
According to Schneider, "there were no trauma trained people there."
"I really believe, knowing what I know about her care and comparing it to what Congressman Scalise had, Princess Diana would have lived had that accident happened here in America," he concluded.
It should not shock you to know that this is not at all what happened. Even sort of.
First of all, ambulances in France are different from ambulances in the United States. There is a doctor on them and they are equipped to deal with emergency life-saving situations in a way ambulances here are not. In fact, very often, a French ambulance will come and take care of an emergency without needing to bring the person to the actual emergency room, leaving the triage line shorter for those whose emergencies absolutely necessitate an ER visit.
Second, yes, there are not "trauma specialists" in France, but that is because every surgeon is a "trauma specialist" in his or her area of expertise.
France, by the way, is consistently rated as having one of the best health care systems in the world by the World Health Organization (WHO). Meanwhile, over 30 million Americans live more than an hour away from the closest trauma center and the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine estimates that one in six trauma deaths in the United States could have been prevented had the patient been able to get to a trauma center faster. So we're no great shakes either on that front.
Regarding Princess Diana's death in particular, while the authors of a 1998 book made similar claims to Dr. Schneider, they have since rescinded that theory — after talking to an actual trauma specialist:
In the 1998 book, "Death of a Princess," Time magazine reporters Thomas Sancton and Scott MacLeod were critical of the French system, arguing that Diana could have been saved in a hospital operating room. [French government emergency service Service d'Aide Médicale d'Urgence, or SAMU] was so upset with the indictment, according to the authors, that they threatened to sue.
But Sancton and MacLeod later rescinded their theory, based on evaluations of the medical records, in a 2004 Vanity Fair piece on the British inquest into Diana's death.
"I have actually revised my conclusions based on a fascinating series of interviews with a trauma specialist in Houston," Sancton wrote in an e-mail to ABCNews.com. "The bottom line is, whatever the merits or demerits of the French emergency medical system, poor Diana was a goner from the beginning because of the particular nature of her deceleration injury."
Of course, Dr. David Schneider is far from the only person at CPAC confused about socialism. In a conversation with GOP Senator Marsha Blackburn, fellow GOP Senator Joni Ernst explained her fear that if we give everyone healthcare, we will end up with no refrigerators or running water.
"I had the opportunity to go on an agriculture exchange to the Soviet Union. I lived on a collective farm, where my family had no running water, they were farming with horses and wagons on the collective, they had no refrigerator, they had no automobile. They shared one bicycle amongst all the family members," Ernst said. "That was socialism, folks, living in poverty. If that's what we're striving for as the United States, I'm not having any of it."
CPAC Speaker Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-John Birch Society) also had some stupid thoughts about what he thinks socialism is:
Socialism doesn't work because it removes human incentive. And we actually need incentives in our lives. I mean, we engage in economic activity, we produce things, we work because there's some kind of reward at the end. That's basic human nature. Socialism goes against that basic human nature. [... words words words ... ] It never actually works. It always ends up in despair. And that's why Ronald Reagan fought so hard against the Soviet Union, to end the scourge of socialism. And we should too.
Yeah, so, the Soviet Union was not a socialist country. It wasn't even quite a communist country, at least not the way communism was envisioned. It was an authoritarian dictatorship that called itself a communist country. If anything, it was actually an example of state capitalism. Communism was never supposed to be a thing that was "established," but rather something society evolved into through a process of self-change. It certainly wasn't going to happen by overthrowing the Imperial family and just launching it willy nilly.
Saying socialism means living like people in the Soviet Union is like saying capitalism means living like Chile under Pinochet. Sure, it was a capitalist country, possibly the most purely capitalist country to ever exist, but that dude dropped people from helicopters and had women raped with live rats. I may not agree with people who are super gung-ho about capitalism, but I'm not standing around accusing them of wanting to rape anyone with live rats. The helicopter thing, however, they often say themselves. So that's on them.
Socialism encompasses a variety of different ideas and systems. Every country on earth is a mixed economy — meaning that there are elements of socialism and capitalism in every economy. The United States is a mixed economy. Right now, the economies providing more opportunities — the economies that are actually helping people achieve "The American Dream" -- are countries that lean a little further on the socialism side than does the United States.
It does not, as Rep. Crenshaw insists, eliminate "incentives" — there will always be incentives to do things, but those incentives don't always have to be "Making more money than you could ever spend in 12 lifetimes." Also, for what it's worth, if incentives and disincentives were at all effective, not only would we not have so much poverty, we would not have the largest prison population on earth.
It's not as if we are shielded from the rest of the world. We know people in all these other countries can all have their own bicycles and even their own toothbrushes! We know there are people living in poverty in the United States. Some of us think those people should be less miserable. That is it! Like, we're not trying to take your bicycle or your collection of bronzed hog testicles away, Joni Ernst. We just want people to be able to get sick and see a doctor and not lose their house.
Of course, there is a very valid counterpoint to everything I am saying here. And that is the theory brought forth by none other than Diamond and Silk yesterday, that the last four letters of Democrats ends in the word "rats" and that the last four letters of "Republican" are "I can." Also, they are rubber and we are glue.
Diamond and Silk, however, is an anagram for "kinda dismal nod" and "alas, odd mind kin," which could be equally as meaningful.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse