Libertarian Fox Business host John Stossel argued on Thursday women should be forced to pay more for health insurance because “maybe they’re hypochondriacs” and use more services.
During an appearance on Fox & Friends, Stossel asserted to host Steve Doocy that President Barack Obama’s health care reform law “just kills the market” by mandating that women can no longer be charged more than men for insurance.
“The competition of the market is the only thing that makes things better,” he explained. “Yesterday, President Obama stood in front of a bunch of women in Massachusetts and said, ‘No longer will those evil insurance companies be able to charge you women more.’”
“Women go to the doctor much more often than men! Maybe they’re smarter or maybe they’re hypochondriacs,” Stossel continued. “They live longer. Who knows? But if it’s insurance, you ought to be able to charge people who use the services more, more.”
“But, John, you’re not paying attention,” Doocy said sarcastically. “This administration, this president wants to make everything fair. It’s not fair if you pay less than she does… And as a number of Republicans have made the argument, why should I pay for — I’m in my 60s, why should I pay for your maternity coverage?”
“Or why should women pay for men’s Viagra?” Stossel asked. “This mandating all this stuff it has to cover just takes away consumer choice.”
Conservative pundit Ann Coulter on Thursday insulted a group of student libertarians by calling them “pussies” for pushing for drug legalization and then found herself being booed when she insisted that LGBT people should only marry members of the opposite sex.
Fox Business host John Stossel on Thursday aired Coulter’s attempt to antagonize a crowd of about 1,400 libertarians at the recent International Students for Liberty Conference in Washington, D.C.
During the event, Stossel asked the conservative columnist if she agreed that “the drug war is a failure, get rid of it.”
“You libertarians and pot!” Coulter exclaimed. “Look, this is why people think libertarians are pussies. We’re living in a country that is 70 percent socialist, the government takes 60 percent of your money… And you want to suck up to your little liberal friends and say, ‘Oh, but we want to legalize pot.’”
“You know, if you’re a little more manly you would tell them what your position on employment discrimination is,” she continued. “How about that? But it’s always ‘We want to legalize pot.’”
“Why can’t gays get married like straights do?” Stossel pressed.
“Well, they can,” Coulter quipped. “They have to marry a member of the opposite sex.”
That response was met with boos and groans from the libertarian students.
IN LATE MAY, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that he would impose a 16-ounce limit on servings of “sugary drinks”—sodas, sports and energy drinks, sweetened tea or coffee, and artificially sweetened fruit beverages—on the grounds that they contribute to the nation’s obesity epidemic, which in turn elevates the incidence of diabetes and other diseases. Bloomberg previously banned smoking—which, of course, causes cancer and heart disease, and increases the cancer risk even for nonsmokers who inhale secondhand smoke—first in indoor gathering spaces and later in outdoor public spaces like parks and beaches. Hizzoner has also banned artificial trans fats from restaurants (they raise your cholesterol); required restaurant chains to include calorie counts on their menus (obesity again); and strongly urged restaurants and food processors to reduce the amount of salt in food products by up to 40 percent (salt raises your blood pressure).
These policies have been denounced, as one would expect, by restaurants, food companies, and professional curmudgeons on the right. (Fox News’ John Stossel: “In a free society, I should be able to determine my own diet.”) But they’ve also been questioned from less predictable quarters. “It seems to be more on the punitive side of things,” City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a Democrat, said about the 16-ounce limit. “I am all for promoting public health,” said Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart of the soda proposal. “But Mr. Mayor, this plan makes your asinine look big.”
Bloomberg’s health policies are straightforwardly paternalistic, and paternalism is an idea nobody feels comfortable with. Indeed, it was loathed by the left before it was loathed by the right. Colonialism was essentially paternalism on a global scale. The 1960s counterculture brought an end to college parietals—the prohibition against a girl spending the night in a boy’s dorm room or vice versa—and never took government prohibitions on recreational drug use very seriously. Listen today to Arlo Guthrie’s 1967 song “Alice’s Restaurant” and you may be surprised by how politically incorrect it has become. Yes, it mocks the Vietnam draft, but it also lampoons—as yet another petty imposition on individual freedom—environmental regulations concerning the disposal of solid waste (known in those days as “garbage”).
The left’s aversion applied to all sources of paternalistic authority: government, corporations, priests, university administrators, and, of course, parents. When the virus jumped to the right it mutated into an aversion only to government authority (with exemptions for the military and police) and granted blanket amnesty to private businesses, religious authorities, mom, and dad.
Yet, even as liberals and conservatives profess to hate the idea of government paternalism, both practice it. Liberals support restrictions on harmful things individuals do to their bodies, like smoking, driving without a seat belt, and riding a motorcycle without a helmet. Conservatives support restrictions on actions they deem harmful to the soul, like having abortions, using contraception, and marrying a person of the same sex.
The crazy train is accelerating.
Last week radio host Rush Limbaugh used Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s praise for former Justice Thurgood Marshall whom she clerked for in 1988 to attack Marshall for his view that the original U.S. Constitution was “defective” because it sanctioned slavery and gender inequality. Furthermore, Limbaugh said Kagan and Marshall look at “me and people like me as the oppressors.”
He wasn’t alone.
The very same day, Michael Savage (née Weiner) — the third highest rated radio host in America — said “Marshall was an outright communist” who “almost destroyed America” while radio host Monica Crowley said on Fox Business that Kagan’s praise of Marshall should raise “red flags.”
Why folks like Limbaugh would be defending slavery is anyone’s guess.
The attacks on Marshall were followed this week with broadsides against the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Fox Business’ John Stossel today called for a repeal of the public accommodations section of the Act in an interview on Fox News about Kentucky GOP Senate candidate Rand Paul’s recent comments on the issue.
Stossel further claimed that eventually free markets would have prevailed over discrimination saying, “competition would have cleaned the clocks of the people who didn’t serve most customers.” It was a notion soundly rejected by Andrew Grant-Thomas, deputy director of the Ohio State’s Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, who characterized Stossel’s comments as “silly,” adding, “Market forces hadn’t exactly made anti-black discrimination disappear during the several centuries before the Civil Rights Act.”
Such is the sad state of the conservative media.