Cato Policy Report, March/April 2000
Vol. 22, No. 2
Forums Examine Harassment, Medical Privacy
Boaz listens as three Cato attorneys—Solveig Singleton, Christine
Klein, and Susan Chamberlin—challenge J. H. Verkerke’s interpretation
of the First Amendment after a Policy Forum on December 15.
The Cato Institute hosted a conference to explore the themes of sociologist
James Nolan's recent book, The Therapeutic State: Justifying
Government at Century's End.
Nolan argues that therapy—curing
a sick society—is replacing other traditional justifications for government,
such as social contract, natural law, and utilitarianism. Among the
participants were Russell Hardin of Stanford University, Jules Coleman
of Yale Law School, Robert Royal of the Faith and Reason Institute,
Stephan Burton of the National Institutes of Health, Charlotte Twight
of Boise State University, Dennis Cauchon of USA Today
William Galston of the University of Maryland. The seminar was directed
and chaired by Cato's Tom G. Palmer.
A panel of health and privacy experts discussed the Clinton administration's
proposed regulations to govern health care information at a Cato Policy
Forum, "Medical Privacy Regulations: Will They Guard or Endanger
Confidentiality?" Gary Claxton of the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services laid out the administration's plan. Ron
Weich of the American Civil Liberties Union insisted that the plan
is a "positive development" and an improvement on current regulations
and congressional proposals that encroach on state protections of
privacy, but he also warned that the regulations omit patient consent
to the use of records for treatment, payment, or health care operations.
Sue Blevins of the Institute for Health Freedom argued that patients
should be allowed to reject the Clinton administration's "Unique Health
Identifier." She cautioned that, if people feel their health
care information isn't being protected, they will lie or avoid seeing
doctors. Solveig Singleton, Cato's director of information studies,
noted that government use of health care information is more dangerous
than private use. She contended that we should be careful when restricting
access to information in the private sector.
Taylor discusses her book What to Do When You Don’t Want to
Call the Cops: A Non-Adversarial Approach to Sexual Harassment
at a Book Forum.
there ways to deal with the problem of sexual harassment without going
to court? Discussing the theme of her book, What to Do When You
Don't Want to Call the Cops
, Joan Kennedy Taylor argued at a Cato
Book Forum that there are alternatives to reporting harassment to
corporate or legal authorities. Lawsuits become life-changing events;
all parties often come away with careers, reputations, and lives ruined.
On the basis of research and interviews she has conducted over the
last two decades, Taylor contended that women who have realistic expectations
when entering predominantly male environments and learn to communicate
their feelings clearly have done a good job of combating sexual harassment.
J. H. Verkerke, director of the Program for Employment and Labor Law
Studies at the University of Virginia, suggested that a negligence
standard in sexual harassment law could reduce harassment in the workplace.
fellow Jonathan Clarke and foreign policy analyst Gary Dempsey
discuss the aftermath of the war in Kosovo at a forum for NATO’s
Several contributors to the Cato Institute book NATO's Empty
Victory: A Postmortem on the Balkan War
gathered at a Cato
Book Forum to discuss and update their chapters in the book. Ted Galen
Carpenter, vice president for foreign policy and defense studies at
Cato and editor of the book, argued that NATO's victory isn't much
of a victory when the "collateral damage" to the congressional
war power and strategic goals in Eastern Europe is considered. Jonathan
Clarke, Cato fellow, argued that Europeans should have taken care
of the problem on their own. Gary Dempsey, foreign policy analyst
at Cato, argued that the war had a tremendous negative effect on Kosovo's
neighbors, which could have a troubling political fallout for America
in the future.
Benecke of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network criticizes the
“don’t ask, don’t tell” regulations at a Cato Policy Forum on
gays in the military.
The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue" policy allowing gays
and lesbians to discreetly serve in the military "doesn't work"
and "should be repealed," said Capt. Michelle M. Benecke (USA,
Ret.) at a Cato Policy Forum broadcast by C-SPAN, "Should
Gays and Lesbians Be Allowed to Serve Openly in the Military?"
Benecke argued that the policy has increased harassment and has
given a powerful tool to "snitches" and "bigots." Lt.
Col. Robert L. Maginnis (USN, Ret.) argued that a homosexual ban
is necessary because open homosexuality "undercuts" the cohesion
of military units. David P. Sheldon, a former Navy appellate defense
attorney, argued that historically gays have served without harming
unit cohesion and that the military leadership could help cut down
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2000 edition of Cato Policy Report.