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Sure. But I think necessity helps to explain the lack of non-paternalistic charities.

W. Peden, my response remains as before: I don't see how I committed the fallacy of division any more than I committed the fallacy of composition, as I only talked about voters as a whole, not about individual voters.

To ask one more question, are you in favour or against publicly-funded healthcare systems?

Tracy W,

You said-

"To take your case, voters voted for publicly-funded healthcare, or at least keep voting for parties that keep continuing it, is it not equally reasonable that we put up with the consequences, including that we might be paying higher costs in some places?"

- which is true of voters as a group, but not of all individuals. The electorate chooses governments collectively, but this does not mean that each and every voter voted for the incumbent government.

"To ask one more question, are you in favour or against publicly-funded healthcare systems?"

I'm in favour with about a thousand provisios. I would prefer that the bulk of healthcare was handled through private insurance, with government's role being restricted to cases where individuals cannot cope i.e. catastrophic cases and provision for the poor. Only where government gets involved would I want any string attatched: if someone smokes and they are charged higher premiums by their insurer, that's fine by me. Your money, your choice.

W. Peden - for the third time, I was not talking about individual voters, I was talking about voters as a whole. I defy you to find any point in what I wrote where I asserted that what is true of voters acting collectively must be true of each and every individual voter. I didn't spell out in detail that not every single voter would have voted for something because I am aware that I write long comments already, and I assumed that any readers would be familiar enough with how democracy works to fill in the details. When writing, one always assumes a certain level of background knowledge from the readers (what level varies depending on the audience), and part of that is that one assumes that readers know that what is true of a body as a whole is not always true of every single component. For example, if I say "being hit by a fast-moving car or truck tears the human body apart", I assume that my readers know that I don't expect a nuclear explosion from the individual atoms being rendered asunder.

I notice that you yourself said "In a society where the costs of unhealthy eating are not fully born by the individual but by taxpayers (due to free healthcare) isn't the taxation of dietary fat (and tobacco and alcohol and narcotics) a reasonable request from taxpayers? " You didn't bother spelling out all the ways it might not apply to an individual (examples: a government could fund some healthcare expenses by borrowing, and some taxpayers will likely die before the taxes to pay for the borrowing come due, or the government could borrow and then declare a sovereign default), nor did you spell out that any "request from taxpayers" would likely have some individual taxpayers disagreeing (I have a great uncle who goes out of his way to disagree with public opinion, almost regardless of how many contradictions it involves him in, so I'm confident that someone would disagree) so by your logic you also committed the fallacy of division, or composition, or whatever fallacy you've decided it is now.

But I don't think that you committed any such fallacy. You just stated your argument briefly, and I took it on the basis that it was written, rather than trying to drag out some logical fallacy based on what you did not state. It's rather annoying that you have not extended the same courtesy to me. (If you really honestly did not understand the gap, why not ask me what I meant, rather than jumping to telling me that I was committing a fallacy of composition or division even though I had said nothing about individual voters).

Thank you for answering my last question, I am a bit disappointed though, as you are no longer such a good example of someone favouring the welfare state and a reduction of freedom as I had first thought :(, I can easily imagine some full-on liberal dismissing you as not applicable because you don't favour single-payer for everyone. (But that's my disappointment, not yours).

Wow! Frances, this article is awesome. I wish I was more up-to-date on WCI, so I could have caught this when it was being heavily commented-on.

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