Look, I’m going to be diplomatic about this: every moment, modern American liberalism continues to plunge deeper and deeper into a state that can be charitably described as a dark and hellish insanity.
If I was in a bad mood, I’d be blunt. But I’m tentatively and partially satisfied after the Supreme Court extended its unprecedented week-long streak of getting things mostly right. This morning came the news that the Robed Ones concur, at least to a degree, with Hobby Lobby. ‘Closely held’ companies can opt out of Obama’s contraception mandate, if they have strong religious objections.
Of course, it’s worth noting that Hobby Lobby has no problem with contraception — it already provides birth control. The company only took issue with abortion-inducing drugs, like the Morning After Pill.
This ruling is a limited victory for freedom and sanity, but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. The justices could have issued a sweeping decision fortifying every person’s right to run their lives and their companies according to the dictates of their conscience, rather than the dictates of an authoritarian government bureaucracy. Instead, they focused the issue down to the specifics of Hobby Lobby’s particular situation, meaning that other companies, businesses, and corporations will still be subject to Orwellian speech infringements.
It’s good news, but don’t get too comfortable.
And don’t use social media or watch the news for the next few days if you wish to avoid a sudden and intense migraine. Progressives have reacted to the ruling in their typically reasonable way, calling for Hobby Lobby to be burned to the ground, marking the first time in recorded history that anyone has made terroristic threats against an arts and crafts chain. Jo-Ann Fabrics better start beefing up its security.
The Huffington Post screeched in its headline that the Supreme Court has ‘gone after women,’ while legions of other liberals threw hysterical temper tantrums over Hobby Lobby’s ‘intrusion into a woman’s uterus.’ Mother Jones decided that the Supremes hadn’t only waged a war against women,but against science as well.
Others resorted to plain ol’ lying:
“[The Hobby Lobby decision will] deny legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs access to contraceptive coverage.” – Justice Ginsberg’s dissent.
These claims are unabashedly dishonest because they fail to take into account two important points: A) Hobby Lobby covers birth control. I say again: Hobby Lobby covers birth control. B) Whether any employer covers birth control or not, none are trying to stop women from accessing it. The issue here is whether a private company should be forced to pay for birth control, not whether it should be allowed to sneak into your house at night and check to make sure you don’t have a bottle of Yaz in your medicine cabinet.
Not to be outdone, Bob Beckel appeared on Fox News stammering excitedly that now Orthodox Jewish business owners have the power to ‘tell their employees they can’t use electricity on Saturdays.’
Mr. Beckel will be pleased to learn that, should he ever find himself employed by one of the five or six Orthodox Jews in America, this ruling does not give them the authority to control the electricity in his home. It only gives them the authority to decline to pay for the electricity in his home. Indeed, it takes the special lunacy of a man like Beckel to confuse ‘I’m not going to pay for this’ with ‘you cannot have this, even if you pay for it yourself.’ But, startlingly, Beckel’s lunacy is the lunacy of many. Progressivism has recruited legions of followers by convincing them that they are being prevented from obtaining something as long as another private individual is allowed to refrain from providing it to them.
If you won’t give it to me, then I cannot have it. This is what a child might accurately say to his parents. However your employer is not your parent, and you are not a child.
An Orthodox Jewish businessman might also decide that he will not use electricity in his own business on a Saturday. This policy could be uncomfortable for his employees, which makes it quite fortunate that slavery was abolished a while ago. If you want to work in a place with air conditioning (and I wouldn’t blame you), you are free to work elsewhere. Likewise, if you want to work in a place that will cover the Morning After Pill, you are free to find a company that fits that bill (or pays it, in this case). The funny thing about employment is that, usually, you get the job after actively pursuing it. Most employers — particularly retail outlets — don’t make great efforts to recruit workers. You have to come to them and ask for the job. In other words, if you don’t like how they run their company, don’t go there seeking employment.
A few other important points on the contraception mandate:
-You don’t forfeit your First Amendment freedoms when you decide to start a business. Obviously.
Progressives are rolling their eyes and scoffing at the notion that ‘a corporation can be religious.’ But a corporation is not some kind of disassociated entity that exists as a force independent of human involvement. A corporation, like a government, is comprised of people.
Corporation: an association of individuals.
The way leftwingers speak of it, you’d think that the association can somehow subsist even without the individuals. Like the individuals arise out of the association, instead of the other way around. How else could they be so confused about the basic reality that an individual does not suddenly lose his freedoms and his identity just because he is associated, by some arrangement or another, with other individuals? An individual forming an association for the purpose of providing some good or service, does not mean that, by some cosmic sorcery, he literally becomes the association itself.
Of course I have my freedoms, and of course I maintain those freedoms when I start companies and form associations. Of course, if I am a Muslim, or a Jew, or a Christian, I have the right to act as a Muslim, or a Jew, or a Christian. In fact, I must especially maintain my freedoms in my actions and associations, because otherwise my freedoms are just things that exist as long as they are unseen and unnoticed by others. But they are useless freedoms if I can only have them in solitude.
Here’s a new twist on an old riddle. People used to wonder if a tree makes a sound when it falls by itself alone in the forest. Now, we ask whether it ought to be allowed to make a sound under any other circumstance.
-Tyranny is a slippery slope. Freedom is not.
This is an identifying mark of progressivism. It views freedom as a ‘slippery slope,’ yet rarely if ever uses that term when discussing the actions of the government.
So you will hear, as you already have, that now Jehovah’s Witness business owners can decline to pay for blood transfusions. Christian Scientist bosses might forgo coverage for hospital admissions (notice how everyone is suddenly an expert on the most obscure religions in the country). Scientologist company heads might, like, do some weird stuff, too. Everyone run for the hills, freedom is afoot!
I would respond to these objections by first asking, percentagewise, how many businesses are actually run by Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Scientists, and Scientologists? Maybe .0001 percent, if that? Once again, we have progressives attempting to make bad policy based on the rarest and most unlikely cases. But let’s agree, for the sake of argument, that Christian Scientists can now withdraw hospital coverage (they can’t), and let’s agree that there are a noticeable number of Christian Scientist business owners who’d be willing to destroy their businesses by instituting this policy (there aren’t).
Which slope is more dangerous and will impact the most people — the one that allows entrepreneurs from minor, isolated religions to come up with health coverage policies consistent with their religious creeds, or the one that allows unelected federal bureaucrats to make up laws and policies as they please? Which is more likely to hurt you in the long run — a dogmatic Jehovah’s Witness business owner, or an unrestrained and power hungry government agency?
The latter, in both cases, is a slippery slope. A slippery slope that, historically, leads to oppression, murder, bankruptcy, and collapse. The former is just an extreme, limited, and unlikely application of a universal liberty. The former is inconvenient, in that it might force a half a dozen or so Americans to find employment elsewhere, whereas the latter is a travesty that can, will, and already has touched and ruined the lives of millions of citizens.
-Progressivism degrades, demeans, and stereotypes women.
Liberals (many of them men) have said that today was a ‘loss for women.’ In saying this, they have made the incredible and bigoted claim that ALL women desire free abortifacients, and ALL women believe they have an insoluble right to employer-provided birth control. These unbelievable narcissists fashion themselves the spokesmen (emphasis on men) for womankind, while millions of women shout, as loud as they can, that these unappointed mouthpieces do not speak for them.
This is one of the reasons why I have so much contempt for progressive ideology. It lessens people. It stereotypes them. It degrades them. It tells them how to be, and then tries to bully them into being it.
Why is it always birth control and abortion that must be the ‘women’s issues’? Why, progressives? Are women feral dogs that need to be sterilized? Are they pests that should be prevented from reproducing?
Why can’t you ever call education a woman’s issue? What about foreign policy? The economy? Women only have something to add when the discussion turns to birth control pills and Planned Parenthood, eh?
The women I know are much deeper than that. They are concerned about many things, and have thoughts on many subjects. And, as far as abortion goes, many of them have carried a child in their womb. They’ve given birth to those babies. They’ve held their sons and daughters in their arms and pledged to love and protect them for as long as they live. The women in my life, and countless more, possess a pro-life conviction so profound that the very thought of abortion causes them pain and grief. These women suffer and sacrifice for their children. They are the very embodiment of pro-life.
Yet you, progressives, have the audacity to claim them under your ‘pro-choice’ banner? Millions of women in this country would sooner die than march with you. This is not according to me, this is according to them. They are saying this, but you ignore them.
How dare you.
I have no patience for this nonsense. The people protesting the Hobby Lobby decision are wrong. Most of what they say is a lie, while the rest bounces between incoherence and stupidity.
If they were really concerned about ‘birth control access’ they’d apply their brains to the situation and realize that the cost of birth control has actually increased BECAUSE of insurance coverage. But they aren’t looking for solutions. They’re simply looking to push their social agenda.
That’s what this is all about. That’s what everything is always about.
P.S. Before anyone says it in the comments: yes, I realize that some women use birth control for other medical reasons. That has nothing to do with Hobby Lobby because nobody uses the Morning After Pill for other medical reasons. It also has nothing to do with the contraception mandate, because, of the employers who previously declined to cover birth control, many of them already made exceptions for these other cases. The contraception mandate was not designed, nor was it needed, for women who use birth control pills for things like ovarian cysts. There were always ways to deal with those situations. The contraception mandate is specifically for women who wish to prevent pregnancy by using contraception.
PPS. There are two primary objections I’ve seen raised by commenters on Facebook and this blog. I’d like to address both of them, although neither deal at all with the substance of the issue at hand. They are both weak and uninspired attempts at discrediting the ruling by discrediting Hobby Lobby.
Even if you can discredit Hobby Lobby (which, so far, all challengers have failed to do) that wouldn’t speak to the legal, logical, constitutional, and principled facets of this argument. Supporters of this ruling support it because they love religious liberty, not arts and crafts retailers.
Besides, if the feelings of plaintiffs in Supreme Court cases are enough to delegitimize a ruling, then I suppose Roe v. Wade is out the window. The plaintiff in that case, Norma McCorvey, is now a passionate pro-life activist.
There goes abortion legalization, right?
I didn’t think so.
Now, onto the objections:
Objection 1: Hobby Lobby still covers vasectomies and Viagra!
The issue is whether a company can be forced to provide a product in spite of its religious convictions. If you think someone ought to be opposed to Viagra if they are opposed to the Morning After Pill, that’s very interesting and I’m sure it will make for a fascinating philosophical discussion. But these aren’t your convictions, so you don’t get to decide how far they extend and in what direction.
Besides, Viagra and emergency contraception, or contraception in general, are not just different things — they’re practically opposites. Viagra mitigates a malfunction, whereas birth control hinders a function. You can’t really find two things more diametrically opposed. Viagra makes a broken thing work, while birth control makes a working thing not work.
Feel however you want about either, but you can’t deny that the two have very different designs.
Vasectomies, on the other hand, are pretty well in line with birth control. Still no contradiction, though, as Hobby Lobby covers most birth control already. I fail to see the issue here. They cover birth control pills, they cover vasectomies. And?
I should note that I haven’t been able to actually confirm the vasectomy claim. I’ve seen people link to this Huff Po article, which mentions it at the end. But it cites another article in the Wisconsin Gazette, of all things. The Gazette post doesn’t cite anything, other than another blog post on the Huffington Post. Round and round we go.
So, maybe they cover vasectomies. If they do, there is no contradiction. If they don’t, there is no contradiction. This argument is ridiculous, and it proves nothing either way.
Objection 2: Hobby Lobby invests in companies that make abortion pills!
Answer: Erroneous. Irrelevant. Mostly untrue.
This is the kind of garbage that picks up steam in an era where people will make the most outlandish statements to prove their point, and back that up by linking to some article that, itself, only asserts things without citing them, and which they didn’t even read to begin with.
A liberal sees the headline, “Hobby Lobby invests in abortion drugs!” and reposts it with glee, failing to even click on the link, and if they click on it, they fail to understand what they read, yet they pass it along anyway.
At issue here is the company 401k plan, which has investments that invest in some companies that also make abortion drugs. To understand this issue, you have to understand how 401Ks and mutual funds work.
I am an expert in neither, but I know enough to smell the horse manure wafting off of this argument. I also know enough to know that virtually every person who slams Hobby Lobby for this probably has a 401k that invests, in an indirect way, in companies that do things which they ideologically oppose. How many of the critics have thoroughly researched their own 401k plans to weed out any unsavory investments?
What’s a fair estimate here? Oh, approximately none of them?
401k plans do not invest in company stock, they invest in mutual funds, and the options for those funds are primarily selected by 401k administrators, not Hobby Lobby.
Crucially, it’s the employees themselves who decide which mutual funds to invest in, and those mutual funds then invest in hundreds or thousands of different stocks. The employees don’t have the power to select individual companies, and Hobby Lobby especially does not have that power.
The point is, this smear attempt is obviously fallacious to anyone who has even a passing understanding of mutual funds and 401k plans. I have barely a passing understanding, and even I’m not ignorant enough to fall for this cheap attempt at a ‘gotcha’ moment.