Chicago Boyz

                 
 
 
 

 
  •   Problem? Question?
  •   Contact Contributors:
  •   Please send any comments or suggestions about America 3.0 to:

  • CB Twitter Feed
  • Lex's Tweets
  • Jonathan's Tweets
  • Blog Posts (RSS 2.0)
  • Blog Posts (Atom 0.3)
  • Incoming Links
  • Recent Comments

    • Loading...
  • Authors

  • Notable Discussions

  • Recent Posts

  • Blogroll

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Be careful what you wish for

    Posted by ken on October 27th, 2005 (All posts by )

    Over at Bitch, PhD, here’s one of several posts expressing outrage that pharmacists are allowed to refuse to sell you birth control pills or emergency contraception.

    As one who enthusiastically approves of any fight against religious wackos trying to use the power of the state to take away your rights to reject their religion and ignore its teachings, particularly religious wackos who have a nasty habit of blowing things up or cutting off people’s heads to get their way, I can’t help but be sympathetic.

    But I have a couple of questions for our friends on the left.

    Where did these pharmacists get their power? They’re not generally willing to blow things up to keep you from getting your birth control, so someone else must be using a threat of force to stop you from simply giving him the finger and going down the street to get your pills.

    That someone else, of course, would be the government, which will send armed police to throw you in jail if you give your pharmacist the finger and buy your pills from someone who isn’t in the small licensed priesthood of pharmacists, or buy them at all without posessing a permission slip signed by a member of the small licensed priesthood of M.D.’s. This means that if the pharmacist exercises his judgement and decides not to hand over the pills, and you live in a town too small to support multiple members of this priesthood, you’re either driving to another town or you’re just SOL.

    Now who’s brilliant idea was it to empower and direct the Federal Government to do this? Who came up with the plan to take away your right to choose and buy your own medicine and deliver into the hands of these priesthoods the power to allow or forbid your purchase of same? Who delivered into the hands of the government, and by extension the voters, the power to forbid medicines entirely, and to place other medicines off-limits to anyone who hasn’t made the proper supplications to an M.D. and a pharmacist?

    Oh, that’s right, it was your side’s brilliant idea, signed into law by your hero Franklin Roosevelt.

    Now, after you’ve delivered this power into the hands of the voters, you’re dismayed to find that there are voters that don’t think you should be allowed to have birth control pills or emergency contraception. They think the power of the state should be used to stop you from getting these things. There are pharmacists that think the same way, and voters who think they should be allowed to exercise this discretion while being protected from dissenting competitors.

    I’m not too happy about that either. But what are you going to do about those voters? Kill them? Outvote them? (That’ll work great until they’ve outbred you for a few generations) Try to work up an even more convoluted principle that lets doctors and pharmacists treat us like the overgrown children you insist that most of us are but doesn’t let them refuse us birth control prescriptions?

    Or are you going to join with some of those you affectionately call “wingnuts” and stand for the principle that, no, the government should not have the power to take away our medicine or use force to stop us from buying it or insist that a special class of people has the power to make all those decisions for us? Form a coalition of voters who hate the restrictions on birth control and voters who hate the restrictions on pain medicine and voters who hate the restrictions on experimental cancer therapies and voters who hate the restrictions on allergy medicine and voters who hate the extra cost the whole system imposes on everyone who needs medicine or medical treatment of any kind?

    Hell, you might convince some religious wackos to give up their opposition to other people buying birth control in peace in exchange for cheaper medicines, quicker introduction of new medicines, and the right to treat their own conditions without other groups of voters having a say.

    I think it’s worth a shot. Y’all with me?

     

    16 Responses to “Be careful what you wish for”

    1. Ddavid Says:

      Come off the left-wing ranting! A pharmacist is granted the right, by qualification (as you are) to do what he has learned to do. In your case, your license was granted by some university; the pharmacist is legally granted the right to fill those perscriptions given by a medical specialist (a doctor). The pharmacist serves his community and not the wishes of this or that group of believers. There is no problem in a large community–say Chicago–because you have competio9n (remember that word?) and can go to the next drug store. But in a small town?
      Your anti-govt and perecieved anti-Left notions becloud your thinking and allow you to defend the nutters on the far right.

    2. david Says:

      Come off the left-wing ranting! A pharmacist is granted the right, by qualification (as you are) to do what he has learned to do. In your case, your license was granted by some university; the pharmacist is legally granted the right to fill those perscriptions given by a medical specialist (a doctor). The pharmacist serves his community and not the wishes of this or that group of believers. There is no problem in a large community–say Chicago–because you have competio9n (remember that word?) and can go to the next drug store. But in a small town?
      Your anti-govt and perecieved anti-Left notions becloud your thinking and allow you to defend the nutters on the far right.

    3. Ken Says:

      “Come off the left-wing ranting! A pharmacist is granted the right, by qualification (as you are) to do what he has learned to do. In your case, your license was granted by some university; the pharmacist is legally granted the right to fill those perscriptions given by a medical specialist (a doctor). ”

      Um, no. No university granted me a license, and if someone wanted to compete with me without first going to any university, he is perfectly free to do so and his customers are perfectly free to go to him instead of me. (Well, partly free… if my competitor and I are different colors and I want to haul him into court and allege “discrimination”, I can make a customer’s life hell. But he still won’t be thrown in jail for hiring a guy that hasn’t gone to college.)

      Whereas if I need medicine, I must go to a licensed pharmacist. I can’t decide that the other guy without a license is just as good at taking medicine off a shelf and handing it over and buy it from him instead.

      Is this right and proper? On what grounds?

      “Your anti-govt and perecieved anti-Left notions becloud your thinking and allow you to defend the nutters on the far right.”

      Show me where I ever defended any nutters on the far right. I suspect you’ll identify as “nutters” anyone at all who isn’t enthusiastically on the left…

    4. Angie Schultz Says:

      Ran back in and faced the clerk. I hollered, “Who’s to blame?”
      He cried, “The people made this law in our Lord’s holy name!”
      Why would these upright citizens do something so bizarre?
      If you ask me that’s carrying democracy too far.

      —Austin Lounge Lizards, “A Hundred Miles of Dry”

      (A sad tale of a man’s quest for a beer in East Texas.)

    5. Dave Schuler Says:

      Presumably, you’re kidding. This won’t happen for the very reasons set forth on the page to which you linked: therapeutic disasters. The Food and Drug Act of 1938 was passed for reasons and those reasons weren’t just that Congress and the president were all crazed leftist radicals. There were real problems and going back to those problems will not be an advance.

    6. Ginny Says:

      David does not seem to have read Ken carefully.

      While I personally do not see birth control nor morning after pills as wrong and certainly do not believe the government has the right to ban them, I can not understand why any person of even minimal libertarian belief doesn’t feel a certain hesitation before enforcing a law that makes pharmacists act against firmly held religious beliefs. That one of you would call such people religious wackos, equate them with those who behead in the name of religion, and imply that by choosing not to act they are forcing someone else to follow the rules of their religion seems pretty extreme. This turns tolerance on its head – Roger Williams, who was a bit of a wacko himself, argued not that all should honor an absence of religion but rather that no one should be forced to pray to a God they didn’t believe in. Asking people to dispense medicine they feel is immoral seems to me immoral – it requires people to either leave a profession for which they have trained for years or act against their consciences. As I’m contemplating this, writes in arguing that Ken sides with the “right wing nutters.”

      Okay, I have trouble seeing the moral problem with birth control pills or even, really, the morning after one. But it seems to me that the appropriate (should I say deferential) libertarian position would be to honor other’s consciences. Given the car, our ability to order medicine on the internet, and the fact that most pharmacies are run by multiple people with multiple views, I have trouble seeing this as all that broad a problem.

      I suspect Ken is right in a more general way–these professions are protected less for our good than the professionals good.

    7. Ken Says:

      “While I personally do not see birth control nor morning after pills as wrong and certainly do not believe the government has the right to ban them, I can not understand why any person of even minimal libertarian belief doesn’t feel a certain hesitation before enforcing a law that makes pharmacists act against firmly held religious beliefs. ”

      I am not in favor of any such law. Competition is a much better way to handle this problem.

      Of course there’s another law limiting the competition that these pharmacists face. I’d like to get rid of that law. Or at least attach some conditions to continuing to enjoy that protection from competition so that he’s less able to take advantage of that protection to my (further) detriment. But definitely getting rid of the law is the best way to go here.

      I don’t want to throw him in jail for following his beliefs. I just want more competitors that someone with different beliefs can deal with instead. That way everyone gets to enjoy religious freedom.

    8. David Says:

      The community over at Bitch PhD is extremely myopic on ‘womens issues’, going to the extent of fantasizing about providing underground coat hanger abortions if Roe v Wade is ever overturned.. so the hysteria over there on the absolute right to the availability of birth control is par for the course. Though I can’t resist adding that I have the impression that most of them are aged to the point that the issue is of limited relevance to them personally.

    9. Mr. Hyde Says:

      I think most of these cases can be dealt with using market forces. Take your business elsewhere, and complain long and loud to the drug store management as to why. And make sure everybody in earshot can hear.

      I imagine that would get the attention of the pharmacy manager in a hurry. There’s profits in them thar prescriptions, why do you think Walgreens and CVS are putting their stores up on every corner?

    10. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Bitch PhD is extremely myopic on ‘womens issues’

      Got that right. Struck me as a blog by a militant, man-hating lesbian. But that was just an impression. I also suspect the “PhD” part is there to provide her (them?) with additional license; the logic being, “Well, a PhD said it, so it must be well thought out, backed by facts and research and couldn’t possibly be just a rash, snarky, poorly reasoned opinion…” I wonder if she introduces herself that way? “Hi my name is (insert name). I have a PhD. Oh, and I’m a real bitch!”

      Back to the matter at hand. On the subject of licenses, many states require that the design of major building and bridges be signed-off by a certified professional engineer. I think that’s probably a good rule. I suspect licensing of pharmacists follows a similar logic. They should be able to spot drug interaction issues before someone dies from them.

      The higher question you raise though is an interesting one: Should you, a free individual, be required to abide by the state’s (admittedly well intentioned) law that you purchase your drugs through a licensed pharmacist or are you entitled to take whatever risks you wish with your life? On consideration, I have to agree with your principle that you are entitled to take those risks and the state has no business interfering. Educating you on the risks, yes. Interfering, no. You are free to take rat poison as cold medicine if you so choose. However, your surviving kin may find your choice has violated the terms of your life insurance policy. It’s in the fine print there somewhere.

    11. David Foster Says:

      I don’t really think this question can be resolved by an appeal to libertarian principles. Perhaps you can argue that the practice of pharmacy should not require a government-issued license (though few would agree.) But consider another industry. Let’s say you run a jet-charter service and someone whose politics you loathe wants to charter one of your airplanes to go to a political meeting. Should you charter it to him? Should you be required to charter it to him?

      It clearly doesn’t work in this case to say “just deregulate it and let anyone who wants to hop in a Gulfstream and fly charter flights”, so the dilemma remains.

    12. Ken Says:

      “It clearly doesn’t work in this case to say “just deregulate it and let anyone who wants to hop in a Gulfstream and fly charter flights” ”

      Clearly? Not really.

      I’d say that a liability insurance requirement is all that’s needed in the case of charter flights, or really any flights, or anything else that poses a noticeable hazard to bystanders.

      A much larger potential market for aircraft that is easier to operate safely would drastically change the sort of planes that get produced, the unit prices that they must fetch, and the potential profits generated by producing them. Which would in turn change just about everything that is “clearly” true about the nature of air travel.

    13. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Clearly? Not really. I’d say that a liability insurance requirement is all that’s needed…

      I beg to disagree there, Ken. If you wish to purchase unregulated medicines through an unlicensed distibutor, that’s your business, not society’s. It’s your life you are putting at risk. However, the moment you hop into a Gulfstream not knowing a rudder from a flap, you’re putting at risk the life of everyone around you. Then it’s no longer your call to make. The society may invoke the law to stop you. As they should.

    14. GUYK Says:

      No person should be forced to sell a product that is against his/her moral beliefs. I believe that it falls back on the libertarian idea of freedom and liberty. If the woman has to go elsewhere to get the product that is her right to do so and also her problem-not the person who refuses to sell birth control devices or medications. By the logic of the complainer, a doctor should be forced to perform an abortion even though he/she is morally opposed. Where does one’s freedom begin and end?

    15. abc123 Says:

      What if the wacko was a teacher refusing to sell creationism? Do you really want to tell a business owner what he/she MUST sell?

    16. M. Simon Says:

      You might find this of interest:

      The War On Unpatented Drugs – which is basically rent seeking on the part of the drug companies.

      So let me ask this question re: the topic. Why do you need a prescriptiion to buy drugs? Why can’t you just go to the drug store and say “I want….” ?

      Benjamin Rush of 1776 fame said in time we would have a dictatorship of the medicine men. How did he know?