Morality could be described as what we ought to do; practicality as what we can do. When what we ought to do and what we can do are the same or at least in sync, we have no problems and we do good work. But what happens when when we can’t do what we ought to do? What if we can not satisfy the good, but only, perhaps, satisfice it?
This is the argument that separates the Democratic candidates for president, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sec. Hillary Clinton, on the subject of healthcare. Sen. Sanders is preaching a gospel of medicare for all, a single payer system that leaves no American behind and eschews the private insurance market for, at the very least, all basic healthcare needs.
On the other hand, Sec. Clinton has said emphatically,
“People who have health emergencies can’t wait for us to have a theoretical debate about some better idea that will never, ever come to pass.”
So Sec. Clinton says that Sen. Sanders’ call for medicare for all is a better idea, but that it can never happen. It is the moral thing to do, but not the practical thing to do, the ACA is the practical thing to do and she believes that to be the case for all time.
Now it would be silly to call people to do something, even though is better than what we do now, that will “never, ever come to pass,” but it would not be silly to call people to do something better that not only can be done, but is being done right now, across the globe; an example of which is just a little ways north of here in a place folks like to call Canada.
(And to clarify, Sen. Sanders has not called for people with or without emergencies to wait for healthcare while he and anyone including Sec. Clinton have a “theoretical debate about some better idea.” Sen. Sander has not said to scrap the ACA, but evolve it over time into Medicare for All).
Is it impractical to do something, a better thing, that other people are already doing and have been doing for decades? Is it immoral to do something, a better thing, that other people are already doing and have been doing for decades? If a thing is neither impractical nor Immoral to do, isn’t saying that it is immoral and impractical the real immoral thing to do?