Martha Coakley and the anti-American agenda

Ken Blackwell
January 16, 2010

If you read no further, support Scott Brown.

In 1804, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Abigail Adams on the free exercise of individual conscience in America, and its indispensability to our freedoms. We may disagree, wrote the Founder, but that disagreement is to be welcomed, not crushed: “I tolerate with utmost latitude the right of others to differ with me in opinion without imputing to them criminality. I know too well all the weaknesses and uncertainty of human reason to wonder at its different results.”

Martha Coakley thinks she knows better than Thomas Jefferson.

The Democratic contender for the late Ted Kennedy’s U.S. Senate seat made her uphill climb to election a bit steeper this past Thursday when she told radio host Ken Pittman of WBSM that persons with certain ethical principles should not work in the medical professions. Pittman specifically asked Coakley about the rights of conscience of health-care providers, and segued into a query on Roman Catholics in Massachusetts’s hospitals.

A response grounded in the American tradition of pluralism, freedom of conscience, and an ethical consideration for the autonomy of the individual would have gone something like this: “Ken, it’s not the state’s proper role to interpose itself between the conscience of the provider and that provider’s duties. In America, government derives its moral convictions and authority from the people — not the other way around.”

Martha Coakley is not grounded in the American tradition of pluralism, freedom of conscience, or an ethical consideration for the autonomy of the individual. Her response to Pittman was to denounce the idea of any allowance for individual conscience in federal healthcare legislation. Then she uttered the line that alone ought to sink her campaign: “The law says that people are allowed to have that. You can have religious freedom but you probably shouldn’t work in the emergency room.”

It’s not often that a candidate for federal office goes on the record with her belief that whole classes of Americans should be excluded from whole sectors of our economy. Martha Coakley did exactly that, and the only term to describe it is one we should use sparingly in our public discourse. It should be reserved for direct attacks on our heritage as a free country of free people. It should be reserved for assaults on the foundations of our liberties as laid down in the American Revolution.

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