Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Sheathe Those Claws 

Over at Donkey Rising, John Belisarus has a thoughtful piece on how the underlying logic behind the Conscience Claws, for "professionals" who hold themselves above the mundane duties required of lesser humans, such as retail clerks and gas station attendants, is little more than an elitist excuse to avoid doing one's job. Such employees may also have sincerely held moral objections to aspects of their job, such as selling condoms, liquor, or cigarettes, yet no one has passed a bill to allow them to opt out of the transactions. He rightly skewers APA spokeswoman Susan Winckler's now-famous quote that pharmacists are not garbagemen for the classist horseshit it is, and after citing other, similar comments, notes:
"It is difficult to imagine more blatant and arrogant expressions of snobbish class elitism. "Bright" and "talented" pharmacists - "professionals", after all, not just "garbage men" -- have highly developed moral and ethical consciences regarding the products they sell and therefore deserve special legal rights of conscience. The illiterate morons who work at the cash register, on the other hand, aren't smart enough or good enough to deserve such special consideration."
His solution?
"Either every single American retail employee who sells products to the public deserves to have a newly created "Right of Conscience" guaranteed by law or else we need to agree that existing laws covering the rights of retail employees, including retail pharmacists as well as cashiers, are appropriate as they are.
This is America. In this country we don't pass laws that say that pharmacists are more valuable and worthy as moral human beings then cashiers."
Sure we do. The federal books are rife with egregious inequities that have been codified over the years. But if the cashiers get the Family Research Council and the National Religious Broadcasters behind them, maybe they can get that legislation passed.

What a world.

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