Chris King: Guest opinion
Special to The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado
When politicians ask us to “leave politics out” of any government activity, we must suspect that we are being hosed. For wherever legislation and tax money are involved, so is politics. It is already in. And it should be. Good government requires constant citizen input and oversight, which is, in effect, “politics.”
Thus in the recent Aspen Times guest opinion by two Democratic senators, the title, “Take politics out of women’s health care,” promises a double hosing (Feb. 29). Being superb politicians, these twain do not disappoint.
The title itself misstates the issue, which they only pretend to address. It’s not really “health care.” More specifically they aim to defend Obama’s new mandate, which rewards political supporters at the expense of the Bill of Rights. Specifically, it requires all employers, including church groups, to cover health plans that include birth control and abortifacients, thus forbidding employers’ free exercise of religion, the very first freedom specified in the First Amendment.
Such a power grab might once have bothered the American Left, but not today. After all, when you run the government, why care about a few dissenters? Benefits trump fundamental rights. So stuff their freedom of conscience. They’re a minority anyway. What’s the big deal? What constitution? Benefits, man! They should shut up and get in line.
Unfortunately for the left, it can’t come right out and say this. Such words will not fly with anyone who loves human rights, especially that inalienable right whereby even the most despised may face the majority when his conscience demands, and say, “No.”
Plus the mandate, being so extreme, has no basis in actual need.
So our senators begin with a pretext of phony ones. They imply that today’s women lack the freedom to make their own “religious choices” and health decisions. Yet the Bill of Rights and a slew of laws already guarantee this freedom. In reality no church can “force women” to do anything. No one “attacks access” to contraception. In this department, women do just as they please. No agency legally stops them. Nor does any religious body or employer.
In fact it is the state, and only the state, that coerces. Under this mandate the state – not the church – becomes the dictator, the attacker, the zealot. The state denies religious choice to religious employers.
But having framed the problem exactly backward, the senators proceed to solve it with fibs no self-respecting moron can take seriously. Get this: Under the new plan, health care “will be available free to all Americans.” Free! No American will pay.
This manifest absurdity gets them to the crucial fallacy: that like the taxpayers cited above, who get free stuff, employers won’t really pay for the required contraception. They thus have no beef. They will pay the insurance bill, of course, and just as fully. But the birth control part, however real, will not be itemized. It will simply evaporate, by bureacratic fiat.
Thus behold the almighty state, which may fabricate justice by overruling mathematics and economic reality and making ink disappear.
And beware what must follow. For it is obvious that once the state has rolled the churches, it will have no trouble doing likewise to you. Once religious freedom no longer applies to religions, it can hardly belong to individuals. Should this mandate stand, we all lose our most effective guarantee against tyranny of any kind. Think about it: Imagine yourself, disabled to live by your conscience. Which of your other rights will retain their full meaning? Their impact? Their majesty? Can you enjoy, with assurance, any freedom worth having?
Finally, let us ask, with the thousand ways a government can help the poor, why choose one so divisive? Why pick a fight with the Constitution? The answer is neither compassion nor thrift nor any social benefit the senators invoke. It is pure and simple politics.
Not that there’s anything wrong with politics. Politicians who insist on imposing so freely, and doling so much free stuff, need the freest possible input from churches, clubs, interest groups, individuals and especially taxpayers who read, speak, assemble, petition – indeed live our lives and do our politics – every bit as freely.
It’s the hosing we don’t need. The malarky. Indeed, we are doubly abused when two higher-ups plead against our freedoms with such blatant bad faith. So senators, don’t lecture us about politics. We insist on questioning any law that requires our fellows to face your tribunal on their knees, to plead for their basic human rights – indeed, for our basic human rights.
Any citizen who will forfeit his liberty to get free pills needs more than anything to have his head examined. I wonder if that’s covered?
I ask all my fellows to help save our freedoms. Oppose the Obama mandate.
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