The Evilization of Policy Differences

Here’s a comment I wrote in response to “Don’t Extend The Ill-Conceived, Evil Payroll Tax Cut“, by one Louis Woodhill, in Forbes:

First, avoid the evilization of policy differences. To casually call your political opponents evil is thuggish, ad homonym, and immature. Plus it corrupts our language. If you consider someone with a relatively mild political disagreement to be evil, then what do you call people like Hitler, Stalin, and Mao? Super-duper evil?

Second, you say the payroll tax cut doesn’t affect economic growth because “it is not a tax cut on the margin for the people who make the decisions that determine economic growth.” Actually that’s incorrect. It is a marginal tax cut – the kind that positively affects economic growth, increasing the returns on the last dollar earned. I’m a small business person and ran the numbers on this payroll tax cut. Sometimes I turn down projects because the after-tax reward is too modest. The payroll tax cut actually increases the after-tax reward, making me more likely to accept that project after all. Cumulatively, that increases goods and services in the economy, boosting economic growth. (Note: to be sure, cutting other types of taxes, like the income tax, would have a larger positive impact on productive behavior and economic growth. So cutting that would be preferable. If they won’t cut the income tax, though, a payroll tax cut is still better than cutting nothing at all.)

Third, Social Security is already a government transfer program, not an “insurance” program. Unless the payroll tax can be converted into a contribution to a personal savings account, reducing or ending the payroll tax drives home the point that Social Security is a welfare program through-and-through.

So check your numbers again. And quit calling folks evil, unless it’s Osama bin Laden or Jeffrey Dahmer or someone like that.







The New “Extreme”: To Let Live, Instead of to Let Kill

What would you call extreme: killing a human life, or letting it live?

The dictionary defines extreme as the farthest possible point from something. In the political arena, it means using violence to achieve one’s ends.

But the term is often misused and demagogued. One of them most egregious misuses of the term is when advocates of legalized abortion call opponents of abortion “extremists.”

Killing a life is the most extreme thing one can do, especially when it’s an innocent pre-born human life.

A letter to Congress co-signed by more than 30 pro-abortion groups stated a pro-life measure by a congressman (banning abortions motivated by the race or gender of the fetus) was “simply more of the same from the anti-choice extremists in the House.”

The irony is breathtaking.

It’s like as if Peter Singer, who advocates the legalized killing of already-born human babies – one of the most extreme things one could ever do – were to call opponents of that practice “extremists”.

It’s like Macbeth, where fair is foul and foul is fair. It’s like Orwell’s 1984, where the Ministry of Peace, Ministry of Love, Ministry of Truth, and Ministry of Plenty were responsible for doing the very opposite of what their names suggested.

“It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words,” says a character in 1984. People in the pro-legalized-abortion lobby could be thinking the same thing.