“If we are going to pay for your contraceptives,” said Rush Limbaugh on air, referring to Ms. Sandra Fluke’s congressional testimony, “and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.”
In my Townhall column this weekend, “’Tis a Pity He’s a Boor,” I responded with a “No, thanks.” But I did defend what I took to be the point Rush was trying to make: “The issue isn’t about contraceptives, but the right to choose . . . on your own nickel.”
The flak Rush received became an avalanche of advertiser pull-outs from his show. And an apology.
And this all points to something interesting about freedom.
Rush has freedom of speech. He would still have it if every advertiser in the world refused to touch him and he took to blogging. His freedom requires no one to support him. Free speech doesn’t force anyone to listen – or advertise.
Similarly, Ms. Fluke has freedom of association, sexually and otherwise, including her relationships with the university in question and its contracted insurance company. But such freedom doesn’t obligate her school or insurance company or other consumers (through passed-on costs) to pay for her contraceptives. We all have freedom.
The same freedom of contract that allows advertisers to drop Rush’s show also allows businesses to choose employee benefit plans, workers to choose where they will work, and insurance companies to decide what terms they will offer.
Or it should. And in the specific case of contraception coverage did, until the Obama Administration dictated otherwise.
Several nasty words ago, that’s what started this brouhaha.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.