Cruise lines and vaccine passports: The Republican betrayal of property rights

If right-wingers — I can't bring myself to say "conservatives," because they're not conserving anything here — are committed to this rejection of property rights, it's a shocking and shortsighted shift. It's shocking because of the sheer distance from where small-government types have been on this issue for decades. Agreement on property rights was a major basis for the erstwhile Republican-libertarian alliance. The vaccine passport issue is new to the pandemic, of course, but the Florida social media law, similar legislation under consideration in other red states, and broader calls for the government to force "big tech" to "stop censoring conservatives" all point to the pre-pandemic origins of the shift I'm describing. It's part of the right's larger move away from the old free-market orthodoxy (which libertarians like me still support) and toward a new economic populism accompanied by a renewed vigor for culture war. These laws fit nicely with both trends, allowing Texas and Florida Republicans to take a right-wing cultural stand via state meddling in the market. Yet, speaking of culture war, the shift is shortsighted because property rights were a major asset for the right in many religious liberty battles, as Reason's Billy Binion reviews in light of Abbott's ban. On questions like whether Catholic employers should be made to pay for employees' birth control, whether conservative bakers should be forced to bake for a gay wedding, or whether Christian adoption agencies should be required to place children with same-sex couples, the right's religious liberty position has long been buttressed by property rights: If you own the business, the argument goes, you should be able to make these calls as your conscience directs.