Tuesday, January 15, 2013
This cartoon is by2009 LSU Grad M J Shepherd . His post on this cartoon is here .
Needless to say I think his view of the issues surrounding the HHS Contraception mandate is a tad simplistic. The fact is we have a conflict between two laws. That is the HHS contraception mandate on side hand and the The Religious Freedom Restoration Act on the other.
One would also think one could be an conservative or a liberal, or Atheist, or a Christian and have some empathy for those wish to have their day in court without being subject to the threat of huge fines that could put you out of business for that right. However I am tad old fashion.
This cartoon again makes me think of of a piece I read back in 2011. See Professor Vischer on New Conscience Regs
The second question: how did rolling back – or at least holding the line on – conscience protections become a hallmark of a progressive political agenda? This is a much trickier inquiry than parsing regulatory language. One relevant development is progressives’ tendency to conceive of freedom – and the government’s responsibility to safeguard that freedom – in terms of positive liberty, not just negative liberty. Negative liberty requires protection against interference with the pursuit of basic goods; positive liberty requires affirmative assistance in securing basic goods. As progressives have tended to expand the range of goods for which the government’s affirmative assistance is required, the potential for conflict with a provider’s liberty becomes greater. Nowhere is this trend more pronounced than in the debates over reproductive rights. Arguments for conscience protection emerge from a long tradition of negative liberty; arguments for guaranteed access to a particular good or service – backed up in many cases by state power – emerge from a much more recent tradition of positive liberty.
A closely related development is a shifting view of professional licenses. Generally the state’s licensing authority has been viewed as a means by which to ensure a provider’s competence. As access to goods and services becomes an essential dimension of meaningful liberty (in progressives’ eyes), there is a stronger justification for viewing licensed providers as quasi-public officials, and the license becomes a means of ensuring that governmental objectives are met.
Progressives are quick to rally to the defense of a student forced to violate her conscience by participating in the pledge of allegiance. Few progressives have rallied to the defense of pharmacists required by state law to sell the morning-after pill. In my view, this is a progressive blind spot that stands in tension with the overarching progressive commitment to freedom from state coercion in matters comprising a person’s moral identity and integrity. Progressives have shown a steady shift in their willingness to accept incursions on conscience in order to further other socially desirable goals. Progressives may eventually come to regret this shift – state power unbounded by conscience protections is not necessarily captive to progressive causes – but so far there is very little indication of remorse. President Obama’s foray into the debate, though certainly not a disastrous turn of events, shows little indication that the partisan presumptions about conscience will change anytime soon.
I have no idea of the cartoonist political leanings. But perhaps he might like to think about the thoughts I just excerpted.
Posted by James H at 1/15/2013 02:01:00 PM