by Dr. Roy Cordato
Senior Economist, Emeritas
The headline in Phillp Klein’s “Beltway Confidential” article from today’s Washington Examiner is “Sebelius Shifting Stance on Privacy.” The article points out that:
As governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius cited privacy concerns in opposing the release of documents sought during an investigation into criminal wrongdoing at state abortion clinics.
Yet now, as Secretary of Health and Human Services, Sebelius’s department is proposing new rules that could create government databases containing the health records of all Americans.
When Sebelius was governor she refused to look into possible wrong doing on the part of late term abortionists and abortion mills such as Planned Parenthood on the grounds that “Privacy is a fundamental concern to all Kansans.” The article argues, essentially, that Sebelius seems to have a double standard. Klein quotes Kansas Republican Congressman Tim Huelskamp to make the point:
On the one hand, (as governor) she spent her time attacking an investigation into some of her biggest political supporters…And here she is in Washington promoting the exact opposite thing, saying, ‘Don’t worry about the confidentiality of private records, your information is safe with us.
It drives conservatives crazy that progressives regularly do this because consistency in argumentation and in principles is something that conservatives and libertarians place a high value on. But in fact progressives, who are relativists and believe in situational ethics, see no problem or even a contradiction in taking conflicting positions at two different points in time depending on the circumstances and the ends being pursued. We as conservatives and libertarians just have to come to grips with the fact that progressives are consistent and do indeed have a single standard. That standard is that ethics and logic are situational and that the ends justify the means. For Sebelius and her fellow progressives there is no inconsistency in making an argument to justify one set of goals and then at some later point ignoring that argument or even making the opposite argument in justifying a different set of goals. From progressives’ perspective, the fact that we find this approach to be intellectually dishonest is our problem not theirs.