Look At Little Sister

As President Obama gears up to tell us all to shut up and do what his Administration says tomorrow night, one mighty foe will dog his every word–The Little Sisters of the Poor.

In the tangled mess that is Obamacare there are upwards of, oh, a billion rules for how one is to buy, sell, and administer health care. The Little Sisters have accomplished what few groups of any kind for any reason have: They earned an emergency junction from the Supreme Court. It is unusual in two ways. First, such permanent stays pending appeal are rare. Second, there was no recorded dissent among the Justices.

The specific issue involves a form the nuns would have to sign to gain an exemption from the mandate. They believe that signing the exemption instructs others to do in their name what they will not do directly–provide contraceptives and abortifacients.

Progressives are fond of telling the rest of us how chock-full of social goodness they are. The Little Sisters of the Poor beg to differ. In their minds, they should not be forced to endorse that which they find morally objectionable. I agree, not with their particular view of contraception, but with their right to refrain from behavior that is morally repugnant to them.

Nun stops a bulldozer

Much has been made of the mechanics of the Rube Goldberg-like health care machine the Democrats have foisted upon us. For good reason–it will not work because it cannot work, unless we mean by “work” a precipitous degrading of our healthcare system. Not so much has been said about its moral implications, though.

Whenever money is taken from one to support another, the element of moral choice is destroyed. Few of us think that roads are evil or that stoplights are an abomination in the eyes of our favored deity.* There is no reason to get worked up about the moral implications of such as this. Abortion and contraception, however, are a different matter. They involve weighty decisions about when life begins and to what degree the law should accommodate our individual opinions.

The Little Sisters of the Poor would, like others now being sucked into the system, have to provide insurance for these things. The Supreme Court seems inclined to say “not so fast.” And with good reason. How came the government to dictate that people engage actively in behavior that is morally repugnant to them?

It should come as no surprise to those who have been watching the steady degradation of our private lives in favor of our public selves. The progressive agenda cares not for those who object to their enlightened view of what is good for all of us. Compliance is all that is necessary. Until Obamacare, the offended were usually conservatives–those who at least in principle advocate for smaller government and larger individual leeway.

The interesting thing about this case is that a constituency that normally supports these communitarian/socialistic forays into the private sector is now in the awkward position of tearing it down. If the nuns win, and I hope they do, it brings into question the degree to which either the Right or the Left is willing to have their personal morals trounced to make way for the morals of Obamacare.

A free nation limits its laws to those things that are genuinely a danger to other people and their individual rights. A nation bent on imposing law after law after law will eventually find that it has hit the limits of what some people will do in good conscience.  We have found that limit in a big way. Hopefully the Supreme Court will side with the nuns. If not, I hope the Little Sisters of the Poor refuse to comply. Let’s see the Administration deal with that one.


*I am almost sure someone believes this somewhere, else I would have said “no one.”

About Terry Noel

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. My specialty is entrepreneurship.
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