03 Jul 2014

Hobby Lobby Ruling: Principle Will Set You Free

Health Legislation, Pacifism, Shameless Self-Promotion 26 Comments

My latest LibertyChat post on the Hobby Lobby ruling:

The conservative supporters of the Hobby Lobby decision are correct when they say no employer should be forced to pay for contraception against his or her religious beliefs. The liberal opponents of the Hobby Lobby decision are correct when they say this principle would imply that religious pacifists shouldn’t have to pay for war.

If only these two camps would drop their petty sniping and see the beautiful vision of a truly free society: A prosperous world without stupid and stifling regulations on business, and a peaceful world without a snooping NSA and a fleet of flying killer robots controlled by megalomaniacs in DC.

26 Responses to “Hobby Lobby Ruling: Principle Will Set You Free”

  1. Gene Callahan says:

    Who says libertarians are not utopian?

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Who says Gene Callahan isn’t a cranky old sourpuss?

      • Tel says:

        Your search – “Gene Callahan isn’t a cranky old sourpuss” – did not match any documents.


        Make sure that all words are spelled correctly.
        Try different keywords.
        Try more general keywords.
        Try fewer keywords.

        Apparently no one says it. No one in the entire Internet.

  2. Matt M says:

    This was a great article.

    Somewhat side-question: What exactly IS LibertyChat? Who is behind it? I had never heard of it until you started posting articles there a couple months back. They seem to have some good writers. Am I just ignorant or did it just pop up overnight with little fanfare/explanation?

    • khodge says:

      probably has something to do with the Koch brothers.

  3. Tony N says:

    So long as you believe the government never has a compelling interest to wage war.

    • Dean T. Sandin says:

      Even that isn’t sufficient. It’s possible that the government does so much bad when waging unnecessary war that you would still prefer they not be allowed to wage wars with a compelling interest. Imagine a surgeon who chops off 9 healthy limbs for every gangrenous limb he finds. You’re probably better off taking your chances with the gangrene.

      • Tony N says:

        Dean, a compelling interest is a compelling interest. If you think there was one, then by definition, you think it had to be done…despite the negative consequences. A surgeon chopping off nine good limbs for every bad one does not have a compelling interest to perform amputations; the compelling interest is to stop practicing medicine.
        A surgeon chopping off a bad limb to prevent certain death, that’s a different story. Some wars have to be waged (that is not to say that I believe the current ones are such wars).

        • Dan says:

          Who gets to decide which wars have to be waged?

        • Bob Murphy says:

          Tony N I agree that the private sector could not have matched the USG’s performance during World War II, in which millions of people died, it invented atomic weapons, and delivered half of Europe to the Soviets.

          • Tony N says:

            And indeed all of those outcomes totally sucked, especially when you consider the alternative: millions of people die, the Germans invent atomic weapons, and all of Europe, at the very least, is delivered to the Nazis.

            • Z says:

              I don’t know. there was uncle joe and his bear army standing in the way.

            • guest says:

              First of all … that was awesome.

              But second, Z, below, is correct:

              Rethinking the Good War

              World War I was not our war. In a memo written at the end of World War II, Churchill wrote:

              This war should never have come unless, under American and modernizing pressure, we had driven the Habsburgs out of Austria and the Hohenzollerns out of Germany. By making these vacuums we gave the opening for the Hitlerite monster to crawl out of its sewer onto the vacant thrones. No doubt these views are very unfashionable.

              The Pearl Harbor Myth: Rethinking the Unthinkable

              Caveat on Churchill:

              The Real Churchill

        • Dean T. Sandin says:

          “A surgeon chopping off nine good limbs for every bad one does not have a compelling interest to perform amputations; the compelling interest is to stop practicing medicine.”

          So we agree that the US military has a compelling interest in disbanding.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      If only someone would write an essay explaining how a free society could defend itself militarily…

      • Tony N says:

        Bob, I think you’re often brilliant, but when I contemplate the Nazi/Fascist machine steamrolling the planet during the dawn of the nuclear age, I have a hard time imagining something less comforting than the private sector’s theoretical capacity to wage a global war.

        • K.P. says:

          That’s a good point, but to be fair it’s not like the Nazi/Fascist steamroller just appeared ex nihilo.

          • John says:

            I have to agree here that the defeat of the Axis is arguably the single greatest achievement of the United States government. No matter how one feels about government, Nazis, libertarians, etc, I think it is implausible to argue that the government somehow performed badly over all in World War II, or that’s its actions were not instrumental in preserving a world in which it is possible to despise governments without being strung up by one. As for the argument that the US caused Nazism or Hitler well, I’ll just say I think that is a very bad argument.

            • K.P. says:

              “As for the argument that the US caused Nazism or Hitler well, I’ll just say I think that is a very bad argument.”

              Does anyone make that argument?

              • K.P. says:

                John, I took what you were saying to be quite literal, Hitler and the Nazis would have *existed* regardless of the US’ role in the War.

                But do you seriously not think that the Nazi’s rise to power didn’t have anything to do with the Versailles Treaty?

                I’m not saying it was out of revenge, just that the humiliation the Germans felt enabled Hitler.

                Even JMK saw something rotten in it:

                “The policy of reducing Germany to servitude for a generation, of degrading the lives of millions of human beings, and of depriving a whole nation of happiness should be abhorrent and detestable, – abhorrent and detestable, even if it were possible, even if it enriched ourselves, even if it did not sow the decay of the whole civilized life of of Europe”

            • guest says:

              Rethinking the Good War

              And setting aside for another moment the folly of U.S. intervention in World War I, which prevented a dictated peace settlement and paved the way for the harsh terms of the Treaty of Versailles, thus facilitating the rise of Hitler: … Was it wise to join forces with a brutal dictator like Stalin, who had already killed millions, with the result that he enslaved half of Europe under communism?

              … While all of these things were going on in the United States, and before Hitler broke the Molotov—Ribbentrop Pact and invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, Stalin was engaged in carving up Europe just like Hitler.

              The Soviet Union’s aggressive territorial expansion was greater than that of Germany. In light this, was it wise to ally with Stalin against Hitler?

              Ron Paul as a Stooge for Adolph Hitler

              Third, and most important, it is unlikely that Hitler would have ever risen to power in Germany without U.S. entry into World War I, in 1917. Although contrary to fact history can only be speculative, consider the following points.

              Likely, this war would have petered out before too long, if only due to the fact that both sides were running out of material, human and otherwise, necessary to carry on. But, our ruling class had more bonds with the British than with the Germans, so our way ahead was clear, with no President Paul to save us from our folly.

              As a result, the Allies beat the Axis powers. Following up on this, the punitive Treaty of Versailles was imposed upon the losers, who were declared solely responsible for the hostilities. This lead to the German hyper-inflation of 1923, which, along with the aforementioned Treaty of Versailles, reduced the German society and economy to a rubble. It was only in the aftermath of these body blows to the German people that a scoundrel such as Hitler could have arisen.

              A Paul presidency in 1940 would have meant a war with Germany, but not Japan. However, a President Paul in 1917 would not have encouraged U.S. entry into that conflagration. If he was successful, there would have been no need for any declaration of war against Germany, as there would have been no Adolph Hitler and his Nazis in charge. He would have been, instead, an unknown house painter. With a President Paul at the helm, there would have been no holocaust; no 50 million people perishing during this war; no dropping of atomic bombs on innocent civilians, women and children, to our eternal shame.

              • John says:

                Apparently people have made the argument. I guess I personally don’t find arguments that, if things had been differently in1917 maybe Hitler would never have come to power and therefore the US Is Is responsible for Nazi Germany, persuasive. I think a better argument is, the Nazis were responsible for Nazi Germany and the Allies more or less saved the world. Although I don’t want to discount all revisionist history, I think on this one the evidence pretty strongly favors my view.

        • Enopoletus Harding says:

          Agreed, Tony.

  4. Josiah says:

    If only someone would write an essay explaining how a free society could defend itself militarily…

    …that could convince David Friedman.

  5. Samson Corwell says:

    As a person who lean liberal, I agree with the Hobby Lobby ruling. But the common libertarian trope of trying pass itself as some sort fully consistent school of thought that takes the best from conservatism and liberalism that LibertyChat tries to employ here is just rubbish. Freedom of religion means religious companies shouldn’t be forced to provide contraception. It does not mean they are free to avoid paying taxes that go towards a war effort.

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