Free Markets, Free People

You have a right to discriminate

Here’s what the Social Justice Warriors don’t understand.  Discrimination is a part of individual freedom.  And with that freedom to discriminate come consequences.  It is like the right to free speech – you get to say what you want (other than incitement) and you get to pay the social and cultural consequences for doing so.  What others don’t get to do, however, is force you to adopt their values and therefore coerce you to conform.  That’s totalitarianism, not freedom.

John Stossel explains:

Why force someone who disapproves of your actions to bake you a cake? Lots of other bakers would love the business. This debate has moved from inclusion to demanding that everyone adopt your values.

In a free country, bigots should have the right to be bigots. Americans should also have freedom of association.

American lawyers talk about special protection for religious freedom, and in the Hobby Lobby case the Supreme Court said you could escape onerous parts of Obamacare by paying lawyers a fortune and convincing judges that you are a closely-held corporation with religious objections. But why must you be religious to practice what you believe? This should be about  individual freedom.

Of course, government must not discriminate. The worst of American racism and homophobia—slavery, segregation enforced by Jim Crow laws, bans on interracial marriage, anti-sodomy laws, etc.—was government-enforced discrimination. That was wrong, and it was right for the federal government to intervene.

But private actions are different. If I start a business with my own money, I ought to be allowed to serve only libertarians, people who wear blue shirts, whatever. It’s my business!

My customers have choices. If I am racist or anti-gay, the free market will punish me. Enough people would boycott my business that I would probably lose money quickly.

Many important points.

“In a free country, bigots have the right to be bigots.” And they’ll pay the consequences of being bigots.  How?  See Stossel’s last paragraph.  If an owner of a business is stupid enough to exclude a portion of his customer base out of plain bigotry (“no Irish allowed”) there are likely going to be enough of his “acceptable” customers offended by him that they’ll take their business elsewhere.  The consequences of his bigotry will be a loss of business, loss of profit and likely a loss of social prestige.  That’s how it works in a free country.

Also in a free country, what everyone should demand is “government must not discriminate …“.  The onus of non-discrimination shouldn’t be on the individual forced by government, but on government as forced by the citizens of the land.

How these got flipped is a testament to the perseverance of those who would control your life (under the false guise of freedom) and the neglect of those who thought individual freedom would last forever.  Just as free speech can sometimes be ugly, so can discrimination.  Social and cultural change usually take care of those who are “ugly” by making them suffer the consequences of their ugliness.  We’ve seen that proven any number of times.

What we’re now seeing is a back lash against the SJWs who would use the force of government to make the unwilling comply with their values.

We simply don’t need that if we’re willing to be patient:

Even in the difficult days of Reconstruction, after the Civil War, business began to bring together whites and blacks who might not always have liked each other but who wanted the best deals. It took several years for racists to get Jim Crow passed so they could put a stop to that erosion of the old racist ways. Government helped keep racism going for several more decades.

That last sentence is the key.  Jim Crow laws were a product of government!  What the civil rights laws did was essentially repeal government mandated discrimination.  What we don’t need is a new series of laws that mandate behavior as they did then, even if the new laws are formed with teh best of intentions, they still require the force of government to enforce.  And they’ll not be enforced fairly and, as they usually do, will be used to to absurd things to people.

Elizabeth Taylor married nine times. Had she married again, should the EEOC have ordered her to marry someone from an ethnic minority?

A homophobic baker shouldn’t stop a same-sex couple from getting married. Likewise, a gay couple shouldn’t force a baker to make them a wedding cake. No one should ever force anyone to bake them a cake.

Exactly. Here’s the bottom line:

Individuals should be allowed to discriminate. I discriminate all the time. I favor people over others when I choose my friends, jobs, hobbies, clubs, religion, etc. So do you.

Correct. And in a free country that is your inherent right, consequences included.


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41 Responses to You have a right to discriminate

  • Discrimination is not a “right”, it’s a fundamental characteristic of human nature.

    • That’s always how inherent rights have been defined. You’re right though, in that we discriminate almost every minute of the day. If you think about it, every choice we make is an act of discrimination.

      • I still think there is a fundamental difference between a “right” and what discrimination is to human beings. A “right” is a concept or an idea that can be denied or ignored by oneself or another. The same cannot be said of the ability to discriminate. In fact, those of us (humans) who cannot discriminate are considered abnormal.

        • While it may seem that they can’t be ‘denied’, rights are routinely denied around the world. And there’s no denying that the force of government is trying to deny “discrimination” right here in the US.

          • Actually, McQ, the Collective INSISTS on discrimination. You can discriminate FOR someone or group as well as AGAINST them. Ask a smart, hardworking Asian kid applying to a top university.

            Even in the face of rulings AGAINST “affirmative action” in admissions, universities still do it at considerable risk. They’re that dedicated to discrimination.

            Plus, who is it that counts faces and colors reflexively? It’s the Collectivists, every time.

    • Why do customers get to discriminate, but businesses do not.

      What happened to the “level playing field” of contract law ?

      • Your a slave. If you re-cast it this way, they might understand. Imagine if you’re a web designer and Monsanto or the KKK wanted to hire you to do their website. Would you like to be compelled to do it and you’re open to punitive lawsuits if you do it poorly or pack in some hidden negative commentary. Really its about being a slave. If you can’t choose for who you exert your efforts for and what you exert your efforts on, you’re a slave.

        Enslavement is high on the New Socialist Order’s future to-do item’s list. They can’t have people who are making things work as they do today, react to whatever shit is piled on them and quit. At the least increasing numbers of people really have no incentive to work, their quality of life aside from the job isn’t that different and add in not having to go to work, being able to sleep in and having free time to take care of other things, there’s no incentive left. Aside form a sense of self-reliant which the left reviles, I don’t understand why more people haven’t up and quit and taken a lame part time job or something.

        People will stop working out ot protest or because of the upside down reward gradient the government has imposed. And they’re afraid of it falling apart. They want to chain you to your jobs so it doesn’t go to crap all at once.

        I am thinking of the case of the guy that was elevated to CEO in the company that makes Firefox who donated to a defensive marriage style ballot proposal advocacy group in CA some years before. A bunch of people flipped out and a bunch of employees threatened to quit. I’m sure many of their major contributors like Google & Microsoft quietly threatened them. The guy decided to leave. All the liberal where happy he was no longer CEO but expressed puzzlement and upset that he left the organization and didn’t go back to his old job which he was good at. They were really quite tweaked he quit completely. They didn’t understand and thought it was unreasonable for him to do that.

      • That’s AWESOME. Think we can sue Muslims for discrimination for not using a Muslim bakery instead of a Jewish one???

  • Some people cannot see the difference between:

    ‘you must not allow people who…’
    ‘I choose not to allow people who…..’

  • Well, there’s some (to me) fascinating legal history around all this.

    Let’s start with the Articles Of Confederation. Under the Articles there were some glaring holes in terms of effecting commerce between the states, among other problems. It’s useful to remember that some states warmly hated others, partly because of the religion of their founders. A merchant from a Quaker state could get tarred and feathered in another state just for being an identifiable Quaker. A person with commercial interests might very well be terribly unjustly dealt with in a “foreign” state’s courts. And an interstate traveler could easily find himself in the cold, without food, having been turned away from an inn in a foreign state just because they were identifiable as being from out of state (easy with each state printing its own currency, for instance).

    The Constitution, which, remember, was ANOTHER experiment in forming “a more perfect Union” contained several features that were directly intended to address the holes in the Articles. But, even with the careful drafting of the Constitution, it still remained to the courts to fill some holes.

    The idea of “public accommodations” as a special class of business necessary to facilitate commence and the right to travel between the states was crafted. Where almost any class of business could discriminate for or against any potential customer, this one class of businesses could not. But is was a limited class, tied directly to serving people who may be traveling, or to the shipping of their goods. It WAS an intrusion, but the reasoning was that it was an intrusion you VOLUNTARILY accepted in doing that kind of business, and you’d be compensated for it by the market.

    Only recently has that restricted class come to include almost any business that “serves the public”, which is silly given the purpose for which the “public accommodation” was originally crafted. But it IS consistent with the ever-ballooning reach of the Federal government. Nobody can make a sane argument that a custom tee-shirt shop has to be compelled to make one tee-shirts or we’re all gonna die. Or anybody’s gonna die. Or commerce in the US will suffer.

    It’s just one of those things we are going to have to roll back.

    • A recent survey said that 3% of the population is gay.
      Some quick math … and … gays should appear on TV for about 45 minutes a week in prime time.

  • I’m going to disagree on one major point. Free-marketers (which I consider myself one) tend to wrongly believe that the market will punish bad-thought. This isn’t true.

    A gay bar that refuses customers who are straight can (and often will) perform just fine. A Klan owned sawmill may have the best prices on cut wood. Because of this, there might be white businessmen who can deal with them just fine, selling to minorities later, and thus the sawmill does not ‘suffer’.

    If you can’t accept that someone with abhorrent views may just do fine, then you’re not a fan of the free market.

    I see every free market argument claim that any business that does [horrible action that goes against MY morals here] will eventually shut down as if the market has morals. This is silly as the market itself is amoral. The market has the morals of the people involved in it, and if enough people think gays are icky and shouldn’t have cakes for their wedding, there’s business there for someone who wants to exclude them.

    Does it suck if you happen to believe this is bad behavior? Yup. But that’s freedom. I won’t give them business, but that doesn’t mean nobody else will.

    • While your point is valid, the unknown is how much business they lose because of their bigotry. While they may indeed “do just fine”, the open question is “how much better would they do if they weren’t bigots” and excluded a percentage of the potential customer base and that customer bases sympathizers. While you may not like that they “do fine”, they’d likely do a lot better without the bigotry.

      • I see every free market argument claim that any business that does [horrible action that goes against MY morals here] will eventually shut down as if the market has morals.

        No, the argument is that such a business will likely not perform as well as it could. But since it is a free market there will be other businesses who are willing to provide the service so no one is denied anything. After all, many contractors deliberately price themselves out of jobs under certain conditions with no explanation given. Fools like Professor Oblivious who liken it to Jim Crow laws deliberately obscure the government compulsion part of the historical issues. As you note some people will trade with “icky” businesses, but since when is it the job of a self-righteous mob to dictate who you trade with?

        • Agreed, it’s just that a lot of people make the assumption the market shares their morals and any business will go *poof* if it doesn’t toe the line. Then, when suddenly “Bob’s Homophobic Hamburger & Fries Joint” doesn’t go out of business after refusing extra mayo for blacks, people then start considering the market to be a failure and want gov’t intervention.

          I’ve seen quite a few “Libertarians”* look the other way recently with this whole dust up because they don’t like those icky Christians and the market doesn’t seem to be punishing them for wrong-think enough.

          Which is bothersome.

          *Nobody here, mind you.

          • One of those freedom thingies –
            I don’t much like NAZI’s, but I recognize their right to march and offend others in doing so.
            I don’t much like a lot about progressives, but I recognize their right to express their views.

            If it turns out the market seems to like them more than I do, well, that’s the way it goes.

            I just want them to return the favor for me.

    • Coupla thangs…

      1. yep. So? As a free market capitalist, I don’t care. I mean, I seriously don’t care. In making my buying/selling decisions, I just don’t care…and will never know…MOST of the views of MOST of the people I might support in a market transaction. Those are extraneous.

      2. that does NOT leave me without means to express my views/values/stuff. I am perfectly free to try to influence others I feel are wrong on things, or support those I think right. It MIGHT even mean that I will eschew dealing with them if I feel strongly enough about something. But generally not. I think Tim Cook AND Nick Gillispie are self-satisfied pricks, but I’ll continue to consume their products.

    • I’m concerned more about companies and people being successfully punished by extra-market forces influencing the market.

      Say a place gets singled out for protest. Today you could conceivably summon up thousands or more protester to descend on a small store who has an employee unfortunately give the wrong answer shooting from the hip to someone looking to make an issue. How do the other customers that don’t really care about the store’s position or may even agree with it suppose to ignore those protesters? Protesters that probably are physically intimidating to begin with by just their numbers and noise and could also be physically aggressive or further documenting you with their cameras an put you on Youtube as an evil purveyor of this evil establishment.

      You draw protesters for any length of time your fellow business establishments start to get annoyed and they want you gone. So a city council half of which are gunning for you for political reasons gain a tipping point reinforcement because you’re a headache and next thing you know you’re under undo pressure. Or even just your landlord.

      Or that for the next 5 or 10 years hundreds or thousands of people will 1-star your rating in every public rating system and spread rumors about the quality of your service hiding their political agenda.

      These types of attacks are from within the mob which are hard to fight by any means including legal.

  • I see the simple solution is to make everybody part of a “protected class:

    Syndrome: And when I’m old and I’ve had my fun, I’ll sell my inventions so that *everyone* can have powers. *Everyone* can be super! And when everyone’s super…

    [chuckles evilly]

    Syndrome: *no one* will be.

  • Seems there are a few gays suffering false consciousness…

    Gay Business Owner Explains Why She Donated To Indiana’s Memories Pizza Even Though They Won’t Cater A Same-Sex Wedding

    The comments ripping into the logic of the business owning gay woman are quite revealing of the mindset of the SJWs who clearly have little concept of what a business owner goes through every day.

  • One key issue of bien pensants talking about Jim Crow vs. RRFA is that Jim Crow forced people to discriminate.

    Private streetcar companies didn’t want to segregate. The government forced them to do so.

    RRFA does no such thing. It doesn’t force anyone to do anything.

  • I dunno….I kind of like the idea of forcing gay bakers to produce “God Hates F*gs” cakes for my upcoming salute to the Westboro Church.

    Plus it would be a totally boring country if we couldn’t force pizzeria owners into hiding for their though crimes.

    • The problem is the state has prosecutorial discretion. So, people will ignore the muslim bakeries and just work the Christians.

      • …or…

        the state discrimates WRT what cases/causes on which to use its resources.


  • the difference is only due to commerce.

    You can’t force people to associate with other people unless commerce is involved.

    It appears that if money might exchange hands, people MUST do as you tell them, they MUST associate with those that they would otherwise not associate with.

    Ah, Democrats, you slimey bastards, still trying to wash the shite stink of being the slave party off your hands.

    • Yes. “Committing commerce”, especially as a free market player and/or entrepreneur is to the Collective a multitude of sins.

      Fascist economics literally HATES entrepreneurial enterprise, partly because it simply defies all efforts to control it. Which is one big reason our economy is suffering. There has never been a more hostile, toxic environment for capital formation and small business development in American history. The innovation we expect from American enterprise is being crushed by the Obamic Decline. Who can know what that’s costing us?

      • There’s only one side that can really win here.

        Because if the progressive sides ‘wins’ they’ll only end up grinding what’s left into rubble.

  • Why force someone who disapproves of your actions to bake you a cake?

    Why does this quote remind me of the story of Jesse Jackson spitting into the food that he served to “whites” ?

    • Maybe at that level you can get away with it, but any higher you’re a valid lawsuit target for breach of contract. And if that breach is racially motivated and did harm even financial, civil rights lawsuits maybe come up as well.

    • Considering the time it takes to:
      be denied the cake baking services-
      find a lawyer,
      file a suit,
      have the suit heard in a court,
      chance receiving an unfavorable ruling…..

      Did they end up with a cake for the wedding baked by the shop they forced?
      Doesn’t sound like it…
      “An Oregon administrative law judge ruled on Jan. 29 that the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa did, in fact, discriminate in 2013 when they declined to provide a wedding cake for a lesbian couple because it would have violated their Christian beliefs against same-sex marriage.”

      Cake request 2013, resolution Jan 29, 2015.

      Sounds like they were not so much seeking a cake as an incident pour encourager les autres.

  • government should have the right to discriminate, in favor of protecting citizens

    • How is discrimination protection?

      Do you mean, like, protecting white folks by preventing black people from contaminating white people’s drinking fountains?
      Their restaurants or hotels? (by eating or sleeping there of course, I don’t mean serving in them, good heavens no)
      Discriminating against qualified and capable candidates for jobs or education because they’re not the right color thereby providing protection for people of the right color who aren’t as qualified?

      Give us an example of ‘good’ discrimination.

      • Well, there is discriminating against people we don’t want to let in the country; criminals, terrorist sympathizers, etc. Discrimination in picking qualified people for jobs involving health or safety.

    • “Discriminate” how? Using what criteria?

      If you mean discriminate between those who live according to Constitutional principles and those who are outlaws, yeah.