George Takei is an idiot, as PJM editor Bryan Preston points out in response to a meme making its way around social media. The meme features an excerpt of the Star Trek actor’s rant against Monday’s Supreme Court ruling involving Hobby Lobby. Takei expresses his idiocy in the way so many on the political left do, by conflating denial of service with harm. The Raw Story relates Takei’s broader statement:
In a post on the website for his new play, Allegiance, the openly gay Takei called Monday’s decision “a stunning setback for women’s reproductive rights.”
“The ruling elevates the rights of a FOR-PROFIT CORPORATION over those of its women employees and opens the door to all manner of claims that a company can refuse services based on its owner’s religion,” Takei wrote.
Of course, in truth, rights do not conflict. A claim to a right is either legitimate, or not. Conflicting claims to a right are not decided by elevating one above another, but by determining which is legitimate.
In truth, women’s rights stand wholly unaffected by Monday’s ruling. Precisely zero women are now unable to obtain abortifacients. They just might have to pay for it themselves. That’s because business owners, like all individuals, properly ought to control their own property.
Takei goes on to imagine any number of scenarios meant to scare us away from support of the Hobby Lobby decision:
He referred to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s blistering 35-page dissent to the decision, saying, “Think about the ramifications: As Justice Ginsberg’s stinging dissent pointed out, companies run by Scientologists could refuse to cover antidepressants, and those run by Jews or Hindus could refuse to cover medications derived from pigs (such as many anesthetics, intravenous fluids, or medications coated in gelatin).”
“(O)ne wonders,” he said, “whether the case would have come out differently if a Muslim-run chain business attempted to impose Sharia law on its employees.”
Here again, Takei and those who agree with him miss the point. Whether a particular business practice makes sense to the rest of us proves irrelevant. It’s not our business. The final arbiter of what terms an individual offers in the market should be that individual and no one else. That’s how trade works. I offer. You accept, pass, or counter-offer. Takei presents the absurd notion that refusal to offer what an employee would prefer constitutes harm. If I refuse to sell you something, or to employ you, or to agree to terms you might prefer, nothing has been taken from you.
Takei imagines a double-standard would emerge if the plaintiffs in this case were Muslim. He evokes Sharia law, which is fairly disingenuous since much of Sharia exceeds the scope of what private actors could do. Executing people isn’t a function of the market. Yet, to the extent a Muslim business owner could run their business according to their beliefs without actually harming their employees, it should be tolerated. It’s nobody else’s business. And that’s the whole point.