Copyright 2014 LewRockwell.com (Link to article)
In reading how Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s books were banned in Sweden by the ultra-politically correct European Students for Liberty, and that his appearances in Finland apparently were not acceptable to some intolerant European libertarian bigwigs, I was glad that despite the PC crowd he was still able to make his appearances there.
You see, as with Lew Rockwell, with Hans Hoppe the problem is mainly the State. Social tolerance and diversity are side issues. But acceptance of the State and its criminal functions – that’s the problem. Regardless of Hoppe’s non-PC social views he was nevertheless welcomed into the libertarian big tent.
Once again, though, when considering whether there is room in the libertarian tent for those of diverse social views, it seems that the ones concerned about LGBT issues, equal pay, racial or gender bias, etc. seem to want to push their social agendas onto others a little more aggressively than the other way around.
But the article made me recall my concern not with whatever social views libertarians or others might have, but with their acceptance of the State, even a minimal State.
Further, a lot of what the State is about is making up rules by legislative diktat and calling it “law,” and hiring thugs and goons to enforce those “laws.”
In reality it is the agents of the State and its enforcers who are the actual criminals of society. And it is also necessary to shine a light on those who use the State’s “anti-discrimination” laws as a means to harass and financially extort from someone who has expressed an “offensive” i.e. politically incorrect point of view or has declared one’s right to exercise freedom of thought and freedom of conscience. This is another area in which minarchists should rethink their acceptance of a State with monopoly power.
For instance, we can look at the case of the same-sex couple who felt offended when a photographer didn’t want to photograph their wedding (or “commitment ceremony” in this case). The couple could have merely respected the photographer’s right to not associate with or do work for them and then move on to find another photographer who would work for them. There probably are dozens of professional photographers in every region of the country who would do the work, even in the southern redneck areas, I’m sure.
Now, I think that the couple were so “offended” by the photographer because hyper-sensitivity has become the norm in America. The government schools emphasize this now in which teasing is now called “bullying,” and “zero tolerance” is just a euphemism for thought control. In a truly moral world, of course the photographer has a right to refuse to do business with someone, and based on whatever reasons she has — it’s her business.
It seems to me that there are many people now who are more offended by someone not wanting to associate with a member of a “protected class” of people, than they are offended by people forcing others to associate with them. Just as there are many people now who are more offended by a child pointing his finger like a gun saying “bang, bang” than those who are offended by teachers calling the police to arrest the child. In other words, mere thoughts and points of view, and mere verbal expressions, seem to offend more than the actual uncivilized behavior and acts of aggression being employed by the State at the wish of those who are emotionally intolerant and hyper-sensitive.
But morally, people do not have the right to force someone to associate with them or do business with them. If someone rejects you, then you move on to someone else — that’s the civilized, moral and libertarian thing to do. But using the State and its enforcers to compel an involuntary association from someone is criminal, in my view. In that same-sex commitment ceremony case, while the photographer is exercising her right of freedom of thought, association and voluntary contract, the couple are not only the intolerant ones, but they are in fact acting criminally in their financial extortion and harassment of the photographer.
And I wonder just how much the couple felt it important to sue the photographer out of genuine principle (or spite, revenge, or pettiness, depending on how you look at it), or did they see the situation as an opportunity — in our sue-happy society — to use the courts to “get something for nothing”?
Now, I’m not accusing, I’m only asking.
But the couple really did get something for nothing: They forcibly obtained free money from someone even though they were not aggrieved or harmed in any way by the photographer. The couple found another photographer for their commitment ceremony. So in my view, what the couple did was in fact a criminal act, an act of stealing money from a totally innocent person who merely did not want to work at their ceremony. And they also caused the photographer a lot of emotional strain and anguish, and unnecessarily so.
And I realize that’s a rather harsh interpretation of the situation on my part. Yet, it is truly a realistic and frank summary. But that really is what our narcissistic society has become. Certain people in certain groups want to impose their views and ways of life onto others, and they will use the force of government law and police to do it.
And that was exactly the case during the era of Jim Crow laws. Local government councils and their enforcers legally restricted a shopkeeper’s right to allow people of any race or ethnic background to enter the premises and do business there. And that was by law, and such laws really were enforced. The racist morons on the city councils and their supporters felt so uncomfortable seeing black people associating and doing business with white people, that they empowered their local government police thugs to forcibly restrict such associations.
The Jim Crow laws also included the legally-sanctioned and forced racial segregation of publicly-owned functions and facilities, such as government schools, public transportation, and so forth. (Incidentally, while the current conflicts in Israel continue to escalate, I’m sure that many people don’t know about the Jim Crow laws in Israel, separate buses for Israelis and Palestinians, and separate schools as well. But I digress.)
Fortunately the 1964 Civil Rights Act repealed the Jim Crow laws and ordered the government to end segregated policies, and forbade government goons from preventing private business people from engaging in commerce with people of different races. The government-run public schools and public transit buses must provide services to all members of the public regardless of race, etc., and a white businessperson who wants customers of all races and ethnicities should not be prevented from having them.
However, the Act went further by intruding into business owners’ private property rights to associate freely and trade with others, including their employment and customer policies based on the owners’ own preferences (and biases and prejudices). But if the Act didn’t empower government goons to criminally violate private businesses, and if, say, a white store or restaurant owner continued to discriminate against black people, then there would be plenty of protests and boycotts against that business, and/or the more liberal-minded competition across the street would win many more customers thus putting the racist out of business.
This is why freedom of association, freedom of thought and freedom of conscience are so important, especially in the context of private property rights. Even a racist has a right to be a racist, as long as one is peaceful and doesn’t violate others’ persons and property. For example, a black woman who owns a store has a free association right to not let white people in her store. It’s her store. If neighbors don’t like that, they don’t have to shop there, or they can offer to buy the store from her. But morally, should the neighbors have the “right” or more accurately the power to force the store owner to allow someone into her business she feels uncomfortable with? Of course not. Would the neighbors advocate that a black homeowner who doesn’t want white people in her home be forced to let people in her home? Of course not, and yes, it is the same thing. Private property is private property. Just because something is a commercial business doesn’t make it any more owned by the public (or by the government) than if it were a residential property.
And with the same-sex wedding or commitment ceremony case, if a lesbian photographer doesn’t want to provide services for a traditional opposite-sex wedding, she shouldn’t do that, she should not be forced to do that, and a couple’s suing her as a punishment for her refusal would be a criminal act, in my view.
So these situations in which the State exists to force certain social views onto others, and worse to use its enforcer goons to impose such views or financial thefts as punishments for those who don’t comply with the edicts, should be examples with which the minarchists, the limited government libertarians can reconsider whether we really should have a State monopoly of ultimate judicial decision-making in the first place.
I have a feeling that the so-called European Students for Liberty who didn’t want Hans-Hermann Hoppe to appear in Finland and who banned his books in Sweden might have some disagreements with me in this article. And if that were the case then one should question whether they really are students for “liberty.”