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The recent brouhaha about the young lady testifying to Congress about the evils of her Catholic college not providing free birth control disturbs me on so many levels.

First, it disturbs me that this is being purported on the left as a women’s rights issue and by the right as a religious rights one. As important as those may be, they are both missing the point in spades.

Secondly, it disturbs me that some Congressmen (including my own) have actually wasted time petitioning the Speaker of the House to admonish the free speech of a [[Rush Limbaugh|member of the press]] for less-than-politely criticizing the student. Sure I may consider the comments lowbrow or inappropriate, but since when is that up for congressional debate?  Not only has the government already declared it’s their place to tell private institutions what to provide their clients, but to what is and is not acceptable political criticism by a supposedly free press.  Imagine if their opinions could be backed by the weight of law.  Oh, wait …

But back to the young lady who at least in theory is trying to become an independent, responsible adult.  She is saying that it is unfair to not be given, for free, by a college she willingly chooses to attend, protection against the consequences of actions she will willfully choose to undertake.  So let’s get this straight — even assuming it is not the man’s responsibility or handling birth control somehow empowers her, she cannot afford a box of condoms or the taxi fare to the nearest Planned Parenthood.  However, she attends an expensive private college that, to top it off, preaches abstinence.  Believing in personal liberty, I say she has a right to do what she wants with her body, but by that reasoning, if she’s ugly and wants to get laid, she should also be entitled to free plastic surgery or an unlimited bar tab on the college’s dime.  It would be even worse if such things were required on the taxpayer’s dime.  Oh, wait …

If you’ve been following the news at all, it’s obvious this is not an isolated incident, but the latest in a series of battles in a larger war caused by [[Affordable Health Care for America Act|federal health care “reform”]].  And the Catholic Church — one of the generally liberal sects in American Christendom — is spearheading the revolt.  It crossed a line that legislators may or may not have considered in the crafting of the bill, had they actually been the ones who crafted it, or even read it.

A military Chaplain was chastised for defending to his camouflaged flock the boycott of Catholic hospitals being forced to provide certain services against their chosen code of ethics (contraception and abortion, except in extreme cases).  A debate over of separation of church and state ensued, of course, but that diverts us from the underlying issue — a private institution’s right to choose what they provide the public.  But that’s only half the protest, the other half being such institutions are now forced to provide insurance to their employees that does not omit covering such things.  Familiar?  Maybe an intern from Buffalo Mercy Hospital should be the next big speaker before Washington’s lawmakers.

There has always been political positioning over issues of health care and abortion.  But the roles are now reversed.  Health care was the arena by which the abortion issue was [[Roe v. Wade|legislated in 1973]].  Now it seems that the right to NOT perform abortions is a battleground for challenging the inherent ethical assumptions of currently legislated health care.

And that is what this is all about. People have the right to reasonable access to health care of their choosing — that was the hard sell of the [[Affordable Health Care for America Act|bill]].  But instead, our rights have been taken away on every level.  Individuals are no longer allowed to NOT have insurance (an approved insurance product, even if they have actual access to health care through other means or simply do not need it).  Hospitals cannot choose not to accept insurance products (a moral basis being irrelevant), even though it is arguably still a free market.  Private employers and schools are not allowed to choose plans without certain features determined by law, even though employment tends to be voluntary these days.

I know no one on the Left likes to think of this as a government takeover of health care.  And it’s not [[socialism]] in the strict sense.  But it IS vast legislative micromanagement of the whole industry, not for the sake of regulation to protect the consumer and market from the system that (still) needs reform, but everything else.  It is blatant [[HMO]] [[corporatism]], them vastly benefiting while the entitlements of token fractions of the population are outweighed by an inflated, disproportionate expense for the many. 

That is why this is far worse than text-book socialism.  I would have almost preferred a single-payer option to this!  It is a broad dictation of revoked rights to people and private institutions that cannot be defended as for the [[greater good]] in a non-totalitarian society, even if the claim of expected positive results wasn’t so spurious.  And I know people who look forward to their personal benefits from the bill, and are fine so long as their personal experience of HMOs is reasonable.  Do anecdotes of good management in the here and now (widespread or rare) justify moving toward a society where government (supposedly always “of, by, and for the people”) has such final say in such a fundamental thing as personal health?  Wasn’t that supposedly a cornerstone of the [[Pro-choice]] movement, or are such rights only convenient so long as they get their way? 

But forget we’re talking about healthcare for a moment and go back to the most disturbing basis for all of this.  Even if people have a right to something, we are now in an entitlement culture where people think this means they can demand it from someone else at will — their hospital, their employer, the town, the taxpayer.  And using government to achieve that by force is adding a whole new blackness to the void of current social ethics.

Such an attack on a free market and society is insidious because we accept it on false pretenses.  Like the revolutions of the past that eventually ended in totalitarianism and even fascism, this is all being done is under the guise of social justice and an interpretation of the [[Social Contract]] that would make [[John Locke]] roll over in his grave, afraid to whisper today’s news to the Founding Fathers for fear of the same.  It is the most contradictory, passive-aggressive political philosophy ever to deem itself enlightened.  If it were not underhandedly delicious, the masses — especially Americans — would never have tolerated it to this point.

But maybe I’m blowing this all out of proportion.  After all, these things would only shatter social and economic liberty if we reached the point where where we are forced as individuals and businesses to completely subsidize other people’s bad choices by force of law, and centralizing the administration of many details of our lives according to the will and whim of the majorities around us. Oh, wait …