“Liberty means to exercise human rights in any manner a person chooses so long as it does not interfere with the exercise of the rights of others” – Ron Paul, Liberty Defined
You wouldn’t really know it from the typical reaction of the intolerant Rainbow Hand to Indiana’s religious liberty law, but the entire social/political row is really much ado about nothing. Few, if any businesses have turned away customers on the basis of their sexual orientation lately, and even fewer will do so as time marches onwards. The Rainbow Hand simply wants something to whine about to further the cause, and Indiana’s religious liberty law tossed them a huge slab of red meat for that very purpose. Behind the scenes, the Rainbow Hand is fist pumping over what Indiana did.
The Indiana religious liberty law is precisely that: a protection of Liberty. You have a natural right to refuse to serve someone, for any reason, on private property. You even have the natural right to refuse service for odious, absurd, offensive, mean-spirited reasons like discrimination.
Liberty, as we all know, begins with the principle of self-ownership. We all own ourselves, our lives, and our bodies. We have the natural freedom to do whatever we wish with our lives, bodies, and property so long as we are not infringing upon or depriving someone else of his or her natural rights.
You are your own property. To deny this in any way is to say that someone else has a higher claim to your life than you do. If someone else has a higher claim to your life than you do, then that makes you a slave or a serf. What else do you call an individual whose life is owned by someone else?
But you’re not a slave or a serf, obviously. So you do own yourself, at all times.
You are, after all, the exclusive controller of your own life, property, and body, and no one may aggress against you unless your actions directly threaten the life, property, or rights of someone else.
“But Uncle Andy! When you open a business, you have to serve the public! You can’t just do whatever you want! It’s da law! The law says so! The law! The law! The law!”
Tyrannical, Statist lies. No one cedes their right to self-ownership because they open a business. or even work for one.
The difference between refusing to make Rainbow cakes and being disallowed from tossing plutonium down the drains is easy to see. You don’t have a right to obtain a Rainbow cake. Your natural rights or safety are not endangered by being refused a Rainbow cake. The same cannot be said if someone dumps nuclear waste down the sewer. That does endanger public safety and public health, and infringes upon the rights and self-ownership of others.
I don’t have a right to go onto someone else’s property and demand they furnish me with a good or service. I don’t have a higher claim upon the life of someone else than do they themselves.
Sorry. Nobody cedes their right to agency over themselves and self-ownership just because they open a business. Even if said business is in a sparse area. You own yourself all the same, and have Liberty to do as you please until your actions deprive someone else of his rights.
You don’t have the moral right to make other people furnish you with things. It’s that simple.
I love the Statists who speak on and on about “da law.” The law in dozens of States, unmolested by the courts, says that these religious liberty laws are perfectly valid. The law is on the side of Indiana. Whatever that’s worth. So the folks tossing around lofty bleating about “the law” are rather absurd for opposing Indiana’s recent legislation on legal grounds. The law allows for what Indiana did.
The law. Ha. What is the law good for. The Holocaust was perfectly legal in Germany at the time. Slavery was perfectly legal too. Dred Scott was decided lawfully. Plessy was lawful too for a time…until magically Brown said it wasn’t. Shows you what the “law” is worth.
I’m referring to our natural and inalienable rights anyway. You don’t have the right to force someone else to furnish you with a good or service. You don’t own other people. Other people are not your property. Other people are free born and sovereign. So how can you use force and coercion to compel them to provide you with goods or services?
Answer: you cannot do such a thing. Not morally, anyway. You can use force, to be certain, like any common thug would do. But such transactions would be made under duress and are wholly illegitimate and immoral. It’s exploitation and tyranny, really. Why would any person choose coercion and thuggery over voluntary exchanges?
“But Uncle Andy! Senator Elizabeth Warren, ole’ Fauxcahontas herself, told me that you don’t really own private property or a business because the collective built the infrastructure that leads to your home or business! There are consequences when you decide to open a business in public!”
More Statist malarkey. Driving on a road doesn’t cede my natural right of self-ownership. I paid for that infrastructure anyway with my tax dollars. I paid my fair share.
Oh but self-ownership, and the Liberty which logically accompanies it, very much means I can operate as I please, up until the juncture my actions harm someone else or violate their rights. And there can be several sorts of consequences for our actions, short of the thuggish intervention of the state.
For example, if a business were to discriminate against gays, or even thought to be potentially capable of engaging in prejudicial conduct, it could be boycotted as many in Indiana are as we speak. Many businesses such as Wal-Mart are eschewing openly the idea of turning away gay customers. Private citizens of all sorts, in business or not, are choosing to exercise their Liberty in such a fashion as to peacefully inform the market that discrimination, or even the perception of it, will not be tolerated by consumers. It seems to me that private citizens are handling this issue quiet nicely so far. Why even involve the state?
Self-ownership isn’t worth much if it evaporates like a fart in the wind every time I leave my home, walk on a sidewalk, or interact with anyone in any capacity. If our right to agency over ourselves disappears with every pretense, we may as well not even own ourselves.
But luckily, we do own ourselves, at all times, in all settings.
A private person acting in a private fashion has no duty to address discrimination. The state has a duty to act in a fairhanded manner. But not a private person.
Yes, that’s odious and repugnant. But that’s Liberty. You and I also have the Liberty to apply peaceful pressure to see to it that others, particularly in business, do not act in a discriminatory fashion. But we have no moral right to initiate force against others.
“But Uncle Andy! What about people who live in rural areas, and may lack options to go elsewhere if turned down for service by a private business! The right to refuse service of that business owner should be compromised!”
And since you have no right to obtain goods and services from me, denying you service in no way deprives you of any Liberty. It may well be rude, annoying, uncivil, and downright mean-spirited to deny you goods and services. But you have no moral right to initiate force against me for being rude.
Why do you have a right to apply force to coerce me into providing you with things against my will?
No, a business isn’t a person. But the people who run the business are free born, sovereign people. Those individuals do not cede their right of ownership over themselves personally simply because they opened a business.