A Philosopher's Blog

Corporations & Religious Freedom I: The Contraception Thing

Posted in Business, Ethics, Law, Philosophy, Politics, Religion by Michael LaBossiere on November 6, 2013
English: A typical contraceptive diaphragm

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As this is being written, there are almost forty for-profit companies suing the United States government over the requirement in Obamacare that health plans include coverage of contraception. The basis for the lawsuit is that the requirement is a violation of religious freedom.  The company Hobby Lobby has attracted the media’s attention in this matter, serving as the “poster corporation” for this matter.

In the case of Hobby Lobby,  CEO David Green and his family claim that their and Hobby Lobby’s freedom of religion is being “substantially burdened” by being compelled to provide insurance that would cover “morning-after pills” and IUDs for employees who wanted such them. The Greens claim that these specific types of contraception prevent implantation of fertilized eggs and are thus equivalent to abortion, which they regard as being against their religious beliefs. There are also those who oppose contraception regardless of the type on religious grounds.

The legal foundation for this challenge is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) which allows a person to seek exemption from a law if it substantially burdens her free exercise of religion. The government can deny this exemption if it can prove both a compelling reason to impose the burden and evidence that the law is narrow enough in scope.

From a moral standpoint, this exemption does seem acceptable if it is assumed that freedom of religion is a moral right. After all, there should be a presumption in favor of freedom and the state would need to warrant such an intrusion. However, if it can do so properly, then the imposition would be morally acceptable. The stock example here is, of course, limitations on the right of free speech.

From both a moral and legal standpoint, there seem to be two main points of concern. The first is whether or not a for-profit corporation is an entity that can be justly ascribed a right to freedom of religion. The second is whether or not such the contraceptive coverage imposes a substantial burden on the free exercise of religion. Obviously, if a corporation cannot be justly ascribed this right, then the second concern becomes irrelevant in this context. However, since it is a simpler matter, I will address the second concern first and then move on to the main point of interest regarding corporations and religious freedom.

For the sake of the discussion, I will assume that those bringing the lawsuit are sincere in their claim that contraception is against their religion and that this is not merely cover for an attack on Obamacare. I will also assume that their religious belief is about the use of contraception.

On the face of it, being compelled to follow the law would seem to not impose any substantial burden in regards to such a belief. After all, those impacted by the law are not required to use contraception. This would, of course, be a clear imposition on their freedom (religious and otherwise). They are also not required to directly give their employees contraception. This could be seen as an imposition by giving them a somewhat direct role in the use of contraception.  However, they are merely required to provide a health plan that covers contraception for those who are exercising their freedom to choose to use said contraception. As such, the burden seems minimal—if it exists at all.

It might be objected that to be forced to have any connection to a means by which employees could get contraceptives would be a significant imposition on the corporation. The rather obvious reply to this is that the corporations pay employees with money that can be used to buy contraceptives. So, if an employee would use contraception, then she would most likely just purchase it if it were not covered by her insurance. In cases where the contraceptive medicine is being used for medical reasons (as opposed to being used as contraception) the employee would probably be even more likely to purchase it (which raises the question of whether such use counts as using contraception in a way that would violate these religious beliefs).

As such, if a corporation can insist that health care plans not cover contraception on the grounds that they would be forced to play a role in situation in which an employee might get contraception by means connected to the corporation, it would seem that they could make the same claim in regards to the paychecks they issue. After all, paychecks might be used to acquire all manner of things that are against the religious views of the corporation’s owner(s). This is, of course, absurd and would be a clear violation of the rights and freedoms of the employees.

As such, the second issue is easily settled: being compelled to offer insurance that covers contraception is not a substantial burden on the religious beliefs of corporations. In my next essay I will turn to the more important issue, namely whether or not for-profit corporations are the sort of entities that can justly be ascribed religious beliefs (and thus be entitled to religious freedom).

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75 Responses

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  1. T. J. Babson said, on November 6, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Mike, you missed the point.

    As contraception is not medically necessary, there is no reason for it to mandated as part of every “qualified” health care plan. Forcing religious people to pay for non medically necessary contraception for recreational sex is simply a way for Obama to force his values down the throat of people who disagree.

    • WTP said, on November 6, 2013 at 9:34 am

      TJ, I think you’re missing the point. This is a Democrat talking point and an attempt to divert attention from or make excuses for the giant f’ing mess that this government attempt at taking over health care has become. Call Mike out on being a tool, but to argue that he “misses the point” is a failure to grasp the problem space.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on November 6, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      That “medically necessary” is an interesting talking point, but it is based on the assumption that health plans should only cover a specific sort of medical necessity. There are two stock replies to the stock talking point. 1) Some contraceptive medication is actually medically necessary in that it is used to treat a medical condition. 2) Reproductive health can be seen as broader than just a matter of treating a specific ailment. It can also be contended that providing contraceptive coverage is good for society as a whole because it can reduce the instances of STDs and unwanted/unplanned pregnancies. This would also reduce the number of abortions.

      The religious people are not forced to pay for contraception for recreational sex. They are merely required to offer health plans that include said coverage. Also, as I argued, some employees are likely to buy contraceptives with money that the religious folks paid them. Since insurance that the company pays for and pay are both compensation, the religious folks would be “paying for contraception” either way. So, unless you are willing to argue that religious folk can insist on how the paychecks they issue be spent, you have no case here.

      If the employee pays for her insurance (like I do), then the religious folks are not paying for contraception. They are just offering a health plan that the employee pays for. In this case, you also have no case.

      If the burden were truly onerous, then I would agree that the imposition would be unjust. But it is not.

      In any case, if God were really against contraception, He would ensure it always failed. Being omnipotent and all that.

      Also, what about the rights of the employees? Why should they have to conform to the religious views of their employer when that employer is a secular for-profit company? What if a Muslim owner of a corporation mandated that his female employees cover themselves fully at work? Employers can impose uniform restrictions…but should they be able to thus impose their religious views in this matter? Now, if you truly hold that the religious views of the employers allow exemptions to laws, then you would seem to be required to support that sort of scenario. A devout Muslim could argue that seeing improperly covered women would be cruel imposition on his religious beliefs. But perhaps he could just be allowed to discriminate against women and not hire any.

      • T. J. Babson said, on November 6, 2013 at 4:45 pm

        “That “medically necessary” is an interesting talking point, but it is based on the assumption that health plans should only cover a specific sort of medical necessity.”

        Mike, medical plans can cover anything they want as far as I am concerned. What we are talking about is what coverage should be legally mandated by the government.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on November 7, 2013 at 4:50 pm

          I’d say that if they cover Viagra, they must also cover contraception.

          However, I’d be inclined to hold to the following:

          1. Contraceptive medicine that is used to treat a medical condition should be covered.
          2. Contraception should be covered on utilitarian grounds-it reduces the health care costs by reducing STDs and unwanted pregnancies. Plus it also would presumably help reduce the number of abortions.

          That said, I do not have a strong commitment to coverage of contraceptives-but 1) I am a guy and 2) I have a decent income. As such, my view could be shaded by bias.

  2. T. J. Babson said, on November 6, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Mike, please explain why it is medically necessary for a person to have recreational sex?

  3. T. J. Babson said, on November 6, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Should health plans be forced to cover marijuana purchases?

    • T. J. Babson said, on November 6, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      Like contraceptives, it is medically necessary sometimes. Other times, it is just used for recreation.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on November 6, 2013 at 2:37 pm

      If it has been shown that it is a viable treatment, then yes. Also, contraceptives are a matter of reproductive health (avoiding STDs and preventing unwanted pregnancy). Also, if Viagra is covered for men, then it seems fair that contraceptives are covered for women.

      Viagra is mostly intended for recreational sex. Now, addressing infertility would be a matter of clear medical need, if the person was endeavoring to have kids.

      • WTP said, on November 6, 2013 at 3:26 pm

        Christ this comment is so full of fallacies…. many that we’ve been over time and time again…

        Also, if Viagra is covered for men, then it seems fair that contraceptives are covered for women.
        Again I repeat the argument that, when you were still speaking with me, you continue to ignore…Viagra fixes something in the nature of man that doesn’t work. Contraception prevents something in the nature of woman from working.

        As for contraceptives avoiding STD’s…yeah, the condom. Even that is iffy in this department. Should a large bureaucracy be dishing out condoms or would it be more rational, and efficient, to expect people to pay for these things themselves? I would make pretty much the same argument for Viagra, BTW. Your conclusion may be correct but your reasoning is deeply flawed.

        Good god and again with the “endeavoring”…As Momma always told me, “if in the primary instance you failed to achieve an optimum consequence, endeavor to endeavor through ensuing efforts”. Reminded of an English teacher in high school who threatened to beat such a pretentious student with her thesaurus. Sweet lady. Thanks for reminding me of her.

        • Nal said, on November 7, 2013 at 12:18 pm

          Viagra fixes something in the nature of man that doesn’t work.

          It is in the nature of man that old men not be in the baby-making business. There is nothing broken that needs fixing, it part of the natural process of aging. Viagra prevents this naturally occurring process from working. Much of our medical establishment is in the business of preventing naturally occurring processes from working.

          • WTP said, on November 7, 2013 at 1:06 pm

            You are assuming that ONLY old men need Viagra. Though by your logic, the nature of man is for many things to fail as he ages and thus no need to fix them as nature intends for them die and get the hell out of the way soooo wth.

            You’ll also note that I don’t support using a health care system to address this matter either in regard to birth control nor Viagra, except POSSIBLY in the case where an otherwise vital young man for some medical reason beyond his control is not capable of having sex. A very slim slice.

            • WTP said, on November 7, 2013 at 1:10 pm

              Oh, and I might also add that while I don’t support using a health care system to address this matter, neither would I deny someone else the OPTION of purchasing a health insurance/care product that does. These things are of a very personal nature and having these choices shoved down one’s throat either via their employer or via the government is objectionable. At least you have the freedom to choose your employer. Realistically with the government, not so much. Either way HC/HI tied to one’s employment or government, as I said elsewhere, is a BAD thing. People who have studied design understand this.

            • Nal said, on November 7, 2013 at 1:20 pm

              Not my point. I’m saying that the denying contraception because it “prevents something in the nature of woman from working” is not a consistent argument. Much of our medical establishment is in the business of preventing naturally occurring processes from working.

            • WTP said, on November 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm

              Well, as I said, much of this is not my point either. But aside from contraception, please inform me as to what Much of our medical establishment is in the business of preventing naturally occurring processes from working. refers? What other naturally occurring processes of a healthy human being is our medical establishment in the business of preventing? I’m asking here in the context of life-critical or standard quality of life health care, not cosmetic surgery, etc.

            • Nal said, on November 7, 2013 at 1:53 pm

              What other naturally occurring processes of a healthy human being is our medical establishment in the business of preventing?

              Diseases via vaccinations. All preventative medicine.

            • WTP said, on November 7, 2013 at 2:06 pm

              Nal, that’s a mighty lame argument…boiling it down…If we don’t provide contraception as a medical necessity, polio vaccines are out also. Perhaps I exaggerate, but only slightly. See TJ’s comment below. Of what purpose would medicine be? Even in the context of sex being a necessity for life, a woman can have a sexual, eh…experience, without risk of pregnancy without needing contraception. A man is incapable of achieving such without the help of Viagra. Capice? Or do we need to take this argument further down the rabbit hole of absurdity?

              Not to mention, and I hope this isn’t intentional, you are on some level equating a fetus with an infection.

              And AGAIN I must repeat myself:

              You’ll also note that I don’t support using a health care system to address this matter either in regard to birth control nor Viagra, except POSSIBLY in the case where an otherwise vital young man for some medical reason beyond his control is not capable of having sex. A very slim slice.

            • T. J. Babson said, on November 7, 2013 at 2:21 pm

              Like pushing on a string, wtp.

              Sunglasses can prevent cataracts, sunscreen can prevent melanoma, etc. Should these things be covered, too, by law?

            • Nal said, on November 7, 2013 at 3:43 pm

              Nal, that’s a mighty lame argument…boiling it down…If we don’t provide contraception as a medical necessity, polio vaccines are out also.

              Just a consistent application of your logic. I agree it’s lame.

            • T. J. Babson said, on November 7, 2013 at 3:52 pm

              Your turn to be nailed by the cat, wtp.

            • T. J. Babson said, on November 7, 2013 at 3:59 pm

              Because preventing a baby is *just* like preventing polio don’t you know.

            • WTP said, on November 7, 2013 at 4:08 pm

              Oferchrissakes….A foolish consistency being the hobgoblin of weak minds…Actually that doesn’t apply either…

              A healthy woman, by nature, is fully capable of conceiving a child. It is, in fact, nature’s purpose for that body to function in that manner. Contraception is an attempt at blocking this mature, natural function from occurring.

              A healthy man, by nature, is fully capable of achieving an erection. It is, in fact, nature’s purpose for that body to function in that manner.

              An all-in-all, the more natural argument here would be fertility treatments for the female vs. such for the man. I let this go before but I might also take argument with your presumption that It is in the nature of man that old men not be in the baby-making business.. Plenty of old men, throughout history, have fathered children well into old age. It is in fact the nature of WOMAN that old women not be in the baby-making business.

              Also, must I repeat myself again and again?

              You’ll also note that I don’t support using a health care system to address this matter either in regard to birth control nor Viagra, except POSSIBLY in the case where an otherwise vital young man for some medical reason beyond his control is not capable of having sex. A very slim slice.

              AND

              Even in the context of sex being a necessity for life, a woman can have a sexual, eh…experience, without risk of pregnancy without needing contraception. A man is incapable of achieving such without the help of Viagra. Capice?

              You’re being disingenuous.

              Comment, TJ?

            • T. J. Babson said, on November 7, 2013 at 4:14 pm

              You’re absolutely right, of course, but Nal can play word games all day. The cat is playing with you like a ball of yarn.

            • WTP said, on November 7, 2013 at 4:19 pm

              Well perhaps I’m misremembering, but I don’t recall Nal being off the deep end like Mike is. There’s rational thought there and a normal degree of self-reflection. I think.

            • Nal said, on November 7, 2013 at 6:06 pm

              It is, in fact, nature’s purpose for that body to function in that manner.

              So, because you imagine an abstract entity called “nature” has a consciousness (a prerequisite for purpose), this is your reason for denying this science-based preventative health coverage to women?

            • WTP said, on November 7, 2013 at 6:42 pm

              Sigh..perhaps TJ was right and I do misremember. As the song says

              Birds do it, bees do it,
              Even educated fleas do it

              I suspect there may be an exception for over-educated philosophers. At least I hope so.

            • T. J. Babson said, on November 7, 2013 at 10:38 pm

              Don’t you see, WTP?

              “contraceptives for recreational sex” = “science-based preventative health coverage”

              Maybe health insurance should be mandated to cover the cost of hookers for single guys in the name of science-based preventative health coverage.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on November 9, 2013 at 6:18 pm

              I suspect that sex-therapy is covered by some insurance plans…

        • Nal said, on November 7, 2013 at 12:19 pm

          Viagra fixes something in the nature of man that doesn’t work.

          It is in the nature of man that old men not be in the baby-making business. There is nothing broken that needs fixing, it part of the natural process of aging. Viagra prevents this naturally occurring process from working. Much of our medical establishment is in the business of preventing naturally occurring processes from working.

          • T. J. Babson said, on November 7, 2013 at 1:29 pm

            “Much of our medical establishment is in the business of preventing naturally occurring processes from working.”

            Death is a naturally occurring process, Nal. Should we not try to stop that from occurring? Isn’t that more or less the point of medicine?

  4. ajmacdonaldjr said, on November 6, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    I must say, I wholeheartedly disagree.

    Hobby Lobby has never wished to pay for contraceptives, and never has paid for contraceptives.

    Why should they be forced to do so now?

    I thought the pro-contraceptive crowd wanted the government OUT of their sex lives.

    Now it seems they want the government INTO their sex lives.

    Does it not?

    You say:

    “The Greens claim that these specific types of contraception prevent implantation of fertilized eggs and are thus equivalent to abortion, which they regard as being against their religious beliefs.”

    Wouldn’t you agree that contraception = contra conception = preventing fertilization?

    Once an egg is fertilized, conception has occurred; thus “abortifacient” would be the proper name for a medicine that causes the death of a new, living, growing human being.

    Remember: We were all once the size of the period at the end of this sentence.

    And that’s a fact.

    I think not wishing to fund abortifacients is reasonable.

    Hobby Lobby will close if forced to do so. They will not capitulate to immorality.

    You say:

    “Paychecks might be used to acquire all manner of things that are against the religious views of the corporation’s owner(s). This is, of course, absurd and would be a clear violation of the rights and freedoms of the employees”

    But this is hardly absurd.

    EBT (food stamp) card holders are not permitted by the government to buy certain things (e.g., beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes, and tobacco).

    Some people sell their EBT cards for cash, then buy heroin with the money, which the government says is immoral, and criminal.

    And that’s a fact.

    The government forbids peoples from using their EBT cards for items the government doesn’t approve of, for moral reasons.

    Many corporations now use debit card instead of paychecks.

    And it’s not hard to imagine, once we fully transition to a cashless society, the day when we will not be allowed to use our pre-programed pay cards to buy government prohibited items (e.g., cigarettes, tobacco, guns, ammo, anti-government literature, anti-choice literature, anti-gay literature, antisemitic literature, and New Testaments (= hate literature).

    All Items prohibited by the government will be (and now are) prohibited by the government for moral reasons.

    And remember: the NSA is tracking all peoples, cards, purchases, activity, beliefs, etc…

    You see professor, it’s not an issue of religious morals versus the secular state; it’s an issue of religious morals versus the secular state’s morals.

    It’s not an issue of religion versus the secular state; it’s an issue of religion versus the quasi-religious secular state.

    There is no neutrality. Neutrality is a myth.

    “Professor Benjamin Wiker argues that many peoples today are seeking to establish secularism as the official religion for the U.S. In fact, he says they are organizing the complete “de-Christianization” of Western Civilization, and plan to replace personal faith with the collective dependence on our federal government.

    “In this Book TV interview Professor Wiker discusses his thesis with Washington Post writer Krissah Thompson.”

    VIDEO – BTV: After Words: Benjamin Wiker, “Worshipping the State” (10:00) – http://youtu.be/HmTda_s9uPk

    VIDEO – After Words with Benjamin Wiker – BTV: After Words: Benjamin Wiker, “Worshipping the State” (FULL 56:44) – http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/Wike

    AUDIO – BTV: After Words: Benjamin Wiker, “Worshipping the State” (FULL 56:44)  – http://podcast.c-span.org/podcast/arc_btv042013.mp3

    BOOK – Worshipping the State: How Liberalism Became Our State Religion, by Benjamin Wiker – http://www.amazon.com/Worshipping-State-Liberalism-Became-Religion/dp/1621570290/

    See: Benjamin Wiker – Worshipping the State – http://www.benjaminwiker.com/worshipping-the-state.html

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on November 6, 2013 at 2:33 pm

      If Hobby Lobby were a church, mosque or other religious entity, then I would be more inclined to favor allowing the exemption. But, it is a for-profit secular corporation and thus has to play by the same rules as everyone else.

      If I were a sexist or racist and owned a corporation, I do not get exemptions for those values. Likewise, religious values should not grant exemptions either.

      If my faith was opposed to paying taxes or minimum wage, I would not get exemptions for that. So, the Hobby Lobby folks need to accept that when you are in business, you are a business. Not a church. If they want religious purity, they can start a church and get the exemption. Although that is still a dubious thing, as I argued a while back.

      • WTP said, on November 6, 2013 at 3:17 pm

        If Hobby Lobby were a church, mosque or other religious entity, then I would be more inclined to favor allowing the exemption. But, it is a for-profit secular corporation and thus has to play by the same rules as everyone else.

        Or they could choose to not provide health insurance to their employees. When I buy something for someone else, something that they supposedly want, it is wrong and downright rude, to tell me what is good enough for the receiving party. After all, I could choose not to buy the thing in the first place.

        If my faith was opposed to paying taxes or minimum wage, I would not get exemptions for that. Again, and as the Supreme Court decided, healthcare is not a tax. I think such was a wrong conclusion and your argument implies such. Corporations are not, nor should they be, required to purchase health insurance OR health care (you so love to conflate the two) for their employees.

  5. Nal said, on November 6, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    As pregnancy is not medically necessary, there is no reason for it to be covered as part of every “qualified” health care plan.

    • T. J. Babson said, on November 6, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      Certainly true for men. Why is it fair to force a single man to pay for maternity coverage he can’t possibly use?

      • Nal said, on November 6, 2013 at 1:45 pm

        Is it not true for women, too? How is pregnancy a medical necessity for women?

        • T. J. Babson said, on November 6, 2013 at 1:48 pm

          Do you not believe that pregnant women need health care, Nal?

          Shocking.

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on November 6, 2013 at 2:29 pm

        Woman won’t get prostate cancer or testicular cancer, but their insurance dollars can help cover the costs of treatment for the men who do. The idea of insurance is that many pay in to cover matters of ill fortune-be it their ill fortune or another person’s.

    • T. J. Babson said, on November 6, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      Also true for post menopausal women.

  6. WTP said, on November 6, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Again, TJ, you’re missing the point and Nal nails you on it. Running contraceptive purchases through a bureaucracy is wasteful on all counts. To expect a health plan to cover contraception makes about as much sense as expecting to cover aspirin and band aids. And of course one could argue that health plans should include groceries. After all, they’re a medical necessity. Some things are a personal responsibility. In general this whole argument runs counter to other people, be they government or business, making your healthcare decisions for you. No matter who I am, if I am purchasing your healthcare, I should not be put upon to violate my ethical principles one way or another.

    One good thing I hope to thank Obama for years down the road, if all plays out for the best, is that this idiotic idea that my healthcare is somehow tied to the company I work for or the government I live under will die. Oh, it will be a long, miserable death taking many people with it. Of course ACA is doomed to this one way or another as it is not sustainable. Hopefully I, nor anyone I care for, will get seriously sick in that time frame. But in the long run it’s the best we can hope for.

  7. T. J. Babson said, on November 6, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    I refuse to be nailed by a cat.

    • WTP said, on November 6, 2013 at 2:10 pm

      Speciesist.

  8. T. J. Babson said, on November 6, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    Women use more health care than men and so should pay more for insurance, just as boys pay more than girls for car insurance.

    The government has mandated that men and women should pay the same for medical insurance. The net result of this policy is a massive transfer of wealth from males to females.

    Mike, why do you believe it is fair to transfer wealth from males to females? Would you still favor it if the wealth were being transferred the other way?

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on November 7, 2013 at 4:44 pm

      Ah, the Fox talking point about how men are being robbed by women. You should get a check from Fox-assuming you are not already. :)

      They do use health care more than men, in general. However, much of this is due to the fact that men elect not to use their health care. Men could use it more, but do not. This can be seen as analogous to buying any product and electing not to fully use it. I don’t get a discount when I buy a six pack if I say I’ll only drink 2 of them. If I just drink 2 of them, then that is my fault. I am not robbing the people who drink all six.

      That said, the health plans should allow finer customization. So, guys could buy a Man Plan that only covers what a man would use. For example, it might have no coverage for wellness care and regular checkups because men tend to skip that stuff. But it would cover chainsaw accidents. But, seriously, I do agree that there should be finer customization for each customer. Going back to my analogy, if I just want a 2 pack, then I should be able to buy that.

      Of course, one concern about health care is that if there is coverage that is too minimal, then we still get stuck with the tab when a person ends up in the emergency room. While people do have the right to make poor life decisions, insurance is supposed to help protect the rest of us from that-just like drivers are required to have insurance in Florida.

      • WTP said, on November 7, 2013 at 5:18 pm

        Yes, FOX has talking points. Mike doesn’t. Nothing he rambles on about is a Dem talking point. Nope. No siree, Bob. Got that Bob?

      • T. J. Babson said, on November 7, 2013 at 5:24 pm

        Notice that Mike did not dispute the truth of the statement.

      • T.J.B. said, on November 7, 2013 at 11:20 pm

        Mike, over the past couple of years we have heard endlessly about a “war on women.” Now, when I point out that one of the effects of Obamacare will be a massive transfer of wealth from males to females you dismiss it as a “Fox talking point.” I don’t watch Fox or any other TV news, but it is obvious that if one group of people uses more of a resource than another group but both pay the same, it amounts to a transfer of wealth.

        Women are more highly educated than men, live longer, and are fully equal. They should pay for health care in proportion to their use of it.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on November 9, 2013 at 6:10 pm

          It depends a great deal on why they use more health care. If, as in my analogy, men and woman are both buying six packs but men only drink two cans and ignore the rest, then men are just being unwise. One is not being ripped off if one freely refuses to use what a service provides.

          Women do live longer-but that also entails they pay for their insurance longer. Also, people do not get a “you’ll die early” discount on insurance as far as I know. I’m not being ripped off on my internet bill just because a woman might live longer than me and she pays the same.

          Also, a woman who gets more medical care will also need to pay for what her insurance does not cover-so if she uses more health care, then she will pay more.

          But, as I noted before, I do agree that insurance should allow customization. So, if men buy lesser packages, then they should pay less. Not because they are men, but because they get less product (2 cans rather than 4).

  9. magus71 said, on November 7, 2013 at 6:06 am

    AJ makes a good point. They want the government out of their sex lives until they want the government in their sex lives. Then the government does what it is meant to do: Force people to do things they don’t want to do.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on November 7, 2013 at 4:52 pm

      The government is not “in” our sex lives by requiring that contraceptives be covered anymore than they are in our sex lives by having Viagra be covered. They are not requiring people to use (or not use) contraceptives. They are not forbidding or requiring sexual acts.

      • WTP said, on November 7, 2013 at 5:18 pm

        OMFG…Mike has a point here. Of course he’s wrong in general about the contraception/viagra thing as we’ve been over it and over it and I cover it with Nal here as well. But I do agree that covering contraception vs. viagra is not a matter of them being IN our sex lives. They’re in our MORALS, of course, by shoving these requirements down the throats of employers and insurance companies. It’s not like the government is forcing contraception or viagra on us. They are, however, forcing us to pay for other people’s choices.

      • magus71 said, on November 7, 2013 at 6:00 pm

        They’re requiring peple to pay for them even if they don’t want them. The first argument for gvernment sponsored insurance was the dire anaecdotes of catastrophic illness. Now it’s crept in to convenience and minor expenses.

        Funny how communism does that.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on November 9, 2013 at 6:13 pm

          We already have socialized medicine in the form of the emergency room. That, as I have argued, costs everyone who pays for insurance a chunk of money each year. That is both involuntary and inefficient. I prefer a fair system in which people pay their bills rather than having me pay them for them. Sure, if someone is busted up and cannot pay I am not heartless-but those who can afford to have insurance need to have it as a matter of duty (or waive their right to medical care they cannot afford) and, very importantly, insurance needs to be affordable.

      • T. J. Babson said, on November 7, 2013 at 10:50 pm

        I have no problem with ensuring that everyone has some sort of catastrophic medical insurance that would kick in if medical bills exceed $10K in a year or something like that.

        But this business of micromanaging everybody’s insurance plan and implicitly telling people that they are too stupid to know what they want has to stop.

  10. magus71 said, on November 7, 2013 at 6:50 am

    Funny. Surely there is no lack of contraceptives in western society. We’ve finally broken nature’s spine when it comes to reproduction. For all their healthcare, vacations, and brauhauses, at current reproductive rates, 98% of the German population will be extinct in a century or two. I see absolutely nothing that will change the reproduction rates we see in Europe and have now crept in to the US. We dipped below replacement numbers in 2010. Probably never to return while we live.

    This “demographic winter” has many consequences. It even effects the bored, uber liberals who don’t want children and don’t care if there’s a world remaining after they die that children can be happy in.

    The destruction of the nuclear family has annihilated the foundation of our humanity, and destroyed the subtle psychological bonds which few if any of us truly understand.

    Then, replacement workers whose taxes support an aging population, decrease rapidly. In order to get workers, immigration to western countries must (and has) increase. Over generations, a country has lost its identity.

    Not with a bang, but a whimper.

    • WTP said, on November 7, 2013 at 7:23 am

      Funny. Surely there is no lack of contraceptives in western society. We’ve finally broken nature’s spine when it comes to reproduction. For all their healthcare, vacations, and brauhauses, at current reproductive rates, 98% of the German population will be extinct in a century or two. I see absolutely nothing that will change the reproduction rates we see in Europe and have now crept in to the US. We dipped below replacement numbers in 2010. Probably never to return while we live.

      Be very careful making predictions about life too far into the future. This is a common mistake of socialists. They presume a steady-state situation and build their theories on what exists now that will not change. Human civilization has gone through a tremendous population explosion in direct proportion to the advances in civilization related to the freedoms mankind has experienced during the same period. What happens today is a blip in time. It would be odd for societies not to react to such rapid change. It would also be odd for societies to accept population decline if it were to last longer. Amongst the younger, professional people I work with I’m seeing a trend toward 3 child families. Yes, this is anecdotal and maybe it’s just where I happen to be, but either way, the past, or even the present is not destiny.

      • magus71 said, on November 7, 2013 at 10:11 am

        “Be very careful making predictions about life too far into the future. This is a common mistake of socialists.”

        Oh I agree. Which is one reason I question global warming and the current Darwin model. But what we see in the demographic realm has already had an impact. Greece for instance. These demographic trends have never been seen before in recorded history. Another thing people should think about in this case, is how yet again, scientific “consensus” failed us. The consensus has been for the previous 100 years that the Earth would be plagued by over population. But perhaps this is not true.

        It is true that trends are not infinite. But I see reasons for concern. I myself believe this is the fatal result of liberalism. Conservatism, as defined by Burke, states that the social contract not only includes those living, but also those dead and those yet to be born. Liberalism only considers the individual right now.

        If you guys haven’t read Spengler (David Goldman), you should. One of the most brilliant thinkers of our time. He writes for Asia Times and PJ Media.

        http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Others/Spengler.html

      • magus71 said, on November 7, 2013 at 10:14 am

        Also, demographic trends effectively determined the outcome of the US presidential election. Romney would be president if it were 1984, based on the percentage of white voters he won. Not today.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on November 7, 2013 at 4:31 pm

          This assumes that the whites of the hypothetical whiter America would have voted for Romney. Perhaps in that alternative America, Obama would not have been the other candidate.

          Do you see the lower percentage of white folks to be a problem?

          • T. J. Babson said, on November 7, 2013 at 4:36 pm

            Are Latinos not considered white? Speaking Spanish can hardly be considered a race.

            • WTP said, on November 7, 2013 at 4:41 pm

              Only if they have a proper white last name. Like say, Zimmerman, for example.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on November 7, 2013 at 4:55 pm

              Interesting question. Most race self-identification things I have seen in recent years makes Latino distinct from white, even Latinos who don’t speak Spanish. We’d have to ask the Masters of Race (TM).

            • magus71 said, on November 7, 2013 at 6:02 pm

              They are considered caucasian.

      • magus71 said, on November 7, 2013 at 10:27 am

        As you can see, this was talked about as far back as 1982.

        The underlying causal factor responsible for this
        lack of material reproduction of the United States is
        perhaps best demonstrated by Figure 3, which shows the
        population structure of the United States over the next
        50 years. The immediate prospects are of a period of
        negative population growth, increasingly high average
        age, and fewer and fewer children born each year. These
        trends will exponentially increase, if we assume only
        that the present fertility rate and family formation
        statistics remain constant. That is, we have made the
        conservative assumption that the recent drop in the U.S.
        fertility rate will stop, and that the fertility rate will
        remain constant. Even under this assumption, America
        will reach zero growth by the year 2000, and the
        population will begin to fall exponentially after that.
        Many commentators have assumed that such a
        demographic self-destruction by a country is impossible,
        because as soon as the population reaches zero growth,
        fertility will rise to replacement rates. This assumption
        might be plausible-except for the fact that the cause of
        the present low and declining fertility rate is a deeply
        rooted cultural pessimism. reflected in the economic
        statistics noted above. Other industrial countries are
        already far advanced along this road. West Germany,
        for example, has such a low fertility rate that with every
        generation the number of native-born Germans decreas­
        es by 20%! The ancient civilizations of Hellenistic
        Greece (about 250 B.c.) and the Roman Empire both
        collapsed from internal demographic decline before
        they were externally conquered. History offers little
        hope for a “natural” reversal for a culture which is not
        reproducing itself.
        .

        http://www.larouchepub.com/eiw/public/1982/eirv09n31-19820817/eirv09n31-19820817_030-the_roman_model_of_mass_depopula.pdf

        • magus71 said, on November 7, 2013 at 10:37 am

          The collapse of Ancient Greece, analysis by Polybius:

          In our time all Greece was visited by a dearth of children and generally a decay of population, owing to which the cities were denuded of inhabitants, and a failure of productiveness resulted, though there were no long-continued wars or serious pestilences among us. If, then, any one had advised our sending to ask the gods in regard to this, what we were to do or say in order to become more numerous and better fill our cities,—would he not have seemed a futile person, when the cause was manifest and the cure in our own hands? For this evil grew upon us rapidly, and without attracting attention, by our men becoming perverted to a passion for show and money and the pleasures of an idle life, and accordingly either not marrying at all, or, if they did marry, refusing to rear the children that were born, or at most one or two out of a great number, for the sake of leaving them well off or bringing them up in extravagant luxury. For when there are only one or two sons, it is evident that, if war or pestilence carries off one, the houses must be left heirless: and, like swarms of bees, little by little the cities become sparsely inhabited and weak. On this subject there is no need to ask the gods how we are to be relieved from such a curse: for any one in the world will tell you that it is by the men themselves if possible changing their objects of ambition; or, if that cannot be done, by passing laws for the preservation of infants. On this subject there is no need of seers or prodigies. And the same holds good of all similar things. But in regard to events of which the causes are impossible or difficult to discover, it is reasonable to feel a difficulty. And in this class may be reckoned the course of Macedonian history. For the Macedonians had enjoyed many important favours at the hands of the Romans, having been as a nation liberated from arbitrary government and imports, and having obtained undisputed freedom in the place of slavery; and having been individually relieved to a great extent from intestine factions and civil bloodshed.1 . . .
          The inexplicable conduct of the Macedonians.

          They had been worsted by the Romans formerly when fighting on the side of Demetrius2 and again on that of Perseus; yet when engaged on the side of a man of odious character,3 and in support of his claims to the throne, they displayed great courage and conquered a Roman army. These facts may well seem a puzzle to us, for it is difficult to discover their cause. And accordingly one would be inclined to say in such matters that what had happened was a heaven-sent infatuation, and that the wrath of God had fallen upon the Macedonians. And this will be rendered evident from what remains to be told. . .

          http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0234%3Abook%3D37%3Achapter%3D9

          • WTP said, on November 7, 2013 at 10:57 am

            Thanks for this. I had not seen this reference before. And I do not want to belittle the concern, it is definitely a trend to watch. But as stated from your post of the 1982 article and this one, the trend of pessimism is the problem. I recall it very well growing up in the 70’s. Jimmy Carter and “malaise”. However, even relative to the 1970’s, our current civilization is much more productive and can do more with less. What burns, and this is much of my frustration with Mike and his fellow travelers, is the underlying Malthusianism that should have died out 50 years ago at the least, yet lives on in our current society. This is, to me, a much greater danger than AQ, Taliban, or any other physical threat to our safety. I could say more but have to go to a meeting…

          • Michael LaBossiere said, on November 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm

            We have positive population growth in the US, in large part due to what has fueled our growth since the beginning of the US: immigration. Non-white Americans are just as American as white Americans, so we’ll be just fine as a nation even when whites are a smaller percentage of the population.

            • WTP said, on November 7, 2013 at 5:14 pm

              See what I mean Magus? Mike, being a socialist, thinks he can see into the future and knows we’ll be just fine not only because non-whites will continue to immigrate but also because non-whites, being non-white, will continue to out breed whites. Perhaps he thinks it’s in their nature or something. Kinda like how the most logical explanation he can think of for your comment above being that you see the lower percentage of white folks to be a problem. You really gotta be a socialist to know these things.

            • T.j.b. said, on November 7, 2013 at 5:35 pm

              Mike, when you say “just as American” what do you really mean by this? Can you give an example of a behavior or an attitude that you would regard as un-American?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on November 9, 2013 at 6:16 pm

              I’d say that engaging in war on America and murdering Americans would be unAmerican.

              But, what I mean is that whiteness is not an essential quality for being a true American.

            • magus71 said, on November 7, 2013 at 6:06 pm

              “so we’ll be just fine as a nation even when whites are a smaller percentage of the population.”

              Depends. Who’s immigrating mostly?

  11. magus71 said, on November 13, 2013 at 6:09 am

    The Japanese found the ultimate birth control: Make sex disgusting.

    http://www.steynonline.com/5865/sex-at-sunset

    I don’t believe having children is any more of a duty than eating food. But just as with eating, when you lose the instinct to have children, extinction is looming.

    There are now four times as many dogs in America as there are children.

    Whom the gods seek to destroy, they first make mad.

  12. magus71 said, on November 13, 2013 at 6:52 am

    I beg to differ that many immigrants now-a-days have what would be considered classic American values. Assimilation is now considered passe. Statistics show that immigrants usually just vote to give themselves more stuff at the expense of everyone else. Than there are the millions of illegal Mexicans streaming across the border, jobless in Mexico in large part because they are criminals there, and continue to be criminals here.

    They have nothing in common with my great-grandmother who immigrated from the Netherlands. They have already changed our destiny, and not for the better.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on November 14, 2013 at 5:15 pm

      The previous waves of immigrants tend to say bad things about the newest wave. Think about what people used to say about the Irish when they were the new kids on the block.


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