Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns


Liberals: You Can't Make This Stuff Up!

How does America pay for the crushing costs of Obamacare?

Acording to the Obama administration, by ending the human race.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a House panel Thursday that a reduction in the number of human beings born in the United States will compensate employers and insurers for the cost of complying with the new HHS mandate that will require all health-care plans to cover sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives, including those that cause abortions

"The reduction in the number of pregnancies compensates for the cost of contraception," Sebelius said. She went on to say the estimated cost is "down, not up."

"So you are saying, by not having babies born, we are going to save money on health care?" [Rep, Tim] Murphy asked. Sebelius replied, "Providing contraception is a critical preventive health benefit for women and for their children." Murphy again sought clarification. "Not having babies born is a critical benefit. This is absolutely amazing to me....

As I noted in my previous post on Obamacare and the Church, there is a certain logic to this liberal thesis. Abortion is surely cheaper for parents than raising a kid for 18 years (and possibly beyond, including college tuition). Pregnancy is likened to a disease among many liberals and feminists, such that preventative medicines (including abortion) ought to be available to treat the condition. The human person who is the object of the pregnancy is likewise reduced to excess matter in the liberal equation. The prevention and termination of pregnancies and excess matter thus become "health benefits."

Liberals have always taken a dim view toward the propagation of the human race and many liberal policies actively seek an unqualified reduction in the quantity of humans on the planet. The antipathy which liberals feel toward human beings, due to our transgressions against the environment, animal rights and the editorial board of the New York Times, is among the most interesting pathologies of the left.

Categories > Bioethics


Pope Pius XII's Continuing Redemption

While I'm on my papist roll, the Vatican has released a handful of documents, hailed by The Telegraph of London as redemptive, attesting to Pope Pius XII's aid to Jews during the Holocaust. For many years, liberals and militant secularists have arrogantly denounced Pius as "Hitler's Pope." The claims have always been spurious, as I noted previously upon observing that Jewish authorities almost unanimously praise Pius' conduct during the war.

Pius XII seems to me to be one of the most maligned figures of modern history. Whereas Allied powers did nothing to directly prevent the Holocaust (except, of course, by winning the war against Germany), Pius was consistently and unreservedly critical of NAZI Germany and is credited with saving nearly a million Jews by siphoning them through local parishes into foreign nations. Jewish and world leaders fully recognized Pius' "heroic virtue" until his name was defiled by a seemingly KGB-sponsored German play which portrayed the Pope as a devotee of Hitler. The German government and Jewish leaders condemned the historical revision, but the myth (welcome among those who always welcome such derisive slurs) endures today.

[See here for a nearly-exhaustive list of articles and texts on the topic.]

One of the documents, written by interred Jews in Italy, reads in part:

While in nearly all the countries of Europe we were persecuted, imprisoned and threatened with death because we belong to the Jewish people and profess the Jewish faith, Your Holiness not only sent notable and generous gifts to our camp through the apostolic nuncio... but also showed your fatherly interest in our physical and spiritual well-being," they wrote in German.

(You) intrepidly raised your universally venerated voice against our enemies - still so powerful at that time - to openly support our rights to human dignity.

When in 1942 we were under the threat of deportation to Poland, Your Holiness extended your fatherly hand to protect us and prevented the deportation of the Jews imprisoned in Italy, thereby saving us from almost certain death.

The full archive of over 2 million documents will be released within the next year or two.

Categories > Religion

Health Care

Obama Against the Church and America

When Obama decided to attack Catholics (and religion, in general) by forcing a contraception, sterilization and abortion insurance mandate on private institution, a question arose: Did he not foresee the backlash, or was the goal of subjecting conservative religion to liberal feminism so great that it was worth the fight? I tend to assume the latter - Obama has proved a classless and spiteful president who has consistently demeaned the office by lashing out at private individuals and institutions who dare disagree with his ideology (e.g., the Koch brothers).

The issue is multi-dimensional and profound in relation to both political theory and practical consequence. On the former, see the Conference of Catholic Bishops' website, which declares absolute opposition to the president's violation of "conscience rights and religious liberty." According to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the USCCB, "Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn't happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights."

As to the practical consequences, Ed Morrisey at Hot Air asks, "What if Catholic bishops aren't bluffing?"

Earlier this week, Francis Cardinal George of the archdiocese of Chicago sent a message to parishioners in Barack Obama's home town that imposition of the HHS mandate to fund and facilitate contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization would force the Catholic Church to close its hospitals, clinics, schools, and all other organizations that would otherwise have to comply.  "Two Lents from now," Cardinal George warned, "unless something changes, the page [listing Catholic organizations] will be blank."  At the time, some commenters wrote that this has been Obama's plan all along -- to force religious charities out of business to make people more dependent on government.  Others, including myself, figure that Obama just thinks the bishops are bluffing, and wants to engage in a high-stakes bout of brinksmanship to force them to kneel to secular authority over doctrine.

But how high are those stakes?  In my column for The Fiscal Times today, I did a little research just on Catholic hospitals and their significance in American health care.  As it turns out, this bet involved nearly $100 billion in annual costs and about one-seventh of all hospital beds in the US -- and that's not all:

The Catholic Church has perhaps the most extensive private health-care delivery system in the nation. It operates 12.6 percent of hospitals in the U.S., according to the Catholic Health Association of the U.S., accounting for 15.6 percent of all admissions and 14.5 percent of all hospital expenses, a total for Catholic hospitals in 2010 of $98.6 billion. Whom do these hospitals serve? Catholic hospitals handle more than their share of Medicare (16.6 percent) and Medicaid (13.65) discharges, meaning that more than one in six seniors and disabled patients get attention from these hospitals, and more than one in every eight low-income patients as well. Almost a third (32 percent) of these hospitals are located in rural areas, where patients usually have few other options for care.

This is a case of clear principles: a vote for Barack Obama in November is a vote against religious liberty and accessible health care in America. All men of good will and sound judgement should ensure that he does not have the opportunity to erode America's sacred liberties and public services any further.

Categories > Health Care


The Folly of Ethics

Ethics are what pass for morals among the intellectual elitists on the left who still bother with such antiquated, bourgeois notions of right and wrong. The lure of ethics as a final refuge is, of course, that they are relative, subjective and strictly a posteriori. Ethical foundations may be rooted in sound moral judgement - but that needn't be so. Hence, a leftist mind may posit any unfounded truism and commence therefrom with a corrupted, though subsequently logical, thesis. In this way, anything under the sun - even the most absurd, horrific folly - may be ethically justified.

The respected Journal of Medical Ethics, "an international peer-reviewed journal for health professionals and researchers in medical ethics" associated, if I'm not mistaken, with Oxford University, published this week an article entitled, "After-birth abortion: Why should the baby live?" (Spoiler alert: it shouldn't.)

The authors, Alberto Giubilini and Francesa Minerva, are respected ethicists. Their abstract follows:

Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus' health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call 'after-birth abortion' (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.

Pro-life (that is, anti-infanticide) advocates have long argued not only the basic, moral abhorrence of killing unborn children, but also the slippery-slope which accompanies the murder of society's most vulnerable. I invoked this latter fear in 2008, noting that President Obama supported "post-birth abortion" (as I coined the term) by voting against the "Born Alive Infant Protection Act," a law requiring physicians to provide medical care to infants born alive during an attempted abortion 

Ethicists have now gone a (small) step further and concluded that one need not passively allow helpless infants to die of exposure, starvation or abortion-inflicted injuries, but may rather decide at any time after birth that a child should be "aborted." And they have supplied philosophic, ethical justification - founded upon the abortion-logic premise that unborn children are morally-irrelevant non-persons. 

And they are correct. That is, given the premise which whey assume, the ethicists' logic is sound. If the unborn are not human or deserving of life, the mere act of moving from the mother's belly is of no moral relevance - the child merely changes locations, which is a profound event, but not a morally significant one.

The avenues by which to cite the folly of these ethicists are myriad and, in most cases, obvious to anyone not hindered by branding themselves an ethicist. That infanticide is now openly defended by the left should cause chills to liberals everywhere ... and horror to all other people of good will. The effects of a "new ethics" are being revealed. Mike Scaperlanda takes up this theme at Mirror of Justice - which also has worthy posts on the matter by Robert George. See more at the Catholic Moral Theology blog.

Categories > Bioethics

Health Care

In re Rush

We misheard Rush on the 30 year-old law student demanding free contraception, via Obamacare mandate.

UPDATE: Now he apologizes.

Categories > Health Care


Immune to Irony

Why is Senator Snowe hitting the road?  Because, Washington has too many people with "'my way or the highway' ideologies."
Categories > Politics


James Q. Wilson, RIP

One of the giants of contemporary political science, James Q. Wilson, has passed away. His writing displayed insightful commentary on areas of public policy--crime ("broken windows"), poverty, bureaucracy (the classic book), bioethics, marriage, and ethnic politics, plus a book on snorkeling,co-authored with his wife. I happened to use his Bureaucracy book last spring, originally published in 1989. Wilson taught us what questions to raise in examining political institutions. Some of his writings for the Claremont Institute can be found here. An appreciation of his work by Shep Melnick is here.

It is not to damn him with faint praise to say that Wilson was likely the nicest and the wisest President of the American Political Science Association. I can still recall the headshaking and denunciations of his presidential address, on "The Moral Sense."

Addendum: A conversation from 1987 with Wilson, conducted by Steve Hayward mostly.

Categories > Politics


RIP Andrew Breitbart

A conservative icon has passed. Andrew Breitbart served as a conservative beacon in the media industry, personally counter-balancing to a great extent the monolithic leftward tilt of the entire "main-stream media." He was a lion for the conservative cause and his untimely death at the age of 43 is a tremendous and truly lamentable loss. RIP.
Categories > Conservatism


Eurocentrism Rears Its Ugly Head

Were the first Americans originally from Spain? And where did those ur-Spaniards come from? I guess one bit of evidence is this artwork discovered on a dig; and then there's this. What is most distrubing about the scholarship in this field is its sheer conventionality--its lack of imagination.
Categories > History


CMC, US News Help End Race Preferences?

Not intentionally of course. But by inflating the test scores of its incoming students, Claremont McKenna College provides ammunition for critics of race and ethnic preferences in admissions.  How can we trust colleges to provide honest information? Won't they skew data about race to make the case for preferences? John Eastman's brief in an upcoming preferences case lays out this argument well.

In the meantime, a legal blogger has raised the possibility of law school deans serving jail time for falsifying student data and, biggest bonus of all, US News being charged with fraud for knowingly publishing false information.

U.S. News itself may have committed mail and wire fraud. It has republished, and sold for profit, data submitted by law schools without verifying the data's accuracy, despite being aware that at least some schools were submitting false and misleading data. U.S. News refused to correct incorrect data and rankings errors and continued to sell that information even after individual schools confessed that they had submitted false information. In addition, U.S. News marketed its surveys and rankings as valid although they were riddled with fundamental methodological errors.

Categories > Education


People Euthanizing Tasty Animals

The animal rights movement - like the environmental movement, the feminist movement and dozens of other would-be worthy causes - long ago devolved into a ridiculously radical left-wing group of zealots. Promoting "total animal liberation," PETA's motto is: "Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment." So much for a remake of Mr. Ed. President Ingrid Newkirk has written: "When it comes to feelings like hunger, pain, and thirst, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy." Rat = boy.

While PETA's somewhat convoluted idea that animals have human rights is absurd on its face, their tactics are the focus of most criticism. PETA supports "direct action" - that is, criminality - through "the militarism component" of their movement. "Thinkers may prepare revolutions," according to Newkirk, "but bandits must carry them out." Likening their cause to the civil rights movement, they comfortably condone terrorism and terrorist groups such as the ALF and ELF. It's a shame that once an organization succumbs to liberalism, violence and thuggery are only a few steps away.

The Daily Caller reminds us today that PETA also deserves a healthy dose of criticism for hypocrisy.

Documents published online this month show that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an organization known for its uncompromising animal-rights positions, killed more than 95 percent of the pets in its care in 2011.

How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all
the time there is a plank in your own eye?


Maybe PETA should just stick to scantily clad women protesting fur.

Categories > Progressivism