Let Private Property Prevail

Feminism,Individual Rights,Individualism Vs. Collectivism,Private Property


A new right may soon be minted by the nation’s “representatives”: the right to have one’s birth-control prescription filled. As a pro-life protest of sorts, pharmacists across the country are refusing to fill prescriptions for birth-control and day-after pills. In response to their posturing —and the bleating by “reproductive rights groups” — The Great Centralizers in the House and Senate have proposed a bill that’ll allow a pharmacist to refuse to fill a prescription only if a co-worker is on hand to pick up the slack. It goes without saying that a federal law, if passed, would further corrode the cornerstone of civilization: private property. The keys to the store belong with the owner of the pharmacy. The decision is his as to what goods he distributes. If an employee —the pharmacist —refuses to sell goods the owner stocks, the latter has every right to sack the saboteur. One doesn’t possess a right to have a prescription filled, but, equally, one also has no inherent right to stay employed while refusing to peddle the boss’s wares.
The market —not the meddlers —has the best solution: pharmacies that cater to women who use the pill and apothecaries that don’t. The former will employ people who’ll supply these clients; to the latter will flock workers who have an aversion to certain dispensing duties. (My guess is that preachy pharmacists —be they employers or employees —will have a negligible niche market.)
Inhabitants of the land of the free forget that criminalizing behaviors entirely licit in natural law legalizes the use of force against these innocents. (One consequence of the last is that hundreds of thousands of Americans languish in jail for ingesting, injecting, inhaling, or exchanging “unapproved” substances.)
By the same token, Weyco, a medical-benefits provider in Michigan, is just exercising its property rights by refusing to employ anyone who smokes. Inherent to private property is the right to include or exclude; associate with or dissociate from. States that “have passed laws that bar companies from discriminating against workers for lifestyle decisions” are infringing a proprietor’s property rights.
Companies (Investors Property Management in Seattle is another example) who don’t hire smokers are responding to the costs of having to provide workers with another bogus right: healthcare coverage. Their reaction is an example of the perfectly predictable consequences of regulation. It also showcases the immortality of those who clamor for regulation —American workers are all for compelling companies to pay for their healthcare, but want to ban businesses from screening out high-risk candidates.