Freedom of Association - the next civil rights challenge

Our nation was conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. They meant equality before the law and an equal claim to basic human dignity. Nobody thought to enforce equality beyond that since anything more would interfere with liberty. What people did in their private affairs was none of the government’s business. Voluntary associations formed the unique base of American freedom and prosperity, as Alexis de Tocqueville famously described. The civil rights movements of the 1960s necessarily abridged the liberty to free association in the cause of greater equality. The difference between a life-giving medicine and a deadly poison often depends on the dosage. We do not need more medicine. Yet the Administration is adding new and ever more imaginative interpretations.

It is the nature of a voluntary association to include some and exclude others. If we force every group to accept everybody, we increase diversity within the groups while destroying diversity among them and in the process destroys our freedom. We need to be more tolerant of inequality. Groups and individuals will exclude others for good and bad reasons. We should be tolerant of this. We can and should make social judgements. I object to bigotry and narrow-mindedness and I am not reticent about letting the miscreants know this. On the other hand, I am not always confident enough in my judgement to know the right and I would not want to bring the coercive power of the state down on them. I prefer that they have the opportunity to change and improve. This is the learning experience all around. We should apply coercion only in extreme cases.
Consider the case of bakers who do not want to participate in gay weddings. Punishment is automatic to a baker who refuses to participate in gay weddings in the form of lost revenue. It is perfectly appropriate from the aggrieved people to organize boycotts. It is THEIR right of free association not to associate with people like the bakers in question. What they should not have as options is to bring the coercive power of the state to bear to dictate their ideas.

Let me stipulate that I support gay marriage and wrote in defense of it more than a decade ago. I supported gay marriage because I thought it was a support of freedom. I wanted to give people choices, freedom. The same respect for freedom that led me to support gay marriage leads me to support those who do not want to participate in it.

As our country becomes truly more diverse, we will need to be more diligent in protecting the right of free association. We have to stop demanding the inclusion that make us all similar and let people bloom in all the colors, all the diverse colors, not the mediocre mix we get when we demand the oxymoronic general diversity.

It gets worse. Our right of free association is one of our biggest defense against the tyranny of government. It gives us other interests and other refuges. If government can simplify its relationship with citizens, it makes them much more dependent.
When communists infiltrated and subjugated Eastern Europe, the first thing they did after murdering possible civic leaders was to infiltrate voluntary organization. They demanded "inclusion," that groups admit a broader sort of people. In a few years, they managed to equalize most voluntary associations and that made them irrelevant. They systematically and deliberately dismantled all associations not directly affiliated with the state. By making all the people "equal" they guaranteed that only government would have no rivals for the people's allegiance. In this way they followed the fascists totalitarians. As Mussolini said, "All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state."

Villains do not come to power promising to take over and oppress the people. The come to power advocating equality and justices, claiming that only the heavy power of the state can give these things. Americans have been unique in our moderation, not asking too much from our leaders and understanding that liberty depends on tolerating significant inequality and even injustice in the sort run in return for better outcomes in the long run.

Posted by Christine & John at May 12, 2016 5:33 PM
Comments
Comment #404705

If we empower a business with the right to discriminate on the basis of $ex, how can we justify prohibiting a business from discriminating on the basis of skin color?

I hope you do understand that the legacy of Jim Crow was born in large part by “free association”. This issue is a lot more delicate than you describe above. There are circumstances where discrimination may be justified, but the general rule needs to assume that any discrimination is unlawful until proven otherwise.

Consider the case of bakers who do not want to participate in gay weddings. Punishment is automatic to a baker who refuses to participate in gay weddings in the form of lost revenue. It is perfectly appropriate from the aggrieved people to organize boycotts. It is THEIR right of free association not to associate with people like the bakers in question. What they should not have as options is to bring the coercive power of the state to bear to dictate their ideas.

I question the premise here. You assume the gay couple is the only potential lost customer. However, I would not discount the possibility that a much larger number of heterosexual customers would boycott a baker who serviced a gay couple. Indeed, discrimination can thrive within the free market if the circumstances are right.

What they should not have as options is to bring the coercive power of the state to bear to dictate their ideas.
Reiterating my first sentence, this statement seems to oppose the precedent set in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States. I have trouble believing you reject the use of state coercion to force private businesses to end racial discrimination. Maybe you consider racial discrimination to be an “extreme case”. If so, I’d like to hear why there is a distinction to be made between racial minorities of sexual orientation minorities.
It is the nature of a voluntary association to include some and exclude others. If we force every group to accept everybody, we increase diversity within the groups while destroying diversity among them and in the process destroys our freedom. We need to be more tolerant of inequality. Groups and individuals will exclude others for good and bad reasons.
Perhaps, the preservation of diversity among groups should be a voluntary outcome rather than one coerced by incumbent power brokers? Instead of defending exclusionary practices, we compel inclusive ones while simultaneously encouraging potential new group members to respect the wishes of otherwise exclusionary groups in order to not dilute the preexisting groups. Posted by: Warren Porter at May 13, 2016 2:04 AM
Comment #404708

And now, by royal decree and the coercive power of the state, President Obama has once again shat upon freedom of association and declared America’s schools must allow children to shower with those of the opposite s*x.

After the last seven years, the next civil rights challenge is for those who dare identify as Americans.

Posted by: kctim at May 13, 2016 8:44 AM
Comment #404723

warren

“If we empower a business with the right to discriminate on the basis of $ex, how can we justify prohibiting a business from discriminating on the basis of skin color?”

Nothing, and it happens anyway. A privately owned business, or organization has and should have the right to refuse service to anyone. Personally I wouldn’t want to patronize a business, or be part of a group that didn’t want me there to begin with.

This idea that the state can somehow legislate away peoples prejudices, and force them to accept things they choose not to, is retarded. If you pass a law they will just find away to discourage those they choose not to associate with.

I have yet to see a gay or lesbian couple walk into a Muslim bakery, and sue when they are refused service for their wedding because their religion does not permit it.

You people on the left need to live your lives the way you choose, and leave the rest of us who alone.

Posted by: dbs at May 13, 2016 4:04 PM
Comment #404724
Nothing, and it happens anyway. A privately owned business, or organization has and should have the right to refuse service to anyone.

This is not true for businesses that are considered “public accommodations”. Please read Section II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 if you have doubts. The relevant provisions were held as Constitutional by the SCOTUS in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States.

Personally I wouldn’t want to patronize a business, or be part of a group that didn’t want me there to begin with.
Do you think SNCC activists should have adopted the same attitude upon encountering the Greensboro Woolsworth’s policy of discrimination at its lunch counters?
This idea that the state can somehow legislate away peoples prejudices, and force them to accept things they choose not to, is retarded. If you pass a law they will just find away to discourage those they choose not to associate with.

I would not claim it is the state’s job to eliminate prejudice. Prejudice is a fact of life. However, prejudice should never be the basis of legislation. Also, The state does have a role in using its cudgel to prevent prejudice from leading to violations of any individuals’ liberty.

I have yet to see a gay or lesbian couple walk into a Muslim bakery, and sue when they are refused service for their wedding because their religion does not permit it.
I assume Muslim bakers choose to place America’s Constitution above their prejudice.
You people on the left need to live your lives the way you choose, and leave the rest of us who alone.
Last time I checked, it wasn’t the left passing laws telling people who they should marry or telling people which toilet they should use. Posted by: Warren Porter at May 13, 2016 4:28 PM
Comment #404729

Warrem

Jim Crow was a legal - i.e. enforced by government coercion. It was actually laws AGAINST free association. It took coercive force to enforce it.

“I question the premise here. You assume the gay couple is the only potential lost customer. However, I would not discount the possibility that a much larger number of heterosexual customers would boycott a baker who serviced a gay couple. Indeed, discrimination can thrive within the free market if the circumstances are right.”

A boycott, absent coercion, is perfectly acceptable. And you are right that others might boycott. All the more reason why we do not need bring in coercive power of the state.

The civil rights movements initial targets were specific rules enforced by coercion. There were also fewer options in those days. We need to remove discrimination enforced by coercion. Other will mostly take care of themselves. We assume that business owners are greedy, right? Some will be willing to lose money to satisfy their prejudices. Most will not and those who indulge themselves will find themselves at significant disadvantage.

There is also the important aspect of participation. In the bakery case, the bakers did not refuse to sell products to gay people. They did not want to make a product specifically to support a gay ceremony. I would agree with you that their actions were silly and wrong. I would not bring coercive force against them for their error.

“Perhaps, the preservation of diversity among groups should be a voluntary outcome rather than one coerced by incumbent power brokers?” It will be a voluntary outcome absent the power brokers applying coercive force. Just lay off.


Posted by: Christine & John at May 13, 2016 6:31 PM
Comment #404730
Jim Crow was a legal - i.e. enforced by government coercion. It was actually laws AGAINST free association. It took coercive force to enforce it.

Only some aspects of the Jim Crow regime were codified into law. Others were not. For instance, there was no law preventing the Woolsworths Lunch Counter in Greensboro from servicing the Greensboro Four.

A boycott, absent coercion, is perfectly acceptable. And you are right that others might boycott. All the more reason why we do not need bring in coercive power of the state.
Boycotts are a coercive tool. The pain inflicted is economic rather than physical, which makes it more ameliorable, but in extreme cases (such as the anti-Semitic boycotts of Wiemar Germany), we should be wary.
Other will mostly take care of themselves
History tells us otherwise. Woolsworths lunch counters remained segregated for decades without an ounce of state coercion or force. One business owner, Moreton Rolleston, went so far as to sue the US government in an effort to keep his motel segregated. Prejudice is deeply ingrained and only force can correct its maleficence.
We assume that business owners are greedy, right? Some will be willing to lose money to satisfy their prejudices. Most will not and those who indulge themselves will find themselves at significant disadvantage.

I challenge the notion that discrimination necessarily costs money. 80 years ago, most whites were unlikely to patronize a business that served nonwhite customers. This creates a huge financial incentive for a business owner to discriminate. Indeed, this very pressure likely compelled many non-racist businesses to segregate. Greed can support racism as easily as it can destroy it.

There is also the important aspect of participation. In the bakery case, the bakers did not refuse to sell products to gay people. They did not want to make a product specifically to support a gay ceremony. I would agree with you that their actions were silly and wrong. I would not bring coercive force against them for their error.

“Perhaps, the preservation of diversity among groups should be a voluntary outcome rather than one coerced by incumbent power brokers?” It will be a voluntary outcome absent the power brokers applying coercive force. Just lay off.

There’s a power that comes from owning a business. It may not equal the magnitude of the power that government wields, but it is a power nonetheless. A government can deprive a man of a life, a baker can deprive a man of a cake. When bakers refuse to serve a gay couple, there is an element of coercion there. It’s only a voluntary interaction when both parties agree that the exchange of money for cake shouldn’t occur.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 13, 2016 7:19 PM
Comment #404732

Warren

There were some laws, and when not codified in law it was enforced by coercion. The authorities had the duty to prevent coercion. They often did not and sometimes participated. That was where government failed the people.

Boycotts are not coercive unless they use or threaten to use violence. It is part of our free market system to patronize or withhold our patronage. That is how it works and why it works. We should not expand the definition of coercion to include not doing business.

Boycotts in Germany were accompanied by threats and actual violence. The authorities failed in their duty to protect citizens and often participated. Again, a government failure, not a market failure.

Re the bakers - they did not refuse to serve gay customers. They refused to cater a specific sort of event.

Again we cannot expand the definition of coercion to include not doing business. It loses its meaning.

Posted by: Christine & John at May 13, 2016 8:32 PM
Comment #404735

I’m at a loss to understand how two heterosexual men are not discriminated against when they are denied, by society, the benefits of marriage when they share a home?

How can a line be drawn that excludes heterosexual couples without it being discriminatory?

Posted by: Weary Willie at May 14, 2016 9:51 AM
Comment #404736

There’s no law preventing two heterosexual men who live together from marrying.

How can a line be drawn that excludes heterosexual couples without it being discriminatory?

Correct. It is nigh impossible to draw these sorts of lines without being discriminatory. This is why I don’t want my government to be drawing any of these lines.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 14, 2016 10:43 AM
Comment #404737

Yet Obama just did, in other terms. Are you saying you don’t support this action by the Obama administration?

Do you think he’s extorting an unreasonable compliance from local schools by withholding federal funds from schools that don’t comply with his point of view?

Posted by: Weary Willie at May 14, 2016 11:02 AM
Comment #404739
There were some laws, and when not codified in law it was enforced by coercion. The authorities had the duty to prevent coercion. They often did not and sometimes participated. That was where government failed the people.

While there were cases where vigilante terrorism was used to punish people who did not tow the segregationist line, the historical record still indicates that business owners were not eager to integrate once the government finally cracked down on all the lynchings. Consider Moreton Rolleston, who expend tremendous amounts of time and money to guide a lawsuit all the way to the Supreme Court just to defend his “right” to prohibit African-Americans from patronizing his motel. I am quite confident that Moreton was not coerced into doing all of this.

Boycotts are not coercive unless they use or threaten to use violence. It is part of our free market system to patronize or withhold our patronage. That is how it works and why it works. We should not expand the definition of coercion to include not doing business.

Boycotts are a tool used to persuade someone else to do something they do not want to do. Physical threats are another such tool. Whether we decide to classify both these tools as “coercive” or not is just a matter of semantics.

The key thing is that there is a time and a place where using these tools is appropriate and there are other times and places where they are not. There are times and places where a boycott is appropriate, but physical intimidation is not. However, I do not subscribe to the view that all boycotts are permissible. Now, I wouldn’t want to entrust the government with the power to forcibly end a boycott. It is too likely that power would be abused; however, I believe some boycotts violate the ideals on which this nation was founded upon.

Boycotts in Germany were accompanied by threats and actual violence. The authorities failed in their duty to protect citizens and often participated. Again, a government failure, not a market failure.
Note the distinction. I did not refer to boycotts that happened in the NAZI era, which were certainly accompanied by violence. I am referring to the much longer legacy of antisemitic boycotts. I would dispense with any carte blanche assertions about boycotts. Posted by: Warren Porter at May 14, 2016 11:41 AM
Comment #404740
Yet Obama just did, in other terms. Are you saying you don’t support this action by the Obama administration?

Do you think he’s extorting an unreasonable compliance from local schools by withholding federal funds from schools that don’t comply with his point of view?

I don’t understand the connection you are making. None of this has anything to do with drawing lines between homosexuals and heterosexuals. Nor is there anything regarding the legality of a marriage between two heterosexual men either.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 14, 2016 11:44 AM
Comment #404745

Heterosexual males who apply for benefits have been ridiculed for making a mockery of the homosexual relationship.

Posted by: Weary Willie at May 14, 2016 12:26 PM
Comment #404746

I am not aware of the specific context of the case you refer to. I do guess that this ridicule comes from private citizens and does not represent a threat of coercive action from the government. I also guess that these two men were not denied equal access to any public accommodation. However, I might be wrong. Please do share the story.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 14, 2016 1:20 PM
Comment #404750

There was no case. The notion was immediately discounted as fast as the idea of two males marrying was 30 years ago.

You may believe that to be progress. I see it as the same discrimination only the shoe is on the other foot. Ergo, it does not solve anything. It’s folly.

I do know of one case that went to the supreme court that involved government forcing private business to comply. It was tried and found to be unconstitutional.

Posted by: Weary Willie at May 14, 2016 2:51 PM
Comment #404752

So, what is there to complain about? There’s nothing stopping two heterosexual men from walking into a courthouse and emerging with a marriage license.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 14, 2016 3:01 PM
Comment #404753

Then the entire concept of legal marriage should be abandoned.

It means nothing. The term partner is a more realistic description. Why must the term marriage be corrupted to include something it isn’t?

Posted by: Weary Willie at May 14, 2016 3:40 PM
Comment #404755

Except we don’t observe heterosexual men emerging from courthouses, now do we? It seems people can be responsible for defining what is and is not marriage on their own without help from the government.

Will an occasional bad actor sometimes bend the rules to his favor? Probably, but it does not perturb me the slightest if the vast majority are still acting properly.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 14, 2016 3:52 PM
Comment #404756

Warren

If we extend the definition of coercion to include making people do what they otherwise would not wish to do we break the definition. Few people would choose to work at their current jobs were they not “coerced” into. Firms would charge much more and not give their customers much choice if not coerced by market pressures.

If you do not threaten violence or threaten otherwise illegal action, it is hard to call it coercion.

Re coercion enforcing Jim Crow, it generally did. We can point to individuals who wanted to discriminate. There were many at first. But as they lose money and/or are driven out of business, their numbers dwindle.

In the case of racial discrimination in the old south, I can accept the need to shock the system, since the system was so long-established and pervasive and there were so few options. The case of the baker does not fit this.

I would also add that the case of discrimination in the civil rights movement made what we could agree was a necessary move. But it also set up an unfortunate precedent that the way to handle this sort of problem more generally was through government coercion. It makes it more difficult to dial it back, as we must now do.

Re “The key thing is that there is a time and a place where using these tools is appropriate and there are other times and places where they are not.” there are times when things are appropriate and not. I can think of situations that indeed justify actual violence. But we need be careful and not extend to broadly.

BTW - I am not fond of boycotts either. I consider them generally legitimate and better than coercion.

Posted by: Christine & John at May 14, 2016 4:16 PM
Comment #404757
If we extend the definition of coercion to include making people do what they otherwise would not wish to do we break the definition. Few people would choose to work at their current jobs were they not “coerced” into. Firms would charge much more and not give their customers much choice if not coerced by market pressures.

Failing to respond to either economic or governmental coercion has the same result, death. So I see no conflict lumping them together. Market forces oftentimes coerce people to do things they’d rather not do. As a result, it reduces their freedom slightly. However, I consider it an acceptable sacrifice as we have no better way to structure society. As I said in an earlier comment, we usually find economic coercion is more ameliorable because it operates passively. However, this does not deny its existence, which was recognized by Adam Smith in An Inquiry into the Wealth of Nations

What are the common wages of labour, depends everywhere upon the contract usually made between those two parties, whose interests are by no means the same. The workmen desire to get as much, the masters to give as little, as possible… In all such disputes, the masters can hold out much longer. A landlord, a farmer, a master manufacturer, or merchant, though they did not employ a single workman, could generally live a year or two upon the stocks, which they have already acquired. Many workmen could not subsist a week, few could subsist a month, and scarce any a year, without employment. In the long run, the workman may be as necessary to his master as his master is to him; but the necessity is not so immediate.

Also, remember that a lasting legacy of antisemitism in Europe throughout the centuries was the subjugation of Jews into a permanent underclass throughout Eastern Europe. Governmental violence occasionally played a role, but voluntary economic boycotts were an important factor too.

We can point to individuals who wanted to discriminate. There were many at first. But as they lose money and/or are driven out of business, their numbers dwindle.
Without the governmental coercion embedded in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Old South’s economy would continue to be dominated by individuals who preferred to patronize only segregated businesses. The incentive to integrate would never have arisen organically as long as Black people remained disempowered politically and economically. The assumption that segregated businesses inevitably lose money compared to integrated ones is completely baseless. It is quite rare when enough people can agree to boycott a certain business and put it out of business or change its ways.
In the case of racial discrimination in the old south, I can accept the need to shock the system, since the system was so long-established and pervasive and there were so few options. The case of the baker does not fit this.

Huh? Homophobia’s legacy extends all the way to the Bronze Age. If that isn’t “long-established” I don’t know what to say.

In any case, the last half century of enforcement of the Civil Rights Act has taught us that it isn’t simply a matter of shocking the system. 5 decades later, we still have whites-only country clubs who still manage to stay in business despite your claimed economic impetus for integration. Obviously, the lack of Black members is part of the value proposition for the White people who do join such clubs. Because these clubs are not public accommodations, I do not support using the government to force integration. I only point this out to illustrate that racial discrimination can thrive even when most people do not support segregation.

I would also add that the case of discrimination in the civil rights movement made what we could agree was a necessary move. But it also set up an unfortunate precedent that the way to handle this sort of problem more generally was through government coercion. It makes it more difficult to dial it back, as we must now do.

Of course, I disagree. The Civil Rights Movement did indeed set a new precedent and continuing that precedent is the only way we can ensure that every American enjoys the rights and freedoms endowed upon them by our Creator.

You must understand that there is no difference between Lester Maddox’s refusal to serve Black patrons at his restaurant and Memories’ Pizza refusing to sell pizza to a gay wedding.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 14, 2016 5:35 PM
Comment #404758

Warren

Individuals will do bad things. In the long term, however, it is difficult for them to maintain discrimination absent connivance or cooperation of the governmental authorities.

In our baker case, I believe bringing the coercive power of the state down on these guys is worse than the simple solution of the gay couple going to another baker to get their cake or just finishing the decoration themselves. It was an inappropriately large use of force. Consider that a guy who robs a liquor store or picks your pocket may suffer fewer long-term adverse effects than the guy who refuses to bake a cake in a particular way.

Re homophobia - it depends on what we are talking about. A firm that simply and openly refuses to serve someone just because they are gay would be highly offensive. A firm that just declines to participate in a particular activity related to being gay, frankly, does not trouble me. I would be upset if a vegan restaurant refused service to a person just because he was a hunter. I would not expect a vegan restaurant to prepare a hunting themed cake for this same customer.

Let me make it clear. I object to firms turning down PEOPLE they don’t like. I do not object to them turning down tasks or business they do not like. In fact, I like that freedom.

Let’s make clear the analogy with the civil rights. The pizza place did NOT refuse to sell pizzas to a gay person. In fact, I understand that the gay people in question had eaten there before. The bakers did not want to accept the task of making a gay themed pizza.

Posted by: Christine & John at May 14, 2016 7:16 PM
Comment #404759
Individuals will do bad things. In the long term, however, it is difficult for them to maintain discrimination absent connivance or cooperation of the governmental authorities.

Racism, homophobia, sexism and all other discrimination existed long before any government ever got involved.

the simple solution of the gay couple going to another baker to get their cake or just finishing the decoration themselves.
During the Civil Rights era, many such simple solutions presented themselves. Rosa Parks could have given her seat to the white passenger. The Greensboro Four could have gotten lunch somewhere else.
It was an inappropriately large use of force.
I would find it acceptable for prosecutorial discretion to be used to prevent these people from being used as long as the number of people discriminating against gays is relatively small. Like with the illegal immigrants with DACA status, they’d be criminals but without fear of arrest or prosecution.
it depends on what we are talking about. A firm that simply and openly refuses to serve someone just because they are gay would be highly offensive

Given your subsequent sentences, it seems I misinterpreted what you wrote. Apparently, you would support the use of governmental power to force a business to serve a gay person if said gay person requested that service in a completely generic context.

This is great, but then it begs the question:
Can a business choose to serve Blacks or Whites in a completely generic context, but refuse to serve interracial weddings?

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 14, 2016 9:06 PM
Comment #404760

Warren

You are saying that those things are natural and I suppose they are. However, there has never been a human society w/o coercion. Our current one has tamed coercion to a great extent.

Rosa Parks had no other busing options. She also was being targeted because what she was, not for what she was asking the bus driver to do.

Discriminating against people is immoral. We have the right to differentiate - discriminate among tasks.

Re the cake issue, the cake a baker might make for an interracial wedding would be identical to one made for others.

But I am beginning to lean toward affirming the right of association over the right of equal treatment. We needed to employ excessive coercion to overcome a long-standing failure. We released an anti-liberal (small l) method to achieve a liberal goal. Maybe time to put it back in the bottle.

Posted by: Christine & John at May 14, 2016 9:55 PM
Comment #404761
You are saying that those things are natural and I suppose they are. However, there has never been a human society w/o coercion. Our current one has tamed coercion to a great extent.

I can get on board with this.

Rosa Parks had no other busing options. She also was being targeted because what she was, not for what she was asking the bus driver to do.

The back of the bus would have gotten her from point A to point B in the same amount of time as her preferred seat. This option seems no less reasonable than asking a gay person to visit another bakery. Because the city had zero problems with Black people riding in the back of the bus, we can conclude Parks was not targeted simply because she was Black. Parks was targeted because she insisted a white passenger should sit behind her. In other words, she was victimized as a result of her behavior.

the cake a baker might make for an interracial wedding would be identical to one made for others.
An interracial wedding cake might contain a photograph of said interracial couple.
But I am beginning to lean toward affirming the right of association over the right of equal treatment. We needed to employ excessive coercion to overcome a long-standing failure. We released an anti-liberal (small l) method to achieve a liberal goal. Maybe time to put it back in the bottle.
Yeah, I understand that the Civil Rights Act uses some illiberal tools in order to accomplish its goals. However, there is still plenty of racial segregation in place today. Enough to justify keeping the CRA and its illiberal provisions on the books. Also, as I have said before, anti-gay discrimination has been with us since the bronze age. Correcting it will require a similar dose of illiberalism as correcting racial segregation does. Posted by: Warren Porter at May 14, 2016 10:35 PM
Comment #404762

Warren

The bus company is a state sanctioned monopoly. It has a greater responsibility to be inclusive.

Re illiberal methods to accomplish liberal goals, I think we may have succeeded. We have to realize when we have won and/or when the cost of further progress exceeds the benefits. Recalling my frequently quoted saying that the difference between a life giving medicine and a life taking poison is in the dosage.

We probably cannot eradicate unequally and I would not want to in many cases. Human dignity may demand some inequality and some will be tolerable.

I do no demand or advocate that America become a land of guaranteed success. It is better if it is a land of many chances, no one of which is crucial to success or happiness. I don’t need every individual to be fair to me, as long as there are lots of choices.

Posted by: Christine & John at May 14, 2016 11:29 PM
Comment #404764

We can both agree that equality of outcomes should never be a goal here. However, I am perplexed that you think we have “won” when scarcely 12 months ago gay couples were prohibited from marrying in many states. Today, right now, dozens of states are enacting legislation to segregate people using the toilet on the basis of a letter printed on a birth certificate.

I agree there will be a day when we can declare victory and repeal the Civil Rights Act; however, that moment is probably not going to happen in your lifetime.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 15, 2016 1:18 AM
Comment #404766

Warren

The bathroom thing is just silly. The numbers of transsexuals is so small that it can be handled on ad-hoc basis. Those that look like their gender preference can get in w/o being noticed. Those that look like the gender of their birth can safely use the bathroom of their chromosomes. In many places, there are “family” restrooms available to both genders. It just doesn’t matter and it is a created crisis. I do not consider this a right issue. Or to put it in the language of my youth, I don’t give a shit about it. And, yes, if somebody cannot use the bathroom of his/her choice, it doesn’t matter enough to worry about.

We need not and should not repeal the Civil Right Act. We should recognize that it has generally done its job and just let it atrophy.

Posted by: Christine & John at May 15, 2016 9:41 PM
Comment #404769

Didn’t we have an explosion of civil suits flood the courts when the CRA was passed. It was open season for anyone who felt “wronged”. Even criminals were suing their victims when their crimes didn’t go their way. Businesses were sued because people didn’t use common sense when using their products.

The CRA is a lawyer-employer if I ever saw one. Another example of good intentions getting hijacked by those who misuse it. Much like the 14th amendment and corporate personhood, Freedom From Religion misinterpreting religion’s role in society, employees against employers, ect. All of that stems from the CRA.

Posted by: Weary Willie at May 16, 2016 8:42 AM
Comment #404782
The bathroom thing is just silly. The numbers of transsexuals is so small that it can be handled on ad-hoc basis. Those that look like their gender preference can get in w/o being noticed. Those that look like the gender of their birth can safely use the bathroom of their chromosomes. In many places, there are “family” restrooms available to both genders. It just doesn’t matter and it is a created crisis. I do not consider this a right issue. Or to put it in the language of my youth, I don’t give a shit about it. And, yes, if somebody cannot use the bathroom of his/her choice, it doesn’t matter enough to worry about.

The problem was that transgender people were facing violence, harassment and the like before ordinances like Charlotte’s were passed. Even if a person “passes” quite well, they still run risks if they encounter someone who knows their “secret”. Likewise, things can get ugly when cisgender people’s eyes wander in ways they shouldn’t.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 18, 2016 1:02 PM
Comment #404783

Interesting read C&J , 2 things…
1. You say ” They meant equality before the law and an equal claim to basic human dignity. Nobody thought to enforce equality beyond that since anything more would interfere with liberty.” Yet the “they” also made black people 3/5ths of a person. Can you back up the basic human dignity thing with any references?

2. You say ” They demanded “inclusion,” that groups admit a broader sort of people. In a few years, they managed to equalize most voluntary associations and that made them irrelevant.”

DO you have specifics on this claim?

Posted by: j2t2 at May 18, 2016 2:32 PM
Comment #404787

Cisgender women victimized by transphobia.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 18, 2016 5:24 PM
Comment #404789

“The Three-Fifths Compromise was a compromise reached between delegates from southern states and those from northern states during the 1787 United States Constitutional Convention. The debate was over whether, and if so, how, slaves would be counted when determining a state’s total population for legislative representation and taxing purposes. The issue was important, as this population number would then be used to determine the number of seats that the state would have in the United States House of Representatives for the next ten years. The effect was to give the southern states a third more seats in Congress and a third more electoral votes than if slaves had been ignored, but fewer than if slaves and free persons had been counted equally, allowing the slaveholder interests to largely dominate the government of the United States until 1861.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-Fifths_Compromise

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 18, 2016 6:20 PM
Comment #404790

RF,

j2t2 claimed the founders were hypocritical for claiming to favor “equality before the law and an equal claim to basic human dignity” while given chattel slavery Constitutional sanction. The context of the 3/5 agreement does nothing to contradict j2t2’s point.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 18, 2016 8:48 PM
Comment #404791

An astute lady recently wrote a book emphasizing that when the going gets tuff the tuff get going. She relates that when things get bad enough for the folks they will act to change the course for the ship of state.

Seems that is happening as we poke. Trump and Bernie are running the table with their anti-establishment rhetoric. Instead of women putting Hil in the WH they are about to put her in the outhouse. And, yes we do want to know what is in Hil’s speech(s) to GS. And, Trump trumped Cruz biggly in getting the evangelical vote.

The rhetoric is there for a goodly sized revolution. Proof of any such revolution will be when establishment dems and reps start losing seats in gov’t. Moving them out should be the goal for the next several years, IMO.v

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: roy ellis at May 18, 2016 8:57 PM
Comment #404797

MY, my Warren, aren’t we sensitive. I will wait anxiously to read how you and j2t2 would have resolved the issue better than our founders did.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 19, 2016 12:40 PM
Comment #404802

Warren

Letting the person use the bathroom of his/her/its choice does not change the equation of potential harassment & violence. If the erstwhile man still looks like a man and goes into the women’s bathroom, he will still have trouble with anyone likely to violently object. And if the erstwhile woman show up in the men’s bathroom, dressed as a man and acting like one, it is unlikely anybody will care.

Re normal people’s (I refuse to use cisgender) eyes wandering where they shouldn’t, what does this even mean? Most men I know make significant effort not to closely examine other men in the bathroom. Of course, I do not believe an anatomical woman can easily use a urinal. I would indeed notice that, but I would try not to. An anatomical male would immediately reveal himself if he took it out in a woman’s room, but presumably he would be doing it in a stall obscured from view.

Posted by: Christine & John at May 19, 2016 3:52 PM
Comment #404809

Should salaried people also demand their own bathroom? Shouldn’t they be able to use the executive bathrooms when they’re on overtime?

Posted by: Weary Willie at May 19, 2016 9:14 PM
Comment #404812
I will wait anxiously to read how you and j2t2 would have resolved the issue better than our founders did.
Whether or not there was a “better way” is irrelevant. The founders laid out a vision, only to contradict it scarcely a few clauses later. This was hypocrisy, there’s no other way to describe it. Maybe it was the best plan, maybe it wasn’t. I’m not going to be a Monday morning quarterback here, but I am going to say that the Founders did not believe in equality before the law or equal claims to human dignity. The kernel of those ideas was present at the nation’s founding, but their fruition did not arise until much later.

The point here is that when C&J wrote,

Nobody thought to enforce equality beyond that since anything more would interfere with liberty. What people did in their private affairs was none of the government’s business.
is actually wrong because it is not severe enough. Equality was so unimportant to the founders that they let the property rights of slaveholders trump the very human dignity of millions of chattel slaves.

The idea expressed by C&J is one that came about much later, when government began enforcing equality during Reconstruction. It was at this time that we had a revolution in what we thought “All Men are Created Equal” meant. A similar revolution happened 100 years later and we are still working out the kinks in this extraordinary idea that everyone is born with a set of unalienable rights that no one can ever violate.

C&J,

Letting the person use the bathroom of his/her/its choice does not change the equation of potential harassment & violence.

Transgender women potentially face a lot more violence through contact with cisgender men in the intimate setting of a men’s room than they face from contact with other women in the women’s room. Allowing these people to choose the bathroom they prefer to use changes the harassment & violence equation tremendously.

Most men I know make significant effort not to closely examine other men in the bathroom. Of course, I do not believe an anatomical woman can easily use a urinal. I would indeed notice that, but I would try not to. An anatomical male would immediately reveal himself if he took it out in a woman’s room, but presumably he would be doing it in a stall obscured from view.

Transgender people nearly always do their business in stalls, where things are obscured from view. Thus, I am confident that no one will see a transwomen’s penis in a women’s facility so long as they aren’t a pervert peeking at every person that doesn’t conform to their conception of womanhood.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 19, 2016 10:26 PM
Comment #404827

Warren writes; “Allowing these people to choose the bathroom they prefer to use changes the harassment & violence equation tremendously.”

What utter nonsense. Please explain how my private thoughts and feelings, unknown to anyone else, can influence the action of others for or against me.

Warren writes, regarding the issue of slaves at our founding…”Whether or not there was a “better way” is irrelevant.”

Really? Assume there was no “better way” since you and no one else can think of any. The compromise was not irrelevant as it led to the founding of our Democratic Republic. The Founders acknowledged that it wasn’t perfect; but rather, a compromise to found a nation from the individual states.

As the Founders provided, amendments were added to the Constitution to correct this defect born of necessity.

Warren and j2t2 choose to be critical. I and others choose to admire what this compromise achieved.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 20, 2016 3:26 PM
Comment #404832

I never said anything about your thoughts and feelings. I stated the simple fact that allowing people to pick the restroom they are most comfortable with changes the equation regarding sexual crimes, whereas forcing people into a particular facility can increase their chance of being victimized.

As for the founders, the compromises achieved nothing but misery for millions of enslaved Americans. Paired with similar maltreatment of women and indigenous Americans and the hipocrisy of the founders is complete. I hold these men in high esteem, but I will not make excuses for their sins. The founders were wrong, there’s no other way to put it. Slavery could have been abolished in 1789, but instead, economic interests trumped ideals.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 21, 2016 12:16 AM
Comment #404837

Pro-Gay Group Warns ‘Significant Risks’ in Transgender Medical Treatments for Children

“Conditioning children into believing that a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite $ex is normal and healthful is child abuse.”

Now we have to abolish child abuse.

Children fantasize about the opposite $ex. I recall, during my childhood, in phys ed, a classmate tucked his dinger between his legs and said he’s a girl. Did anyone agree with him? No, they didn’t. He didn’t go back to class tucked away. He didn’t insist on using the girls locker room. He put his fantasy aside and developed into a normal man.

Had he been subjected to the type of propaganda that kids these days are subjected to, his fantasy could have developed into a mental disorder much like the one described in the link above.

To take a childhood fantasy and nurture that fantasy as fact is child abuse. There’s no other term to describe it. This same fantasy in an adult mind is a conscious decision made by that adult and should not be forced on society as normal.

Obama is playing with the mental health of millions of children by promoting this issue the way he has. He is blackmailing and extorting compliance. His motives should be discussed in this thread, not a child’s “right” to use a bathroom.

Posted by: Weary Willie at May 21, 2016 10:16 AM
Comment #404838

WW,

It’s a delicate issue, and yes, an incorrect decision can lead to devastating consequences. Witness the mental anguish that plagued David Reimer. Likewise, many transgender people suffer similar levels of depression when they are forced into gender roles that make them uncomfortable.

Ultimately, it is a decision that is best made by parents with the careful guidance of medical professionals. Under no circumstances should we replace that with a diktat from society or government. Rather, we all have an obligation to honor parents’ right to raise their children in the manner they prefer.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 21, 2016 10:52 AM
Comment #404839

You’re saying Obama is wrong.

Posted by: Weary Willie at May 21, 2016 10:58 AM
Comment #404840

The founding fathers compromised their principles to form a nation. Well some of the founding fathers did anyway. That is a lesson our more extreme conservative leaders of today should keep in mind. The southern states had founding fathers that included the slavery of another person as one of their principles.

They of course didn’t compromise as much and gained enough to make the blessing of liberty only a dream for many Americans until nearly 100 years later. Greed was a powerful incentive to keep the cost of labor low and a principle of these founding fathers but human dignity wasn’t a principle they held close.

I don’t hold this against those founding fathers that compromised the equality and human dignity of others as they did get rid of the whole divine right of kings thing, which was the norm for centuries. No small feat that IMHO. However for those locked into indentured servitude and slavery liberty was still a dream. SO lets not kid ourselves into believing ” equality before the law and an equal claim to basic human dignity” was anything more than the fight to rid us of the divine right of kings. It had nothing to do with the human dignity of others lower on the economic scale.

Posted by: j2t2 at May 21, 2016 11:21 AM
Comment #404841

Has Obama advocated for anything other than the judgement of parents with the guidance of medical professionals? If so, I guess we disagree. While there are probably plenty of transgender youth suffering with parents who do not accept their identity, I think their plight will have to wait until after current treatments have proven themselves. The use of hormone blockers and the like in children is virgin territory. I think it is best if we let people with support of friends and family be the first guinea pigs.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 21, 2016 11:22 AM
Comment #404844


Has Obama advocated for anything other than the judgement of parents with the guidance of medical professionals?

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/05/18/transgender-$ex-police-obama-rules/

President Barack Obama’s aggressive new federal transgender rules require 55 million K-12 kids and teachers to speak in a new government-approved dialect, to ignore what science says about $ex, and to comply with privacy-violating orders whenever even one teen in their school claims to have a “gender identity” problem.
Posted by: Weary Willie at May 21, 2016 12:47 PM
Comment #404845

None of those measures intrude on the transgender students’ parents’ right to decide what is best for their children.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 21, 2016 1:14 PM
Comment #404846

OK, there is a provision for protecting the privacy of a student who discloses transgender thoughts or feelings to school staff. However, this is distinct from the other provisions. This is a discussion of a child who currently does not have a desire to publicly express a gender identity that differs from their natal $ex.

Of course, if that child wishes to express the new identity publicly, parents will be informed. I believe that parental consent is vital for most gender transitions. Yes, there are some abusive parents who may intentionally withhold that consent for malevolent reasons, but unfortunately, that is not something society can address at the moment.

A vital resource for understanding what is going on:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/growing-up-trans/

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 21, 2016 1:35 PM
Comment #404847

No, they don’t. They do intrude on everyone else.

Posted by: Weary Willie at May 21, 2016 4:02 PM
Comment #404848

I don’t know how I got myself sucked into this discussion again. Gawker syndrome, I guess. It’s like the bearded lady or the baby with two heads.

Posted by: Weary Willie at May 21, 2016 4:09 PM
Comment #404849

Well, we ARE talking about bearded ladies.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 21, 2016 5:19 PM
Comment #404850

Warren wrote; “Slavery could have been abolished in 1789, but instead, economic interests trumped ideals.”

Ah…Warren found a way when our Founders couldn’t. Brilliant Warren…please share.


Posted by: Royal Flush at May 21, 2016 5:25 PM
Comment #404851

What else is there to explain? The precedent set by the Massachusetts Supreme Court in 1781 would ideally have been applied across the whole nation. Instead, spineless men paid homage to a “peculiar institution”. A generation later, men like John C. Calhoun would fill the halls of Congress with speeches defending slavery as an “honorable good” rather than a “necessary evil”.

This isn’t to discount the limited efforts by a minority of abolitionist founding fathers. However, it must be noted that their efforts ultimately failed.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 21, 2016 6:37 PM
Comment #404852

Wow…never knew Warren was so callous about both our Founders and our Founding documents. I will place him in a special place to ignored when posting about our Democratic Republic.

He has no idea about what it took to become the United States of America. And worse…doesn’t care.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 21, 2016 6:54 PM
Comment #404853

Do you notice the rock solid support of the founding fathers when it favors Democratics, but if not they are outdated, obsolete, white men lucky and privileged enough to come up with a living document?

Posted by: Weary Willie at May 21, 2016 8:37 PM
Comment #404854

Royal Flush,

I’m sorry, but being intellectual giants in so many other arenas cannot excuse cowardice in face of one of the greatest tragedies of human history. Now, this doesn’t mean I don’t revere the work they accomplished or the words they wrote. However, I treat the founders as men, not angels. It’s too bad that you adopt a binary position that fails to comprehend this nuance.

The fact of the matter is that if Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and the rest of their cohort wanted too, they could easily have freed the slaves they owned. Instead, they chose convenience over idealism. I’m not going to whitewash things such as the decades Jefferson spent raping his widow’s half-sister. There’s nothing perfect about the behavior of any man.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 21, 2016 9:12 PM
Comment #404855

I will note that there are a few honorable exceptions. John Jay and Alexander Hamilton fought bravely on the slavery issue. Too bad the other founders did not see things in the same light. Fortunately, men like John Quincy Adams picked up that mantle and abolitionism became a rallying cause for many in the Antebellum North.

Unfortunately, the Constitutional Convention also included the likes of Charles Pickney: “They [Africans] certainly must have been created with less intellectual power than the whites, and were most probably intended to serve them, and be the instruments of their cultivation.” – 1821

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 21, 2016 9:35 PM
Comment #404856

Slavery existed from pre-history until Western countries abolished it. In 1776, North America was among the most enlightened places in the world, but not yet enlightened enough overall. We can criticize the Founders for not acting swiftly enough, but not more.

Recall that the creation of the United States was one of the biggest leaps in liberty in history. Had the idealist fought hard enough to seek to abolish slavery too, it is likely we would not have a United States. Slavery would not have been abolished sooner and may have endured even longer.

Jefferson likely had a long term relationship with Sally Hemmings. I know that today some would call it rape. I doubt she did.

We do not need to whitewash our history, but we should understand its nuances. If they were transported to our time, they would find many of our practices distasteful and immoral. We take into account their circumstances and ours.

Jefferson and Washington were among the greatest men who ever lived. As you say, no man is perfect. But if we balance their good and evil, the balance is way to the good.

Posted by: Christine & John at May 21, 2016 9:59 PM
Comment #404857

C&J,

I agree with most of your comment. There’s no way to know exactly what would happen if slavery had been abolished at the nation’s founding rather than a century later. I do know that Massachusetts successfully abolished slavery as a result of a court order rather than legislative action. The blowback from this instance of judicial activism was not severe. Indeed, the economic equation was pointing towards abolition up until Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin. While I do celebrate what was accomplished at the time, I also mourn the lost opportunity to do something greater.

However, if we return to j2t2’s original point, how can we claim that the founders thought the words “all men are created equal” applied only narrowly such that, “They meant equality before the law and an equal claim to basic human dignity.” Clearly, the legacy of slavery (as well as the contemporaneous treatment of women, indigenous Americans and non-landowners) suggests that equality before the law and equal claims to basic human dignity were not within the scope of what the founders imagined. Indeed, these are ideas that date to far more recent times, well after horrors such as slavery were abolished.

Now, whether or not this more modern interpretation of Jefferson’s words is the best one remains up in the air. I am liable to agree that it is, but I won’t anoint my preferred interpretation with the founders’ blessings.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 21, 2016 11:06 PM
Comment #404858

Warren

They were well-advanced for their time and the seed that they planted grew into the great liberty we today all enjoy. I am proud to be American, glad my ancestors chose that for me.

Franklin knew to compromise about slavery for the greater good of building a United States. The Founders thought that slavery would die out if they just outlawed the overseas slave trade, which they did.

Recall again, the whole world lives in bondage until just a few centuries ago. Western culture discovered that slavery was an evil that could be eradicated and generally succeeded in exporting that idea to the rest of the benighted world.

Posted by: Christine & John at May 22, 2016 12:20 AM
Comment #404859

I’m not going to debate the wisdom of the decision. It could be argued that greater fealty to the notions of liberty would tear the nation apart. Indeed, that is exactly what happened three quarter centuries later. All I am arguing is that this wisdom is not congruent with the ideals expressed in the myths we tell each other about the nation’s founding.

There is a contradiction between those compromises and the assertion, “They meant equality before the law and an equal claim to basic human dignity”. While some founders were active abolitionists (eg Jay) and others took a passive approach (eg Washington), some of the other founders were steadfast defenders of this “peculiar institution”. It would be a lie to claim that these men meant we all had an equal claim to basic human dignity. This is an idea with origins derived from more recent interpretations of the Declaration of Independence.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 22, 2016 1:11 AM
Comment #404860

Warren

We base our aspirations on our ideals, knowing full-well that our reach will exceed our grasp. Wise people understand that they need to be pragmatic as well as idealistic.

The Founding Fathers changed the course of human history in an extremely positive way. Much of the freedom in the world today was contingent on their good judgement and practical wisdom.

Slavery existed from pre-history. It is a tribute to Americans that they saw it as an evil that could be extirpated. If they were unable or too short sighted to end it immediately, that was a failing. But we still can admire their achievements.

We cannot know for certain whether they could have created the United States had they demanded the immediate end of slavery. As you say, it did not work out that well four-score and seven years later. You have to make reasonable choices.

And most of them probably did not think that the races could be equal. Much of the “science” of the time informed them that they were not. There was no place in the world, or in world history where different groups were treated equally. The pre-modern world did not recognize people as individuals. One of the modern ideas that our Founding Fathers helped root was exactly that individuals mattered.

I would also say that the end of slavery was not possible until a reasonably strong free-market economy was in place. Pre-modern societies always featured some form of bondage, since there really was no other way to organize absent a well-functioning and consistent market mechanism.

Posted by: Christine & John at May 22, 2016 11:02 AM
Comment #404861

I’m not disputing anything you write, but you are missing the point. Your premises regarding what the founders thought regarding racial equality are fundamentally false. You are taking contemporary notions and ascribing them to men for whom these concepts would be completely foreign.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 22, 2016 11:24 AM
Comment #404863

Warren

I don’t think I am. I understand that Washington, Jefferson and the other did not have our modern ideas. I do not expect it from them. They took some of the first steps on a long journey and could not see the destination. We would not tolerate many of their attitudes today. But w/o the unusual wisdom and foresight, we would not enjoy the luxury of our more enlightened attitudes.

Few of us would have done better in their circumstances.

Posted by: Christine & John at May 22, 2016 11:44 AM
Comment #404864

This idea that equality entitles each person a claim to basic human dignity is a modern one. I know I have caused much ink to be spilled for a seemingly pedantic reasons, but I feel it is an important distinction to make.

It means that when we discuss the use of illiberal means to obtain liberal ends, we are delving into uncharted territory. The founders did not explore these realms because they did not accept the liberal ends that we seek to accomplish today; Fear the illiberal means was not the reason.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 22, 2016 3:49 PM
Comment #404865

Warren

I fear we are staying from liberal ends. That is what I wrote about the right of free association, a very important liberal right. It is being supplanted by the requirement of inclusion. This is an older concept, often a religious one. It is valid in many ways, but should generally yield to the right of association.

I am a liberal in the original sense. Many conservatives conserve the liberal tradition for liberty, free association, responsibility & enterprise.

I recognize the need of illiberal methods in protecting civil rights. As I often say, the difference between a deadly poison and a life-giving medicine is often in the dosage. We applied the potentially poisonous treatment of government coercion of inclusiveness to fight the greater problem of entrenched racism. We needed to do this, but we should not become convinced that the poison was a good thing or that it should be extended farther than needs be.

The problems of LGBT bathrooms is trivial. It may be true that some some injustice is done to a few. This is illiberal. But balance this against the heavy coercion of the state and I do not think it is a price worth paying.

The Founders well understood the use of illiberal means to attain their goal. They fought a very bloody revolution, which often meant essentially a civil war where neighbors were expropriated. They studied the classics, understood the horrors of the English civil war and the compromises of the Restoration. Theirs were a greater generation than ours.

Anyway, the “liberal” ends you are talking about are a bridge too far in my opinion. We need not press LGBT rights to the conclusion implied by the Obama folks. In this case, the life-giving medicine has gone to the deadly poison extreme. Good people have had enough of it. It does not mean that we dislike the individuals affected. We can ask to be reasonable as we explore solutions that protect our freedom and theirs.

Posted by: Christine & John at May 22, 2016 4:11 PM
Comment #404866

“There’s no way to know exactly what would happen if slavery had been abolished at the nation’s founding rather than a century later.”

Warren, there would have been no founding of this nation without the compromise our Founders made.

Posted by: Royal Flush at May 22, 2016 4:32 PM
Comment #404867

Royal Flush,

You assume too much. There is no fundamental reason that prevented the nation from being founded with a Constitution abolishing slavery. Despite their bravery in a plethora of other arenas, the founders displayed cowardice on this issue. Surrendering to their fears rather than embracing their dreams, the Founders failed to protect the unalienable rights of millions of Americans. Temporarily deserting the cause of liberty may have been a wise action in the long run, but that does not erase the fact that these men were responsible for perpetuating one of the greatest tragedies in human history.

Christine & John,

The problems of LGBT bathrooms is trivial. It may be true that some some injustice is done to a few. This is illiberal. But balance this against the heavy coercion of the state and I do not think it is a price worth paying.

This is the crux of our disagreement. We have no way to reliably quantify the liberty or lack thereof in any of these circumstances. The only way to judge is to use subjective intuition. I think we all can agree on the ideal outcome, which is a scenario where inclusion becomes a norm enforced by society’s unwritten rules rather than the government’s cudgel. Alas, we are not at that point yet, especially with regards to LGBTQ rights. Temporary compulsion to force integration does not seem to me to be a virulent dosage of the poison.

I acknowledge that my point of view incorporates the idea that the National Government is not the only “small g” government in our land. Private business also have the power to govern how they do business and this power can be abused to do harm just as much as the National Government can do so. I know the right doesn’t like to think the private sector has the ability to compel the individual, but they do. This is why nobody bought green Model Ts back in the ’20s. Henry Ford’s government forbade it.

Maintaining a liberal society is all about balancing the various governments against one another. The distinction between public and private governments is that the former can be checked at the ballot box while the latter cannot. Conversely, economic factors check the latter, but not the former. Because the methods for restraining each of these governments are different, each has strengths and weaknesses that guide them into playing different roles. Public governments are much better for ensuring the common defense. Private organizations are much better for ensuring that enough automobiles are manufactured to meet supply.

This is why I caution against some platitudes in favor of free association. It turns out, some associations are not all that free.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 22, 2016 6:05 PM
Comment #404868

Warren

The anti-slavery men at the Constitutional Convention thought that there could be no Union if they immediately abolished slavery. They put the Union above that and if I were among them I would have agreed.


Re perpetuating a tragedy, every culture up to that time had employed some form of bondage. Outside a few places in Western Europe and the Northern Colonies, the whole world still did. It just did not have the same feeling it does today.

Re inclusion - I am not sure that is the best outcome in the bathroom case. It is not a great inconvenience to ask the LGBT person to use the bathroom that he/she most resembles or use the “family” bathroom often featured these days.

We have biological facts. With great effort, we can overcome them. The effort may be worth it to the individual involved. It does not need to be worth it to us.

Few men care if a woman uses the men’s bathroom. She may have to put up with a few stares, but too bad. The problem comes with men using female bathrooms. If the person looks like a woman, nobody will notice. If he looks like a man, let him use the male room. Not a problem.

It certainly should not be a Federal case.

I do not accept your idea of private and public government. Government is government to the extent that it has a monopoly over the use of violent coercive force. A car company does not have that.

You can choose not to do business with a particular firm. Try not doing business with government, such as not paying your taxes. That is the difference.

Re free association means I can exclude some people in my private business. I have many gay friends. Some are “gayer” than others, i.e. they talk about it all the time. I do not wish to hear about it, so I avoid them. Is it because they are gay? No. It is because they try to bother me about being gay. Transgender people are by definition weird. They are choosing an identity that goes against their chromosomes and hormones. If they keep it to themselves, I have no trouble. But I don’t need to hear about it from them beyond the first time.

Posted by: Christine & John at May 22, 2016 6:52 PM
Comment #404870
The anti-slavery men at the Constitutional Convention thought that there could be no Union if they immediately abolished slavery. They put the Union above that and if I were among them I would have agreed.

I would also have agreed. But there were pro-slavery men at the same convention as well. Those men are also founding fathers and they share the lion’s share of the blame for the 75 years of slavery that followed.

Re inclusion - I am not sure that is the best outcome in the bathroom case. It is not a great inconvenience to ask the LGBT person to use the bathroom that he/she most resembles or use the “family” bathroom often featured these days.

Transwomen often face assault and violence when they are forced to use the men’s room. This is a big reason why they want to use the women’s room.

We have biological facts. With great effort, we can overcome them. The effort may be worth it to the individual involved. It does not need to be worth it to us.

Few men care if a woman uses the men’s bathroom. She may have to put up with a few stares, but too bad. The problem comes with men using female bathrooms. If the person looks like a woman, nobody will notice. If he looks like a man, let him use the male room. Not a problem.

Generally speaking, you are right. Transwomen can “pass” very well and not be noticed by strangers. The problem is when they encounter someone in the restroom who peeps. Or, when they encounter someone who is a long-term personal acquaintance. Then, the “secret” is sometimes announced and the harassment begins. We need the force of law to prevent this.

I do not accept your idea of private and public government. Government is government to the extent that it has a monopoly over the use of violent coercive force. A car company does not have that.

You can choose not to do business with a particular firm. Try not doing business with government, such as not paying your taxes. That is the difference.

A man who refuses to buy food meets the same end as the man who refuses to pay taxes. Threats of starvation are just as coercive as threats of execution.

Re free association means I can exclude some people in my private business. I have many gay friends. Some are “gayer” than others, i.e. they talk about it all the time. I do not wish to hear about it, so I avoid them. Is it because they are gay? No. It is because they try to bother me about being gay. Transgender people are by definition weird. They are choosing an identity that goes against their chromosomes and hormones. If they keep it to themselves, I have no trouble. But I don’t need to hear about it from them beyond the first time.
As long as the private business doesn’t involve a public accommodation, there is nothing to worry about. Exclusion is fine in those spheres. Only in the case of public accommodation are we worried about inclusion.

I am going to guess that you do not know anyone who is transgender. Once you meet and spend some time with some, I assure you it will stop being weird. Now, the people who transition well after puberty is complete do come across as weird. But the ones who start when they are younger really blend in. It’s possible to know someone for months and not notice.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 22, 2016 9:08 PM
Comment #404871

Warren

How many trans-women are there really? How often do they face assault in men’s washrooms. When we are talking trans-women, BTW, we mean men with XY chromosomes who think they are women, right?

Re someone who peeps or long-term acquaintance - again, how many are we talking about? Does it make sense to compromise the rights of a thousand people to secure the preferences for one?

Re government - if a man refuses to buy food, he is candidate for the Darwin awards. I feel no responsibility to such a person. I am sure he can find someone to sell him food. In the extremely rare case where there are no other options, we could extend state control. How often would this actually happen?

I have met transgender people. I do not think I know any. If they are so well-adapted that I do not notice, they have no worries in general.

Being strictly pragmatic, I judge what I can easily see. I do not search out the particulars.

Being transgender is unnatural in that it takes significant effort to stay transgender. We need not accept natural. But we do need to understand that it is life if much harder if we fight against it.

The whole transgender movement violates my philosophy. I seek to find natural solutions and dislike things that create unnecessary complications. I think we should organize our lives in ways that create the least trouble for ourselves and others.

Consider that we are constantly told that there are no intrinsic differences between men and women. They should be equal in every way. If this is true, who care if a person identifies as a man or woman? You can choose the traditional masculine or feminine lifestyle. Go with the easier, i.e. more natural one, and live the lifestyle you like. Nobody will care. Trans people are making trouble for themselves and others. They should just adapt, suck it up and shut up. They are not special. If they can “pass” good. If they cannot, adapt.

And what do we do about women’s sports? I was a mediocre runner as a young, yet my time in the mile would have beat Mary Decker, who was the U.S. champion at that time. Let the Y chromosome compete and nobody without it will ever again win a championship.

Posted by: Christine & John at May 23, 2016 12:09 AM
Comment #404872

C&J,

If you want to be a pragmatist, stop worrying about all these things and just treat all people the same. Leave it to transgender people to decide what is best for them.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 23, 2016 8:38 AM
Comment #404875

WP, so are you saying that there is some similarity in the comparison of the attitudinal display in regards to slavery and gender identification(they are not the same at all)?

The founding fathers for all of their wisdom and wont to create a country built on equality for all, were unable to address the problem of slavery but as CJ has pointed out that problem was inevitably solved by their desire for this equality? And now there might be evidence that although there is animosity towards gender identification that the same goal of equality could possibly be used to resolve the issue? I could be wrong but you may be on to something if I am determining your meaning correctly.

Posted by: Speak4all at May 23, 2016 3:50 PM
Comment #404877

S4A,

My ideas were a bit more limited than what you have concluded, but you make an excellent point.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 23, 2016 9:03 PM
Comment #408384

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