Our Pyrrhic Victory

I want to be excited about the Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby and against the blatantly illegal and unjust HHS contraception mandate. But as I said back in March, writing for Crisis:

[In the event of a Hobby Lobby win] my celebration will be muted and limited, however, because a legal victory will not address the underlying philosophical and cultural divide that brought this case before the court to begin with. Contrary to what some may believe, law is not the foundation upon which society rests; it is rather the adhesive we use to patch up broken pieces of society. The more laws, precedents, mandates, rulings and decisions we require to defend our basic interests and assert our rights, the greater indication we have of a society that is almost literally tearing itself apart.

I’m not alone in this. James C. Capretta writes in The National Review:

But even in victory, it is hard to avoid the sinking feeling that having to fight at all over this issue is something of a defeat.

That’s because the HHS mandate was always a politically contrived issue without real legitimacy…

What’s most discouraging is that millions of American voters really seemed to buy it. The absurdity of the “war on women” claim has not undermined its potency. Unfortunately, the Hobby Lobby decision, welcome and necessary as it is, ensures that the “war on women” flag will be waved incessantly in the run-up to the 2014 midterm election. The GOP will need to do a far better job this time around in framing the issue and making it clear that what the Obama administration wants is not access to contraceptives but victory in a pointless ideological crusade.

And Ross Kaminsky at The American Spectator writes:

Although the Court got it right, conservatives and libertarians alike — namely any American who understands the primacy of our Founding principles over the utilitarian approach of statists — have an uphill battle on our hands when it comes to the population overall…

Until “hearts and minds” are changed so that Court decisions such as Hobby Lobby are heralded not only as correct, but as obviously so, these small victories mean little in the longer war against a determined and patient foe.

I was fairly certain from the beginning that the Court would rule in favor of Hobby Lobby. But the reason Hobby Lobby prevailed was because the administration failed to consider the possibility of simply paying for these contraceptives itself, i.e. with our tax dollars. Though I understand that in the context of case law and precedents, there is a significant distinction between compelling direct payment/participation and simply collecting taxes, in practice it amounts to the same thing. One way or another, we will all have our pockets picked to serve the federal government’s ideological agenda.

I was prepared for the hysteria and mass psychosis of the left and the radical feminists as well. From the moment it was announced and conservatives pointed out the slam-dunk case against it, proponents of the mandate have engaged in one of the most dishonest and demented propaganda campaigns in modern history. That they would now threaten violence with impunity is not surprising either. We live in two different philosophical, moral, and semantic universes. Between them exists a chasm which rational argument cannot cross. To even engage the mindless arguments against the ruling would be beneath any of us. Ginsberg’s dissent may be worth deconstructing, but I will leave that to people with more time (besides, I think Alito and, I never thought I’d say this, Kennedy did a fine job addressing her directly in their opinions).

The enemies of the Constitution, the 1st amendment and Christianity in this country have been handed a victory even in defeat, a banner around which to rally and reinforce their collective delusions. Against this insanity, which will be used against the tottering remnants of our republic and our churches like a battering ram, sober and reasoned discourse will not stand. Our enemies are not interested in it. They do not want it, any more than the Jacobins or the Bolsheviks wanted it. They want our heads on pikes and our hearts on platters, they want to write our epitaphs in blood and erase our memory from the Earth. If you don’t believe me, check out some of the reactions for yourself.

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12 Comments

  1. “I was hoping that it would not go out of its way to find that the Obama administration had a legitimate and compelling interest in ensuring that every woman has access to birth control – an interest that ought to have absolutely nothing to do with the federal government – but it did.”

    No, the majority did not adjudicate that issue:

    “We find it unnecessary to adjudicate this issue. We will assume that the interest in guaranteeing cost-free access to the four challenged contraceptive methods is compelling within the meaning of RFRA, and we will proceed to consider the final prong of the RFRA test, i.e., whether HHS has shown that the contraceptive mandate is “the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.” §2000bb–1(b)(2).”

    For purposes of determining whether the RFRA prong requiring the least restrictive means was satisfied by the contraceptive mandate, the court assumed but did not find that supplying free contraceptives was a compelling governmental interest. A very important distinction under the law.

  2. “They want our heads on pikes and our hearts on platters, they want to write our epitaphs in blood and erase our memory from the Earth.”
    A metaphor only. Their reality is that they want us on psychotropic medications, and when those would have taken their toll they would say, “Those poor people, they wouldn’t want to suffer like that”, and so the merciful lethal injection would follow. They don’t hate, after all, they really do care about people.

  3. The Soviets had Stalingrad before the war. They had plenty of problems after holding Stalingrad. Still, the Battle of Stalingrad was a victory for them. There are times when holding your own and making your enemy waste resources count as conditions for victory.

  4. “… the administration failed to consider the possibility of simply paying for these contraceptives itself, i.e. with our tax dollars.”
    This is not accurate. We already pay for contraceptives and even abortions through federal, state and local tax dollars. The current administration did not fail at this. They are now trying to force us to more directly pay for these things through insurance regulations. I work at a self insuring, big corporation. My insurance now includes some cost for these abominations.

  5. It is possible to write; “Not a penny of my tax dollars is to be used to promote abortion and abortaficients” thereby freeing oneself of complicity in the evil brought about by the HHS Mandate.

  6. Contrary to what some may believe, law is not the foundation upon which society rests; it is rather the adhesive we use to patch up broken pieces of society.

    To some extent I suppose. I see law as more a reflection of society. The very fact a law could be proposed and passed mandating contraception coverage, and but for one slim vote, would survive, is a sad reflection on the state of our culture. Not to mention the very real victories of gay “marriage”.

  7. “We live in two different philosophical, moral, and semantic universes.” Yes, that’s true.
    “…. reinforce their collective delusions. Against this insanity, which will be used against the tottering remnants of our republic and our churches like a battering ram,
    sober and reasoned discourse will not stand.” Probably also true, but we’ve Got to keep trying. It (rational argument) can’t be beneath us- what else can we do?

  8. Anzlyne

    Language can only work within a common frame of reference. Anyone who has tried to translate from one language into another will appreciate this.

    That is what Wittgenstein meant, when he said that, if a lion could talk, we could not understand him.

    The Holy Father has pointed to this difficulty, when he said, “After all, in every age of history, humans try to understand and express themselves better. So human beings in time change the way they perceive themselves. It’s one thing for a man who expresses himself by carving the ‘Winged Victory of Samothrace,’ yet another for Caravaggio, Chagall and yet another still for Dalí. Even the forms for expressing truth can be multiform, and this is indeed necessary for the transmission of the Gospel in its timeless meaning.”

    In her 1958 paper, Modern Moral Philosophy, Miss Anscombe highlighted one of our difficulties: “In present-day philosophy an explanation is required how an unjust man is a bad man, or an unjust action a bad one; to give such an explanation belongs to ethics; but it cannot even be begun until we are equipped with a sound philosophy of psychology. For the proof that an unjust man is a bad man would require a positive account of justice as a “virtue.” This part of the subject-matter of ethics, is however, completely closed to us until we have an account of what type of characteristic a virtue is – a problem, not of ethics, but of conceptual analysis – and how it relates to the actions in which it is instanced: a matter which I think Aristotle did not succeed in really making clear.” We are not much further forward than when she wrote that.

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