Discrimination should be left legally alone

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for June 13, 2018)

Who would be desperate enough to eat a cake baked by someone who doesn’t want to bake it? Would you want a wedding cake someone was forced to bake– at gunpoint?

Even if the gun is hidden at first, every law comes down to “do as we say or we’ll kill you”.

At best, the newlyweds will get a cake they dare not eat.

So why follow this path? Perhaps they claim to only want things to be fair. Guess what– fairness isn’t a feature of the real world. You may as well accept the fact now. What you consider fair, someone else will call unfair. The reverse is also true; what someone else sees as fair you’ll believe is unfair. The appearance of fairness depends completely on perspective. Dilbert’s Scott Adams goes further, saying fairness is a concept invented so less-than-intelligent people could feel like they are participating in conversations.

Despite my skepticism about fairness, I’m in favor of everyone doing their best to make others feel as though fairness is real. There’s really only one way to do this.

Just stay out of the way and let everyone exercise their right to choose who to do business with. Both as a provider and as a customer. Don’t infringe anyone’s right of association.

It’s not only about religion. If you don’t like someone’s politics, the color of their skin, the way they speak, how they worship, or anything else, you have the right to decline to take their money, or to refuse to spend your money with them. It doesn’t depend on the Supreme Court agreeing; this is simply a natural human right.

Someone will always step up to fill a gap if certain businesses choose to turn away customers. Think of all the willing and eager cake shops who never got the chance to show what an excellent cake they would have been happy to provide for the wedding which precipitated the recent cake ruling.

Discrimination goes both ways, and needs to be left legally alone. If bigots are out there, let them openly expose their bigotry. How else can you know who to reward with your business, or who to punish by going elsewhere?

There is one exception, of course: government doesn’t get to choose who it serves until people are allowed to stop paying for services they don’t want. As long as government exists as a monopoly, it is the only organization which can’t exclude anyone for any reason other than non-payment.

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