Hobby Lobby, Assisted Suicide, and Slippery Slopes…

Dalrymple makes a couple of interesting points here about the recent Hobby Lobby decision by the United States Supreme Court, including this one:

Rights to tangible goods and services tend to create corresponding duties upon someone to provide them. For example, if I have the right to assisted suicide, and if the right is not to become a dead letter, someone has to assist me. But who, if all the doctors around me disagree with assisted suicide? Will I then have grounds to sue them for infringement of my rights, and if so which of them? Any of them? All of them? The right to assisted suicide will rapidly become a duty to perform it.

That is, unless we understand that a right does not include its fulfillment. I have a right to buy a mansion, but I can’t exercise it because I don’t have enough money. I do not consider my right infringed by this unfortunate limitation; but unfortunately, this is not how most people understand rights.

3 thoughts on “Hobby Lobby, Assisted Suicide, and Slippery Slopes…

  1. Rebekah

    I’ve wondered what Dalrymple was thinking about this case. The only point I would disagree with him on is his comparison of the moral qualms of companies with covering abortifacients and with covering blood transfusions in their insurance plans. They seem to be in entirely two different categories of misgivings with two entirely different sets of consequences if allowed to stand. Other than that, fascinating insights, as usual from him. When “rights” collide is the way I like to think of this case.

  2. Anna

    Another example of this was a recent article I read in a Belgian newspaper. A woman of about 27 was angry because, certain that she never wanted to have children, she had asked for a sterilisation, but her doctor had refused to carry out the procedure. He had argued that in his experience, the chances that she might change her mind later on were real. But she fumed about this because ‘this was her problem, and who are doctors to decide what I do with my fertility?’

    I thought this sounded incredibly selfish, as if doctors are some kind of robots designed to carry out any procedure we program them to do. But as usual, Dalrymple puts it in a more eloquent way.

  3. john malpas

    “I have a right to buy a mansion, but I can’t exercise it because I don’t have enough money.” – you might have the ability to buy a mansion but not the right – unless the owner wants to sell it to you etc.
    Why do people invoke ‘slippery slopes’ – when warning off other about something..
    If you want to suicide it is quite easy – take the advice of the police and drive fast into an unyielding object . They assure us this is lethal.


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