Sweet Lord why did I read MacEachern’s column on Hobby Lobby?


Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com


I was warned not to read Doug MacEachern’s piece on Hobby Lobby. I should have listened.

A lot about the majority decision in the Hobby Lobby case has made liberals go all crazy in the head (see: here, here, here and, emphatically, here) .

But there is one part of the decision that makes them craziest in the head. And that would be that notion of for-profit corporations being people too.

Which is just nuts. Or, better yet, crazy in the head. The Left is utterly committed to the duty of corporations to act morally in uncounted ways. And not just in some loosely defined notion of “corporate responsibility,” either. They want corporate CEOs to be held personally responsible for their moral transgressions, to the point of seeing them thrown in jail.

Yeah, those crazy leftists! Doug might want to take a gander at how some of his conservative counterparts have reacted to the decision. The gist of the article, an idiotic thesis MacEachern either pulled out of his ass or heard on Fox News, is that liberals are hypocrites because we want corporations to behave ethically, ergo, we want them to be people too! Neener neener. He also seems to be under the illusion that CEOs can’t currently be prosecuted as individuals for criminal conduct in the course of their jobs. Whatever, the main argument is too stupid to dignify with a rebuttal.

MacEachern, either willingly or unwittingingly, pushes myths anti-choicers have carefully planted about the ruling.

The Hobby Lobby decision affirmed that closely held corporations (that is, companies owned and run by five or fewer people holding at least 51 percent of the corporation stock) enjoy some rights to express their personal values in the operation of their company. The company’s owners objected to four of the 20 forms of birth control that the Obama administration instructed them to offer in their health-insurance plans. The family members who own Hobby Lobby believe them to be abortifacients, and being forced by an order of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to pay for those abortifacients offends their opposition to abortion.

That view is controversial, but not without substance. But even if the arguments were thin, the law as written by the late Ted Kennedy and signed by President Bill Clinton doesn’t require a substantial test of the correctness of that religious belief, only that it is honestly held

First, he leaves the impression that it affects only a small number of people when the reality is that the majority of companies in the US are closely held and they employ over half of workers. Then he repeats the falsehood that only four types of contraception can be excluded under a religious objection when it has been widely reported since last Tuesday that the court clarified that the ruling applied to all types. Furthermore, there is no scientific “substance” to the belief that IUDs or the morning after pill cause abortion. The purpose of the “sincere religious belief” SCOTUS invented for Hobby Lobby was to mislead the public, and usefully credulous pundits like Doug MacEachern, into thinking this was a case about abortion and not birth control.

Then, as always, Doug goes completely off the rails. I can’t tell for sure but it looks like he’s equating women who use Plan B to crooked bankers.

The fact that no Wall Street CEOs went to prison for their role in causing the Great Recession is an enduring source of resentment on the Left (and, in fact, in plenty of other circles as well, but pointedly among people of the liberal Left).

Some of the arguments are based in a sense of the law not being applied, but hardly all of them. A lot of it is anchored in nothing more legal-minded than resentment of all the money the Wall Street pirates raked in after the great financial crash.

People hate Wall Street financial wizards because they consider them moral reprobates, like Martin Scorcese’s Wolf of Wall Street. Marty didn’t include all that astonishingly excessive sex and drugs into his movie in order to make his characters more sympathetic. He added it to make them look despicable. Like people who deserved to be in jail…

…We expect corporate titans to act morally. Just as, say, those Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream guys express their corporate values, something people on the Left applaud. Liberals even debate the moral details of the Philosophy of Ben & Jerry’s as though they were discussing the Protestant Reformation.

And just as the Hobby Lobby owners have opted to do. We expect it of them. So what’s the beef?

Very telling, that bit about Wolf of Wall Street. Culture war conservatives see sex and substance use as worse than stealing massive amounts of money and wrecking the economy. MacEachern assumes that everyone agrees with him that it was sex and drugs that made the movie’s main characters unsympathetic rather than their unprincipled ruthlessness. So you can see how he would conclude that taking birth control coverage away from women would serve a higher public interest than punishing Wall Street crooks.