Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hobby Lobby

The Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision would not have made sense forty years ago, but today, it is correct. The difference? Today we are embroiled in the Culture Wars, in which the Left has sought to undermine the verities of Western culture for several decades. Some corporations, like Hobby Lobby, have established a Christian corporate identity. Hobby Lobby is well-known for staying closed on Sunday, for example, as an expression of its Christian identity.

We're not talking about General Motors, here, but a closely held corporation whose with an express Christian identity. In this respect it is like Chick-Fil-A. (Burger King came out with a Pride Whopper, but that is more of a marketing gimmick than an expression of corporate identity. Nonetheless, the Bear has crossed Burger King off his fast food list.)

The decision has the Left squealing like stuck pigs because the courts have always been the Left's chief means of imposing their will on the majority.

So when you see criticism dismissing Hobby Lobby as "a corporation," as if it were Monsanto, know that the author has entirely missed the point.

And enjoy the squealing.


  1. I submit, however, that even widely-held companies make ethical/moral decisions all the time. Such decisions are not even grounded in explicit religious views, but with a general idea of "ethics." BEn & Jerry's really started this idea of an ethical company. What if they were told they couldn't exercise their freedom to do one of their big ethical things? Look at Costco pulling D'Souza's book. They've changed their mind, but clearly the ethical/moral decision that the content of the book was not something they wanted in their stores. Ditto for any retailer not carrying Playboy, etc. (The opposite decision would be based on a judgment of "morals" as well.) Companies trying to be environmental or pro-gay make moral judgments (yes, with consideration for the market/profit impact of those decisions). But those are decisions based on the corporation's set of "morals", good or bad. So, the freedom to run a business based on the owner's or director's set of moral criteria should not be limited to closely-held companies and not limited to explicit religious belief. I think the SCOTUS too narrowly defined freedom here. Yes, at some point, however, the "common ethics/morals" of civil law have to supercede corporate morals, such as in accounting or fairness standards. it does get dicey.

    And I've also noted that the SCOTUS said corporations have a right to speech when it said telephone co's could not be banned from video programming (in competition to cable co's) [1993]

  2. I don't disagree with you, but I think Hobby Lobby, with a strong Christian identity, made an easier case. Of course corporations like to be portrayed as "morally responsible" in a "good citizen" sort of way, e.g. being nice to the environment, etc. Now we get into shades of morality: religious, ethical, responsible, acceptable. If Boeing makes airplanes out of recycled paper in order to be "green," and thereby gain mild and general approval, is that the same as a closely-held corporation projecting (and implementing) an explicit Christian belief set? I'm not so sure. In any event, this is an important decision not only in the immediate sense, but sets markers that may be moved positively in the future.

  3. Bear: And likewise, I don't disagree w/you. The examples of major corporations making moral/ethical decisions is to make the point that it is not at all inconceivable that a business, especially a closely-held or family-owned one, runs on a moral basis all the time. The family business has a much stronger case, I agree. The Left, in contrast, says businesses cannot be moral or religious. We've just shown they can and are--every day. I suppose I am making a more generalized case wider economic freedom and I seek to prove all businesses rely on "morals" in some way or another.. If Boeing's paper planes kill people, that would be the limit of their economic freedom. We expect their products to be safe for the public.

    Even attorneys and consultants accept or reject clients/cases based on moral and professional ethical considerations. Some considerations may be explicit to the professional's religious affiliation or may be based on the professional track record established. For example, we always worked for certain segment(s) of the communications industry. To change sides in a certain case would have strongly strained our credibility and reputation. The idea of complete nondiscrimination in serving customers is unreasonable and should not be imposed on businesses.

    The findings of Hobby Lobby should aid the situations of wedding vendors who are usually small local businesses. Those probably still have to play out, of course.

  4. One would think the hand of the small business owner would be even stronger, but their "discrimination" might be seen in a more personal, hence harsher light. Fortunately, when your business is representing criminals you take pride in not turning your nose up at anyone, although a Kermit Gosnell might have challenged my purity. The Bear is of the same mind as his favorite fictional lawyer, Rumpole of the Bailey: in the best tradition of the bar, the defense lawyer is like a bus, taking one and all without distinction. After all, "Paraclete" is t he Greek word for one's advocate before the judge.

    I don't know that I agree that corporations have morals as much as self-interest. Hobby Lobby could no doubt improve its bottom line by opening on Sundays. So some, yes, but not as a rule. If they did, capitalism would be more appealing.

    We also see how it always comes down to a 5-4 vote on our most sensitive issues, the very ones that should be decided democratically to maintain a healthy society. The country is really run by one (swing) vote which we used to call a monarchy, but that's another topic.


Moderation is On.

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