Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I don't get it

Suppose I was running for office and had a kid. Suppose I supported de-criminalization / legalization of drugs. Suppose during the campaign the kid dies of an overdose.

Three things would be true.

1. My support for the policy didn't kill my kid. Lots of people die of overdoses while we continue to wage "war" on drugs.

2. My kid dying doesn't make my policy position wrong. It might be wrong (I don't think it is), but my kid dying has nothing to do with the cost-benefit analysis or the morality of the position.

3. My kid dying + my policy position doesn't automatically make me a hypocrite.




So I have to ask, WTF is going on in this country???


Anonymous said...

I agree with you on the pregnancy, but what about the other economic items? Suspending the gasoline tax and supporting a windfall profits tax? I agree with Obama that families are off limits, but there is more than enough info (or a great deal lacking) to feed the machines...

John Thacker said...

Suspending the gasoline tax and supporting a windfall profits tax?

I would love for some criticism to come along these lines. Have you heard much of it?

Dirty Davey said...

A better comparison: you believe we should not teach kids about designated drivers because they're too young to be drinking anyway. So you advocate that the schools should just tell them not to drink and avoid the concept of designated drivers, and you raise your kid that way.

If your kid gets drunk, drives, and kills himself and/or someone else, doesn't that have some implication for (a) the soundness of your policy and/or (b) the general level of cluelessness we would have to assume you had to be advocating such a policy in the first place?

Anonymous said...

I can't believe I agree with dd's analysis?!?!

I think the difference between mm's scenario and palin is that mm's policy advocates free choice.

If you choose freely to do something and you are harmed by your (now legal) choice (drug use), then you bear the consequences of abusing that freedom. As long as mm didn't push that needle into your arm, but rather gave you (and his kid) the freedom to choose to do it or not, then it's not hypocritical (imho).

If you want to take away freedom and free choice, banning sex ed, birth control,premarital sex, abortion, drug use, books you don't like, etc. and then your child does choose to engage in it, at the least you have to question the wisdom and implications of banning actions that some clearly do "choose".

IF, after being confronted with the reality that your child decided to engage in actions you want to ban (drug use, premarital sex, abortion), and say its OK because it's your child, then you are a hypocrite.

Palin is saying your kid should not have a choice about whether they learn about sex or birth control because they shouldn't "choose" to have sex, and if they do and wind up pregnant, should not have a choice about how to deal with it.

Silly me, I thought Rs wanted government to stay out of your life and not be paternalistic. I guess some people's children are more equal than others.

-- the now obama supporting anonyman.

Anonymous said...

What DD and Anonyman said.

I do agree, though, that calling her a hypocrite isn't quite right. OTOH, she's just been presented with a very personal data-point on the effectiveness of her favored approach to sex-ed, one that happens to be consistent with the growing consensus about such programs. So, to the extent that she's advocating an approach that (a) didn't work for her, and (b) appears not to work in general, then one might question her judgment.

In other words: Hypocrite? No data.

Stupid (or, at least, irrationally stubborn in her beliefs)? Almost surely.

And we know what happened the last time we elected a Veep with *that* set of characteristics...

Anonymous said...

This is anonyman (now for obama):

I agree that concluding she is a hypocrite is not obvious, but here is the logic I use.

1) She is pro-life and believes that sex-ed should only involve abstinence info (I won't comment on the oxymoron here, oops, I did it my mistake).

2) While the gubmint bans, or has banned, all types of sex (adultery, sodomy, miscegenation, prostitution, stat rape, etc.) it no longer prohibits adultery, in this case teenagers having sex (as long as not stat rape).

3) BUT, if you make teaching teenagers sex ed. illegal (except for abstinence), you are constructively making teen sex illegal. As you believe that by preventing them from making an informed decision this will prohibit them from engaging in it. As an analogy on making an something constructively prohibitive, blacks were given the right to vote after the civil war, BUT if you created laws making it difficult to learn how to register to vote, you are constructively prohibiting them from voting.

4) so now you are running for office on a family values platform. you find out that your daughter has engaged something you tried to constructively ban. THEN you say you support her choice to have the baby (which is great), but the reality is you prohibited her from gaining info in school which in retrospect would have been very helpful, AND, according to your family values platform your daughter NEVER had a choice in how to deal with the situation, AND you don't think anyone else's daughter, wife, sister, etc. should actually have a choice in the matter.

Conclusion - your kid engaged in something you would ban if you could, but since you can't, you constructively ban it. THEN when the consequences of this benighted policy come home to roost, you say its OK(!!!!!), because of her choice to accept the consequences - A CHOICE SHE NEVER HAD. so, imho, i think based on the facts, it's hypocritical -- twice over.

disclaimer - I have enormous sympathy for her daughter that was pulled into this campaign. But if it doesn't make you, as a candidate and parent, rethink the wisdom of the policy, then I don't know how this party will survive. And as a life- long R who has worked for Rs for many years, is seems as if every issue we have opposed as a party - financial bailouts, record deficits, gubmint involved in the private sphere (both business and personal life), large wealth transfers (AMT, ss, stimulus checks on taxes they never should have collected), makes me feel like I am living in the movie idiocracy, and I'm helping it along. sigh....

Tom said...

Drug warriors presume -- without evidence -- that their "war" reduces drug use. Critics have plenty of evidence that drug laws complicate giving aid to problem users -- especially emergency medical treatment to O.D. victims. So, the legalizer in Angus's parable could easily justify redoubling his efforts after becoming, himself, a casualty in the drug war.

The analogy doesn't carry well to the pregnancy. Do abstinence only folks have any evidence that suppressing education about contraceptive helps in any way?

Anonymous said...


To paraphrase a semi-famous quip: "It's a Liberal Thing; you wouldn't understand."

Anonymous said...

I wonder how Obama can support abortion, given that had it been available to pregnant teens in 1961, he likely wouldn't be around to have an opinion on anything.

Isn't that the ultimate in hypocrisy? "I support policy X, even though I owe my existence to the absence of policy X."

Count me as a former "uncommitted" who will now vote for McCain.

Anonymous said...

Dear anonymous,

According to your logic if abortion is legal, then you lack a choice?! I don't follow, if abortion was legal in 1961 she would have no choice but to have an abortion?

OR, you are assuming she would have chosen not to keep the baby, but that is HUGE assumption. Yes, I will grant you that there's a possibility that she would have elected to terminate the pregnancy, but that does not translate into a 100% probability.

Furthermore, according to your logic, if birth control was widely available in 1961 then he wouldn't even have been conceived! So therefore anyone who is, has been, or will ever be "existing" is, was, or will be a hypocrite for supporting an individual's right to make their own choices regarding procreation.

I think the definition of hypocrisy in this context is when you support a position that you don't intend to practice or apply yourself. Obama had no control in the choices his parents made, so it's not applicable in this scenario. However, for example, if he denounced Clinton for having an affair, why he engaged in the same behavior (i.e. Newt, McCain and NC's former senator), then yes, he would be a hypocrite.

I think the overarching concern is that we, as Rs, want to use the power of the state to take choices regarding the private sphere away from citizens, and give that power to the state. The result in the context of procreation is that here's not a lot of difference between the US and China. If the state can invade the private sphere of the citizenry and tell us whether we can use birth control, have a choice regarding whether we terminate a pregnancy, then the government might as well tell us how many children we can have.

This is one example of why I support Obama as a R. If the state is already going to take almost half my income, at least one party will not take my rights with it. I'm being extorted, but at least I will have some protections against the state to my private life. Hobbs got it right a long time ago in Leviathan.

anonyman for O

Anonymous said...

There's no inherent contradiction in raising a severance tax on crude oil extracted from Alaska and suspending a state excise tax on refined gasoline. The incidence of the severance tax is on the owners of the Alaskan oil, while the incidence of the excise tax is on Alaskan consumers of gasoline (who face an elastic supply of gasoline into their state).

It's also not the case that opposing certain aspects of sex ed in public schools is the same thing as keeping information about contraceptives from anyone. Or are we all now unwilling to talk to our kids directly about this stuff?