Thursday, April 22, 2004

Our "Right", Your Obligation

By C.J. Maloney

Any alleged "right" of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right.
-Ayn Rand

Way back in April of 2003 our New York City Council, ever on the look out to protect "the people" from our own folly, passed Local Law 25. At the time, I was too giddy with excitement over the Mets re-vamped line up to pay any attention to what our City Politburo was up to. Now I am doubly disappointed. Not only did my Mets finish in dead last (again) but we New Yorkers, because of this "law", have seen yet another inroad into our freedom to live our lives as we please.

There are products in the world broadly called `emergency contraceptives' (EC) which, according to our City Council's website are "a back up birth control method that can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure" experienced by the two people involved. (Or, if some X was taken, the close circle of friends involved.) Our City Council feels that in order to prevent various unwanted pregnancies and other bad results (such as another single mother) ECs should be readily available at every pharmacy in the city. Yet since our City Council, much to their chagrin, does not have complete arbitrary power over the pharmacies (cannot force them to carry ECs), therein lies the rub. How frustrating! The road to a Better World lay clearly mapped out, yet the inalienable right of private property of our fellow citizens who own pharmacies lie in the way. Damnable natural law, black restrictions on government power! What's a socialist to do?

Local Law 25 was their answer, a supposed "half way" mark between tyranny and freedom. What this law requires (and for some reason our Judicial Branch has made no effort to give our City Politburo a well deserved slap over this) is that all pharmacies that do not carry ECs to clearly post a sign of the fact. In addition, if they do carry ECs they must clearly post that current day's selling price for the lady in trouble.

For apparently now here was illegitimacy and disgrace for Roberta. Exposure and destruction for Clyde.

-from Theodore Dreiser's `American Tragedy'

The reasons for this law are threefold. First off, as stated above, the City Council feels this is a way for the city population to experience a decline in abortions and single motherhood. That is a worthwhile goal, and none would argue with it. Not too long ago I flew back from Los Angeles and sitting in the seat behind me was a single mother with her young, undisciplined brat. Trust me, the less of that the better.

Secondly, as a throw in to grab the "moral high ground", the web site states that ECs are "often used by survivors of sexual assault as a safe and effective method to prevent unwanted pregnancy". This merely allows the City Council the knowledge that any opponent to this law would instantly be labeled as heartless and uncaring towards rape victims; a political ploy as despicable as it is common. How many rape victims go stumbling, not to the hospital or police station, but to the nearest pharmacy?

Lastly, the signage required by law is designed so that the woman in question "would not have to ask aloud and in public whether the pharmacy carries ECs". If you're so ashamed to ask for ECs, maybe you shouldn't be engaging in the activity which requires you to ask in the first place. But enough with "moralizing". (But since we're engaged in eradicating shame, I ask the City Council to also require magazine shops to clearly post whether or not they carry Hustler magazine.)

The City Council is very upset that despite sending out letters "encouraging" pharmacies to carry ECs, over 25% still do not. In addition, (according to the eerily named `New York City Council Investigation Division') compliance to the signage law is almost non-existent, with no fines having been given out to our fellow citizens who own pharmacies sans the required signs. This will not do, proclaim our masters.

Oh really your folks are away now?!?!

Alright, let's go you convinced me.

Alright, I'm coming.

-The Strokes

The shameful behavior of our City Politburo in regards to this matter, not to say its arrogant trampling of the property rights of our fellow New Yorkers who own pharmacies, is one more act that leaves me worried for our freedom. Their arrogant belief that their vision of a Better World must be shoved down our throats is not compatible with the maintenance of a free society. Why the bedroom activity of some must be made the responsibility of others to plan for is not stated, likely because it is a morally repulsive and indefensible policy. If you own a pharmacy, why must you take steps to make sure that the sexual activity of strangers is made easier? And what business of this is the City Council? Where on earth to they get the right to force the owners of pharmacies to put up signs regarding what they do and do not sell?

And since the City Council's website on this matter constantly refers to this as a "right" of the woman involved, how long until the pharmacy owners are compelled by an out of control City Council to carry ECs, whether or not they desire to?

In the matter of this "law" which violates the natural rights of us all to run a pharmacy as we please, a part of Section 20-715.5 of the city code states that "if.this local law is, for any reason, declared unconstitutional".

That would be a fine idea.

Saturday, April 10, 2004


I have the simple-minded view that Muslim terrorists were to blame for the 9/11 attacks but U.S. Democrat politicians -- in their usual Leftist way -- are scrabbling for a way to blame anybody but the guilty party -- and GWB and his staff have of course been chosen for that "honour". A reader comments:

An interesting feature of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice testimony to the 9-11 Commission (...and yes I sat through and watched the whole lot).. is that the the vast majority of senior officials in the administration dealing with national security or anti-terrorism matters, up until Sept 2001, were either permanent civil servants, or former Clinton administration appointees, that (for good or ill) the incoming Bush team agreed to keep on. As late as Dec 2002 , whilst discussing US policy in Latin America, NewsMax was reporting:

"When Bush took office, the expectation was that there would be a fundamental shift away from the failed Clinton-Carter policies; this expectation was not realized. Rather than cleaning out the Clinton-Carter leftist appointees, Condoleezza Rice brought in Bernie Aronson, John Maisto and John Rendon to continue the failed/non-existent policies of the Clinton administration."

Without wishing to dump blame on either past or present Administration officials, it is not unreasonable to hope that this little fact is not lost on Michael Moore and all the other "Bush and /or the neocons planned 9-11" conspiracy theorists out there. For the most part, in the run up to 9-11, the hands on the reins of day-to-day US foreign policy were the same ones who ran things in the Clinton years. Claims of a right wing conspiracy are frankly bizarre, perhaps reflecting their adherents desire to return to "business as usual" partisan politics rather than deal with uncomfortable new realities.