by JL Wall

So they’re not quite as ridiculous as the town-hall crashers and Sarah Palin, but what we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is a failure of logic:

“I’m boycotting [Whole Foods] because all Americans need health care,” said Lent, 33, who used to visit his local Whole Foods “several times a week.”

“While Mackey is worried about health care and stimulus spending, he doesn’t seem too worried about expensive wars and tax breaks for the wealthy and big businesses such as his own that contribute to the deficit,” said Lent.

I’m beginning to believe that, for the purposes of the health care debate, we should use the “Athenian” version of free speech: Yeah, you can say what you want, but don’t expect us to not heckle you out of the Assembly once you make a fool of yourself.  (This does, of course, entail not lambasting those who attempt to engage in good-faith dialogue and debate for things they didn’t say.)

What bothers me most is the assumption that because he disagrees with their views, Mackey is obviously doing nothing more than promoting the status quo — which, by extension, means he is actively trying to harm Americans by writing an op-ed.  I think we’ve been seeing this mindset for some time now, on more issues than just health care: that a disagreement about means entails a disagreement about ends,* and that therefore anyone who disagrees with you cannot be acting in good faith.  Because their arguments and alternatives are proposed in bad faith, one need not engage with or listen to them or their proposals.  (In fact, there’s no need for discussion or consideration at all!  What’s up with this whole “legislative branch” and “deliberative body”** crap, anyway?)

*For the purposes of the above, I’m defining “ends” as broadly as possible.  For example: “We should try to avoid economic collapse”; “The present health care and health insurance system is not functioning properly and should be altered so that it does”; “Our foreign policy should be one that ensures America’s security”; etc.

**This is not to imply that I actually believe Congress behaves like a deliberative body.  Just that, in theory, it should.