What do you call someone who opposes the Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare, standing instead for free markets, private charity and personal responsibility in healthcare?
What do you call that person when, in a tough situation, he acts in accord with his beliefs, relying on private charity to help him pay the bills associated with an expensive health emergency?
I can think of a lot of names for someone like that. “Hypocrite” is not among them. Some ObamaCare supporters seem a little mixed up on the subject.
Richard Mack, former sheriff of Graham County, Arizona and founder of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, opposes ObamaCare and declined to sign up for subsidized health insurance under its provisions.
When he suffered a heart attack in January, his family set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for his care. As I write this, the campaign has nearly met its $30,000 goal. By the time you read this, it will probably have surpassed that goal.
Donors to the fundraiser have the option of commenting, and a funny thing happened on the way to the goal: Lots of people made small donations for the sole purpose of publicly chiding “Sheriff Mack” (as his friends and fans still call him though he’s no longer in office) for his opposition to ObamaCare.
The remarks range from “agree to disagree, but I’m happy to help you” at one end to strident and, in some cases, nasty at the other. “Hypocrite” seems to be among his detractors’ favored terms.
But hypocrisy involves “insincerity by virtue of pretending to have qualities or beliefs that you do not really have.” And in this, as in so many other instances, Sheriff Mack is the exact opposite of a hypocrite.
Sheriff Mack believes that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. He also thinks it’s a very bad idea. Many Americans agree with him on both counts.
He declined to accept subsidized insurance under the ACA, and when he found himself in a catastrophic health situation he asked for assistance.
Not from the government. Not at the expense of unwilling taxpayers. Only from those who were willing to voluntarily help him. Just as he advocated for before he was the one who needed that assistance.
Sheriff Mack is well-known to libertarians for his previous stands against gun control and other violations of Americans’ rights by the federal government. In fact, he once ran for Congress on the Libertarian Party’s ballot line. Not all libertarians agree with him on every issue, but most of us respect him for his principled actions even when we disagree.
He practices what he preaches. Every time. No exceptions.
He’s not a hypocrite. He’s a hero.
Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.
- “ObamaCare: Of Hypocrites and Heroes,” by Thomas L. Knapp, Batesville, Arkansas Daily Guard (paywall), 03/11/15
- “ObamaCare: Of hypocrites and heroes,” by Thomas L. Knapp, Sonoran News [Arizona], 03/18/15
- “ObamaCare: Of Hypocrites and Heroes,” by Thomas L. Knapp, Florence, South Carolina News Journal, 03/25/15