Home / General / “It’s Like, How Much More Specious Could This Argument Be? And the Answer is None. None More Specious.”

“It’s Like, How Much More Specious Could This Argument Be? And the Answer is None. None More Specious.”

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Millhiser beat me to pointing out the most instructive part of Irin Carmon’s remarkable give-’em-enough-rope interview with the CEO of Eden Foods. Even Potter doesn’t really seem to believe in the religious freedom arguments that are being made on his behalf, but rather is just motivated by the conviction that laws he disagrees with just have to be illegal somehow because FREEDOM!

“Because I don’t care if the federal government is telling me to buy my employees Jack Daniel’s or birth control. What gives them the right to tell me that I have to do that? That’s my issue, that’s what I object to, and that’s the beginning and end of the story.”

And this makes sense. After all, the constitutional and statutory arguments against the requirement to cover contraceptives for employees are extremely weak even when it comes to religiously affiliated institutions. But if generally applicable laws are unconstitutional because they are inconsistent with the religious beliefs of individuals, you might as well give up on the idea of having government altogether. (“My religion told me this murder was justified!” “OK, well then I guess you’re free to go, sir.” ) It’s pretty obvious that regulations of conduct cannot be required to be consistent with the religious beliefs of every individual. The argument is so bad and transparently unworkable either way that whether any religious beliefs are actually being violated is beside the point.

This is similar to the problem with the constitutional arguments being made against the PPACA. You could make a coherent argument against its constitutionality, but it was one only a tiny handful of libertarians would take seriously. The arguments that were developed that would allow the PPACA to be struck down while maintaining the Republican Party as viable political entity, however, quickly collapse on themselves. Once you’re conceded that the federal government has the authority to regulate the national health care market, McCullouch v. Maryland quickly settles the question of whether the mandate is constitutional.   Like Potter’s argument, the argument against the PPACA only worked if you can show that the Constitution enacted Mr. Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State and Utopia.

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