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View Diary: Idaho tea party candidate wants government out of health care, has 10 kids on Medicaid (281 comments)

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  •  Fine (1+ / 0-)
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    I agree with your first paragraph. So, in context, let us note that Collett is not saying "I don't accept Medicaid." Right? Neither is he saying "People should not accept Medicaid." Neither is he saying "Nothing like Medicaid should exist." He's saying none of these. What he's saying is "The government should not provide Medicaid."

    Your position is that saying "The government should not provide Medicaid" is equivalent to saying "I don't accept government-provided Medicaid" (the saying of which would make him a hypocrite, since he does in fact accept it). Or more likely that he's obligated to say the latter having said the former. But I don't buy this equivalence, nor the obligation. I understand that you do, and that's the end of it.

    I'll try another example. Suppose that I, although 100% pro-choice in all circumstances, feel that the government should not pay for abortions (for whatever reasons). I campaign on this issue, I fight for my candidates, I donate time and money, and I lose. The government will fund abortions. When I need an abortion, am I obligated not to take it from the government? Why? My society has decided that it's something the government pays for. There are many places where I go along with the majority even though it's against my point of view, because I'm part of society. Why am I suddenly obligated to decline this benefit just because I don't think it should be paid for?

    Your final paragraph is not part of any rational discussion on this subject. I have no idea why you think it's valuable or helpful to try to demean my reasons for my opinion, just because it differs from yours.

    •  I regretted my last paragraph after posting and (1+ / 0-)
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      wrote it in the first place only because that's how your post struck me.  It seems you're striving mightily to make this intellectual statement that requires the infinitismal splitting of hairs to maintain, and I've seen way too much of that from egoists who are arguing to show their intellectual superiority rather than from an actual belief.

      Saying "The government should not provide Medicaid but I'm going to take Medicaid from the government" is inherently hypocritical.  His saying "I  don't accept government provided Medicaid" would make him a liar, not a hypocrite.  And that, it seems to me, is where your theory comes from; you're conflating lying with hypocrisy.  

      Of course you should decline anything you publicly maintain the government should not be providing to you, including an abortion.  To hold a position on a subject and then to act in direct opposition to that belief is hypocrisy.  It's the definition of hypocrisy.  

      •  How about this (1+ / 0-)
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        This came to me after my post below, and may be a helpful distinction.

        Is there a difference between "moral" and "political" objection?

        My example was this: I object to the tax-exempt status of religious institutions. (This is true.) Am I therefore obligated not to take deductions for the dues I pay? If you think that I must not deduct them, stop reading here.

        Otherwise, could it be that my feeling about taxes and churches is not a moral issue, not an ethical issue, but just a political issue? Is that what makes the difference?

        I'll even try to nail down the distinction: Moral (ethical) convictions are those that I hold independently of society. Even if society votes in slavery, or murder, or (for some people) abortion, my objections are moral and not subject to majority vote. But my objection to tax-free churches, or (for some people) to government providing various services, is just a political statement, an opinion about how society should be organized. I can continue to fight for my opinion, but while I'm outvoted I'm entitled without charge of hypocrisy to follow the views of the society of which I'm a part.

        So people prejudice the argument when they say "If he's morally opposed to Medicare, then he's not entitled to use it!" That makes it sound more like abortion than like me deducting church dues. But maybe he's not morally but politically opposed to Medicare. Is there a distinction here?

        •  The difference I see in regard to your (0+ / 0-)

          example about deductions for religious donations (which is an excellent one) is that you're neither trying to get elected based upon your objection nor are you taking active steps to take away that deduction from others.  If you were actively trying to end the deduction, yes, I do think you would be hypocritical if you continued to take it.  Much like someone who stands at the door of an abortion clinic and makes womens' lives miserable as they're trying to get an abortion, and then gets one herself.  

          I would liken his position, not to you taking a deduction for a religious contribution, but to you establishing a tax free church (which I do believe would be quite hypocritical).  In one, you're taking a benefit that all in society are entitled to take.  In the other, you're taking active steps to take advantage of the one thing you maintain you're against in order to take specific advantage of that particular benefit for yourself, while maintaining it should not be available.

          Where I believe the line gets drawn is when you take a stand publicly and begin taking action to deprive someone else of something you're benefiting from yourself.  There's a big difference between having an opinion that something is negative, while benefiting from it, and taking active steps to deprive others from the benefit you're taking advantage of.  It's got too much of the "do as I say not as I do" aspect.  

          But I do get the fine line that you've been trying to point out a bit better than I did before.  I still believe you drew it at the wrong point.  

          •  Not sure if you're still reading (0+ / 0-)

            but in case you are, I've got a refined example based on your argument. A bunch of us on the left (likely yourself included, though of course I don't know for sure) are strongly, strongly against the unlimited use of money in politics. I don't think political contributions are necessarily free speech, and even if they are, I don't think corporations have all the same rights as people. I'm against the recent Supreme Court decision along these lines and I'm unhappy that they may be about to open the door further.

            Now suppose I'm a politician or activist espousing a change in these laws, to establish new and stronger limits on political contributions. Question: Am I a hypocrite if I make use of funds donated in excess of the limits I espouse? Or if I personally donate a ton of money (would that I had it) to people working to change this law?

            I think I'm not. Why should I cripple my own efforts when my opponents surely aren't, just because I think the law is wrong? Why shouldn't I take advantage of what's currently legal even while trying to change it?

            So the question is: Is this the same as the Medicare business? If not, what's the distinction?

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