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Using your own conclusions to evaluate others’ opinions

Posted by Chance on September 13, 2007

Yes, catchy post title I know.

On Neil’s blog a user commented

It might make a difference in my opinion [about abortion] if I ever once saw a pro-lifer actually make an argument for adoption; for universal health care and adequate funding for education; even criticize the Bush Administration for planning to defund the S-CHIP program. Since I have yet to read a peep about any of this, I will rest my case on what I have experienced. All too much concern over all those fetuses makes little difference because there seems no concern at all ever expressed for the life of “post-birth” life.

I’ve addressed this viewpoint somewhat in a previous post, but I’d like to touch more on this again.

The problem the commenter has is that he equates “caring for the born” = “voting Democrat.” The reason he does this is, I believe, he uses his own motivations to evaluate the motivations of others.

Here is my response on the blog:

You seem to think that these programs are the best ways to preserve life…I don’t.

I think universal health care harms the overall quality of care and actually puts people’s lives at risk due to long waiting lines. Canada’s supreme court seems to agree.

I think funding for education is adequate, but more revolutionary ideas have to take place in order for education to improve, rather than simply more funding. Many free market advocates are passionate about this issue, they just don’t think it is a matter of more money, but of school choice.

So there are a couple issues with your argument. 1) You assume that conservatives have the opinions they do simply because they don’t care. 2) You support certain programs because they produce supposed results. Let’s call them results A. The problem with this is that you evaluate other people’s political ideals based on results A, rather than the supposed results (results B) in the conservatives mind.

Here is an example:
1) You support universal healthcare because you believe it provides great health care for everyone and saves lives, especially poor kids.

2) Conservatives don’t support universal healthcare.

3) Therefore…the conclusion is that conservatives don’t want great health care for everyone and wants kids to die.

Now I’ll do the same.
1) I am against gun control because I want innocent people to defend themselves. For instance, I want a woman to defend herself in case she is about to be raped.

2) You support gun control.

3) Therefore…you want women to be raped.

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9 Responses to “Using your own conclusions to evaluate others’ opinions”

  1. mom2 said

    Good reasoning, Chance. If the commenter can use those ideas to draw conclusions about us pro-lifers, then he should expect to be judged the same way with his views. It always seems that pro-lifers get cast as the mean ones and if we dare try to state our cause, we are argumentative, vicious, uncaring and a whole list of uncomplimentary adjectives.

  2. Lee said

    Hee hee. That’s funny.

  3. Josh said

    That’s great! What’s the Libertarian stance on abortion? I mean wanting as little gov’t involvement as possible wouldn’t they be against the gov’t being involved at all (my point of view)?

  4. Chance said

    Great question Josh. I believe that most libertarians are pro-choice. Some, however, are pro-life because they are libertarian, an example being Libertarians for Life (l4l.org).

    The reasoning is this…Libertarians believe government should only be involved to protect people from others. People can do whatever they want as long as they don’t hurt another person. So the central question is “Is the fetus ‘another person’ ” Most libertarians believe no, so logically they are pro-choice. Other libertarians believe that the fetus is indeed a person, so government interference is not only justified, but should be expected. Is abortion a “victimless” action, such as drug usage, prostitution, etc… Or does the fetus count as a victim.

  5. preacherman said

    Chance,
    great post.
    LOL.

  6. Michael Westmoreland-White said

    What this fails to point out is that there is often strong objective evidence that the “liberal programs” are the best way to help. The opinion you give, for instance, that universal health care would lower quality of care is not borne out by any cross-national studies–just the opposite. A cost-benefit analysis shows our approach up every time.

    Libertarianism is an odd political philosophy–it is generally right on most issues of civil liberties (which is why libertarians are rightly horrified by the Military Commissions Act, domestic spying without warrants, etc. which other “conservatives” are thrilled over), but they value liberty as almost the ONLY political good–not balanced by the values of equality or community. Thus, libertarian fear of “government interference” for the common good ends up arguing against programs that can be objectively shown to be helpful–such as when full employment programs lower abortion rates.

    One can say, “I care for the born, but still hate universal healthcare” all one wants but it doesn’t make it objectively true. It might accurately describe one’s inner feelings, but is not “reality based.” It’s like all those people who argue for the death penalty based on deterrence (other pro-dp arguments have more weight) despite 45 years of stats showing either no correlation or even, in some studies, that the death penalty INCREASES violent crime.
    So, it’s not just a case of using your conclusions to argue against other people–the question is whose conclusions are supported by data.

  7. Chance said

    Thanks for the comments Michael.

    Ultimately, my point was, you can’t assume people have the opposite motives from you just because their political opinions tend to be the opposite.

    Health care if a very complex topic, and I would like to get both sides. The stuff I have read leads me to believe that care is ultimately rationed with socialized medicine, but if you have some good sources saying the opposite.. you know, if you have the time. We are all busy, and I can always get off my butt to look myself, there is just so much out there, and it’s hard to find something even-handed.

  8. Zondo said

    I am Pro-Abortion.

    Because I think that instead of using all the aborted fetuses for stem cells, we should ground them up into a tasty Tex-Mex stew used to solve world hunger.

    & I have Bono’s endorsement on this.

  9. theobromophile said

    Great post, Chance. I’ll borrow your reasoning every time I see pro-abortionists saying that we don’t really care about babies because we should want universal health care.

    LOVE the example about women being raped and gun control.

    As for libertarians being pro-life… um, I think it’s a massive distortion of the libertarian viewpoint to state that we don’t want government intrusion into those matters. It is not a man’s personal decision whether or not to rape me; the government can prosecute such a decision without “imposing morality” upon him or “getting involved in personal business.”

    I’ve written far too much about being an anti-abortion libertarian. Will send links your way if you would like.

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Using your own conclusions to evaluate others’ opinions

Posted by Chance on September 13, 2007

Yes, catchy post title I know.

On Neil’s blog a user commented

It might make a difference in my opinion [about abortion] if I ever once saw a pro-lifer actually make an argument for adoption; for universal health care and adequate funding for education; even criticize the Bush Administration for planning to defund the S-CHIP program. Since I have yet to read a peep about any of this, I will rest my case on what I have experienced. All too much concern over all those fetuses makes little difference because there seems no concern at all ever expressed for the life of “post-birth” life.

I’ve addressed this viewpoint somewhat in a previous post, but I’d like to touch more on this again.

The problem the commenter has is that he equates “caring for the born” = “voting Democrat.” The reason he does this is, I believe, he uses his own motivations to evaluate the motivations of others.

Here is my response on the blog:

You seem to think that these programs are the best ways to preserve life…I don’t.

I think universal health care harms the overall quality of care and actually puts people’s lives at risk due to long waiting lines. Canada’s supreme court seems to agree.

I think funding for education is adequate, but more revolutionary ideas have to take place in order for education to improve, rather than simply more funding. Many free market advocates are passionate about this issue, they just don’t think it is a matter of more money, but of school choice.

So there are a couple issues with your argument. 1) You assume that conservatives have the opinions they do simply because they don’t care. 2) You support certain programs because they produce supposed results. Let’s call them results A. The problem with this is that you evaluate other people’s political ideals based on results A, rather than the supposed results (results B) in the conservatives mind.

Here is an example:
1) You support universal healthcare because you believe it provides great health care for everyone and saves lives, especially poor kids.

2) Conservatives don’t support universal healthcare.

3) Therefore…the conclusion is that conservatives don’t want great health care for everyone and wants kids to die.

Now I’ll do the same.
1) I am against gun control because I want innocent people to defend themselves. For instance, I want a woman to defend herself in case she is about to be raped.

2) You support gun control.

3) Therefore…you want women to be raped.

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