So this sort of sums it up right here.

I think libertarians are, mostly, utilitarians. Because of that, I think we’re more inoculated against culture wars than the left and right. That is, it’s easier for us to spy an instance when actual social welfare is being thrown under the bus to score political points on core values issues.

Previously and presently, before the past few days and now starting again today, you couldn’t donate the Susan G. Komen without accepting a package deal: some of your money goes to an organization that provides about 300K abortions every year. Yes, Planned Parenthood does a lot more than that. But PP knows full well that it has fashioned itself as the left’s symbolic bastion against pro-life forces. As SGK, having that organization attached to you can be and probably is bad business.

What SGK did the past several days (regardless of whatever the real motivation happened to be), was to decouple that. Instantly, consumers had more choice. They could donate to one, the other, or both (or neither). It doesn’t even take an elegant economic theory to articulate how much better this is for people seeking to donate to charitable causes.

PP supporters came out and made up the entire shortfall in a couple of days. SGK was likely to increase its donations by getting conservatives who were proud of their decision. Either way, that 680K taken from PP was going to go to providing actual mammograms. What a win for women’s health, right?

What we learned from this is that, in the culture wars, maximizing welfare is really only the goal insofar as the totems’ egos of the respective movements are not bruised. PP mobilized the forces of the left to excoriate SGK and bully that organization into giving back its dollars. The left often fashions itself as more rational than those whiny, emotional, reactionary conservatives. We learned that in fact this is quite untrue from the completely bogus left-propagated narrative that SGK hates poor women, is unconcerned with their health and their reproductive liberty. None of this, in my mind, constitutes a remotely rational inquiry into the actual effect of SGK’s policy change on women’s health, which is the ostensible end goal of both these organizations.

PP doesn’t need the money, but it’s getting it. Make no mistake, PP bullied 2/3 of a million dollars away from some other women’s health program that was going to actually provide mammograms for people. To top it off, we’re back to the sub-optimal package deal for SGK donors.

The real loser today is women’s health.


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