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The Tyranny of Good Intentions

A couple weeks ago I was part of a debate with a lawyer from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).  We discussed the impact of the Hobby Lobby decision in which the Supreme Court said that a family owned business could not be forced to pay for contraceptives that violated their sincerely held beliefs.
I argued that it was a good decision and the ACLU argued that the government should be able to force people to violate their faith so contraception will be even more available than it already is. 
According to the Guttmacher Institute, Planned Parenthood’s research arm, more than 99% of women aged 15-44 who have ever had sexual intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method. There isn’t exactly a crisis of access.
While the ACLU’s position may not be surprising, the justification is horrifying.
In a statement defending her position, the lawyer I was debating wrote the following: “A free and pluralistic society requires everyone, including corporations with religiously observant owners, to comply with laws intended to advance public health and the general public interest.”
I suggest you go back and read this statement again…slowly.
Keep in mind, the ACLU is not on the fringes of the left, they are part of the nucleus. 
According to them, a free society requires people to do what they’re told as long as the people ordering them around have good intentions.
I guess we’re redefining what it means to be free now as well.
Our founding fathers had a very different understanding of what a free and pluralistic society required.
They believed a free and pluralistic society required the understanding that government was a tool to secure the rights of the people.  
They knew that governments are tempted to invade people’s privacy in the name of keeping them safe, so they drafted the Fourth Amendment which prohibits search without cause regardless of what the intentions are.  They recognized that government would be tempted to restrict people’s speech believing certain ideas were harmful, so they drafted the First Amendment and limited government’s power to restrict speech even if they meant well.
C.S. Lewis explained the tyranny of good intentions well. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
What the ACLU and their friends on the left apparently have forgotten is that proponents of internment, segregation, book bans, blue laws, compulsory church attendance, and prohibition all believed they were acting in the public interest.
Even ISIS believes they are making the world a better place.
The entire reason you establish bright lines regarding what is and is not acceptable is so that fools (or worse) with good intentions can be stopped.
At least internment camps were created in the name of keeping the country safe from traitors.  Yes, they were a gross violation of human dignity, but you can at least see the argument.
But now they want to take away constitutionally guaranteed rights… so it’s easier to get birth control? C’mon.
And, most importantly, you should like it because they “intend to advance the public health and general public interest.” 
At least they are putting it in writing now. We cannot say we were not warned.

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