Bullets and Pills

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

The primary reason the culture wars keep raging on is that neither side really wants them to end. Neither side is content with merely winning the freedom to do its own thing. Real winning is all about the joy of getting the power to force your opponents to do things they find objecitonable. On the left, we’ve seen this with the birth control mandate. It isn’t enough to have won the legal right to birth control, which has been the case for a couple generations now. (And should have been from the start.) Now it’s about forcing people who have moral objections to birth control to buy it for other people.

Here in Tennessee, we’re seeing a similar bit of one-upsmanship from the right on the issue of guns. Gun rights proponents have finally earned a Supreme Court decision declaring that the Second Amendment protects the individual right to bear arms. And since about 2000, further efforts at gun control have basically been a non-starter in national politics. (Again, as it ought to be.)

But that isn’t enough enough for the gun-rights crowd, either. Tennessee Republicans are now pushing . . .

 . . . legislation to let employees tote any legally possessed firearm into their company parking lots and then leave the guns locked in their cars during their workday. Businesses say the bill tramples their private property rights and threatens the safety of all their employees.

A who’s who of the Tennessee business world has paraded to the Capitol to try to persuade lawmakers to buck the National Rifle Association, which is demanding passage of what’s become known as the guns-in-parking-lots bill. It’s put legislators, particularly Republicans, in a no-win political position — faced with upsetting one or the other of their strongest and most-feared constituencies.

Among those testifying before the legislative committees against the bill have been representatives from FedEx, Volkswagen and Bridgestone — three of the largest employers in the state. They raised the specter of disgruntled or deranged employees or customers grabbing their guns out of their cars and going on shooting sprees.

All the state’s business associations have lined up in opposition too, including Nashville’s Chamber of Commerce and the hotel and restaurant industries. Also against the bill are the Farm Bureau and many of the state’s hospitals and universities, including Belmont and Vanderbilt.

“This is not an anti-gun position on the part of employers. It’s a pro-employer rights and a pro-property rights position,” said Bill Ozier, chairman of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “The employer has the right to set rules in the interest of the safety of their other employees.”

The libertarian solution to these debates is pretty simple. Do you want to work for a company that lets you bring a gun to work? Find an employer that lets you bring a gun to work, then get yourself a job with that employer. Do you want to work for a company that includes free birth control as part of its health plan? Find employer that provides free birth control, then get yourself a job with that employer.

It really doesn’t matter if you aren’t convinced by the arguments from, say, Catholic hospitals that birth control leads to moral turpitude and is part of Satan’s plan to make the earth his dominion. (I’m not.) It also doesn’t matter if you’re convinced by the arguments from Tennessee businesses that allowing guns in the parking lot will turn workplaces into blood-spattered battlefields. (I’m not.)

In the end, you have the right to voluntarily negotiate the terms of your employment. You don’t have the right to take a job, then have the government to force your employer to provide you with the benefits or the workplace environment of your choosing.

Actually, the way things are going, it’s looking more and more like you kinda’ do have that right. But dammit, you shouldn’t.

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135 Responses to “Bullets and Pills”

  1. #1 |  Kyle | 

    If you really feel the need to bring a gun to work you should probably start searching for a new job anyway. Things are probably getting a little tense.

  2. #2 |  Jay | 

    The Left wants to force people to buy birth control for someone else? How does that work? That actually seems completely wrong. Hard to decide if the rest is worth reading now.

  3. #3 |  Aaron | 

    It seems to me that gentlemen seem more afraid to drive around at night in Memphis than women.

    Wow. Nice reinforcement of skewed gender norms.

  4. #4 |  Radley Balko | 

    The left supports a mandate that forces employers that provide health insurance to provide birth control without a copay as part of their health plans.

    Yes, that is forcing some people to buy birth control for other people.

  5. #5 |  Artus | 

    Florida pushed that very thing, and the same people that want to whip out their pocket Constitutions and regurgitate “original intent” and arguments for individual liberty every time the word “gun” is mentioned, callously (and hypocritically) demand the end to property rights when the chance to expand “gun rights” creep up.

    Friends I thought had better sense than that couldn’t believe I wasn’t supporting the legislation. It is amazing how many people think that exercising their own rights at the expense of someone else’s is a good idea.

  6. #6 |  freedomfan | 

    Radley nailed it. The argument that people bringing guns to work will turn workplaces into the O.K. Corral is nonsense. But the argument that a property owner loses any say over what someone else can bring onto his property as soon as he pays that person for a service is also nonsense.

    By the way, in practical terms, I wouldn’t care if my employees wanted to bring their properly secured guns to the office. But, I would be very concerned (as should any employee) that a policy of keeping guns locked in otherwise unoccupied cars will encourage a rash of break-ins in parking lots. At most businesses, parking lots not especially secure (and there is currently no real need for them to be), but that could change…

  7. #7 |  BamBam | 

    The reason why most people want to have a firearm in their vehicle is for the travel to/from home/work. The fear tactic “people will start shooting each other” is not based in data or logic, but that’s why you make an emotional appeal — as emotions go up, thinking goes down.

    However, “private” property (quoted because it isn’t truly private when .gov has rules and taxes for you) should trump what an employee wants to do. There are 2 solutions: park on the street, or have a firearm in your vehicle well hidden and STFU about it.

  8. #8 |  Jay | 

    This seems like a search for parity where there is none. There are economic reasons to have insurance policies cover birth control. Unwanted pregnancies are more expensive than birth control and all premiums rise because of them. Furthermore, there are good policy reasons that individuals don’t have the right to say where their money goes when it comes to an insurance policy. It would be ridiculous (though amusing) if individuals could tell their insurer not to cover the bypass surgery of some fat bastard. However, the ensuing chaos would make the policy nigh unmanagable.

    What an individual who has a moral objection can do is pay for their healthcare out of pocket.

    But the real problem with this article is that it fails to understand that employees and potential employees do not have equal bargaining power with an employer or potential employer. Not only can’t most people shop around for an employer in their field and in their geographic location with an insurance policy or weapons policy that suits them. That’s simply not how it works for most folks.

  9. #9 |  Jay | 

    Radley: Then your position on insurance is that all insurance is forcing person a to pay for x for person b correct?

  10. #10 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    What I would like to know is; are there statistics on employees being attacked in “no guns” parking lots vs “it’s your car, just don’t bring them inside” parking lots?

  11. #11 |  Xenocles | 

    “There are economic reasons to have insurance policies cover birth control.”

    Then let the consumers and the insurers work it out for themselves.

  12. #12 |  Alex | 

    The Libertarian solutions it outlines seem a bit too acquiescent. However, nor can we be instigators of coercion. The tricky thing to any political philosophy is putting it into action without warping or corrupting the original idea. So I offer two words in response to this article: Political Action. It is not enough to simply change one’s employer if your current one does not grant you your constitutional freedoms. In order to be considered a true champion of one’s beliefs, one must attempt to instigate change, through political ACTION.

  13. #13 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Another thought or two;

    What is the status of the privacy of the inside of a car parked on private property?

    and

    Take the gun out of the equation; does an employer have the right to tell employees that they may not keep combs in their vehicles? Or that they may not park Japanese imports in the private parking lot?

  14. #14 |  Jay | 

    Xenocles: Since we taxpayers bear the cost of unwanted pregnancies it’s not just up to the insurer and the insured. Also, since when did your insurance company let you decide what your premium covers and doesn’t cover for others?

  15. #15 |  Greg Morrow | 

    Radley, it is my understanding that economically, the employer’s contribution to health insurance is considered part of the employee’s compensation, in that if the employer didn’t contribute directly to health insurance, the employee would have to negotiate a commensurately-higher compensation. (Same with pensions, etc. — basically, anything that the employer pays on behalf of the employee is economically considered part of the employee’s compensation.) So it doesn’t seem particularly reasonable to say that minimum coverage mandates are forcing the employer to pay anything extra. Also, there are lots and lots of requirements for stuff that health insurance plans have to provide, like open-ended dialysis coverage that got added in the Nixon era. So it also doesn’t seem reasonable to pick on just one thing.

    In any case, the whole point of insurance is that you force a huge pool of people to pay for the needs of some, so that you smear out the costs of catastrophic risk so much that we can easily afford it. Since it is abundantly clear that birth control reduces health-care costs, spreading the cost out over the whole pool of people makes sense for everybody in the pool.

  16. #16 |  Radley Balko | 

    Radley: Then your position on insurance is that all insurance is forcing person a to pay for x for person b correct?

    No. My position is that government telling employers that they must provide free birth control as part of their health plans is “forcing person a to pay for x for person b.”

    Where do you think the money to purchase the birth control comes from?

    It would be ridiculous (though amusing) if individuals could tell their insurer not to cover the bypass surgery of some fat bastard.

    Who is arguing anything of the kind? No one is arguing that individual members of a plan should be able to veto coverage for other members. I’m saying the government shouldn’t be telling employers and insurers what they can and can’t cover. Maybe you’ll be less enamored with giving government this power when you consider the possibility of, say, Romney or Santorum administration mandating that any health insurance plan that pays for abortions must first send the woman seeking the abortion to a crisis pregnancy center.

    What an individual who has a moral objection can do is pay for their healthcare out of pocket.

    How generous of you!

    So what about an employer who has a moral objection? Employers still pay the bulk of their employee health insurance premiums. And when you figure that insurance is factored into compensation, all employees are basically paying into the plan, whether they choose to be covered or not.

    Not only can’t most people shop around for an employer in their field and in their geographic location with an insurance policy or weapons policy that suits them. That’s simply not how it works for most folks.

    Well of course not. There are always tradeoffs when you’re looking for a job. Not everyone is going to get the perfect job with a great salary all the benefits they want. That’s life.

    But I’m proposing a system where other companies would at least be free to offer different health plans. And where companies could chose whether to allow or prohibit guns in the parking lot. You’re proposing a system where every company in the state has to follow the same laws. So everyone in the state is forced to live by the mandates handed down by whichever political party is in power.

    My point is that people on the left and right tend to prefer that second scenario so long as their party is calling the shots. I’m suggesting we go with the first scenario, which at least gives workers and employers more freedom to set policies that reflect their values and preferences.

  17. #17 |  Veeshir | 

    It seems to me there are libertarian arguments on both sides.

    On the one hand, if the parking lot is the business’, they should be able to do what they want.

    On the other hand, the car is the property of the employee. So long as the gun stays in the car, why should it be the business of the employer?

  18. #18 |  Xenocles | 

    @Jay:

    And whose fault is that? The costs are only assumed by the taxpayers because they taxpayers (through their representatives) have chosen to assume them. Don’t offer to pay for stuff and then complain when people take you up on it.

    As for plan flexibility, I only have the single plan my employer offers. If I were otherwise inclined to shop around, I could probably have found varying degrees of coverage (before the PPACA, anyway). I know I have a staggering amount of flexibility when it comes to auto, home, and life insurance – let’s see you explain how it’s intrinsically different for health insurance.

  19. #19 |  Nicholas Fine | 

    More accurately, I think “the left” — by which I suppose you mean the organizations who control regulatory issues for the health insurance industry, want all insurers to offer contraception coverage without co-pays in the policies they underwrite as a part of the definition of “health insurance.” Fully aware that it is the cliche example, I suspect that these policies also require covering blood transfusion, and I am perfectly ok with not letting Jehovah’s Witness business owners offer insurance that explicitly does not cover transfusions.

    I get how the libertarian solution you describe is neatly summed up and relatively black and white logically. However, the health insurance industry and need for that market doesn’t exist in a black and white kind of vacuum. It is by definition highly regulated, and subject to things like being forced to cover contraception. So, yeah, I get that Catholics are being “forced” in some also no-grey-area way–but that’s how it goes–those involved (including insurers) had a stronger hand.

    Granted, I think employer based health coverage is possibly the worst idea ever, but I also don’t see it going anywhere.

  20. #20 |  Radley Balko | 

    Also, there are lots and lots of requirements for stuff that health insurance plans have to provide, like open-ended dialysis coverage that got added in the Nixon era.

    And I’d be opposed to those, too.

    So it also doesn’t seem reasonable to pick on just one thing.

    It does when there are people and employers with moral objections to this particular mandate.

    In any case, the whole point of insurance is that you force a huge pool of people to pay for the needs of some, so that you smear out the costs of catastrophic risk so much that we can easily afford it.

    Health insurance stopped being about insuring for catastrophic care at the end of World War II when tax breaks connected it to employment. (Which is really the much bigger problem, here.) But your argument for covering birth control doesn’t jibe with your point here, anyway. It’s like saying your car insurance should pay for your oil changes because if you don’t get your oil changed, your engine will shut down, which will require expensive repairs, which will raise the cost of everyone else’s premiums.

    In any case, if your point is accurate, then health insurers will have crunched the numbers, and they’ll conclude that it’s in their interest to cover birth control. And most do. Those that still don’t are knowingly taking a loss, which means some other value is more important to them. And in this case, those that don’t are religious employers who have moral objections to birth control. Why should the government forbid them from putting their moral objections to birth control ahead of their profits?

  21. #21 |  Radley Balko | 

    ake the gun out of the equation; does an employer have the right to tell employees that they may not keep combs in their vehicles? Or that they may not park Japanese imports in the private parking lot?

    Do they? I don’t know. Probably not.

    Should they? Yes, they should.

    Would it be smart of them? No, it wouldn’t.

  22. #22 |  Lauren | 

    Quakers have always had to pay taxes used to wage wars contrary to their religious beliefs. Christian Scientists have to pay for Medicare and Medicaid that pay for medical care for others, although that is contrary to their religious beliefs.

    In a representative democracy, we elect officials who set goals and policies for the nation (or state or municipality) as a whole. This has always led to people having to pay for things for others that “violate their conscience.” As in the examples above, the religious or conscience objections don’t exempt people from paying taxes. Usually, they just get to opt out as regards their own personal choices – for example conscientious objector status for Quakers, and the right to eschew medical care for Christian Scientists.

    In the case of contraception, the national sentiment is that wide and free availability is a useful policy for the nation to have, and to spend public money on, and to force private insurers to cover. In our system, religious objections don’t and shouldn’t drive public policy. The objectors are free to avoid contraceptive use themselves, but they can’t hold the general good hostage to their narrow views.

    If there is widespread opposition to a policy or goal that our representatives have set, then the electorate will vote the bastards out.

    You are way off base here, Radley.

  23. #23 |  Radley Balko | 

    It is not enough to simply change one’s employer if your current one does not grant you your constitutional freedoms. In order to be considered a true champion of one’s beliefs, one must attempt to instigate change, through political ACTION.

    Your employer shouldn’t be obligated to protect your constitutional freedoms. The constitution only protects you from the government.

    And what you’re basically saying here is that we should seek political power so we can force our own believes onto others.

  24. #24 |  Len | 

    There are some real idiots commenting here, particularly those raising the issue of economics when it comes to health insurance.

    1) it’s this simple, in a free market (do I have to be redundant here? free of government interference and free of the government forcibly extracting taxes to use for other people) people would have the freedom to not choose an insurance company that insures murder/abortion.

    2) Insurance companies would be free and likely to have clauses that would make it costly for expenses occurring as a result of abortion.

    3) Companies started offering insurance benefits as enticements, AGAIN, given a market free of government interference there would be some companies giving straight wages and some giving combos.

  25. #25 |  Jay | 

    Radley: The problem with your argument is that we as taxpayers have to pay for unwanted pregnancies so we do have a say in the matter and the government is representing our interests.

    With regards to the question about what about employers who don’t want to have to cover birth control well they don’t have to be employers right? You have the right not to be an employer. This idea of choice always seems to fall on the people seeking something (in this instance BC coverage) but it can just as easily be applied to others.

    “But I’m proposing a system where other companies would at least be free to offer different health plans. ”

    I assume you mean some offer BC and others not offer BC coverage the problem as I said above in a different comment is that we all pay for unwanted pregnancies. I don’t buy the argument that religious people get to dump that cost on me because they’re morally against BC (but not Viagra).

    I don’t disagree with you about the gun issue . . .

    So you think employers should be forced to do something that fits with your political philosophy, and that they shouldn’t be forced to do something that doesn’t fit with your political philosophy.

    I am totally and completely surprised by this!

  26. #26 |  Len | 

    Jay, you are an idiot. “they don’t have to be employers”. So because evil, lazy, rent seeking people choose to use political means to their advantage, don’t pursue one’s own well being and the well being of their family? Don’t pursue a passion? Don’t offer goods to others?

  27. #27 |  Jay | 

    @Xenocles:

    “And whose fault is that? The costs are only assumed by the taxpayers because they taxpayers (through their representatives) have chosen to assume them.”

    In other words fuck em let them have the baby in their bedroom or get an abortion?

    So when that unwanted kid is born and, as statistically is more probable than a child who is desired, is maladjusted we have to pay for that as well. Or do you want to do away with the CJS?

  28. #28 |  Radley Balko | 

    Quakers have always had to pay taxes used to wage wars contrary to their religious beliefs. Christian Scientists have to pay for Medicare and Medicaid that pay for medical care for others, although that is contrary to their religious beliefs.

    There’s a big difference between paying taxes to a fungible government general fund, and government specifically forcing a private employer to purchase a good or service for its employees that the employer finds morally objectionable.

    In a representative democracy, we elect officials who set goals and policies for the nation (or state or municipality) as a whole.

    A majority cannot vote away the constitutional rights of the minority. We as a society have also decided that sex discrimination in the workplace is wrong. Should the government now force the Catholic Church to ordain female priests? (If your answer is yes, I don’t think we have much more to talk about.)

    If there is widespread opposition to a policy or goal that our representatives have set, then the electorate will vote the bastards out.

    You mean like how Barack Obama campaigned on ending the executive power and foreign policy excesses of the Bush administration?

  29. #29 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    lauren,

    I’m not at all sure that Radley IS off base. I grant your points, mind. I just think that it is important to BE AWARE of when you are trying to force your views on others. I also happen to think that sometimes it is justified. Sometimes. I have little patience with the “Immunizations are making our babies sick” crowd. By peddling their scientific illiteracy, they are harming the community as a whole. I’m not prepared to put up with epidemics to keep from hurting their feelings. OTOH, I have a hard time believing that it is an employers business what I have in my car. It might arguably be the business of the Police, if they can get a warrant. My employer can keep his goddamned nose out of my glove compartment.

    I think the answer to the health care conundrum is to put an end to requiring employers to provide health care for anybody. I think that might put the medical establishment into free-fall for a while, but I also think it would stabilize out fairly quickly. And with the State out of the equation, things would pretty much HAVE to get simpler and less expensive. If only because of the amount of bureaucratic nonsense we could ashcan.

    The government does too goddamned much, and does it badly.

  30. #30 |  30 year lawyer | 

    A concealed [i]special purpose safety tool[/i] is just like a service dog. The state sets many terms of employment in the USA. The days of laisse faire are long gone.

    We have had this in Minnesota since 2003. The “parking area or facility” cannot be posted. Why, two reasons. 1 – so employees and patrons CAN comply with signs on plants and stores (to match the property owner’s desires). 2 – so that the employer CANNOT control the employee’s safety to and from work (for which they are quick to deny any liability).

    This is what the Minnesota Business Partnership (large corporporations), the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce )(medium sized businesses) and the Small Business League (Mom & Pop businesses) agreed to [i]on the record[/i] in the House Public Safety Committee hearing. Their lawyers knew that the sign wouldn’t prevent criminal misuse of firearms. There are so few signs in Minnesota that all they do is divert business to more astute businessmen. As it should be. Target, Sears, Home Depot, US Bank, Ruth’s Chris, Oceanaire, Starbucks (who just made a great deal of money from an anti-gun “boycott” that failed) — all the BIG business with smart lawyers and risk managers don’t post. Most of the businesses in my part of town that posted in 2003, don’t any more.

    The businessmen you’ve talked to need to be MORE worried about the disarmed business invitee who is fatally HINDERED in his defense by the useless sign no criminal will obey. A person has the legal right to defend himself in a place of business. They have it everywhere. Under current law, if a patron reasonably believes that he or she faces an imminent threat or serious harm or death, they can act. Act with whatever tools they have.

    In Minnesota, a place of business can post its buildings. They can take away the patron’s special purpose safety tool if they choose to do so. But choices have consequences. In doing so, the business has affirmatively prevented that patron from exercising his or her right to defend EFFECTIVELY. Inherent in the prohibition is an implied promise that you’ll be safer if you comply with our directive because WE know best how to protect you. So the business has undertaken a positive duty to protect the now defenseless patron. If the patron is injured, expect them to sue on the broken promise. If you take away the patron’s safety tool, a business is obligated to replace it with something equally effective. And without uniformed officers (at great expense) visible on premises, they haven’t. Note: there is no defense that the criminal did it, [i]the business did the disarming[/i] of the victim(s).

    BTW, anyone in Tennessee who is running in circles, screaming and shouting that the sky is falling is suffering hysterical dilusions.

  31. #31 |  Len | 

    If there is widespread opposition to a policy or goal that our representatives have set, then the electorate will vote the bastards out.

    This happened when??? The same bastards are always replaced by other bastards.

    Regurgitated nonsense from the holy canon of democracy.

  32. #32 |  Len | 

    So when that unwanted kid is born and, as statistically is more probable than a child who is desired, is maladjusted we have to pay for that as well. Or do you want to do away with the CJS?

    We only have to pay for “that” due to government coercion.

    AGAIN in a free society we would see insurance companies dealing with the medical issues, we would see communities and clans and associations, dealing with the moral and social issues, such as larger HOAs where people choose to associate based on known and defined laws, not some top down forced homogeneity.

  33. #33 |  30 year lawyer | 

    There has been no rash of parking lot burglaries in Minnesota but I do have a great photo of a dead employee’s blood pool laying right under the employer’s “no guns” sign. It seems criminals don’t obey property owner’s orders any better than they obey the state’s mandates.

    The only thing that stops a mass shooting in a workplace is immediate counterfire. THe murderer HAS to deal with that and everyone else can escape.

  34. #34 |  namowal | 

    Len, quit calling people idiots. Everyone else is trying to have a civil discussion.

    There are many factors in this birth control debate that have unfortunately been lumped together.

    -BC should not necessarily be free; I support a copay.

    -Health insurance should be decoupled from employment, and then we wouldn’t even be having these debates.

    -We live in a country where health insurance is not decoupled from employment and where it is heavily regulated. In that context, it is ridiculous for a giant ‘religious’ institution, like a Catholic university, to be able to claim that they don’t have to provide BC for religious reasons. First, you don’t have to be Catholic to be an employee at one of these places, so why do they suddenly care when it’s about sex and protecting women? Second, I don’t buy for a minute that they even have a moral objection. The only possible moral objections stems from a belief that sex is sin unless it’s done for the goal of procreation. If they hold that belief, then Viagra is usually a sin (when it’s used by a man having sex with a woman past menopause), as are many other things that might be covered by insurance. So they don’t even believe they’re own bs.

  35. #35 |  Lauren | 

    Len,

    This happened when??? The same bastards are always replaced by other bastards.

    in 2008, the will of the electorate shifted to oppose the war in Iraq, for example. And I agree about the different set of bastards, but a bastard must be somewhat responsive to the voters to keep his job.

    If the representatives did not eventually respond the will of the voters, we would still not have women’s suffrage, the 40 hour workweek, social security, or Medicare. You can see this in action today with gay marriage. It’s not fast, efficient, or perfect, but it does seem to happen eventually.

  36. #36 |  Jay | 

    Thanks Len. Guess your libertarian ideals only apply to the serfs.

  37. #37 |  Xenocles | 

    “in 2008, the will of the electorate shifted to oppose the war in Iraq, for example.”

    And the man they elected fought tooth and nail to keep us there before accepting Iraq’s refusal to extend the timeline that his predecessor negotiated. Yay democracy!

  38. #38 |  Stephen | 

    If an employer demands to search my car, we are going to have problems. I will take my personal stuff and leave. What is mine does not become theirs as soon as I drive into their parking lot.

  39. #39 |  bearing | 

    Nice strawman you’ve got there explaining the Catholic position on birth control. To be fair, I suppose it is also a strawman you’ve got there explaining Tennessee businesses’ reasons to ban guns from their parking lots.

  40. #40 |  Len | 

    Lauren the things you are talking about are the results of bastards. Clearly you are in favor of forcing people to provide for others.

    BTW, 40 hour work week? There are many problems with this, but the main reason for the 40 hr. work week…technology, meaning more capital has enabled less a need for manpower.

  41. #41 |  The Johnny Appleseed of Crack | 

    In the end, you have the right to voluntarily negotiate the terms of your employment. You don’t have the right to take a job, then have the government to force your employer to provide you with the benefits or the workplace environment of your choosing.

    Actually, the way things are going, it’s looking more and more like you kinda’ do have that right. But dammit, you shouldn’t.

    I completely agree with what you are saying, but think the wording is off, here. Rights are a concept, they exist independently of whether the government chooses to recognize them. Likewise, the government cannot create rights just by passing some law. I would rephrase the last sentence, “Actually, the way things are going, it’s looking more and more like you kinda’ do have that ability.”

  42. #42 |  CyniCAl | 

    “Actually, the way things are going, it’s looking more and more like you kinda’ do have that right. But dammit, you shouldn’t.”

    Once again, we see the corruption of language. Rights and powers are the source of much confusion.

    Individuals have rights against State powers, insofar as the State voluntarily cedes its sovereignty on the issue in question, which is always subject to future revision as the State pleases.

    Individuals have rights (as long as the State agrees).

    States have powers (limited only by the State itself).

    When individuals petition the State to enforce this or that policy, these individuals are harnessing State power, not creating a right for themselves.

    Rights are always negative, a restriction on the application of State power, and always dependent on the State’s agreement to voluntarily restrain its power (the only true commodity the State produces).

  43. #43 |  Cynical in New York | 

    Private property rights should win in this issue. A person have every right to regulate their land as they see fit. If you dont like it, work for somewhere else. If the NRA wanted to actually do something meaningful, how about going after states that still have ridiculous red tape in order to obtain a pistol.

  44. #44 |  Lauren | 

    C. S. P. Schofield

    OTOH, I have a hard time believing that it is an employers business what I have in my car. It might arguably be the business of the Police, if they can get a warrant. My employer can keep his goddamned nose out of my glove compartment.

    I concur. Furthermore, he can keep his nose out of your medical business, even though our stupid patchwork health access system forces him to provide part of your insurance premiums as part of your compensation package.

    Access to and distribution of health services is a legitimate public policy issue. Because of the ridiculous situation where access is largely dependent on private insurers partly subsidized by private employers, I would argue that the government is justified in regulating the insurers. Otherwise, the insurers are motivated to maximize their profits at the expense of the policy holders, as they have manifestly demonstrated they will. This is surely a matter of public policy falling under the constitutional provision for the general welfare. We can argue about the extent and form of access to health services, but is a legitimate and constitutional area for government meddling.

  45. #45 |  Jamie | 

    There’s a big difference between paying taxes to a fungible government general fund, and government specifically forcing a private employer to purchase a good or service for its employees that the employer finds morally objectionable.

    Agreed, which is why it is stupid that healthcare is tied to employment.

    In any case, the idea that the employer is paying for insurance is not a reason for the employer to make moral choices for their employees. It is compensation, just like salary. If your employer can get in the middle of your healthcare, they should also have the right to tell you what to spend your (cash) compensation on to eat, or dictate what hobbies you can have.

    Most sane first-world countries solved this with socialized medicine. Here, we have to worry about the poor feelings of some entrenched religious cultists.

    On the guns in the parking lot thing, perhaps we should consider extending car insurance to provide liability for going postal…

    (ducking.)

  46. #46 |  Discord | 

    Wow.

    1) I’m really happy to see Radley so involved in the comments.

    2) I don’t have anything to add beyond that because he has said everything I would have.

    Sorry for the lack of contribution, but I’m mostly just happy for #1, LOL :-P

  47. #47 |  Len | 

    Lauren there is constitutional provision for the general welfare, the several states created a common agent to handle certain powers uniformly on their behalf, commerce and common defense. The phrase “general welfare..of the UNITED STATES” means just that, for the states, not the people, and furthermore is actually a limiting clause for the taxation power.

  48. #48 |  Lauren | 

    Len @ 40,

    If a government provides any services for the common good – infrastructure, defense, libraries, garbage collection, snowplowing, etc, – then we are all “forced” to provide for others via taxation. Are you arguing for anarchy with no form of social cooperation?

    If, on the other hand, you are arguing that some things are okay for taxes to provide but not others, then welcome to politics.

  49. #49 |  Len | 

    Most sane first-world countries solved this with socialized medicine. Here, we have to worry about the poor feelings of some entrenched religious cultists.

    Really?? How are those sane countries doing economically? Headed for collapse, scurrying about trying to hide just how desperate things really are…..Yeah, that’s sane.
    Try learning economics, and you will see that a free market actually brings about cheaper health care, and unlike our present system doesn’t just put off til a later day the real costs.

  50. #50 |  CyniCAl | 

    “women’s suffrage, the 40 hour workweek, social security, or Medicare”

    Lauren, you forgot affirmative action laws, minimum wage laws, occupational licensure, the regulatory bureaucracy, welfare, the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, etc., etc., etc.

    Thanks so very fucking much. It would be amusing if it weren’t so damn depressing.

    Lysander Spooner said he believed that women had exactly the same right to vote as men — NONE.

  51. #51 |  Stephen | 

    If somebody is pissed off enough to go postal, I doubt that a trip home to get the gun will make much difference.

  52. #52 |  Jay | 

    @ Len “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves…”

    The Constitution is for the people.

  53. #53 |  Len | 

    Lauren, anarchy is real social cooperation…see my earlier comment #32. I know what politics is, evil people fighting to force others to do their will, certainly not social cooperation.

    Again, under the USC (not that it matters anymore) the federal government has no, ABSOLUTELY no authority concerning this fictional “common good”. If it’s not actually a private good, then it’s not a common good…think it through.

  54. #54 |  Jay | 

    @Len You’re incorrect about your economic argument regarding healthcare and the effect of socialized healthcare on an economy. Seriously wrong. So basically your comments consist of insults and baseless assertions. Lesson: Ignore Len.

  55. #55 |  Stephen | 

    I do agree with Radley that there are always people on both sides of any issue that will continue to fight until they have utterly beaten the other side into submission. Reminds me of my ex-wife and why she is my ex-wife. Mentally incapable of letting it be until they have it all.

  56. #56 |  Len | 

    Jay, that’s the preamble and that is the fiction whereby those in power legitimized their government. Further, the original preamble was going to say We the people of the State of Georgia, Maryland, etc. but due to the uncertainty of all the states ratifying, it was changed to just “We the people”

    The actual clauses of the USC are what matters, and there is nothing in there giving the federal government authority to act on behalf of “the people”. There are some clause that deal with people so as to ensure even dealings in commerce when people would travel state to state.

  57. #57 |  Len | 

    Jay..I’m wrong about the economic conditions of those countries with socialized medicine?? Refute me with facts then, or STFU?

  58. #58 |  Xenocles | 

    “The only possible moral objections stems from a belief that sex is sin unless it’s done for the goal of procreation.”

    Unfortunately for your argument, this is not what Catholic dogma says. Here’s the quote from Humanae Vitae*:

    “The sexual activity, in which husband and wife are intimately and chastely united with one another, through which human life is transmitted, is, as the recent Council recalled, “noble and worthy.” It does not, moreover, cease to be legitimate even when, for reasons independent of their will, it is foreseen to be infertile. For its natural adaptation to the expression and strengthening of the union of husband and wife is not thereby suppressed. The fact is, as experience shows, that new life is not the result of each and every act of sexual intercourse. God has wisely ordered laws of nature and the incidence of fertility in such a way that successive births are already naturally spaced through the inherent operation of these laws.”

    TL;DR: Sex within a marriage is acceptable even if not done for the express purpose of procreation as long as the couple does not intentionally try to block procreation.

    *I’m not Catholic; the citation is purely for the sake of argument.

  59. #59 |  Chuchundra | 

    There’s a lot to be said on this topic, but I think it’s instructive that Radley is bringing his “you can quit the job if you don’t like it” arguments on the anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.

  60. #60 |  Lauren | 

    Radley,

    There’s a big difference between paying taxes to a fungible government general fund, and government specifically forcing a private employer to purchase a good or service for its employees that the employer finds morally objectionable.

    a.) Medicare isn’t a fungible government general fund – 2.9% of your compensation goes to Medicare specifically via payroll deduction, half from you and half from your employer.

    b.) I agree that the cost health services access shouldn’t rest disproportionately on the backs of private employers. But since it does, you have to make a choice between the rights of the employee and the conscience of the employer – no contest to my mind.

    c.) Does Walmart have a conscience? And even if you are a sole proprietorship with few employees, being an employer carries burdens and obligations beyond your personal wishes and proclivities. It doesn’t make you a dictator in every aspect of your employees lives.

  61. #61 |  mburns | 

    Bottom line: in life, you get what you negotiate. If you don’t like what you negotiated, or what someone is offering you in a potential job, go someplace else. There is no law that says that you have to take their offer.

    More broadly, the economy sucks, and is not keeping up with demand in the labor market for new jobs. So more people are not happy with what they’re stuck with, and for that, I empathize.

    If you want more choices for work, get more job training so you can make a change. Otherwise, stop supporting the fools in DC who can’t do the Math and fix the economy faster. Pretty simple if you ask me.

    Thanks, Radley for another great article. -MB

  62. #62 |  30 year lawyer | 

    Unless you are a very big cheese, no major employer, such as FedEx, VW, or Bridgestone ever “negotiates” with a single employee. The job is always offered on a take it or leave it basis. Do all of you inhale?

    Once an employer gets more than 10 or 12 employees, “negotiation” is out of the picture. The VP of Personnel doesn’t even know that John works in sales or Becky in shipping and he will NEVER negotiate the terms of their employment. They can leave but they CANNOT negotiate.

    Society knows that. That’s why we have Unions (which Libertarians generallyhate because they allow the employees to “beat up’ on the poor private business owner) and why the Government tell private owners of “public accomodations” how many handicapped parking slots they must provide (so every handicapped person doesn’t have to beg for a place of her own). Both Unions and Governments, in this situation equalize the relative bargaining POWER. Make no mistake for 99% of us, the employer has the power, the individual employee does not. That means you, Buddy.

    If you want to eat, not sell your house, and not move accross country, you must accept the employer’s handout. There is no real choice for ordinary people. The Libertarians, who I usually support, ARE inhaling on this one.

  63. #63 |  Josh | 

    Radley, I completely agree that employers should not be forced to pay for birth control, and they should not be forced to allow guns on their property. If employees want those things, they need to either negotiate with their employer or find an employer who provides them.

    However, what if you can’t find an employer who lets you bring a gun onto the property? What if a woman has been unemployed for a year and the only job offer she receives is for a company which won’t cover birth control at all? Employers are rarely willing to negotiate the terms of their insurance plans with a job applicant. Should someone be forced to settle for “inadequate” health care coverage due to desperation for a job? I’m not saying these considerations should limit the rights of the employer. I definitely don’t believe that. But shouldn’t we at least recognize the consequences of those rights?

  64. #64 |  Rita | 

    If other prescriptions are provided without a copay, birth control should be no different. Making only birth control exempt from copay is discriminatory (you think unwanted pregnancies are expensive; just wait til the lawsuits start piling up) and will either drive up the cost of insurance or reduce coverage for other things. Insurance companies exist for one reason — to make money for their stockholders. It’s incredibly naive (@Greg) to suggest that minimum coverage mandates won’t increase the cost either to employers or (more likely) employees, resulting in even more people like me who simply canot afford insurance — and oh, what a surprise — I see yet another “crisis” on the horizon, and I’m willing to bet they’re already working on yet another law to make things all better.

  65. #65 |  H. Rearden | 

    we as taxpayers have to pay for unwanted pregnancies so we do have a say in the matter and the government is representing our interests.

    Then why isn’t the argument that the government should provide free BC paid for through general taxation rather than forcing an employer to provide it through their insurer? Not that that’s the position I would take, but at least it’s a more honest and defensible position.

    What an individual who has a moral objection can do is pay for their healthcare out of pocket.

    How about what an individual that finds themself without employer provided BC can do is find another employer or puy for their BC out of pocket. Why would you think that it should be a gov’t mandated employer responsibility just because the offer a health insurance plan?

    Government coercion. Most love it when it pushes in the ‘right’ direction. Others see it as a necessary evil that must be kept to a minimum.

  66. #66 |  Jay | 

    @Len STFU? Aww Len. Your E-tough guy routine is cute.

    That’s just the preamble? Nothing in Article 1 Sec. 8 refutes what I said and I’m certain you have nothing to refute it as you appear to have completely misunderstood the constitution. Or perhaps you can prove otherwise.

    What do you have? I’ll wait.

    As far as your healthcare claims. You made assertions so I’ll wait for your proof.

  67. #67 |  Jay | 

    @ H.Rearden: That’s certainly one argument however we’re not talking about free BC. Employees pay for their healthcare and what’s the reason to add another layer of government?

    Why does it fall on the individual to leave rather than the employer to stop being an employer? Choice isn’t limited to the employee right?

  68. #68 |  H. Rearden | 

    Jay – are you really using a ‘small government’ argument? I have a feeling that it’s the first time it’s ever crossed your mind. We have a federal HHS department that think that it is able to coordinate 1/6 of the nations economy through regulation. Do you really think that dispensing BC through pharmacies would be that difficult? Don’t they already provide flu vaccines?

    Actually, employers do have the choice not to be employers. Many, including myself, have made conscious decisions to withdraw from the market or pursue options other than starting a small business. As an employee, is that the choice you want your employer to face? As a politician, is that the argument you would want to make?

  69. #69 |  Daniel | 

    *objectionable

  70. #70 |  namowal | 

    @xenocles, #58 : That’s interesting, thanks for responding.

    Now I’m even more confused as to the moral problem with birth control. Anyone know what the actual moral objection is?

  71. #71 |  Xenocles | 

    “Should someone be forced to settle for “inadequate” health care coverage due to desperation for a job?”

    Yes, with an objection to your hackneyed use of the word “forced” to describe a natural consequence. I have to breathe continuously, hydrate frequently, and eat occasionally in order to stay alive, but that doesn’t mean anyone is forcing me to do so.

    “But shouldn’t we at least recognize the consequences of those rights?”

    Consider it recognized, but if it’s a right then the consequences are irrelevant because rights aren’t contingent on results. They either exist and we live with the way the chips fall or they don’t exist and we intrude as much as we consider necessary to achieve the result.

    You don’t have freedom of speech unless I don’t like what you say. You just have freedom of speech, period, and I have to deal with it.

  72. #72 |  Classical Values » Do I have to use force? | 

    [...] others are too. In explaining why,Radley Balko hits the nail on the head: The primary reason the culture wars keep raging on is that neither side [...]

  73. #73 |  Aaron Fown | 

    Whenever we are arguing about force, and who should be allowed to force who to do what, I think it’s a good idea to make perfectly sure who is being the bully before we make judgements. When it comes to the birth control issue, I’m not sure that the ‘left’ is being the bully here. First off, it’s been noted already that the insurance companies are in favor of the mandate, as it saves them the trouble of having to make a less-profitable, more risk prone plan specifically for Catholic businesses. It’s an odd libertarian who gets in the way of a business’s desire to make money, but I suppose it might be bad to force the Catholics to pay for birth control. Except, you know, they aren’t paying for it; the insurance companies volunteered to pitch it in themselves, since it saves them money. So, you are actually enforcing the ‘right’ of the Catholic church to dictate to a business its business practices, even if they are run by Protestants, Buddhists, whatever, even when they are volunteering their own money to do it. But what about the employees? I suppose that you might argue that the doctors and nurses that want to have coverage for birth control can go work somewhere else (in fact you have), which would be a convincing argument if the Church wasn’t on a buying spree, taking over hospitals and health providers all over the nation. In many areas, there are no employers for doctors or nurses that aren’t Catholic. So, you are also defending the Catholic church’s ‘right’ to dictate how their Protestant/Buddhist/Atheist/Shinto/Whatever employees use their compensation? Should they move? Change careers? That seems like an almost perfect example of ideology destroying economic efficiency, and I thought you were against that. Or is it only bad when irrational ideologies destroy efficiencies and undermine rational market forces when governments do it? Is it just fine for religions and businesses to crush innovation and stifle creativity?

    But let’s step aside for a moment, and look at something astonishing. I’m ashamed to say it captivates me, like a car wreck.

    “Also, there are lots and lots of requirements for stuff that health insurance plans have to provide, like open-ended dialysis coverage that got added in the Nixon era.

    Mr. Balko: And I’d be opposed to those, too.”

    Oh, how wonderful! And how would you propose dealing with all of the hundreds of thousands of people who would die horrible, painful deaths without dialysis? It’s far beyond the means of any but the richest people to pay for out of pocket, and I somehow doubt you would support having the government pay for it.

    Perhaps you would be kind and generous enough to mandate that the insurance companies pay for a plastic bag and some helium? Or do you think that it’s better to just let people with kidney failure suffer for weeks before they die, pissing blood, and thrashing about with violent, bone-breaking seizures? Would their screams of utter agony be like music to the ears of your dark market God?

    Indeed, while the worship of various Gods has led many people astray, there are some that have become holy and enlightened by doing so. But the one God that has never inspired greatness is Mammon, for there are few things that spawn cruelty more than the worship of money, and its generation. And as much as I shudder at the thought of what a society run by the Holy See would look like, I can’t help but think that a society run by the worshipers of Mammon, like you, would be far worse.

  74. #74 |  Xenocles | 

    @namowal #68:

    As I was trying to express with the citation, it depends on whom you ask. I believe the Catholic teaching is that reproduction and sex are naturally bound together and so it is wrong for humans to defy God by intervening to separate them. The objection that many couples have an infertile member is countered by the argument that the infertility was also part of God’s will.

    Like I said, I don’t believe it myself (but I used to) – I think I have faithfully conveyed the gist of the dogma but I am open to correction.

  75. #75 |  Wesley | 

    Despite my libertarianism, I can’t get worked up about the birth control mandate. Yes, mandatory coverage laws are wrong, and are a part of why health insurance is so damn expensive (allowing providers to charge everyone for what a minority actually uses). Yes, they do interfere with a business’s right to choose for itself what services it provides.

    That being said, healthcare is not an open market. Due in large part to a variety of government-invented restrictions — including tax breaks for employers but not individuals; restrictions on interstate competition; and mandatory coverage provisions — most people do not have the power to select their own health coverage. Instead, they find a job, and then get whatever that employer offers. Most people cannot afford their own coverage if their employer does not provide what they need.

    I would first and foremost be for a drastic overhaul to the system to allow more people to afford insurance and then insurance companies to cover only whatever they wanted. But given the current reality, and the small chance of that changing, I’m not so opposed to the government requiring health insurance companies to provide basic coverage of common medical needs. Birth control would seem to fall under that umbrella (though it’s arguably debatable). (Of course, I’ve seen persuasive arguments that the pill, at least, should be OTC to begin with, making much of this moot). Similarly, I don’t support the government regulating marriage, but given the current institution, I favor gay marriage rights. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than the alternative.

    Of course, you’re entirely right about the guns-on-private-property issue.

  76. #76 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Lauren,

    “Access to and distribution of health services is a legitimate public policy issue. Because of the ridiculous situation where access is largely dependent on private insurers partly subsidized by private employers, I would argue that the government is justified in regulating the insurers.”

    This is true only so far as the State has intruded into the insurance/healthcare market. If there was some evidence that it was possible for a State to provide first rate healthcare, I might be for trying it here. But when one examines how National health programs have worked out in the real world, problems become apparent.

    I would argue that the people who most resemble us on Earth are the British, the Canadians, and the Australians. The British National Health began catching criticism from die-hard (and proud of it) pinko Giles as early as the mid 1950′s. The Canadian system is so far from meeting its obligations that the Canadian Supreme Court has ruled that the Government may no longer deny people access to private alternatives. I’m not as familiar with the situation in Australia, but I gather that it isn’t good. The problem is that the State makes promises that it cannot keep, and then rations care, skimps on infrastructure, or lets quality go to hell. And because the State is both the care provider and the regulator, it protects its decisions.

    Here in the U.S. my personal suspicion is that what ails the healthcare industry is our tendency to slap one layer of regulation over the results of the last failed layer. This causes metaphorical arterial sclerosis of a truly staggering density. And what to do about it is beyond me, but I have two suggestions;

    1) DON’T add another layer without repealing a bunch of past layers.

    and

    2) Allow insurers to offer policies across state lines.

    Then take five years minimum to look around at where we are.

    Oh, and

    3) Don’t listen to anybody who offers Cuba as an example of any kind of good government. Cuba has NEVER been well governed. The closest they ever came is probably the 19 year period when they were under military rule by our Marine Corps, and I wouldn’t wish that on a dog I didn’t like.

  77. #77 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    To re-propose an issue I’ve raised in another form;

    What rights, if any, does the owner of a parking lot have over the otherwise legal contents of a parked car, provided that those contents do not leave the automobile while on his property?

    Does anybody know?

  78. #78 |  Robert | 

    “I have to breathe continuously, hydrate frequently, and eat occasionally in order to stay alive, but that doesn’t mean anyone is forcing me to do so.”

    In prison, or in regular life in some jurisdictions, if the authorities find out you are intentionally not drinking or eating (with the intent to continue until you expire), they can break down your door and force you.

  79. #79 |  EH | 

    My position is that government telling employers that they must provide free birth control as part of their health plans is “forcing person a to pay for x for person b.”

    This presumes corporations to be people, right? Or is it a drop-of-money theory of humanity?

  80. #80 |  Herb | 

    “that the employer finds morally objectionable.”

    I’m sorry, but if that’s the standard, there is no standard. A religious person working a 24X7X365 type job might find it morally objectionable to work on the Sabbath. Does that mean employers should be required to give them that day off?

    If you’re suggesting we start regulating things based on how morally objectionable they are to others, then why complain about the culture wars. That IS the culture war.

    As for the Libertarian position being (coincidentally I’m sure) the Republican position…well, I call shenanigans. The Catholic Church doesn’t want you to have birth control pills. Teaming up with the government to legally deny them to people doesn’t strike me as a boon to freedom. It’s actually, you know, the opposite of it.

  81. #81 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    It really doesn’t matter if you aren’t convinced by the arguments from, say, Catholic hospitals that birth control leads to moral turpitude and is part of Satan’s plan to make the earth his dominion. (I’m not.)

    Does the equation change when The Catholic Charities gets more than 60% of its revenue from government sources? At what point does my being forced to fund their activities begin to grant me some say over the manner in which those activities are conducted?

    In other words, don’t suck on the government teat and then want to complain when everything smells like cow.

  82. #82 |  CharlesWT | 

    Lauren:

    “If the representatives did not eventually respond the will of the voters, we would still not have…the 40 hour workweek, social security, or Medicare.”

    You’re right. It’s defiantly not perfect.

  83. #83 |  CharlesWT | 

    Lauren:

    “…falling under the constitutional provision for the general welfare.”

    There is no constitutional provision for the general welfare in the sense you mean it.

  84. #84 |  Kevin | 

    Jay (#8):

    Unwanted pregnancies are more expensive than birth control and all premiums rise because of them.

    A) If that’s true, then insurance companies can save themselves money by covering them in the absence of a mandate.

    B) If an insurer isn’t prevented by regulations from doing so (and they shouldn’t be), then the actuarially-logical thing to do to address this issue would be to charge women not demonstrably on some form of birth control higher premiums to account for their higher risk of unintended pregnancies.

    Veeshir (#17):

    On the one hand, if the parking lot is the business’, they should be able to do what they want.

    On the other hand, the car is the property of the employee. So long as the gun stays in the car, why should it be the business of the employer?

    Simple: the cars are on the employers’ property and are therefore bound by their rules, whatever they may be. I don’t think that would be a controversial point from a libertarian perspective.

    namowal (#34):

    We live in a country where health insurance is not decoupled from employment and where it is heavily regulated. In that context, it is ridiculous for a giant ‘religious’ institution, like a Catholic university, to be able to claim that they don’t have to provide BC for religious reasons.

    No, what’s ridiculous is having the government regulate the market into a place where companies (and, with the individual mandate, individual people) making their own decisions is perceived as ridiculous.

    Jay (#66):

    Why does it fall on the individual to leave rather than the employer to stop being an employer? Choice isn’t limited to the employee right?

    A) Because the employee is the one who finds the terms of employment unacceptable, not the employer.

    B) Because ‘no longer be an employer’ simply means firing the employee or never hiring them in the first place, which is the basically the same outcome as (A) anyways.

  85. #85 |  r.l.s.3 | 

    C.S.P. Schofield,

    I have worked at facilities that deal in energetic materials and they very much control what you can have in your car. No matches, cigarette lighters, flame or spark producing items of any kind.

    I currently live in a state with a law prohibiting employers from denying firearms in a locked vehicle, but there are exceptions if the parking lot is fenced and guarded. My employer has a fenced and guarded facility therefore I cannot have a firearm in my car at work. (They also used to ban cameras until cell phone cameras became so common that the prohibition became excessively burdensome for the employees.) There is a sign at the facility entrance warning that you are entering private property and your car is subject to search and your permission to enter the facility is subject to accepting these terms.

    It seems silly, and I’m not a lawyer, but I would presume that in my state an employer can deny a person from entering an unguarded parking lot with a comb in the car but not a firearm.

  86. #86 |  red | 

    As a gun owner I don’t support a law like this on the basis of private property and free association rights.

    On the other hand there is a strong case to be made that if a business choose to disarm their employees (say a cab company, pizza delivery company) and prevents them from practicing self defense then the company is now responsible for their protection during work. That means if a cabby is killed by robber, or a FedEx Driver is mauled by a dog then the company is libel for failing to provide protection for their employees. If you disarm someone, you are De Facto taking up the responsibility to protect them. If the company is willing to payout for a such a policy I think that’s fine.

    This extends to prisons as well. We disarm the inmates and thus we have a duty to protect them at all times. It’s a great shame that we don’t bring the wardens up on charges every time one of their charges is attacked.

  87. #87 |  Lauren | 

    Charles WT

    There is no constitutional provision for the general welfare in the sense you mean it.

    a.) The preamble of the US constitution lists promotion of the general welfare as one of the reasons for its establishment. (Yes, I realize this assigns no specific powers to the federal government.)

    b.) Article I Section 8 confers the right to tax and spend, and contains the infamous “general welfare clause” which reads “to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States.”

    What specifically constitutes “the general welfare” has been an endless morass of argumentation, but I don’t think you can say there is no provision for it in the constitution.

  88. #88 |  Brian | 

    “Simple: the cars are on the employers’ property and are therefore bound by their rules, whatever they may be. I don’t think that would be a controversial point from a libertarian perspective.”

    But my car doesn’t become their car just because it’s parked in their lot. Whatever I leave in my car shouldn’t be any of their damn business. If they want to give me a company car for my commute, they are more than welcome to dictate what I have in there.

    Honestly, if a company thinks a gun ban of any kind, in the building or on their property, would actually stop a mass shooting, I’d have to question their ability to exercise logic at all. Lord knows that “No guns” signs have done a dandy job of stopping shooters so far. Someone intent on murder certainly wouldn’t want to risk a misdemeanor trespassing charge.

  89. #89 |  Brian | 

    Radley,

    I fail to see how making someone opposed to birth control pay for someone else to get birth control compares to the gun issue. It doesn’t cost an employer money to not declare a ban on guns in cars. Now if there was a law requiring the company to buy me a gun to keep in my car, they would be comparable.

  90. #90 |  CharlesWT | 

    “Whatever I leave in my car shouldn’t be any of their damn business.”

    Well, if you had a case of dynamite cooking off in the summer heat…

  91. #91 |  Bobby | 

    re: the birthcontrol mandate

    Ironically, the best way to make birth-control more accessible is to eliminate the nanny-state regulations that make it a burden for women to obtain. In short, it should be available over the counter. The argument is brilliantly made here:

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-09/take-birth-control-battle-over-the-counter-commentary-by-virginia-postrel.html

  92. #92 |  EBL | 

    You make so much sense sometimes it actually hurts.

    Not you making sense, but people not getting it.

  93. #93 |  Dorothy | 

    FYI: Catholicism’s Moral Objection to Birth Control Pills:

    Ten years ago when I was trying to convert to Catholicism, I picked up Catholicism for Dummies. At the time, the reason for the objection to Birth Control pills was the belief that the bill does not stop ovulation but that it sheds the lining of the uterus. Thus, it is a mini-abortion every month. I am a Chemist but I do not have training on the specific drug mechanism for BS. I know I was always taught that it prevents ovulation, but then I’ve heard some “eh well sometimes it doesn’t” mutterings from others.

    SO, that is the moral objection as I understood it. But then, that is just Catholicism for Dummies…which in the edition I had, had two priests are contributors—including one with Vatican work experience.

  94. #94 |  Dorothy | 

    Sorry for errors. Bill = pill. To elaborate, the shedding of the lining means that any fertilized egg(s) that are implanted in the lining would be shed as well. Hence the belief of an abortion caused by the pill.

    This isn’t what I feel, I’m just answering someone’s earlier question about the moral objection—you must know your opposition’s facts before you begin to tear them apart.

  95. #95 |  Kevin | 

    Brian (#83):

    But my car doesn’t become their car just because it’s parked in their lot. Whatever I leave in my car shouldn’t be any of their damn business. If they want to give me a company car for my commute, they are more than welcome to dictate what I have in there.

    Your car doesn’t become their property, but you’re using their parking lot and as such are subject to their conditions. If you don’t like those conditions, you’re free to park, or even work, somewhere else.

    Or: Yes, in a free society people get to make the use of their property by others conditional on criteria of their choosing.

  96. #96 |  Xenocles | 

    @Dorothy-

    That explanation may be true, but they also object to barrier methods and sterilization for the general reasons I laid out above. Even if that book completely misunderstands the mechanism by which hormonal contraceptives work, they would still be considered immoral.

  97. #97 |  Burgers Allday | 

    I would like an employer who covers terminations up to 19 weeks, but no later absent an administrative showing of medical necessity. Also, I must have my six shooter on my hip at all times.

  98. #98 |  H. Rearden | 

    CWT @85:

    Well, if you had a case of dynamite cooking off in the summer heat…

    Are you arguing that businesses should have explicit policies concerning the handling and storage of explosives on their properties? To the best of my knowledge, the handling and storage of explosives are heavily regulated already and would apply on private property. At issue here is the fact that, with restrictions, it is legal to possess a gun in one’s car. I would argue that a property owner has every right to prohibit an employee or visitor from bringing a firearm on their property. The problem then becomes how such a policy is enforced and what possible penalty could the business owner impose. The issue of enforcement bring up a number of important questions:

    An employer could fire an employe that violates policy. If an employer would ignore the no weapons policy for a trusted and valuable employee, can an employer enforce the policy on other employees?

    If an employer suspected that an employee was violating a no weapons policy, what could the employer do other than remind the employee of the policy?

    How could a store owner possibly enforce a no weapons policy on their customers, whether in their vehicles or concealed carry?

    As always, it is one thing to make a rule or law and a completely different thing to enforce it.

  99. #99 |  Mike T | 

    In the end, you have the right to voluntarily negotiate the terms of your employment. You don’t have the right to take a job, then have the government to force your employer to provide you with the benefits or the workplace environment of your choosing.

    This is a fallacious argument. Being able to effect a credible defense of one’s self is not a privilege or employer, but a human right. An employer cannot say, for example to a pizza delivery person, that their job must necessarily take them into a bad section of town and a condition of employment is that they must not take any measure which would allow them a credible chance to protect their lives. This is bullshit and only provides the left with a powerful argument against strong property rights because this directly attacks the notion the property rights do not sit in opposition to basic human rights.

    It’s one thing to compromise on various aspects such as to prevent people from carrying a weapon into an office which has little, if any, contact with the general public. It’s quite another to prevent employees who have regular contact with the public from being able to protect themselves.

  100. #100 |  Mike T | 

    * not a privilege or employer benefit.

  101. #101 |  Mike T | 

    Simple: the cars are on the employers’ property and are therefore bound by their rules, whatever they may be.

    So, when you park your car on government property, you give them the right to search it. Their property, their rules. Oh wait, you didn’t think of that did you?

  102. #102 |  Mike T | 

    On the other hand there is a strong case to be made that if a business choose to disarm their employees (say a cab company, pizza delivery company) and prevents them from practicing self defense then the company is now responsible for their protection during work. That means if a cabby is killed by robber, or a FedEx Driver is mauled by a dog then the company is libel for failing to provide protection for their employees. If you disarm someone, you are De Facto taking up the responsibility to protect them.

    This!

    When libertarians wonder why they cannot make any traction with the general public, this is a perfect example of why. No one is proposing forcing employers to provide guns, training, etc. to employees. Merely forcing employers to let people who have the ability to defend themselves do so. In libertarianland, employer rights and property rights are so sacrosanct that libertarians would literally rather pizza delivery and Fedex employers get murdered rather than put a moderate restriction on employers that prevents them from preventing their employees from taking private action to defend themselves if confronted by criminals.

  103. #103 |  Kevin | 

    So, when you park your car on government property, you give them the right to search it. Their property, their rules. Oh wait, you didn’t think of that did you?

    No, but I implicitly agree with whatever rules they have in place vis a vis their treatment of cars parked on their property – up to and including random/arbitrary searches (if such are the policies). I think random, arbitrary searches are a terrible policy, but yes, if you walk into a situation where those policies apply, you’re implicitly accepting that said policies will be applied to you.

    The main difference between random, arbitrary and inane policies enacted by the government and similar policies enacted by a private company (or individual) is that I can voluntarily choose not to interact with the latter. The former, at best, merely forces me to pay for their stupidity; at worst it hoists the policies against me on my own property and then forces me to pay for the privilege.

  104. #104 |  David | 

    So, when you park your car on government property, you give them the right to search it. Their property, their rules. Oh wait, you didn’t think of that did you?

    Curses, foiled again! If only there were some set of rules that restricts government powers but not those of private actors working under mutually agreed contract!

  105. #105 |  Michael | 

    @Mike T. “So, when you park your car on government property, you give them the right to search it. Their property, their rules. Oh wait, you didn’t think of that did you?”

    I did think of that, and that’s why I have such a problem with some of the arguments posted here. My car is my property, and my employer’s ability to regulate THEIR property ends and the door of my car, just as the government’s should (and most here would claim) – otherwise as soon as I drive from my home’s driveway onto the street (public property) the government would have the right to freely browse through my car any time they wanted. Does the employer have the right to search an employee’s car at any time just because its in their lot? I don’t see how anyone can make that argument. Why do their property right trump my own? Are we really claiming that my car is not my personal property?

    In general, I agree with Radley’s argument, but I’d extend it to things like gay rights, racial discrimination, etc. – ok, we all agree everybody is equal, but that’s not good enough, we have to have affirmative action and special classes of citizens (hate crime laws, etc.)

  106. #106 |  Angus | 

    I see Lauren at #22 has made a good, if unwitting, argument for anarchism.

  107. #107 |  Len | 

    Yeah Jay , all of Article 1, Section 8 refutes what you said. Article 1, Section 8 says what the congress may do, and beyond that is has no authority. So no the congress may not force people or tax people to provide for health care/insurance. As the tenth amendment clarifies, if a power is not granted, then it is extra-constitutional to assume a power not given. The commerce power deals with state governments by essentially creating a free trade zone, but does not extend to businesses. Try actually reading the federal convention and state ratification debates instead of your modern day liberal sites where they base their OPINION on continuing violations.

    I offer the following if you care for any truth, unlikely as that is.

    http://www.i2i.org/hpchomepage.php

  108. #108 |  Mike T | 

    The main difference between random, arbitrary and inane policies enacted by the government and similar policies enacted by a private company (or individual) is that I can voluntarily choose not to interact with the latter.

    I think you and the other two follow up commenters missed the point entirely. If property rights determine the limits of gun rights, then the government is well within its rights to summarily abolish all gun rights on its property. No matter how much a libertarian stridently asserts the non-existence of government property rights, they do in fact exist in society and in the minds of most people. You might as well be a leftist arguing private property rights are just a social construct of the rich if you go that route.

    Curses, foiled again! If only there were some set of rules that restricts government powers but not those of private actors working under mutually agreed contract!

    The bill of rights is irrelevant to a discussion of the basic form that rights ought to take. You are putting the cart before the horse and thinking you’re doing something intelligent instead of idiotic.

  109. #109 |  Angus | 

    No matter how much a libertarian stridently asserts the non-existence of government property rights, they do in fact exist in society and in the minds of most people. You might as well be a leftist arguing private property rights are just a social construct of the rich if you go that route.

    This is an argument ad populum. And if you’re going to rely on “the minds of most people” to define property rights, you’re rendering those rights as much a social construct as the leftist in your hypothetical example.

  110. #110 |  N | 

    While the comments have been fascinating, I want to reiterate that this bill has nothing to do with being armed while at work. It is about being armed while traveling to/from work. I leave for work at 5 AM, in the dark, and drive 20 minutes on rural highway and county roads. If my car breaks down on a deserted road and some unsavory character happens by, I want to be armed. Luckily, my state has this same parking lot bill, so I am allowed to keep a gun in my car in the company lot. The company still has a policy prohibiting it, but the law prevents the enforcement of said policy. This law is not about having access to a gun while at work.

    As far as the policy debate goes, I see both sides of the argument, but I tend to fall on the side that says my car is my property, regardless of where it is physically located. Michael’s comment (#105) states it really well.

  111. #111 |  JOR | 

    #96, Please. For one thing the libertarian obsession with defending employers/property owners against anything and everything is residual from their alliance with conservatives. I’ve seen it manifest in this thread (in the form of the usual stupid/dishonest appeals to personal responsibility and choice, of course), but it’s nothing that conservatives and liberals don’t do to the victims of people they like. So it’s not a reason that libertarians “can’t make traction”, because it’s something all the other assholes do, too.

    For another, asking a delivery boy to go to a bad neighborhood and allowing him to arm himself is still asking him to bear a higher than normal risk of getting hurt or killed. If it violates his rights to ask him to go in unarmed (on pain of losing his job), it violates his rights to ask him to go in armed. Maybe to a smaller degree, but it amounts to the same thing in kind.

  112. #112 |  David | 

    The bill of rights is irrelevant to a discussion of the basic form that rights ought to take. You are putting the cart before the horse and thinking you’re doing something intelligent instead of idiotic.

    Or you think I’m responding to something other than what I actually was? “Your property, your rules” doesn’t mean the same thing with respect to government property as private property, because the Bill of Rights restricts what rules the government is allowed to make in ways that it does not restrict individual citizens. The analogy is pointless, regardless of where you draw the line between what citizens may do and what governments may do, because it supposes that there is no line. Or do you think you have the right to free assembly in my backyard?

  113. #113 |  JOR | 

    “This is an argument ad populum.”

    Not really. Actually it’s one of the better arguments on this thread (even if I don’t think much of the guy’s other arguments). By the standards libertarians usually use to rationalize or justify authoritarian property rights on the parts of employers etc. you can rationalize and justify government regulation and totalitarianism. Of course there are strains of libertarianism (such as market anarchism, or at least some forms of it) whose standards are harder to appropriate for those ends, but then those strains of libertarianism tend to be more skeptical of the property claims and authority of professional owners/employers/financiers/etc., too.

  114. #114 |  r.l.s.3 | 

    “But my car doesn’t become their car just because it’s parked in their lot. Whatever I leave in my car shouldn’t be any of their damn business. If they want to give me a company car for my commute, they are more than welcome to dictate what I have in there.”

    So if you come in my house with a gun in your pants, I should be OK with that? After all, they’re your pants. Maybe I should require all visitors to leave their pants at the door, and make them wear a pair of mine.

    I’m actually OK with people coming into my house with firearms. My friends and family do it all the time, but if you try to enter with nude pictures of Arlen Specter, I’m kicking your ass out.

  115. #115 |  Deoxy | 

    but if you try to enter with nude pictures of Arlen Specter, I’m kicking your ass out.

    GAH!!!!! BRAIN BLEACH!!

    Dude, warn people before you write something like that, eh? Put it in some kind of spoilers block text or something? Eew.

  116. #116 |  Mike T | 

    This is an argument ad populum. And if you’re going to rely on “the minds of most people” to define property rights, you’re rendering those rights as much a social construct as the leftist in your hypothetical example.

    There are property rights which are social constructs. Intellectual property rights are one such example. Copyright has no basis in nature. It is explicitly an attempt to propertize that which is not property by nature. A painting, book, etc. can be real property insofar as it is a real thing which denying it to the holder would constitute theft, but the rights tied to copyright are not themselves inherent in property. Far from it. It goes against nature to say that a man may not transform his property to mimic yours (which copyright law explicitly prohibits in most cases).

    All corporate property rights are likewise social constructs because corporations are themselves creatures of the state and the law. Since corporations are entirely the product of human society, the full extent of their rights are defined by human society. Where the individual and family are prior to society, corporations come after society.

  117. #117 |  NL_ | 

    If the legislators want to be pro-gun but also pro-property rights, then they can exercise their own administrative authority by allowing gun possession in the public parking lots for government buildings. This would be acting as owner of their own property, not as regulator on the property of others.

    I don’t see how forcing, say, Quakers or pacifists to accept guns on their property is substantively different from forcing Catholics to pay for birth control.

    Though this is a natural corollary of paternalist policies like the popular drive to force out smoking from every public space. If the government is able to protect your right to breathe fresh air on other people’s property then why can’t it protect your right to defensive weaponry on other people’s property? The mindset is big government, but anti-smoking laws are increasing bipartisan in their support. People aren’t really asking “who has the right to make this decision about private property” but rather the questions are “do I like smoking” and “do I like guns.” Which is really just a cultural taste.

  118. #118 |  N | 

    @NL_
    I agree that there is a similarity between this issue and smoking bans, and I admit that there may be a slight bias in my view of this issue due to the fact that I am a gun owner. However, I really do believe that an honest argument can be made in support of these so-called parking lot bills, unlike smoking bans, without sacrificing or cherry-picking my libertarian beliefs. It really comes down to whether my personal property rights (my vehicle) trump my employer’s property rights (its parking lot) or vice versa. On that, I agree with Mike (#116) in that personal property rights trump corporate property rights.

  119. #119 |  Mike T | 

    @NL_

    I think you can make a few distinctions that would help in the absence of having a unifying societal belief system. The first is that you aren’t forcing the pacifist or the quaker to accept something which is objectively unreasonable. The second is that you are forcing them to permit carrying a gun in a public space, not their private residence. Since public spaces by their very nature are shared with other people, you must accommodate their reasonable human needs (such as the right of self-defense). The third would be that you are forcing the Catholics to actually violate their conscience by their own actions. The former is a negative right, the latter a positive right.

  120. #120 |  Swing | 

    “The left supports a mandate that forces employers that provide health insurance to provide birth control without a copay as part of their health plans.”

    “Yes, that is forcing some people to buy birth control for other people.”

    No, they’re making it so employers can’t dictate an employee’s health care that employees also pay into. It is not “free.”

    What you’re telling us here is a lie, Balko.

  121. #121 |  Bergman | 

    Re: cynical In New York, #43:

    I agree that private property rights should win. Just one problem: Whose private property rights?

    The most basic private property right is the right to one’s own body. Ownership of the pack of gum I bought and stuck in my pocket does not change depending on whether I’m standing in my yard, on the sidewalk or in someone else’s privately-owned office.

    Likewise, my car is my private property. The contents of the car, and the car itself, do not transfer title just because I drive it off my property. It’s my car on my driveway, on a public street or in someone else’s parking lot.

    It sounds to me like you’re actually against private property rights, because you are opposed to the basic ones that support everything else.

    Re: Kevin, #103:

    So, out of curiosity, why do you think one property owner’s rights to their own property are superior to someone else’s rights to their own private property?

    I own my clothes, the contents of my pockets, and have a reasonable expectation that I won’t be randomly tackled and strip searched. I own my car. My clothes, my car, and the contents thereof are my own private property, which I, as any private property owner, have the right to control.

    The government acts, via legislation, like a super-owner. Why is it okay for someone to violate my private property rights to my car, but not okay for someone to violate your private property rights to your land? The most fundamental of all private property rights is the right to one’s own body; A body search to prove someone is not concealing a totally legal firearm violates that most fundamental right.

    Your argument, logically extended a bit, would permit involuntary strip searches of employees, a rule stating all women must be topless, and a mandate that all men must have vasectomies.

  122. #122 |  Radley Balko | 

    It is not “free.”

    Fair enough.

    they’re making it so employers can’t dictate an employee’s health care that employees also pay into.

    Not true, in two ways. First, the only one dictating anything here is the federal government, which is dictating that every health insurer in the country provide birth control with no co-pay. Prior to the mandate, if you didn’t like your employer’s pan, you could work for another employer. Only the feds are saying everyone, everywhere must abide by this policy.

    Second, even the “dictate” part of your sentence were true, “health care” wouldn’t be what’s being dictated. A woman working for a company that didn’t include birth control coverage would still be able to get birth control. It’s just that her health insurance wouldn’t be paying for it.

  123. #123 |  30 year lawyer | 

    The libertarian obsession with defending employers/property owners against anything and everything, including the property (and life) rights of employees, is why the Libertarian Party gets fellow-travelers but few supporters.

    Just because I agree to perform services for you DOES NOT make me a rightless 21st Century serf. My employer doesn’t control my life, not even at work. I am not his property. Not even for a moment.

  124. #124 |  Swing | 

    “Second, even the “dictate” part of your sentence were true, “health care” wouldn’t be what’s being dictated. A woman working for a company that didn’t include birth control coverage would still be able to get birth control. It’s just that her health insurance wouldn’t be paying for it.”

    Yeah, health care is what’s being dictated. It’s already been determined that prescription coverage can’t be discriminated this way, back in 2000. You cover medical prescriptions, you cover them equally. The “birth control” that’s being objected to is used to treat other things as well.

    Yeah, the feds are regulating a standard for an industry. If some people and their bronze-age superstitions don’t like what that standard is, they are completely free to not offer health care as employers.

  125. #125 |  David | 

    Why is it okay for someone to violate my private property rights to my car, but not okay for someone to violate your private property rights to your land?

    If it’s not okay for your employer to do that, you’re free to quit or, if they need you more than you need them, to negotiate an exception to the rule. If they don’t need you more than you need them, I think we’ve figured out why they get to demand sacrifices from you that they don’t reciprocate.

  126. #126 |  supercat | 

    With regard to arbitrary-item storage in vehicles, I would suggest that in many areas, businesses are required to provide a certain number of free parking spaces for customers and employees; as a libertarian, I would in many cases consider such requirements justifiable on the basis that street parking is often a scarce resource (or would be if employers weren’t providing parking), and in the absence of such requirements the Tragedy of the Commons would result in severely sub-optimal parking-space allocation. I would further suggest that while a business may at its option provide some parking spaces whose usage requires affirmative agreement to vehicle searches, such parking spaces should not count toward meeting the business’ parking-space quota.

    Further, as a libertarian I find reasonable the general rule that a person or company X can be held liable if it performs some action Y and some harm befalls person Z, if such harm would likely not have occurred without X having done Y, and if the harm which befell Z was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of doing Y. Given that there are vastly more instances where a someone who was disarmed has been harmed as a result of such disarmament, than there are cases where a concealed-permit holder has caused unjustifiable harm to someone, it would seem reasonable to codify that the former type of harm shall be presumed foreseeable and the latter type not. As such, while companies would be free to impose “no gun” policies on their premises, with the exception of the interiors of vehicles within “quota” parking places, they would accept substantial liability by so doing. Companies would probably be willing to accept such liability in some situations (e.g. if they need armed guards for various other reasons) but companies wishing to minimize their liability exposure could best do so by allowing permit holders to carry their weapons concealed.

  127. #127 |  Kevin | 

    Re Bergman #121:

    So, out of curiosity, why do you think one property owner’s rights to their own property are superior to someone else’s rights to their own private property?

    In the case of the employer-owned parking lot, neither party’s rights are being violated. The employer is setting terms for using his or her property. You’re free to accept or reject the terms, and ergo your rights are not being violated. Such is the nature of voluntary agreements.

    Your argument, logically extended a bit, would permit involuntary strip searches of employees, a rule stating all women must be topless, and a mandate that all men must have vasectomies.

    Those are all correct except for the first one; my logic only extends to voluntary strip searches (if they don’t want to be strip searched, they’re free to work somewhere else) – not involuntary searches. That is, no one is being forced to do anything they didn’t agree to.

    Besides that corection, and the obvious fact that those rules would be silly and impractical, I don’t see a problem with them from a libertarian perspective. No one’s rights are being violated.

  128. #128 |  Brad | 

    Want a job that pays more than .35/hour, go find one. Want a job that doesn’t expose you to asbestos, go find it. Want a job that gives you vacations, no problem, go find it. Want a job with less than a 12 hour work day, just find another employer. Want a job even though you are black, go for it. As history shows, the market will provide…. We don’t need no stinkin’ government interference….

  129. #129 |  twency | 

    #80 Herb “I’m sorry, but if that’s the standard, there is no standard. A religious person working a 24X7X365 type job might find it morally objectionable to work on the Sabbath. Does that mean employers should be required to give them that day off?”

    Your analogy is inapt. If we’re trying to make an accurate comparison to the BC mandate, using “Sabbath” work, a better analogy would be Chik-Fil-A.

    Imagine if the feds mandated that every business in the country, including a fast-food chain well-known for being closed on Sunday for religious reasons, offer employees the opportunity to work any day of the week including Sunday.

  130. #130 |  Kevin | 

    Brad #128:

    Want a job that pays more than .35/hour, go find one. Want a job that doesn’t expose you to asbestos, go find it. Want a job that gives you vacations, no problem, go find it. Want a job with less than a 12 hour work day, just find another employer. Want a job even though you are black, go for it. As history shows, the market will provide…. We don’t need no stinkin’ government interference….

    Exactly, except without the sarcasm.

  131. #131 |  Nathanael | 

    As long as the government does not guarantee people a living (and it should), you *should* have the right to force your employer to obey a whole lot of rules.

    Because, frankly, in a country with high unemployment and insufficient welfare, *practically everyone who takes a job offer does it under duress*.

    Untili Radley admits that fact, his economic analysis is frankly stupid.

    Milton Friedman recognized that the only way to have free actors in a free market was to guarantee everyone food, clothing, and shelter with a guaranteed minimum income. Does Radley recognize this?

  132. #132 |  Nathanael | 

    This comment is crucial:

    “The libertarian obsession with defending employers/property owners against anything and everything, including the property (and life) rights of employees, is why the Libertarian Party gets fellow-travelers but few supporters.

    Just because I agree to perform services for you DOES NOT make me a rightless 21st Century serf. My employer doesn’t control my life, not even at work. I am not his property. Not even for a moment.”

    The so-called libertarians don’t seem to understand that they’re advocating serfdom. Quite literally. Until people are really, *genuinely* free to refuse to take a job, they are subject to the employer cartel. Make people free to do that, and perhaps employers will actually start to offer employees fair treatment through the “free market” But to do that you have to guarantee absolutely everyone a living income, full stop.

    Given that that isn’t the case, that a job is a necessity of life and that employers undersupply jobs (if they didn’t, there would be no unemployment), then there is absolutely no excuse for the fake libertarian position which Balko is pushing here. It isn’t remotely libertarian, really; it’s a “let the powerful make the rules” system. It’s a useful rhetorical tool for abusive cartels of employers, though.

  133. #133 |  Nathanael | 

    “If it’s not okay for your employer to do that, you’re free to quit”

    This piece of unrealistic garbage is why so-called libertarians are not taken seriously by people living in the real world.

    In the real world, people are under duress, forced to take jobs in order to *not starve*. Until the government absolutely guarantees a living income to everyone (as it pretty much does in the Scandanavian countries) this sort of “you’re free to quit” line is just plain, purest, unadaulterated bullshit.

    So stop spouting bullshit, please.

  134. #134 |  Nathanael | 

    Radley @122: absolutely false. Employers *are* dictating things; they offer the only affordable health insurance (do you think $1400/month is affordable? That’s the private market rate). So employees are under duress: they take the employer-offered coverage or they risk dying when they get sick.

    Why the latter? Because hospitals refuse to treat uninsured patients. Yes, this is illegal, but it happens anyway. Even if they do treat them, they charge them *5-10* times the amount they charge insurance companies (just look at the bills, this is fact). This is apparently *legal*.

    The reason all this happens is that health insurance does not work as a market — Kenneth Arrow wrote the primary paper on it. What actually works is health insurance as a public service: single-payer, Medicare-for-all, like they have in Canada and Australia, or even a National Health Service such as they have in the UK. The Scandanavian countries have hybrids of the two.

    All this faffing about with mandates (which I think are unconstitutional) is clearly unconstitutional, whereas a simple government-provided system paid for by taxes is clearly *constitutional* as well as clearly being *better*.

    The trouble with self-described libertarians is that they usually don’t believe in public services. This is for stupid, blinkered ideological reasons; if they got over their hostility to public services, they might have a coherent program for governance.

  135. #135 |  Kevin | 

    Comparing these two is a false equivalency. The glaring difference here is that my co-worker/employee being on birth control will never have a negative impact on me. It’s pretty obvious that the same argument can’t be made for the armed employee. While perhaps minimal, the armed employee undeniably increases the risk of someone in the workplace being shot. You said yourself that the cost of an employee’s insurance is a component of their salary. Removing part of their coverage amounts to a wage reduction. In addition, the employee is forced to absorb the cost of birth control.

    You imply that labor markets are perfectly efficient, when the economic reality is that they suffer from immobility. An underpaid employee doesn’t just simply find themselves at the proper wage level in an instant. This is compounded by the uneven distribution of power between employer and employee. The reality is that when an employer effectively cuts wages in this manner, they have no recourse in the short run. History has shown us time and time again that truly free markets do not work. A fact which capitalistic-libertarians refuse to acknowledge. Surely you detest minimum wage laws, 40 hr works wks, the right to collectively bargain and any other instances you (ignorantly) assert to be an overreach of government power (i.e. any exercise of it). I suppose you would consider the pinnacle of capitalism to be the point at which a single monopoly controls all resources, leaving individuals no option but to work for next to nothing or starve. This is the ultimate result of any truly free market, the only variable being how long it takes.

    Allowing employers to inject their morals into the personal lives of employees is a slippery slope. Freedom to exercise one’s religion doesn’t equate to freedom to exercise religion over others, not even by a private entity.

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