|Oh, sweet nectar.|
My mother always told me that there were two things I shouldn’t talk about in public: Politics and religion. Such subjects always seem to invite arguments, so I should keep my opinions to myself until and unless someone asks. And then, of course, tread carefully and try not to step on too many toes. In retrospect she probably could have added sex to that list, but…well, back in the 1960s, children didn’t generally get into such discussions anyway.
What a difference forty years makes.
In the past few weeks, a public debate has arisen over the subject of birth control, on a scale that I cannot recall in my adult lifetime. Under the provisions of the new health care law, all insurers must provide free birth control pills for women of childbearing age, at no cost.
As could be expected, this rule has met strong opposition from religious groups that are morally opposed to contraception of any kind. Nothing new or newsworthy there. Equally predictable was the backlash from those who believe that religious considerations have no place in the framing of public policy. Women’s rights, separation of church and state, yada, yada, yada. Again, no surprise there; I could have written this script years ago.
While I agree that people of faith (count me among their number) should not be compelled to do something that violates their religious and moral principles, it seems to me that they’re using the wrong argument. Infinitely better is the observation that Obamacare is illegal, immoral, and insane from the start. Arguing the details, seems almost pointless. I don't need (nor particularly want) the government to enable my religious beliefs or practices; I just want to be left alone.
First, it's illegal: The government has no constitutional authority to compel you or me to buy insurance. The Commerce Clause says the feds can regulate interstate commerce, but NOT demand that you or I must engage in it. Either you believe in the rule of law, or you don't.
Second, it's immoral, and hazardous to our economy: Our capitalist system, rooted in the principles of free enterprise, is a Darwinian construct whereby only the fittest survive -- as it should be. The price of insurance (or cookies, or coffee, or cars), and the terms thereof, are dictated by the workings of a free market. Such things should be determined by the competitive marketplace, NOT the iron hand of government.
Third, it's insane: "Free," you say? The insurance companies must provide such services at no cost? You’ve got to be kidding. If a month’s worth of birth control pills costs $100, then it costs $100. No bureaucratic sleight-of-hand can wish it away. If this provision of the law is allowed to stand, we will only see the costs shifted from one place to another. The price of that insurance must increase, or some non-mandated service must decrease. Or the insurers will demand steep discounts from the drug companies, and in turn the manufacturers offset the cost by raising the price on something else.
Oh, you thought there was another way? Keep dreaming. Maybe Daddy will eventually get you that pet unicorn for your birthday as well. Start holding your breath...now.
This story has spawned yet another contrived controversy: NARAL, the women’s rights organization founded in the 1960’s to defend abortion rights, has launched a campaign to “Help Stop the Rubio Bill that Takes Away Women’s Birth-Control Coverage.” Of course, that headline is a blatant falsehood on its face: Sen. Marco Rubio hasn’t suggested revoking anyone’s rights to anything. What his bill seeks, is to prevent the invention of a new “right” that has never been recognized at any time in the history of our nation.