Scalia and the Broccoli Broadside

by Peter Watts

Piercing hyperbole delivered the veggie-based sound-bite used by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia during the Supreme Court’s health care deliberation.

Hyperbole uses exaggeration to create strong impressions in an audience. If health care  reform is allowed to stand, will it really lead to Government enforced consumption of broccoli? Of course not. But by deploying a natty line of logic-based hyperbole the Justice has lodged an indelible image in the minds of the audience.

“President mandates eating of broccoli” is a Fox News-ready visual metaphor that collides health, a most serious subject, into a less serious finger-wagging health-linked liberal caricature. It couples the queasiness that enforced broccoli eating inspires in so many children, and uses that to evoke the queasiness Government intervention invokes in so many adults.

The whole broccoli thing, is really quite brilliant.

While not agreeing with Justice Scalia’s judicial politics, it’s hard not to admire the health of his rhetoric.

For additional thoughts on Justice Scalia, the Health Care Debate, and the Head of Broccoli, this link to an NY Times article on the subject will give you much to chew on.

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