Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Right-Left Disconnect over religion: Sacred? Seriously?

Megan McArdle writes:
"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?"
She further comments about the Hobby Lobby decision:: "Both sides believe that they are having someone else’s views forcibly imposed upon them". She narrows the contraception issue down to public goods for which this wonderful definition is supplied:
Public goods are not “goods provided by the government”; they’re goods that have to be provided by the government, because no one without taxing power can efficiently provide them. Police service is the classic public good because it is nonrivalrous (multiple people can enjoy it) and nonexclusive (you can’t keep other people from enjoying the benefits). If crime goes down, all of us enjoy lower crime, even if we don’t pay taxes. Defense of the borders is another classic public good, and other items such as roads and lighthouses are usually included. 
All discussion about the role of government and citizen liberty should sidestep the question, "Can it be provided by government" and should address this question: "Must it be provided by government?"

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