March 29, 2014
Winning and Losing with Hobby Lobby
Writing for The American Conservative on the recent arguments before the Supreme Court in Hobby Lobby case, Prof. Patrick Deneen of Notre Dame assures us that he hopes the Christian firm wins its case; but the searing critique he levels against the company’s business model must leave many readers in some doubt as to his sincerity.
“Hobby Lobby is a significant player,” he asseverates, “in a global economy that has separated markets from morality.” It operates “in a decisively secular economic world.” In addition to being “almost wholly disembedded from any particular community,” Hobby Lobby’s business model, “like that of all major box stores,” is dedicated to, among other shady things: economies of scale, standardization, aggressive price-cutting, and reliance on cheap overseas producers. Deneen concludes this portion of the polemic with a doozy of exaggeration: the setting for his local Hobby Lobby is “about as profane imaginable a place on earth.”
Considering very recent news only, one might object that British hospitals have rather dramatically demonstrated to the imagination how much more profane a place may be. Hobby Lobby may be surrounded by ugly concrete and aging, decrepit strip malls, but one doubts it is heating stores with the incinerated flesh of slaughtered innocents.