Monday, March 22, 2010

Apology for my absence, and l'affaire Stupak

Dear blog --

Has it really been a week? I'm terribly sorry for neglecting you. First, there was three hours of Russian on Monday. And then yoga class on Tuesday night. Wednesday night, there was the horrible affair of the prospective wedding photographer in Bethesda. Long story short: he cracked a few too many lawyer jokes, and after Pnin asked too many pointed questions about price, he told us that he didn't want our business and showed us the door. Classy.

Then Thursday night, there was Pnin's law school alumni lecture event. Adam Liptak was good! He's the sort of old-fashioned, pro-free-speech liberal who actually thinks that Citizens United was rightly decided, and is also in favor of upholding the Fourth Circuit in the funeral protesters case. I know much less about the latter, but tentatively, cool. And Friday: drinks with the libertariat. Am still trying to figure out why the bartender at Passenger charged me $8 for two martini-ish specialty drinks that he made up, but if I am what passes for an attractive girl for whom people will do favors, so much the better.

Saturday: lovely weather and mostly productive furniture shopping. And a St. Patrick's day party hosted by one of Pnin's ex-RAs. I ran into one of my friends from Koch, who's been working on an anti-health care campaign for the last ten months. He didn't know where I was currently working or that I was engaged to Pnin, which suggests how hard these people have been toiling away. Nor did he appear to be in good shape by the time we ran into each other, also signaling that things were headed south.

Speaking of which, what is there to say? I didn't think they'd get the votes. Yet they did.

Re: l'affaire Stupak -- I have a close friend who likes to say that abortion is the biggest non-issue in American politics. I wouldn't go quite that far. First simply on rhetorical grounds: it seems unnecessarily rude to put the issue that way around my various conservative legal movement friends. Yet... there's a kernel of truth in there. It's deeply frustrating to see a mammoth increase in the size of government turn on such a peripheral issue.

L'affaire Stupak reminds me of Hayek. The connection came into my mind first
when reading this op-ed in the Post on Friday. Hayek understood, better than anyone else, how limited government eases the temperature of the culture wars. In a society in which the central government has little or no role in funding health care, the question of state support to abortion is moot. Women either pay for their abortions -- or choose not to seek abortions-- in accordance with their own consciences. As government grows, abortion and related difficult questions -- questions on which reasonable people hold passionately opposed views* -- increasingly come into relief. * Thus what George Will calls the "museum of hoary artifacts from liberalism's attic," including racial preferences and extravagant "green" grant programs, littering the bill. The presence of such museum is no coincidence. It's precisely the effect that Hayek described so beautifully in The Road to Serfdom.

Would that the cultural warriors -- of both the liberal and conservative varieties -- recognized what we passionate limited government types have to give them. We're perhaps the people best able to give their communities maximum breathing room to live in accordance with their consciences.

*This is another post, perhaps even a series of academic books, but no, I don't think the abortion issue is simple. If it were, it would have been resolved long ago.

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