Megan McArdle on Why the Secular Left was Fine Bullying Hobby Lobby

I don’t always agree with or like what Megan McArdle has to say, but this time she hit it out of the park. In reviewing the hysteria over the Supreme Court case in favor of Hobby Lobby’s freedom to not buy something they don’t want to buy, McArdle writes on why the Left likes coercion.

 I think that institutions Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor are obviously correct — they are being forced by the government to buy something that they don’t want to buy. We can argue about whether this is a good or a bad idea, but the fact that it is coercive seems indisputable. 

McArdle doesn’t spend much time arguing for this position because she wants to move on to a more important question: Why did the Obama Administration and others think it was OK to coerce Hobby Lobby?

I think her insight is well worth reading:

All this is old ground. The interesting question is why people on the other side view ceasing the coercion as itself coercive while arguing that the original law did not, in fact, force anyone to violate their religious beliefs.

I think a few things are going on here. The first is that while the religious right views religion as a fundamental, and indeed essential, part of the human experience, the secular left views it as something more like a hobby, so for them it’s as if a major administrative rule was struck down because it unduly burdened model-train enthusiasts. That emotional disconnect makes it hard for the two sides to even debate; the emotional tenor quickly spirals into hysteria as one side says “Sacred!” and the other side says, essentially, “Seriously? Model trains?” That shows in Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dissent, where it seems to me that she takes a very narrow view of what role religious groups play in the lives of believers and society as a whole.

McArdle has some other valuable suggestions for understanding the clash of views between Left and Right, but I think this one is especially valuable. I think it also explains why the Obama Administration is willing to provoke and bully other nations to make them recognize the fiction of homosexual marriage. They really have no clue that people actually believe and practice traditional religions and take them seriously.

To Barack Obama, John Kerry, and the rest of that crew, it is always: “Model trains? Seriously?”