I Don’t Know How to Explain to You that You Should Think
Kayla Chadwick, in an article dated 6/26/17 for Huffington Post, leads with “I Don’t Know How to Explain to You That You Should Care About Other People”. I don’t think I am oversimplifying her main thesis to state it thusly: “caring about other people means adopting liberal ‘solutions’ to the problems facing society”, or perhaps, “if you don’t believe that giving more money to the government–and allowing the government to disburse that money to ‘solve problems’–then the only possible reason has to be that you simply don’t care about people.” End of story, over and out: only people like Ms. Chadwick, who believe in her approach to societal problems, can be said to “care”; everyone who doesn’t march in lockstep with this approach is apparently, by definition, a self-centered cretin.
Ms. Chadwick references three particular issues, and I’ll happily address each one. First, she says she’ll be “happy to pay an extra 4.3 percent” for her fast food burger, adding that we are “fundamentally different people” (meaning a moral pygmy by comparson) to her if we aren’t willing to fork over an extra 17 cents for a Big Mac. Ah, but if it were only that easy…but I don’t know how to explain to her that she should think. Because if she thought–instead of merely “cared”–she might consider the significant evidence that raising the minimum wage hurts the very people it is ostensibly designed to help. The data is plentiful, and the simple economic common sense of it is hard to argue.
She castigates us for not “caring”, but has she no concern for the huge unemployment rate among youth, particularly among black males? Does she think that raising the minimum wage will make this situation better? Does she not care about the small business owner who is barely scraping by, for whom a significant minimum wage raise will be the end? What about his employees; does she not care for them? And we are already seeing an increase in automation in areas where the minimum wage has surged; does she not care about those people’s jobs?
I’m not finished yet…does she not understand that the price of everything will rise as a result, yielding less of a net gain for those beneficiaries of the minimum wage, and by raising the price of goods and services artificially, as the minimum wage does, places even a higher barrier for those who are unemployed, making them more and more dependent upon the government (and what, might I ask, does it do to these people’s sense of value as members of society?)? Does she not think about such things–and if not, what do we have to do to get her to think? And if she does, does she not care about such things?
Ms. Chadwick’s second line of reasoning involves the funding of public schools. Now, I’m not aware of a movement of any strength to deny funding to public education; there are differences, of course, in considering how much funding should go there. That said, there is ample evidence to show that increasing funding to education does not ensure better educational results. George Will did a piece a number of years back where he reached the somewhat tongue-in-cheek conclusion that if a state wanted better education for its students, it ought to move closer to Canada. Why? Because there was at that time at least a greater statistical correlation between proximity to Canada and strong education results than there was between spending more money and achieving results.
Finally, Ms. Chadwick opines about “pay(ing) a little more with each paycheck” to ensure her fellow Americans can access health care; she says we can SIGN (HER) UP. Those who don’t agree with her conclusion are those who don’t, in her words, “experience the basic human emotion of empathy”, and she laments her inability to make these people care. Wonder if she “cares” about people like my wife and myself, who heard Barack Obama promise that if we liked our insurance, we could keep it. Well, we didn’t like it, no, but we liked it a lot better than our cheapest Obamacare option, which would have provided no more coverage at nearly three times the rate we had paid previously. Credit where it’s due: I’m thankful that Obamacare has a “carve-out” for Christian healthcare cost-sharing, which we’ve been able to access. This is not an option, though, for those who are not Christians; does Ms. Chadwick not care about these people? I would remind her that I’m not speaking of people on the verge of poverty; in our case, while we could likely have found a way to “afford” this monstrosity of Obamacare, we’d have had to make draconian cuts elsewhere. Is it really so simple as “paying a little more with each paycheck”, Ms. Chadwick? What do I have to do to get you to think?
She accuses the American right wing of having an “I’ve got mine, so screw you” attitude for decades, and I won’t deny that there are undoubtedly people on the right wing–and a fair number on the left–whose attitude can be summed up thusly, as judged by their actions. I find it interesting, though, and more than a little hypocritical, that those who would applaud themselves for the willingness to try to do good with other people’s money are, quite often, rather stingy with their own. The examples are many of politicians who favor big government approaches but who are less-than-generous toward charity with their own discretionary spending. In fairness, we could cite politicians on both sides of the aisle who do a poor job of willfully contributing to help others–but it would seem that those who claim to “care” about the poor would be the first and most generous to give. Not so. Even Saint Bernard of the Three Houses (D, Vt.), Patron Saint of Socialistic Impulses, whose tax returns show him to be more generous than, say, Joe Biden or Al Gore, gives at a percentile well below that which the Bible suggests is a generous rate; as a person who tries to live by the Bible’s dictates, I can only say I’d feel guilty if in my current financial circumstances, I were to give at a rate equal to the Senator’s. What do I have to do, Mr. Sanders, to get you to care, at least enough to give generously to people in need?
Here’s the bottom line: all of these are important issues. All of these matter to real people living real lives. There is room for honest discussion and debate when it comes to such matters; it is my belief that genuine conservative principles lead to greater advancement for the poor than do liberal ones. Bring your facts to the table, and I’ll bring mine–but only if you are willing to think. But to assume the moral high ground as an unassailable fact; to close off one’s mind to a reasonable, evidence-based discussion of these things; to castigate others who don’t believe that the government is the ablest distributor of our money as being “uncaring”, “unimaginably callous…selfish, cruel people”–simply because we choose to think differently about the best means to truly help every person in society–is either naive, disingenuous, or both. Regardless, it is to wall itself off from the very thing that is needed: solutions that are first rational and reasonable, and colored by genuine compassion.
If this doesn’t work, then I guess I don’t know how to explain to you that you should think.