Monday, June 4, 2012

The Growing Police State: Who You Work For Edition

Go read this piece at Volokh Conspiracy.  I'm not a regular over there, but since they do discuss legal issues, I find myself over there from time to time.  When my online buddy Trsblke (@tsrblke on twitter) pointed me to this column, I decided to head on over.  My blood-pressure really wishes I hadn't.

The facts of the case, fairly quickly, a photographer (Elane Photography) refused to take pictures for a same-sex wedding ceremony.  Reading between the lines, the photographer made plain that she disapproved of homosexual marriage.  She was sued, and the New Mexico Court of Appeals has found in favor of the "happy couple."  Read over there for some of the language.

Now, Volokh makes a First Amendment case.  I largely agree with it, but I think it mistakes the forest for the trees.  You see, there's a far more fundamental question here.  Not to put it too drastically, it's a question of slavery.  Do I have free control over my own actions and what contracts I take, or do I, as a member of some profession, give up my rights of free association? (Which, by the way, is also in the First Amendment, and more fundamental to this case, I would think).

You see, we have a term for someone who is forced to work for someone else.  We have a couple, actually.  The nice one is "conscript."  The bad one is "slave."

What Volokh seems to miss, and the NM Court absolutely did, was that it should not matter why the photographer didn't want to film the wedding.  It's her time.  It's her camera.  It's her film.  As a free person she should be entitled to dispense of same in whatever way she wants.  She should be allowed to give it away, to waste it, or to sell it as her own whim.  By siding with the couple, the Court has ruled that this is not the case.  The Court has ruled that photographers, inasmuch as they are photographers, have signed away some of their freedom of association.  That is, they do not get to choose whether to associate with same-sex couples, if a same-sex couple asks them to take pictures at their wedding, they are required to do so unless they can prove some prior commitment.  Whatever you believe about same-sex marriage, do you really believe that simply being a photographer renders your Rights moot?

This is one of the major questions at the heart of ObamaCare.  If Health Care is a "Right" then someone else is forced to provide you with a service you could not provide yourself.  Under this premise, Doctors become virtual slaves.

Now, this photographer could certainly stop being a photographer and pursue some other career.  So could a Doctor under ObamaCare.  They shouldn't have to.  Our society should not be one that makes you choose between your principles and your career- certainly not beyond the question of if your principles are preventing you from having a career.  Instead, certain classes of people are being told how to conduct business, who they must serve, and how they must serve them.  This is unconscionable in a society which proclaims Liberty as among its highest virtues.

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