Re: Anti-Discrimination Laws

mike shupp (ms44278@HUEY.CSUN.EDU)
Mon, 1 Jul 1996 21:27:29 -0700

On Sun, 30 Jun 1996, Robert Snower wrote:

> This post points up very clearly a logical conflict that needs resolving.
> How can one remain logically consistent, and use the
> violation-of-personal-liberty argument to oppose anti-abortion laws, to
> oppose anti-liquor laws, to oppose anti-free speech laws, etc., then at the
> same time deny its use to oppose anti-discrimination laws?

> Now for politics. The one political interest which renders the operation of
> individual self-interest impossible is a group interest to which an
> alternative individual interest is subordinated. Whether it is ethnic
> interest, or gender interest, when this interest is given priority over an
> alternative individual interest, then the democracy of diversity is
> imperiled. Individual differences of interest lose out to ethnic or gender
> based divisions. Democracy, the world over, is unable to cope with such
> divisions. (A political party is not a group interest to which an
> alternative self-interest is subordinated; it is a group of individuals with
> the same--a common thread of--individual self-interest.)
> Thus, the one category of personal choice we must discourage in a successful
> democracy of diversity is that which destroys the operation of personal
> choice. Ethnic or gender based choices come under this category. This is
> the logical basis for anti-discrimination laws which, on the superficial
> level, violate the principle of individual choice. The stronger, the
> better. Discrimination bears the same kind of threat to a workable
> democracy that monopoly bears to an efficient market.

This is unnecessarily abstract, I think. Anti-discrimination
statutes worked because most people felt queasy about racial
bias. Maybe it is your free and inalienable right to refuse
to serve meals to Blacks, for example, and maybe I'd even be
willing to stand up in court and say you should have this right.
It doesn't mean that I respect your judgement, despite my
professed willingness to indulge you, or that I wish to see
other people duplicate your behavior.

Opposing abortion, on the other hand, is "being against murder
of unborn children." Pro-lifers don't carry about the same
sort of uneasy conscience that segregationists did by the mid
1960's, which is why it's hard to push them towards a consensus.

And liquor abolition was sort of in the middle, with sort of
in the middle long term results.

Mike Shupp
California State University, Northridge