Sunday, April 12, 2015

Discrimination and freedom of association

I'll let y'all check the original post Response to a Distressed Libertarian Reader about Discrimination, my reply, and Andrew's response.

Are we all up to speed now? Because I can't comment there right now (comments may be closed for the post), I'll reply to Andrew here.

I really don't care if your conscience is offended by having to serve gay people as part of a public accommodation. Yes, your freedom of association is being infringed. Tough. Too bad for your freedom of association. The people have decided that if you want to open a business to the public, you have to serve all the public. If your conscience is offended, too bad for you.

Could the government force us to compromise our freedom of association (or any other freedom) in unacceptable ways? In one sense, yes of course: the government has all the guns, and they can use these guns "justly" or "unjustly." In another sense, no: a truly democratic government cannot compromise a freedom in a way that the majority objects to: if they were to try, they would be voted out, and the compromise reversed. (Are we actually a democracy? Of course not. But in this case, the government is acting democratically.)

If this is a problem for you, if you believe that your conscience should never be infringed, would you extend the same right to those who believe, in all good conscience, that your stuff belongs to them? That it is an offense against their conscience that you have a nice car and they do not? I doubt it. Andrew just wants the right of conscience to extend only to his own conscience and those he agrees with, and not that of others.


  1. My reply to those types has been .....
    If you don't like doing (insert your favorite bigotry), then it is easy to do so, turn your business into an nonprofit church and ONLY serve the your fellow bigots....its legal to do so, but I doubt you will do very well.


    1. (I deleted the duplicate post.)

      I'm not sure what the relationship is between my post and the article you link to. There are a number of substantive differences between refusing to serve gay people and refusing to stock certain products.


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