Hypocrisy and Irony

Just some examples of hypocrisy that came to mind recently:

  • Why did Therese Rein (the Prime Minister’s wife) admit herself to a private hospital to fix her gallstone problem, despite campaigning in favour of the public health system during the 2007 election?
  • Why does the Prime Minister heavily tax ordinary Australians so they can’t afford private health insurance, but remain unwilling to give up his own private cover?
  • Why do Canadian politicians cross the border into the United States for their health needs if America’s (comparatively free-market) health system is so bad and Canadian public health so good?
  • Why do Family First candidates look at pornography in private and protest against it in public?

And a bit of irony:

  • Why do anti-globalisation protesters use mobile phones and other technologies developed through competitive, capitalist markets?

12 thoughts on “Hypocrisy and Irony

  1. Coz dear, politics is nothing but pushing one’s interests. Without lying and hypocrisy (politically termed as “propaganda”), interest-based advocacies will be very hard to realize.

  2. i don’t see the conflict between family values and porn. i’m a great believer in both.

    The FF candidate issue is an interesting issue. Do voters have the right to know the sexuality of their politicians? in this liberal day and age where there are thankfully few consequences of revealing your sexual preferences, i would think less of my MP if i discovered he had hidden his sexuality. my first reaction would be to wonder what else he was hiding.

  3. I think the first and second one are fine. You can campaign to have public healthcare and not use with the basic idea that those who are poor should be able to use it, and those who can afford it can pay themselves.

    As for FF — who cares about them anyway?

  4. But Conrad, our public system doesn’t focus on the poor, it focuses on everyone. If they wanted to help the poor they would have simply advocated targeted subsidies rather than universal healthcare and spending more taxpayer money on a failed system.

    The first & second are definitely not fine. The PM and his wife get first-class care no matter what happens to them. On the other hand, many other people have to wait in queues for simple procedures. The queues are an inevitable component of public health care systems everywhere, and this rationing has been well known for some time. They should have called for massive tax cuts and the dismantling of public health if they wanted to be consistent. Right now they are the epitome of what happens in a socialised system – as elites, they can afford speedy treatment.

  5. Lenin said, “The Capitalists shall sell us the rope with which we shall hang them!” I imagine antiglobalists think similarly, if they ever justify their decisions.
    As for the charge of elitism, they might agree with you in principle, but feel that changing fixed ALP policy is too hard to do anything now. Medicare is probably a sacred cow (or should that be sacred bull?).

  6. “The queues are an inevitable component of public health care systems everywhere”

    No they arn’t (try France, for example) — only public systems which allow all users in and don’t have enough money. This is a problem of the system we have, not a general problem of public health care. It either needs to be targeted better (i.e., don’t let rich people use it) or more government funds need to spent on it (c.f., France). Both solutions get rid of queues. Whether you happen to like paying huge taxes for it (like France) is another story.

  7. You can argue they don’t exist but I think you are arguing against several generally accepted economic theories – paticularly cross subsidisation and moral hazard.

    The metrics are far more convincing and damning.


    As for France, in August 2003, a heatwave (no hotter than summer temperatures in much of Australia, the US, Mexico or Spain) there killed 11000 people. Not exactly “first world” healthcare.

  8. Conrad,

    By “inevitable” I am referring to basic laws of supply and demand.

    Of course, you can blow the entire government budget on healthcare and probably eliminate queues, but there is such a thing as “opportunity cost” which must be borne in mind.

  9. No one is completely innocent of a little ideological hypocrisy. Although I am morally, philosophically and politically against welfare and most unnecessary government regulation, I have received government study allowances and have a nice little subsidised HECS debt that won’t be bothering me too much. I would also, if certain opportunities were offered, accept employment in government departments, organisations and regulators like the ACCC or ABC.

  10. I used to think that was a problem. It isn’t. Everyone has been forced to be a welfare recipient, if we like it or not. Basically, we cannot opt out.

    Don’t worry.

  11. “opportunity cost” which must be borne in mind.

    I don’t disagree with this. But there are countries where people see health care as essentially the number one priority, and are willing to sacrifice other things for it. If that is the case, the main trade off is between preventative and non-preventative healthcare — although people in most Western countries don’t seem to care to much about the latter. In addition, it isn’t the entire budget. The % of GDP spent on healthcare in France is similar to the US (i.e., high, but not neccessarily unbearably so)

    “heatwave (no hotter than summer temperatures in much of Australia, the US, Mexico or Spain) there killed 11000 people”.

    I’m not sure what this had to do with the healthcare system. People were dying due to lack of air-conditioning in places where it is almost always cold (i.e., Northern France — they are used to that in the South). This would have happened with any any health-care system on Earth, since there’s no money in planning for very probability events like that.

    If you want another example, try HK. The healthcare system there is fine (they have the second highest life expectancies in the world), operates in a similar way to Australia except you don’t have huge queues, and only costs the budget 6% (?) of GDP. (I’m not sure why — although part is cultural — people don’t eat much garbage so tend to lead healthier lifestyles, although the physical environment is very polluted. However, part isn’t just environment — private services are also much cheaper for reasons which are not clear to me)

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