Freedom of Religion

Free Birth Control and Unfree Photographers

Dubious rights threaten true liberty.

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According to The New York Times, a case the Supreme Court heard on Tuesday, involving a challenge to Obamacare's requirement that businesses pay for their employees' contraceptives, "pits religious liberty against women's rights." Similarly, last month's controversy over an Arizona bill aimed at protecting business owners from being forced to treat homosexual and heterosexual couples alike was widely perceived as a conflict between religious liberty and gay rights.

Both of these debates are more accurately described as clashes between real rights and fake rights. To put it more politely, they pit negative liberty, which requires freedom from external restraint, against positive liberty, which imposes demands on other people's resources. Under the latter vision, giving freedom to one person requires taking it away from another.

In the Supreme Court case, two family-owned businesses, the craft store chain Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, a Pennsylvania cabinet manufacturer, argue that forcing them to provide health insurance that covers birth control methods they view as tantamount to abortion violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Under that law, "government may substantially burden a person's exercise of religion" only if it is "the least restrictive means" of serving a "compelling governmental interest."

That was the test the Supreme Court applied under the First Amendment until 1990, when it reversed course and decided any burden was acceptable as long as it was imposed by a neutral, generally applicable statute. The decision triggered outrage across the political spectrum, and three years later a nearly unanimous Congress responded by passing RFRA.

Arizona has its own version of RFRA. S.B. 1062, the bill that Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed last month in response to nationwide criticism, would have clarified that it protects businesses (one of the issues raised by the Hobby Lobby case) and that it applies to legal actions brought by private citizens. The bill's chief sponsor said he was reacting to a discrimination complaint against a New Mexico photographer who declined to take pictures of a gay wedding; there have been similar cases involving a Colorado bakery and a Washington florist.

Arizona currently recognizes no such cause of action, so S.B. 1062 would have had no immediate effect on interactions between businesses and gay couples. And if Arizona's legislature one day decided to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, the law could still be upheld as "the least restrictive means of furthering [a] compelling governmental interest."

But does the government have a compelling interest in forcing people to accept behavior that violates their deeply held beliefs? There is an important difference between requiring the government to treat gay and straight couples the same and requiring private citizens to do so. One is a matter of equal treatment under the law, while the other is intolerance disguised as its opposite: intolerance of intolerance, to put it charitably.

Similarly, there is an important difference between demanding that the government refrain from interfering with people's reproductive choices and demanding that business owners subsidize them. Just as no one has a right to pictures taken by an unwilling photographer, no one has a right to an IUD or a Plan B pill purchased with the money of people who do not want to pay for it.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) disagrees. "We don't allow religious beliefs to be used to discriminate against others," says Brigitte Amiri, a senior attorney with the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project, explaining why the Supreme Court should uphold the contraceptive mandate. "Religious freedom is a fundamental right," says Daniel Mach, director of the ACLU's Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, "but it's not a blank check to harm others or impose our faith on our neighbors."

That is why, according to Mach, photographers, bakers, and florists must be conscripted for gay weddings. Exactly who is imposing on whom in that situation? By choosing positive liberty over negative liberty, the ACLU is forsaking the freedoms it claims to defend.

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235 responses to “Free Birth Control and Unfree Photographers

  1. Let me see if I understand this.

    According to the ACLU, compelling you to buy me something is “liberty,” and if you object to having to buy me something, you are causing me “harm.”

    If that is not Orwellian, tell me what it is.

    1. How about a cop telling me yesterday that I couldn’t buy a homeless man food? Cash was OK, but not meeting him at the grocery store and getting him stuff.

      1. You’re lucky they didn’t pull you in for a psych eval, PC!

        1. We were already out of the store and he was putting the bags in his pack when the cop showed up. The cop said money was legal but food was not. I looked at the receipt, gave the bum enough money to buy the same stuff over again, and he went back in.

          1. Did the cop say why buying a homeless guy food wasn’t legal? That just doesn’t make sense to me at all.

            1. Good question – though I can guess that it’s because by doing so he was engaging in some sort of food commerce and he didn’t have the proper licensing/inspections/payoffs to do so.

              Again – I’m not positive – but when in doubt, just remember this: new freedom means asking permission.

              So best guess – the authorities don’t believe he’s asked for permission yet.

              1. absolute nonsense. There is absolutely no law that would even suggest you can’t buy food for someone. People treat each other to lunch all the damned time. Are you going to tell me that’s illegal?

                You pussied out, man, and caved in. We all would have been much better off if you slyly turned on the video camera on your phone (and put it back in your pocket to record voice). Not only could you have made the cops look bad in the lung run with media attention, you could have sued for some money. Even if I didn’t get any money, Id be happy to ruin their shit for a while.

                1. It’s not the buying of food for the homeless without permission, it’s the giving it to them without a permit that is illegal here in Houston.

        2. it’s amazing they didn’t his dog, or some other dog.

          1. shoot

      2. What?? You were buying a homeless person food? What kind of Libertarian are you – don’t you know we Libertarians don’t give a rat’s ass about those less fortunate than us? We’re supposed to let them starve and die in the street while we blithely walk by them with our concealed weapons as we count our ill-gotten money.

        /sarcasm

  2. It’s the “right” to boss other people around.

  3. Too bad we don’t have a Tenth Amendment any more.

  4. …but it’s not a blank check to harm others or impose our faith on our neighbors.

    Every time I think the ACLU might be a general positive it takes a position like this and falls back a few notches. That’s completely disingenuous, at best.

    1. Not being imposed upon is imposing.

      1. Oh, yeah, and not being harmed is harming.

      2. But we HAVE TO impose upon employers because the employer-based system is an innate feature of reality that cannot be changed!

        1. I never really bought into the ACLU’s bullshit libertarian street cred to be honest.

    2. No, no. This is awesome. That means the ACLU will help me get some of my tax money back that went to the government’s Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

      1. Better yet! The ACLU is attacking the entire notion of the Welfare State, which is based ultimately on some Judeo-Christian superstition that we are obligated to care for those less fortunate than us.

        I mean, the ACLU certainly doesn’t want to impose that outmoded religious belief on anyone, does it? Does it?

        1. The welfare state is only based on Judeo-Christian principles if you abide by the teachings of the social gospel. Most Christians and religious types do not.

          http://www.garynorth.com/public/department61.cfm

  5. OT: Rents are driving bookstores out of some of America’s richest neighborhoods; government must step in and do something!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03…..ml?hp&_r=0

    1. Book deserts for the win!

    2. There was some pearl clutching going on here in Quebec about bookstores, too. The answer was price controls, obviously. I’m not sure if that ever made it into law. If there is a shortage or surplus of books, I guess I’ll have my answer, though.

      1. Didn’t the Times just recently publish an article arguing that Amazon’s intense Taylorization of their warehouses makes Jeff Bezos worse than Hitler?

        1. Probably

        2. Taylorization? Did they expand their warehouses into an infinite sum of their warehouses’ derivatives?

          1. you mean rent control, and regulations that slow down housing construction causes a drying up of supply which causes higher rents? UNFUCKINGBELIEVABLE! How is this possible? it’s rent CONTROL! How hasn’t rent CONTROL brought down rents? WE NEED MOAR REGULATIONS to make up for the unintended consequences of our previous regulations and then we will add more regulations to those regulations once those unintended consequences bubble up to the surface and then…

            It’s fucking mind boggling how dependent lefties are on cognitive dissonance to further their agenda. If supply can’t meet demand, prices go up-it’s that simple, so many educated people-very educated people, cannot wrap their heads around that. Hard not to be a cynic.

          2. Hehehehe. +1

    3. I say this as an avid reader and complete Luddite, old school, book hoarder. In this day and age book stores, other than stores that sell really expensive and rare antique books, are for posers. I haven’t bought a book at a book store other than one at the airport when I forgot to bring something to read on the plane, in years. You can get any book you want on Amazon and Amazon will even track what you buy and turn you on to other books you might like better than any snotty book clerk ever did. The only reason to go to a book store and browse the shelves hoping someone notices how cool the books you choose to browse are.

      1. The only reason to go to a book store and browse the shelves hoping someone notices how cool the books you choose to browse are.

        Although, there is something to be said for the bookstore as place to pick up chicks.

        1. I didn’t mean to imply posing is always a bad thing. Sometimes it is quite a good thing. I never had any luck picking up chicks at book stores, although I am sure lots of other people have.

          1. The sections of a book store where you can find libertarians and the sections of a book store where you can find women might as well be on different planets.

      2. John,

        I like to go to the used bookstore by my house and buy random books for a one or two dollars each. It’s actually a lot of fun, because I never know what I’m going to get, and many of the books are from long out-of-print one-note authors who tried (and failed) a hand at sci-fi or fantasy. I’ve learned a lot from reading bad or hilariously sincere writing.

        Sure, I could probably get most of them on Amazon, but it just wouldn’t be the same. Books are a tactile experience sometimes, you know?

        1. Yes, that is a good point. And I do the same thing as well. I like book stores. I have to admit. But still they are mostly for posers.

          1. Yeah, I do snicker at the inevitable hipster with his thrift-store clothes and $10000 Macbook trying to pick up chicks. There’s always a few of them lurking.

            1. the 10 000 macbook is meant to be ironic.

      3. However, Amazon will not, reliably, get me a book on the day of its release. Sadly, the book distribution system is so screwed up that you also can’t achieve this end by pre-ordering from a locally owned bookstore. You can only get books on their release day by doing a walk-in on a chain bookstore.

        Weird.

      4. I buy a lot of non-fiction, particularly how to books. Often I already have some general knowledge of the subject material. So in those cases it’s nice to be able to browse the book to see if it’s even going to be useful to me. A lot of those books are way more general than what I want. I know Amazon, which I use all the time, has the preview option on many books and has been quite helpful sometimes but it is fairly limited on what you can see.

        1. Have you read “How to Most Effectively Use Amazon’s Preview Feature to Browse”? Available at your local book store and laundromat.

    4. Real comment:

      yipyapjardine1678
      $40,000 a month to rent a small commercial space in the UWS?? How on earth is a small business to make enough income in one month to cover that rent, utilities, salaries, and then make any kind of profit for the owner? I am so sick and tired of rapacious landlords. Can’t they be a bit more reasonable? No landlord of a simple storefront has monthly costs anywhere near $40k, so why are they charging so much? Pure greed.”

  6. “Religious freedom is a fundamental right,” says Daniel Mach, director of the ACLU’s Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief

    What if I don’t believe that is a meaningful statement, Dan?

  7. If liberal ideology was the best, they wouldn’t need to be brainwashing our kids, soon starting at pre-K.

    I wish the founding fathers would have meen more assertive about liberties and have written that no law can take them away.

    Oh… wait…

    Never mind.

  8. This is the kind of BS you get into when your country has absolutely no guiding principles.

    1. Pragmatism: the latest thing for the last hundred years.

    2. But?.but?.but?the Liberals DO have guiding principles. Everybody should do what the Liberals tell them, dammit!

      1. More that that – Liberals are the ONLY ones with guiding principals.

        1. if liberalism worked, they wouldn’t need to impose it federally, people would just implement it themselves at the state level. Notice how libs never say shit about all the people leaving blue states and moving into red states because of job creation? the “scientific community” seems to be completely oblivious to the controlled experiment being conducted right under their nose.

    3. No, it’s what you get from too many guiding principles. Even “religious liberty” is too specific. It made sense in the context of societies where actual religious wars and a lot of deliberate persecution of followers of particular religions had been occurring.

      1. It made sense in the context of societies where actual religious wars and a lot of deliberate persecution of followers of particular religions had been occurring.

        Like say in a country populated by a mixed people fleeing said wars on their home continent?

        Religious liberty is essential, but as a philosophical concept it’s merely a constituent part of a concept usually described as ‘freedom of thought’.

        Sort of like how slavery can only be considered immoral when one accepts the validity ‘freedom of association’. People who think a photographer should be compelled to provide their services at a gay wedding, under the duress of law, are rejecting ‘freedom of association’ and thus reject the moral basis of the anti-slavery position.

    4. My country has some very sound guiding principles, thank you very much. Haven’t you ever heard of the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution?

      The fact that the Communists have taken over isn’t the fault of the Founding Fathers’ oversight, it’s the fault of stupid and lazy people letting evil people have more and more power as time goes by and memories fade.

  9. But does the government have a compelling interest in forcing people to accept behavior that violates their deeply held beliefs?

    It forces me into behavior that violates my deeply held beliefs every day, but they aren’t “religious” beliefs, so I guess I can just go jump in a lake.

    Maybe instead of carving out a few exceptions we should focus on getting rid of the entirely of this shitty law.

    1. This is more or less what I told Mrs. Rich last night.

      *** digs out copy of “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World” ***

    2. If you mean Obamacare, the Supreme Court came within a vote of doing just that. Then they decided to ignore the Tenth Amendment. The question is whether we still have a *First* Amendment.

    3. You have a point there. Maybe if enough people are burdened by the law there will be more of an impetus to repeal it.

      1. The secular li ertarians tried to get rid of these laws, with the support of the religious dissenters. Lots of religious dissenters fought Obamacare. They lost. Now they at least ask that one of the innumerable Ocare exemptions be in their favor. If they win that one, they won’t be any more charitable toward Ocare, except the “social jystice” Catholics.

      2. You have a point there. Maybe if enough people are burdened by the law there will be more of an impetus to repeal it.

        Which is why republicans need to stop trying to fix the law or ease the pain. Let the people experience Obamacare in all of it’s fascist glory.

    4. Join the Neodruids. We believe in Sentient Design by Mother Nature. One of the distinguishing tenets of Neodruidism is that government is a crime against Nature and obedience to authority is a mortal sin.

      Meanwhile, remember to write me in in 2016: http://rich_grise.tripod.com/cgi-bin/index.pl
      I’ll fire the whole damn government!

  10. But what about Public Accommodation? You know, the idea that if you want to operate a business then you have to do it how we say that progs pulled out of thin air to get around these silly concepts of rights.

    That one totally kills me. But progs love them some high sounding concepts they read somewhere that totally backs up what they feel to be right and no they won’t think about it any harder because you’re just a bigot!

  11. this is where the left reveals its mendacity. Who is “forcing” their views on whom here? Unless I missed the part where HL is secretly following female employees and firing the ones who engage in conduct the company dislikes, what sort of forcing is the company doing?

    That mendacity reaches a higher level when you factor in the hundreds of exemptions and waivers from O-care that have been handed out to favored constituencies vs. how one aspect of this law is being used as a cudgel against viewpoints the administration dislikes.

    1. But wareagle, it isn’t mendacity when people are being forced to knuckle under to the left’s agenda – that’s progress! That’s why they are progressives! Adn that’s why they love themselves the force of the state – at least when they have control of it.

    2. Exactly. People who choose to work at HL do so knowing that its owners will not willingly provide certain kinds of birth control via health insurance. If they don’t like it, go fucking work somewhere else.

      There’s a risible anti-liberty “stick it to the man” component of the argument being made against HL. It’s their business, their property, and their beliefs that are being trampled here, not a woman’s ability to take birth control pills. GO FUCKING WORK SOMEWHERE ELSE.

      It’s just another version of “Bake me a wedding cake, person who despises me!” JFC.

      1. Or just keep working at Hobby Lobby and walk into any drug store in America with a prescription from your doctor and hand them cash in exchange for your birth control. Not only is Hobby Lobby not forcing anything on their employees, but they aren’t even doing anything that would restrict their access.

      2. And if HL’s owners don’t want to comply with the law because it believes sky Santa requires otherwise, it is perfectly free not to be in business. Why do business owners get rights and workers don’t?

        1. Whose money is it?

        2. Thanks Tony. Perfect illustration of the aforementioned mendacity.

        3. Tony, most of the time I actually don’t think you’re a troll or a sockpuppet. But if you really are a real person and not a weirdo who likes to eristic up and down a small libertarian comment section, you cannot be that fucking stupid.

          The employee’s “rights” aren’t being violated. The employee isn’t being harmed. You failed to address the merits of a law which compels people to violate their faith.

          Preserving freedom of conscience, and freedom of choice and association, means preserving them for everybody. I wouldn’t support a law that compels an atheist business owner to, say, close every Sunday because all the Christians he employs want to spend the day in church. I wouldn’t support a court ruling that forces a homosexual business owner to take provide photography services for a heterosexual wedding party against his wishes.

          People who support shit like this always fail to acknowledge or even realize that it’s a two-way street. When we deprive one person or group of liberty, we deprive everybody of the same liberty as it applies to them.

          1. I agree, but I disagree with the implication that there is a perfect set of liberties that never conflict. I’m not claiming a logical high ground, just a moral one. I believe the rights of people not to be discriminated against should trump the rights of business owners to discriminate. That’s all. I don’t think the latter is something government should spend resources upholding because it is not good for society.

            And I disagree that the employees aren’t being harmed in the HL case. See Justice Ginsburg’s points on this.

            1. I disagree with the implication that there is a perfect set of liberties that never conflict.

              The progress of human society is, to a great extent the progress towards establishing just such a set of liberties that don’t conflict. That is the end state of a genuinely universally just society.

              Libertarians have continued that project, while progressive have abandoned it in favor of might makes right, voting themselves free stuff at other people’s expense, and doing whatever they generally think is a good idea at the moment, irregardless of it’s impact on the actual rights of the individuals it affects.

              You don’t have the moral high ground. All you have is a bunch of vague feelings about doing good, and a willingness to force other people to do what you think is good.

              1. Exactly like you, except you don’t think you should have to bother with the democratic process, you should get your way on all things because you’re just right. Not having a social safety net is a positive policy choice, it’s not a default position.

                And there will never be a society in which a set of liberties exists that contains no conflicting liberties. Every legally guaranteed liberty conflicts with someone’s liberty. We have prudently decided, for example, that the state should keep its boot on the neck of murderers and thieves who would otherwise be “at liberty” to murder and steal.

                1. Not having a social safety net is a positive policy choice, it’s not a default position.

                  Well, sure, it was called charity.

                  That is, until the government took it over, made it drastically more expensive by funneling most of the money to bureaucrats and cronies, and then divorced it from any sense of proportionality or tangible benefit, forming a large mass of people who will spend their lives dependent on it.

                  We have prudently decided, for example, that the state should keep its boot on the neck of murderers and thieves who would otherwise be “at liberty” to murder and steal.

                  So therefore the government can keep its boot on everyone’s neck, because it’s unfair to the rest of us that the state reserves its neck-booting for a select few.

                2. Exactly like you, except you don’t think you should have to bother with the democratic process, you should get your way on all things because you’re just right.

                  No, not exactly like me, because in my world, YOU are perfectly free to get a group of people voluntarily together and form a healthcare co-operative. You can go start a socialist commune and have single payer.

                  I am not stopping you from doing anything, other than forcing other people to join to co-op. My preference to NOT pay for other people’s health care in no way imposes my morality upon you. it is ONLY YOU who trying to impose your morality upon ME.

                  1. We live in a voluntary collective called the United States. So your complaint is that it’s too large? What’s the maximum size of voluntary collectives?

                    Because you surely can’t be arguing that it’s possible to have voluntary collectives in which every person always gets his or her way all the time. That would be ludicrous.

                    1. “We live in a voluntary collective called the United States. ”

                      No, we do not.

                      It doesn’t matter how many times you try to force associations on me that I never agreed to by insisting that we are born into some kind of “voluntary social servitude”.

                3. “Not having a social safety net is a positive policy choice, it’s not a default position.”

                  Wait what? It’s exactly the default position.

                  Are you fucking retarded?

                  1. Not in the presence of viable alternatives. There’s nothing natural about modern capitalism but presumably you’re cool with it.

            2. See Justice Ginsburg’s points on this.

              What points?

        4. your choice isn’t to be in business or violate your religion. that’s fucking stupid and unconstitutional.

        5. “Why do business owners get rights and workers don’t?”

          Who owns the company and who chooses to work there?

    3. It flows from Marxism and allied beliefs that arose ~200 yrs. ago that saw employers of large numbers of employees as the new feudal lords, dictating terms to their employees. The assumption is that employers, because they deal 1-to-many, have a lot of choice in hiring & retaining employees, but employees are mere interchangeable parts in the machine and thus cannot effectively bargain for terms. So the law has to work towards equalizing that imbalance.

  12. But Jacob,

    Everyone gets their insurance through their employer, and that’s just the way it is, and there’s nothing we can do about it. And because that’s just the way it is, we have to have rules that require employers to let employees “spend” their “compensation” on whatever they want.

    Except that they have to spend it on health insurance, and they have to pay for maternity coverage, even if they are post-menopausal women. And pediatric dental care, even if they don’t have kids. And substance abuse treatment, and mental healthcare. Because it’s their duty to pay for other people’s healthcare because that’s morally right. And because we said so.

    But it would be morally wrong and an evil, evil, imposition on their religious liberty if the employer doesn’t let them pay for abortions with it.

    You see, it’s perfectly fine to force the employee to “spend” his “compensation” on things that are good (because progressives know what is right!) and totally immoral to not let him spend it on things that the person paying for the coverage (bad, evil, conservatives) thinks are immoral.

    1. +1 adherence to talking points.

      Double points for actually pounding those out without hurling the keyboard out the window.

  13. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. That’s how laws are made. That’s how DOMA was passed in the first place and stood for almost 18 years until someone else squeaked louder. Unfortunately, The United States of Free Shit? is never going to stop forcing someone else to pay for other’s Free Shit any time soon. Nobody will squeak louder than somebody with less free shit.

  14. ” By choosing positive liberty over negative liberty, the ACLU is forsaking the freedoms it claims to defend.”

    The ACLU does not claim to defend those freedoms. It never did. It just uses language that sounds similar to what libertarians use, but means something quite different.

    1. “communism is the goal”

  15. By choosing positive liberty over negative liberty, the ACLU is forsaking the freedoms it claims to defend.

    Dog bites man, footage at 11.

  16. According to The New York Times, a case the Supreme Court heard on Tuesday, involving a challenge to Obamacare’s requirement that businesses pay for their employees’ contraceptives, “pits religious liberty against women’s rights.”

    Indeed, not to be undone in the race to the bottom that is trivializing the concept of rights, the NYT continues to perpetuate the notion that rights equals “free stuff”.

  17. “Religious freedom is a fundamental right,” says Daniel Mach [ACLU] “but it’s not a blank check to harm others or impose our faith on our neighbors.”

    “The race is neck-to-neck! Folks, this is going to be a photo finish, I am sure of it!”

    It is not surprising to me that leftists in the ACLU keep arguing that the inaction of a particular person harms another person. The problem is that, while the argument is not cogent or logically consistent since it equivocates by the liberal use of the word “harm”, it is also quite insidious as it implies a group of people have a claim on other people’s goods by right and not because of contract or agreement. If people’s agreements or contracts can be overridden by the impulses or wishes of others, the result is catastrophe as economic actors move to prefer short-term gains over long-term plans. In other words, the sort of argument that the ACLU and other leftists are pushing leads to moral hazard and economic dislocation of resources.

  18. The whole contraceptive mandate issue is eerily similar to the issue of pharmacist’s refusing to hand out morning after pills despite their employer’s wishes, and despite the fact that their employer never agreed to exempt them from handing out morning after pills. Many of these pharmacists wanted to get the law involved, to either prevent their employers from firing them, or to forbid other pharmacies from refusing to hire pharmacists who will not hand out morning after pill.

    Here is the solution:

    If you are a pharmacist and you do not like that your employer requires you to hand out morning after pills, work somewhere else.

    If you are a pharmacist and you do not like the fact that your employer does not provide health coverage that includes contraception, work somewhere else.

    Such an elegant solution; no need to get government involved.

    1. Everyone know that solution, and yet starting ~200 yrs. ago, when employers with expensive capital and employing large #s started displacing self-employed workmen who had only cheap and less efficient capital. The view as a result has been that instead of workers having their choice of a large no. of customers, employers had their choice of a large # of workers, while workers had much, much less choice of employers. Pretty much all the labor law (and many other laws re business) since then stems from a desire to equalize the perceived imbalance of choices. To a good approximation, the policies treat employees as stuck with their jobs, but employers as not stuck with their employees.

  19. real rights and fake rights

    There is no meaningful distinction between positive and negative rights. Name any so-called negative right, and I will explain to you why it takes tax dollars to enforce.

    intolerance of intolerance, to put it charitably.

    By all means, be less charitable so I can understand what the fuck you’re talking about. Running a business has never entitled you to do whatever you want. You have to obey laws, provide handicapped access, and a hundred other things, including not discriminating. Sorry there are laws. I know a few places without them.

    1. The crux of this case is that the administration is not following the law, either in statute or the Constitution. Regulation and law that violates higher law is not law and you cannot appeal to the law’s authority to defend on it.

      1. Isn’t it about a religious exemption to the law, a form of which has never existed before (one for for-profit business)? The court isn’t deciding whether the contraception mandate is constitutional, it’s deciding whether it wants to create a new constitutional right of businesses to force their owners’ religious beliefs on employees.

        1. The RFRA is the law, the mandate violates that law. The court is deciding whether or not the government has the authority to force the administration’s religious beliefs on business’s as a cost of operating in the marketplace.

          1. The court is deciding whether or not the government has the authority to force the administration’s religious beliefs on business’s as a cost of operating in the marketplace.

            Exactly this.

            It ithe progreessive moral belief that other people should be forced to pay for other people’s healthcare that is at the root of this.

            This is about progressives like Tony forcing their moral beliefs on Hobby Lobby.

            It’s literally insane to say that objecting to be compelled to provide abortions is forcing your beliefs upon women.

            The analogy would be that if the government declared that all women have a right to free abortions, and then consscripted doctors to provide them, and if a doctor object to that for religious reasons, arguing that the doctor was imposing his religion upon women.

            1. A healthcare law isn’t predicated on religious belief (we have to use terms carefully here because religious belief actually means something according to law), but sure there is a moral component, just like with any law ever passed.

              But it is interesting that it is being treated as a given that opposition to abortion is religious in nature. Doesn’t that admit to a secular purpose behind allowing abortion? Same as with religious objection to serving in war–objectors are merely exempted based on strongly held belief, but they aren’t getting a policy that aligns with that belief (the war is still happening; abortions are still legal).

              I thought it was all about the secular moral outrage of murdering sweet innocent little babies, and that the fact that most of the objection comes from conservative religious people is a coincidence?

              1. This is sort of beside the point, but it’s possible for there to be a secular moral objection to abortion, as well as a religious one. Does it matter?

                But our society inherits a tradition of allowing freedom of conscience, which was the outcome of hundreds of years of warfare between various religious groups attempting to impose their morals upon eachother by force.

                ObamaCare is the first attempt to do that in several centuries, to mandate that other people live according to your moral beliefs.

                1. That’s a bit hysterical. Every law mandates that people live according to some moral belief, if you really want to get down to it. I favor a stricter burden on religious people who want to be exempted from laws, but that’s open to debate.

                  The only reason there’s a problem is because somehow this country didn’t get the memo in the 60s that the abortion issue is settled.

                  1. We generally attempt to minimize the laws to things where there is universal or near universal agreement upon the underlying moral belief.

                    There is not anywhere near universal agreement that people are entitled to healthcare.

                    1. Much less abortions, paid for by other people.

                    2. If you’re talking about western civilization, there is a consensus on these things. Our country seems to lag behind for some reason.

                    3. I said near universal agreement, not consensus.

                      Even a 2/3 majority doesn’t have the right to force it’s morals upon a 1/3 minority.

                    4. What’s going to stop them?

                    5. The mask fully slips.

                    6. I do believe that the minority controls a House of Congress at the moment and it can do various things like shut down the government and refuse to increase the debt ceiling. So yes, resistance is possible.

                    7. So it’s better when a minority can impose its will on a majority?

                    8. It’s better when everyone in society agrees that to leave one another free to live according to their own morals and their own conscience.

          2. As Ginsburg points out, an amendment to the RFRA enabling secular businesses and insurance companies to deny coverage based on religious belief was rejected and is partly how it got broad support in Congress.

        2. Please drop the pretense that this has anything to do with “forcing” owner’s religious beliefs on anyone. The only reason the business owner is involved at all is because they are being compelled to provide health insurance. Get rid of the employer mandate (i.e. the mechanism used to enforce the positive right) and the whole problem disappears.

          This case is a perfect illustration of how positive rights always require compulsion against other people. And the inevitable result of that is that sometimes those other people are going to be compelled to do things that they believe are morally impermissible.

          1. I’m 100% for getting rid of the employer mandate. You probably wouldn’t like what I’d replace it with, though.

            But there are all sorts of mandates for employers so the real issue is whether they can assert a religious exemption from one of them.

            1. What other mandates are there that require employers to perform some positive activity, or provide a particular good, as a condition of being an employer?

              Other than (say) filing taxes?

              And let’s not bring up public accomodation laws.

              1. Minimum wage, handicapped access, safe work environment, etc.

                1. None of those things should exist either.

                  1. ADA lawsuits have actually resulted in higher unemployment for the disabled because they are lawsuits waiting to happen. But results don’t matter when the intention is good, right?

            2. “But there are all sorts of mandates for employers so the real issue is whether they can assert a religious exemption from one of them.”

              The “Slippery Slope” is supposed to be a fallacy, not a rationale. There are limits on the authority of government. Interference in a person living what they consider a moral life is high on the list of those limits.

              1. There is a disconnect here between what is and what should be.

                The government also forcibly takes tax money from Christians and uses it to fund secret overseas torture chambers. This is somewhat contrary to New Testament teachings as well, no?

                The insurance mandate also forces people with religious objections to surgery to fund other people’s surgeries.

                HL a case of one particular group’s particular pet issue being treated with special consideration.

                The whole mandate is unconstitutional. The government interference in the marketplace that essentially punishes me for not getting insurance from my employer is unconstitutional.

                Once all these things are in place, making such a stink about condoms as if that’s such a huge tyranny compared with everything else going on is disingenuous.

                The debate is not about birth control – it’s about the healthcare mandate.

                1. The whole idea of positive rights is unconstitutional.

                  You cannot establish a positive right without compulsion upon other people. End of story.

                  It goes against centuries of legal and moral tradition in western civilization. Traditions that arose as the peaceful resolution to centuries of war and tyranny.

                  1. There are many “positive” rights enshrined in the constitution. A right to legal representation and a jury trial come to mind. A right to national defense is anything but free of cost. I go further and argue that even such rights that require government getting out of the way, like free speech, are not actually cost-free, since there must be apparatus in place to defend against violations of those rights.

                    The liberal project of making people more free did not end in the 18th century. You just want to draw a line between the “positive” rights enshrined then and others enshrined later, and I won’t bother trying to figure out why. We have free speech because we happen to speak. We have a right to counsel because we happen to not all be lawyers. And we have a right to a safe work environment because we happen to live in a society that requires us to work to make a living. More rights is good!

                    1. You just want to draw a line between the “positive” rights enshrined then and others enshrined later, and I won’t bother trying to figure out why.

                      Anyone who follows libertarians and fellow travelers as closely as you do should have realized by now that we question all positive rights, even those that predate our constitution.

                      We have a right to counsel because we happen to not all be lawyers.

                      We have a “right” to have a state-appointed mouthpiece for its own interests sit on our side in the courtroom and pretend to be an advocate for our interests.

                      Such rights we have!

                      And we have a right to a safe work environment because we happen to live in a society that requires us to work to make a living.

                      We have a “right” to follow pointless regulations that have not reduced workplace accidents whatsoever for the sake of appeasing worthless bureaucrats.

                      Also, there is no such thing as a society without work. The laws of thermodynamics alone dictate that work has to be done to transition a system to a more ordered state.

                    2. “More rights is good!”

                      Except for those peskily bound up in the Free Exercise Clause, apparently.

                    3. //, and I won’t bother trying to figure out why.

                      No, there is a line there, you’re just pretending it doesn’t exist at all just because it’s fuzzy and/or thin, as opposed to huge and thick and clear. It’s the typical sand grain/pile fallacy. Concepts are fuzzy, just because a concept is absolute doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

                      Engineers could argue on the safe distance from a planned blast zone, there is no perfectly objective way of determining it, does that mean that you can stand as close to the blast as you want without getting hurt?

                    4. there’s also a line because the basic political legitimacy that YOU, Tony, ascribe to, is not met with the ACA.

                      Sure Tony, most governments are essentially voluntary or conditional-voluntary, since you can leave the country. And taxes are similarly voluntary. But that ability to leave is not the only criteria for a truly free political system. Remember that whole democracy thing? Yeah, none of the people actually voted for the ACA. People just vote for their party to keep the other guy out of office; our party system is shitty. This is NOT democracy, NONE of the people have a real say. That’s also an important element of legitimacy.

                      I resepct the founding fathers and all that, but our republic party system has ended up pretty shitty and undemocratic

                      And no law has been so undemocratically passed as the ACA. Obama just forced that shit through

                    5. You just want to draw a line between the “positive” rights enshrined then and others enshrined later, and I won’t bother trying to figure out why.

                      Because you are intellectually lazy?
                      I’ve stated repeatedly why. Positive rights are ethically unworkable. All you end up with are conflicts between rights and then the only way to decide who *really* gets the right is by force – majority rule, might makes right.

                      That is the entire project of liberty. To establish a clear set of universal rights that are equally applied and enforced. Conflicting rights require additional refinement to resolve the conflict, and positive rights inherently conflict with eachother and with negative rights.
                      They don’t work. They cannot be applied universally and equally.
                      It is a moral and ethical dead end.

                2. You could argue it’s even larger than that. It’s about continuing to expand Commerce Clause jurisprudence (despite the previous “taxation” rationale) to force private actors to help achieve government goals. Lunch counter owners in the 60s may have been bastards but they weren’t violating anyone’s constitutional rights. Such violation requires government action. You know, sort of like the kind where the government violates a private party’s rights to property, contract and religion.

              2. When it comes to progs, the slippery isn’t a fallacy, it’s a roadmap. Remember smoking bans? the humorists of that period joked about how next they would ban fatty foods and other things because they were bad for you health. That was laughed off as hyperbole, well, no one is laughing now are they?

    2. Name any so-called negative right, and I will explain to you why it takes tax dollars to enforce.

      There is a huge difference between paying for courts to adjudicate who is the real owner of a piece of property, and compelling someone to provide a piece of property to another person.

      The cost of enforcing negative rights only entails the incidental costs of making decisions about rights.It does not include the cost of the property itself. It does not require compulsion either. If you don’t wish to show up to court, you can simply abandon your claim.

      By contrast, so-called property rights actively require that other people be conscripted and compelled to come up with the object of the right.

      To claim there is no difference is like saying that there’s no difference between enforcing rules and inventing rules. You have to draw a distinction between costs involved in enforcement, and costs that are entailed by the rights themselves.

      1. Correction: so-called positive rights.

      2. Why? We’re talking about taxation. Taxation happens in the same way regardless of whether it pays for courts or for transfer programs. Taxation by itself cannot be considered government stealing your property, if you allow for it for some uses. You can argue all you want about the constitutionality or appropriateness of what tax money is spent on, but there is no coherent argument for why taxation itself is legitimate or illegitimate based on what is done with the money. That rights require taxpayer-funded enforcement is your conundrum, not mine.

        1. Theoretically civil courts could be paid for with fees paid by the parties to a dispute.

          But let’s leave that aside for now.
          A court benefits both sides in a dispute, by providing a service of resolving the dispute without violence and in an equitable and fair manner. Courts are thus established for the mutual benefit of everyone involved.

          Transfer payments explicitly benefit some people at other’s expense. There is no mutual benefit. It’s just some people taking from others using violence.

          1. There is no mutual benefit.

            That’s both a new argument and wrong. Transfer programs, it can be argued, benefit society as a whole, i.e., even those transferred from. If being taxed is being harmed (as you say it is in the case of transfer payments), then it is also harmful even when it pays for courts. You must be saying that the harm is justified in one case but not the other. But that gets us to where we should have been all along: debating which institutions and policies are good on their merits, without this indefensible grasping at excuses for why the ones you like are legitimate and others are not legitimate.

            1. programs, it can be argued, benefit society as a whole

              “It can be argued”. What if the people who object don’t agree. They don’t think they are getting mutual benefit from it, so why should they be compelled to pay?

              In the civil court case example above, both parties agree to non-violent resolution of a dispute because they voluntarily CONSENT to do so, because they both agree that it is in their mutual benefit to do so. Moreover, as I noted above, no compulsion is necessary. If you don’t want to go to court, you can simply abandon your claim. You can settle out of court. People do it all the time.

              The court system is thus a formalization of rules that are originally established by mutual consent and mutual agreement.

              By contrast, your positive rights involve taking an existing state, originally established by voluntary agreement, and twisting it around into involuntary servitude. It’s an illegitimate hijacking of the purpose of government.

              1. They don’t think they are getting mutual benefit from it, so why should they be compelled to pay?

                Because it’s the law? They are welcome to hire an army of lobbyists, er I mean garner democratic support, to change the law. I pay for all sorts of programs I don’t like, but that doesn’t mean they are illegitimate. It’s absurd to say so.

                Even if mutual consent is relevant, I’m not sure what’s so consensual about the courts system. What about criminal courts? Defendants don’t usually want to be there. I see the judicial system as a big government program paid for with tax money that serves the social purpose of ensuring justice and resolving disputes. I just don’t think it’s meaningfully different from any other social good, and that the composition of government, for the most part, ought to be argued on the merits of individual programs and institutions.

                1. Because it’s the law?

                  Begging the question

                  Even if mutual consent is relevant, I’m not sure what’s so consensual about the courts system. What about criminal courts?

                  Civil vs Criminal Law 101

                  I see the judicial system as a big government program paid for with tax money that serves the social purpose of ensuring justice and resolving disputes.

                  And how well are those systems fulfilling that “social” purpose?

                  I just don’t think it’s meaningfully different from any other social good, and that the composition of government, for the most part, ought to be argued on the merits of individual programs and institutions.

                  Classic slippery slope:

                  Some specific rights were forfeit to obtain specific privileges, so therefore it is okay to abrogate any rights to provide whatever privileges the rulers deem fit to enact

                2. //I pay for all sorts of programs I don’t like, but that doesn’t mean they are illegitimat

                  I thought that was one of your biggest premises, that they are because of the political process.
                  Which is it, Tony?

                3. Because it’s the law?

                  I thought we were talking about what’s morally right.

                  I see the judicial system as a big government program paid for with tax money that serves the social purpose of ensuring justice and resolving disputes. I just don’t think it’s meaningfully different from any other social good

                  You don’t see how having a court system whose purpose is to enforce the rules equally is meaningfully different from passing a law that says some people are to be treated unequally?
                  Because both of them involve tax dollars, so therefore it’s the same!
                  Sure.

                  Morally, the only rules that should exist are those that treat all citizens identically. And that means, you may not pass a law that transfers money from one group of people to another.

                  1. That means you can’t have courts, because courts means taxing people and transferring their money to judges, clerks, bailiffs, public defenders, jurors, courthouse builders, etc. Taxation and redistribution always go hand-in-hand. It’s, fundamentally, the single role of any government.

                    1. “That means you can’t have courts,”

                      This was addressed

                      “HazelMeade|3.26.14 @ 11:48AM|#

                      Theoretically civil courts could be paid for with fees paid by the parties to a dispute.”

                      You’re dumb.

                    2. Theoretically unicorns could descend from Jupiter and sprinkle us with magic freedom dust.

                      Who is going to set up and enforce this fee-based system?

                    3. Yes, because paying someone to be a judge is JUST LIKE WELFARE!!!

                      Tony is apparently out of arguments.

                    4. How is it different other than you think it’s cool to have courts but not cool to have welfare? Taxes taken in the same way. Wealth redistributed for the purpose of increasing the social good. What’s the difference?

        2. Taxation by itself cannot be considered government stealing your property, if you allow for it for some uses.

          Actions are not washed of their malevolence by virtue of good intentions.

          there is no coherent argument for why taxation itself is legitimate or illegitimate based on what is done with the money.

          Taxation is legitimate if the person who pays the tax agrees with how it is taken and how it is spent.

          That rights require taxpayer-funded enforcement is your conundrum, not mine.

          Existence does not prove necessity.

        3. @ Tony

          . . . Taxation by itself cannot be considered government stealing your property, if you allow for it for some uses. . .

          Taxation is always theft.

          . . . For there is one crucially important power inherent in the nature of the State apparatus. All other persons and groups in society (except for acknowledged and sporadic criminals such as thieves and bank robbers) obtain their income voluntarily: either by selling goods and services to the consuming public, or by voluntary gift (e.g., membership in a club or association, bequest, or inheritance). Only the State obtains its revenue by coercion, by threatening dire penalties should the income not be forthcoming. That coercion is known as “taxation,” although in less regularized epochs it was often known as “tribute.” Taxation is theft, purely and simply even though it is theft on a grand and colossal scale which no acknowledged criminals could hope to match. It is a compulsory seizure of the property of the State’s inhabitants, or subjects. . .

          The Ethic of Liberty, Chapter 22: The Nature of the State.

          1. I accept that it’s valid (as in not immediately self-contradictory) to say all taxes are immoral, but the implication is that only anarchy is morally legitimate. Since anarchy sucks, I think it’s best not to make the initial moral claim.

    3. Name any so-called negative right, and I will explain to you why it takes tax dollars to enforce.

      Enforcement by the state is a positive right.

      Negative rights do not require the state to enforce.

      The state exists to enforce them because some people have deemed it a superior solution to the alternatives.

      You do not understand the words you use.

    4. Yeah there is. Positive rights are way outside the original enlightenment conception of rights, and most importantly positive rights are WAY MORE FUCKING EXPENSIVE to enforce. I might argue through macroeconomics that it’s almost impossible to benefit society by direct transfers like this that cover costs because of the nature of competition and incentives.

      Tony, do you really doubt that a lot of us would be for all the social programs and way more if we actually had a way of paying for them? Yeah, I want everyone to be wealthy and happy, too, I’m just not fooling myself. No amount of raising taxes is going pay for this program, or dig us out of our inevtiable debt hole, unless there is some serious cuts. I mean, what world are you living in? You think every other guy out there is the Monopoly guy, dining on caviar and truffles every night? There isn’t that many rich people to tax.

      1. I don’t know why no NGO has done a study like this, but:

        Make an imaginary “country” on paper of let’s 1,000 or 10,000 people. Assign incomes to the people based on current American demographics. Then look at the costs, both current, and the unfunded liabilities. Look at taxes collected. See if it’s possible to actually get us out of eventual bakruptcy. Look at tax increases, but take into account the incentive-crushing effects of it. Add in Obamacare, but be realistic about how much it’s going to raise in cost.

        How much you bet that even with raised taxes there’s no way out of the hole? Hell even in my proposed world where we massively shrink the military budget, slowly phase out social security, increase taxes to the point of having federal land taxes and boat taxes (for ownership on both counts) on the rich, that we STILL will eventually go bankrupt.

      2. We can certainly give it a good try considering we’re the wealthiest country in the world and most of that wealth is being sucked up by a tiny few (and not because they work thousands of times harder than everyone else). The Walton family alone have as much wealth as the bottom 40% of the country (such hard work being born to the right parents!).

        It’s not really about just taxing the rich, but having wealth distributed more broadly so that there are more people with taxable incomes.

        1. //We can certainly give it a good try

          why, given everything I JUST SAID? The nature of competition and incentives probably make it IMPOSSIBLE. Income mobility basically ceased after the ’60’s expansion of welfare. Huh, I wonder why (well, it’s also that the programs are set up in such a way as to create grossly perverse incentives). Have you guys ever managed to even raise taxes? Why isn’t that part of your calculus? You can blame the other side for not doing what you want them to, but the other side exists, and after a certain point it’s YOUR failure to compromise (which it is – notice how we make mild cuts and you accuse us of trying to murder the elderly and blacks. You clearly are the one refusing to compromise.)

        2. It’s not really about just taxing the rich, but having wealth distributed more broadly so that there are more people with taxable incomes.

          Given that tax rates are progressive the government would actually be better off with wealth being concentrated in the top tax backets.

          1. no, not really, not when most people are under the cutoff to pay any taxes

            of course he’s too fucking stupid to realize that all his statist controls and his worship of college is what creates such income inequality.
            There’s no system quite as egalitarian as a true free market economy, especially if it’s Georgist (the only free market land policy).

    5. a positive right invariably translates into a coercive obligation onto another party. By forcing the other party, his rights are violated, therefore the concept of a positive right is, in and of itself, based on contradictory premises.

  20. The ACLU maintains a “Dogmatic” position on all church and state issues (i.e. replacing public prayer with a moment of silence), and appears unwilling or unable to see the irony in replacing a coercive religious dogmatic worldview with a coercive atheistic dogmatic worldview. The obvious intent of separating church and state, eliminating the government sponsored coercive component.

  21. Real rights are whatever you can get away with. Fake rights are what you say you can get away with, but turn out not to be able to.

  22. If exemptions are wrong, then why did Sec. Sebelius already exempt 190 million people from the contraception mandate (either because they work for non-profit corporations or because their plans were “grandfathered” when Obamacare became effective)?

    Answer: Because exemptions are saved for the politically connected and favored.

  23. I oppose forcing employers to buy anything healthcare related. That’s all math. The best product, best service and the lowest prices can only come from the private sector and rigorous competition (i’m not talking about nuclear weapons or national forests or every inch of road or sidewalk, i’m talking abut goods and services). Unions are a big factor because all they do is make things more expensive and there are more than enough non-union-related laws to keep workers safe, therefor unions have no good reason to exist.

    However the rush to defend discrimination based on race, sexual orientation and gender identity is motivated by either pure ideology or wanting to partake in that type of discrimination, and if you’re against that type of discrimination but think legalizing it would reduce you might as well believe there’s a pie in the sky. Piss on dogmatists.

    1. *reduce it

    2. if you’re against that type of discrimination but think legalizing it would reduce [it] you might as well believe there’s a pie in the sky

      “If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind?”

      ?Fr?d?ric Bastiat, an actual classical liberal

      1. Not all classical liberals are libertarians. I do not follow an ideology. Look at where former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson stands on discrimination laws, and for that matter laws regarding animal cruelty, same goes for CLASSICAL LIBERAL economist John Stuart Mill before he got old and crazy.

    3. @ CentristClassicalLiberal

      . . . However the rush to defend discrimination based on race, sexual orientation and gender identity is motivated by either pure ideology or wanting to partake in that type of discrimination. . .

      Regardless of the motivation, the freedom to discriminate is an essential component of the freedom of association and basic property rights.

      As an owner of property, I have the right to exchange it to someone else and that necessarily means that I have the converse right to not exchange it for any reason I choose; for any right to do something necessarily includes the right to not do it.

      . . . and if you’re against that type of discrimination but think legalizing it would reduce you might as well believe there’s a pie in the sky.

      I really don’t give a shit if that kind of discrimination is reduced or not. Regardless of how repugnant you think someone’s motivation is for not buying from/selling to/hiring/serving someone else, there is no legitimate justification for using force to interfere with their choice to not engage in commerce.

      1. Logically consistent, nearly universal in it’s applicability and does not conflict with the freedom of others. This is the basis for the validity of universal moral claims and you are precisely correct.

        1. Murray Rothbard makes an amazing case for an universal, objective ethical standard based on self-ownership and that all Human Rights are, more correctly, Property Rights (Chapter 15) in The Ethics of Liberty.

          1. I’ve heard it all, and all that shit is begging the question. What is property ownership? That’s a complex question, and any proposal would involve a huge litany of rights that you could do with stuff that can’t be reduced to one or two simple principles.
            The followers of that nonsense have told me psychotic things like they can murder people who speed, or they can murder people stranded on their land, or that not only can you not circumcise your kid, you can’t even spanks them.

            1. @ Edwin

              I’ve heard it all, and all that shit is begging the question. What is property ownership? . . .

              Seriously. Read the book. The definition of property and property rights are clearly laid out w/o any question begging.

              . . . The followers of that nonsense have told me psychotic things like they can murder people who speed, or they can murder people stranded on their land. . .

              I call bullshit.

              Again, RTB! Pay particular attention to chapters 13: Punishment and Proportionality and 14: Children and Rights. No follower of The Ethics of Liberty would ever argue the nonsense you are alluding to.

            2. I’ve heard it all, and all that shit is begging the question. What is property ownership? That’s a complex question, and any proposal would involve a huge litany of rights that you could do with stuff that can’t be reduced to one or two simple principles.

              Your lack of knowledge on the subject does not effect the objective validity of property rights.

              The followers of that nonsense have told me psychotic things like they can murder people who speed, or they can murder people stranded on their land, or that not only can you not circumcise your kid, you can’t even spanks them.

              Well that’s not a well-thought out rebuttal even by the standards of someone who relies so heavily on strawmen and red herrings, like yourself apparently.

              1. it’s not a strawman if it happened/happens, since if it’s all so objective as you guys say it is, and you claim they shouldn’t be making those conclusions, then clearly it isn’t quite so objective.

                and I never said property rights aren’t valid/don’t exist. I said that they can’t be objectively gleaned out of the aether of the universe or what have you.

                The only system that would truly, truly be exactly consistent would involve Georgism and the rejection of the homesteading principle, and the removal of any spatial-control rights on real or personal property, and the acceptance that abortion after a certain age is unavoidably killing a baby and a violation of rights, even if before that it isn’t, and that the pregnancy situation creates a conundrum with no immediately obvious solution

                1. and I never said property rights aren’t valid/don’t exist. I said that they can’t be objectively gleaned out of the aether of the universe or what have you.

                  Try reading the book before you say anything else like this.

                  http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/ethics.asp

                2. it’s not a strawman if it happened/happens, since if it’s all so objective as you guys say it is, and you claim they shouldn’t be making those conclusions, then clearly it isn’t quite so objective.

                  Yeah you provide us with an anecdote about an unreasonable person saying unreasonable things and you attempt to force us to defend or dissociate with that person’s statements. I’m not playing that game.

                  and I never said property rights aren’t valid/don’t exist. I said that they can’t be objectively gleaned out of the aether of the universe or what have you.

                  If the act of stealing is a real thing that happens, then property rights do exist. That’s a pretty simple way to glean the existence of property rights using only logic.

                  The only system that would truly, truly be exactly consistent would involve Georgism and the rejection of the homesteading principle, and the removal of any spatial-control rights on real or personal property

                  No system relying on a monopolist initiation of aggression against others can be said to be “truly truly” consistent. Not even one truly. There’s nothing more inconsistent than awarding moral exemptions to certain people because they wear a costume or work for a self-declared monopoly, or even if a majority of voters award them this faux exemption from the universal moral constraints that all people owe one another.

          2. Rothbard was a fucking kook, who I followed in my youth.

            1. Great argument.

      2. it is/was necessary when large scores of locals (i.e. in the South) use their own force, much more violent and brutal than the state’s force, to make everyone else discriminate when they don’t want to.

        National chains supported the Civil Rights Act for these reasons. Richard Epstein’s article on the subject is enlightening.

        If the government’s role is to protect people’s rights by fighting the initiation of force, this includes larger-scale aggressions like war, and the stuff in between. Sometimes it DOES happen that large scores of people will try to enforce their shit on everyone else, but not at the size/manner of government. It happens, and has to be dealt with. Call it guerilla warfare if you like, but the South was pulling that shit in Burning Kansas and for years after the Civil War. Their culture was to be assholes no matter what. People are social animals. It happens.

        1. it is/was necessary when large scores of locals (i.e. in the South) use their own force, much more violent and brutal than the state’s force, to make everyone else discriminate when they don’t want to. . .

          For this discussion we’ll disregard the laws mandating discrimination (e.g.: “Jim Crow”).

          No. Laws barring discrimination are/were not necessary.

          What you are describing — scores of locals… [using] their own force, much more violent and brutal… — are/were direct acts of violence against the Property of others [note: an individuals’ person — body, mind, existence, etc. — is his property]; be it assault or murder, vandalism, destruction of private property, intimidation (threats of force), and etcetera. There were already laws on the books to prosecute those crimes.

          The failure was not a lack of “Equal Opportunity” protection (i.e.: anti-discrimination laws). The failure was the government refusing to effectively prosecute those crimes and/or aggressively prosecuting anyone that committed the “crimes” of self-defense.

          That’s like arguing that is necessary to criminalize polygamy because it (so often) results in child abuse (particularly sexual), but that precludes existing laws prohibiting child abuse.

        2. it is/was necessary when large scores of locals (i.e. in the South) use their own force, much more violent and brutal than the state’s force, to make everyone else discriminate when they don’t want to.

          So you think that single individuals have a greater capacity for violence and brutality than the state? The organization that claims the right to exempt itself from morality? The organization that claims a monopoly of all legal aggression?

          Jim Crow laws were enforced by governments. The institution of slavery itself could not have persisted without government subsidies and support.

          If the government’s role is to protect people’s rights by fighting the initiation of force, this includes larger-scale aggressions like war, and the stuff in between.

          It’s the government’s role to act as a parasite on it’s host society by claiming a monopoly on the legal initiation of force.

          Sometimes it DOES happen that large scores of people will try to enforce their shit on everyone else, but not at the size/manner of government.

          What exactly does that mean? That governments don’t create large scale tyrannies?

          1. you guys didn’t read what I read.
            Jim Crow laws wasn’t the only thing that maintained Jim Crow policies.

            //The failure was the government refusing to effectively prosecute those crimes

            Yeah, that wouldn’t have/DID NOT work. A bunch of good ole boy jurors would vote how they wanted and those who didn’t could (and again, actually were) easily be intimidated.

            //What exactly does that mean? That governments don’t create large scale tyrannies?

            Did I say that? How would you read that from what I wrote? No, of course they can. But that’s irrelevant to the fact that even within the jurisdiction of a seemingly well-functioning state, people can band together to enforce their own rules. From the Klan and southerners in the South, to the mafia in Sicily extracting protection, to gangs in Old New York controlling organized crime and the boss political system, to any number of historical examples

            1. Failure to read is not a legitimate defense. You said, “it is/was necessary”, referring to laws barring discrimination (i.e.: interfering with businesses rights to do or not do business with someone) and then gave spurious reasons to justify it.

              I quite succinctly refuted that by pointing out that the failure was not a lack of laws against discrimination, but a failure to enforce laws against the violence used to coerce discrimination.

              1. //I quite succinctly refuted that by pointing out that the failure was not a lack of laws against discrimination, but a failure to enforce laws against the violence used to coerce discrimination.

                Right, and I corrected you with facts. It was impossible to enforce such laws in a culture where huge numbers of the populace were willing to resort to vilence to enforce their one stupid policy they wanted so much.

                1. Right, and I corrected you with facts. It was impossible to enforce such laws in a culture where huge numbers of the populace were willing to resort to vilence to enforce their one stupid policy they wanted so much.

                  You corrected nothing.

                  Quite the contrary. You proved my point: the failure was not in a lack of antidiscrimination laws, the failure was on the government not adequately enforcing existing laws against assault, murder, vandalism, etcetera. Why the government failed to adequately enforce existing criminal statutes is not relevant to my case. Indeed, all that violence you speak of did not simply evaporate once the anti-discrimination laws/amendments were made; they continued on for some time after. Indeed, if the government could not enforce the existing criminal statutes, what in the world makes you think they would magically be able to enforce the anti-discrimination codes once enacted?

                  Therefore, the lack of them was not the failure and the later existence of them was not the fix.

                  1. BUT THE NATURE OF THE CULTURE IN THE SOUTH MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO ENFORCE THOSE BASIC CRIMINAL LAWS.

                    What don’t you understand about that?

                    The antidiscrimination laws fixed that, by making impossible for the locals to use their force of terror to cow shop owners to their policies. It’s one thing if it’s technically the business owners’ choice to discriminate or not, then all the local muscle has to do is intimidate anybody who gets uppity and decides to be a nigger-loving misceginist. One intimidation here or there now and then. But if federal law comes in and says NO ONE is allowed to discriminate, it’s not like the locals are going to intimidate EVERY SINGLE shop owner. That would be impossible for them. It rapidly commenced the end of the South’s Jim Crow economic separation, by making it a moot point. And it doesn’t hurt that the Feds were and are stronger than all of the South. Again, situations where a larger government has crushed smaller movements within it, good or bad, has happened a lot in history. That’s part of the advantage of a central government, it’s the big dick in the room. Like I said, it ends up being useful for more than just external war

                    1. I’ll quote you again, so you can see utterly off-base you are about the nature of government power.

                      it is/was necessary when large scores of locals (i.e. in the South) use their own force, much more violent and brutal than the state’s force, to make everyone else discriminate when they don’t want to.

                      You seriously are going to argue that the injustice perpetuated by southern country folk, mere individuals, is more “violent and brutal” than the state’s use of force? That’s just a denial of reality, whatever your reasons are for clinging to it. If you really believe that, then you really don’t understand the kind of power governments wield with impunity.

      3. To the ideologue, shooting a retarded person for stepping one inch onto ones unmarked property is completely justified.

        and most self-described libertarians are actually totalitarian for not adhering to the NAP which would alow me to buy and sell nuclear weapons to mad scientists trying to bring back dinosaurs and giant mosquitoes /sarcasm

        1. *allow

        2. The guy with CentristCLassicalLiberal for a username is complaining about the tyrannical nature of ideologues? I’m thinking you don’t know what an ideologue is…

          If the world had more ideologues (as is actually defined, instead of how you define it) the world would be a more moral place. Allegiance to the pragmatism of the moment breeds injustice and destruction. Centrists and moderates are marching legions of unborn into debt slavery. We don’t need anymore of those types.

          1. Pragmatism is pragmatism. It doesn’t change. Does that mean policies don’t change? Of course not.

            Is former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson one of those “marching legions of unborn into debt slavery”? He’s a moderate and he made every other sitting Republican governor of his time look like economic leftists.

            1. If Gary Johnson had the record of a moderate, he’d have a bloated state budget to show for it. The fact that he makes other ‘budget hawks’ look like leftists is a testament that he’s not a moderate. Moderates don’t reason from principles, that’s why they’re called moderates.

              1. OBVIOUSLY we weren’t talking “moderate” in the context of Obama or Christie but classical liberals and libertarians. Gary Johnson supports anti-discrimination laws, laws against animal cruelty, a REFORMED entitlement system etc.. He is not ideological. If you want to play word games, me and him sort of follow our own ideology. Classical liberal is the only label for someone who believes in free markets and civil liberties but doesn’t adhere to the libertarian ideology, and no i’m not a damn objectivist, which is essentially the same thing as a neolibertarian, except neolibertarianism is more compatible with social conservatism.

                1. You accuse me of word games while you toss around words that you arrogantly declare their meaning to be whatever you say they mean.

  24. While I support Hobby Lobby’s efforts from a Property Rights standpoint, the Religious Freedom argument is a bit thin.

    Hobby Lobby is arguing that they oppose contraception and abortoficants on religious belief grounds and, therefore, oppose purchasing, in part, insurance [read: health care payment plans] that provide those options, in full or in part. Their argument is, in essence, they oppose paying, in any part, for someone else to sin.

    Moral and logical consistency dictates, therefore, that Hobby Lobby must be as opposed to their workers taking their wages and purchasing those products/services directly as well. If it is not stipulated in their employment contracts that no wages paid by Hobby Lobby may be used to purchase those products/services, then Hobby Lobby has no legitimate grounds, under religious belief justification, to object to providing health insurance that covers those products/services as it is functionally no different than Hobby Lobby paying indirectly for those products/services when their employees use their wages to secure them.

    1. Moral and logical consistency dictates, therefore, that Hobby Lobby must be as opposed to their workers taking their wages and purchasing those products/services directly as well. If it is not stipulated in their employment contracts that no wages paid by Hobby Lobby may be used to purchase those products/services, then Hobby Lobby has no legitimate grounds, under religious belief justification, to object to providing health insurance that covers those products/services as it is functionally no different than Hobby Lobby paying indirectly for those products/services when their employees use their wages to secure them.

      It is functionally different. Morally speaking, is Hobby Lobby liable if their employee uses their wages to pay a hitman to murder someone? Is that functionally the same as paying the hitman on behalf of their employee?

      The government is forcing Hobby Lobby to violate their own conscience by forcing them to use their own agency to purchase a product they oppose morally.

      I think it’s irrational to oppose birth control myself, but that’s a different subject altogether. As you know, the use of force is the issue.

      1. @ FreeSociety

        It is functionally different. Morally speaking, is Hobby Lobby liable if their employee uses their wages to pay a hitman to murder someone? Is that functionally the same as paying the hitman on behalf of their employee? . . .

        I disagree. The problem here is that you are equating paying for insurance that pays for/covers sinfulthings with paying for those sinful things directly. This is not the case.

        Scenario A: An employee works for Hobby Lobby and earns a wage. That employee deposits the money and then, later, goes to the pharmacy and writes a check for contraceptives.

        Scenario B: Hobby Lobby pays part of the expense for a health insurance plan (the rest of the expense is passed on to the employee as a monthly premium). The employee then goes to the pharmacy, presents her insurance card, receives contracptives, and the insurance company pays the pharmacy for them.

        In neither scenario is the owner of Hobby Lobby paying the pharmacy directly for their employee’s choice to consume contraceptives. Both scenarios are, functionally, no different; Hobby Lobby pays money to someone who then spends it, or some portion thereof, to purchase sinfulthings. The only difference is in degree; Scenario A has only one degree of separation while Scenario B has two degrees of separation from the sinful purchase.

        1. I disagree. The problem here is that you are equating paying for insurance that pays for/covers sinfulthings with paying for those sinful things directly. This is not the case.

          Hobby Lobby is being forced to purchase a contract that they do not consent to purchase for moral reasons. It’s a moral issue, not a game of 6 Degrees of Separation. By your logic, if Hobby Lobby were to buy a contract that pays for hitman services, they are free of any moral culpability because they are channeling the purchase of murder services through an intermediary entity. Whether the CEO personally hands the hitman money to kill someone, or pays an intermediary broker to effect the transaction indirectly, makes absolutely no moral difference.

          Scenario A

          This is someone exercising their free agency. It’s not the employer exercising their agency so no it’s not functionally the same at all.

          Scenario B

          The insurance contract that the employer was forced to buy paid for the contraceptives. The coverages contained within the contract are benefits paid for by the employer.

          What is the functional difference between murdering your wife, and paying someone else to murder your wife? Are you freed from your moral obligations because you contracted the murder?

          This is the logical consistency test and your argument that the employer isn’t being forced to violate their conscience does not pass this test.

          1. @ Free Society

            Hobby Lobby is being forced to purchase a contract that they do not consent to purchase for moral reasons. . .

            That is true. However, that is not what my functional equivalence argument is about.

            I do not disagree with the validity of the argument about being forced to purchase any particular contract, however, they are not. They are free to purchase a different contract from a different company. Rather, their contention is that, no matter who they contract with, they are being forced into certain, government mandated, conditions in those contracts (i.e. specific coverage provisions in insurance contracts/policies).

            But that is not the argument they are making. They are making the argument — at least in every report that I have read — that they are morally opposed to paying for someone else’s sinful things when they’re not. They’re paying someone else who then pays for those sinful things, whether it is the employee or an insurance agency…

            1/4

            1. But that is not the argument they are making. They are making the argument — at least in every report that I have read — that they are morally opposed to paying for someone else’s sinful things when they’re not. They’re paying someone else who then pays for those sinful things, whether it is the employee or an insurance agency…

              When I say they use their own ‘agency’, I mean it in the old timey Lockean sense. ‘Agency’ being their own ostensible free will.

              So let’s do another example if you’re willing to read… You work for an employer. He pays you wages which you use to invest in a human trafficking operation. Does that make your employer morally culpable for human trafficking? I would say, no. But suppose your employer pays you a wage but also offers a benefits package, a part of which is ongoing investments in a human trafficking operation on your behalf. Is he morally culpable now? Quite simply yes.

              I grant that the culpability is greatly diminished when someone puts a gun to his hand and forces him to invest in immoral things. But the functional equivalent argument isn’t valid, otherwise employers with unscrupulous employees would be guilty of moral violations everytime one of their employees used their own agency, their own free will to spend their wages to finance immoral things.

          2. Scenario A

            This is someone exercising their free agency. It’s not the employer exercising their agency so no it’s not functionally the same at all.

            Scenario B

            The insurance contract that the employer was forced to buy paid for the contraceptives. . .

            You are missing a key component to Scerio B; nobody is forced to buy sinfulthings. If A is someone exercising their free agency, then so is B since, in B, the same someone from A must must exercise their free agency to choose to seek out and receive sinfulthings. The only functional different is in who pays for the sinfulthings; A is the employee while B is the insurance company. In neither case has Hobby Lobby paid the hitman directly.

            I think you may be misunderstanding my “functioal equivalence” here. The how it works, not the why (forced to pay for certain coverage in insurance policies), is, more or less, the same. In both scenarios, regardless of why, the how is: Hobby Lobby pays someone who pays someone else for something. Regardless of the why, if they are morally opposed to the how in one but not the other, then they’re being inconsistent. . .

            2/4

            1. Hobby Lobby pays someone who pays someone else for something.

              Degrees of separation don’t really matter in morality. Hobby Lobby could pay a middle man who pays a middle man who pays another middle man to murder someone, but the intent to hire out a murder was initiated by Hobby Lobby.

          3. . . . What is the functional difference between murdering your wife, and paying someone else to murder your wife? . . .

            None, but that is not the argument you made above. You asked,

            Morally speaking, is Hobby Lobby liable if their employee uses their wages to pay a hitman to murder someone? Is that functionally the same as paying the hitman on behalf of their employee?

            Paying the insurance company is not paying the hitman.

            That previous query made the mistake of conflating paying a middle man (an employee that hires a hitman) with paying directly (the hitman). Note: The insurance company is not the hitman (the pharmacy); the insurance company pays the hitman (the pharmacy) on the employee’s behalf.

            3/4

            1. Paying the insurance company is not paying the hitman.

              If the employer is buying a contract from the insurance company that stipulates payment for the hitman, the premium for the policy is paying for the hitman. Channeling the payment and the call to action through an intermediary does not negate the moral consequence of initiating the action to begin with.

              That previous query made the mistake of conflating paying a middle man (an employee that hires a hitman) with paying directly (the hitman). Note: The insurance company is not the hitman (the pharmacy); the insurance company pays the hitman (the pharmacy) on the employee’s behalf.

              I’m sorry but I just don’t see how that’s a mistake. You’re saying it would be somehow different if the employer were paying the hitman directly versus paying a middle-man to pay the hitman. Regardless of the intermediaries, the action of contracting a murder was still initiated by the employer, on the employees behalf.

              When we cut to the core of our disagreement, my sticking point is that I cannot accept that the employer bears any moral culpability in how his employees choose to spend their own money. I also cannot accept, that the employer who chooses how to spend his employee’s money on behalf of his employee does not bear any culpability for how that money is spent.

              Once again though, I’ll grant that the culpability is somewhat diminished when there’s a gun to his head.

          4. . . . This is the logical consistency test and your argument that the employer isn’t being forced to violate their conscience does not pass this test.

            If Hobby Lobby opposes, to the point of seeking exception, paying indirectly in Scenario B but not in Scenario A, then they are not being logically/morally consistent.

            Consequently, unless they also seek exemption in Scenario A (i.e.: as a condition of employment, the employee may not use their Hobby Lobby wages to purchase sinfulthings), their argument to Scenario B is spurious and should be treated as such.

            4/4

            1. If Hobby Lobby opposes, to the point of seeking exception, paying indirectly in Scenario B but not in Scenario A, then they are not being logically/morally consistent.

              Okay then let’s take that scenario a step further. I’m going to take your scenarios verbatim except I’ll change out some of the nouns with much more pronounced moral violations and lets see if the ‘functional equivalence’ argument applies.

              Scenario A: An employee works for Hobby Lobby and earns a wage. That employee deposits the money and then, later, goes to the internet and writes a check for child porn.

              Scenario B: Hobby Lobby pays part of the expense for some child porn (the rest of the expense is passed on to the employee as a monthly subscription). The employee then goes to the internet, presents her membership card, receives child porn, and the child pornography distributor pays the child pornographer/molester for them.

              In Scenario B, Hobby Lobby is directly participating in the dissemination of child porn. In Scenario A, the employee seeks out this morally repugnant material of his own volition. These two scenarios are very different, no? Or do you think Hobby Lobby is just as culpable in Scenario A? If so then every employer who ever had a paying fan of child porn working for them is functionally equivalent to a financier of child porn.

      2. The use of force is not the issue. Nobody disputes (well except you guys) that government has the power to force companies to abide by laws. The issue is whether a for-profit business can have a religious exemption.

        1. The use of force is not the issue. Nobody disputes (well except you guys) that government has the power to force companies to abide by laws. The issue is whether a for-profit business can have a religious exemption.

          That’s exactly the issue. A religious exemption from what, Tony? An exemption from being forced to do something perhaps? Or are we talking about exemption from being asked politely to do something?

        2. It would be great if we could just agree not to force people to do things. Then we wouldn’t have this problem of having to grant people exemptions from being forced to do things.

          1. Yep. But such is the nature of statism. We need laws to undo the injustice of other laws which further necessitates more laws that can be used to fix the problems caused by those laws… and this goes on until a war or calamity happens. Then people blame markets, or anarchists or some other facet of freedom and we repeat the cycle.

    2. I think the reason “religious freedom” grounds are being used is because there is no constitutional amendment that enshrines the more broad freedom of conscience/thought, of which religious liberty is a mere constituent. You shouldn’t need to make supernatural claims in order to defend your freedom of conscience, but that’s where we are. Supernatural claims get more deference from government.

      1. @ Free Society

        I think the reason “religious freedom” grounds are being used . . .

        Regardless of the why, the religious freedom argument [against providing insurance that covers, in part or in full, sinfulthings] is spurious, at best, and pure sophistry, at worst.

        The mandated sinfulthings coverage does not force the owners of Hobby Lobby to:
        1. ) buy sinfulthings, for themselves or anyone else;
        2. ) use sinfulthings; or
        3. ) do sinfulthings.

        The owners of Hobby Lobby remain completely free to practice their religious beliefs by not buying/using/doing those sinfulthings.

        I’d have a whole lot more respect for Hobby Lobby, and give them more support if they argued: it is our business and we reserve the right to not do something we object to, especially since it does not violate any one else’s rights, and the government has no business and no legitimate authority to interfere with that!

        And thank you for the civil, well-thought discussion.

        1. the religious freedom argument [against providing insurance that covers, in part or in full, sinfulthings] is spurious, at best, and pure sophistry, at worst.

          I get your point, the ‘religious based exemption’ is weak in comparison to other concerns like property rights and freedom of association. But I wouldn’t describe it as spurious or sophist. I think it’s the least preferable of a host of valid reasons to grant an exception (or abolish the law altogether), but still valid enough to override the will of our local monopoly of legal aggression.

          1. ) buy sinfulthings, for themselves or anyone else;
          2. ) use sinfulthings; or
          3. ) do sinfulthings.

          2 and 3 are certainly true. But it does force them to directly subsidize the existence and use-by-others of something that violates their conscience. The contracted benefit is paid-for by the employer, whether it’s used by the employee or not.

          1. @ Free Society

            . . . 2 and 3 are certainly true. But it does force them to directly subsidize the existence and use-by-others of something that violates their conscience. The contracted benefit is paid-for by the employer, whether it’s used by the employee or not.

            If (A) employees using their wages to purchase anything Hobby Lobby finds morally objectionable does not violate Hobby Lobby’s Religious Freedom, then it is, simply, a stretch to argue that (B) subsidizing employees’ access to health insurance, why notwithstanding, that the employees may use to get the same products or services does. Either both A and B violate Hobby Lobby’s Religious Freedom or neither do. It simply cannot follow that A does not while B does. Thus, the Religious Freedom argument is spurious, at best, and sophistry, at worst.

            The issue that Hobby Lobby is forced, by government fiat, to only subsidize insurance plans that include any particular coverage is a different argument altogether. And that is the argument they should be making; that the government has no legitimate authority to mandate any particulars of contracts between two non-govnerment entities.

        2. The owners of Hobby Lobby remain completely free to practice their religious beliefs by not buying/using/doing those sinfulthings.

          Indeed they do. But they are buying those things they find objectionable when they buy an insurance contract.

          I’d have a whole lot more respect for Hobby Lobby, and give them more support if they argued:[…]

          I agree completely. The violations of liberty in this law run much much deeper than supposed supernatural commandments.

          And thank you for the civil, well-thought discussion.

          Likewise. I’d never convince anyone of the truth, or discover it for myself, if I just attack them or tare into them. Best regards.

          1. Re: Free Society

            . . . But they are buying those things they find objectionable when they buy an insurance contract. . .

            So… as soon as they sign on the dotted line and pay their liability, the insurance company delivers all the contraceptives, abortoficants, and other things to their doorstep!? No, my friend, that is not the case.

            As I understand the health insurance racket, Hobby Lobby (HL) does not pay for or “buy” health insurance in that they actually receive anything in return. Rather, the insurance company agrees to provide health care coverage (i.e.: policies) to HL’s employees that choose to be insured under the company plan HL pays a part of the premium for each policy with the remainder of the premium being passed on to the employee. Otherwise, the policy effectively belongs to the employee on the conditions of paying their premiums and continued employment with HL. This can be illustrated by the fact that HL cannot make a claim against Employee A’s policy for any person that is not specifically covered by Employee A’s policy.

            HL is subsidizing their employees’ costs to be insured and does not really “buy” anything, except, perhaps, access to a particular insurance plan for the employees, nor does HL actually pay for any end product or service.

            1. HL is subsidizing their employees’ costs to be insured and does not really “buy” anything, except, perhaps, access to a particular insurance plan for the employees, nor does HL actually pay for any end product or service.

              In a sense, yes. I respond to this post in particular because it discusses the moral implications of the medium of exchange.

              The health insurance contract is being used as as payment for the employee’s labor. But the medium of exchange still has moral implications. What if HL decided to pay their employees in Ivory tusks poached from Africa? Or what if they paid their employees with blood diamonds? Is the employer not morally responsible at all for the things it provides to it’s employees as payment?

              If the employee uses his wages to fly over to Africa to poach some elephants for their tusks that’s a moral violation that rests squarely on the employee’s shoulders. But when the employer pays him with ivory (that he paid someone else to poach) in exchange for his labor, that’s a moral violation shared by both parties of that exchange.

    3. It is functionally different in that in one case, Hobby Lobby is paying for, effectively, a coupon redeemable for an abortifacient.

      Money is fungible, health insurance isn’t.

      If the employee in the job interview stated openly that they would use their paychecks to have an abortion, Hobby Lobby ought to have a pretty good case that they can discriminate against that person on freedom of conscience grounds.

      There’s a big difference, in many people’s minds between knowing that the money is going to pay for something morally impermissible, and paying for something with fungible case that the employee may or may not spend on that thing.

      Society has a pretty long tradition of treating cash as a kind of privacy barrier. What you don’t know, you aren’t responsible for. Knowing and not knowing make a difference in once’s conscience.

      Besides, it’s really not your business to interpret their religion for them.

      The fact that they find it morally impermisslbe ot do a thing ought to be enough. You don’t twist people’s arm into doing things that they say they are opposed to, no matter how stupid you think their reasoning is. That’s just evil, irregardless.

      1. @ HazelMead

        . . . It is functionally different in that in one case, Hobby Lobby is paying for, effectively, a coupon redeemable for an abortifacient. . .

        That is completely false (see: my post @ 7:54PM).

        HobbyLobby (HL) is only, at best, “buying” access to a risk pool. Insurance companies have plans with, literally hundreds (if not thousands) of businesses and thousands (if not hundreds of thousands, or more) of individuals; the more, the better. All of the money that all those people pay in premiums gets put into one big pool. The insurance company is gambling that they will take in more money in premiums then they will have to pay out in benefits. . .

        1/3

      2. Indeed, for instance LobbyHobby (LHXXX – an adult-oriented business) also has insurance for LHXXX’s employees with the same insurer that HL uses. Even IF HL’s insurance policies did not cover contraceptives and abortoficants (sinfulthings, for short), but LHXXX’s does, then HL is, indirectly subsidizing LHXXX’s employees using b/c and RU486. You see, the premiums HL pays gets put into the same pot that LHXXX and their employees pay.

        Thus, some of the money that HL contributed (which, incidentally now belongs to the insurance company, not HL) will pay for someone, whom HL never even agreed to pay anything for, to buy sinfulthings that HL finds morally objectionable.

        2/3

      3. . . . Besides, it’s really not your business to interpret their religion for them. . .

        /sigh/

        I am not interpreting their religion for them. Sadly, you’re conflating “interpret[ing] their religion” with with discussing Religious Freedom.

        I have made no argument that they are wrong about their belief that sinfulthings are immoral and/or sinful. Indeed, I support their right to believe that and to exercise that belief by not using those sinfulthings.

        Rather the question is whether it violates their Religious Freedom to subsidize something that someone else might use (or not) for something that Hobby Lobby (HL) finds morally objectionable. And I argue that the answer is, no (see: my post @ 7:23PM).

        3/3

        1. Do you force people to do things that they think are morally objectionable?

          Does it matter whether you believe that buying insurance that covers contraception isn’t really subsidizing contraception?

          As long as THEY think that it is, then you are forcing them to do something that THEY FEEL violates their conscience.

          And that should be the end of the matter. It is simply immoral and illiberal and downright EVIL to force people to act against their conscience. Irregardless of whether you think their reasoning is valid.

  25. So everyone has a right to the market when they open a business, and a right to withhold services and resources based upon nothing more than spite? That is an opinion that could only be held by individuals who have the privilege of being a member of the dominant class. Acceptability of excluding all those that do not meet the majority’s expectation is a sign of irrationality; and Jacob Sullum is free to proselytize the right to refuse your fellow Americans without a viable reason, but to appear on a venue such as Reason.com is abundant with irony.

    1. So everyone has a right to the market when they open a business, and a right to withhold services and resources based upon nothing more than spite or any other damn reason they choose [FIFY]? That is an opinion that could only be held by individuals who have the privilege of being a member of the dominant class. Acceptability of excluding all those that do not meet the majority’s expectation is a sign of irrationality . . .

      Bullshit.

      The exact same right belongs to consumers as well. They have every right to echange or not exchange their money to purchase products or services. In other words, consumers have, and regularly exercise, the right to discriminate against businesses.

      Do you advocate for anti-discrimination laws in consumership? Do you think companies should be able to use the force of government to compel consumers to buy their products or services?

      If not, then you absolutely cannot, with any degree of logical consistency or legitimate rationale, argue in favor of businesses being forced to sell/serve/employ anyone.

  26. The individual has a right not to offer consumer services to the general public, but once you take the endeavor to provide those consumer services the only way that it encroaches on the business owners right is when the owner choses to profess the withholding of services are based upon the demographic group that the consumer belongs to. The action, overt by the choice of the business owner, to choose to withhold while offending the perspective customer is impractical and unnecessary since the business owner could have simply stated “sorry, we aren’t available that week, could I refer you to so-and-so they would be able to help you out.” Most of the readers of Reason.com will likely agree with the sentiment that Title II of the Civil Rights Act which bars discrimination within businesses that are available to the public is utterly irrational, but the social contract that provides government services to businesses imply that the businesses should be for the public that paid for the infrastructure the businesses utilize on a daily basis. Would it acceptable if businesses that did discriminate, that the local government would roll back the roads that lead to the business? To discriminate against counter parties that did business with the discriminating owner?

  27. If there is a right to discriminate then any business exercising that right would have a lot more to lose than just one gig for a bet roved couple that the business owner despised. You have a right not to participate in any market, but once you chose to enter said market it is no longer your right to discriminate; and once you do chose to infringe on the rights of individuals for simply practicality find any other excuse to withhold services or goods and return to under whatever bridge you come from. Every market relies upon public goods, and deny that fact is irrational and unreasonable.

    1. If there is a right to discriminate then any business exercising that right would have a lot more to lose than just one gig for a bet roved couple that the business owner despised. You have a right not to participate in any market, but once you chose to enter said market it is no longer your right to discriminate; and once you do chose to infringe on the rights of individuals for simply practicality find any other excuse to withhold services or goods and return to under whatever bridge you come from. Every market relies upon public goods, and deny that fact is irrational and unreasonable.

      Again, bullshit! Talk about irrational and unreasonable garbage…

      A business owner does not confer any title to his goods or labor (services) by simple virtue of opening his doors as a business open to the public. His property is still his up to and until the time that he voluntarily exchanges it to consumers. Consumers have no legitimate title claim to the Property (products or labor) of the owner until they have received title through voluntary exchange or as a gift.

      Since the customers have no right to the property that they do not own, it does not infringe on any of their rights to deny them access to the business’ Property.

      1. Since the customers have no right to the property that they do not own, it does not infringe on any of their rights to deny them access to the business’ Property.

        Once again I agree with you here. To say that business owners don’t have a right to choose who they do business with or to say that a customer has a right to the goods and services of others, is to morally justify slavery. I happen to believe that slavery is thourghly immoral as it violates one’s freedom of association. To reject the validity of freedom of association is reject the moral basis for opposing slavery. So in a nutshell, progressives and American liberals are pro-slavery whether they know it or not.

    2. You have a right not to participate in any market,

      You also have the right to starve and die. Because that’s when happens when you don’t participate in any market.

      1. You have a right not to participate in any market,

        You also have the right to starve and die. Because that’s when happens when you don’t participate in any market.

        Not participating in any market is NOT the same has participating in none. I can easily choose not to participate in the market in Atlanta while still participating in the market near Dahlonega.

        1. Employers in EVERY market are required to buy health insurance for their employees covering contraception. So the only way for them to avoid doing this is to cease to exist as an employer.

          1. Employers in EVERY market are required to buy health insurance for their employees covering contraception. So the only way for them to avoid doing this is to cease to exist as an employer.

            So? It’s a question of morality and justice, not a debate about the very existence of the status quo.
            And this status quo is a holdover from the dark days of FDR nationalizing the economy freezing wages to keep employers from bidding up the cost of labor. Thus employers could only increase their worker’s pay by offering ‘non-monetary’ benefits packages. A series of laws regulating these packages codified this practice and has ingrained this toxic concept into employment practices.

            Every little policy preference that these progressives have, has as dark storied past based in racism (see minimum wage) or outright tyranny (see basically everything done by FDR).

  28. In regards to Hobby Lobby, they are receiving tax credits (which they free are to reject) when they provide their employees with health-care insurance that happens to include birth control. If they were so adamant they would refuse the tax credits and pay for health insurance that did not include birth control (which would be difficult to find since birth control has such a great epidemiological benefit that any insurance company denying birth control would see their expenditures go up and so the market and reason has spoken and few health insurance policies are offered sans birth control at reasonable rates) as well as the difference in costs that are being set by the for-profit insurance companies. Hobby Lobby, while paying lip service to their right to principle, would rather bemoan their inability to access government services and benefits on their own terms. But when your cant stick to stated principles because inconvenience, and you would rather have them subsidized than pay the true costs of those principles they are no longer principles but just a hobby.

    1. But you’re not applying the stone cold logic of libertarian principle here: “Obamacare bad!”

    2. It’s a tax deduction, not a credit.

      And they will also be fined $2,000 per employee for not providing health insurance, under the ACA.

    3. Also, everyone here wants to get rid of the tax deduction for employer-provided insurance. And get rid of the employer based system as a whole.

      Just let everyone buy their plans on the individual market.
      Problem solved.

  29. //In regards to Hobby Lobby, they are receiving tax credits (which they free are to reject) when they provide their employees with health-care insurance

    Really? Details? There are tax credits for providing health insurance? Was that the case before ObamaCare?

    1. DoesntMatter doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
      There are not, and never were any tax credits for employers providing health insurance.

  30. If a corporation is enough of a “person” to have the right to free speech (and unlimited anonymous campaign contributions) then it seems obvious that it is enough of a “person” to have another First Amendment right to freedom of religion.

    1. Principles are only applied consistently when it stands to increase the power of the state. Dontcha know?

  31. A boss has no right to interfere with an employees rights under regulated insurance any more than they do with how they use their paycheck, comply with OSHA regs, environmental regs or anything else mandated by our democratically developed secular laws.

    The benefit that is health insurance (administered by a private corporation btw, which is yet another separation from the employers financial input, thus it is fungible) is something that the employee should have the unfettered right to apply as they wish.

    If the employer has some (strange to me) “religious” offense to some various aspect of a generalized AMA/FDA approved, science based, floor of minimum coverage regulated by democratic law, tough shit. We can’t have every moon shot “religious” belief system picking apart people’s benefit packages!

    They have no more right cherry picking what is covered or not in the employees policy, as they do determining (especially on “religious grounds”) what individual expenditures their corporate taxes pay for, or not. (I don’t see them demanding since “thou shalt not kill” they be exempt from federal taxation)

    While they are free to bitch about basic healthcare, or whatever other bogus “religious” issues they have to any number of governmental regulations. This rule has absolutely ZERO effect of “prohibiting free exercise thereof” as written in the constitution. They are perfectly free to go to their temple and pray away for their evil sex having workers!

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