Thursday, February 09, 2012

Contraception Mandate - Bad Economics, Bad Political Philosophy

John Cochrane points out the obvious to astute economic thinkers, which is probably not so obvious to most people - a contraception mandate is a tax on people who do not use contraception.

"Salting mandated health insurance with birth control is exactlythe same as a tax—on employers, on Catholics, on gay men and women, on couples trying to have children and on the elderly—to subsidize one form of birth control."
Unlike Cochrane, I do not think the economic debate is the heart of the matter. Liberty is the heart of the matter. Economics is just trade-offs here and there, but this mandate cuts to core of the central, defining, foundational principle of this nation - liberty and individual freedom. It guts our basic rights, the whole animating idea of this nation, from which everything we have enjoyed in 236 years has flowed. We are crossing a red line, and on the far side of that line is dictatorship. Henninger hints at where we are going today:

"The Catholic Church has stumbled into the central battle of the 2012 presidential campaign: What are the limits to Barack Obama's transformative presidency? The Catholic left has just learned one answer: When Mr. Obama says, "Everyone plays by the same set of rules," it means they conform to his rules. What else could it mean?

Anyone who signs up for more of this deal by assuming that it will never force them to fall into line is getting what they deserve."

Yes, we indeed get what we deserve. If we want to be slaves, we shall be slaves. In fact even if we don't want to be slaves, we may end up enslaved nonetheless - recall Edmund Burke's chilling words:
"The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion."
Pick your delusion - Hope and Change, Healthcare for All, Saving the Planet from Global Warming - any of these is more than sufficient subterfuge for you to hand away your freedoms. If we can't see it, shame on us, our children will have to learn of freedom on their own and fight to regain it - that is a burden far more onerous than any amount of debt, and a legacy of deep shame for us.

UPDATE: For those less inclined to contemplate Burkeian political philosophy, let me couch it in more modern terms. Burke's idea is wonderfully expressed in the parable told by one LA cop to another (twice) in the 1988 movie "Colors".


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