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Article posted Jul 07 2014, 4:32 PM Category: Commentary Source: William Norman Grigg Print

High Priestess Ginsburg Rebukes the Heathen

by William Norman Grigg

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg professes to be offended by the idea that a commercial enterprise can claim protection under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. She is just as adamant in her insistence that an equally abstract entity called the “government” has “interests” that justify imposing on the property rights of private business owners.

“The exercise of religion is characteristic of natural persons, not artificial legal entities,” Ginsburg complained in her dissent in the Court’s recent Hobby Lobby ruling. In defense of that proposition she cites John Marshall’s description of a corporation as “an artificial being, invisible, intangible, and existing only in contemplation of law.” In similar fashion, she quotes John Paul Stevens’ observation that corporations “have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires.”

Ginsburg appears to be a chromosome-level statist, which is why she doesn’t understand that this descriptive language also applies to the fictive entity called “government.” It, too, is an invisible, impersonal abstraction existing only in the minds of those who believe in it. The “government” has no body, parts, or passions. It has no hands save those that are raised by believers in violence against the infidels, and (to paraphrase Nietzsche) no wealth save that which was stolen in its name.

The substantive difference between a business enterprise and a “government” is that the former is an association of people who engage in commerce, rather than coercion. Absent the cooperation of those calling themselves the government, a corporation cannot compel anybody to purchase their services. The majority in the Hobby Lobby ruling tentatively suggested that there are limits on the government’s supposed authority to compel people to purchase services on behalf of others – a development Ginsburg treats as a portent of impending anarchy. We should only be so lucky.

Throughout her puerile and petulant dissent, Ginsburg piously invokes what she calls the “compelling interest” of the government in forcing private business owners to underwrite the purchase of contraceptives by their female employees.

She doesn’t explain how an impalpable construct with no tangible form or individual will can be “compelled” by anything. What she, and people of her persuasion, mean when they employ that phrase is that those who act in the name of the “government” can claim an interest in compelling others to behave in certain ways.

According to Ginsburg, the question that defines this controversy is not “By what authority does the government compel?” but rather “By what right does anyone claim an exemption?”

The majority decision held that under the so-called Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the federal government is required to accommodate the religious convictions of business owners who do not want to be compelled to underwrite specific forms of birth control – in this case, four of sixteen FDA-approved methods that can reasonably be construed as abortifacients.

Giving voice to the totalitarian left – those who believe that government powers, exercised by the “right” people, should be illimitable – Ginsburg protests that this exemption opens the “floodgates” to supposed social horrors of every kind.

“Hobby Lobby and Conestoga [a company that joined in the lawsuit] surely do not stand alone as commercial enterprises seeking exemptions from generally applicable laws on the basis of their religious beliefs,” she writes, reeling off a series of previous rulings against business owners who were found in violation of anti-discrimination statutes. The list included a restaurant owner from Georgia who refused to accept black customers in the 1960s, and the more recent case of New Mexico wedding photographer Elane Huguenin, who was punished for refusing to provide her services to a same-sex couple.

According to Ginsburg and the professional collectivist hysterics who pretend to believe her, the federal government's claimed power to compel Christian employers to underwrite the purchase of abortion pills for their female employees is the only thing preventing the imposition of a totalitarian theocracy, or large-scale reversion to Jim Crow.

“Would the exemption the Court holds RFRA demands for employers with religiously grounded objections to the use of certain contraceptives extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions … antidepressants … medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin .. and vaccinations?” Ginsburg continues. By granting any religious exceptions to what she insists is a “neutral, generally applicable law,” the majority “has ventured into a minefield” in which they will have to assess the merits of each claimed religious exemption.

This makes sense only if we ignore the only “neutral, generally applicable law” that exists – the law of non-aggression against property rights. Ginsburg is a collectivist by inclination, so it’s not surprising that her dissent ignores the question of property rights entirely: In what sense did Hobby Lobby’s corporate policy violate the property rights of their female employees?

“No doubt the Greens and Hahns” – the family owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga, respectively – “and all who share their beliefs may decline to acquire for themselves the contraceptives in question,” Ginsburg sneers, condescension coloring every syllable. “But that choice may not be imposed on employees who hold other beliefs.” She does not deign to explain how declining to subsidize another person’s choices amounts to an “imposition” – or why those acting in the name of the formless, disincarnate “government” can impose upon employers to provide such subsidies.

“Working for Hobby Lobby or Conestoga … should not deprive employees of the preventive care available to workers at the shop next door,” Ginsburg decrees. She neither addresses nor seems to contemplate this question: If such care is all-important, why would women seeking it choose to work at Hobby Lobby, rather than “the shop next door”? One answer is that Hobby Lobby is a growing company whose owners offer very generous compensation – more than double the minimum wage – in an economy that has been made sick unto death through the ministrations of the “government” before which Ginsburg and her ilk would force us to genuflect.

When Hobby Lobby’s female employees are paid, their wages become their property and can be spent on any birth control method they desire, without restrictions or impositions of any kind from the company’s owners. Those working at the “shop next door,” on the other hand, might very well receive full coverage -- until the business that employs them suffocates beneath the unbearable weight of the government’s regulatory mandates. But sacrifices of that kind are necessary to propitiate the omniprovident entity called “Government,” as Ginsburg and other priests and priestess of its cult will patiently explain to individualist heathen.
William Norman Grigg [send him mail] publishes the Pro Libertate blog and hosts the Pro Libertate radio program

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Comments 1 - 7 of 7 Add Comment Page 1 of 1

Posted: Jul 07 2014, 7:51 PM

7565 I think Grigg hates the federal govt so much that he can't admit that Ginsburg does have a valid dissent. It's ok with me that he hates the govt, but it's not ok that hatred interferes with logic.

Ginsburg correctly notes that "closely held" doesn't mean "small." Our 5 biggest "closely held" corporations employ over 436,000 people. One of those is the $115 billion, 60,000-employee FASCIST Koch Industries. "Closely held" covers as much as 90% of all businesses, which employ ca. 52% of the US workforce.

Some "closely held" Christian corporations are already using the Hobby Lobby decision to say that Their religious bigotry lets them discriminate against LGBT people. What will happen when "closely held" Muslim corporations insist that Their religious bigotry lets them force all female employees to wear burkas? - Fortunately, we have no "closely held" Aztec corporations, so cutting hearts out on top of pyramids is probably not included.

Sammy "the Fish" Alito says that "corporation" means a natural "person," but only for his own agenda driven purposes. What the fascist 5 on the SCOTUS are doing is systematically building a wall of precedents, decision by decision, to make legally unassailable the proposition that corporations can completely overrun the power of ACTUAL people.

In giving no Actual reasoning as to why only "closely held" corporations are afforded religions rights under RFRA, Sammy the Fish's decision opens the door for all corporations, including publicly traded ones, to claim 'religious rights.'

What could possibly go wrong? Sheesh. - We need a constitutional amendment to clarify that corporations are NOT people, and the fascist 5 on the SCOTUS should be impeached.

Posted: Jul 08 2014, 2:55 AM

@nonymous 7565, "Logic" would tell you, that the US Constitution is a religion, so, I'm surprised that someone who rejects religion, as you seem to, would argue within the boundaries setup by its framework.

Both the Christian Bible and the Torah, have a similar construct, that would speak to your argument. I'm referring to Moses's law. In "Genesis," he started with only 10 laws, but, as his government grew, by the end of Exodus there were over 100 laws; each one more absurd than the previous.

My point... You don't have to remain bound by an unreasonable set of ideals and practices, that you don't agree with.

I read somewhere a question that asked: "is god bound by logic?" The response was: "God is not bound by human logic but infinite logic." Yet, gods and religions have changed throughout history, because, the only thing that can make them exist, is one's belief in them. That suggests that gods are bound by human logic. You can apply this to governments as well. Without your belief in it - could not exist.

Posted: Jul 08 2014, 10:28 AM

162225 The problem is, religious zealots hell bent on forcing religion on others call is "liberty" and many libertarians are tricked. Muslims have wreaked havoc on England in the name of "religious liberty". Libertarians need to wake up and learn what coded language is.

Posted: Jul 08 2014, 12:03 PM

@nonymous 162225, as for "coded language," we have 'Newspeak' which is nothing "new." People need to audit the words that politicians speak. The word: "Progress," is a good example of 'Newspeak.' The media uses a different kind of coded language, so, that their articles read in two directions; a mixture of acronyms, numerology, Newspeak, and Oldspeak.

<Muslims have wreaked havoc on England in the name of "religious liberty".> - anonymous 162225

Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, share the same base religion. In other words: "they're all cons." If you are able to identify the base religion, it makes the government's actions predictable.

Posted: Jul 08 2014, 2:02 PM

6919 How would the high priestess like it if SCOTUS had ruled employers could force employees to buy/have/own stuff - like, say, guns??? Oh, heavens, no! Too bad, c*unt! You can't have it both ways!

Posted: Jul 08 2014, 7:44 PM

7565 L.S. – An interesting response, and I agree with most of it. I'll take exception to considering the Constitution a religion, though. I consider it a set of guidelines that can be altered as needed, a particular form of contract, as it were. Those who denigrate it to the status of a religion appear to be mostly tea-baggers who are amazingly imaginative in misinterpreting it, although I've also seen such views from other factions along the political spectrum.

As to arguing "within the boundaries set up by its [the Constitution's] framework," I'm uncertain of the cause of your surprise or objection. Is it that I suggested impeachment of the 5 major-opinion justices or that I suggested an amendmen t? - Those seemed the best alternatives to bloody revolution that I could find at the time. Chuckle.

You said: "My point... You don't have to remain bound by an unreasonable set of ideals and practices, that you don't agree with." I find that quite reasonable, although I add that it can get very uncomfortable if you're disagreeing with the ideals and practices of, for instance, militarized law enforcement folks, particularly those of a religious bent. Heh.

My overall point, though, was that Ginsburg gave a valid dissenting opinion that Grigg ignored in his rush to condemn the federal govt (whose faults don't invalidate Ginsburg's commentary).

I particularly enjoyed your last paragraph with its argument that religons, gods, and governments exist only because of belief in them. Terry Pratchett does some marvelous dark satire on that point in his fantasy book Small Gods, concerning a god manifesting a a bull that, due to dwindling belief in it, was reduced to manifesting as a tortoise, eating lettuce and trying desperately to hold on to its one believer. I think you'd appreciate his humor and commentary on the human cndition.

Posted: Jul 09 2014, 1:31 AM

@7565, I'm not sure I have a political orientation. I don't like politics, of that I'm sure. I simply think people should be free to write the rules for their own lives, not, bound by ideals that were written by a bunch of dead people. (By "dead people," I'm referring to the Founders, not Moses and Christ.)

Your comment: "militarized law enforcement folks, particularly those of a religious bent," made me laugh. People, in general, don't just pick-up weapons, and run about killing one another. This takes years of programming, glorifying wars and the "heroes" who fight those wars. That nationalist mindset comes directly from Gov. Inc. As for the religious zealots... Churches are the government's insurance agencies. Christians don't read their bibles. Church Inc. tells them what their bibles read.
(For a laugh, try telling a Christian, that the "beasts" in their bible, are actually star constellations.)

I've written this before on this site, but I'll write it again: If the government can simply write up a bunch of laws, and, change those laws to suit their own aims, then, a paper shredder could free us all. That's "logic" in a nutshell. However, because I'm forced to pay for things, like oily wars, that I don't believe in, I'm going to bring as much "nutshell logic" (finite logic) to forefront, as I possibly can.

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