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Posts Tagged ‘freedom’

[TBT] The Right to Discriminate

March 4, 2014 Leave a comment

It sounds ugly, it really does – allowing a private business or individual to deny their service to a specific person or group of people. At face value it seems ridiculous; perhaps immature. However, in the name of preserving liberty, there is merit to permitting discrimination in the private sector. The merit is found in the protection of personal liberty.

Before I venture further, it should be clarified that all public goods and services are to be available to everyone. Places such as public buildings, schools, libraries, hospitals, access to public officials, representatives and due process of law, as well as the services of police, medical emergency, fire emergency, et cetera, where funded by taxpayers and/or guaranteed by the Constitution should be accessible to all legal citizens.

In our hyper-sensitive, politically correct world it is taboo for someone to be denied in any way because of the beliefs of someone else. It can certainly seem asinine to anyone who does not share the perspectives of the person denying someone else. No doubt, given the choice, some businesses would abuse the right to deny people based on unfair and senseless discrimination. Still, the fundamental premise of the right to deny is to protect the right of individuals to freely act in a way that does not violate their personal principles. While it is unfortunate that discrimination has been abused for outrageous reasons, such as racism, in the past (and sometimes even today), the alternative is far worse. That alternative is forcing the compliance of individuals and private businesses, to go against their own beliefs.

To illustrate the issue, let us look at two hypothetical situations from either side in their worst case scenarios. One with forced compliance and one with discrimination permitted.

Example 1: John is a restaurant owner in the deep south. His establishment has been in his family for generations. John is also a racist. In this example, there is no law restricting his right to discriminate against his patrons. So John does what he wants and denies service to black, Hispanic and Asian people. He crafts a large sign to hang outside the restaurant that reads “WHITES ONLY”. As a result of his actions, only white people come to eat there. When someone of a different ethnicity arrives, they leave once they realize they are not welcome. Understandably upset, they take their money to a different restaurant.

Now let’s look at the other extreme.

Example 2: Saul is a Rabbi at his local Synagogue. Recently in his state, gay marriage was legalized. However, Saul, as a practicing follower of Judaism, knows that his faith considers homosexuality a sin and gay marriage to be unacceptable. A gay couple in the Jewish community comes to his synagogue and asks to be married by the Rabbi in the Jewish tradition. In this example, the law requires that all businesses and private establishments must offer their services equally to all and the Synagogue is not excluded. But the Rabbi does not comply with the law. It violates the teachings of his faith. The gay couple goes to the authorities who respond by warning Saul that if he denies the couple their right to be married, he will be punished. Saul still refuses to comply on principle. He is then fined for his actions, according to the local statute. The Rabbi and the members of his congregation agree that they should not have to pay this fine and refuse to pay it. The situation escalates and for failing to pay the fine, Saul is thrown in jail. The gay couple is still not married by that synagogue, and now the Rabbi is sitting in jail for refusing to violate the precepts of his religious beliefs.

Those two examples are concoctions of worst case scenarios from either side of the issue. In the first example, the victims (potential patrons of John’s restaurant) are forced to go somewhere else for the services they desire. In the second example, the victim (Rabbi Saul) loses his freedom to practice his faith and is jailed. While atrocities like racism and homophobia are deemed unacceptable by our society, a free country must seek to protect all personal liberties – even the offensive ones.

The freedom to act according to our deepest convictions and beliefs is one of the fundamental ideas the United States was founded upon. Without it, the vision of liberty is tarnished and weak. Sometimes legalizing freedom will offend or inconvenience others. However, to restrict the right of the individual from practicing his core values is strictly un-American.

The freedom to make our own choices is not supposed to be issued only to those we deem good and right. It also extends to the vile and disgusting among us. We might not agree with them, and we might even loathe them, but we cannot pick and choose who gets what liberties because freedom in and of itself can’t be discriminatory. Personal principles and beliefs will include religious beliefs, cultural traditions, political motivation, pro-homosexual, anti-sexist and anti-racist tendencies…in addition to racism, sexism and homophobia.

The catch

In a free country, business and individuals choose whom they interact with. But that does not mean there is a void of consequences for making those choices. I speak of the free market.

The free market is that unseen animal, the invisible beast, that lurks in the shadows of the deregulated, unstimulated, capitalist economy. It exists in the relationship between producer and consumer. The business and the client. The buyer and the seller. It dictates which establishments rise and which fail.

In a free market, the potential customers are unrestricted in their search for the goods and services they desire. They have their choice and how they make that choice depends on their preferences. Those preferences could be price, quality, quantity, accessibility or even how they feel about the company or person they patronize.

Yes, if a person does not like a business because of how that business conducts its business, they can take their business elsewhere. It does not even have to affect them personally; if they see a company mistreating or discriminating against another person or group of people, they can refuse to patronize it. When enough people cease to interact with an establishment, it hurts them…sometimes badly.

In the competitive business environment, such as we have in America, negative perception is not something companies want associated with their image. They want as many customers as possible to generate as much revenue as possible in order to reach their full potential. The same goes for individuals, only on a much smaller scale, and instead of revenue, community respect and personal success is often the currency. So if a business is going to discriminate against a group, it had better be for a good reason, and they should expect to deal with the consequences.

Let us go back to our previous examples

Example 1 continued: John already does not get business to his restaurant from American minorities, so his clientele is already limited. In addition, however, word gets out that he has made his business a “white only” locale. Some people will be fine with it, and might even be more inclined to dine there if they share his racist views. Others will be appalled and never set foot there again – if for no other reason than to avoid being seen as racist – but more likely because they find John’s action to be offensive. Maybe John’s restaurant survives….but maybe it does not. His fate will be dependent on how many other racist patrons he can attract to keep his business alive.

We will now look at the second example, but this time, there are no laws requiring the Rabbi to provide marriage services to the gay couple. He lives in the same world John does.

Example 2, alternate ending: The gay couple requests the wedding. Rabbi Saul refuses. The gay couple goes elsewhere for their services. They spread the word that the synagogue thinks homosexuality is a sin, and no more gay couples request the Rabbi to marry them. Saul is fine with that. Maybe he loses some of his more liberal members. Maybe he receives threats, or insults. But he is still free and still adhering to the fundamentals of his faith.

Either way, the gay couple did not get what they wanted from the Rabbi. In both versions the Rabbi stayed true to his beliefs. The only difference of substance is that in one situation, Saul was punished for his principles by the government and in the other he freely accepted the affects of others’ choices that related to him.

Disclaimer: I acknowledge that there are infinite variables that could be applied to this issue and that I only chose two hypothetical models. I constructed them only to illustrate the point so it is understood in a practical sense and its real-world effects.

Freedom is not always pretty. It does not always create a utopian world where everyone gets what they want and no one’s feelings are hurt. Yet when unleashed, freedom gives us the opportunity to reach our fullest potentials and the choice to live as we see fit.

“…Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It’s not just an eloquent phrase – it’s the American way.

 

 

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep

October 22, 2012 Leave a comment
Here is my twist on a popular nursery rhyme. The intent is to illustrate the
inevitable generosity of a free market economy. Enjoy.

Liberty Sheep 
An adaptation of Baa, Baa, Black Sheep 
by Tom Wright (Tru Blu)

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep have you any wool?  
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full! 

One for my master and one for the dame. 
One for the little boy who lives down the lane. 

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep did you volunteer? 
Yes sir, yes sir, I gladly let them shear. 

I freely gave of my wool out of charity. 
They were poor and needed help, but now they're warm you see. 

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep was this your income tax? 
No sir, no sir, just one thoughtful act. 

Because the market is free I have so much to share. 
The government's not needed to chain them to welfare. 

Baa, Baa, Black Sheep have you any wool? 
Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full.

The REVOLUTION: Coming Soon To A Nation Near You

October 17, 2012 Leave a comment
 
I’ll never forget the first time I heard the Revolution referenced. It was still somewhat early in the 2012 GOP primaries and someone had asked a friend of mine who she was supporting for the Presidential nomination. “Ron Paul of course! Join the Revolution!” she replied, playfully fist pumping the air. I was on the ‘Herman Cain train’ at the time and didn’t even know who Ron Paul was, much less his movement. I thought it was just another campaign slogan. Little did I know that when I went home that night to look up this man and his mission that a seed had just been planted in my barren, freedom starved mind……

What is it?

The Revolution is a changing of the hearts and minds of people in our country. It is a fundamental shift in the way people see government, politics, liberty….hope. It is an intellectual wildfire set to scorch the earth with the truth. It is a push for a change to the status quo of widespread blissful ignorance. It is a mission to take back the country we love.

The problem….

For too long people have been apathetic or misinformed or downright lied to.  Corrupt politicians, mainstream media, the Federal Reserve Bank and the military industrial complex, among others, have all enjoyed the splendors of ignorance and made sure to perpetuate it amongst Americans. The result has been the many problems we see in the world around us. Whether it is the devaluing of the dollar, the rising gas prices, the mounting debt, the endless threat of terrorism or the growing loss of personal liberties, our way of life is under attack! The time has come for all of that to change, and with it the oppressive regime that pushes it.

The options for change we are given are not enough. It is either Republican or Democrat, red or blue, conservative or liberal, FOX or NBC, Romney or Obama; regardless of the fact that they have more in common than they pretend. Minuscule problems are highlighted. Petty arguments break out. Fingers are pointed. Names are called. All the while the world burns around us.

The winds of change

This is where The Revolution comes in. Begun by Dr. Ron Paul, it seeks to uproot the long reigning weeds of corruption and return to the roots of this great nation: the Constitution. The Revolution, while ambitious in its aspirations, is not a violent one. Nay, the primary vehicle of the liberty movement is simply truth in information. Already people have woken up by the millions to understand what is really wrong with our country. The Independent-identifying voter bloc is the largest it has been in U.S. history, indicating the dissatisfaction with the choices given. Mainstream media outlets lose viewers by the day. Blogs, vlogs, independent journalists and others carry to them the message of liberty and it spreads like a disease without a cure: a cancer feeding off the monstrous beast of tyranny.

The Revolution, however, will not be televised. Don’t go looking for it within the mainstream media, for theirs is a wasteland deprived of forward, constructive thought. Treating it as a fringe element, they ignore the movement in hopes it will go away and never return…but it will not. In terms of media, the liberty movement has spread mostly through the internet, since it is free, uncensored and can spread much more quickly here than through traditional news outlets.

While mostly thought of as only an abstract concept to unify the various factions of the liberty movement, The Revolution has concrete compartments as well. The Campaign for Liberty, or C4L for short, is the political embodiment of Ron Paul’s continuing legacy in government as it strives to keep pushing  vital issues through congress with ambitious new freedom fighters in the House and Senate. Young Americans for Liberty, a very important arm of the movement, takes its core principles to college campuses around the country, giving eager students something their professors won’t tell them. Endorsed by Dr. Paul for its mission of providing sound free market and Austrian economic education is the Mises Institute. Named after Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, the Institute has been teaching these principles for thirty years. Thanks to these organizations, a growing number of liberty minded politicians, and many others,  the message of The Revolution marches on.

The Message:

  • Restore the Constitution: This is the foundation of the republic and everything else rests on this document. “Claims that our Constitution was meant to be a “living document” that judges may interpret as they please are fraudulent, incompatible with republican government, and without foundation in the constitutional text or the thinking of the Framers.” -C4L
  • Return to the free market: Long term economic growth and prosperity is impossible with excessive government regulation, market manipulation and counterfeiting by central banks.
  • Reclaim individual liberties: We must take back the freedom granted to the people in the Bill of Rights. These rights have been trampled on by legislation such as the PATRIOT Act and the NDAA as well as overreaching organizations like the TSA. If we are not safe from unjust law, we are not free.
  • Revoke our current foreign policy: Manipulating the lives of the citizens in other countries is not a policy of peace. It only results in fear and loss of freedom for them as well as us, provoking aggression and tension. Our unwanted presence is a deterrent to our survival as a nation as well as a drain on our economy.

With Love,

Finally, as previously noted, the Revolution is not an act of violence. While the first American Revolution culminated in a bloody, eight year war, the 21st Century version hopes to continue in peace. That is why the popular logo highlights the ‘EVOL’ in the word; to emphasize that love is an fundamental value of the movement. It also serves as a reminder that we can do this without injury to our fellow-man. That doesn’t mean it will be easy, nor do we expect to go unscathed through the trials ahead. However, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine providence, we will prevail.

In the beginning of a change the Patriot is a scarce man, brave, hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a Patriot. -Mark Twain

It does not take a majority to prevail… but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men. -Samuel Adams