I often find myself getting into debates with conservatives, about various issues of national importance. I happen to be a person who has opted to be a liberal: at least in as far as my politics go. And I work in an environment where most of my colleagues are people who would be described as intellectuals: people who are fascinated by ideas. Now some of these happen to be political conservatives, and as I said, I often get into heated debates with them on various issues. One such issue is that of funding public services. And that is where, in the course of my debates with my colleagues at work, I have come to conclude that there are fundamental differences between liberals and conservatives, on the issue of how public services should be funded.
We liberals mostly subscribe to the view that ‘public services should be publicly funded‘. That, at least, is the view in the school of liberal political thought I belong to. We hold that the public should be taxed, with the money obtained from the taxes being then used to fund the public services. That way, to the end consumer of the public services, there wouldn’t be need to pay anything: at that level, the services would be ‘free’.
The conservatives, on the other hand, seem to subscribe to the notion that the public services should be privately funded! This is where they believe that everyone should pay (directly) for their healthcare. Everyone should pay (directly) for his or her kids’ education… and so on. The conservatives seem to hold the view that if these services were publicly funded, that would promote laziness: as some people would be ‘leeching’ on others.
The reason as to why I favor the liberal argument in this debate is simple: it is in the fact that when the public services are publicly funded, nobody is left behind. And that is a good thing, because when the services are privately funded, some people are inevitably left behind. Yet, unless you happen to be a very rabid sadist, you would agree with me that there is really no joy in seeing your kids going to school (because you can afford it), whilst the kids of your poor neighbor don’t go. Similarly, there would be no joy in being able to access the best healthcare because you can afford it, whilst you keep on encountering poor people dying on the streets because they can’t afford proper healthcare. So the public services should be publicly funded (using tax money). That should be done, to ensure that nobody is left behind: at least in as far as the basics of life are concerned.