March 31, 2015—By now, it appears that most of America has heard about Indiana’s recently passed Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and whether you have asked for it or not, opinions on the matter appear to be as plentiful and vast as the people of this great nation itself.
While many states already have similar laws on their books, the recent event serves as another opportunity for those on the right to claim victory to be able to live and express their religious beliefs without fear of penalty from those whom their religion may offend, and has also become an occasion for those on the left to argue again that the bill grants a legal basis for discrimination and unequal treatment under the law. Opinions on both sides of the issue have created a firestorm of debate, outcry and even attempts at boycotting travel to and business with the State of Indiana.
Amid the frenzy of unwavering support or opposition to the RFRA, what many passionate sideliners are forgetting in the conversation is the fact that there is already something in place which is a far better protector and promoter of everyone’s liberty equally: the Free Market. Both the zealous Christian and the liberal Leftie would do well to remember that what one side cheers, applauds, and legislates today against an issue they may not agree with, the opposing group may cheer, applaud and legislate tomorrow when suppressing the liberty of the opposing group they equally do not agree with. With such continuous and constant protective legislation being written into law, soon enough, no one will have any individual rights left and all that will remain are laws regarding what can be said, done, purchased, and even thought by Americans in the land of the not-so free.
Can this trend be reversed? The path to less legislation and more liberty is unfortunately not one many are willing to undertake or support. In order to ease the burden of unending legislation and allow the free market to once again be the guide and protector of everyone’s individual liberty, perhaps it is time to consider overturning the Federal protected classes that currently exist under the law.
Many people are of the belief that if protected classes did not exist, our nation would be reduced back to the slave-owning days of our county’s birth. It should be noted that it is both an inaccurate and an unfair assessment to compare the civil rights movement with the religious liberty laws being passed today. The civil rights movement was rightfully birthed out of another case of bad legislation: Jim Crow Laws. There is a major difference to be understood between citizens who may personally be discriminatory or racist and a government which legislates discriminatory separate-but-equal rules into law. No liberty-minded individual would ever be able to put up an argument against the movement that arose to overturn such government-imposed injustice.
Because our nation was guilty of committing and legalizing such heinous treatment of individuals, many anti-discrimination, protected class laws began to pop up in the mid-1960’s in order to legally protect those discriminated against and prevent future abuses. Although the intention of these laws were good, with the passage of each new protected class, more and more individual liberty was lost to legislation.
Logically thinking this argument through to its natural end, how many groups, beliefs or ideas will our government be able to legally protect us from before our nation reaches the point where no group, belief or idea other than what government directs is allowed to exist? Of the few enumerated powers our Constitution grants to the government, protecting American citizens from becoming offended at another’s beliefs or lifestyle is not one of them. Perhaps we have missed the amendment that requires all individuals to treat each other nicely and with political correctness.
Why not let the free market lead the way for how citizens treat each other and interact in day-to-day business rather than having every move and decision predetermined by legislation? Suppose for a moment that no protected classes existed. In this America, every business owner could decide for themselves who they were willing to serve without the possibility of a fine or discrimination lawsuit. Imagine a restaurateur began refusing to let blacks or women dine in his establishment. With time, and most likely sooner rather than later, it is likely that the restaurant would go out of business because most Americans, who at their core know right from wrong better than government, would voluntarily choose to not spend their money at such an establishment. But what about those who wish to take advantage? From that angle, should this hypothetical restaurant exist in an area where Americans did continue to support a discriminatory owner despite their unpleasant operational decisions, as disagreeable as the thought may be, that too is within the rights of both the businessman and the customer.
It is the free market at work which is the biggest protector of our rights and liberty, even if the freedom we are seeking is the freedom to be closed-minded or discriminatory. While this may be a hard pill for most to swallow, until ‘We The People’ put a stop to our government dictating how we are to think and treat others, we will continue to lose more and more of our personal liberties to overbearing and unnecessary legislation.
Should the free market lead the way for how citizens treat each other? Let us know what you think in the comments.
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