Racism is wrong. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a right.
March 30, 2015—How far with you go to support the idea of free association? The idea that you have a right to associate (or not associate) with whomever you choose. Do business owners have the same rights as patrons to choose who they want to do business with? The libertarian would say yes.
Recently Governor Mike Pence signed into law the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act making Indiana the 20th state to adopt similar legislation protecting business owner’s right to refuse service based on religious principles.
My question is, why is such a law even necessary? And why confine it to simply religious grounds? On The Jason Stapleton Program I posed the question like this:
“Does a business owner have the right to choose who they do business with? Do they have the same freedom of association that a patron or employee has?”
If you answered yes to either one of those questions then the argument extends much farther than freedom of religion. What about refusing service to someone because they’re black? To tall? To fat? Freedom of association means just that. It means you are free to choose.
I think what this comes down to is a misconception of what “rights” are. You don’t have a “right” to a job, or to eat in a restaurant, or shop at a store. Commerce is merely the act of two people coming together for their mutual benefit. In order for a transaction to occur both parties must agree to do business. You would never suggest that a customer be forced to do business with a private company. So why would you suggest a private business be forced to sell to someone they object to?
The TRUTH is, you have the right to be a racist, a bigot, a homophobe, or simply ignorant. You have the right to be wrong. As long as you do not deprive people of their life, their liberty or their property you have not infringed on their rights. We may despise the idea of a private business refusing service to someone based on their skin color or sexual orientation but free association works both ways. I am sure many will claim this writing is an example of racism. They will do so because they lack the intelligence and character to challenge me on the merit of my arguments. Cooperation, not force is the only way to ensure liberty remains a central value in daily discourse.
What’s the best solution to the problem of racism? Sound off in the comments.
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