Tuesday, July 01, 2014


As should shock no one, on the Hobby Lobby decision libertarians come down unanimously for the rights of corporations over those of women who need medicine. Megan McArdle:
Otherwise, according to the reasoning of that [anti-decision] tweet, I am being denied something every time my employer refuses to buy it for me: cars, homes, Hummel collectible figurines. And don’t I have a First Amendment right to express my love of round-faced Bavarian children doing adorable things?
Two things: first, McArdle trying to be funny is a natural emetic; and second, as awful as she is I'm still surprised to see her promoting the ridiculous idea that health insurance benefits amount to "free stuff" (as the conservatives who don't bother to call themselves libertarians have unfailing come to call it) whenever it specifically benefits women's health. (Sample witticism: "My company won't pay for my toothpaste. I'm going to be forced to have cavities now.").  Then, McArdle goes on about how unreasonable other people are being. I guess I'll have to downgrade my opinion of her, if such a thing is possible.

McArdle also suggests that Obama wanted to lose the Hobby Lobby case so his free-stuff-fueled slut-minions will vote Democrat in November. So does McArdle's husband Peter Suderman at libertarian flagship Reason, only presumably he's got a sense of shame because he's more evasive about it:
To be clear: I am not at all suggesting that the administration was hoping or intending to lose in court. But...
...this does help explain, at least somewhat, why the administration was so eager to pursue the case... It’s the political/legal equivalent of online clickbait; it grabs the attention of large numbers of people, sparks their interests and passions, and gets them engaged (or at least enraged). That doesn’t mean the administration set out to lose, or doesn’t care about having lost. But it does potentially change the calculus about whether and how hard to press an issue like this by offering some real benefits just for fighting the fight, even in the event of a defeat.
If the smell didn't tip you off, the incoherence of the last sentence is a glaring tell that you've just been handed a load of bullshit. What real benefits are offered, and by whom to whom? Also, what were they supposed to do, press less hard? As for the ruling itself, Suderman's all smiles:
The big question isn't whether the contraception mandate violates the religious freedoms of some faceless corporate entity entirely separate from the individuals who own that company -- it's whether the requirement would violate the free exercise of religious for the particular people who founded and now run the company... 
As Alito writes in his opinion, "A corporation is simply a form of organization used by human beings to achieve desired ends....When rights, whether constitutional or statutory, are extended to corporations, the purpose is to protect the rights of these people." 
In seeking to defend the requirement, the federal government had argued that Hobby Lobby, as a for-profit corporation, was not eligible to challenge the rule under the RFRA because corporations are "separate and apart from" their individual owners and operators. They were distinct, and not "people," and therefore ineligible for the protections of a law designed to shelter "a person's exercise of religion." Alito says, more or less, that this is nonsense: "Corporations, 'separate and apart from' the human beings who own, run, and are employed by them, cannot do anything at all."
The next time someone talks to you about corporate personhood, remember that entire fiction gets dropped as soon as it's convenient to portray the corporate citizen as a mere painting on a scrim, which when rear-lit reveals Ma and Pa Jesus, smiling, waving their snakes, and crooning "we's jes' simple folk, tryin' to get right with the Lord"; when it's time for mega-million-dollar political donations, the scrim gets front-lit again and Ma and Pa sneak offstage to count their loot.

Also at Reason, Shikha Dalmia addresses Jonathan Cohn's suggestion that a single payer system would stop all this my-employee's-medicine-is-against-my-religion crap. Dalmia begins:
One: By calling Obamacare a “new entitlement” and a “public program” he has basically accepted that the program constitutes a de facto government takeover of one-sixth of the economy, a conclusion that liberals have generally resisted. Leftists, notes Cato Institute’s Michael Cannon, have been trying to convince Americans that Obamacare is not a step in the direction of socialized medicine as opponents claim because it uses private insurance and relies on market forces to deliver coverage. Cohn’s candor is both refreshing and clarifying, so thanks, Jonathan, for that.
The dream of Obamasocialism, and that any normal people give a shit about it, will never die in Galt's Gulch.

Eventually Dalmia gets to the point: single payer is just how "libs" go around "playing their brother’s keeper... and demanding generous subsidies," probably while wearing their I'M A STUPID LIB shirts and going "durr hurr," whereas libertarians want to "unleash market forces to lower soaring costs without resorting to price controls or rationing" -- which judging from Dalmia's sourcing means a tax credits and vouchers scheme similar to Paul Ryan's Medicare plan, which nobody wants because, like libs, they don't understand freedom.

Meanwhile big libertarian Rand Paul (he only wants to kill foreigners with drones, remember?) praised the decison; Cathy Young said "there are many women who believe the birth control mandate infringes on religious liberty -- among them Hobby Lobby co-founder Barbara Green," that Planned Parenthood should stop lobbying because it's "divisive," and bunch of other stupid shit; and -- well, why go on? You knew the minute I said "libertarian" how this was going to go.

UPDATE. Among conservatives who don't mind admitting it, today has also been a festival of pedantic shirt-retucking. Ramesh Ponnuru on Ruth Bader Ginsberg:
[Ginsberg says] “It bears note in this regard that the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month’s full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage.” Who truly believes that this cost plays any role at all in Ginsburg’s analysis? It’s expensive, so she cites it to show that employers have to pay for it; if it were cheap, she’d cite it to show that employers aren’t burdened by it.
I suppose she'll tell us next that gold is expensive because gold just happens to be expensive! Jesus, it's like Ponnuru is taking lessons from Jonah Goldberg.

Also I'm grateful to commenter Glock H. Palin, Esq. for pointing out that Rand Paul actually doesn't mind killing a citizen with drones, after all. Maybe he's still a libertarian because he likes Drew Carey or something.


  1. JennOfArk11:33 AM

    Now that the court has ruled that corporations aren't really separate entities, that pretty much tunnels under the whole notion of corporate "personhood," don't it? It's more like "corporate puppethood" in which the corporations are simply the thinly veiled avatars of the owners, empowered to break laws with impunity which would cause the people who own them to be imprisoned were it not for the convenient fictional "person" they hide behind when they break the law.

    Well, bullshit on that. This needs to be challenged, and specifically, it needs to be challenged with a raft of lawsuits in which owners of closely-held corporations claiming "religious belief" as a dodge to get out of doing what they should be doing get named as co-defendants. You can't both be synonymous with the corporation you own and at the same time be a separate person whenever it suits you. Sounds like it's time for a rash of slip-n-falls in Hobby Lobby stores.

  2. L Bob Rife11:40 AM

    I am being denied something every time my employer refuses to buy it for me: cars, homes, Hummel collectible figurines.

    She doesn't realize her employer is actually buying men motorcycles, toy haulers, and GI Joe dolls.

  3. Leonard Pierce11:41 AM

    It really is all the fault of leftists. We keep insisting on a false conception of personhood, rights and entitlements ("Women are people and have the right to health care, and the law entitles them to certain benefits offered by their employer's insurance plan. The government should protect their right to be healthy.") instead of the correct rightist interpretation ("Corporations are people and have the right to keep all their money, and not pay the entitlements that some moocher conned the courts into handing out. The government should protect their right to ignore the law.")