This is my response to this.
There’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is that almost everyone already cares about other people. If you want to see that in action, go to a church, join a civic organization or go take a walk. A lot of people are super nice. The bad news is that a simple belief in the virtue of yourself and others like you does not necessarily produce a good outcome on its own. In fact, HOW we’re supposed to produce a good outcome is precisely what’s at issue in society.
It’s not useful to assume that your opponent in a debate does not have good will. If you don’t believe they’re acting in good faith, why debate at all? Pull out a gun and force them to do what you want, right? It’s not useful to sermonize about why a group is not virtuous if it opposes a certain political position. It comes off as a bald attempt to bully people, because you know they don’t like to be seen as a bunch of meanies.
Politics involves coercion. It involves taking money from people. These are not morally virtuous acts. In good conscience, you can make the argument that you think using force is sometimes a necessary evil, but you cannot ignore the moral implications of that argument. You better be right about what you’re advocating. You better not hurt people. That would be wrong, right? “The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name.” The IRS does not ask us to give to help people. It takes our hard earned resources by force, and the outcome is generally not good. Think of how many people we could have helped with that $10 trillion that no one can find at the Pentagon. Now that I mention it, that could’ve probably bought a couple healthcares right there. Hmm.
Do you want some more good news? Almost no one believes the following:
- I’m unwilling to pay 17 cents more for a Big Mac so someone can afford to feed their family.
- People should die so rich people can hoard more cash.
- I’m unwilling to fund education.
- I’m willing to see millions of people suffer needlessly for a tax cut.
From my experience in life, these are ludicrous things to say. If you think this attitude exists, I feel sorry for you. Maybe go meet some better people? What’s at issue is that there are many people who think a $15 minimum wage, Obamacare, public education and a tax and spend government are counter-productive.
If this kind of thing matters to you, there’s something of a scientific consensus that the minimum wage hurts those it’s designed to help. This is not a right wing economist consensus. It’s an everyone consensus. If you think about it logically, you’ll find that there’s no other possible outcome. If you raise the cost of employment, there will be less employment.
Obamacare is a disaster, and collapsing as we speak. Maybe you don’t know, but that’s for real. Half the country voted for Trump because he said he’d repeal it. My own personal experience? I worked for a small business and I had healthcare that I liked. Then, despite Obama’s promises, I lost it. I had to go to the exchange. The plans on the exchange were worse and I couldn’t afford them. I am not a rich man. I work very hard for what I have and I don’t appreciate some lying politician coming in to make my life worse while riding off into the sunset on his billionaire vacations. And no, millions of people will not die without it. That’s quite obviously a political talking point which does not map to reality.
Public education is also a disaster, and it’s getting more expensive while test scores fall. Everyone seems to know this, but if you think we need a drastic change to fix it, you’re some kind of nut who hates kids. Also, education is not free. It’s very expensive, even if you shift the payment to some rich guy. Again, it’s that “proper name” thing. It would be nice if things in this world were free. Everyone would love that, but when you talk about free healthcare and free education, you just sound foolish to many of us who live and breath in the real world. To many of us, it seems like healthcare and education are worse and more expensive the more government is involved. Remember, the government is the DMV. It sucks at just about everything except blowing things up.
It’s convenient to win an argument by defining your position as the morally good one, instead of refuting the merits of your opponent’s position. It’s especially convenient to define away someone’s empathy in the process. I don’t find conservatives doing this as much. We don’t think you’re evil, just wrong. The good news is that Americans are extremely charitable. We are exceptional at this, and it’s not even close. Go to a conservative church in the south and you’ll generally find a bunch of nice people who would give you the shirt off their back. They will straight up drop everything and help a person in need. I’ve seen it, yet these same people would prefer for the government to leave them alone. Go figure, huh? Maybe, just maybe, it’s not that we are stupid and evil. Maybe we don’t like what the government does with our money. We think it harms. Weird. It is our money, you know. We worked for it, and we’re not all billionaire fat cats. We’d like to think it’s not harming people under the guise of good intentions. That would make us like…sleep better at night, almost as if we had empathy. Almost. We might also listen to Lynyrd Skynyrd though (although Molly Hatchet was clearly the superior act).
If you haven’t seen this in your life, then please get off your computer, get off social media, go outside and meet your neighbors. They’re probably nice “give you a cup of sugar” type people. If you can’t move past your own bias and see your political opponents as real, empathetic human beings with a differing opinion, then I don’t know how to explain that you don’t care about Other People.