In debate over the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) with our own David Strom on KSTP News program “At Issue” (Sunday, 10/21), Ember Reichgott Jung led off her comments with the Democratic talking point —

Republicans would rather spend billions on the war in Iraq than a fraction of the cost on health care for children.

Reichgott Jung and the Democrats might think they have a winner in that line, but what it really demonstrates is a total disregard for reality.

One’s position on the war in Iraq has no relationship with one’s position on SCHIP. In fact, connecting the two only intends to cut off debate, not further honest discussion.

A legislator’s rationale for a vote for or against funding the war and for or against funding SCHIP must stand on their merits. Tying the two together is what Princeton Professor Harry Frankfurt unapologetically describes as “bullshit” in his book of the same name.

Writing in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Minnesota Free Market Institute Senior Policy Fellow Craig Westover notes: “Bullsh*t, (according to Frankfurt) is a misrepresentation short of an actual lie. To avoid the consequences of the truth, a liar makes a specific false statement, replacing truth with fabrication. A person cannot tell a lie unless he knows what the truth is and what its impact is. Bullsh*t, on the other hand, is indifferent to the truth.

“That is not to say slinging bull is morally superior to lying. It simply serves a different purpose. Lying hides the fact that the speaker is not telling the truth. Bullsh*t hides the fact that the truth is of no importance. It might contain fact, but the use of facts is meant to create an impression that is not necessarily connected with reality. The fault lies not in getting something wrong, says Frankfurt, but in not even trying to get it right.”