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If You Forcibly Take My Money, You Can’t Complain If I Vigorously Protest

By Don Boudreaux

Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:

You accuse Rush Limbaugh of having violated standards of civility in his criticism of Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke for her outspoken support for government-mandated provision of “free” contraception (“The GOP can no longer avoid its Rush Limbaugh problem,” March 3).

Perhaps you’re correct.  But Mr. Limbaugh reacted to Ms. Fluke’s own violation of standards of civility.  A truly civilized person doesn’t demand that other people pick up the bill for her contraception.  A truly civilized person – especially one who can afford to be a full-time student at a prestigious law school – would refuse any invitation to publicly play the role of a victim wronged by being told to pay for her own pills or condoms.  A truly civilized person does not hold in contempt other people for their resistance to being forced to subsidize his or her ‘lifestyle choices’ (whatever those choices might be).

When someone violates standards of civility – as Ms. Fluke has done by self-righteously (and, frankly, also rather incredibly) insisting that she and her fellow students are grievously harmed by the prospect of having to pay for their own contraception – she should not be surprised when other people violate such standards in response.

Donald J. Boudreaux

Professor of Economics
George Mason University

Fairfax, VA  22030

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