Just a little over a week ago, the ruling came down from the Supreme Court that Hobby Lobby was within its constitutional rights to not offer certain forms of contraceptives despite the mandate that applies to all businesses under the Affordable Care Act of 2009 This ruling was heralded by the conservative media and lamented by the mainstream media. I had more than one conversation on the matter with those on either side. The bottom line that I always came down to is that a business has the right to conduct itself however its ownership sees fit.
The public can rant, rave, moan, groan, cheer, and/or applaud. That same public can continue to choose that business its employer or where they chose to buy the materials for whatever project has most recently come across on Pinterest. However, considering the fact that they hold no stake in the decisions of that company, the power to vote with their dollars is as far as their influence should be allowed to reach.
Now, hardly a week later, another tasty bit of controversy has been stirring the public pot. A certain film was released over the Fourth of July weekend, America: Imagine the World Without Her by Dinesh D’Souza. Not even a week after this movie came out, Costco pulled a book bearing the same title from its shelves. Costco claims that it was because of poor sales ratings, the conservative media claims it was because of the close ties that Costco CEO, Jim Sinegal, has with the Obama administration and the Democrat National Committee that spurred the decision.
Enter stage left: The conservative mobocracy mobilized and began pounding Costco’s Facebook page demanding that it return the book to its shelves. Comments flew on countless news pieces that people were going to cancel their Costco memberships. Mr. D’Souza makes the rounds on the daily talk shows to defend his book and to talk about why his book was pulled from Costco’s list of products and the giant retailer has conceded to the mob and reordered the book.
While this is a relatively minor event in the face of some of the other major problems facing America, like the crisis at the border and the fact that Palestine is again launching rockets into Israel, it highlights a major cultural phenomenon that I feel needs to be addressed.
Governmental Intervention is rarely, if ever, the answer
The American psyche has somehow latched onto the idea that every business they encounter must cater to its own whims no matter how outlandish or illogical they might be. The country was founded upon a principle of free markets and freedom of association. The American market thrived because of minimal governmental obstruction. The ingenuity of the market lay with its ability to adapt and to offer new products and ideas. If someone was unable or unwilling to do meet a particular demand, for the most part, the market allowed somebody else to step in and face the challenge of meeting that demand. The only real obstacle was the entrepreneur’s lack of personal ability, ingenuity, and/or prowess to bring their ideas and products to life.
Today, the market is not nearly so free. Governmental regulation grows every year by leaps and bounds, and the money flowing through Washington D.C. often creates greater barriers to market entry than to facilitating a truly free market. I have as much problem with the ability for a CEO to buy the votes of any particular senator as the staunchest liberal, the only difference between the liberal and I is that I see less governmental intrusion as the answer rather than more governmental intrusion.
Government established wage controls during World War II are one of the major factors that brought us to the present situation that the Supreme Court faced in the Hobby Lobby Case. The limits imposed on employers forced those employers to seek alternative ways of providing incentives for a prospective employee to choose one business over another. These incentives came in the form of stock sharing, 401K programs, and health insurance.
Unfortunately, the limits on wages were lifted, but people became accustomed to having their employers provide these benefits to the point that they are now pretty much expected regardless of where you apply for a job. The ultimate way to solve the problem is to put the power back in the hands of the individual to choose their insurance plans on a free market system that allows the consumer to choose the coverage they feel that best suits their individual needs, not the needs that are decreed by an uninvolved, bureaucratic party.
Imagine how much larger your paycheck could be if, instead of your employer offering certain benefits and retirement plans, you were allowed the ability to receive that money yourself and then chose exactly where that money went.
But until that happens, one has to remember that the same unalienable right endowed upon humanity by its creator that should protect an employer’s right to exercise their religious freedom also applies to an employer’s right of speech and political affiliation.
If you can’t find it there, find it somewhere else
If the exercise of these fundamental rights grates against your personal beliefs, it should be rejoiced that we live in a country where the government shouldn’t have the ability to alter those decisions. If the market disagrees with those decisions, then you are allowed to seek alternative sources for their birth control or the books they want to read.
Refusing to carry a book because you disagree with its message is not censorship. There are any number of other sources where you can find the same book. Who knows, it might even be less expensive at another store. Get it from Sam’s Club or save yourself the gas and Costco Membership, purchase an Amazon Prime membership, and get free two-day shipping (If only I were being paid for that little commercial for Amazon) on the book from the comfort of your own home.
Refusing to extend coverage of certain forms of birth control does not deny a woman access to that form of birth control. There is Planned Parenthood. Or traipse down to Wal-Mart or wherever else one purchases contraception and buy it yourself. Shoot, I just looked it up and you can buy contraception form Amazon, too. More two-day shipping. That membership is already paying for itself.
So buy Dinesh D’Souza’s book from Amazon. If you’re afraid a little reading will lead to an unwanted pregnancy, get some contraception as well.