A week or so ago on my Facebook page, I posted this short comment:
If I utterly affirm your right to marry and love whom you choose; to worship what you will, or nothing at all, and to adore what your soul desires, why do you not affirm my right to fully own my property and my labor, and dispose of it as I will, in service to my own interests, and exchange value with whom I wish? For all are of these are likewise inalienable rights of the individual.
A little later I received this affirmation from a respected contributor to the Paul’s Passing Thoughts blog:
For example, I might support the freedom of two lesbians who wish to get married, but I should not be forced to bake their wedding cake, nor punished under law if I refuse.
I wrote a short reply in which I agreed, stating that it is hypocritical for gay people to demand the right to marry, rightly–as marriage is a private value exchange between two autonomous individuals who possess the inalienable right to engage in such exchanges free from government interference; or any other kind of disruption–and yet stand silently by while the government thrusts a value exchange upon the proprietor of a cake shop by demanding, at the point of a government gun (i.e. it’s “the LAW”…which can only mean force, which is ultimately the threat of punishment, which is violence), that he or she violate their conscience and perform a service for homosexuals that they do not which to perform. In short, while it is fine for the government to compel by force an individual to dispose of his or her private property in the name of “equality” (whatever the fuck that means…it’s a bullshit meme), it is somehow an abuse of government power and a moral atrocity to forcefully compel those individuals who wish to marry to do so with only members of the opposite sex. In both cases, it is the government seizing by force the right to define “appropriate” value exchanges between individuals, even in cases where the relationship poses no direct threat to nor manifests as a direct violation against any citizen of the State.
Thus, for government to declare one value exchange moral (gay marriage) and another immoral (religious expression via the disposal of private property…that is, one’s business) represents an arbitrary ethic, rooted not in reason but in the notion that government, not individual LIFE, is the plumb line for MORALITY, and, via logical extension, TRUTH. And this means that individuals can only exist, metaphysically and morally, for the sake of government (and this IS collectivism…or, in the economic vernacular, Marxism), and not the other way around–which is the only rational political ideal. This philosophy, being completely backwards to logic and reason, representing a world-view that is decidedly anti-life, must always, always, always end up in tyranny…and misery for the denizens. It represents a philosophy that has its seed in Satan’s lie in the Garden of Eden: That the individual exists to be sacrificed to a standard of “good and evil” that is wholly outside of him/her; mutually exclusive of him/her, and arbitrated by a metaphysically-excused (somehow) “authority” which is granted the right by God (or whatever Primary Consciousness is being pressed…the Worker’s Utopia, the Racial Ideal, the Pride of the Nation, Equality–the Level Playing Field, the Poor and their Perpetual Provision, etc.) to force, by hook or crook or firing squad or suicide bomber or dunking chair or guillotine or Tyburn Tree, the unwashed masses into “right” thinking and behavior.
Incidentally, this is the very philosophical heart of Christianity in America today, which dreadfully–and artfully–follows John Calvin’s cohesive Platonist interpretation of biblical doctrines to a terrifyingly accurate degree.
Christian suicide bombers?
Far fetched? Go ahead, pick a sermon from any church, on any give day. Listen to what is being said. What are the root assumptions about the existential morality and empirical worth of individual human beings one must hold in order to arrive at such doctrinal interpretations? I promise you, Christian suicide bombing is only one spark away. For crying out loud, the logical conclusions of the doctrines are already openly being preached. One has no further to look than John Piper’s declaration that Christian women, in order to honor the “authority” of their husbands, and to practice their proper submissive duty, may have to endure a night of smacking (paraphrase), and then bring the issue up not with law enforcement, but with their Pastors…who are ALL men, and, being full-on advocates of the doctrines of categorical male-dominance, will surely be sympathetic to her side of the story.
For crying out fucking loud…how far away from this premise do we really think “honor” killings are?
Not far enough, I can assure you.
Next, another friend of mine on Facebook posted this ostensibly powerful argument. And, by way of prologue, allow me to state that this kind of thinking is a brilliant tactical move on the part of those who seek to subterfuge their hypocrisy (and this subterfuge is not necessarily conscious, nor is their hypocrisy…I do not want to accuse this person of outright deception, for I don’t believe he is of that character) via strong emotional appeals:
Here’s an analogy that should explain why forcing anti-discrimination measures is necessary. Let’s say that instead of a bakery, this is was a pharmacy. And instead of the lesbian couple looking for a cake, let’s say they came because one of them is having a DEADLY allergic reaction to something, and is in need of an Epi-pen (sp?). And let’s also say hypothetically that this is the only pharmacy in range of said couple that has epi-pens (and the nearest hospital is too far away to reach in time). The couple demonstrates that they have enough money to pay for one. But the pharmacy owners refuse to sell the epi-pen because they don’t approve of the lesbian couple’s “lifestyle.” The point of the argument is that if you are going to have a business that is open (and advertised) to the GENERAL PUBLIC, and if you are not willing to serve certain people based on who they are and how they live their lives, then don’t be a business that is open to the general public. Even in the most “socialist” of countries (that are democratic/representative), you will never see laws that mandate that a business must serve everyone no matter what. If a customer is being disruptive, rude, etc, most of the time a business has the absolute right to NOT serve said customer, and can probably kick him/her out. Bars do it all the time. I find that many of the arguments used to defend the “right” of businesses not to serve (or hire) the LGBT were also the same arguments used to defend Jim Crow. If mandating that a business cannot refuse service on the basis of sexual-orientation is a violation of a business owner’s “rights,” then by that logic, so is the repeal of Jim Crow laws. Should we repeal the Civil Rights Act then, if this is “tyranny?”
Now…there are many, many points made in this comment. Some are more salient than others. Therefore, in the interest of avoiding a full-on Voltaire-like catalog of literature in response, I attempted to address only those points I thought demanded a rebuttal…and this editing of my responses persists to the end of the conversation.
There are many things to say in response to your post. I will write more tomorrow. But for now…Jim Crow law was the government declaring that businesses were not free to exchange values as they saw fit. You cannot legalize discrimination any more legitimately or morally than you can FORCE by law non-discrimination. They are both two sides of the same philosophical and political coin. Anti-discrimination laws are closer to Jim Crow than what I believe. It is the government compelling by force the individual exchange of value.
And further, simply because an act is reprehensible does not demand government coercion. People are free to be racist assholes. And I am free to ignore them and spend my money elsewhere and proclaim their bullshit to the world in an attempt to change behavior via better ideas. It is always the tyrant who thinks the government needs to decide to whom YOU should relate.
This person then offered another comment:
It is fair to call government the “mother” of Jim Crow LAWS. But the PEOPLE of the South, collectively and individually, were Jim Crow’s extremely horny father (as far the actual laws are concerned). Outside of police crackdowns on marches and protests (sit ins, etc), the enforcement of Jim Crow was hardly “top down.” The (white) people of the South loved it and were more than happy to enforce it themselves, as groups and as individuals. They did not have to be “coerced” into discriminating. They would have done it with or without laws. And if that’s the case, what exactly can a powerless and disenfranchised individual do? The ugly & racist behavior of many white people and white-owned businesses were exposed over and over again, with no change. And many individuals suffered as a result, especially those who sympathized with and/or participated in the Civil Rights Movement. My point is this: it took a more “evolved government” to actually end Jim Crow. The Federal Government, I mean.
********For the record, I do not believe that the federal government was or even is finished “evolving” into being the government that it should be. In fact, I believe quite the opposite, but that is to be a LOOOOOONG conversation & debate for the next family reunion ;)***************
Honest & friendly question here: do you feel that Affirmative Action and/or racial quotas should be legal (but not required, of course), within private and/or public institutions (which includes private businesses who directly receive tax dollars for any reason and/or government contracts? I’ve had a revelation lately when it comes to government & and its people.
A government can only be as good as its people, collectively. Which I think ties in to my point about Jim Crow. Generations of individuals in the South were programmed with everything except syringes filled with the “racist gene.” It would have happened with or without government, with or without fear of punishment. There is a reason why there hardly exists any official documentations or interviews from SOUTHERN White people who participated in the Civil Rights & abolitionist movements and/or rebelled against Jim Crow. I’m not saying they didn’t exist, but their numbers in the “not a racist/pro-slavery” category were definitely a minority for a reason. After all, it took literal US Military force to let black people into the same SCHOOLS. I’m not sure if that applied or still applies to 100% private schools, but if it does, GOOD! Especially if I have to see ads for private schools on bill boards next to federal highways (designed specifically to advertise to those driving on said highway) or at movie theaters (the private school I went to from k thru 12 does this…weird :/), or if it entitled to tax-funded police protection, etc.
******I am only saying that private schools must comply with non-discrimination laws to be able to legally advertise in such places, not arguing against that general right ;)***************
I’ve applied this revelation to the gun control debate. In my opinion, the most logical reason why strict gun control laws work well in other first world countries is because their people in general do not view guns like Americans do (I’ve spoken with enough foreigners and have seen polls on this, trust me). They do not view guns as a tool to “defend oneself.” Most of them see it as a tool that can cause great harm and shouldn’t be allowed in the hands of just anyone aged 18+, or at all. because some police forces within in these countries don’t even carry guns…and that MIGHT explain why they have such disproportionally lower fatalities caused DIRECTLY by law enforcement officials (some of these countries have 0…TOTAL. An old co-worker of mine, who spent his formative years in England, told me that people in England will “tell on you” if you have a handgun [England’s gun laws pretty much ban privately-owned handguns, assault, auto, and semi-auto firearms entire…just shotguns & hunting rifles mostly].
I do know that Australia did have to do a “gun grab,” mostly just by giving monetary compensation for people to give up their guns (with…of course, the alternative being incarcerated). But VIOLENCE by the government, as a tool to enforce this law, would only have been tyrannical and unjustified if the non-compliant citizen violently resists arrest, DIRECTLY causes damage as a result of fleeing (or hiding his/her guns from) law enforcement.
Jim Crow laws were not restricted to the south. It’s important to remember this. Government was actively legislating business to patron transactions, in this case discriminatory, in both the North and South. A small minority of Americans worked tirelessly to end the Jim Crow atrocity. Before the government was compelled to act, these people had to change minds with ideas. This being the case, it disproves the implicit assumption in your last comment: that people are inherently and pervasively flawed and will not commit to righteous action except under threat of government violence. This is indeed your premise when you claim that government is “needed” to end discrimination, and was necessary to end Jim Crow: Man on his own will always pursue evil, and therefore a special “authority” must compel him to “right” action and thinking by threats, violence, imprisonment, and confiscation of property .
This, incidentally, is the same Platonist philosophy which has been at the root of every human moral outrage in world history, from wars to genocides to chattel slavery to forced sterilization to Satan’s lie in the garden of Eden. It is the root philosophy of both orthodox Protestantism and Catholicism and why I devote an entire blog to dismantling the doctrines and ideas of the church today in America. But government was not needed to end Jim Crow. What government needed was to be utterly stripped of its power to regulate individual transactions, business or otherwise, in the first place. For THAT was the root cause of Jim Crow’s moral atrocity, not people’s racism. Racism is powerless against the individual until it finds a friend in government. A white business owner may not serve blacks. But only the government can force the business owner around the corner, who would otherwise do so, to not serve them either.
And do you not find it somewhat contradictory and ironic that the same government which demanded segregation somehow now must be put in charge of ending it? How does the government get a pass on its own abuse of power and its rank moral offense? Simple: it’s the government. And government is the “specially” appointed authority needed to compel “fallen” man. It holds the keys of both good and evil; which of course destroys both completely by making them a function of whatever government decides they mean at any given moment. First the government says discrimination is good. Then declares it evil. This massive inconsistency is proof enough that government had and has NO business regulating morality.
Government is not an arbiter of ethics. It is FORCE, period. Full stop. It gets things done by coercion, period. Full stop. It knows of no higher authority than itself. With strict limits set rigorously upon it by a free people, it can be efficacious. But it is NEVER good. It may be a force for good. But it is always FORCE. Therefore the standard to which it must always be held is the freedom of the individual to exist for his own sake, by his own choices, to his own ends, exchanging value with whomever he wishes in whatever capacity he sees fit. Whenever government is allowed to substitute itself for any one of these things, tyranny always follows.
A legitimate function of government is to protect individuals from direct violations (“direct” being key) against their person or property. Since no private citizen “owns” the public school, by definition, a private citizen preventing the admission of a student or students based on race would constitute a direct violation against that student. This being the case, I find it no abuse of power for the government to use military/police to force (because government IS force) the inclusion of the student or students in question.
Whether public schools themselves are a just function of government is a different argument.
With respect to your example of the lesbian couple, the life threatening allergic reaction, and the bigot pharmacist: While emotionally provocative and certainly difficult if not impossible to morally accept, it still does not justify the kind of government interference you argue it must. Here’s why: Ultimately, your example, by logical extension, really seeks to make some individuals culpable for the death or injury of others simply because of what they own and what they choose to do with it. There is no direct violation occurring…but you are advocating the idea that the pharmacy owner should be compelled by a government gun to part with his private property simply because he happens to find himself in a certain place at a certain time. This makes the right to own property and dispose of it as one chooses merely a function of situational context. And if the government claims the right to dictate what you do with your property in one context, it–that is, government–not the rights of individual man, becomes the benchmark of morality. And this, unlike your hypothetical example, has been the greatest source of death in world history.
There is no functional difference between making a business owner responsible for the death of someone else because of his right to dispose of his property, and making the passerby legally culpable for not stopping to intervene in a mugging. The principle is still the same: in certain contexts, the government has the right to take what is yours (your property, your person) and give it to someone else.
Finally, and again, your metaphysical assumptions come through loud and clear. Man is fundamentally evil. At the end of the day he can do no good without threats and force. Ideas and reason are not enough to compel man to compassion in situations like the one you describe. We must give government ultimate authority to control and compel because the example you site is not only possible, but INEVITABLE. And this root metaphysic drives your entire political and existential world view.
It’s not original–no offense. Like I said, it is the root philosophy of humanity since the Garden of Eden. It is the root of every atrocity committed by man: government ultimately owns man, because man is evil and depraved by nature. FORCE is the ultimate arbiter and catalyst of good. Either good is compelled by an “authority” (who somehow gets a pass on the depravity which controls everyone else), or there is no good at all.
For my next post, I would like to explain and express further my notion that this person’s metaphysical assumptions concerning man are professed loudly and clearly in his comments, and why they are unreasonable and must necessarily lead to the death of the individual…that is, his or her categorical sacrifice to the “authority”, represented in this peculiar ideology as a government mandated by the Primary Consciousness to arbitrate “equality”. But of course what our ideological adversaries never concede is that death is the only true material and existential equalizer.