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!?

Democracy is Not Freedom

The Arab Spring is supposed to be a wonderful thing because it is eliminating dictators and installing democracy throughout the Middle East, right? The people get to choose their government! That’s freedom! Right?

Well, is it freedom when majorities vote to install Islamic law with totalitarian reach in the government, as they are doing in many of these “liberated” Middle Eastern nations? How free do you think women in Egypt feel, now that a secular dictatorship has been replaced with a misogynistic Islamic democracy?

With this in mind, I’m going to put forward a radical concept that few in the democratic world have managed to grasp: Democracy is not freedom. Replacing a tyrannical dictator with a tyrannical majority does not free a people. Too many people believe that whatever the majority wants is right. That it’s oppression to deny the majority their will. But when the majority seeks to infringe on the inherent rights of the minority, they cannot possibly be supporting freedom.

Democracy is not the essence of freedom- it is merely a tool that can be useful for protecting freedom. True freedom comes from the principles of liberty, which must be protected for all people from the will of any minority or majority. That means protecting individual sovereignty for all, not just ensuring popular sovereignty. The democratic socialist governmental structures of the European Union as well as the Bolivarian governments of South America suppress the individual sovereignty of the people in favor of expressing the collective will of the majority. The majorities in these countries may feel pretty free because they’re getting everything they want, but the members of the minority who they oppress are having their liberty infringed upon every day.

That is why the United States government was originally founded with a Constitution and Bill of Rights strictly limiting the power of the democratic government to infringe on the liberty of individuals. This government was not meant to be an expression of collective will, but a means of ensuring that no individual could come under monarchical or majoritarian oppression. Yet, in recent generations, we’ve strayed from these principles, allowing charismatic leaders to convince us that they can solve the problems of poverty, of unemployment, of poor education and health care, if only we would give them more power to express the collective will of the people. What they leave out of these platitudes is the clarification that their solutions would express the will of the majority at the expense of the basic liberty of the minority. Yet, we’ve supplanted nearly all of our constitutional principles in favor of the democratic socialist perspectives of Franklin Roosevelt and Barack Obama.

This envisioning of the government as a mechanism of expressing collective will is wrong. It is an anti-liberty view, as should be clear from the oppressive horrors that voting majorities have brought everywhere from 1930’s Europe to the modern Middle East. The collective will of majorities can be very oppressive, and it is no better when this collective will is used to provide financial security to one group at the expense of another group. These so-called “positive freedoms” come at the expense of the “negative freedoms” (the liberty) that all humans have an inherent right to. The government cannot buy one person a service without stealing property and labor from another person. So please, don’t try to equate democracy with freedom. Unrestrained democracy can be just as oppressive against the liberties of the people as unrestrained hereditary leadership.

For true freedom to come to all citizens of a nation, we must refocus the role of government back on the protection of liberty and individual sovereignty. No democratic form of government should ever be built without a constitutional guarantee to liberty. There just cannot be freedom without it. When individuals are free from forcible forms of organization, they are free to create their own voluntary forms of communal organization that can solve the nation’s problems without the suppression of human rights.

The Dictatorship Begins on Jan. 1st, 2014

On January 1st, 2014, the Individual Mandate contained within ObamaCare goes into effect. This mandate will make a dictator out of the US President overnight.

I do not make this claim lightly. For a power being granted to a leader to be considered dictatorial, there are three requirements that must be fulfilled:
:bulletblue: The power must give absolute power to one individual.
:bulletblue: The power must be totalitarian in scope.
:bulletblue: The power must be irrevocable.

Absolute Power for One Individual

When the Individual Mandate goes into effect, all Americans will be required to purchase “proper” health insurance plans, or will be forced to pay a tax. All health insurance companies will be forced to only offer “proper” plans to their customers. It will be considered illegal to offer an insurance plan that is not considered “proper.”

So you ask, what’s wrong with proper insurance? There’s a catch: The Secretary of Health and Human Services has sole authoritative power (Section 224(b), on pg. 123) to determine the contents and requirements of a “proper health insurance plan.” The Secretary of Health and Human Services (currently Kathleen Sebelius) reports directly to the President, must follow all of his Executive Orders, and can be fired by him at any time, so that he can appoint a new one of his choice.

In other words, the President maintains a dictatorship over the definition of the “proper health insurance plans” that we are all forced to buy. The President can also force health insurance companies to boycott any health care providers (doctors and hospitals) that try to cater to individuals who choose not to buy health insurance. They already use this method to force health care providers to offer major discounts to Medicare patients, and they could easily use this method to prevent those resisting the Individual Mandate from obtaining any form of health care at all.

So the choice we all end up with is: buy one of these “proper” health insurance plans defined by the President, or be punished through the complete deprivation of health care. This is the enforcement mechanism.

Totalitarian in Scope

But this only affects health care, and health care is special, right?

Wrong. There is no legal requirement in the ObamaCare law that the definition of a “proper health insurance plan” must only include measures relating to health care. Already, Obama has declared that every health insurance plan must provide contraception, which is only as relevant to health as our choice of food, car, home, or any other choices we make in our lives.

The President can easily decree any other purchasing mandate, requiring us to buy a GM car, or buy broccoli, or buy houses in specific areas, or buy certain newspapers, or subscribe to a propaganda newsletter touting the president’s achievements, or join a union. The President can also use his power over insurance coverage to retaliate against groups who do not support him. For instance, the President might put clause in your insurance plan that states that you lose coverage for some number of conditions if you buy a gun, or spend too much money supporting his opponent, or live in a wealthy neighborhood.

From a legal perspective, this law gives the President the totalitarian power to force any activity, or punish any activity, under the threat of loss of health care. All he has to do is say that it’s a part of your insurance plan (which would rapidly lose all relation to health care other than through its enforcement mechanism).

Irrevocable Power

What about the separation of powers? Checks and balances? Congress has already surrendered its power by delegating the power to define “proper” insurance plans to the President’s appointees. The Supreme Court has already taken a whack at this law, and bizarrely ruled the Individual Mandate constitutional so long as it only makes use of economic incentives, rather than prison sentences to enforce its goals. But of course, those economic incentives can be just as damaging as prison sentences. The only branch of government that has the power to stop this law from becoming a dictatorship is the Executive Branch. Only the dictator can prevent the dictatorship (or a 2/3rds majority in both houses of Congress to override vetoes, but that’s the stuff of legend). The separation of powers and all the checks and balances have been thwarted.

As humans have learned throughout history, once a leader gains dictatorial power, it is extremely difficult to remove him, even if he is subjected to periodic elections. Under a dictatorship, information is controlled, and political opponents are destroyed, as in Fascist Italy or Nazi Germany. The means of production are given to political allies, and elections are stolen, as in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe and Chavez’s Venezuela. The citizens may even begin to worship their leaders out of a sense of dependence, as in Stalin’s Soviet Union, Maoist China, and North Korea.

Our only hope for avoiding dictatorship is to get ObamaCare repealed before January 1st, 2014. Obama will not do it. If we cannot remove Obama from office, either in the November election, or through impeachment prior to 2014, the United States government will become a dictatorship.

If you’ve been wondering what would drive a libertarian like myself to support a conservative like Mitt Romney, this is why. After the Supreme Court upheld ObamaCare, the gravity of the situation became clear: it’s all on us to pick the right president. Unlike Gary Johnson, Romney can beat Obama, and unlike Obama, he has pledged to repeal ObamaCare. Certainly, there is always the chance that Romney is lying and would keep ObamaCare. But if he does, he loses the support of his base, and the legendary 2/3rds majority in Congress may manifest and repeal the dictatorial powers over his veto.

This is our last chance. We, the People of the United States, must remove Barack Obama from office in order to save our freedom from an untimely death.

EDIT (6/11/13): Added a link to the section of the Obamacare bill that gives the Secretary of HHS this power.

The Individual Mandate Oral Arguments

The oral arguments over ObamaCare are here:

Day 1 deals with whether or not the Tax Anti-Injunction Act bars legal challenges against the mandate until the “tax” goes into effect.

Day 2 deals with the constitutionality of the Individual Mandate.

Day 3 deals with the constitutionality of the Medicaid eligibility expansion, as well as the severability of the Individual Mandate.

By my evaluation, it looks like 6 out of 9 justices (including Sotomayor) are ready to strike down the mandate and at least 5 justices are ready to take down the whole Act with it. The Solicitor General simply could not articulate any sort of consistent limiting principle that could allow the mandate power to derive from the Commerce Clause without giving the federal government unlimited power. Additionally, the whole Act is such a massive monstrosity that passed by such narrow margins that the Justices did not feel comfortable trying to evaluate which portions of the Act would have passed without the mandate.

However, progressive pundits have been fighting back, saying that the limiting principle is there, and the Justices just weren’t listening. They say that the health care market is unique because “Health care is market that everybody will be a part of and must be administered in an emergency basis. NO other market has such a consideration.” This exact statement comes from a progressive on the forums who heard this argument from Sam Seder on a progressive radio show. I’ve heard similar statements coming from numerous other progressives.

The thing is, I have to question whether any of these progressives are actually reading the oral arguments before chiming in like this. Solicitor General Verrilli and Justice Ginsburg tried to make exactly this argument, and it didn’t hold up under scrutiny. First of all, how a service must be administered in order to be most effective or most financially sustainable (e.g. unexpectedly or paid for in advance) is a matter of whether or not a certain act is a good idea, not a matter of whether or not it’s legal. As Justice Kagan once pointed out, the questions of whether or not a law is stupid and whether or not it is legal are completely independent of one another. If the constitutional portions of the law are stupid unless something that cannot be constitutionally justified on its own merits is passed along with it, it doesn’t alleviate concerns of unconstitutionality. As one of the other Justices pointed out (I forget whether it was Roberts, Scalia, or Kennedy), there are plenty of constitutional ways Congress could completely break the economy, and that doesn’t justify unconstitutional action to alleviate those problems deliberately created by Congress. So if Congress doesn’t want to pass a stupid law, they simply should not try to pass a stupid law, not try to violate the constitution in order to make a stupid law a little less stupid.

So, on to the second “unique” factor. “Health care is market that everybody will be a part of.” The Justices brought up a couple of problems with this claim. As Kennedy described, government could define the market that it’s regulating as “the food market,” which everyone will unquestionably be a part of at some point. Would that allow Congress to mandate that everyone buy broccoli? What about the housing market? Can the government force everyone to buy apartments rather than houses? And the transportation market? can the government force everyone to buy a GM car? The information market? Can the government force everyone to buy the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal?

And what about Christian Science followers? Obtaining any kind of health services is against their religion, so that means that not everybody will be a part of the health care market. At best, you can only say that “most” people will be a part of the market. Justice Kennedy nailed Verrilli with this one, and then went on to ask what percentage of the population has to be engaged in a market in order for the government to decide that it can assume that everyone is participating in the market. Is 90% good enough? What about 70%? If we’re letting the government create mandates for everyone regarding markets that only “most people” participate in, then can it also create mandates about the electronics market? Can they force everyone to buy a Macbook? What about the movie market? The cell phone market? The energy market? Is there any market Congress can’t touch?

As Justice Kennedy pointed out, if nobody can find a limiting principle, then the Individual Mandate cannot possibly be considered constitutional.