Ragged Clown

It's just a shadow you're seeing that he's chasing…


Mar
18
2012

Divide We Fall

I hate the culture wars even or, perhaps, especially when my side is winning.

There are so many interesting points to make for and against a federal mandate that employers provide insurance coverage of contraception.

For example,

  • Using insurance to pay for an entirely predictable cost makes a nonsense of the idea of insurance.
  • Unplanned pregnancies create an economic and moral burden for the individuals involved and for society as a whole. It’s in society’s best interests to minimize that burden by making contraception freely available.
  • The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. The constitution mentions neither healthcare in general nor contraception in particular.
  • It’s empirically more effective and efficient for government to provide free healthcare. Countries that pay for healthcare centrally pay less than the United States pays.
  • It’s asinine that health coverage is tied to employment status.
  • It’s not fair that much of the cost of contraception falls on women.
  • It’s ridiculous that contraception requires a prescription.
  • The less regulations, the better (cetera paribas).

The least interesting point is that forcing employers that happen to be associated with religious institutions to follow the same rules as all other employers might violate the establishment clause.

I especially resent the suggestion that my opinions on all of the above points should align with the opinions of everyone else who wears the same colour tie as me but the main reason I hate the culture war is that it is used so effectively as a tool to divide us.

I don’t want us to be divided and I wish that congress had more of a tradition of allowing free votes on cultural issues the way the UK parliament does.

There are enough issues of substance related to the economy and foreign policy without turning every issue – whether the death penalty is effective or fair, whether it is appropriate to shove probes into vaginas before women are allowed to have abortions, whether we should ban people from marrying each other if they have incompatible parts, whether you are safer in a national park if everyone is packing heat and whether or not you like country music – into a red or a blue issue.

I’m not saying that politicians shouldn’t have an opinion on cultural issues; I’m saying that we shouldn’t pretend that their opinions on cultural issues should be determined by their opinions on the appropriate level of taxation or their views on invading foreign countries.

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2 responses to Divide We Fall

Jeffrey Fredrick March 20, 2012

I wonder if that graph extended back in time would we see regular periods of strict separation alternating with periods of mixed voting?

It could be that the normal state of voting is to be strictly partisan with exceptional periods of social change leading to the more unpredictable patterns.

Jtf

Kevin March 20, 2012

What’s new, I’m guessing, is that the votes in the culture war line up so exactly with votes on economic issues.

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