The FLUBA Committee on Amusing Examples of Latent Fascism thinks that--except for the fact he's getting paid to do it--Kevin Drum ought to retire from blogging, since he will never exceed, for near total economic illiteracy, this:
... lots of jobs — librarian, teacher, public defender, telephone operator — legitimately require you to provide neutral services to the public even if your own opinions aren't neutral. If you really can't stand it, don't take the job. But if you do take a job that requires you to serve the public as an honest broker, don't pretend that your political views allow you to second guess medical decisions that should be the sole provenance of doctors and patients. If certain types of medicine are that repellent to you, the right way to demonstrate your moral conscience is simple: find another career.
The above coming after he criticized an L.A. Times Op-ed which objected to:
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich on April 1 issued a 150-day emergency order requiring pharmacists to fill contraceptive prescriptions after a Chicago druggist refused to dispense birth control pills. Elsewhere, reproductive-rights groups are pressuring lawmakers to establish professional-duty laws for pharmacists.
Of course, Kevin thought it 'sophomoric and pedantic', that someone would think that matters of conscience are better left to individuals to decide for themselves, rather than be imposed by powerful politicians' edicts. Presumably because, in Chicago, the customer would have been unable to walk across the street to have her prescription filled by another pharmacist.
What makes this such a perfect example of ignorance of elementary economics though, is the reaction from his merry band of commenters, such as:
there's a crucial difference between selling a thing and controlling access to it. Pharmacists, by definition, control access to prescription medications. As such, they have the obligation to be, as Kevin says, honest brokers.
The pharmacist doesn't have the right to force his belief on the patient.
I'd argue the situation with pharmacists is even not only ridiculous, but offensive, because they are licensed to serve the general public as a matter of privilege.
The license to practice as a pharmacist (or as a doctor, a lawyer, or a structural engineer) is considered a privilege, not a right, paid for by each one of us -- Christian, Jew, Muslim, athiest, pro-life, pro-choice, whatever.
The costs of the licensing process -- regulatory requirements, rulemakings, board oversight, costs of dealing with hearings and complaints, etc. -- are paid for by the dollars of ALL taxpayers.
Why does the state regulated pharmacists? Every statute regulating the profession is permised on the need to benefit the health, safety and welfare of the PUBLIC. "The public" means everyone.
If you're a public defender who was abused as a child, but you're the only PD around, then you have to defend the accused child abusers too. If you can't, you need to find a department that has enough attorneys to provide you with a specialty, or else you need to find another job.
And the last one is from Kevin. The guy who was criticizing the L.A. Times writer for:
...drawing an analogy between pharmacists who refuse to dispense contraceptives and soldiers who refuse to torture prisoners. Seriously, that was the analogy. A bright high school freshman would have been embarrassed. Read it yourself if you think I'm making this up.
Some people being beyond embarrassment. And, any self-awareness at all.