Thursday, March 8, 2012

ObamaCare's Culture of Compulsion

It's tempting to ask the Catholic Church: where were you?  Now, finally, at the eleventh hour, the leaders of the US Catholic Church have come out and opposed ObamaCare on the grounds that it forces Catholic employers to pay for contraception and abortifacient services in violation of long-standing Church moral policy about contraception and abortion.

After all, the Catholic Church, at least since the papal encyclical Rerum Novarum, has held to the principle of subsidiarity.  From Wikipedia:
The principle is based upon the autonomy and dignity of the human individual, and holds that all other forms of society, from the family to the state and the international order, should be in the service of the human person. Subsidiarity assumes that these human persons are by their nature social beings, and emphasizes the importance of small and intermediate-sized communities or institutions, like the family, the church, labor unions and other voluntary associations, as mediating structures which empower individual action and link the individual to society as a whole. "Positive subsidiarity", which is the ethical imperative for communal, institutional or governmental action to create the social conditions necessary to the full development of the individual, such as the right to work, decent housing, health care, etc., is another important aspect of the subsidiarity principle.
The idea is that, because humans are social beings, that government should only do things that people cannot do for themselves and cannot do for each other in mediating structures.  Why is this?  Because government is force.  Whenever you have government involved in anything it involves force.  When force enters the equation it means that the normal interactions of humans as social beings has broken down and needs to be compelled, to be forced to provide something that people cannot or will not do themselves.

The fact is that our liberal friends obviously understand that.  Otherwise they would not be trying to change the subject on ObamaCare.   When they say that the issue on Catholic employers is a question of women's reproductive rights, they are saying that reproductive rights are only possible if employers are forced to provide a service that costs $9 per month.  That is a joke.  We are talking here about three lattes a month or a couple of beers.  We are talking about ten percent of the cost of a fully supported iPhone with voice plan and data plan.  Our liberal friends understand very well that they are trespassing on First Amendment rights.  That is why they are changing the subject.

We know what is going on here.  Since time immemorial, politicians have bought the votes of the credulous by offering them free services to be paid for with other peoples' money.  In a way, the smaller this free service, the better.  After all, who can object to the cost of a mere $9 a month.  How cheap can you get?

But the fact is that government is force.  Politics is the threat of force.   And every subsection in a thousand page bill is another little instance where the life of humans as social beings is replaced by government force.  In each case we are talking about something that is removed from flexible social cooperation and replaced by rigid police force.

I suppose that many provisions in any thousand-page bill are not there because of some pressing need, but are really there as a demonstration of power by some organized special interest.  Attention must be paid!  Thus, if you are a feminist, you want to make sure that the nation's comprehensive and mandatory universal health program includes your big issues--contraception and abortion--otherwise you are demonstrating to the world that you don't really count as a power in the land; you are irrelevant.  When the special interests are sitting around the table, it matters that your issue gets added to the grand bargain that reflects your relative weight in the councils of power.

But every new addition to the power of government adds to the phalanx of force, and it diminishes the "autonomy and dignity of the individual."  It also diminishes the autonomy and dignity of all subsidiary institutions of social cooperation below the level of government that imposes its new rule of force.

In the Bush years our liberal friends sometimes became hysterical over the intolerable compulsions that Bush's policy laid upon them.  They do not seem to be so sensitive to the dangers of government force now that they are doing the forcing.

It is wonderful that the Catholic Church has woken up from a sound sleep and manned the ramparts of freedom.  Here's another wonderful thought.  How about we now discuss the forced confinement of children in government custodial facilities from age 7 to age 18?  What does that do to the "autonomy and dignity of the individual" child and its individual parent?

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