"Special Government Benefits"

Evil Hobby Lobby! Don't they realize how much they owe the government?
This corporation, which already takes advantage of special government benefits by incorporating as a private business in the first place (entitling Hobby Lobby to tax benefits and liability shelters to which individuals alone are not entitled), wants to use its government-created corporate status with the help of government-run courts not just to express its religion on a poster or what have you but to force its employees to comply with the supposed religion of the corporation’s founders. This is, plain and simple, a corporation trying to contort government to impose the religious views of some onto many. This is precisely what our nation was founded against.
I think the writer and I agree on the issue at stake, but disagree about the Constitutional principle entirely. The issue at stake is whether religious people can form corporations, or whether your ability to practice your religion must serve as a kind of severe economic penalty. If you can't form corporations to pursue economic activities, you are subject not to limited liability but to losing everything you own in the event that your business fails. What the author is calling "special government benefits" are, rather, an international feature of the corporate mode of organization that has made it so powerful in driving economic growth.

What the government wants to do here is to bar religious organizations from corporate status, so that religious people must either abandon their moral principles when they enter the market, or accept an uneven risk of personal financial destruction v. those without moral principles.

As for compelling employees to abide by its corporate religious principles, of course, Hobby Lobby makes no such claim. It doesn't claim any right, nor express any wish, to prevent employees from purchasing birth control. Its owners merely state that they are unwilling to buy and distribute birth control themselves, especially the kind that facilitates abortion.

Should they have to do so? Or exit the market? Or, at least, accept a disproportionate risk of personal financial destruction if they wish to run a business?


E Hines said...

I've never seen anything Kohn writes, or heard anything she says, that isn't utterly mendacious. Case in point: But the earliest of our national brethren were also motivated by freedom *from* religion. In the 1600s and 1700s, enforced uniformity of religion was common throughout Europe—an extension of the belief that there was one true religion and it was the job of government to enforce it.

Let's be honest, as she likes to say: this is a cynical, and deliberate distortion, and it's made plain by her own words. The earliest of our national bretheren were not at all motivated by freedom *from* religion. What they were motivated by was that view of it being the job of government to enforce a particular religion. Thus: the earliest of our national brethren were motivated by a demand to be free *from government involvement* in religion.

Kohn knows this, hence my claim of mendacity. I stopped paying her any mind some time ago.

Eric Hines

Texan99 said...

I don't understand the complaints about special tax breaks for corporations anyway. For the life of me I can't see why corporations should be taxed at all. It should be enough that individuals are taxes when it pays them income, or when they sell their stock, or when they receive dividends.

This is such an odd controversy. Only a deep confusion between insurance against unquantifiable risks and prepaid medical care would lead anyone to include birth in an insurance policy in the first place, let alone to mandate its inclusion. And then a corporation is deemed a body with moral obligations to the extent of its supposed obligation to supply its employees with this particular variety of prepaid medical care (why, they would be monsters to withhold it!), and yet people howl over the notion that a corporation's owners, acting through their wholly owned entity, should have any lingering concerns about the morality of causing their entity to pay for abortifacients that shock their conscience.

It's very twisted.

E Hines said...

Part of the twistedness stems from the Left's confusion over what is a corporation. A corporation isn't a person when it comes to political or religious speech, but it's a person when it comes to the evils it does--like speak politically or religiously.

Eric Hines

Texan99 said...

Or perhaps the source of confusion is about what a "moral" position is. A lot of progressive seem to make two categories: "moral" is a word that often applies to obscure sexual restrictions they can't see the sense of, while they are quite comfortable imposing ethical obligations on other people in the context of the minimum wage, or withholding investments from South Africa or Israel, or gun control, or affirmative action.

Grim said...

That's a good question. What differentiates a moral from an ethical position is not well defined.