5 Very Stupid Beliefs About the Hobby Lobby Ruling

1. The Supreme Court doesn’t understand science/economics/women’s needs!

  • NO. That is stupid, and you are stupid for thinking it. The Supreme Court’s job is to interpret law, not write it or make policy. All they have said is that the contraception mandate is not legal because it contradicts the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), passed (nearly unanimously) by Congress and signed into law by Bill Clinton. It would be illegal for the Supreme Court to change the law from their bench.

2. Hobby Lobby is denying women birth control!

  • NO. That is stupid, and you are still stupid for thinking these things. All Hobby Lobby has done is stated that they will not pay for 4 kinds of contraception (while happily offering to pay for 16 others). Nobody is stopping you from going to the store and buying that contraception yourself.

3. I have A RIGHT to make others pay for my contraception!

  • NO YOU DON’T. That is stupid, and you are a horrible person for believing that. You don’t have a right to make anyone else pay for ANYTHING for you. Well, unless you’re an infant and you’re asking your parents to take care of you. Are you an infant, and you need breast milk from your Hobby Lobby Mommy? The foundation of civilization is voluntary interactions and transactions. Can you imagine a society where I could come up to you and demand that you buy me a new car, and claim you’re violating my rights if you don’t? Yeah, that’s what you’re doing here. Stop being a greedy asshole trying to take things from others and learn to take care of yourself and interact with others on a voluntary and respectful basis.

4. Hobby Lobby is FORCING their religion on me!

  • NO THEY AREN’T. YOU are in fact trying to force YOUR beliefs on them by FORCING them to buy birth control that violates their religion, and then FORCING them to give it to you. How would you feel if they were forcing you to buy rosary beads and communion wafers and Pope hats and cross-shaped wall-hangings to give to them? Then you would see this for what it is. Don’t you DARE try to tell me “It’s DIFFERENT” when you’re on the other side, you hypocritical weasel.

5. Hobby Lobby still covers Viagra and vasectomies, so they’re DISCRIMINATING!

  • NO THEY AREN’T. I don’t know if there’s a female analogy for Viagra, but the comparable analogy to vasectomies is getting your tubes tied, which Hobby Lobby covers. In fact, Hobby Lobby covers far more contraception options for women than for men. I don’t see them handing out free condoms and spermicide to all the men. HEY OBAMA, WHERE’S MY CONDOM MANDATE!?

Does I.Q. Predict Success?

I came across a forum thread discussing this article, which points out that SAT scores and I.Q. tests are high-resolution, strong predictors for the probability that an individual will patent, publish, and/or earn a doctorate. The article goes on to argue that innate talent is more important than hard work for predicting career success.

I think this conclusion misses some of the selection bias inherent in the SAT. I’ve witnessed friends (who happened to be particularly open about their scores) jump several percentile points year over year by attending SAT classes. Hard work and training can, in fact, drastically change how you measure on the SAT and other I.Q. tests, making them not particularly good at directly measuring innate talent. I think it is more likely that those who have the skills and academic drive necessary for academic success are simply more likely to work hard to improve their SAT scores, since good SAT scores are a gateway to good education and high-skill jobs. In other words, those who focus more on trying to look academically successful will inevitably become more successful in academics. It’s just another way of saying that people tend to get what they strive for.

But that’s not to say that intelligence or other innate talents are irrelevant to success. SAT scores and I.Q. test a very specific skill very effectively: the ability to recognize and evaluate simple patterns very quickly. They do not test other forms of intelligence that are easily recognized as crucial components of genius. These include creative inspiration, the ability to break down complex problems into solvable ones, and the ability to flawlessly follow a long trail of logic to its inevitable conclusion.

Have you ever known someone who always thinks carefully and speaks slowly, yet everything they say is absolutely uniquely brilliant? I know several people like this. Those people would score poorly on IQ tests due to the timing of it, but can out-think even the fastest pattern-solvers if you give them the time for it. They simply devote their mental resources towards quality and reflection rather than speed. Some of these individuals even choose not to pursue academic fields, despite their capabilities, preferring instead to focus on other hobbies, like entrepreneurship, art, or developing some component of their personal lives.

All of these forms of intelligence are necessary in some degree for true genius. Even then, genius alone won’t bring you success without confidence, perseverance, and a sense of purpose. The first step to being successful is figuring out how you, in your own life, would define “success.”

Socialist Myths That Just Won’t Die, Part 1

I end up encountering these myths far too often when debating socialist-minded individuals. I’m putting these myths and my responses to them here so that I don’t have to rewrite these responses so many times later. I expect this won’t be the last of this sort of post I’ll be publishing. To prove that I’m not just beating up on straw men, this is the guy I was responding to this time.

Myth: When the economy grows, only the wealthy benefit.
Truth: If that were even close to true, then you wouldn’t see people below the poverty line talking on their cell phones, going to McDonald’s, driving it home to eat in their shared 2-bedroom apartments, and putting the leftovers in the refrigerator. Compare this to poverty in North Korea, or Venezuela, or India, or even France. There’s a stark contrast between these pictures. Now, which picture do you think compares more effectively with 19th century American poverty? Did the American poor have cell phones or cars or refrigerators or even apartments in the 19th century? Not at all. There are countless ways in which the growth of the American economy has made life easier and more prosperous for the poor over the last 100 years. Lower-class wages first began to grow in the US in the 1870s, right in the middle of the “Gilded Age,” and stopped only recently, due to the replacement of wages with “benefits” (health benefits, retirement benefits, etc.).
Now compare this story with the one Argentina has lived for the last century. Argentina was far wealthier than the US on a per capita basis in 1900. However, their Socialist Party was on the rise at that time, and soon succeeded in irreversibly converting Argentina into a devoutly socialist nation. So how are the Argentinian poor doing now? Would you rather be poor in Argentina or the US? Argentina or Australia? Argentina or Switzerland? Argentina or Singapore? Note that poverty-stricken Central Americans looking for a better life tend to migrate north, not south.

Myth: Australia/Germany/Canada/etc is more socialist than most countries because they have socialist health care.
Truth: You can’t just base your entire idea of how socialist a country is on one policy, and expect to be correct. At one time, the US was the least socialist country in the world, but that’s simply not true anymore. If you think the US represents the epitome of capitalism, your preconceptions are entirely subjective and out-of-date. If you want to determine which countries are actually “more socialist” and which are less, you need a more objective measure, like the economic freedom indices I’ve posted countless times.
You’ll find in those indices that both Australia and Canada are consistently less socialist than the US. Germany is more socialist, but not by much, and they’re certainly not faring as well as their less socialist neighbors.
So how can you even pretend that it’s these countries’ socialist elements that brought them prosperity, when in fact these are some of the most economically libertarian countries in the world? In reality, prosperity correlates strongly with economic freedom, with private property rights being the strongest driving force.

Myth: We had a recession 5 years ago, so it makes sense our economy would still be growing slowly.
Truth: Not even close to true. Anyone who has studied recessions throughout US history knows that a big recession usually means a big recovery. The only two exceptions to this rule come from the results of FDR’s New Deal politics, and the results of Obama’s New Deal-inspired concentrations of power. Jimmy Carter brought this country into a rather long series of recession, but it took the pro-liberty policies of Ronald Reagan to bring real recovery. The fact is, so long as we have Obama continuing to suppress the economy with further regulation and taxes, we will always be on the brink of a new recession. If we had elected Mitt Romney instead, and if he had followed through on his promises to reduce tax rates, repeal ObamaCare, and reduce the burden of socialist welfare programs (a huge “IF”), I can guarantee you there would have been a near-instantaneous economic boom.

Myth: The economic crisis was caused by capitalist greed.
Truth: I’ve debunked this one too many times before. The economic crisis was caused by government programs that encouraged risky lending for the sake of racial benefits.

Myth: Clinton’s higher tax rates balanced the budget.
Truth: At the time the budget was balanced, Clinton’s tax rates were bringing in 20.8% of the GDP in revenue. The truth is, Clinton’s tax rates could never balance Obama’s spending, because he’s been spending about 25% of the GDP every year he’s been in office. This is why libertarians say, “Sure, we can go back to Clinton-era tax rates- if we go back to Clinton-era spending and regulation.” To go back to those spending levels, we would need to cut projected spending over the next 10 years by more than $8 trillion, not the mere pittance of $400 billion that Obama has proposed, or the slightly higher pittance of $800 billion that the Republicans have been toying around with. Obama is not even close to serious about balancing the budget- even the Republicans need to step up their spending cuts game if they want to get anywhere close to taking America off the path to Greece. Either we deal with this through spending cuts now, or we deal with this through even larger spending cuts later. That much is inevitable.