Shoah, Why Not?
Treehugging Toilet-Top Tantrum

Lauterbach, You Crazy Bastard

Karl Lauterbach, the health expert of the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) of Germany, has proposed cutting costs by removing homoepathic remedies (g) from the list of medications that Germany's public health-insurance scheme will compensate patients for.

'Good God', I said to myself, 'Lauterbach has really screwed the pooch.' Homeopathy is big business and a national pastime here in Germany. Oh sure, haters call it quackery -- yet it was invented by a German!* And homeopathy is nowhere more popular than in the ranks of folk-medicine grandmas, stressed-out menopausal schoolteachers, retired factory workers, tie-dyed liberal-arts graduates, and provincial civil servants.

In other words, the Social Democratic Party's core constituency.

During the local public radio call-in show this morning, the invited guest from center-right CDU reacted with outrage! to Lauterbach's suggestion, and every single caller from the public-radio audience (a classic SPD/green demographic if there ever was one) praised homeopathy to the skies. The moderator, desperate to start some kind of debate, couldn't find a single doubter. Even when he mentioned that the discussion was not about banning homeopathic remedies but only removing them from the publicly subsidized list, he was met with the argument that this would only create a "two-tier" medication system in which "only the rich" would have access to homeopathic remedies. All of the callers had positive personal experiences with homeopathic remedies, many of which sounded like conversion narratives ("I was once a scientists and laughed at homeopathy, until...")

The lesson is: As is apple pie to Americans, so is homeopathy to Germans. Don't. Fuck. With. It.

While we're on the subject, here's an  amusing web comic describing the basic principles of homeopathy, why it can't work as advertised, and what it might nevertheless be good for.

* This non-sequitur presented to you in honor of the Firesign Theatre, who described a crazy general thus: "They think he's insane. Yet, he outranks them!"


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If you have never had homeopathy, then let me explain how it works. Drink an alcohol-free German beer of any brand. The very small dosis of restly alcohol will give you a headache or swipsy feeling, sometimes feeling like 3 beers with alcohol. That´s it, a small portion hitting -medicinaly speaking- you hard. And that´s even paid for by the super socialistic medicine. What will Karl use the leftover money for?

Nik V

Damn, I was just about to post the xkcd one! But yeah, do not fuck with homeopathy!


Hi Andrew!

Is this one of any interest:


Surely way more hilarious than any other, isn't it...


many of my otherwise intelligent friends swear by homeopathy and are deaf to the overwhelming evidence that they are trating themselves with sugarballs and water...I've given up on trying to convince them.
On another note, Germany ist not number one in prescriptions of homeopathic medicine and yes, even the US has a surprising number of converts. I think the numbers as well as an excellent summary of the puzzle of homeopathy can be found in this great Book

I think that in an age where we are told that everything can be explained by science, alternative explanations are especially attractive precisely because science seems to be failing. Just a thought...


What will the Public Choicers make of this?

I support Lauterbach's move, but a legal change I would really support is outlawing the use of the word "Zweiklassenmedizin" (which is undoubtedly what you translate as "two-tier medication system") and all its derivatives. It is invariably used as The Argument to End All Arguments related to changing the health system. Indeed one might consider running for chancellor on a platform of outlawing medicine altogether. This might sound like a bad idea, but if you don't have Medizin, you can't have Zweiklassenmedizin, and we all know that's the Great Evil Satan to be defeated.

CN Heidelberg

I came to post the exact same thing as Matthias. I thought it would be the comic you were linking to! :)


... somewhat related to this post, I think :-)

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