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Civility is the ability to disagree with others while respecting their sincerity and decency. Civility begins with understanding. We can best understand our political differences by first understanding the moral foundations upon which political views are built. This site features research, resources, and commentary related to the pursuit of Civility through understanding.

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I believe we have to figure out our imigration problems, but we also have to take care of people (old, young, whatever) who are sick and or/ broken. Is the ER the only recourse? All of us end up paying for that, too.

What does your moral compass say?

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  4 Responses to “What does your moral compass say?”

  1. Hmmm. Found this 2009 article regarding charitable giving:

    “Another reason to take heart right now is a recent report by Giving USA Foundation, “Giving During Recessions and Economic Slowdowns.” The report looked at charitable giving during each recession between 1967 and 2007. It found that in every year but one, total giving in current dollars has risen. The exception was 1987, when a change to a tax law the previous year prompted some people to give early.”

    As to trusting the private sector vs. the public sector, curious on your thoughts regarding the earlier posts, Is end of life planning pro end of life?, and Wouldn’t this be NICE? When the public sector actor executes his pledge to act in the common good, who’s definition of common good is he executing? Is it in the common good to defend life and prevent abortion, or is it in the common good to defend choice and allow abortion? As all such questions can’t possibly be answered, the health care legislation is riddled with mandates to newly created agencies to “do good”. The dangers of such ambiguous legislation are noted here.

    As to health insurance, perhaps your economist friend can help us understand the vilification of the industry. ABC reports “Among insured Americans, 82 percent rate their health coverage positively. Among insured people who’ve experienced a serious or chronic illness or injury in their family in the last year, an enormous 91 percent are satisfied with their care, and 86 percent are satisfied with their coverage.” Forbes tell us the health insurance industry ranks a lowly 35th in profit margins, a very small 2.2%.

    Great article by David Brooks, thanks for the reference.

  2. Me too. And of course some kind of a solution lies (poor choice of words) in such a balance. Your interesting comments about the rise of charitable giving (which the arts are so very dependent upon) is based on the market. In 2006 everything was hunky-dory – stocks, the housing market, etc, etc, but not so today. My economist friend says, “We don’t have a health care problem, we have an insurance problem”.

    There will always be a middle person between us and our doctor. He reminds us that the private sector person is pledged to maximize profits, the public sector person is pledged to act for the common good. I hope we can find that elusive balance soon. David Brooks in today’s paper has a fine article on politics and populism. The conflicts we are seeing today run “deep and old”.

  3. To NBC News, Pres. Obama put it this way: “It’s an argument that’s gone on for the history of this republic, and that is, What’s the right role of government? How do we balance freedom with our need to look out for one another? … This is not a new argument, and it always evokes passions.”

    I like this guy!

  4. Well, my moral compass is pro-charity, pro helping those in need. Much of the modern welfare state began in England round the 1890’s. One of the motiviations for state control of welfare was that the private charities were so large and vast that bringing them under central control would be more efficient. In 2006, the last year I could find, US charitable giving was a record $296 billion. That does not include the value of donated time and labor. 83% of the giving was from individuals. This would be on top of the 2/3 of our taxes that go to social welfare. ( ) Depending on how one calculates what is federal government spending on social welfare, we actually spend more privately than we do publicly.

    I don’t think the point at issue is ’should the poor be helped’? I’m trying to understand the justification for using the coercive taxing power of the government. What are the first principles? Without some check on what is the right and wrong use of government, we are left with what we have, a system that grows government in the direction of the occupying political party (who determine their platforms more by popularity than principle), but never shrinks.

    The health care issue is only partially about helping those in need. In fact, some liberal blogs point out that at the end of the day, the public option proposals would only extend coverage to an additional 4 million people, so why are we even bothering with it? The actual issue is government intervening to control health care services in the name of ‘cost control’. The reason government is urgent on this issue is because Medicare entitlements are projected to bankrupt the government, hence ’something must be done’. They’re right, something has to be done. The logic of why the solution to government mismanagment of Medicare is to give government more to manage, is elusive to me!

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