A Litmus Test for Your Principles

When the government implements a policy, there are two morality aspects involved:  the morality of the policy itself and the morality of the implementation process.  This process includes how the debate is conducted, how the politicians are elected, and how officials use or misuse their power?  

  • Are the issues presented truthfully and responsibly?
  • Are elections held honestly?
  • Are the rules followed in the legislative process?
  • Does the executive branch faithfully implement the legislation?
  • Do officials use their power to reward friends or punish enemies?

For many years the United States Senate had the rule that it required 60 votes to cutoff debate.  Effectively, that meant that 60 votes were required to pass any legislation.  As in most years neither party had 60 senators, this meant that some bipartisan support was required for any legislation.  When George W. Bush was president, some people suggested that the senate eliminate the 60 vote requirement and only require a majority of 51.  This was called the “Nuclear Option”.  The Democrats, most notably Harry Reid and Barack Obama denounced the nuclear option then when Bush was president but invoked it when Obama became president.

A litmus test of political principle is that you should be totally consistent in your views regardless of which side of the issue you are on.  I have a lot of respect for the noted attorney and political commentator Alan Derschowitz.  While Derschowitz is very liberal on most issues, he is totally even-handed on issues involving the morality of politics.  Unfortunately Derschowitz is in the minority these days.  The vast majority of liberals either support current administration policies such as using the IRS against political opponents or using executive orders instead of legislation or they just ignore the issue altogether.  

I remember a number of years ago some employees were fired for using office email to announce meetings of a “family values” group that, among other things, opposed gay marriage.  I wondered if they would have been fired if they announced meetings for a group that supported gay marriage.

I know the conservatives are certainly not blameless in this regard, but with the liberals currently in power the hypocrisy here is just particularly glaring.

Whenever there is an issue on the poltical morality, you should ask yourself if your position be any different if the opposing side used the same tactics.  Would it make a difference if George W. Bush or Barack Obama used the tactics in question?  If your opinion changes depending on the side, then you should re-examine your principles.

 (http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2013/nov/22/harry-reid/harry-reid-among-flip-floppers-senates-nuclear-opt/, http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2012/11/28/obama-fought-against-eliminating-filibuster-2005)

One thought on “A Litmus Test for Your Principles

  1. Pingback: Tolerance and Hypocrisy – The Brendan Eich Story | Ralph Koppel

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