July 16, 2014

Strakon Lights Up

The howling over Hobby Lobby

The road to serfdom ends in idiocy

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The Supreme Court's ruling in the Hobby Lobby contraception case has provoked frantic whinnying and stamping in the Augean stables of the Left, and the commotion vividly illustrates two things about our adversaries: one, their utterly, profoundly totalitarian premises; and, two, their inability to think and argue in defense of those premises.

That latter state of affairs is remarkable, since the Bolsheviks control Big Academe, the so-called NGOs, the entertainment industry, most of the established news media, most of the "helping professions" (except for a cohort of right-wing or libertarian doctors), much of Big Religion, and vast swathes of the regime's bureaucracy and courts. It's true that defending totalitarian premises is intrinsically difficult, but as one who did battle with bright, articulate New Leftists back in the era of parsley, sage, rosemary, and B-52s, I have to observe that a decline in mental acuity has taken place that's really, like, radical. (Pun intended.)

Consider these three pieces of attempted satire that appeared after the ruling:

"Supreme Court Rules JCPenney Allowed to Sacrifice Employees to Appease Cthulhu" (Moonmont Chronicle)

"Supreme Court upholds Little Caesar's right to feed Christian employees to lions" (Altbananna.com)

"Hobby Lobby Stones Gay Employee to Death" (Daily Currant).

Now, satire can be tricky, but I'm pretty sure all these pieces are meant to satirize not mind-disabled left-wing hysterics but supporters of religious freedom. Read them and see what you think. With respect to the third piece, Snopes.com felt obliged to post an assurance that the stoning did not actually occur.

For now, let's not get distracted by the questions of how pregnancy was officially defined to be a disease and whether the government has any conceivable business intervening in the health-care industry (or any other industry). If the authorities are now allowing a certain kind of business to peacefully choose whether or not to pay for a certain kind of health coverage for employees, well, to at least some leftists that's the same as permitting the businesses to murder their employees.

We've long understood that the toties cannot distinguish between free choice and the initiation of force, since they don't actually believe in society as such; as the organizing principle for human beings living together, they believe only in the state, which lives by initiating force. The state — as long as they control the apparatus — is compassionate, loving, humane, and charitable; the folk out there in Stink Land (i.e., in society), cooperating in the market (free society's material expression), necessarily rely on coercion, force, fraud, violence, and intimidation.

It's a perfect inversion, and I've noted it before. But if I may once again fall back on Monty Python's stiff-upper-lip colonel, "This bit has just gotten silly!" Not to mention, moronic. To paraphrase Chesterton, our adversaries are talking nonsense, and they cannot stop.

Want more? Well, Bob Beckel, a house liberal for Fox News, declared the other day on air that the SCOTUS ruling is an attack on the First Amendment because it violates the separation of church and state! The "Congress shall make no law" bit seems to have flown right over his head. Apparently, if I decline to invite into my house a roving band of Jehovah's Witnesses, or Beckel, for that matter, I'm violating the First Amendment, too.

Beckel went on to say that, under the logic of the ruling, ultra-orthodox Jewish employers would be able to prohibit employees from driving on Saturday. A couple days later I heard a liberal guest on Fox declare that a Christian Science employer now apparently has the right to deny a cancer-stricken employee money for his chemo.

Well, yes, of course an employer not bound by contract has a natural right to prohibit or deny those things. But all of the claims above depend for their force on the leftist fantasy of employees as slaves. It's probably not too surprising, since left-totalitarians' whole understanding of social relations is slavish. But now I'm repeating myself.

None of the conservatives surrounding the Fox liberals, I should note, intervened to ask the screamingly obvious questions: Would the ultra-orthodox Jewish employer be likely to attract anyone other than ultra-orthodox employees? Would the Christian Science employer be likely to attract anyone other than Christian Science employees? I dare say it isn't only the comrades who are less than adept, nowadays, on that old thinking front.

I once saw a terrible horror movie out of Commie Hollywood, "The Mangler" (based on Stephen King's story), that is set in a commercial laundry and ostensibly in a normal world except for the titular murder machine, which is demonically possessed. I was astonished at the portrayal of the laundry's employees as slaves who apparently couldn't just quit and seek a job where they'd be more likely to survive until close of business. Their employer, played by Robert Englund, is depicted as an outright dictator whose every command must be obeyed. That calls for more explanation than the demonic machine does, but none is forthcoming in the film. Watching the hot mess unfold, I realized in a way I hadn't before that that's actually how the Left sees the ordinary world of work. (Outside of Public Service, I suppose.)

The weird shibboleth of "access" is being heard again, too. For example, LibertyNEWS quotes Kirsten Gillibrand as tweeting, "It's unacceptable that in 2014 we are still fighting over women's access to birth control." (Gillibrand turns out to be a Central Government senator from the state of New York!) The use of "access" in this way is completely totalitarian, but it's so deranged that I cannot understand how the toties get away with it. (In the same way, I could not understand the egregious Sandra Fluke's lack of shame when she publicly declared her unwillingness to pay for her own zipless-fuke pills.)

As other writers have pointed out, if applied consistently this understanding of "access" would mean that we were definitively denied access to food and clothing and cars unless government supplied them. And access to all other goods and all services, too, unless government supplied them. How dare these maniacs rape our language so?

But maybe I'm missing the point. Whenever left-totalitarians seem to be babbling in the language of Bizarro World, we should listen carefully: it's likely that they're revealing just what they want — exactly the state of affairs they're tirelessly working to impose.

Ultimately, I suppose, if the government doesn't provide you with ideas, you won't have "access" to them, either. At least you'd better not insist that you do, lest you be obliged to take up residence in the place where there is no darkness.

As I once wrote in a "Stop and think" segment, "The state engenders social conflict, and the more of society it takes over, or distorts, or suppresses, the more social conflict it causes, as the people who are forced to pay for all of it as taxpayers enter the political and legal realms to do battle, both to maximize their spoils and limit their expropriation and enslavement." I dealt with the subject at greater length in a writing in September 2009.

The ways in which statism promotes social conflict are multitudinous. We see more than one demonstrated in the Hobby Lobby controversy, but none is more calamitous than the derangement of the mind, which prevents people from thinking straight and understanding how they might live peacefully with their neighbors. Freedom and the love of freedom enliven the mind; tyranny and the love of tyranny deaden it.  Ω

Related reading: "High Priestess Ginsburg Rebukes the Heathen," by Will Grigg, Pro Libertate, July 6, 2014

July 16, 2014

Published in 2014 by WTM Enterprises.

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