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Feb 27 2012

Fed. Judge Strikes Down Pharmacy Restrictions

In what is sure to be a very controversial decision, U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Leighton has ruled that a law requiring pharmacies to stock the morning-after pill violates the religious freedom and equal protection rights of pharmacists who have religious objections to doing so. You can read the full ruling here. I haven’t read the entire thing yet, but it appears that he based the ruling largely on the grounds that since pharmacists are allowed leeway on what they stock for non-religious reasons, they should also be allowed to refuse to stock certain medications for religious purposes.

In practice, both the stocking rule and delivery rule contain exemptions not present in their text. While the stocking rule states pharmacies must carry a representative assortment of drugs requested by its patients, in practice, pharmacies refuse to carry drugs for a variety of reasons. Pharmacies regularly refuse to stock such drugs as oxycodone for fear of robbery; they refuse to dispense syringes because they dislike the clientele they associate with the product. Pharmacies may decline to stock a drug because it is expensive, because the “return on investment is less than desired, or because of the “hassle factor”—additional paperwork or patient tracking. Pharmacies may decline to stock drugs because they have contracted with manufacturers of competing drugs or because the pharmacy opts to serve a particular niche market. None of these exemptions exist in the text of the rules; but in practice, the Board allows pharmacies to shape their stock rather than allowing patients to do so. Further, the Board has no written policy or procedure about how to enforce the stocking rule. And in at least 40 years, the Board has never enforced the stocking rule against any pharmacy—until the delivery rule required pharmacies to deliver Plan B.

Like the stocking rule, the delivery rule operates far more loosely than its text suggests. For example, the Board has interpreted the delivery rule to allow pharmacies to refuse to deliver a drug because it does not accept a patient’s particular insurance or because it does not accept Medicare or Medicaid. That leeway exists because the delivery rule exempts a pharmacy from its duty to deliver in not just the five enumerated categories, but in all “substantially similar circumstances.”

But would he apply this reasoning consistently? If a pharmacist refused to stock drugs to treat AIDS because their religious belief is that AIDS is a punishment from God and should not be treated, would that be okay? If a pharmacist refused to stock a drug that treats sickle cell anemia because their religious belief is that sickle cell is God’s punishment on black people because they are the sons of Ham, would that be okay? And would it be okay because pharmacies are allowed to make other rational decisions on what they will or won’t stock?

Judge Leighton, it will not surprise you, was a George W. Bush appointee. And this decision is almost certain to be appealed.

137 comments

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  1. 1
    had3

    The fact the judge is a Bush appointee has no bearing on whether the ruling is logical and/or consistent with the current state of the law. Should conservatives be allowed to dismiss the findings of a judge they disagree with because he (or she) is a Clinton appointee? An interesting article otherwise.

  2. 2
    frankboyd

    Hmmm

    You know, a lot of us look to the US 1st Amendment as a model when we defend freedom. What’s it say again?

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

    I submit that if being forced to perform services that run counter to your religion is not a violation of this, then neither is forcing an atheist teacher to instruct creationism.

    Defending the freedom of those you despise sucks, but that’s not a good reason not to do it.

    had3,

    Quite right. Classic poison-the-well fallacy.

  3. 3
    Sastra

    But none of the ‘analogous’ examples bring in the specter of political pressure.

    If this exemption goes through I see churches and conservative political groups putting out hit lists of local pharmacies which DO stock the morning-after pill. “Do not shop at Drug-Mart unless the pharmacist, John Smith, a member of the such-and-such church, agrees that the pill violates his Christian conscience.” John Smith may have no other choice than to discover that by God it does violate his religious sensitivities to sell such a product — and on it goes, from pharmacy to pharmacy.

    In the examples given, I can only imagine a group complaining that a drug which is not stocked ought to be stocked. Not the other way around. If it’s the other way around, you open the door to populist bullying.

  4. 4
    Sastra

    frankboyd #2 wrote:

    I submit that if being forced to perform services that run counter to your religion is not a violation of this, then neither is forcing an atheist teacher to instruct creationism.

    I disagree. When the services which ‘run counter to your religion’ are a critical part of the actual job, then you need to either get a new job or figure out a way to re-interpret your religion.

    Your analogy to creationism doesn’t fit. Creationism isn’t science. A better example might be an atheist history teacher who refuses to teach about Christianity in a neutral “Religions of the World” class — or refuses to teach a “Religions of the World” class at all. Then, like the pharmacist who won’t dispense a legitimate prescription, he or she needs to reconsider their career (or their philosophical approach.)

  5. 5
    ashleybone

    The effect of this ruling is anarchy, as Scalia clearly laid out in Employment Division v Smith. Each conscience cannot be a law unto itself.

  6. 6
    Ray Ingles

    To the Christians pushing for these conscience clauses – be careful what you wish for.

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1907680/posts

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1577426/Female-Muslim-medics-disobey-hygiene-rules.html

  7. 7
    Michael Heath

    This is a competing rights issue and therefore we should acknowledge a quandary exists. However I think the illustrations Ed uses reveals why the pharmaceutical profession has an obligation to those they service that should have us weighing the rights of consumer access more heavily than the religious objections of some pharmacists.

    It’s also a no-brainer to predict that conservatives will predominately make arguments, especially their politicians, which falsely frame this issue as if the only rights being compromised are the rights of religionists pharmacists and store operators.

    My father owned two grocery stores when I was a teenager where one store was one of two stores in one town and the other existed in town which only had a handful of others. He repeatedly noted to me that he sold a product whose use he objected to, e.g., cigarettes and other tobacco products. (He also sold wine and beer and is not a drinker, but wasn’t opposed to their use from a policy position like he was with tobacco.) My father argued his obligation to the community and its consumer base over-rided his own personal objections.

    I asked him at the time if he would extend that same tolerance for marijuana products if they were legalized [Yes, some of us were naive enough in the 70s to believe legalization was mere years away.] He told me he’d have no problem selling pot. This demonstrated tolerance is a principle conservatives seem to have totally abandoned, in spite of it once being at least a somewhat popular position within their movement.

  8. 8
    Marcus Ranum

    The effect of this ruling is anarchy, as Scalia clearly laid out in Employment Division v Smith. Each conscience cannot be a law unto itself.

    I’m still trying to figure out what’s so bad about anarchy.

  9. 9
    democommie

    Fuckheadboyd:

    “I submit that if being forced to perform services that run counter to your religion is not a violation of this, then neither is forcing an atheist teacher to instruct creationism.”

    Creationism, moron, is not science. I assume (always a dangerous thing to do when dealing with dickheads like you) that you mean an atheist teacher in a public school system. Creationism and its various sockpuppet “science” programs are not taught, legally, in any public school setting in the U.S. for longer than it takes for the idiots who implement such nonsensical “subjects” into their curricula to be slapped with a lawsuit and then slapped around by the courts.

    In private schools, of course, such stupidity is allowed up to the point that it violates employment laws in whatever state it occurs.

    Re: “Poisoning the well”; I doubt very much that Ed’s comment would be construed by anyone with a functional brain as an indication that the judge was incompetent. No, it only serves as a notification that we can expect most judges/justices and other public officials appointed by a conservatardfuckhead ideologue like George W. Bush to be, in their turn, conservatardfuckhead ideologues.

    You would, no doubt, make a fine school board member in some place like Mississippi or Texas.

  10. 10
    frankboyd

    Sastra,

    I disagree. When the services which ‘run counter to your religion’ are a critical part of the actual job

    His job. Not yours. He gets to decide on what terms he will deal with others, and others may accept or reject them. You don’t.

  11. 11
    democommie

    Marus Ranum:

    “I’m still trying to figure out what’s so bad about anarchy.”

    It’s not a problem, as long as I get to be in charge of it.

  12. 12
    Alverant

    had3

    The fact the judge is a Bush appointee has no bearing on whether the ruling is logical and/or consistent with the current state of the law.

    Given how W has put loyalty to him first his party second and actual competenance last when it comes to political appointess (ie Scooter Libby and two AGs), I think noting who appointed him would be an indicator of whether or not the ruling was logical and/or consistant with the law. W has a record of putting his politics and desires before the law, something which he shares with the current crop of GOP presidential canidates.

    Should conservatives be allowed to dismiss the findings of a judge they disagree with because he (or she) is a Clinton appointee?

    News flash! They already do! They whine about judicial activism when a ruling doesn’t go their way even though the ruling is 100% within the law. For example the supreme court has ruled that graduation prayers are a violation of the first ammendment and ever year somewhere in the US there’s a story about a school district having a prayer anyway in defiance of the order and making life miserable for the lone students who object.

  13. 13
    dingojack

    Ohh Cranky Franky, thanks so much for trying. We appreciate that… *
    Actually if an employee isn’t fulfilling their job description, as composed by the employer, they get fired.
    That’s the wonder of the free market -
    unless you’re one of them unAmerican ‘socialists’!
    Dingo
    —–
    * you don’t even get a copy of or lousy board game,. You’re a complete loser!!

  14. 14
    lofgren

    I do see the difficulty here, but going back to my once-posited (and ridiculed) concept of “essential services” from another thread, I think that there is an obligation in certain areas of private business to perform functions for your community that run counter to your conscience. (Actually, I would not consider selling cigarettes and essential service, but I would consider providing medication.) If you sell food, fuel, healthcare, or provide other services essential to survival, then I have no problem placing extra responsibilities and restrictions on your business. I think the situation becomes more murky when you look at “non-essential” services (such as wedding photography, where I originally proposed the idea that there are essential and non-essential services that ought to be regulated differently).

    I’m sure this idea will be mocked just as much as it was in that other thread, but it still feels like the right way to justify impinging somebody’s conscience in this particular way in this particular instance, and nobody has managed to convince me that I am wrong (i.e. that there is no difference between requiring somebody to serve a person at a restaurant vs. requiring somebody to take pictures at a wedding).

  15. 15
    Zugswang

    I eagerly await the story of the Mormon Starbucks barista that refuses to sell non-decaffeinated coffee. Or maybe a Jehovah’s Witness surgeon that refuses to perform a liver transplant. Or a Scientologist secretary in a psychiatrist’s office that refuses to schedule patients. Or a Buddhist gunsmith that refuses to repair a customer’s firearms. Or a fundamentalist Christian banker that refuses to collect interest on loans.

    Here’s a novel idea: if you plan to voluntarily pursue a career, and know you will be expected to do things fairly often that go against your conscience…perhaps you should look at other careers.

  16. 16
    frankboyd

    Well, “unkraut vergeht nie”, as the saying goes.

    Pay attention – the ruling does not say that an employer may not fire someone who will not perform their end of the contract. It is a striking down of a government provision allowing it to compel the pharmacists. If the pharmacist owns his store and will not stock X, Y, or Z – it is none of your fucking business.

  17. 17
    frankboyd

    Zugswang,

    Oh, I do hope we see that. Not because I necessarily approve of the individual cases in point – but I am longing to see someone thumb their nose at officious little bastards who do nothing and are worth less, but think that, somehow, they have the right to push other people around.

  18. 18
    frankboyd

    You know, I saw this really interesting quote on granting power to the state a while back…

    http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2006/02/mencken_on_liberty.php

  19. 19
    dingojack

    If it concerns ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ it very much is a citizen’s business.
    If a company isn’t prepared to supply goods to consumers then they should at least find someone who is.
    Particularly when they are a localised monopoly.

    Ethics 101. Not to mention Business 101.

    Dingo

  20. 20
    markholcombe

    1. A pharmacist does not know why hormone contraceptives are being prescribed. The pharmacist, in “objecting”, is making assumptions based in ignorance.

    2. Religious belief is private and subjective. The duties of a pharmacist are public and objective. Religious belief is nothing but cultural relativism in disguise.

    3A. What are the duties of a pharmacist? Objecting to filling a prescription must be consistent with those duties. Does this medication causally entail negative interaction effects with other medications? A doctor may not know all medications the patient is currently taking. A doctor may not know all the interaction effects. The pharmacist is a double check.

    3B. The duties of the pharmacist and the grounds for objecting must be consistent. If the basis for objecting is personal, then the basis is contrary to the professional obligations.

  21. 21
    M can help you with that.

    If the pharmacist owns his store and will not stock X, Y, or Z – it is none of your fucking business.

    Are we going to extend that to all services, or are we in for a round of special pleading? Are you willing to stick to your claimed logic and insist that anti-discrimination laws are likewise an unacceptable intrusion into the practices of private business?

    And how about service providers like ambulance drivers, EMTs, etc.? The “conscience clause” pharmacists you defend have already taken up denying medically-necessary treatments like hormonal birth control used to treat endometriosis or PCOS; if pharmacists get to deny medically-necessary treatment, shouldn’t EMTs also have the same “freedom of conscience”? After all, it’s not like any of them chose to go into a career which is extensively regulated by the state…

  22. 22
    Raging Bee

    Why are the religious beliefs of pharmacists suddenly so much more important than those of, say, their paying customers?

    And how far do we go in “protecting” these poor pharmacists’ “freedom of conscience?” If a pharmacist suddenly decides black people don’t deserve medical care, and cobbles up a few Bible verses to back it up, does that make it okay to refuse to sell necessary meds to blacks?

    Pharmacists are not just merchants like grocers; they’re an integral part of the business of MEDICINE, and thus should be bound by the same obligations as the doctors who write the prescriptions.

    “Freedom of religion” does not mean the right to burden others, or deny them services, to force them to comply with your beliefs. If you don’t like being “forced” to sell certain things to people who don’t share your beliefs, then you are perfectly free to get out of the business of selling those things altogether.

    Oh, and comparing selling morning-after pills to teaching creationism? That’s one of the lamest analogies I’ve ever seen here.

  23. 23
    dingojack

    Also -
    By what right do the shopkeeper’s moral precepts supersede those of the customer?
    Who appointed the pimply 16 year old in your local convenience store dominion over your purchasing decisions?
    What section of the constitution grants such a youth that power, exactly?
    Dingo

  24. 24
    Ed Brayton

    frankboyd wrote:

    His job. Not yours. He gets to decide on what terms he will deal with others, and others may accept or reject them. You don’t.

    So can you address the other examples I offered? Would you allow a store owner to refuse to provide service to black people, or to women? Or to atheists? You’ve made a very broad declaration here, but I suspect there are situations where you would go in the other direction. And if you wouldn’t, then it shows the limitations of your position. I’m not saying that your argument is entirely illegitimate, only that, as Michael Heath says, this is a situation where we have competing rights. And we have to have a serious discussion over where to draw the lines. I don’t offer any such clear line myself; I don’t know where I would draw it. But I don’t think we can draw it at “anyone has the freedom to deny service to anyone for any reason.” I have no desire to return to the days of whites-only — or, more likely today, straights-only or Christians-only — lunch counters.

  25. 25
    Raging Bee

    If the pharmacist owns his store and will not stock X, Y, or Z – it is none of your fucking business.

    If said pharmacist’s decisions affect the health and lives of innocent people, then yes, it is our fucking business — just like it’s our business if a doctor refuses to perform services.

  26. 26
    frankboyd

    Make this simple so that everyone can understand:

    If you have a problem with the way a given pharmacists does business, find another one. Can’t find one? Run your own damn pharmacy. Don’t have the competence to do so? Tough titty. You don’t have “a right” to a pharmacy, if no one wants to run it or stock it. You don’t have “a right” to a drug if no one wants to make it or provide it.

    I’ve walked out on racist employers when I was close to flat broke. So don’t even try that little stunt, kiddies.

    The modern day “left”: hand outstretched going “gimme gimme gimme”, and demanding that a club be to hand if it isn’t. What a disgrace.

  27. 27
    frankboyd

    RB,

    Run your own damn pharmacy then.

  28. 28
    frankboyd

    Mark my words: one day, the Christian right will be back in power, and they’ll have all the tools you’ve given them. And then, only then, when the boot is on your wretched necks will you learn.

    And maybe not even then.

  29. 29
    dingojack

    So you can’t justify why a shopkeeper has superior rights over a customer?

    At least admit defeat graciously.

    Dingo

  30. 30
    frankboyd

    Ed,

    Would you allow a store owner to refuse to provide service to black people, or to women?

    Yes. I would not shop in such a place, and I would picket it, and run the damn thing into the ground, but I would not be the one who picked up the government gun. You think that power won’t be turned against you someday? People like you never do.

    I have no desire to return to the days of whites-only — or, more likely today, straights-only or Christians-only — lunch counters.

    So the only thing preventing a return to the racist segregation is the benevolent State? There are none so faithful and believing as those who worship the State.

    If racism and sexism is so entrenched, then how the hell will you drag through legislation against it? And if there is enough support for these measures out of a justified loathing of bigotry, then why are they necessary? And isn’t it really, really interesting that all the fully fledged horrors of racism – from the examples Jim Crow in America to Apartheid in South Africa to the abysmal nightmares of Nazi Germany and Hutu Rwanda – have always been with the full aid and backing of the State?

  31. 31
    marcus

    Boyd, Besides all the other logical arguments against the rationality of your opinion there is also this: Operating a pharmacy is a privilege, not a right. The licenses to operate a pharmacy and dispense controlled substances is granted at the discretion of the government. There are minimum requirements of education and service for licensed pharmacies, set by the government, so it seems clear to me that requiring that a certain amount of commonly used or necessary pharmaceuticals be stocked and and they be dispensed according to the law is also under the government’s purview.

  32. 32
    RW Ahrens

    The principle here is the same as the recent ruling over contraceptives and companies owned by religious organizations.

    The principle is that if you are running a business that is serving the general public, you cannot then take your religious beliefs and pick and choose what that business can do in serving that public.

    In other words, if you run an adoption agency, and you claim to serve the general public, you can’t discriminate against gays, or blacks or Mormons because you may have religious scruples about serving them.

    This would especially be true of a pharmacist, especially one employed by a non-religious organization.

  33. 33
    dingojack

    So a pimply 16 year old, in charge of a store counter, has the right (guaranteed by the constitution) to discriminate against you because of their personal beliefs, right?
    So where, exactly, is the shopkeeper’s superior right enumerated?
    Surely you can give a number of citations, being it’s such a well known right.
    Dingo

  34. 34
    The Lorax

    Mark my words: one day, the Christian right will be back in power, and they’ll have all the tools you’ve given them. And then, only then, when the boot is on your wretched necks will you learn.

    And maybe not even then.

    Ahh, drink deep the hypocrisy. Like a fine wine, really. Or, for those of you who have an ideological disagreement with alcohol like I do and, instead of refusing to use hyperbole like that, are willing to be respectful of the ideologies of others yet still maintain your own, then also like a really fine chocolate.

    And if you like neither wine nor chocolate, fuck you. Find yourself another comment.

  35. 35
    dingojack

    As others have pointed out, if a pharmacy is open to the public, then they are required to serve the public.
    If you want to have moral qualms about prescribing certain drugs, then make your pharmacy a private entity, accessible only by appointment and you can.
    That’s the way it goes.
    Bummer.
    Dingo

  36. 36
    Tualha

    That some conservative judges were GWB appointees doesn’t surprise me; however, bear in mind that John E. Jones III (who ruled against the Dover creationists in 2005) and Jeffrey S. White (who just found part of DOMA unconstitutional) were also GWB appointees. Beware of making sweeping generalizations about the character, competence, honesty, or politics of judges based on the same attributes of those who appointed them.

  37. 37
    Tualha

    @Michael Heath:
    …over-rided

    Over-rodeded. Say the words correct. ;)

  38. 38
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    The fact the judge is a Bush appointee has no bearing on whether the ruling is logical and/or consistent with the current state of the law.

    However, insofar as the ruling is insane, the fact that the judge is a Bush appointee provides a partial explanation.

    Should conservatives be allowed to dismiss the findings of a judge they disagree with because he (or she) is a Clinton appointee?

    Better strawman, plz.

  39. 39
    democommie

    “If you have a problem with the way a given pharmacists does business, find another one. Can’t find one? Run your own damn pharmacy. Don’t have the competence to do so? Tough titty. You don’t have “a right” to a pharmacy, if no one wants to run it or stock it. You don’t have “a right” to a drug if no one wants to make it or provide it.

    Do you have the slightest inkinling of U.S. Constitutional law, you brainfead fuck? Pharmacies are licensed by several levels of government. Absent compelling evidence that what they are doing in refusing anyone service for any reason is for the greater communal good, they don’t get to decide who the hell they do business with–in the U.S. Perhaps you need to go to whichever socialist mental health providers are in your area and get them to work on getting you rational again. Or, maybe, you can get in line to have a brain transplant from someone who’s only a little bit batshitKKKrazzee.

    What is it, you can’t change your laws, you’re afraid to move and you have access to a keyboard so you can bother people in other countries about THEIR laws? Get a different fucking hobby, asswipe.

  40. 40
    Tualha

    @frankboyd:
    [Several rants]

    Dear me, someone’s been treating the works of Ayn Rand as a bible, haven’t they. I did that once. Doesn’t win you many friends, does it? Good luck deprogramming yourself.

  41. 41
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    His job. Not yours. He gets to decide on what terms he will deal with others, and others may accept or reject them. You don’t.

    So, in other words, the store would be perfectly right in firing him for refusing to do his job?

    Or are they not part of the “others” you mean?

  42. 42
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    You don’t have “a right” to a pharmacy, if no one wants to run it or stock it. You don’t have “a right” to a drug if no one wants to make it or provide it.

    Why not?

  43. 43
    Bronze Dog

    I’m sensing a disturbing altie Ayn Randian trend with the conservative attitude towards pharmacies and medicine in general. The pharmacists pulling tricks like this is bad enough, but the defenses they offer for the dishonest pharmacists are scaring me more.

    First, they seem to believe corporations should have absolute control, with no regulatory oversight to ensure quality of services and products. If we were talking something like luxury goods, that wouldn’t be as bad, but they’re talking about medicine as if it were just another industry. Consumers are just sources of income and implicit warranties are just hot air. Medical products can be withheld at any moment for any arbitrary, capricious (AKA, religious) reason. Let the buyer beware, because he’s just a little guy.

    There’s also an element of deception involved: These types of pharmacists are getting into a job where they know that they’ll be required to do something they have religious objections to, but they still want to keep the job if they’re intentionally derelict in their duties. If they get fired for deliberately breaking their agreement with their boss, are they going to use religion to defend their “entitlement” to a salary?

    I’m starting to worry that some Christian Scientist hired as a pharmacist might secretly replace my meds with lookalike placebos because they have a religious belief that medical intervention is unnecessary and health problems are an illusion created by Satan. Or getting it replaced with useless herbal crap because some altie considers naturopathy their religion. Or replaced with empty lactose pills that touched allegedly magical water by some homeopath. And if I suffer as a result of something like that, I think I can count on wingnuts to defend them, given their rationalizations thus far.

    How can I participate in the market if wingnuts are sowing the seeds of distrust?

  44. 44
    Chiroptera

    What if serving black people at my lunch counter runs against my religious belief? Do I get to disobey civil rights legislation under the name of religious freedom?

  45. 45
    Chiroptera

    frankboyd, #26: If you have a problem with the way a given pharmacists does business, find another one.

    That argument cuts both ways.

    If your religious convictions prevent you from doing your job, find another profession.

  46. 46
    Chiroptera

    frankboyd, #26: You don’t have “a right” to a drug if no one wants to make it or provide it.

    And no one has the right to be a pharmacist, either, if you can’t do your job properly.

  47. 47
  48. 48
    jnorris

    Special rights for the religious. Conservatives used to protest giving people special right up until the religious right wanted special rights.

  49. 49
    frankboyd

    Boyd, Besides all the other logical arguments against the rationality of your opinion there is also this: Operating a pharmacy is a privilege, not a right. he licenses to operate a pharmacy and dispense controlled substances is granted at the discretion of the government.

    Well, I say that teaching at a University is a privilege, not a right. And I think that it is in “the public interest” to turf PZ Myers out on his ear. Come to think of it, I don’t see why you have the right to internet access – let’s have a nice, lifetime ban on you using it.

    Oh, I can’t? Well, why not? Incidentally, what is “the public”? If it’s quality, it ain’t you guys, don’t kid yourselves. If it’s quantity, then it sure as hell is the Christian right because quantity is what they have going for them in spades.

    Your only argument is “I’ve got the club at the moment!!!!”. That will change boys. Believe me, that will change. One day, you’ll be under the whip. On that day you’ll scream and beg and shout, and it will be much too late. And I just hope that I’m there to see it.

  50. 50
    lofgren

    I’m starting to worry that some Christian Scientist hired as a pharmacist might secretly replace my meds with lookalike placebos because they have a religious belief that medical intervention is unnecessary and health problems are an illusion created by Satan. Or getting it replaced with useless herbal crap because some altie considers naturopathy their religion. Or replaced with empty lactose pills that touched allegedly magical water by some homeopath.

    Scientologists interfering with my bipolar meds is what worries me, because they are organized, wealthy, dishonest, and predatory. Given their history, a committed push to take over pharmacies and refuse to dispense psychiatric drugs seems entirely plausible (that it will happen, if not that it will succeed). Although I doubt this law would protect them if they actually replaced your meds and lied about it.

  51. 51
    Chiroptera

    frankboyd, #49: And I just hope that I’m there to see it.

    Huh. I thought you were going to end up beheaded.

  52. 52
    frankboyd

    If your religious convictions prevent you from doing your job, find another profession.

    Not your call to make, cow. They are only offering their services on the basis of terms they set. You are free to accept or reject or negotiate. You do not have the right to set those terms to them.

    I hope they do, though. I’d really love to see someone pay people like you back in your own coin. Shut down the pharmacies, close the hospitals, blow up the drug factories – and then see how you lot manage.

    Pathetic. The philosophes would have been disgusted with you. Your founders would have despised you. And even Marx would have thought you contemptible. This is what “the left” has come to?

  53. 53
    lofgren

    Your only argument is “I’ve got the club at the moment!!!!”

    I haven’t seen anybody making that argument. It seems to me that the argument is that people have a right to access to safe, legal, scientifically tested medical treatment, which this pharmacist is interfering with. It has nothing to do with clubs.

  54. 54
    gopiballava

    So, one argument by frankboyd is that, by adding restrictions to pharmacists right now, we’re opening the door to a future right wing government putting in place restrictions we don’t like. Apparently, if we don’t add these restrictions, this hypothetical future government will have more difficulty adding their own rules, correct?

    I’m sorry, I don’t buy that argument. If we were talking about something like a constitutional amendment that would have a significant effect on what would be done, you might have a point. But right wing authoritarians will be trying to impose these sorts of laws regardless.

  55. 55
    Chiroptera

    frankboyd, #52: They are only offering their services on the basis of terms they set. You are free to accept or reject or negotiate.

    Actually, they are the ones who don’t seem to want to negotiate.

    Anyway, you’re exactly right. We are free to reject their services. By denying them the license to operate. ‘Cause there’s plenty of other qualified, competent people who would be happy to be pharmacists.

    Meanwhile, these would be pharmacists can find another profession more in line with their religious teachings.

  56. 56
    frankboyd

    I haven’t seen anybody making that argument.

    What the fuck do you think government power is? It’s a club.

    It seems to me that the argument is that people have a right to access to safe, legal, scientifically tested medical treatment

    No. they. don’t. Not if no one wants to make it for them, or provide the service, or carry out the science, or transport the goods, or any of the thousands upon thousands of acts that make it all possible. If you want to deal with your fellow man, do so by consent and contract. Not with a club.

  57. 57
    frankboyd

    So, one argument by frankboyd is that, by adding restrictions to pharmacists right now, we’re opening the door to a future right wing government putting in place restrictions we don’t like. Apparently, if we don’t add these restrictions, this hypothetical future government will have more difficulty adding their own rules, correct?

    Ah, I see. It’s morally justified as long as I’m the one with the gun. With the club.

  58. 58
    gopiballava

    “I’ve got the club at the moment”. Is this based on the assumption that the Obama administration is in broad agreement with the people arguing here? I’m pretty sure you’ll find that most of the posters here have very big disagreements with Obama. I agree with him on some stuff, but “my club” ain’t in charge right now.

  59. 59
    frankboyd

    Chiroptera,

    Anyway, you’re exactly right. We are free to reject their services. By denying them the license to operate

    Hows this? You don’t do your job, operate your business the way I say, and I’ll come over there and burn the whole thing to the ground? Sound cool?

  60. 60
    frankboyd

    “I’ve got the club at the moment”. Is this based on the assumption that the Obama administration is in broad agreement with the people arguing here?

    No, it’s based on the fact that everyone is fine with this sort of goonshow as long as it is being done their way. As long as the club is used the way they think it’s okay.

    That’s not morals. That’s “I’ve got the club, try and stop me”. Or “I’m not the one getting beat up, fuck do I care?”

  61. 61
    gopiballava

    That’s not morals. That’s “I’ve got the club, try and stop me”. Or “I’m not the one getting beat up, fuck do I care?”

    That’s a strawman. People here are putting forward arguments about why they think that this is correct. I haven’t seen anybody take the positions you’re claiming.

    Regardless of whether you are right or wrong, one thing is very clear: You aren’t able to understand the positions of anybody else here. You have severely misrepresented your opponents in virtually every post.

  62. 62
    Raging Bee

    Mark my words: one day, the Christian right will be back in power, and they’ll have all the tools you’ve given them.

    Read some history: The Christian right have already been in power, for large chunks of America’s hisroty, and they’ve been very effective at denying people their rights WITH OR WITHOUT a powerful interventionist national government.

    Boyd, your argument can just as validly be used to oppose the creation of local police departments: if the Christian right come to power, they’ll use the local cops to enforce their beliefs, therefore we should never have local cops to enforce any laws. Do you agree with that reasoning WRT local cops, Boyd?

    If you want to deal with your fellow man, do so by consent and contract. Not with a club.

    So if you want to deal with a guy who robbed you at gunpoint, or used threats to deter you from going out in public, you’d do it by consent and contract, not by calling the cops?

  63. 63
    frankboyd

    gopiballava,

    Yes, yes, everyone has long and boring arguments about why it’s okay for them to use force for – whatever the hell it is. Believe me, the Christian right will have equally long and boring arguments.

    I can show you, in fact I have, that each of their “arguments” can be turned right back against them. Vide my point against Chiroptera. I’m going to assume that they’re not too stupid not to know this. Therefore, the only conceivable reason is that they’re sure that they will never be the one subjected to this.

  64. 64
    Raging Bee

    Notice how Boyd’s Randroid logic is working here: gummint might do something bad, therefore we should never try to get it to do anything good. It’s a one-size-fits-all excuse for mindlessly opposing ANY law or other government action for ANY purpose, without even considering the particulars of any issue. And it shows, once again, that Randism is based on nothing but pure paranoid delusion, and is no longer connected to reality, if it ever was.

  65. 65
    frankboyd

    People here are putting forward arguments about why they think that this is correct.

    I’m going to assume that you really don’t understand the distinction between force used in retaliation and initiating force. It is only ever justified against those who use force and fraud.

    And because some fool is going to claim that it’s “fraud” not to give them everything they want, wrong. It’s fraud if I say I will provide a specified good or service, accept payment, and then don’t. It’s not if I openly say that I have no intention of offering X and don’t solicit money for it.

  66. 66
    frankboyd

    Notice RB doesn’t deny that (s)he’s the exact, same thing as the Christian right – it’s just she doesn’t mind it when the game is played her/his way.

  67. 67
    Raging Bee

    Therefore, the only conceivable reason is that they’re sure that they will never be the one subjected to this.

    Subjected to what? Having to respect other people and make my way without trying to control other people’s lives? I’ve been subjected to that for as long as I can remember, and believe me, the long-term results are worth the occasional inconvenience. That’s why I stopped callng my parents “slave-drivers” and just got on with the process of growing up. You Randroids have some catching up to do in this regard.

  68. 68
    gopiballava

    I can show you, in fact I have, that each of their “arguments” can be turned right back against them.

    Do you think that, if we didn’t push for laws like this, the christian right wouldn’t push for the disagreeable laws we don’t want?

  69. 69
    Raging Bee

    Notice RB doesn’t deny that (s)he’s the exact, same thing as the Christian right – it’s just she doesn’t mind it when the game is played her/his way.

    Umm…why do I need to deny an accusation that was never made?

    Notice how frankboyd‘s comments are getting less coherent by the minute? Yet another Randroid can’t help revealing his true level of maturity.

  70. 70
    frankboyd

    Do you think that, if we didn’t push for laws like this, the christian right wouldn’t push for the disagreeable laws we don’t want

    Right. Put yourselves explicitly on their level. Go right ahead.

    I find laws forbidding, say, gay marriage contemptible, and I would do so even if I thought that gay marriage was an utter abomination – because nothing is so abominable as the spectacle of one human being taking the right to push another around.

    But on your premises? Hey, why not ban gay marriage? Why not close down any secular University? Hey, outright ban contraception! If you human freedom is not a right, but is instead a privilege granted from Above – as marcus and everyone here seems to think – then why the hell not?

  71. 71
    leni

    Frankboyd, this was mentioned already but you seem to be forgetting the fact that pharmacists are not qualified to prescribe medications.

    Whether you like it or not, the job they perform is in the public interest and licensed by the state. If they act in a grossly negligent way we are entitled and obligated to revoke their privilege.

    This isn’t a lunch counter. Getting your medication from a pharmacists is not optional. For some people, going to another pharmacy is also not optional. Lots of us can, but lots of us, particularly in rural communities, can’t. For some people, a denial of service is a denial of access to medical care.

    And those people do have a right to equal access whether you like it or not.

    So what do you suggest we do? Let them die or suffer further medical complications because they are unfortunate enough to live in a area where a pharmacist has decided that he or she is qualified to make decisions that he or she is not trained or licensed to make?

    We all have rights and we have to balance those rights against that of others. When you weigh the right of the patient to be treated and to have equal access to medical care against the right of a pharmacist to make treatment decisions they aren’t qualified to make, it just doesn’t add up. Ultimately, the rights of the patients must come first because it is their health that is at stake. The pharmacist may feel uncomfortable which is unfortunate, but not as unfortunate as what can happen when you deny people treatment.

    So yes, pharmacists have rights. But those rights do not include making medical decisions they aren’t qualified to make. Personally, I’d rather see the government just revoke their licences. That seems simpler than managing their stocks.

  72. 72
    lofgren

    What the fuck do you think government power is? It’s a club.

    An autocratic government is a club. A democratic government is a social contract.

    If you want to deal with your fellow man, do so by consent and contract. Not with a club.

    So through the mechanisms of a constitutional democracy? Done and done.

  73. 73
    Chiroptera

    frankboyd, #70:

    What if a Muslim pharmacist wants to cut your head off because of his religious beliefs?

  74. 74
    Bronze Dog

    What if a Muslim pharmacist wants to cut your head off because of his religious beliefs?

    It’s kind of funny (and ultimately depressing) that the thread’s moved into that area. But, apparently, with the rampant cultural relativism and moral subjectivism used to defend religious privilege, it seems we really have to. Even at this point, I expect the wingnut/Randroid/fundie answer will involve a lot of weasel words and waffling.

  75. 75
    baal

    If you want to deal with your fellow man, do so by consent and contract. Not with a club.

    Frank (may I call you Frank?), when I work with my fellow man (sic) by consent, one word I use for that action is…wait for it…government!! You know, that club you’re not so fond of.

    I have a legitimate interest in demanding pharmacies serve me and mine regardless of the religious non-medical thinking of some pharmacists. It is bizarre to say there is some thing wrongful in demanding access to healthcare and drugs free from religious discrimination.

  76. 76
    Chiroptera

    frankboyd, #70:
    If you human freedom is not a right, but is instead a privilege granted from Above – as marcus and everyone here seems to think – then why the hell not?

    Actually, this was your position: You don’t have “a right” to a pharmacy, if no one wants to run it or stock it. You don’t have “a right” to a drug if no one wants to make it or provide it.

  77. 77
    Raging Bee

    It is bizarre to say there is some thing wrongful in demanding access to healthcare and drugs free from religious discrimination.

    It’s even more bizarre — not to mention infantile — to demand we deal with each other “by consent and contract,” while totally ignoring the fact that laws passed by a democratic government are precisely how we express consent and enforce contracts.

    Even at this point, I expect the wingnut/Randroid/fundie answer will involve a lot of weasel words and waffling.

    Boyd doesn’t seem like the weaseling/waffling type; he’ll probably just run away, with or without more pompous bluster and condescension.

  78. 78
    Chiroptera

    You know how in some states liquor stores are government owned and run?

    Maybe that’s what we need to do with pharmacies.

    Make them all state run businesses. Then we can finally dispense with the whole notion of infringing on the liberties of the poor businessmen.

    Might not practical; I’m just throwing this out there to see the liberterandians’ scream.

  79. 79
    joshuaz

    Judge Jones, the judge in Kitzmiller v. Dover was also a Bush appointee. I don’t think that it is fair or healthy to attack a judge based on who appointed them. Moreover, this is a pretty difficult decision and there’s a decent argument for the result.

    That said, I expect this will be overturned on appeal.

  80. 80
    Raging Bee

    Moreover, this is a pretty difficult decision and there’s a decent argument for the result.

    Which is…?

  81. 81
    leni

    @ Chiroptera, I was thinking the same thing >:D

  82. 82
    Bronze Dog

    You know how in some states liquor stores are government owned and run?

    Maybe that’s what we need to do with pharmacies.

    Make them all state run businesses. Then we can finally dispense with the whole notion of infringing on the liberties of the poor businessmen.

    Might not practical; I’m just throwing this out there to see the liberterandians’ scream.

    The funny thing is, the LibertiRandians endorse a devolved form of capitalism so bad, Communism would be attractive by comparison.

    Of course, to get to a LibertiRandian capitalism, they’d have to tear down the best parts supporting our current systems. At least with government regulation and public access to medical resources, I can be reasonably confident my prescription pills contain what the label says they do. I can also be confident that my pharmacist is being paid to do her job, instead of being paid to not do her job for religious reasons, like frankboyd and the various classes of wingnuts apparently want.

  83. 83
    marcus

    “If you (think)(sic) human freedom is not a right, but is instead a privilege granted from Above – as marcus and everyone here seems to think – then why the hell not?”
    Wait… what? As I have stated in other posts, I believe that human rights are recognized and affirmed by the State,(and protected by the Constitution) not “granted”.
    The “privilege’ of operating certain businesses is granted by the State and regulated by the same (liquor stores, pharmacies, restaurants, etc). The restrictions and regulations vary according to the business and with respect to the common good. This is way those things work, don’t like a lot of government regulation? Well, don’t choose one of those businesses.

  84. 84
    Bronze Dog

    On to the idea that an invisible god grants rights instead of having rights protected by a secular government:

    How do you know that deity is granting rights at all? What’s to keep that deity from randomly and capriciously withdrawing them, requiring governments to radically change, possibly on an hourly basis? What happens if two people dispute each other’s sworn testimony of what they heard the deity saying?

    That way lies chaos and madness.

  85. 85
    marcus

    @84 Not sure if you’re responding to my post. If so: There is only one true deity in my mind and that is Mr Deity, no other deities exist.

  86. 86
    Ace of Sevens

    @frankboyd: Let’s say I want to run a pharmacy, but I don’t stock any prescription meds, just Alka Seltzer, liquor and candy. Should this be allowed?

  87. 87
    Chiroptera

    frankboyd, #59: Hows this? You don’t do your job, operate your business the way I say, and I’ll come over there and burn the whole thing to the ground? Sound cool?

    Well, if by “I” you mean the state and if by “burn to the ground” you mean to close the place down, then, yeah, it does sound cool, since that is the way it already operates.

    In every US state.

    In every country.

    I bet it’s that way in the UK (or where ever you live), too.

    Every business, without exception, operates only with permission from the state, and only as long as the business operates according to the regulations and laws set by the state. If the business decides to operate in a manner not sanctioned by the state, it will be closed down.

    I mean, try it. Just try to start up some business. Man, the one thing I learned from my acquaintenances here in the “free market blue state paradise” is all the red tape that you have to go through to open a business and to continue to operate it.

    Where do you live, that you think businesses get to be run however the owners want?

  88. 88
    markholcombe

    Stop feeding the narcissist!

  89. 89
    joshuaz

    Raging Bee,

    The best argument I’m aware of is that this sort of law deliberately targets specific religious views and discriminates against them. Classically, intent matters a lot. The precedents here are complicated. Under the older standard of Sherbert, the free exercise clause would clearly make this sort of thing unacceptable. However, even in the more modern, narrower interpretations post Smith, the court has still looked at intent, and intentionally targeting specific religious practices has generally been considered unacceptable.

  90. 90
    lofgren

    How is a specific religious practice being targeted? That doesn’t makes sense to me.

  91. 91
    frankboyd

    Well, if by “I” you mean the state and if by “burn to the ground” you mean to close the place down, then, yeah, it does sound cool, since that is the way it already operates.

    Chiroptera, you may be servile property of the State, but at least you’re honest about it!

    Whether you like it or not, the job they perform is in the public interest and licensed by the state.

    And i say that it’s in “the public interest” to shut you up. And to seize your property – I think of many more “public spirited” ways it could be used.

    And now the state of Utah, bless it, has decided it’s “in the public interest” to pass laws you lot don’t like. So hawhaw. No, in fact: HAWHAWHAW!

    This is just too sweet. I do hope they up the ante again and do something that’ll really make you scream

    Ace of Sevens,

    @frankboyd: Let’s say I want to run a pharmacy, but I don’t stock any prescription meds, just Alka Seltzer, liquor and candy. Should this be allowed?

    Sure thing. If you paid for it, go right ahead. It’s your show. Don’t think you’ll get a lot of custom, but that’s not my problem, is it?

    It’s even more bizarre — not to mention infantile — to demand we deal with each other “by consent and contract,”

    Translation: “WAAAAAH! I don’t wanna deal with other human beings by respecting their rights and in the langauge of reason! I wanna be able to bully them! WAAAAH”

    An autocratic government is a club. A democratic government is a social contract.

    Translation: “The club’s not a club if I can get enough people to say it’s not a club”

    Hey, seen the recent polls about the numbers who believe in creationism? They outnumber you, boys, don’t think they don’t So, if they push through a law forbidding teaching evolution, that’s okay, right?

    Ah, Democracy!

    Incidentally, in Canada there was an interesting incident in the State controlled schools which decided that it’s “In the public” interest to separate the girls from the boys, and it was further “in the public interest” to separate the menstruating girls from the rest of the class because “the public” thought them unclean.

    Democracy! The Social Contract!

    HAWHAWHAWHAWHAW!

    The “social contract” is that I will never initiate the use of force or fraud against another member, and, further, that I will defend to the hilt the rights of any member of that society, to the hilt. That’s it. And it has not escaped my notice that those who babble about “the social contract” in your sense are worthless at those two fundamental obligations.

  92. 92
    dingojack

    Public interest =/= will of the majority.
    Try again.
    Dingo
    —–
    “Incidentally, in Canada there was an interesting incident in the State controlled schools which decided that it’s “In the public” interest to separate the girls from the boys, and it was further “in the public interest” to separate the menstruating girls from the rest of the class because “the public” thought them unclean”.
    Citation required

    [Incidently how did the state determine that '"the public" thought them unclean'? Was there a national referendum? What was the method of polling? Who was included? What was the question(s) asked?]

  93. 93
    nermd

    Dont you have something like a “professional obligation” or something in the US? I mean, if a grocery store doesn’t stock the cleaner i always use its my problem. But things like pharmacy, doctors, hospitals, police, firefighters, electric or gas service – in essence all services that are “core services” for our modern society should have some gov oversight and regulation in place. Otherwise their is the danger that ppl can basically blackmail the rest of society – because as a i.e pharmacist or gas/electricity-service-provider you have a lot of power over a lot of ppl, a power that in my opinion should be regulated in one way or another.
    Pharmacys are imo a very obvious example for such a service. And you dont have to argument about freedom of conscience. Where i live pharmacys are a “protected business” in the sense that the state basically gives out licenses according to city- and land-development plans. What the state expects you to do in return is simple: Stock _at_least_ the drugs the state put on some special list and sell them according to local drug regulations. Period. If you fail to do so or dare to lecture young woman on their sex-life if they demand a morning-after-pill you will get a warning from the regulatory body and if you dont stop you’ll lose your business. End of Story. [to frame this argument: this regulation is an example of freedom of contract]

    I think this whole discussion here is a little bit flawed because of the i-dont-know-why-so-special-to-the-us topic of contraceptives. Maybe the only fear of some is that they could loose the “moral” (read: patriarchal) right to extort woman.

  94. 94
    frankboyd

    nermd,

    mean, if a grocery store doesn’t stock the cleaner i always use its my problem. But things like pharmacy, doctors, hospitals, police, firefighters, electric or gas service – in essence all services that are “core services” for our modern society should have some gov oversight and regulation in place.

    Translation: Precisely because such human beings are of such value, and provide services vital to us, it is okay to bully them.

    Contemptible doesn’t even begin to cover this.

    As regards the mutt, skip it. I’ll repeat it until you hear it: What’s “the public”? If it’s quality, it ain’t you. If it’s quantity, it sure as hell is the churches and the mosques and the synagogues, because quantity is what they’ve got behind them.

    How’d you like the tase of that ‘public interest’?

  95. 95
    democommie

    I’m beginning to get the sense that Frankblowme is a sockpuppet for that horse’s ass, “Wow”, who used to post endlessly over at SciBlogs.

    Nothing but noise and smoke. No light, no sentient activity. Fucking troll is fucking troll.

  96. 96
    TCC

    Okay, frankboyd, do you think that a fire department should be able to set certain hours or days that it is available (and by extension others that it will not be)? Should hospitals be able to deny blood transfusions? Should police be able to deny protection to certain individuals they don’t like? Where do you draw the line between “total anarchy” and “reasonable limitations on public services”? Calling it “bullying” doesn’t answer the real question of conflicting rights and obligations.

    (Also, you can keep repeating your little non sequitur, but don’t expect anyone to respond to it as such.)

  97. 97
    TCC

    demo: I didn’t like Wow, but this isn’t the same style, and Wow, even in the worst of moments, wasn’t this batty.

  98. 98
    captainahags

    @Frankboyd: Bullying. Public interest. You keep using those words. I do not think they mean what you think they mean.

    Continuing to cry about “bullying” when the government is simply enforcing the terms of a contract (another thing you keep whining about) merely exposes you as the moron you are. The idea that medicine, food, and other things should be regulated to prevent false claims as well as dangers to the consumer is not only something that the majority agrees on, but is an objective good- it’s actually in support of a free market, because it grants equal information to the consumer. In order for a pharmacy to exist, it has to play by the rules that have been granted authority both by the vast, almost unanimous majority, and that are on inspection, a positive good. And if it chooses not to serve the public interest, aka the access to prescription and nonprescription medications, then it has chosen not to play by the contract, and will be shut down. I’m sure you’d love to go back to the Randian paradise that was the 1920s, where companies could sell whatever they wanted and label it however they wanted, but the general public determined that it was not in their best interests, and so used the government to regulate industry. Bullying would be if a small minority group, aka the religious right, tried to force their agenda, which is completely detached from reality, onto the rest of the country- hey, just like they’re trying to do now!

  99. 99
    Chiroptera

    frankboyd, #91: And i say that it’s in “the public interest” to shut you up. And to seize your property – I think of many more “public spirited” ways it could be used.

    Then make a case for it so you can convince enough other people of your proposal’s merits that you can elect representatives to enact your idea.

    Better make it a widespread campaign, since you have to elect a majority of representatives.

    But I suspect that your proposal won’t pass Constitutional muster in the US. So you’ll have to make sure the necessary amendments are passed.

    You might need to make this a long term project: you’ll also have to make sure that enough judges have been appointed to the bench that the inevitable law suits that arise will be decided correctly.

    And keep me posted on your progress. I find the subject of constitutional democracy fascinating enough that following your project would be interesting.

  100. 100
    frankboyd

    Oh, look, the shit-eating wannabe pseudo-lefty is all upset now! Enjoy it kid, enjoy it! There’ll be more to come in the years ahead, better believe it.

    TCC,

    Okay, frankboyd, do you think that a fire department should be able to set certain hours or days that it is available (and by extension others that it will not be)? Should hospitals be able to deny blood transfusions?

    Look at the reverse: you’re going to force someone who doesn’t want to do a blood transfusion to perform one. I hope you receive the first of those treatments.

    Now individual bodies can say that they demand XYZ from their members, and if the reputation of those bodies is good, it’ll work as the protection. Say you have a medical institution that demands that its members perform blood transfusions, and says so at the outset. Someone could still offer his medical services, but could not claim the benefits of being certified by that body.

    Reputation works very well as a quality guarantee. Witness the structures of impact factor and reputation amongst journals.

    Should police be able to deny protection to certain individuals they don’t like?

    No. The police, the army, and the courts are legitimate functions of government. They must be blind with respect to the citizenry, because they are institutions of the only legal monopoly on force that the society has.

    This isn’t that difficult.

    Calling it “bullying” doesn’t answer the real question of conflicting rights and obligations.

    Ain’t no such thing. There are only individual rights and the obligations arising from voluntary contract. I noted the ones that one genuinely has towards the society one lives in, because the whole purpose of society is for mutual defence. Sure there are societies not worth defending, but those are the ones that don’t give a damn about individual rights in the first case.

    What you call “rights” is simply your wish for the benefit of someone else’s work, someone else’s brain, someone else’s life, gratis. With a wish as your sanction and a government provided club as your means. So, forgive me for laughing at you lot getting what you ask for.

    And, sure, call me batty all you like – cute substitute for thought on these freefromthoughtblogs.

  101. 101
    dingojack

    Cranky Franky – The public interest is that which benefits the public, not what the majority wants*.

    For example if a majority of people on a suburban street wanted to set off thermonuclear devices in their back yards would that be in the public interest?

    I notice you still haven’t provided details of your earlier claim I queried in post #92. I wonder why that is hmmmm…?

    Dingo
    —–
    * of course the two can coincide, but that is not necessarily always the case

  102. 102
    frankboyd

    captainahags,

    The idea that medicine, food, and other things should be regulated to prevent false claims

    Please read what I actually wrote. I said, specifically, that if someone offers a service, accepts payment, and does not provide it, it is legitimate for government to penalize them. It’s the legitimate role of force, as retalliation.

    What I have objected to is this idea that you may force someone to provide a good or service that he does not want to do, when he has not engaged in any contractual obligation to you, nor accepted payment, and has, in fact, said that he will not do so.

  103. 103
    Chiroptera

    frankboyd, #102:What I have objected to…

    I’ll just point out that this is all you’ve done. You haven’t really given any justifications for your objection except that it’s something you don’t like.

    -

    …is this idea that you may force someone…

    No one is forcing anyone to be a pharmacist. If someone thinks the requirements for the position poses an obligation she can’t meet, she is free to choose another profession.

    -

    …to provide a good or service that he does not want to do, when he has not engaged in any contractual obligation to you, nor accepted payment, and has, in fact, said that he will not do so.

    Pharmacists are licensed by the state and must meet the obligations required by the licensing. If the obligations include providing contraception or other services, then by accepting the license and opening up shop, she has engaged in a contractual obligation.

    -

    Please read what I actually wrote.

    To be fair, you’re really not making any sense.

    I mean, your argument boils down to:

    “This is bad.

    This is really bad.

    Look, I can say bad things, too. That makes this doubly bad.

    Bad, bad, bad!”

  104. 104
    dingojack

    Cranky – If a pharmacist wants to practice he or she needs a licence to practice.
    Damn, there’s that pesky contract thing, with ‘teh evul gubbinment’ no less*.
    Try again.
    dingo
    ——
    *If the pharmacist can’t fulfil their job description maybe they should take up a new profession, that is less taxing on their religious beliefs, like data entry or working in call-centre.

  105. 105
    Raging Bee

    “Ain’t no such thing” as conflicting rights and obligations? Boyd, you’ve once again proven you’re too stupid to understand the issue here, and are totally unworthy of our time.

    Please read what I actually wrote.

    …says the hypocritical overgrown baby who refuses to address any of the substantive arguments we’ve offered him. Just another Randroid trying to pretend he’s all grown up, and failing for the same obvious reason.

  106. 106
    TCC

    Look at the reverse: you’re going to force someone who doesn’t want to do a blood transfusion to perform one. I hope you receive the first of those treatments.

    Are you seriously arguing that this is forcing someone in the medical profession to perform a blood transfusion? This precisely ignores what we’re arguing: if you don’t want to perform a blood transfusion, don’t get into the medical profession!

    Now replace “perform a blood transfusion” with “deliver a standard prescribed medication,” and you’re golden.

    (By the way, I find it a bit telling that you skipped over my fire department example, so I’ll give you a second go at that one.)

    Ain’t no such thing. There are only individual rights and the obligations arising from voluntary contract.

    This is unadulterated bullshit. There are most certainly obligations that one has that do not arise from voluntary contract, and to say that a pharmacist has the right to deny basic medical care to someone just because he/she believes a certain way is to deny that individual’s ethical obligation (at bare minimum) to deliver a widely used medication for that person. At least if this is framed as competing rights – the free exercise rights of the pharmacist vs. the right to health care access of the consumer – then we have a starting point from which to decide which rights should prevail (or if there is a different way in which to guarantee both). But to say that no one has the right to access health care is just callous and – dare I say – inhumane. If you’re okay with that, fine, but don’t expect that you’re going to win any esteem from, you know, people.

  107. 107
    Chiroptera

    TCC, #97: …and Wow, even in the worst of moments, wasn’t this batty.

    I suspect you’re right about who frankboyd is not, but if I remember correctly, in the end Wow did finally devolve into the “well, would you like it if someone stuck needles in your grandmother’s eye? That proves I’m right!” style of argument that frankboyd is doing here.

  108. 108
    Raging Bee

    I have to agree with TCC: Wow may have said some stupid things, but he never acted like a self-important tweener trying to be a bully. Also, I don’t remember Wow taking even a slightly Randroid stance on any issue. As bad as Wow sometimes gets, he’s never been as stupid, immature, or downright retarded (both morally and mentally) as Boyd consistently is.

    All of which says a lot more about Boyd than it does about Wow.

  109. 109
    Anri

    If racism and sexism is so entrenched, then how the hell will you drag through legislation against it?

    By invoking the highest law of the land, which has been fairly clearly worded against it.
    Are we there yet? Nope.
    Are things better than they once were? Yep.

    And if there is enough support for these measures out of a justified loathing of bigotry, then why are they necessary?

    Because prevailing attitudes throughout the country might or might not apply in East Armpit, LA.
    And, strangely enough, us dumb lefties think the minorities in that town deserve equal rights, too.

    And isn’t it really, really interesting that all the fully fledged horrors of racism – from the examples Jim Crow in America to Apartheid in South Africa to the abysmal nightmares of Nazi Germany and Hutu Rwanda – have always been with the full aid and backing of the State?

    Until, in the civilized countries, the law is changed and the backing of the state moves over to defend the rights of the minority. A good example of this being laws prventing public businesses from denying services to people for non-reality-based ideological reasons. Yanno, what we’re arguing here.

    I am apparently, under the false impression the Jim Crow laws (and similar things) were struck down not because they were unpopular, but because agents of the state ruled that they were incompatible with the overall laws of the state.
    Did that take some pushing? Yep.
    Did it happen anyway? Yep.

    As a side note, could you spell out for me which non-state entities stopped Nazi Germany’s takeover of Europe? I mean, since states would never oppose that kind of thing.

  110. 110
    democommie

    TCC:

    Well, Ed is the only one who would know whether the two are the same person. Not that it makes a hell of a lot of difference.

    FanglessBoy is nothing but a troll with NPD.

    This;

    “Oh, look, the shit-eating wannabe pseudo-lefty is all upset now!”

    from his last comment is directed at? I can’t think of any regular commenter here who would self-identify as a lefty, never mind be “pseudo” about it. But, in the Frankinverse, I’m sure he has X-raylaserturbo ESP.

  111. 111
    Anri

    Please read what I actually wrote. I said, specifically, that if someone offers a service, accepts payment, and does not provide it, it is legitimate for government to penalize them. It’s the legitimate role of force, as retalliation.

    What I have objected to is this idea that you may force someone to provide a good or service that he does not want to do, when he has not engaged in any contractual obligation to you, nor accepted payment, and has, in fact, said that he will not do so.

    And it has been pointed out to you, repeatedly, that one legal aspect of offering a service to the public is that you are required to offer it to the public, not just the members of the public you prefer.

    Opening a public buisness includes agreeing to that provision.
    Anyone not wishing to abide by that is free to not open a public buisness.

  112. 112
    Bronze Dog

    I can’t think of any regular commenter here who would self-identify as a lefty, never mind be “pseudo” about it.

    I used to consider myself “left” or “center-left,” but with political discourse the way it is, I think the term now just means something along the lines of “not an insane wingnut,” which isn’t terribly specific.

  113. 113
    democommie

    Bronze Dog:

    Okay, so maybe we have a new acronym to use, “ALINAFKAB”–At Least I’m Not As Fucking KKKrazzee As Boyd.

  114. 114
    Raging Bee

    Attention: please refer to my prediction of Boyd’s actions in comment #77 and kowtow to my predictive genius…oh wait, he was already acting that way from his first comment here. Never mind.

  115. 115
    Tualha

    PZ, I suggest we give frankboyd what he wants. This is your blog, and by the principles he’s espousing, you’re perfectly free to ban him.

  116. 116
    Tualha

    Whoops, I mean “Ed” :) Forgot what blog I was reading there.

  117. 117
    lofgren

    “Bullying?” Seriously? What are you, twelve? Please try to overcome your adolescent insecurities.

    FrankBoyd’s schtick seems to be entirely based on the fallacy that because we support greater restrictions in one case of competing right, we must therefore support greater restrictions in every case of competing rights. That’s absurd. Our government is one never-ending conversation about competing rights and where and when it is appropriate to be more restrictive and when it is appropriate to be more permissive. There is no contradiction in believing that permissiveness is the proper course in certain cases and restriction in others.

    The alternative, that we should always be as permissive as possible in matters of competing rights, is no different from arguing that the privileged should always be allowed to prey on the vulnerable. I find it ironic that he would accuse people who want to protect the ability of women to have power over their own reproductive health as “bullies.”

  118. 118
    frankboyd

    “Bullying?” Seriously? What are you, twelve? Please try to overcome your adolescent insecurities.

    Projection much? You are the one who needs a nice benevolent higher power to look after you.

    TCC,

    Are you seriously arguing that this is forcing someone

    Isn’t it fascinating how your kind always squeal like pigs when what you are actually calling for is stated in plain terms?

  119. 119
    frankboyd

    Anri

    And it has been pointed out to you, repeatedly, that one legal aspect of offering a service to the public is that you are required to offer it to the public

    Yes, yes, yes – you’re fine with freedom as long as it’s used in the way you see fit. So, when someday someone says “Taking a teaching position at a University requires teaching creationism. If you don’t want to, then you are free not to become an academic”. And you’ll just have to put up with it!

  120. 120
    Raging Bee

    Isn’t it fascinating how frankboyd’s “kind” have to quotemine less than half of a sentence out of a rather long comment to try to refute someone else’s argument? Actually, no, it’s not at all fascinating, it’s just boring and predictable, something lying right-wing simpletons do every day. Full sentences are too much for that lot, so they have to take other people’s comments one arbitrary snippet at a time.

    Seriously, boy(d), are you really stupid enough (or self-absorbed enough) to think your last comment sounded at all plausible in an adult forum?

  121. 121
    frankboyd

    To be fair, you’re really not making any sense.

    I mean, your argument boils down to:

    Chiroptera,

    My argument, repeated umpteen times is: it is not right, it is flat out wrong to initiate force against someone. That is demanding that someone serves your demands in contradiction to his own mind; it’s an assertion that you own that person, in that sphere.

    Your argument boils down to:

    “But in this case, I really really REALLY wanna use force! I don’t want to have to reason or negotiate with people, I want to shove them around!”

    Now I am fully aware that moral arguments have little heft here. So I pointed out that someday the spit would be turned around – and, presto!, Utah decided to give you a taste of that. Bless its heart!

    The root of our disagreement, if I may call it that, is this. There are two ways of looking at the relationship of man to the state. There is the tradition that I belong to, which recognises that human liberty has been a long process of telling the state Thou Shalt Not, and backing that up, and realising that any freedom has to be wrenched from it at great cost.

    And then there’s the tradition – represented by you and marcus – that the State is the Holy One From Whom All Rights Flow. There aren’t really any “rights”, just privileges extended by the State. If you’re a good boy, Master might give you the privilege to do X, and toss you a few toys. If you’re good enough. Or he might not. And you will just have to take what you’re given. After all, all rights come from the State, so you’ll just have to accept what you’re given.

    There isn’t any middle ground here. There isn’t any reasoning with the faithful.

    Now given that Ed cited Mencken in what I thought was a very principled manner, I thought he understood that. Turns out he doesn’t. Pity.

  122. 122
    lofgren

    Projection much? You are the one who needs a nice benevolent higher power to look after you.

    What?

  123. 123
    lofgren

    Your argument boils down to:

    “But in this case, I really really REALLY wanna use force! I don’t want to have to reason or negotiate with people, I want to shove them around!”

    No, it boils down to “The responsibility of qualified professionals to provide emergency medical care trumps their desire to endanger others through negligence due to their religious beliefs.”

  124. 124
    Chiroptera

    frankboyd, #121: My argument, repeated umpteen times is: it is not right, it is flat out wrong to initiate force against someone.

    Well, then you’ve pretty much chopped off any justification for the existence of the state at its knees. The state exists for no other reason than to initiate force against people to get them to comply with the law. This is true for monarchies, any democracy, and even for whatever libertarian fantasy utopia you believe in.

    -

    There is the tradition that I belong to, which recognises that human liberty has been a long process of telling the state Thou Shalt Not, and backing that up, and realising that any freedom has to be wrenched from it at great cost.

    Well, that is only part of the tradition of liberal democracy. Another important part of the tradition is expressed in the US Declaration of Independence:

    “…That to secure these rights [of life, liberty, and the puruit of happiness], Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed….”

    This was a big part of the Enlightment tradition, in the UK as well as the American colonies, that the state isn’t just some big bad threat to liberty, but a necessary tool to ensure that liberty is protected.

    -

    And then there’s the tradition – represented by you and marcus – that the State is the Holy One From Whom All Rights Flow.

    You think that because you don’t understand social contract theory. You don’t understand the very foundations of the Western democracy. Probably because in the UK (is that where you live?), you’ve probably gotten as far from the Enlightenment ideals as we have here in the US, so you probably have had no more than a very superficial exposure to the Enlightenment foundations of modern liberal democracy.

    You are advocating a very illiberal notion of “democracy” and “liberty” that most of the Enlightenment philosophers wouldn’t accept. Hint: their concept of liberty wasn’t “everyone just do whatever they want.”

    Nothing necessarily wrong with that — there’s nothing to say that people who died over two centuries ago had any more correct insight about how to live one’s life — but you can’t really form cogent criticisms of other peoples’ “traditions” without understanding them.

    -

    There isn’t any middle ground here.

    Right. Arsonists have used fire to burn peoples’ houses down. So there is no middle ground for artificial heating — I must endure subfreezing temperatures in my house in the winter.

  125. 125
    Raging Bee

    My argument, repeated umpteen times is…

    …still just as stupid and infantile as it was the first time. Seriously, Skippy, that’s how children argue: by repeating the same thing over and over, then getting all red-faced and frustrated when it doesn’t work, because they haven’t got the hang of actually addressing other people’s thoughts.

    There isn’t any middle ground here.

    And that, again, is another hallmark of the childish style of argument: the inability to grasp and deal with differing views.

  126. 126
    Anri

    frankboyd says:

    Yes, yes, yes – you’re fine with freedom as long as it’s used in the way you see fit. So, when someday someone says “Taking a teaching position at a University requires teaching creationism. If you don’t want to, then you are free not to become an academic”. And you’ll just have to put up with it!

    Well, um, no.
    Because it’s a federal issue, anyone in the country can apply the test of federal law to the teaching of creationism: does it violate the Establishment Clause. In fact – and this will blow your mind – cases pretty much just like that have in fact happened before.
    Reality has been winning – slowly, true, but still winning. People have said just exactly what you postulated.
    They can’t say it anymore.
    I presume you disagree?

    Why do you think smaller units of control will resolve this problem? Why do you believe that giving lesson control to the states, or cities, or districts, or local school boards, with no overall oversight, will give better results?
    As far as I can tell, you’re just telling us there are problems with federal systems – well, welcome to post-Civil-War America, frank-van-Winkle, we’re aware all is not perfect.
    What’s your solution?

  127. 127
    democommie

    Fallacyboyd:

    Since your indignorance is both huge and durable, I will make no more gentle attempts to steer you towards reality. I do have one suggestion, though. Whatever you’re using on your hair, replace it with K-Y Jelly or Astroglide, it will make the process of shoving your head up your ass a bit less painful.

  128. 128
    Anri

    frankboyd, also:

    The root of our disagreement, if I may call it that, is this. There are two ways of looking at the relationship of man to the state. There is the tradition that I belong to, which recognises that human liberty has been a long process of telling the state Thou Shalt Not, and backing that up, and realising that any freedom has to be wrenched from it at great cost.

    Of course, some of us understand that at times, garaunteeing rights for people means using the power of the state to intervene.
    From “the Negro has no rights the government must respect”
    through “seperate but equal”
    to “equal opportunity”, the state has gotten more interventionist, not less. Unless you are willing to argue that the rights of bigots to be bigoted outweigh the rights of minorities to be treated like human beings, we have improved freedom with these legal moves.

    I don’t believe my rights derive from the state. But I believe they are defended by the state – imprefectly, and unevenly, and often in detail in an unfair manner (as it is with any human agency). I certainly don’t trust the state implicitly… but I trust them a hell of a lot more than I trust Wal*Mart or Texaco or Blackwater.
    And I think the real-world track record shows why.

  129. 129
    frankboyd

    chiroptera,

    For all that, I do think that you have presented your arguments rationally and intelligently. So, you are to be commended for that.

  130. 130
    dingojack

    Cranky – ooh goody goody. ‘Cause all soo crave your approval.
    @@
    Dingo

  131. 131
    frankboyd

    Chiroptera,

    I’m not sure I agree entirely with what Peter Hitchens says in his talk on the subject, but if you go to youtube – doesn’t seem to let me post the link here – and look for “Peter hitchens” “human rights” and look at the talk he gave at the cambridge union, I think you will find it interesting.

  132. 132
    dingojack

    Cranky – Like this?
    See how easy that was?
    Dingo

  133. 133
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Your only argument is “I’ve got the club at the moment!!!!”.

    Utterly baffling. Once again, the christian right in the US acts victimized while touting how christian a nation this is. Which one is it?
    And last time I checked, atheists face more discrimination and violence-from theists-for their non-belief than christians. Of course, given that christians worship a baby killing, woman hating, gay hating, genocidal madman, it stands to reason they would resort to violence to attain their goals of world domination.

  134. 134
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Yes, yes, everyone has long and boring arguments about why it’s okay for them to use force for – whatever the hell it is.

    the religious moral relativism shines forth once more. Somehow, right wing christians are the persecuted masses and the liberal democrats are holding them at gunpoint. Given that christianity supports the anti-scientific ‘intelligent design’ as the non-explanation for the origin of life, the cosmos and dandruff I wonder what their ALT-history is like. There’s probably no Crusades. No witch hunts. No slavery. No misogyny. No separation of church and state. No institutionalized, rampant child rape. No. Christian ALT-history is filled with ponies, rainbows, zombie jesus, and Sarah Palin.

  135. 135
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    joshuaz:

    The best argument I’m aware of is that this sort of law deliberately targets specific religious views and discriminates against them. Classically, intent matters a lot. The precedents here are complicated. Under the older standard of Sherbert, the free exercise clause would clearly make this sort of thing unacceptable. However, even in the more modern, narrower interpretations post Smith, the court has still looked at intent, and intentionally targeting specific religious practices has generally been considered unacceptable.

    So you’ve read the judges entire ruling? You’ve come to a conclusion that betrays a religious bias. The law doesn’t target any religious view. The goal of the law is to allow more women access to contraception. Here’s an idea. Imagine if the Obama administration decided the best way to enact their health care plans was to treat religion as completely neutral. If it doesn’t factor into their decision making, they won’t make any law respecting the establishment of a religion. If christians got an exemption to the ruling, then any non-christians would find themselves discriminated against when seeking contraception at a christian owned pharmacy. I’m still waiting for all these individuals with religious objections to contraception to lobby for the removal of condoms from their workplace.
    Thankfully, this is a situation where the government is more concerned with the physical health and well being of its citizens rather than individual religious beliefs.

  136. 136
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    nermd:

    Maybe the only fear of some is that they could loose the “moral” (read: patriarchal) right to extort woman.

    DingDingDing! Correct!
    No matter how it’s spun, all the whining by believers amounts to the continued desire of right wingers to keep women subservient to men. If this contraceptive issue was such a deal breaker for believers, where’s the big fuss over insurance companies covering vasectomies?

    http://www.vasectomy.com/ArticleDetail.asp?siteid=V&ArticleId=10
    Contact your medical insurance company and discuss your health insurance coverage, as most insurance programs include vasectomy. In such cases, the majority of the associated vasectomy costs will be paid through the insurance. The out-of-pocket cost to you could be only a small co-pay or deductible amount.

    I’m also wondering if all the theists who seek to deny women control of their bodies are aware that contraception can be used for acne, PMS, PMDD, and the regulation of monthly cycles. (http://www.ehow.com/about_5208584_uses-contraceptives_.html)

  137. 137
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Anri:

    Until, in the civilized countries, the law is changed and the backing of the state moves over to defend the rights of the minority. A good example of this being laws prventing public businesses from denying services to people for non-reality-based ideological reasons. Yanno, what we’re arguing here.

    QFT.

    I wonder if frankboyd knows that religious institutions, most especially the Raping Children Church fought against women’s rights, emancipation, gay rights, or pretty much any progressive ideal that all humans should have. Yet, they’re supposed to be the moral authority. Perhaps he also doesn’t know that for a long, long time, religious institutions exerted a strong influence on governments around the world (and not for the better).

    frankboyd:

    Yes, yes, yes – you’re fine with freedom as long as it’s used in the way you see fit. So, when someday someone says “Taking a teaching position at a University requires teaching creationism. If you don’t want to, then you are free not to become an academic”. And you’ll just have to put up with it!

    You must not be aware that creationism isn’t taught in schools because it’s an untestable religious idea that has no scientific merit…right?

    Scientific Method:
    1. Observe some aspect of the universe.
    2. Invent a tentative description, called a hypothesis, that is consistent with what you have observed.
    3. Use the hypothesis to make predictions.
    4. Test those predictions by experiments or further observations and modify the hypothesis in the light of your results.
    5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until there are no discrepancies between theory and experiment and/or observation.http://physics.ucr.edu/~wudka/Physics7/Notes_www/node6.html

    ‘God did it’ is the tentative description for the existence of everything according to believers (though they never specify if that god was Odin, Zeus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster). Step 3 says we’re supposed to use that tentative description to make predictions. Not sure how the heck you can predict anything from an entity that is invisible, inaudible, untouchable and unknowable. Since we can’t perform step 3, we also can’t perform step 4, which means the hypothesis ‘god did it’ leads exactly nowhere. It explains nothing. It predicts nothing. It is a pointless distraction from searching for real answers. That’s why creationism can’t be taught in public schools. In addition, if the government added the creationist fairy tale to school books, they’d also have to add in every other religious creation story, as creationism promotes the religious beliefs of one specific religion, and per the 1st Amendment, the government can’t endorse any religion. I’m sure you’re smart enough to realize that there’s nothing to teach about creationism. God did it. That’s it. Class dismissed.

    That is demanding that someone serves your demands in contradiction to his own mind; it’s an assertion that you own that person, in that sphere.

    See I don’t think you understand the provisions of the law. The government isn’t forcing *anyone* to take contraceptives. Insurance companies have to have them as part of their plans, yes, but if you’re a catholic (though why anyone would want to belong to an organization rife with child rape by priests is beyond me; of course I’m still trying to comprehend why anyone would want to live their lives according to 2000 year old beliefs held by people half a world away) and you don’t want to use contraceptives: YOU DON’T HAVE TO USE THEM. Why? Because the US government isn’t forcing anyone to take them. If they did, you can bet your ass a whole lot of atheists would be crying foul.
    Also, did you know the government already owns men in the US, given that vasectomies are provided under many insurance plans?

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