Rush to avoid debate no Fluke

Victor Joecks

A great column today from NPRI President Andy Matthews on the Rush Limbaugh and Sandra Fluke brouhaha:

I’m not interested in rehashing the details of the Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke controversy, because this sensationalist storyline has distracted so many people from the infinitely more important debate on whether the federal government ought to be able to force health-insurance providers to cover the purchase of contraceptives.

It is, fundamentally, a debate over the very nature of government. It’s a debate that those of us who believe in limited government and individual freedom ought to welcome. And it’s one we need to win.

That’s because it’s a debate that so perfectly illuminates the core differences between the two main competing ideologies in this country.

Those on the Left believe in using the power of government to ensure that the choices they have identified as “for the public good” are forced upon all – even when it comes to the finest details of individuals’ lives. Hence their belief, for example, that government can and should tell health-insurance providers that they must cover contraceptives (or tell the auto industry what kinds of cars to produce, or restaurants what kind of foods they can offer, or…).

On the other side of the debate are those of us who believe in the fundamental right of individuals to make these decisions for themselves. We may disagree internally as to the “right” choices on a whole array of issues, but ultimately, we agree that it is not the government’s role to force a one-size-fits-all approach onto all of society.

That’s why you see opponents of the contraceptives mandate arguing that government shouldn’t force providers to offer that coverage, but you don’t see us arguing that government should ban providers from doing so (or force automakers to produce gas-guzzlers, or restaurants to offer fatty foods). The argument, to us, isn’t about contraception or fuel efficiency or proper dieting at all. It’s about freedom.

Whatever one thinks of contraception, we should all be able to agree on this principle: It is not the government’s place to mandate that insurance providers cover it. That’s a given in a free society. What makes those on the Left so dangerous is not their view of contraception. It’s their belief that government has a nearly unlimited right to tell people what to do – i.e., their implicit rejection of the very idea of a free society.

That is the most fundamental difference between our nation’s two dominant political philosophies. Those of us who believe in freedom need to constantly remind citizens that we don’t differ from the Left because we think we can run your life better than they can. We differ from the Left because we don’t want to run your life at all. That’s your job.

Now go out and have a fun weekend – if you want to.

Take care,


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