Of Taxes and Hypocrisy, Part I

by Charles Cherry

Hello Charles Cherry,
Janet sent you this message from Meetup.com:
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Hello Charles,

Okay, on to another specific point you raise.

You said in your response:

“His blatant hypocrisy in advocating public funding of private religious schools, when he has just complained about taxes being used to support public schools? The mind reels.”

When did I complain about taxes being used to support public schools? This is what I said regarding taxes:

“The public schools receive federal and state tax dollars for each child that attends, anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 per child, per year. Parents who take their children out of the public system still have to pay those taxes, and do not get the benefit of the money.”

My point, which you missed entirely, is that parents have to pay educational taxes whether or not their children are in public school. If they take their children out of the system, they still have to pay the taxes, but do not reap any of the benefits of those tax dollars.

You read something into my statement that simply is not there; that is eisegesis, and that is an academic no-no. I am advocating for tax fairness, not complaining about paying taxes. Where is the blatant hypocrisy in that?

Firstly, I did not miss your point at all. I simply decided not to reiterate it, as it made for awkward wording. Here is my original version of that sentence:

“The blatant hypocrisy of advocating public moneys be used to support a private religious school system with a sectarian agenda, when he has just complained about the taxes of those who don’t utilize the public schools being used to support them”

I thought that readers would be able to follow my reasoning if I abbreviated the point at issue. Perhaps I was wrong about that. I guess “blatant” was the wrong word! So, I will spell it out here.

But before I do so, let me quickly dispose of a potentially confusing side issue, which is the validity of the supposed “tax fairness” argument itself.

Though I chose not say so in my letter to the editor, I reject this argument regardless of who advances it. It’s a red herring.

This argument, which is popular because it makes an emotional appeal to people’s sense of justice and also provokes their automatic instinct to protect their pocketbooks, is in fact easily dismissed. A little stringent examination reveals that it rests upon the fallacious assumption that there is no such thing as the common good, and also leads inevitably to the
pernicious conclusion that there should be no such thing as government at all. Unless you are willing to defend both of these positions, you cannot defend the argument itself.

That, however, is not the point at issue. The question is, how did your particular arguments constitute hypocrisy?

That’s part 2.

Janet

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