Monday, July 7, 2014

Human Rights: Going, going...


And, the Supreme Court strikes again.  Yet another victory for the rights of corporations at the expense of human beings.

Now, the court says companies have the right to exclude birth control from employee health insurance on religious grounds.  Predictably, we've been inundated by crass vulgarities from right-wing Neanderthals who say it's not a company's responsibility to subsidize medical coverage for the "recreational sex" of its employees.  They never miss a chance for a crude, misogynistic cheap shot.

So, I guess if a woman gets raped by her manager during the late shift, her employer doesn't have to pay for the abortion, if it's against his religion.  And, I guess if he's anti-Semitic, he doesn't have to hire Jews, since that would violate his beliefs.  If he claims his religion forbids race mixing or gender equality, he doesn't have to hire minorities or women.  If he's a Christian Scientist and you cut yourself on the job and you're bleeding all over the floor and in imminent danger of dying, all he has to do is advise you to pray.

Religious freedom trumps all other human rights, apparently.  Or, is religious freedom merely the pretext the right-wing majority of the SC is using to once again advance the power of the companies to control our lives?

The basic human rights our society is supposed to confer on its citizens is based on rule of law, laws being passed democratically within the parameters of constitutional principles.  The Supreme Court gave women the right to control their own bodies, to use birth control and to terminate unwanted pregnancies.  But, that has no meaning if employers have the right to selectively turn healthcare coverage on and off, based on their own beliefs, effectively over-ruling the Supreme Court.  There are three branches of government that are supposed to facilitate the right of all citizens (regardless of income) to control their own lives through a democratic process.  Company owners shouldn't be able to form a de facto fourth branch that trumps the other three.

The SC seems to currently fall on the side of corporate rights over all.  The freedom to truly control the lives of all belong exclusively to those who own the means of production (a number that seems to be shrinking fast.)  The rights of the individual are fading fast.  There are no inalienable rights if each company becomes like a self-determining nation.

The right-wing ideological mindset is that freedom is based not on inalienable rights, but on the absence of government.  In the right-wing lexicon, government = tyranny, no government = freedom.  The freedom of the jungle.  Survival of the fittest.  Got the money?  You rule.  That's freedom for the few at the expense of the many.  Rule by representative governmental regulation and law means the majority rule.  The government is the one guarantee of freedom because We the People elect the government.  In the chaos of dog-eat-dog, companies getting endlessly bigger and fewer, the law giving them carte blanche to own and control everything (including political campaigns) there is no freedom for 90% of the population, because we do not elect the companies.  They're in for life, and we have no place to go to escape them.  Absolute freedom for the companies means absolute power for them and zero freedom for everyone else.

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Machiavelli's response:

"That would in fact be a problem, if you were powerless."

I guess Machiavelli's ghost must be possessing somebody on the Supreme Court.

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