One Sentence Shows Hood's Character

Anglico linked to this strange article by everyone's favorite arch-conservative John Hood that decries public transportation because it is not proven to lower obesity levels. (WTF: I guess he just needed some strawman today) But I only had to read his openning sentence to see his true uncaring character:

Because we have taxpayer-financed programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, obesity is a major public-policy issue.

You see John Hood, and others on the extreme far right with him, only thinks that the health of citizens is important when it somehow affects their personal pocketbook. To me working for the common good, including good health, is a fundamental public policy position that should be pursued regardless of whether I personally see a benefit from it or not.

Even the Republican president Eisenhower saw the importance of national health when he created the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, an organization maintained by every subsequent president and chaired by another Republican, Arnold Schwarzenegger, for a while. Without even mentioning the other public health initiatives of governments of all levels for hundreds of years, it should be evident that there has been a strong public policy for aiding in the health of the citizenry that has been recognized for years without the need to justify the issue on the basis of ancillary cost issues.

Once again, Hood's efficient writing has shown us a glimpse of his character and lack of historical perspective in one sentence; it is quite a talent, really. And I just wonder how long he spent thinking about his article.

Comments

Cons always amaze me

They hate "tax-payer" funded programs that they define as "give-aways" when it promotes the well-being of the common good. Corporate "tax-payer" funded programs....well that, in their collective opinion, is a "God given right"!

I don't even understand his sentence.

But, I'm too busy to go try and figure it out. Is he really saying that obesity is only an issue to him because his taxes help pay for their care later in life?

Or, is he saying people are fat because they can always fall back on public programs?

Either way, what a twit.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

To be fair,

John Hood is against everything to do with the government, not just the so-called welfare state. He objects to economic incentives, for example, as well as any other government initiative that cannot possibly be done by the private sector.

Taken to its natural extreme, this kind of libertarian "thought" means:

no government involvement in K-12 education
no government involvement in transportation
no government involvement in water quality or waste management
no government involvement in arts
no government involvement in public health
no government involvement in higher education
no government involvement in emergency management

All of these are things the private sector would be happy to take over. Plus the Blackwaters of the world would even be happy to fight our wars. (Ooops. They already are.)

The difference between John Hood and the other so-called conservatives is that he actually says what he thinks. Which is why he could never be elected to public office. He's an extremist, but at least you know where he stands. His surrogates in the Republican party know they'd be driven out of town on a rail if people really knew where they stand.

Big Goverment 'Conservatives'

There are some government programs the right wingers just love.

I dont believe the John Locke Foundation has come out against bloated military budgets/wasteful defense spending, have they?

the failed government program known as the 'War On Drugs' costing the taxpers 40 billion a year, is something else we dont hear a peep out of NC conservatives about.

Missing the Point

I think you are missing Hood's point in an effort to jump to your considered argument that he's just a bad person.

Nowhere can I find that Hood is saying that the government should not be concerned with the health of its citizens. Perhaps if he were advocating the elimination of the FDA or the CDC, you'd have a point. No, his point is more focused on the government's control of its people, through taxation or through laws regulating and requiring "healthy" activities. Consider - if the government must pay for health care, then the government has a strong interest in controlling your health and your decisions. If government doesn't, Hood's argument is that you will be forced, through your tax dollars, to subsidize someone's decisions to overreat.

He thinks that's bad, and that's a long way from your premise that he opposes pro-health policies if they cost money. Here, he opposes bad health policies because they cost him (and you) money.

He doesn't think you should be forced to subsidize someone's decision to sit on the couch and chow down on chips all day. He also doesn't think the government should be in the business of telling you that you can't be a couch potato either.

He's highlighting this tension, and drawing it back to the problem of justifying government programs based on some claimed health benefit - as he is claiming regarding mass transit (though I'm not sure why he's going there).

And from this not unsual argument about the tension between government's attempts to help its citizens and the resulting restrictions on liberties that requries, you simply seem confirmation of his "true uncaring character". That's astounding.

FederalReview

Read the sentence

He does not say any of the things you claim he is getting at. If that is what he meant he would have said: "There is a tension between the libertarian concept of individual freedom and the externalized costs associated with those policies". Instead he started out with "because we pay for health-care, we need to be concerned about people's health."

Read Hood's Sentence

No, he said "Because we have taxpayer-financed programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, obesity is a major public-policy issue."

He could have said it like you rewrote it, but perhaps he's thinking he's writing for an audience that doesn't have to be spoonfed.

And you are welcome to choose to reduce your understanding of language to an isolated sentence and refuse to understand context, but I don't think that's a very positive approach to public policy debates.

Unless your only point is to shake your finger at people and judge them to be of bad character, no doubt preliminary to tying them to the stake for a good burning.

FederalReview

Do you not see the sentence you just wrote?

"because we..." means "the reason that". It could not be more clear.

As far as my understanding of language, it is pretty deep. But this does not need much understanding. Hood writes very clearly and writes what he means. If he made a mistake, he could come here and correct it. We know that he reads BlueNC. Very simple, words are what people use to communicate their thoughts. Hood chose these words because it shows how he views things.

As for the burning, that is just something you made out of left field.

hoods sentence

Hood is "ok", but did he (choose) or (chose)?

Yes,

never blog while angry; or at least read over it for typos. Strange world of blogs also: tends to make people less likely to read over their work, but it is more permanent than most stuff I write.

yes

No anger at all. Just a little humor lightens comments up..I think

Try it this way

"Obesity is a major public-policy issue, because we have taxpayer-financed programs such as Medicare and Medicaid."

He is cleary not saying that we have Medicare and Medicaid because of obesity. If I understand you, that's how you read it. He's saying obesity becomes a public policy issue because Medicare and Medicaid (their costs) are effected by it.

FederalReview

What is so complicated

Yes. What he is saying is that public health is an issue because we have medicare and medicaid. And my point is that that statement shows his character. To me, and centuries of elected officials, public health is a public policy concern because it affects the public health.

For Winston, the whole openning paragraph with analysis

Because we have taxpayer-financed programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, obesity is a major public-policy issue. Unfortunately, what you do with – and to – your own body is no longer just your own business, because your poor choices can impose tremendous costs on others without their consent. Those who profess to care about personal autonomy in such matters are often noticeably silent about this point, but it is inescapable. The welfare state puts freedom at odds with fairness. Your freedom to overeat or get no exercise is unfair to me if I am forced to finance the treatment of the consequences.

Sentence 1: analyzed above, but he is saying that the reason to be concerned about health-care is that it costs the government.

Part 1 of Sentence 2: "what you do with your own body..." It is not true that what you do with your body is free from public regulation and never has been. Consider the myriad drinking and drug laws. Historically consider the numerous morality based laws regulating marriages. Also, consider the anti-homosexuality laws. So Hood is partially right but completely wrong in the historical context.

Part 2 of Sentence 2: "because your poor choices can impose costs..." Again he fails to acknowledge any other reason for public actions to improve national health. For him the only reason is the cost that will result to him through taxes.

Sentence 3: "Those who profess..." I would say that it is a correct statement about conservatives in a number of argument areas. As an anecdote, look at Ben Roethlisberger who was advocating against motorcycle helmet laws, got into an accident without a helmet, almost died, and now advocates for helmet laws. Or the JLF's constant association of sprawl and freedom without acknowledging the external costs of sprawl on the rest of society, of which health is one concern. So, I would agree with Hood on this one but call him a hypocrite at the same time and wonder how it relates to the rest of the piece.

Sentence 4: "The welfare state puts freedom at odds with fairness." That might be okay rhetoric but what does it mean. Also, it is a non sequitur in the paragraph. When was the welfare state, freedom, or fairness ever brought up. I would change the point to "life sometimes puts freedom and fairness at odds". But since the sentence says nothing, it tells us nothing about Hood.

Sentence 5: "Your freedom to overeat or get no exercise is unfair to me if I am forced to finance the treatment of the consequences." I agree, but again, Hood only links the negatives of poor health with the cost to him.

So Winston, in this opening paragraph, which John knows as a J-school graduate is where you put your strongest and most relevant arguments, where is there anything close to your analysis of what he was saying? I see many more sentences devoted to the fact that the reason we should promote health is to save money (3) than anything that could even be close to your hypothesis of his meaning (1 if Hood gets the benefit of the doubt and had just bought me a round of beer).

I stand by my position: Hood is uncaring because the only reason he would care about someone else's health is if it affects his pocketbook.

As for the FDA and CDC, if the wingers like Hood were in charge, these organizations would have never gotten off the ground. The only reason the wingers do not go after the programs now is that they have proven effective, needed, and popular.

Addressing TarGator's analysis . . .

Sentence 1: analyzed above, but he is saying that the reason to be concerned about health-care is that it costs the government.

No, he is saying that because we have Medicare and Medicaid, the government is now interested in controlling what you eat. He does not say screw the people's health.

Part 1 of Sentence 2: "what you do with your own body..." It is not true that what you do with your body is free from public regulation and never has been. Consider the myriad drinking and drug laws. Historically consider the numerous morality based laws regulating marriages. Also, consider the anti-homosexuality laws. So Hood is partially right but completely wrong in the historical context.

He is saying that controlling your choices about what and how much to eat are now a legitimate concern of government because government is paying the consequences.

Part 2 of Sentence 2: "because your poor choices can impose costs..." Again he fails to acknowledge any other reason for public actions to improve national health. For him the only reason is the cost that will result to him through taxes.

No, he is not saying thate the government should take no action to improve national health. He is saying that the cost is a reason that government now has to limit your own personal freedom to decide what you can eat or how much exercise you may be required to have.

Sentence 3: "Those who profess..." I would say that it is a correct statement about conservatives in a number of argument areas. As an anecdote, look at Ben Roethlisberger who was advocating against motorcycle helmet laws, got into an accident without a helmet, almost died, and now advocates for helmet laws. Or the JLF's constant association of sprawl and freedom without acknowledging the external costs of sprawl on the rest of society, of which health is one concern. So, I would agree with Hood on this one but call him a hypocrite at the same time and wonder how it relates to the rest of the piece.

I think you are right, but also recognize that he is also talking about general civil liberties advocates who bristle at certain personal freedom limiting actions intended to protect people from death by terrorists. Here he's talking about fundamental limitations on how you feed yourself.

Sentence 4: "The welfare state puts freedom at odds with fairness." That might be okay rhetoric but what does it mean. Also, it is a non sequitur in the paragraph. When was the welfare state, freedom, or fairness ever brought up. I would change the point to "life sometimes puts freedom and fairness at odds". But since the sentence says nothing, it tells us nothing about Hood.

I have to agree with you here. Merely having a government or any entity trying to "help" puts freedom and fairness at odds. It's line drawing that we engage in everyday. I want a government. I want certain social welfare programs, and I bet Hood does too. That sentence really doesn't add anything at all to his point, it its generality probably undermines it.

Sentence 5: "Your freedom to overeat or get no exercise is unfair to me if I am forced to finance the treatment of the consequences." I agree, but again, Hood only links the negatives of poor health with the cost to him.

I see your point there.

So Winston, in this opening paragraph, which John knows as a J-school graduate is where you put your strongest and most relevant arguments, where is there anything close to your analysis of what he was saying? I see many more sentences devoted to the fact that the reason we should promote health is to save money (3) than anything that could even be close to your hypothesis of his meaning (1 if Hood gets the benefit of the doubt and had just bought me a round of beer).

His first sentence was more about getting attention that setting forth is best argument. That's what columnists do. I still think you are overgeneralizing, though.

I stand by my position: Hood is uncaring because the only reason he would care about someone else's health is if it affects his pocketbook. As for the FDA and CDC, if the wingers like Hood were in charge, these organizations would have never gotten off the ground. The only reason the wingers do not go after the programs now is that they have proven effective, needed, and popular.

I still think you've overgeneralized. Hood is talking about the government's legitimate interest in controlling your health because it is paying for the consequences. He's uncomfortable with that. I'm sure he's not saying that health should only be a concern of government because of its costs. He's saying that areas of personal freedom related to health become subject to governmental control because the government is paying the tab and that bothers him. Government advocacy of good health, and funding research, I'm sure he doesn't have a problem with because these things don't limit personal freedom.

TarGator, I really appreciate the discussion.

FederalReview