Liberals Are Terrible At Arguing With Conservatives. Here’s How They Can Get Better

Much normative (or value-based) reasoning by liberals (and mainstream economists) is about the consequences of political actions for the welfare of individuals. Statements about the desirability of policies are based on trading off the consequences for different individuals. If good outcomes result from a policy without many negative consequences, then the policy is a good one. When Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., remarked on the Affordable Care Act this spring, for example, she said, “I feel strongly that when we’re talking about our sick, when we’re talking about our poor . . . and we’re talking about something that would deny those in need with the relief and the help that they need, that they want and deserve, it does put in place a question about our moral values.” In other words, if a policy will harm the welfare of individuals in need, it’s a bad policy.

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