MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘freedom of association’

The Poor Forgotten Baker – LewRockwell LewRockwell.com

Posted by M. C. on November 10, 2021

The libertarian position on discrimination has nothing to do with racism, sexism, prejudice, bigotry, hate, intolerance, homophobia, or xenophobia and everything to do with freedom.

Anti-discrimination laws are an attack on property rights, freedom of association, the free market, and freedom of thought.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/11/laurence-m-vance/the-poor-forgotten-baker/

By Laurence M. Vance

Earlier this year, Colorado baker Jack Phillips got in trouble again for exercising what he thought was his right in a free country to discriminate. Some libertarians have been strangely quiet about his plight.

In 2013, Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Denver, was accused by Colorado’s Civil Rights Commission (CCRD) of discriminating against a homosexual couple because he refused to bake them a cake for their “wedding.” An administrative law judge found in favor of the couple, and this was affirmed by the Commission. The decision was appealed to the Colorado Court of Appeals, which again affirmed the Commission’s decision in 2015. A petition for a writ of certiorari was filed with the Supreme Court in 2016, and was granted in 2017. The Court, in the case of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (2018), in a 7-2 vote, ruled in favor of Phillips because “the Commission’s actions here violated the Free Exercise Clause.”

But the radical left wasn’t done with Phillips.

Soon after the Supreme Court decision, Autumn Scardina—who was born and remains a man no matter how many left-libertarians call him a woman—requested that Phillips bake him a cake pink on the inside and blue on the outside to celebrate his birthday and seventh anniversary of his “gender transition” from male to female.

Phillips refused, so Scardina filed a complaint with the CCRD.

CCRD director Aubrey Elenis concluded that there was probable cause that Phillips had unlawfully denied Scardina “equal enjoyment of a place of public accommodation,” and ordered the two to enter mediation. Phillips, represented again by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), sued the state of Colorado in U.S. District Court in Denver for renewing its “crusade” again him because he again refused to bake a cake that would have violated his religious beliefs.

In March 2019, the state Attorney General’s office announced that it and Phillips’ attorneys had “mutually agreed to end their ongoing state and federal court litigation,” including the CCRD action against Phillips.

So Scardina filed a civil suit of his own in state court.

In June of this year, Denver District Court Judge A. Bruce Jones ruled that Phillips violated Colorado anti-discrimination law by refusing to bake the special cake and fined him $500. (I wonder if the judge would have likewise ruled that a Jewish baker who refused to bake a cake for Nazis in honor of Hitler’s birthday and a seamstress who refused to monogram robes for Klan members violated Colorado anti-discrimination law? Of course he wouldn’t.)

For months now I have been watching carefully the libertarian reaction to Phillips’ recent plight. It is almost non-existent from some quarters. And when the right of Phillips to discriminate is mentioned, it is usually tempered by some statement implying that his beliefs are wrong. As one prominent libertarian said back in June: “You may not agree with Phillips’ beliefs—I don’t—but a liberal, pluralistic society requires tolerance for people of different moral beliefs coexisting without using the state to crush dissent out of one another.”

CDC libertarians are so enamored with the Covid-19 vaccine that they have forgotten about the poor baker. They have been so busy telling us that private businesses have the right to require that their customers wear masks, social distance, and get the Covid-19 vaccine that they have ignored Jack Phillips. Never in their life have they talked as much about the right of businesses to discriminate as they have during the past year. But it is usually always in reference to the right of businesses to discriminate against the unmasked and the unvaccinated.

Since CDC libertarians rarely make an unequivocal case for the absolute freedom of discrimination, let me state the libertarian position on discrimination as clearly and succinctly as I can: Since discrimination—against anyone, on any basis, and for any reason—is not aggression, force, coercion, threat, or violence, the government should never prohibit it, seek to prevent it, or punish anyone for doing it.

The libertarian position on discrimination has nothing to do with racism, sexism, prejudice, bigotry, hate, intolerance, homophobia, or xenophobia and everything to do with freedom.

Anti-discrimination laws are an attack on property rights, freedom of association, the free market, and freedom of thought.

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How To Fix College Admissions – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on April 27, 2020

We do not want government run newspapers or television stations. They should function as checks and balances against an overweening public sector, e.g., totalitarianism. But exactly the same principle applies to higher education. None of these institutions can accomplish this role under the thumb of government.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/04/walter-e-block/how-to-fix-college-admissions/

By

First we separate all institutions of higher learning into two categories. In one, we include those that are purely private, which accept no direct subsidies from government whatsoever; in the other, all the rest.

Into the first classification we place Hillsdale College, Michigan; Grove City College, Pennsylvania; University of San Francisco, California; Christendom College, Virginia; Pensacola Christian College, Florida; Patrick Henry College, Virginia; Wyoming Catholic College, Wyoming; Gutenberg College, Oregon; Yeshiva Toras Chaim Talmudic Seminary of Denver, Colorado; Biola University, California; Bob Jones University, South Carolina, Goldsboro Christian Schools, North Carolina. There may be a few more, but not too many.

What should be our perspective on the admissions policies of universities in this first, private category? They may do exactly as they please. We live, hopefully, in a free country, and freedom means the right to inaugurate your own policies, provided, only, that you do not violate the rights of others. No one has any right to be enrolled in any of these places without the permission of their owners. That would constitute trespass. High up on the list of liberty is freedom of association. These colleges should admit whoever they choose, with no non-discrimination requirements imposed upon them at all. They may use SAT and ACT to their heart’s content. Or not.

What of the remaining 99.99% of universities in the country which are directly subsidized, or owned outright, by the state? While private persons and schools should be free to discriminate, the same does not apply to government or quasi governmental institutions. They should not be allowed to discriminate on any basis whatsoever. For example, the controversial ACT and SAT tests should be forbidden to them as admission criteria.  These discriminate, mainly, between people with high and low IQs. It is intolerable for a state or state-related institution to make such an invidious distinction. After all, the government does not impose intelligence tests on those it admits to its buses, trains, libraries, parks, hospitals, museums, art galleries, concert halls, zoos, sports arenas, beaches, etc. In some countries, the government owns the airlines; in Canada, PetroCan owned a string of gas stations. No intelligence requirement was obligatory for service from these state institutions either.

This non-discrimination policy should apply not only to admissions, but also to grading. Enrolling students who can hardly read, write or do math will not suffice, for with any such system they will soon fail out. Other public institutions, see above, have no such grading systems, which would remove the intellectually non-gifted after a while. There is simply no justification for doing so in education either. This is NOT satire. I am very serious about this. These recommendations follow, logically, from the premise that it is and should be unlawful for government to discriminate against the intellectually challenged.

Of course, this would spell the ruination of these public universities. At present, the following US institutions are highly ranked in terms of prestige: University of California , Los Angeles; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; University of North Carolina , Chapel Hill; University of Virginia; Georgia Institute of Technology; University of Texas, Austin; University of Florida; University of Georgia; University of California, Berkeley; Indiana University.  So are these ostensibly “private” ones: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Chicago, Stanford, Duke, Hopkins. Many of these are highly ranked in world compilations. Were freedom instituted, none of this would be true any longer. Smart students would no longer enroll due to the intellectual diversity of open admission. Accomplished professors would go elsewhere.

Would that be a detriment to this modest proposal? Of course not. If these universities wished to retain the prestige they presently justifiably enjoy, they will have to eschew all direct government grants (the relation between the state and their students is entirely a different matter, and an irrelevant one). But this is precisely the goal of the freedom philosophy. The desiderata is not only separation of church and state, but, also, separation of education and state. We do not want government run newspapers or television stations. They should function as checks and balances against an overweening public sector, e.g., totalitarianism. But exactly the same principle applies to higher education. None of these institutions can accomplish this role under the thumb of government.

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Civil Society Stepped Up Big Time During Teacher Union Protests

Posted by M. C. on November 27, 2019

Last month, Chicago was swarmed with protestors as public school teachers went on strike.

Civil society clearly made its presence felt during the strikes. Many proponents of government schools simply can’t fathom the idea of any non-state institution that is able to educate children. The Chicago teacher union protests demonstrated how quick civil society is able to fill in the void when the state becomes negligent in its duties (a common occurrence). 

https://www.theadvocates.org/2019/11/civil-society-stepped-up-big-time-during-teacher-union-protests/

Kerry McDonald of Foundation for Economic Education wrote that 300,000 students spent “another day outside of the public school classroom,” thanks to this strike. For so much talk about public education being “for the children,” the decisions to publicly strike keeps kids from learning, while teacher unions hold out as long as possible before lawmakers gave them sweetheart benefits. To add insult to injury, these strikes are done on the taxpayer’s dime.

The topic of education tends to be sensitive in today’s polarized America. It’s no secret that education these days has substantial degrees of politicization and is treated as a universal right that the state must provide. However, some of McDonald’s observations in her piece reveal that private actors are more than capable of stepping up to the plate to provide children with a place of learning.

She noticed one interesting development in the midst of this strike, “Museums, churches, libraries, and a multitude of civic non-profits,” opened their doors to “children displaced by the teachers’ strike, and public parks and playgrounds abound.” Other organizations that provided a place for children to congregate during these strikes were the YMCA and its branches in Chicago. Per the CNN report, the YMCA helped provide programs that included “classes, swimming, math lessons, arts and crafts, and sports.”

Similarly, the city’s aquarium offered “immersive exploration opportunities for the children, along with an after-school care option.”

Civil society clearly made its presence felt during the strikes. Many proponents of government schools simply can’t fathom the idea of any non-state institution that is able to educate children. The Chicago teacher union protests demonstrated how quick civil society is able to fill in the void when the state becomes negligent in its duties (a common occurrence).

The freedom of association is a wonderful thing. Free people are able to craft solutions to the many problems we face. Although there are no quick fixes, free interactions in the marketplace allow people to muddle through and find existential problems they face in their daily lives. On the other hand, state coercion not only strips people of their agency as free individuals but also creates problems by removing important market mechanisms such as prices, profit & loss motive, etc. which are crucial for market innovation.

Historically speaking, America has had a rich tradition of education systems that were independent of the state — be it homeschooling, communal schooling, or private education. Such ideas of non-state education modules aren’t so radical when we look back. Understanding this history will allow us to use the tools of the 21st century to carve out freedom in the education sector. But first, we must get rid of the old dogma that the state must be in charge of education.

Big changes always start with changing foundational premises.

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