Thursday, April 23, 2009

Libertarian Ideals

homophobia, homosexual, christian, christianity, bigotry, discrimination, libertarian, government, regulation, gay
Our friend emissary has learned something about himself: he's okay with government regulations against businesses discriminating against blacks, not so much when the regulations protect gays.

I ran across a very interesting forum discussion that caused me to question some things I had always assumed. It all came down to a simple question: Should government be able to regulate who whom! WHOM! a private business must (or must not) serve? In researching further on terms brought up by the discussion, I found that one person was arguing what's known as "the libertarian concept of freedom of association".

The libertarian concept of freedom of association is often rebuked from a moral/ethical context. Under laws in such a system, business owners could refuse service to anyone for whatever reason. Opponents argue that such practices are regressive and would lead to greater prejudice within society. Right-libertarians sympathetic to freedom of association, such as Richard Epstein, respond that in a case of refusing service (which thus is a case of the freedom of contract) unjustified discrimination incurs a cost and therefore a competitive disadvantage. (wikipedia: freedom of association) i provided the link, i'm not sure why emissary couldn't.

Here's my problem with libertarian ideas: they look great on paper, but fail to take real human behavior into account. Our current economic crisis is the result of unregulated capitalism. Libertarians will argue that regulations on businesses are bad, that businesses will, if left to their own devices, be run in a manner that produces the most profit and the least loss, and that businesses that are run badly will fail. There is no need for government to interfere. That, of course, fails to take into account that certain greedy assholes will cheerfully run a business into the ground in order to achieve personal short-term gain, and that there are enough greedy assholes out there to do serious damage to the world's economy. (see: reality)

Let's look at the explanation of freedom of association above. " unjustified discrimination incurs a cost and therefore a competitive disadvantage." Sounds true, doesn't it? Refuse to serve between 5 and 10% of the population, and you will be at a competitive disadvantage to the other businesses who do serve that market. However, this is not the reality we live in.

If every business in the area refuses to serve homosexuals on religious grounds, then the business that does serve homosexuals is likely to lose a significant portion of its business, the people who agree with emissary. Unless the number of homosexuals in the community is larger than the number of homophobes in the community, serving homosexuals puts businesses at a disadvantage. Therefore, homosexuals will not be served.

Government regulation solves this problem. Every business has to serve every segment of the population- homosexuals, blacks, women, atheists, muslims, etc.- and therefore no segment remains unserved. Because of the regulation, businesses can hide behind "well, we don't really have a choice" if someone like emissary complains.

I do like the end of the post, where emissary almost has an epiphany about his own bigotry. Almost.

Growing up, I learned about prejudices against people because of their differences (especially race and religion). So I had never before questioned that government should have laws like this in place.But the homosexual marriage issue has caused me to pause and really think about it.


  1. you are such a little liar



    Atheist? We can fix that...

    Please keep your atheists in check, or we will…

  2. Oh, this guy is fun. And I got roses.

  3. Wow, he's really neat. Your very own crazy person PF!

  4. i know! did you know Depeche Mode proves Nostradamus correct? no lie.

  5. You know, I heard that somewhere! Depeche Mode is really a lot cooler than I gave them credit for! And apparently should get the Randi prize. HEH.

  6. I like Depeche Mode, I have lots of DP on my iPod, but I don't think it proves anything.

  7. This is off topic, but I couldn't find your email.

    Have you seen this guest post on beetleabee's website? Have a look at the link in the post:

  8. WHAT.

    *I* am the crazy person here!

    on topic: ya know, stupid homobigots, that most of the time YOU CAN'T TELL that a person is gay unless they tell you!

  9. that's the problem with wanting a society where the gays you hate are all closeted- now you have to suspect everyone.

  10. I couldn't even deal with that writtenword. it basically boils down to 2 complaints:

    1. you're being intolerant of my intolerance which makes you more intolerant than me!

    2. stop making me look at them!

  11. that, writtenword.

    sorry, that looks like i couldn't deal with writtenword.

    grammar fail.

  12. The link that the guest poster supplied is pretty scary. He created this website:

    Also, to quote beetle's reply:

    While I do believe that change is possible for some people, for me, the orientation is not where the choice comes in.Is he/she a closet homosexual? If so, I wasn't aware.


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