The Right to Buy Birth Control From Stuart Anderson

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A drugstore in Great Falls, Montana, newly acquired by a pharmacist named Stuart Anderson who is active in  the pro-life movement, has announced it will no longer fill prescriptions for oral contraceptives. The decision prompted criticism from Planned Parenthood and its supporters, some of it deserved: The drugstore misleadingly cited health concerns in announcing the new policy, when moral objections to contraception seem to be the real motive. A woman who unsuccessfully tried to obtain birth control pills from the pharmacy, Salon reports, "is 49 years old and unable to conceive, but uses the birth control pills for a medical condition." People accustomed to obtaining contraceptive pills from the store are understandably annoyed at the change in policy and may decide not to do business with a pharmacist whose inventory and drug advice are shaped by nonmedical concerns. But some of the criticism goes beyond these points to suggest that Anderson is violating women's rights by declining to carry a product of which he disapproves.

Jill Baker, director of education at Planned Parenthood of Montana, says the woman who could not get birth control pills at Anderson's pharmacy was "denied basic health care." This is like saying that someone who tries to buy eggs at a convenience store that doesn't stock them has been "denied basic food," or that someone who tries to check into a motel that's full has been "denied basic shelter." Anderson is under no obligation to sell any particular drug, although he has to live with the consequences for his business if his choices irritate or offend his customers. Baker likens Anderson's policy to legal bans on contraception such as those faced by her great-grandmother, a German immigrant who had 13 children and died at 40. She calls the decision not to sell birth control a "radical tactic by the anti-choice hardliners to take away a woman's right to decide if and when to bring a child into the world." By this reasoning, an atheist bookseller's decision not to carry the Bible violates freedom of religion, and a sporting goods store's policy against selling guns violates the right to armed self-defense.

A couple years ago Kerry Howley discussed a similar controversy over emergency contraception (a.k.a. "the morning-after pill").  

[Thanks to Dave Budge for the tip.]

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  1. Anyone else have the feeling that the same folks decrying the pharmacy owner would be singing a different tune if an ardent vegetarian bought a supermarket and decided to stop stocking and meat products?

  2. I think the case could be made that in exchange for a pharmacist being licensed by the government to sell otherwise illegal drugs he should not be allowed to withhold medication based on an arbitrary opinion.

    It’s the doctor’s job to decide what is the proper medication for a patient, not the pharmacist’s.

  3. Bleh. We need to be able to start buying birth control pills pretty much anywhere, without a prescription, just like we do condoms. Then this problem would go away and the fundies could find something else to bitch about.

  4. “This is like saying that someone who tries to buy eggs at a convenience store that doesn’t stock them has been ‘denied basic food.'”

    No, it isn’t. Pharmacists are a regulated industry. They provide a service in addition to goods. State licensing assures people that the local pharmacist isn’t a quack. If a quack like Stuart Anderson is licensed, that defeats the purpose of licensing.

    1. Just because he refuses to offer one drug doesn’t make him an unqualified pharmacist or a quack. While drugs are a regulated market, there is no law in Montana that says pharmacists have to stock every drug. There are plenty of other pharmacies that sell it. Nobody had any ‘rights’ infringed. Go elsewhere to get it. Problem solved. This shouldn’t have even been a story.

  5. The libertarian in me thinks that Mr. Anderson has every right not sell a product that violates his religious beliefs. After all, the folks who don’t agree with him and want/need contraceptives can go elsewhere for their prescriptions.

    On the same tolken, the secularist in me wants nothing more than to see this fetus fetishist go out of business for allowing his delusions to spread misery among those who need those medications.

  6. The libertarian in me thinks that hospitals should be able to run themselves by Christian Scientist standards, by praying instead of treating people.

  7. I can’t help but feed the troll.

    I think the case could be made that in exchange for a pharmacist being licensed by the government -SNIP-

    Stop right there. The notion that one needs a license, on pain of PMITA prison, to sell medication is itself a violation of natural law: “Do as I say, because I’ve got the bigger guns and will use them against you if you decide otherwise.”

    Funny how most people seem to think that the modern, over-governed West is the peak of civilization. Ubiquitous threats of violence seem very uncivilized to me.

    Kyle

  8. If a quack like Stuart Anderson is licensed, that defeats the purpose of licensing.

    I thought the (stated) purpose of licensing was to make it harder for people to sell ineffective or dangerous drugs or sell poor-quality counterfeits of well-known drugs.

    Putting aside the issue of whether licensing actually accomplishes this better than tort or criminal fraud laws would, or whether the real purpose of licensing is to provide barriers to trade in order to benefit certain constituencies… how does Mr. Anderson’s refusal to sell certain drugs endanger anyone? Just go somewhere else to get the drugs.

    If he were selling placebos as contraceptives, you’d at least have an argument. He isn’t. You don’t.

    Kyle

  9. Um, there are like seven other drugstores in a two mile radius… go somewhere else.

  10. The libertarian in me thinks that hospitals should be able to run themselves by Christian Scientist standards, by praying instead of treating people.

    Methinks such a hospital wouldn’t be in business for long: what rational person would seek treatment there?

    Before resorting to force as the answer to every problem, consider whether the desired outcome simply won’t occur naturally as a result of the laws of capitalism.

    Kyle

  11. the woman who could not get birth control pills at Anderson’s pharmacy was “denied basic health care.” This is like saying that someone who tries to buy eggs at a convenience store that doesn’t stock them has been “denied basic food,” or that someone who tries to check into a motel that’s full has been “denied basic shelter.”

    I don’t buy this argument. I’ve said before that, while birth control should be over-the-counter, the government has decreed that instead you can only get it through officially designated gatekeepers, and thus anyone who decides to become a gatekeeper should not be able to further add their own requirements concerning whom they let through the gate.

    Make birth control over-the-counter and I’ll fully support this man’s right to not sell it. Until then I don’t.

  12. I think, ideally, pharmacists would have complete freedom to decide what to sell. The problem is that the government does significantly restrict entry into the market for prescription drugs. As long as that remains so, there’s a pretty strong case for requiring pharmacists not to discriminate against selling certain drugs.

  13. “She calls the decision not to sell birth control a “radical tactic by the anti-choice hardliners to take away a woman’s right to decide if and when to bring a child into the world.”

    Or she could, ya know, swallow instead.

  14. I agree with squarooticus. Requiring a license to dispense medication is bad enough. Using the license as an excuse to exercise fascist control is worse.

  15. My basic right to food was gleefully violated some time ago by refusals to pick grapes and lettuce. How dare the desires of some over-ride the needs of some others? Where have you gone, Joe Stalin?

  16. Stop right there. The notion that one needs a license, on pain of PMITA prison, to sell medication is itself a violation of natural law: “Do as I say, because I’ve got the bigger guns and will use them against you if you decide otherwise.”

    I guess taking that approach means that civilization in general is a violation of natural law, since it means no behavior can be prohibited.

    Of course, you live in America voluntarily so you are consenting to the law that requires only people who know what they’re doing to sell dangerous drugs.

  17. There’s a valid point that the Pill is not just used for birth control, but for other situations as well. Fortunately, Great Falls is big enough to have more than one pharmacy, so people can easily go elsewhere. However in remote rural communitites the local drug store is a natural monopoly, and women would be gretly inconvenienced if they could travel at all. In any event, the pharmacist is being professionally irresponsible and should be subject to appropriate discipline. If he doesn’t like it, he can find another field of work.

  18. “If he were selling placebos as contraceptives, you’d at least have an argument. He isn’t. You don’t.”

    Of course I have a point, silly man. You have to read the post: “The drugstore misleadingly cited health concerns in announcing the new policy.”

    I agree with Jennifer on this. If a pharmacist controls a medication, and they are licensed healthcare providers, they have no business withholding medication. If the pill is an over-the-counter lifestyle choice, then they can choose not to stock it like any other product. And Bill Pope’s comment about natural monopolies is important to remember.

  19. volcker-

    Do you have a source for that number of pharmacists in a 2 mile radius? I can’t read Salon right now, so I don’t know if it’s in TFA.

    If there is indeed a multiplicity of pharmacists in the area, then I don’t see any issue here. Gatekeeper though he may be, he’s facing non-trivial competition, and consumers have plenty of options. Given the popularity of the medication in question, and given that people who can’t buy it from him will probably do all of their purchases elsewhere (and if a married woman with kids is ticked at him, she’ll probably bring all of her family’s business to another store, so he loses 3+ customers there, not just 1), he’s probably going to alienate a lot of clients and quickly go under.

    The “irrational decisions will be swiftly and assuredly punished by the market” argument might not work in all cases, but it surely applies here: Ample competition, he’s refusing to sell a fairly popular product, and he’s pissing off a lot of people in the process.

  20. I guess taking that approach means that civilization in general is a violation of natural law, since it means no behavior can be prohibited.

    I can (rather, “should be able to”) prohibit any behavior I want on my private property. But at the same time, I can’t force you to pay for my private property. This is how the balance is kept in a truly civilized civilization, rather than by one privileged elite holding guns to the heads of everyone else.

    Of course, you live in America voluntarily so you are consenting to the law that requires only people who know what they’re doing to sell dangerous drugs.

    So now we’re back to the already well-debunked “social contract” theory, the best response to which I’ll paraphrase as, “A contract that can be unilaterally altered by one side at any time without any consequences? Where can I get in on that deal?”

    Bzzzt. Try to keep up. We move fast here.

    Kyle

  21. I am sure that Kerry Howley and the other ladies here will all change their minds about this as soon as they have children.

  22. Lamar mouth-shat:
    Of course I have a point, silly man. You have to read the post: “The drugstore misleadingly cited health concerns in announcing the new policy.”

    Best Buy also claims they have the lowest prices, which is prima facie false. Can I get their executives imprisoned?

    Bill wrote:
    However in remote rural communitites the local drug store is a natural monopoly, and women would be gretly inconvenienced if they could travel at all.

    I guess these pharmacists shouldn’t be allowed to retire then, either. It’s kind of like the draft: you exist to serve the state, not the other way around.

    Kyle

  23. People who respond to this by arguing that the government shouldn’t regulate medicine, and that one less regulation is by definition a good thing, remind me of pacifists.

    So, they bombed Pearl Harbor. What do we do?

    Sigh, there shouldn’t be any wars. On less country waging was is better than one more country waging war.

    Yeah, that’s great…in la la land. Allowing licensed pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions that people need to buy drugs doesn’t do a damn thing to make medicine any less regulated, any more than turning the other cheek after Pearl Harbor would have reduced war or saved lives.

  24. Actually Kyle, most employers in the US enjoy the right to unilaterally alter a contract without consequences. It’s called “employment at will”.

  25. I imagine that pacifists sigh a lot.

    They’re troubled by what they see around them in the world, and aren’t given to violent reactions.

  26. I’m curious what people would say about the only drugstore in town not carrying condoms. What stick do you suggest the state beat them over the head with?

  27. Squarooticus: You’re actually comparing Best Buy to a pharmacist? I’ll start taking you seriously when you show me a single case of somebody buying a plasma TV, then dying when Best Buy sends them home with an LCD TV.


  28. I can (rather, “should be able to”) prohibit any behavior I want on my private property. But at the same time, I can’t force you to pay for my private property. This is how the balance is kept in a truly civilized civilization, rather than by one privileged elite holding guns to the heads of everyone else.

    But what makes private property yours, other than your ability to defend it with force? The whole concept of ownership requires the oppression of non-owners.

    So now we’re back to the already well-debunked “social contract” theory, the best response to which I’ll paraphrase as, “A contract that can be unilaterally altered by one side at any time without any consequences? Where can I get in on that deal?”

    Who said there are no consequences? If society alters the contract too far, people will leave or rebel.

    The social contract theory is hardly debunked. It’s the backbone of all civilization.

  29. I can’t help but feed the troll.

    To be fair, this time Dan T. made a coherent, serious point. It is a question that assumes the existence of the FDA, deciding which drugs require a prescription, but its not unreasonable for a practical libertarian to assume that abolishing the FDA is not a realistic possibility at this time.

  30. Who goes to a steakhouse to pick up birth control pills, anyway?

  31. Actually Kyle, most employers in the US enjoy the right to unilaterally alter a contract without consequences. It’s called “employment at will”.

    But the instant they add a clause to the contract that says, “Employee shall report to work in chains, shall pay back 50% of income in tribute to the executive committee and its designees, shall forfeit life and property at the whim of the executive committee, and shall give up any right to leave our employ,” I will laugh at them and walk out.

    Hard to do that with government. As was pointed out, the IRS will track you down even if you renounce your citizenship… and who wants to do that anyway, given what you’ll need to give up by leaving the country?

    So we’re back to the bundling issue. Why is “take it or leave it” the answer all statists end their arguments with?

    Kyle

  32. Bill Pope,

    Except there usually isnt an employment contract. If I hire you for a period of time x at rate y, I lose the right to fire you at will during time x.

    If I just hire you, x isnt guaranteed.

  33. Stop right there. The notion that one needs a license, on pain of PMITA prison, to sell medication is itself a violation of natural law: “Do as I say, because I’ve got the bigger guns and will use them against you if you decide otherwise.”

    Great. Thrilling stuff. A-list material. It’s awesome, mate.

    Now that that’s out of the system — let’s talk reality, which in this cases consists of a system of government-licensed pharmacists and isn’t going to change in the near future.

    Theory’s all great and stuff, but sometimes you got to climb down out of the tower and talk about how things are currently working and try for realistic assesments of the situation.

  34. joe, I see your point about the fact that as long as gatekeepers enjoy privileges they should use them responsibly.

    However, if gatekeepers are also in meaningful competition (as they supposedly are in this case), that changes things a bit. Your point about the ethics of abusing gatekeeper status still stands, but the necessity of a regulatory remedy is called into question.

    I’m not always a fan of the “Oh, don’t worry, competition will sort it out” argument, because sometimes it won’t. But we’re talking about a very popular medication. So he’s already cutting himself out of a good chunk of business. Then there’s the fact that his motives are rather transparent and offensive to a lot of his customers. So it’s likely that customers who go elsewhere for birth control will go elsewhere for everything. (Even if they aren’t turned off by his motives, there’s the convenience of one-stop shopping elsewhere.)

    And the customers who go elsewhere probably include a significant number of married women, some with children, who will take their entire family’s business elsewhere. So he’s taking an even bigger hit on some of those lost customers.

    My arguments about competition might not apply in more isolated areas. But if, as is suggested above, he has several competitors in close proximity, he’s probably shooting himself in the foot, and I’m just as happy to let nature take its course on that.

    I see no reason to compel this idiot to serve his customers when, if left to his own devices, he will soon drive himself out of business.

  35. I’ll start taking you seriously when you show me a single case of somebody buying a plasma TV, then dying when Best Buy sends them home with an LCD TV.

    Straw man. I’m talking about Best Buy claiming they have the lowest prices, when information is easily found to refute such a statement. Such is true with claiming health problems may result from the use of contraceptives.

    The analogy to your statement is my example of the pharmacist sending women home with placebos, or (even worse) rat poison. No such thing was done.

    Kyle

  36. The pharmasist is licensed by the government to dispense prescription drugs, he derrives his power from governement regulation and is therefore acting as an agent of said government. So because of separation of church and state he should not let religious reason to determine which drugs to carry and which not to carry. If he can show that by carrying these drugs he would put through economic hardship or can show that these drugs carry real serious health risks(which is not for him to decide) then execeptions can be made. So like some said before, until oral contraceptives are deregulated and sold wherever he should be required to carry them.

  37. It’s the backbone of all civilization.

    For varying definitions of “civilization”. ๐Ÿ˜›

    Kyle

  38. When we’re talking about a person’s rights, I don’t think what’s most convenient for everybody should be the determining factor. …I’m not sure it should be a factor at all.

  39. let the fetaltarians and the contreceptarians be friends?

  40. thoreau,

    Tough call. On the other hand, I do like the side effect of requiring religious-right pharmacists to do business in more populated areas, where they (or at least their children) can be properly civilized. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  41. Squarooticus: It isn’t a strawman. I’m highlighting how ludicrous your assertion that the generally accepted advertising norm called “puffery” protects quackery in the medical field. Repeat after me: Best Buy’s prices are higher than they claim, nobody dies.

  42. Straw man. I’m talking about Best Buy claiming they have the lowest prices, when information is easily found to refute such a statement. Such is true with claiming health problems may result from the use of contraceptives.

    Not the samething either. This would be more equivalent to a doctor saying that antibiotics can cause complications and then never prescribing them to his patients. Even those that need them. Except that a doctor can be sued for malpractice and have his license revoked.

  43. “Allowing licensed pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions that people need to buy drugs doesn’t do a damn thing to make medicine any less regulated”

    I’m not sure. I’d think it could:
    – boost black markets, weakening regulated ones
    – increase public discontent with the legal regime blocking self-medication
    – increase pressure to make specific drugs OTC (piecemeal deregulation)

  44. When we’re talking about a person’s rights, I don’t think what’s most convenient for everybody should be the determining factor. …I’m not sure it should be a factor at all.

    Except that under the current regulatory structure (which I abhor, BTW), selling medication is not a right, but a privilege and form of authority granted by the government. Given the current system, I oppose letting pharmacists pick and choose what medication they sell or to whom they sell it, for the same reason I think that, while private security guards should have the right to refuse to protect a given person, government-agent police officers should not.

  45. joe,

    Maybe the ultimate argument is that even if he doesn’t go out of business, as long as there’s competition none of his customers are hurt. So people who want contraception are fine and he at the very least makes less money, and perhaps even goes out of business altogether.

  46. Mapquest shows 8 pharmacies in Great Falls and the Anderson Family Pharmacy looks to be off the main drag.

    It concerns me when pharmacists refuse to fill prescriptions because of “health reasons” overriding the doctor’s opinion on which drug would best suit the patient’s needs after a private consultation.

  47. If Stuart Anderson runs a meat market, why should he have any philosophical problem with selling birth control?

  48. I think this guy needs a cockpunching, but my opinion on that will probably change after Kerry Howley has children.

  49. The pharmasist is licensed by the government to dispense prescription drugs, he derrives his power from governement regulation and is therefore acting as an agent of said government. So because of separation of church and state he should not let religious reason to determine which drugs to carry and which not to carry.

    Because murder is illegal, I suppose then I derive my right to life from government regulation rather than from natural law?

    Okay, I think I’ve made my point, and you all are smart folks, unlike some other forums on which I’ve discussed these issues before, so I think most of you “get” what I’m saying, whether you agree with me or not.

    I’ll sum up by stating my opinion that “realistic”—i.e., statist—libertarianism, oxymoronic as it seems to me, will provide you with a very realistic way to ensure your freedoms are continually eroded. OTOH, the anarcho-capitalist approach isn’t making much progress, either, so in the end we’re probably all fucked… but at least it provides a self-sustainable theoretical framework, where statist libertarianism is completely ad-hoc and still relies on the demonstrably- (and provably-)unstable concept of limited democratic government.

    Kyle

  50. Given that orthoevra has uses beyond just contraception (I know at least one lesbian who takes it to reduce PMS symptoms) this would seem to be a violation of the principles that we expect the gatekeepers to meet. Since he’s not a doctor, he can’t differentiate between uses, so he’s got some serious issues.

    Still, as long as he can direct someone to his competitor who does provide these medications in the same county or less than 15 miles away, I don’t see this as an onerous policy. However, I kinda think that he should have to have that kind of agreement worked out in advance, and can only keep this going so long as the competitor is in business and agrees to supply these drugs to his customers.

    Again, all this is moot if oral contraceptives go OTC, but if you’re going to go into a state-protected industry, you’re going to have to play by SOMEBODY’s rules. In libertopia there will be privately funded fountains of orthoevra provided on a subscription basis, but in the meantime…

  51. One of the justifications for licensing pharmacists is that they are supposed to be professionals, able to exercise judgment and dispense advice to their customers, after suitable education and training. In this fellow’s judgment*, however much you may disagree with it, oral contraceptives are dangerous. Now, either he’s a professional capable of making such a determination, or he’s just a jumped-up stock clerk, in which case he shouldn’t have to go to the bother of attending pharmacist’s school and getting that state license. One ot t’other, my statist friends.

    Oh, BTW, if pharmacists and pharmacies weren’t licensed, the “only pharmacy in a small town” might have some competition. I’d still prefer to shop at one that was certified by some reputable private organization, but I could see a local general store having some limited facilities. I envisage a secure workstation that could dispense the top 10 most prescribed brand-name or generic drugs to someone on staff, after transmitting customer info over a secure link to a full-fledged pharmacist in another town. If Mrs. Douglas needs the eleventh most popular scrip she might have to go to Pixley for it, but at least Hooterville would have some service.

    Kevin

  52. “Except that under the current regulatory structure (which I abhor, BTW), selling medication is not a right, but a privilege and form of authority granted by the government.”

    Freedom of exercise and freedom from establishment are definitely rights. I suppose buying medication is a right.

    …but I don’t think anyone’s arguing that people shouldn’t be able to buy medication. The argument seems to be about whether this guy should be compelled to sell it.

  53. [A]nyone who decides to become a gatekeeper should not be able to further add their own requirements concerning whom they let through the gate.

    Jennifer, would the same licensing argument apply to surgeons and hospitals that refuse to perform abortions (almost all them do, in fact, refuse)? It seems that by a similar approach one could make the argument that the state ought not let those that choose to become licensed surgeons (or perhaps at least OB/GYN’s), and thus act as gatekeepers to surgical procedures, add their own requirements as to which surgical procedures they choose to allow through the gate.

    I’m not asking that antagonistically, by the way. I’m just wondering if you, or those who agree with you that state licensing is enough to preclude this being a simple personal choice issue, would distinguish these forms of medical care in applying your standard. At any rate, I am somewhat sympathetic to your argument about pharmacists (though I also think it is utter nonsense that birth control is not simply OTC) but I think I still come down on the side of letting pharmacists sell what they want. As long as there are enough pharmacists for competition to either eliminate those that act in a disagreeable manner or at least to allow plenty of options for people to get the medications they want without undue difficulty, I just don’t see a real need for adding any more regulation.

  54. Because murder is illegal, I suppose then I derive my right to life from government regulation rather than from natural law?

    Not really my point at all. Obviously since I suggested that deregulation is the right course of action here, I would support the man’s right not to sell the pills after they could be sold anywhere. Just like now I dont really care whether he sells condoms or not.

  55. I agree, Tim. Anderson needs a good punch in the dinger. But I can’t imagine how the springing of fruit from Howley’s loins would change my opinion on that.

  56. Um, there are like seven other drugstores in a two mile radius… go somewhere else.
    What if they all make the same “moral” decision? Granted, that isn’t the case so far, but there’s nothing to stop it. Would the answer then be “go to the next town over”? If every drugstore in the county declines to fill this prescription, is the answer “use mail order”?

    While I understand (and to a certain extent sympathize with) the argument that a store owner shouldn’t have to sell something he personally disapproves of, what if the pharmacist has a moral objection to antibiotics? (For that matter, why do I never hear about pharmacists having a moral objection to filling Viagra prescriptions? Or have I just missed that story?)

  57. Here’s a question: Every day my spam filter probably halts 30 offers of cheap V!@gr@ and C!@l!$. Presumably they’ve got docs who will prescribe based on an online diagnosis and pharmacists who will mail it to you.

    Why don’t we have something similar for contraception?

  58. It’s harder to spell with ASCII.

  59. “…but I don’t think anyone’s arguing that people shouldn’t be able to buy medication. The argument seems to be about whether this guy should be compelled to sell it.”

    To continue, are there any other situations in which the government should compel people to violate their religious convictions or is this the only one?

  60. Here’s a question: Every day my spam filter probably halts 30 offers of cheap V!@gr@ and C!@l!$. Presumably they’ve got docs who will prescribe based on an online diagnosis and pharmacists who will mail it to you.

    Why don’t we have something similar for contraception?

    Apparently, thoreau, we do.

  61. “To continue, are there any other situations in which the government should compel people to violate their religious convictions or is this the only one?”

    what unreal bullshit.

    business demands go against yer religion, nobody’s forcing you to be in that line of work. he can’t guess for what indication certain meds are for. shutup and dispense, you white coat monkey who flunked out of podiatry school.

    keep yer fucking imaginary friends out of the way of science. they’re separate.

    now, Al, go clean up aisle six.

  62. “what unreal bullshit.”

    I’m sorry–was this a hypothetical case?

  63. It concerns me when pharmacists refuse to fill prescriptions because of “health reasons” overriding the doctor’s opinion on which drug would best suit the patient’s needs after a private consultation.

    There’s a reason why doctors need pharmacists. For example, my dentist once prescribed an antibiotic for me after a root canal. My pharmacist saw that I was allergic to that type of antibiotic and refused to sell it to me. I’m glad he did.

  64. Our governments fund many activities that violate the religious scruples of sects or individuals, without allowing people to opt out of paying the taxes that pay for those programs. Then there’s conscription, which we haven’t yet restarted, but still remains in the state’s bag of tricks. Yes, one can try to become a conscientious objector, but the government claims the authority to decide who is sincere about their opposition to war, and who gets handed a rifle.

    Kevin

  65. “what rational person would seek treatment there?”

    Well, that cuts out four percent of the population…

  66. Abdul: Why the fuck didn’t you notice that you’re allergic to that kind of antibiotic? Isn’t it, like, your immune system?

  67. Re: abdul and timothy

    Stuart Anderson realized that selling you birth control would send your soul to hell. You should be glad he’s making that decision for you.

  68. Timothy-

    My guess is that Abdul knows which antibiotic he’s allergic to, but the dentist either wrote the name in a scribble that only the pharmacist can decipher or he prescribed it under a generic name. Or prescribed a very similar drug that provokes the same response but has a different name.

  69. Oh, good gravy, it’s not like this guy has a monopoly, or even any market dominance. What is it with you statist busy-bodies that compels you to dictate terms to a religious busy-body who only wants to extend his will to the boundaries of his store, and then only as to what goods he sells? Can it EVER occur to you folks to simply avoid walking onto the property of those that displease you?

    Sheesh.

  70. There’s a reason why doctors need pharmacists. For example, my dentist once prescribed an antibiotic for me after a root canal. My pharmacist saw that I was allergic to that type of antibiotic and refused to sell it to me. I’m glad he did.

    Good for your RX’er! I’m glad he did it too.

    But, I was thinking more along the lines of a Szasz worshiping pharmicist who doesn’t believe in depression so instead of filling your Zoloft prescription gives you some St. John’s Wart and a big bottle of Buck The Fuck Up.

  71. It’s harder to spell with ASCII.

    “Contraception.”

    Actually, it’s pretty easy. ๐Ÿ˜›

  72. de stijl,
    Why would a Szaszian necessarily do that? That perspective doesn’t necessarily view any given drug as bad for any given purpose. Quite the opposite: it stipulates that anyone should go into a pharmacy and be legally allowed to buy pretty much anything.

  73. Hey, I wanted to get a ham sandwich at a restaurant owned by Muslims last week, and they wouldn’t sell me one! Bastards!! How dare they force their religion on me! And they have to have a license to operate a restaurant! The Horror! The Horror!

  74. Will, I see your point, but I think that there’s a certain amount of gray here rather than pure principle.

    If licensing is sufficiently strict that in practice most licensees enjoy a local monopoly (or something close to it) on products with few (or no) substitutes, then I don’t have a problem with insisting that they use their gatekeeper status responsibly.

    But the responsibility attached to the license should be proportional to the privilege granted. If there is greater competition, so the privilege granted is lower, then with less privilege should come less responsibility.

    All of this is second-best, of course, with the ideal being no mandated gatekeepers and free competition. But if that isn’t on the table, then I guess indexing responsibility to privilege makes sense, with privilege being defined as “artificial market power that one would not enjoy in the absence of legally mandated gatekeeper status.”

    I would note, however, that none of these considerations seem to apply here, as Great Falls apparently has several competing pharmacies in close proximity to the one in question. So I’m prepared to let the guy shoot himself in the foot and pay the price.

  75. About that Kerry Howley scenario that Timothy brought up…

    Hypothetically, if she had a baby, she would probably do whatever it took to look good afterwards. Libertarian babes are OK with all the technologies of beauty.

  76. I really and truly cannot believe what I am reading here.

    I will ask again…

    What if the only store in town did not carry condoms? What stick would you suggest the state beat them over the head with?

  77. Brian Courts and Will Allen raise interesting points. This made me think of some other potential government licensees:

    – lefty lawyer forced to defend Walmart
    – anti-tax accountant forced to do tax returns
    – Jewish truck driver forced to haul sour cream & salsa pork rinds
    – feminist plastic surgeon forced to perform elective breast enhancement

  78. That’s my point, thoreau. This guy is deriving negligible, if not non-existent, market power from his license. The fact that anyone would even want to take the time to dictate terms to him is indicative of something really pathetic. Endeavor to obtain a life, busybodies; at least this guy’s lack of a life is only manifested within his store.

  79. That’s the pharmacist’s job. Pharmacy is probably the toughest of the allied health professions.

    …they look for allergies along with things like bad drug interactions. Patients don’t always tell a doctor every medication they’re on, and doctors aren’t specialized in that area anyway.

    I don’t want my cardiologist wasting a whole lot of time thinking about allergies.

  80. grylliade: stop ruining my bad jokes with your pesky “facts” and “reason.”

    thoreau: fair enough, but shouldn’t one have the presence of mind to ask, “hey, I’m allergic to X, does that matter?” I really think people have a responsibility to keep up with that themselves, can’t expect others to do it. I mean, good for the pharmacist catching it, but still. Although I do sincerely believe doctors don’t read the chart. SEE: Tim’s latex allergy and the dentist for more on this.

  81. To add on, Thoreau, I can see the point of not allowing cabbies to exercise religous discretion when picking up fares; medallion holders do have the significant market power where their services are most in demand, like airports. So, “no” to Muslim cabbies declining to pick up fares who are holding a bottle of wine, “yes” to Muslim eateries who decline to serve a nice bottle of chianti with their felafels.

  82. “What if the only store in town did not carry condoms? What stick would you suggest the state beat them over the head with?”

    Honestly, I don’t see how my right to buy condoms outweighs a store owner’s right not to be compelled by government to violate his religious convictions.

    Honestly, I’m a little taken aback by some here (not you necessarily) who seem to think that the only rights that should be protected are the ones they themselves find reasonable.

  83. To continue, are there any other situations in which the government should compel people to violate their religious convictions or is this the only one? Should compel? That’s debatable. I think it’s in Minneapolis where Islamic taxi drivers wanted to get a “our religion forbids us from transporting passengers with visible alcohol” exception to the rules that if you declined a passenger, you went to the back of the (very long) line. I think that raised some stories of the occasional store cashier who would call someone else over to swipe pork products, in order not to touch something unclean.

    Does compel? Maybe not since the draft ended. There are probably lots of examples of sincerely held religious beliefs that are trampled on by laws, though. (Religious use of peyote, for example.)

    Oh, good gravy, it’s not like this guy has a monopoly, or even any market dominance. What is it with you statist busy-bodies that compels you to dictate terms to a religious busy-body who only wants to extend his will to the boundaries of his store, and then only as to what goods he sells? Can it EVER occur to you folks to simply avoid walking onto the property of those that displease you?
    My biggest problem is that I have a (in my opinion reasonable) fear that people like this pharmacist won’t really be happy until there’s no pharmacy that will sell me contraception. After all, he thinks contraception is immoral, no matter who sells it. He doesn’t want to sell it, and his morality tells him I shouldn’t be taking it. To what extent is he going to feel moral about knowing I’m just walking into another store to buy it? The fact that the store “misleadingly cited health concerns” reinforces that idea.

    So, for me it’s self-interest. I value my right to buy a legal drug more than his right to combine practicing as a pharmacist with his moral opinion about contraceptives. Does that give me some moral highground? Probably not, but I’m not the one trying to claim one – he is.

  84. Honestly, I’m a little taken aback by some here (not you necessarily) who seem to think that the only rights that should be protected are the ones they themselves find reasonable.

    Not me certainly! If it wasn’t clear, I am appalled by the blatantly fascist attitudes I am seeing here.

    “The government regulates something for some reason. Even though I think they shouldn’t be regulating it, they should use that regulation for a completely unrelated cause that I happen to support!”

  85. MikeP @ 5:32pm:
    “I really and truly cannot believe what I am reading here.

    What if the only store in town did not carry condoms? What stick would you suggest the state beat them over the head with?”

    Are you suggesting the State administer a Peter-Beater?

  86. SOP for Planned Parenthood, it would seem. Their poster child for this campaign is a woman who can’t conceive but uses birth control pills for other medical reasons. I’d guess she represents a tiny, tiny portion of the market for Da Pillz.

    Sort of like they use a 15-year-old girl raped by her father and pregnant with a Down’s baby as the poster child for abortion “rights”.

  87. Tell ya’ what, jen. Until he starts lobbying to have his competitors’ goods restricted, I really don’t care what your fears are, nor should anyone else.

  88. “Given the current system, I oppose letting pharmacists pick and choose what medication they sell or to whom they sell it, for the same reason I think that, while private security guards should have the right to refuse to protect a given person, government-agent police officers should not.”

    If we limited the freedom to act within your conscience to only those whose professions were untouched by government regulation, how many people would be free to act within their conscience?

  89. Re: lefty lawyer forced to defend Walmart

    I know this is a hypothetical, but if a judge appoints you to defend Walmart, and you don’t have connections, your sorry-left-leaning ass is going to defend Walmart whether you like it or not. And you’re going to do a good job because your license is on the line.

  90. How much should the pharmacist be allowed to charge for his pills?

  91. It’s interesting to see the rapid polarization when this is obviously a tough issue. On the one hand it does seem wrong to copmel these people to go against their deeply held beliefs, no matter how silly they are. On the other hand if the only library in a 30 mile radius refused to stock the Bible or an athiest book “on principle” then that would effectively deny some folks the only real ability to follow their beliefs. In really rural areas you’d be effectively putting a substantial burden on women’s exercise of their liberty (the ones who want to use the pill).
    I’ll rush to polarization though on the the nutty suggestion that the state not lisence pharmacists. That would equal many, many dead people. Not much Liberty in oblivion. I can just imagine the voluntary networks of information sharing that hard core libertarians would conjure in their feverish imaginations to keep people from dying from the many quacks that would shoot up. Get real!

  92. What if the only store in town did not carry condoms? What stick would you suggest the state beat them over the head with?

    None, because condoms are not available only via prescription, and therefore there are no government-mandated gatekeepers standing between you and your ability to buy them.

  93. Let me define what I mean by “hard core” libertarians: those who think that any government action is per se a bad thing. Sometimes a little government coercion creates much more liberty for the mass of humanity (in this case I can go into any pharamcy, even when traveling, and rest assured to get competent safe treatment, whereas if the hard core libertarian did away with liscensing we would have to be in constant anxiety guessing when we would get a quack who would kill us; ditto for foods, drugs, etc.)

  94. None, because condoms are not available only via prescription, and therefore there are no government-mandated gatekeepers standing between you and your ability to buy them.

    Government-mandated gatekeepers or no, you can’t get condoms in that town because the sole storekeeper refuses to stock them.

    Government-mandated gatekeepers or no, there are scores of mail order pharmacies that will deliver birth control pills.

    So how does the situation change due to the government-mandated gatekeeper? And what on earth makes you think that the existence of this mandate gives you the right to use it for personal reasons frankly unrelated to the government’s reasons for it?

  95. Look… The only hook on which you Stuart Anderson haters are hanging your arguments is that the state has a stick to beat this person over the head with — a stick you believe the state should not even have. But, since the stick is there anyway, you advocate using that stick to force this individual toward your own aggrandized vision of how society should be.

    Does this make you throw up right on the keyboard, or can you at least make it to the bathroom first?

  96. “in this case I can go into any pharamcy, even when traveling, and rest assured to get competent safe treatment, whereas if the hard core libertarian did away with liscensing we would have to be in constant anxiety guessing when we would get a quack who would kill us; ditto for foods, drugs, etc.”

    Hate to break it to you, but if you’d be in ‘constant anxiety’ then, you probably still should be now. Quacks who want to kill you don’t let things like government licensing get in the way. “Guaranteed competent, safe treatment” in this case only means that the government will punish them by sentencing them to jail AND revoking their license. Not exactly the disincentive you’re looking for.

  97. From “a lowly pharmacy student”:
    ‘There is a legal loophole for pharmacists who do not want to prescribe a certain drug or brand of drug: don’t stock the drug in the pharmacy’s formulary. Then it becomes a simple issue of telling the patient that “we don’t stock that drug here,” and it’s perfectly legal.’

  98. Of course, you live in America voluntarily so you are consenting to the law that requires only people who know what they’re doing to sell dangerous drugs.

    Fuck an A dan…this devils advocate crap is really freaking me out.

  99. So how does the situation change due to the government-mandated gatekeeper?

    I’ll answer your question by repeating part of what I wrote in my first post on this thread:

    while birth control should be over-the-counter, the government has decreed that instead you can only get it through officially designated gatekeepers, and thus anyone who decides to become a gatekeeper should not be able to further add their own requirements concerning whom they let through the gate.

  100. “But, since the stick is there anyway, you advocate using that stick to force this individual toward your own aggrandized vision of how society should be.”

    We should be careful about projecting motives on to people around here. Most of ’em mean well and even in Libertopia, reasonable people will disagree on such issues.

    We all come with our own baggage too. Some see protection of their religious convictions from the rest of society as one of the few legitimate functions of of government; others see protection from other people’s religious convictions as one of the few legitimate functions of government.

    …I can see how some of the latter group might see this issue as a natural extension of that. I just happen to think they’re wrong rather than mis-motivated.

    Except for Jennifer. She’s a Jezebel.

  101. while birth control should be over-the-counter, the government has decreed that instead you can only get it through officially designated gatekeepers, and thus anyone who decides to become a gatekeeper should not be able to further add their own requirements concerning whom they let through the gate.

    And so we go down the road to serfdom

    hey Jenifer don’t you need a business license to sell just about anything in this country? And so by your metric the government has made any sale of any product required to be sold by a designated gatekeeper and therefore the government has the right to force vendors to sell any product it deems must be made available for sale?

  102. Anderson is under no obligation to sell any particular drug, although he has to live with the consequences for his business if his choices irritate or offend his customers.

    Sadly, no. The regulated profession / public health / public accommodation crowd will win this one.

    I don’t want to pick a fight with Jennifer here, but I don’t see the logic of her position. If I get a beer and wine license for my restaurant, am I obligated to get a liquor license, too? Medicine is regulated, must every ob / gyn perform abortions? Law is regulated, must a lawyer represent criminals or labor unions if she is competent to do so?

    As a related matter, I don’t see the proximity of other pharmacies as an issue as long as other pharmacies could, if they chose, open up.

    I think the sticking point here is that our implicit expectations of a pharmacy based solely on experience is that they will stock or quickly order any medication prescribed. Certainly a “full service” pharmacy should reasonably be expected to do that, but does it follow that every pharmacy must?

  103. Except for Jennifer. She’s a Jezebel.

    I didn’t know the reference so i put “a Jezebel” in a google search…here is what i got:

    Jezebel — whose name means ‘Where’s the prince?’ in Hebrew — has gone down in history as the most wicked woman in the entire Bible.

    Now that is comedy.

  104. “Now that is comedy.”

    I hope it was taken that way. It was supposed to be funny.

  105. After a quick googling, it looks to me like there are at least 30 places to get prescriptions filled in great falls. That’s like one pharmacy for every 3 gun stores – just about right. This potential customer ought to get a subscription for her prescription (mail order) and save some money at the same time she solves her “mean pharmacist” problem. Or she could cry to the media, as there is now a publicity whore position that has opened up.

    But if she really is unable to conceive, perhaps she should spend more time thinking about a solution.

  106. Jennifer,

    You really didn’t get to my point about my condom example, though joshua has.

    What stick would you have government hold over the storekeeper’s head to force him to carry condoms?

    You could always mail-order condoms. But then you could also mail-order birth control pills. One differs from the other only because of the stick the government is holding! Why advocate the further illibertarian use of it?

  107. BTW, in the real world judges never assign cases to lawyer as hypothetically described, nor can a lawyer ethically take a case if he decides that his animus toward the case or client is such that he cannot provide effective assistance of counsel in a criminal proceeding or meet the standard of practice in a civil case. Might his refusal to take such a case result in a contempt citation? Yes. Would he win on appeal? Almost certainly. Would his license be at risk? Not a chance.

  108. We should be careful about projecting motives on to people around here. Most of ’em mean well and even in Libertopia, reasonable people will disagree on such issues.

    You might be right. I have been using inflated language because I have a strong reaction to suggestions that government impose its will on private actors.

    On the other hand, if this were a situation where they didn’t strongly disagree with the private party, I wonder if they’d be advocating the expansion of government regulation they otherwise find objectionable.

  109. One differs from the other only because of the stick the government is holding! Why advocate the further illibertarian use of it?

    Because I don’t consider it an extension of libertarian principles to let government-mandated authority figures unduly wield their power over others. As I’ve said already, if birth-control pills were over the counter I’d support his right to not sell them.

    And if there’s no place for 100 miles where a woman can buy them I’d advise her to make the drive anyway and buy twenty times as many as she needs, so she can sell them for a nice profit back home.

  110. All these pharma ads say “Ask your doctor if Mycoxadud is right for you.”

    What if your doctor says, “In my opinion, that poison isn’t right for anyone”? Should he have his medical license removed.

    Should Dr. Ron Paul be forced to perform abortians?

  111. The drugstore misleadingly cited health concerns in announcing the new policy, when moral objections to contraception seem to be the real motive.

    And this is where he screwed up. This, to me, is no different than the whole “medical” marijuana debate. No one feels like they can just front an argument that says “yo, we wanna smoke weed”. Instead, they have to couch in terms of health and welfare. If the owner had just said “Don’t believe this is a moral product”, then an honest debate can ensue. But when they start suggesting health concerns (and has anyone noticed that this has become an absolute universal tactic) it turns into old fashioned B.S.

  112. If the owner had just said “Don’t believe this is a moral product”, then an honest debate can ensue.

    I gather by “honest debate” you mean he gets crushed by the powers that be.

    He should be able to refuse to sell the product for a good reason, a lame reason, a bad reason, or for no reason at all. It is irrelevant to the issue at hand — although it may reflect on his competence as a pharmacist.

  113. But will he perform abortions on annoying threads?

  114. Except for Jennifer. She’s a Jezebel.

    I didn’t know the reference so i put “a Jezebel” in a google search…here is what i got:

    Jezebel — whose name means ‘Where’s the prince?’ in Hebrew — has gone down in history as the most wicked woman in the entire Bible.

    Ah! Jabel, Jabel! Who else writes so wildly well as our sweet(?) Jezebel? La belle dame sans merci. ๐Ÿ˜‰ *

    *(yes, I’m having quite a good time – thank-you very much!)

  115. Say, I’ve got the solution to this whole problem: If the guy won’t sell birth control pills in his damned drugstore, then take away his license and shut him down. That’s right – put his ass out of business! Then where ya gonna buy birth control pills – or any other medications? Idiots!

  116. If I can’t get my Baby Repellant there, you can’t buy your antibiotics there. Period.

  117. joshua corning,

    Jezebel wasn’t a Jew, she was from one of the neighboring pagan nations (which is why she pushed Baal-worship so much), so I’m pretty sure that wasn’t what her name was intended to mean.

  118. Jezebel wasn’t a Jew, she was from one of the neighboring pagan nations (which is why she pushed Baal-worship so much), so I’m pretty sure that wasn’t what her name was intended to mean.

    My bet is that she never existed at all, and was therefor neither Jew or Baalist pagan but fiction.

    Anyway that part “where is the prince” was just sort of there on the google search page and made it in my comment by virtue of cut and paste…the part about being the most wicked women in the bible is what caught my eye and explained Ken’s joke to me.

  119. “in this case I can go into any pharamcy, even when traveling, and rest assured to get competent safe treatment, whereas if the hard core libertarian did away with liscensing we would have to be in constant anxiety guessing when we would get a quack who would kill us; ditto for foods, drugs, etc.)”

    Ken,

    lurk moar

    Seriously, you do know why “hard core libertarians” do not think that State forced professional licensing is either necessary or desirable?

  120. I second, or third, or possibly fourth, the comments of disbelief on how self-described libertarians believe they can control another’s private property based on some flimsy definition of privileges given to the property owner by the all powerful philsopher kings.

  121. If the guy won’t sell birth control pills in his damned drugstore, then take away his license and shut him down. That’s right – put his ass out of business! Then where ya gonna buy birth control pills – or any other medications? Idiots!

    Jeez Ellis, I don’t even agree with those that want to make selling birth control a condition of the license, but allow me to suggest an answer they might offer to your question: um… how about from the pharmacist at the store across the street who does sell birth control?

    Perhaps it would be better for those of us that come down on the non-requirement side of the debate if you would let MikeP et al. handle it…

  122. “Hate to break it to you, but if you’d be in ‘constant anxiety’ then, you probably still should be now. Quacks who want to kill you don’t let things like government licensing get in the way.”
    Again, yes the current system is not perfect, but it would be far worse if we did not even try to screen out the nuts.
    SIV
    I’m afraid I have no idea what you’re talking about. Does it have something to do with cocks?

  123. I just remember that you are into them and all.

  124. I gave my guess as to why hard core libertarians don’t think liscensing is necessary:
    “I can just imagine the voluntary networks of information sharing that hard core libertarians would conjure in their feverish imaginations to keep people from dying from the many quacks that would shoot up.”
    Recently people here on HR argued with I can only guess straight faces that the functions of the EPA (keeping us from dying, for example) could be met by voluntary consumer reports type networks. I haven’t heard anything that nutty since Rothbard advocated that voluntary militia units could replace national militaries.

  125. Jeez Ellis, I don’t even agree with those that want to make selling birth control a condition of the license, but allow me to suggest an answer they might offer to your question: um… how about from the pharmacist at the store across the street who does sell birth control?

    If there is a store across the street where birth control is sold, why in the blue blazes of hell don’t they go there in the first damned place?!

    Perhaps it would be better for those of us that come down on the non-requirement side of the debate if you would let MikeP et al. handle it…

    Perhaps it would be better to let such as you go piss up a rope, too – you patronizing, sanctimonious piece of crap.

  126. I love the demonstrations of tolerance here.

  127. Screw you, hippie!

  128. I love the demonstrations of tolerance here.

    Some things are not to be tolerated – elitist attitudes of patronizing condecension are among them.

  129. Contraception? Didn’t he used to play for the Reds?

  130. So…

    OB/GYN’s and surgeons, being govt licensed (privileged)gatekeepers and all, should be forced to perform abortions, or else, be stripped of their govt gatekeeper privilege? Got it.

  131. Some things are not to be tolerated – elitist attitudes of patronizing condecension are among them.

    I am so ashamed. I shall emulate your example from now on.

  132. I’m fine with letting the gatekeepers refuse to sell contraception, as long as we just remember that putting a gatekeeper together with a keymaster would be EXTRAORDINARILY BAD.

  133. Oh, just two questions, Ellis Wyatt: Why are elitist attitudes of patronizing condecension not to be tolerated, and how is intolerance of them to be enforced?

  134. Some things are not to be tolerated – elitist attitudes of patronizing condecension are among them.

    Ill-considered attempts to deride the arguments of another commenters, especially when accompanied by a gratuitous “Idiots!” blast, are, on the other hand, always welcome!

    If there is a store across the street where birth control is sold, why in the blue blazes of hell don’t they go there in the first damned place?!

    Uh… I don’t know. Now that, unlike your previous post, is a reasonable argument for not requiring the dispensing of contraceptives.

    At any rate the question is irrelevant to your implication that putting a pharmacist out of business who refuses to sell birth control (which I disagree with) would leave people with no place to get it (or any other medications, as you say), which is just nonsense.

  135. Jennifer brings up a good point. This is an argument we shouldn’t even be having. Make the contraceptives available over the counter, and then every pharmacy will reserve the right to sell them or not.

  136. Hey, the market is about to take care of the problem. Through the web, no less.

  137. Yet another patronizing, sanctimonious piece of crap | June 1, 2007, 10:07pm | #

    Oh, just two questions, Ellis Wyatt: Why are elitist attitudes of patronizing condecension not to be tolerated, and how is intolerance of them to be enforced?

    Why? Because some of us poor proles have enough self-respect, self-esteem – whatever – that we figure we’re competent enough to hold and voice an opinion on our own without asking your permission first. That’s right – the darkies be gettin’ uppity, Massa.
    And how is it to be enforced? Why…we gonna backsass… every. friggin. time. we. feel like it.

  138. I’m not quite sure if anyone adressed this or not (too damn lazy to read through the posts) but the reason why it is alright to allow him to refuse sell these items is because it would set a bad precedent for other regulated industries to force him to do otherwise.

  139. I am so humbled. You make so much sense. Thank you, Ellis Wyatt!

  140. Ill-considered attempts to deride the arguments of another commenters, especially when accompanied by a gratuitous “Idiots!” blast, are, on the other hand, always welcome!

    Ah! Glad to see that you’re a long-time H&R reader, too. Ill-considered? I thought it a fairly cogent and successful attempt – one that cut right to the heart of the matter. Gratuitous blast? Hardly. If people think they can bite the hand that feeds them ie., force the only store in town to carry something it’s owner doesn’t care to sell, without suffering any consequences – then they are idiots. And someone should tell them so.

    Look, I don’t have anything against selling birth control, but I don’t care whether the guy sells it or not. However, I do care whether he is forced by a government to sell things that violate his conscience, or for that matter, any other reason he cares not to sell them.

    At any rate the question is irrelevant to your implication that putting a pharmacist out of business who refuses to sell birth control (which I disagree with) would leave people with no place to get it (or any other medications, as you say), which is just nonsense.

    It isn’t nonsense at all. As I understand it (from having read the entire thread) the situation is/was that this is the only place to obtain prescription medicine in the town and its vicinity – that there is no convenient other way to obtain them – thus the desire to force the druggist to carry a certain product. That was one of the given parameters of the hypothetical as it was set up…by others, not I.
    Now if it’s all the same to you, I’m going on to bed. Goodnight.

  141. Yet another patronizing, sanctimonious piece of crap | June 1, 2007, 11:47pm | #

    I am so humbled. You make so much sense. Thank you, Ellis Wyatt!

    Nah, you’re just Bulgarized, bugger. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  142. Now if it’s all the same to you, I’m going on to bed.

    The same. Why that’s exactly what it is! It’s the very same!

    Because your rhetoric distracts us from your otherwise sound opinions on the matter at hand, to the extent that you make your misguided opponents look better than they deserve. And that’s when you’re being intelligible (backass? bulgarize? do we even care what these mean?). Thanks for nothing.

  143. “…the reason why it is alright to allow him to refuse sell these items is because it would set a bad precedent for other regulated industries to force him to do otherwise.”

    I don’t think anyone brought that up, Grotius, but someone should have.

  144. Let’s see if I can sum up the libertarian POV as expressed on several of these posts:

    1) If a statist law causes bad consequences, we should have statist lawmakers pass another law to fix the first set of consequences, with serene confidence that the second law won’t have any bad consequences of its own.

    2) If someone refuses to sell me a product I want, I have the right to use government force to make them sell me that product, rather than inconvenience myself by driving to someone who will voluntarily choose to sell me that product.

    3) My right to contraception allows me to use the government to force my unquestionably correct views on people who wrongly believe that selling the product I demand they supply is a form of murder.

    I was afraid this website might have some lefty statists lurking on it. It is so refreshing to find that I was wrong, that only people devoted to freedom post here.

  145. those crazy libertarians, allowing lefty statists to express their opinions! they shouldn’t be allowed to allow lefty statists to express their opinions!

  146. Here we go: Disagreement always = censorship. Obviously.

  147. Erroneous keystroke on the previous post led to a premature posting while revising post — I meant to say “… to use those same literary tools to rebut my arguments”

  148. Pharmacists are licensed and as such, being as they’ve been given this privilege, they oughta just dispense the fukien pills already.

    I have ranted before that if a doctor prescribes the ‘morning after’ pill and collects his $300 fee and leaves the poor woman to race around trying, racing against the clock, to get some pharmacist in her benighted jesus-fetus state to sell her the pills, the doctor is to blame too. Competent docs in an area where they KNOW this shit is going on should carry a supply of pills themselves. A friend of mine is a doctor. She does that. And it’s not even a conservative area, she just wants to make sure they get the pills on time.

    But yeah pharmacists. I wanna be a pharmacist and refuse to sell antibiotics because bacteria have rights too. Maybe I can avoid carrying chemotherapy agents because cancer has it’s own genome, it has as much right to live as the host. Maybe I can not carry pain pills cuz I believe that patients should offer their suffering to Mary instead.

    But if I was President I’d have an amnesty plan. Any pharmacist who wished to not dispense pills he disagreed with could have his/her student loans forgiven. In exchange they would turn in their license and promise never to try to do pharmacy ever again.

  149. I would like to excuse my 1:32 post on the grounds of chronic alcoholism, except I’m Mormon and sober. What I really meant to say was:

    reduction, you’re wrong. These two statements are clearly identical:

    “I will use sarcasm and logic to eviscerate your arguments, while giving you the opportunity to use those same literary tools to rebut my arguments”

    AND

    “I forbid anyone to challenge me, and invoke the right to censor any contrary remarks on an open thread that I have no ability to control.”

    I apologize for my attempt at censorship. My bad. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  150. How is this even a debate?

    If a person does not want to sell a product, for any reason, nobody should have the right to make him.

    Whether the person does not want to sell certain products (such as in this case) or to certain people (even for racist reasons), it doesn’t matter.

    Any arguments to the contrary are simply attempts to bend another to your will. YOU know whats best, so EVERYONE ELSE better shut the fuck up and fall in line.

    You are seeking to violate another persons right to do as he pleases–given that he is harming nobody else. And by doing so, you inflict the greatest harm possible against another…compulsion of one’s will over another.

    It amazes me how so very few people here are anything close to being libertarian in any true sense of the word….

  151. And that’s when you’re being intelligible (backass? bulgarize? do we even care what these mean?). Thanks for nothing.

    The word was “backsass. If you don’t know what that means, apparently your mommy and daddy neglected their parental duties.
    “Bulgarize”? What? Not as well educated as you thought you were? It simply means the same thing as to bugger. Its derivation is from the reputed practice of the midieval Bulgarians when in battle. The derivation of “bugger” is in turn from Bulgar.

  152. Tony said:

    “It amazes me how so very few people here are anything close to being libertarian in any true sense of the word….”

    Darn straight. It’s an uphill battle in this statist society. Even people who are nominally against central planning and pro-freedom think that people in general are so stupid that they need a law to tell them not to kill themselves.

    My goodness, everyone, do some reading! Go to mises.org. Use the search box. In the age of the internet, you are the only one who is intellectually responsible for advocating the murder and/or enslavement of those you disagree with.

  153. Thanks on both counts, hyphen. I wish it made a difference though.

    jh, it was biologist, not you, that reductio addressed.

  154. It’s good to see there are still a few people of principle like jh, Tony, and Nasikabatrachus here.

    I don’t actually know for sure, but I suspect the term “anarcho-capitalism” was coined by Rothbard because “anarchy” has the bad connotation of “lack of order”, and because he had the foresight to predict that “libertarian” would eventually become associated with statist thought.

    I still refer to myself as “libertarian” in public, because the general public is completely ignorant of Austrian economics and I don’t want to have to explain the specifics of anarcho-capitalism, but it troubles me that it puts me in the same boat as the majority of you, who are simply lesser statists and not opposed to the use of compulsory force on principle.

    Kyle

  155. I suspect the term “anarcho-capitalism” was coined by Rothbard because

    Johnsson: Some say you’re an anarchist; is that true?

    Rockwell: The term anarchist is mostly used to mean someone who believes that if the state and law are gotten rid of, all property would become collectively owned. It was the great insight of Murray Rothbard that this is not the case: private ownership and the law that support it are natural, while the state is artificial. So he was an anarchist in this sense but to avoid confusion he used the term anarcho-capitalist. This doesn’t mean that he favored somehow establishing a capitalist system in place of the state. What he said is that capitalism is the de facto result in a civilized society without a state. Has this position made advances? Yes, but not so many that we can use the term anarchism without causing confusion. If the purpose of words is to communicate, I’m not sure that the term does that well.

    Kewpie doll manufacturing plant hier.

  156. I think that some of the people posting in this thread are being mischaracterized.

    I don’t think that the issue for most people here is “I should have a right to force somebody else to sell me something!” They may very well reach similar conclusions to somebody who shares that view, but the underlying concern is quite different. Now, some might say “Motives, even good ones, shouldn’t matter.” OK, fine. However, when we’re getting statements in some of the comments like “It amazes me how so very few people here are anything close to being libertarian in any true sense of the word….” then motives are already under discussion, so I’m just going to point out that the motives are being misinterpreted.

    The issue here is whether the license constitutes a state-granted privilege, and whether the acceptance of a privilege from the state should carry some strings. When viewed as a matter of principle, I can see it both ways: Adding strings can make a bad situation worse, but at the same time the abuse of state-granted privilege is an abuse of power.

    So we can argue either way if we just look at principles.

    As soon as we look at facts on the ground, however, it becomes clear that this man’s abuse of privilege causes no actual harm to anybody except himself, because he has ample competitors who can service the customers that he’s refusing to serve. No harm, no foul.

  157. thoreau – clearly reasoned, thank you, and how about this: Those who would cut the state and its strings entirely out of the picture question the motives, however underexamined they may be, of those who would not.

  158. Another question is, how did baby repellant suddenly come under the heading of “medication”. That only makes sense if pregnancy is a disease.

  159. if pregnancy is a disease

    Is a headache caused by a deficiency of aspirin? … Headaches are caused by a number of conditions including tension, stress, lack of drinking enough water, eating the wrong foods, caffeine-withdrawal, to name a few…. I developed breast cancer, but it was NOT caused by having too many breasts

    http://www.drday.com/crs.htm

  160. Headaches are caused by a number of conditions including tension, stress, lack of drinking enough water, eating the wrong foods, caffeine-withdrawal, to name a few

    Reading H&R, to name another… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  161. M-

    I see your point, but I would also observe that cutting the state entirely out of the picture is probably not an option at this point. Medications will be regulated for the forseeable future, and available only via gatekeepers.

    Now, I do see a trend toward allowing a greater choice in gatekeepers (e.g. you can go to a nurse practicioner for certain things that only an MD could do once upon a time), so maybe we could look at allowing birth control (and other medications) to be dispensed in other settings than a pharmacy, perhaps under the supervision of a nurse. That’s not a zero-state solution, but it’s at least a step toward greater competition.

    However, as long as the state is involved, we’ll also have to look at matters of fact as well as matters principle. Fortunately, I would say that in this case there’s no harm so no foul, and no need to look for a state solution.

  162. I should also note that I’ve heard calls to expand the roles that a pharmacist can play, perhaps allowing pharmacists to dispense certain medications without a prescription. The most familiar context is the “morning after pill.”

    I suspect that this has come up in the context of the “morning after pill” due to both the time-sensitive nature of the drug and also the politics of the issue. However, if the idea catches on I suspect it will be applied to other drugs as well.

    It may seem paradoxical to denounce gatekeepers and then call for giving pharmacists more powers, but the idea is that the pharmacist could cut another gatekeeper out of the loop, and dispense without the approval of an MD.

    In general, I’m in favor of anything that gives consumers more choice in gatekeepers, and more ways to circumvent gatekeepers. It’s a second best solution, admittedly, when compared against the ideal principled solution. But it’s a first-best solution when compared to the politically feasible options at the moment.

  163. M, maybe I’m just obtuse, but I don’t see how what you posted is related to what I posted.

  164. It may seem paradoxical to denounce gatekeepers and then call for giving pharmacists more powers

    For the foreseeable future I hope, denouncingly, to give Dr. Ron Paul more powers, be they ever so homeopathic, at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue’s gate.

  165. To all you folks who are arguing that because the pharmacist cannot lawfully do business without a license from the state, that he should not be allowed to pick and choose which products he will sell:

    You are obviously forgetting that a license from the state is required to engage in most retail businesses, especially food-related ones. So the argument could just as easily be made that no grocery store should be allowed to refuse to sell kumquats. Or no restaurant should be allowed to refuse to prepare certain meals. Indeed, the “refusal” to sell may only be based on an evaluation by the owner that she can’t make enough money selling certain products.

  166. Sorry, crimethink; whether or not you are obtuse, which I have some reason to doubt, I can be inadvertantly obscure.

    Pathologizing the product of an unwanted pregnancy in pursuit of immediate societal convenience :: pathologizing other products of underlying disorders, such as the site of a carcinoma; babies drained with bathwater. Unwelcome pregnancies result from unregulated disordered human passions, and “antidotes” that extend beyond voluntary chastity are cosmetic.

    Better? (The question is addressed only to crimethink.)

  167. “Another question is, how did baby repellant suddenly come under the heading of “medication”. That only makes sense if pregnancy is a disease.”

    If, as a certain female person with whom I am acquainted will, you characterize the incipient baby as a “parasite,” it does.

    -and-

    If I, a Ferrari mechanic, refuse to work on your Ford, should you be allowed to turn to the courts to compel me to do so?

    If I, as a properly licensed attorney who prefers to restrict his practice to water law, refuse to take your drunk and disorderly driving case,should you be allowed to compel me to do so?

    Und so weiter.

    Wouldn’t it be a lot easier to just say, “Jesus, that guy is an ASSHOLE,” and go find somebody else to ease your pain?

  168. If I, a Ferrari mechanic, refuse to work on your Ford, should you be allowed to turn to the courts to compel me to do so?

    “Alfas rule, Ferraris drool,” my late brother would have said. But too, he was fond of saying “they’re all junk!”

  169. Anderson is an asshole, but the appropriate response to his refusal to dispense contraceptives is to buy them elsewhere. The fact that he benefits from governmental interference with his potential competitors doesn’t change this.

    If he were the only druggist in the area where he does business, then anyone who cares about their property values would be well advised to do what they could to attract another pharmacy to open for business in their town, lest their economic prospects be stifled by acquiring a bad reputation (eg “you don’t want to live in bible-thumperville! You can’t even buy contraceptives there!”)

    -jcr

  170. Another analogy to perhaps help clarify my point: while I support the freedoms of religion and speech, I also think that cops who are in uniform and on duty should not be allowed to proselytize to the people they’re supervising/patrolling/handing a ticket to/whatever you wish to call it.

    I suppose some here could argue that my position argues in favor of undermining somebody’s freedom of religion and speech; I say it places necessary constraints on those given authority by the state, concerning how much power they have to inflict their own personal opinions on those over whom they have been given authority.

  171. There is a stark difference between the agent of the state and a party which is regulated by the state.

    Ken Shultz,

    Whatever we think of the regulation of pharmacies, it seems problematic at best to add another layer of regulation to their activities.

  172. Whatever we think of the regulation of pharmacies, it seems problematic at best to add another layer of regulation to their activities.

    True dat, wie man sagt. Assisting patients achieve what pharmaceutical advertising calls “regularity” can have paradoxical effects.

  173. In response to thoreau’s elegant arguments: After seven years of reading thousands of scary/goofy legislative bills at our state legislature, I have yet to see a single instance where an attempt to fix a previous expansion of government power by yet another expansion of government power, however well-intentioned, made things better. Perhaps some one can give me a real-world example to the contrary. Absent that, my default belief is that artificially restricting competition by giving a pharmacist a license will automatically cause problems, such as the one that sparked this thread, but that to fix or at least alleviate this problem, any effective libertarian will only consider as a solution something that waters down the ability of those licenses to restrict competition. That is, the root problem must be addressed — promulagating new, largely unrelated government powers, such as the ability to regulate what products a regulated business can sell, will have severe blowback because the actual problem of limitation of competition wasn’t fixed. So, unless you wish to slide bit by bit into statism, I would urge those who believe in freedom to ditch any belief that granting the government abusive new powers will alleviate prior abusive grants of power, however torqued off you are at the current abuses.

  174. jh – have you found it ever working the other way round, namely adverse consequences to repealing legislation?

  175. In response to squarooticus’ 8:46am post: I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about whether I’m “merely” a libertarian or a full-on anarcho-capitalist. I think the easier, more obvious stuff like ending public schools or ending all licenses would be tackled before trying to completly end the really difficult problems of national defense, roads, or police. But the reality is that partial solutions that slightly reduce government powers can be tackled in all areas. We already have some private toll roads, and so a few more such would be a good thing, even if we don’t have the technology yet to handle the trickier case of infrequently used side streets. We already have private security guards, and more such would be an improvement, even if we haven’t yet figured out an acceptable way to privatize some situtions. And my gut feeling is that no one has yet come up with a detailed, workable way of handling national defense that would prevent other statist governments from taking over a free market solution piece by piece, so maybe I’m not an anarcho-capitalist by some people’s lights — but I’m open to the possibility that someone smarter than me will come up with a partial or even complete solution.

    It’s gonna be a long fight. The statists have gained a lot of ground, and most people are heavily statist. But, any victory, however small, is still a victory. So, let’s not hand those statist buggers a victory by us proposing new powers for government.

  176. M | June 2, 2007, 2:10pm says: “jh – have you found it ever working the other way round, namely adverse consequences to repealing legislation?”

    (Spews OJ over keyboard laughing) I live in Hawaii, one of the most statist states around. Repeal legislation? HAHAHAHAHA!

    Seriously, the state legislature repeals about one bill a year, and only the goofiest stuff that the public is completely outraged about — the van camera bill, the gas price control bill, the extra-strong HIPPA bill, the health insurance rate regulation bill. Aaaand, some unrepentant legislators are still trying to reinstate those bad ideas. So, no. Haven’t seen any bad consequences yet from those rare repeals.

  177. The solution is to let people buy prescription medicine online and bypass the entire retail drug industry. This guy is just exploiting licensing requirements, so give everyone a license to live their lives. http://www.OlympicParty.org

  178. What I wonder here is just how difficult is it to obtain a license to open a pharmacy. Are the requirements really so onerous as to preclude anyone from competing with this guy? Or does the lack of competition stem from the local market being unable to support an additional drugstore? If it’s the latter, it sounds to me like a case of dog in the manger: “I don’t like the way you run your business establishment, but I don’t want to go into competition with you either, because it’s unprofitable.” That would seem to be someone’s wanting to eat one’s cake and have it, too.

  179. A partial libertarian solution in addition to the one proposed by L. Kraus: If no pharmacy within a certain area sells these prescription medicines, permit private individuals to drive somewhere that does sell them, buy in bulk, and resell in the area lacking retail outlets for the medicine. That is, instead of a futile quest to take on entrenched special interests protecting their government quasi-monopoly by repealing the licensing laws themselves, go for a partial solution and carve out an exception to address the narrow situation of no local markets currently meeting the demand. That’ll still arouse the ire of statists who want to impose their notion of no birth control, but you’ll nullify the opposition of the pharmacists themselves, maybe getting to the 51% of legislative votes needed to win passage.

  180. This is not a matter of criminal law, but of professional ethics…

    The guy lied. He broke the ethics rules for his profession…

    http://students.washington.edu/prepharm/articles/codeofethics.pdf

    “A pharmacist acts with honesty and integrity in professional relationships.
    Interpretation: A pharmacist has a duty to tell the truth and to act with conviction of conscience.”

    Since the American Pharmaceutical Association is involved in licensing its members, the sanction should come from them if appropriate. Lying to patients about the dangers of medication is worth a sanction, imho. Losing his license to practice (or suspending it) seems appropriate to the violation.

    The above has nothing to do with his decision not to stock a certain medication, which is within his rights.

  181. Responding to my calling nonsense his claim of people being unable to obtain medication if the government revoked the license of, and shut down, a pharmacist who refused to sell contraception (again for the record, I would not support such a rule) Ellis Wyatt says,

    It isn’t nonsense at all. As I understand it (from having read the entire thread) the situation is/was that this is the only place to obtain prescription medicine in the town and its vicinity – that there is no convenient other way to obtain them

    Huh? How could anyone who “read the entire thread” come to that conclusion?? To the contrary, several comments have stated precisely the opposite.

    Um, there are like seven other drugstores in a two mile radius… go somewhere else.

    volcker June 1, 2007, 3:52pm

    Fortunately, Great Falls is big enough to have more than one pharmacy, so people can easily go elsewhere.

    Bill Pope June 1, 2007, 4:00pm

    But if, as is suggested above, he has several competitors in close proximity, he’s probably shooting himself in the foot, and I’m just as happy to let nature take its course on that.

    thoreau June 1, 2007, 4:19pm

    Mapquest shows 8 pharmacies in Great Falls and the Anderson Family Pharmacy looks to be off the main drag.

    de stijl June 1, 2007, 4:30pm

    I have yet to see a single comment that suggested this guy does not face any competition or that people would have a hard time finding another pharmacy nearby. What thread were you reading??

    I think I’ll stand by my initial assessments of nonsense and ill-considered.

  182. Are the requirements really so onerous as to preclude anyone from competing with this guy?

    Absolutely not.

    Or does the lack of competition stem from the local market being unable to support an additional drugstore?

    There is no “lack of competition” – see the previous comments. Or better yet, pull up a quick check of the yahoo yellow pages to see 22 pharmacies listed in Great Falls, MT.

  183. The drugstore misleadingly cited health concerns in announcing the new policy, when moral objections to contraception seem to be the real motive.

    I doubt it. The only evidence for that is the word of a feminist activist, which is no evidence of all. The material evidence (the note from the pharmacy) doesn’t say any such thing.

  184. Dan T. said:

    “Of course, you live in America voluntarily so you are consenting to the law that requires only people who know what they’re doing to sell dangerous drugs.”

    By that logic, the east coast of the U.S. still belongs to the royal family of England, and most of the western U.S. still belongs to Mexico, since both areas were not purchased but taken by force from other “social contract” organizations. Not to mention that the louisiana purchase was invalid, because Napoleon did not own the louisiana territory.

    Positing the “love it or leave it” social contract theory requires both radical alterations on our maps AND it means that, if you do not shoot someone who is robbing your house, then they own whatever they take. Interestingly, those who talk about social contract theory never seem to advocate either of these things, which any respect for consistency demands, but only use it as a tool to bash libertarians over the head with their own respect for private property and voluntary association.

  185. The libertarian in me thinks that hospitals should be able to run themselves by Christian Scientist standards, by praying instead of treating people.

    There already are such places. They’re called Christian Science sanitoriums. Are you suggesting they ought to be shut down by law? They’re pretty clearly denying a lot of what even Mr. Sullum would admit constitutes “basic health care.”

  186. To reiterate, to limit some folks freedom (pharmacists) creates vastly more freedom for many others (the many customers in the area). It’s a question of deontology vs. consequentialism in the area of liberty.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deontological_ethics
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consequentialism

  187. “Ken | June 2, 2007, 8:44pm | #

    To reiterate, to limit some folks freedom (pharmacists) creates vastly more freedom for many others (the many customers in the area). It’s a question of deontology vs. consequentialism in the area of liberty.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deontological_ethics
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consequentialism

    Ken, maybe you didn’t see this:

    “thoreau June 1, 2007, 4:19pm
    Mapquest shows 8 pharmacies in Great Falls and the Anderson Family Pharmacy looks to be off the main drag.”

    In other words, there’s plenty of competition-his refusal to sell does not limit anyone’s “freedom”. Moreover, having state power over private business limits people’s freedom far more than the ability to make a pharmarcist out in the middle of Bumf**k, Nowhere sell birth control pills makes up for.

    And then there’s your definition of freedom–the implication of your statement is that the freedom to coerce is the libertarian kind of freedom. But libertarian freedom is not freedom TO, but freedom FROM. By definition, the government’s interference in this area limits freedom.

    Also, consistency on consequentialist grounds dictates that it would be perfectly alright if the government kept a certain small amount of the female population as sex slaves for the “freedom” of the percentage of the male population that can’t get a date to have sex.

    Are you comfortable with that?

  188. Actually, de stijl posted that comment, not me.

    But I concur with the point being made: The regulation in question (pharmaceutical licensing) has not led to a lack of consumer choice for the town under discussion. And, as others have said, you can get contraception online.

    So if this case does not involve a meaningful harm against consumers as a result of regulation, it’s hard for me to see how there’s a problem in need of solution.

    (Which is not to say that I’m cool with state licensing of pharmacists, but rather that the actions of Stuart Anderson hardly constitute a problem in need of solution, be the solution coercive or otherwise.)

  189. Thoreau, like you I think that I too, fail to see a problem here in need of solution. Do you suppose they might let us bury the poor horse now? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  190. SSob:

    Since we are no longer allowed to butcher the horse and export the steaks to France, I guess we’ll have to bury it.

    Is it still legal to make the hide into baseball covers, or the bones into glue?

    Kevin

  191. Is it still legal to make the hide into baseball covers, or the bones into glue?

    I think so, as long you do it offshore. Otherwise you’d probably run afoul of the EPA – especially with the hide and hooves processing. By the way, it is the hides and the hooves that are typically made into glue more so than the bones. Bouillon from boiling them can be turned into glue, but you wouldn’t get much.

  192. Since we are no longer allowed to butcher the horse and export the steaks to France, I guess we’ll have to bury it.

    If the French aren’t allowed to buy our horse meat, isn’t that a harm of regulation? Shouldn’t we be forced to sell them our horse meat?

    ๐Ÿ™‚

  193. I’d always thought most horsemeat was used to make dog food. I guess the French would be harmed by not being able to obtain food for their dogs. Oh wait, what dogs? They probably ate them – you know how the French are. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  194. “But libertarian freedom is not freedom TO, but freedom FROM. ”
    For many, yes this is the view, but the exact point I am making is: should it be? If the government, by limiting a handful of folks freedom could create more choices, more meaningful exercises of their liberty, should it? For example, I’m all for the government stepping in and limiting the ability of employers to restrict employee freedoms (such as firing someone because they were arrested for an off-grounds drug charge, or because they are gay, etc). There are a lot more employees than employers and the total liberty enhanced is worth the total liberty lost. Ditto my example of the FDA and EPA (I can exercise my liberty much more knowing that the food I am browsing at the supermarket or the drugs at the pharmacists are made relatively safe, though it provides restrictions on my ability to shop at quacks or the liberty of quacks to peddle their wares.)
    “Also, consistency on consequentialist grounds dictates that it would be perfectly alright if the government kept a certain small amount of the female population as sex slaves for the “freedom” of the percentage of the male population that can’t get a date to have sex.

    Are you comfortable with that?”
    I don’t know, how hot would my sex slave be (I’m married, but why limit this program to the dateless?)? Just kidding. Yes, consistent consequentialism has problems (remember the old example from into philosophy where the healthy patient goes in for the check up and they decide to take his organs to save five sick folks). But so does consistent deontology (not being able to lie to a killer looking for your mom when he asks where she is). In fact, it seems much more wierd to be across the board against decisions which would create more meaningful liberty across the board just because they involve an initial restriction on liberty up front.
    As to the other pharmacies in the area: that does not fix our thought experiment. In really rural areas you’d be out of luck. And many average folks would either not know of ordering rx online (I have a PhD and I just found that out during this thread) and many others may not have access to or savvy with the internet that would make that much of an option.

  195. kevrob,

    Since we are no longer allowed to butcher the horse and export the steaks to France…

    I guess you are talking about this issue?

    Note this language in the article:

    At issue was an agreement the company had made with USDA to pay for inspection at the plant after Congress eliminated funding for inspection in domestic horse-slaughtering operations. Without inspection, the plant was precluded from operating.

  196. For anyone too lazy to type it in themselves, he’s a link to a ‘google map’ of the pharmacies in great falls.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?near=Great+Falls,+MT&q=pharmacy

  197. In response to the argument “But if pharmacists aren’t licensed drugs won’t be safe.”

    Okay, pharmacists will try to make the most money, right? Know what’s bad for business? Killing off customers. For one, it’s hard to have repeat customers when they are dead. Secondly, its not good advertising.

    Also, there CAN be voluntary regulation. It’s not stupid to think so. Given the choice between two pharmacies, one that is licensed by a national (non-govermental) organization and one that isn’t, who would customers more often go to?

  198. Just posting to make 200.

  199. I am too disinterested to read all the posts. What is the conclusion here, is it OK run all the fetus killers out of the store, or does the guy have to sell the pill?

    Oh, by the way, we are now headed north of 200 posts.

  200. F. LeMur: “The only evidence for that is the word of a feminist activist, which is no evidence of all.”

    I guess you could make any argument if you assume the facts are different from those stated in the article. Hell, I have yet to get a woman pregnant, so I think that “pregnancy” is just a feminist plot. Everybody knows that storks bring babies, not fat-bellied feminist chicks. The left wing media has been pushing its extremist, non-stork based theory of babies since the dawn of printed rags. Damn feminists.

  201. Hmmm, any RX can be bad for you if you have an overabundance of them and/or allergies. Someone close to me had to be on the pill in order to reduce a growth in her fallopian tubes. Religion? Well not too much into their beliefs if they will be selling the pills until they’re all out. Money, Money, Money. Perhaps the owners need to take in all of the children in Great Falls and around the world and become foster parents/adopt. Don’t forget the children in the 3rd world countries who are starving to death or dying of AIDS. But then again, it’s a free country. I don’t believe in abortion because IT IS LEGALIZED MURDER! Not allowing birth control actually says that you agree with abortion in it’s own way. Maybe they should continue selling and the DONATE the money to causes that support mothers of unplanned pregnancies, etc. This in return will hopefully prevent mothers from entering the front doors of Planned Parenthood.

  202. Dea- you are contradicting yourself by saying anyone who denies BC agrees with abortion yet implying Planned Parenthood is pro-abortion. PP is the largest provider of reproductive health care in the nation (as in #1 ub preventing unwanted pregnanices). The Planned Parenthood in GF doesn’t even provide abortion services and they have yet to deny a woman their birth control.

  203. I am very sad that there are this many posters that think it is ok to force a businessman to sell something he doesn’t want to sell.

    That reminds me of the “it is ok to force people to wear seatbelts and helmets because I am forced to pay for insurance”

    Or “it is ok to violate immigrants rights because I am force to pay for their social services”

    It is clearly fascism. Clearly the opposite of libertarianism.

    But people advocate it because it conforms to their beliefs. This on a libertarian forum?

    Is there really any hope for freedom?

  204. Kwais: Forgive me if I don’t have any sympathy for the businessman who knowingly involves himself in one of the most heavily regulated industries in existence, then whines when he can’t go outside the purview of those regulations.

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