Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Bathrooms, Cakes, Gays and Nazi's

Bathrooms, Cakes, Gays and Nazi's
I keep getting asked about my thoughts on the issue of Religious Freedom, Gays, Jews, Cakes, Christians, Nazi's, and Trans Folk in the Bathroom. I am no Libertarian Scholastic but I will try to write a cogent response. We really need to give this some careful thought. This is not about "sound-bites" but important historical and Historic ideas... I think Presidential candidate Gov. Gary Johnson is correct on this: (https://youtu.be/COItiKtHWyg) and (https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1102085536517092&id=29429173729648)

I think all this talk of "force" is misdirected. Denying someone access to bathrooms, "forcing" someone to bake a cake or "forcing" someone not to, depending on one's point of view is not really the issue. Complying with the law is. Yes, laws are the use of force for Citizen compliance. But Citizens make the Social Compact to institute those laws. People don't seem to get that these are Civil Liberty issues based clearly on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They also really don't seem to understand Jim Crow and the Segregated South.

Free markets can definitely influence public standards. We buy products to support causes and ideas we care about. However, when the free market is causing/codifying the problem laws get made/changed. Just ask women why they can now get a home loan in their own name whereas 60 years ago they couldn't.

The Libertarian Party (LP) anti-Johnson crowd need to stop being Libertarian purist, fighting hypothetical what ifs and start realizing there is a spectrum of convictions and principle. Or shall I not allow the interracial couple to be my customer as well? We forget the moral reasons the Civil Rights Act was passed against the will of many for the good of all.  I am certain that such a statement is frustrating for hardcore Libertarians to hear.

I also observe how so many of the naysayers are white, male and some are also unshackled modern women.  I find the irony especially rich when it comes from women benefitting from the civil rights won by those who paid dearly for it. The irony indeed! They would still be sitting in the back of the Patriarchal bus.  This should not be hard to grasp. Just put yourself in 1960’s America: 1) a time some would say was more free and Liberty minded than we are today. 2) You are young/LGBT/Black/Female/Hispanic etc 3)  Are you okay with how you, as a minority, are being treated?  Would you want the Civil Rights Act? It's that simple. Everything else from bakers, cakes, Christians,  Jews and LGBT Rainbows are simply an appropriate continuation of it.

Some contend it was the fault of governments in the first place for having passed racist laws to begin with. That Markets would have stopped discrimination eventually.  That market forces were already deconstructing the segregated South and Govt messed it up with the Civil Rights Act. If that is true just look at how difficult it is to get Chevron or Mobile, Ford or GM etc. to move off fossil fuel towards renewables. In a mixed economy how long should we wait?  How long did Minority America have to wait?
The Federal Civil Rights Act is what made the discriminatory State, County, City laws illegal and it gave them the order to cease and desist. Not markets. Please note I am fully aware of the importance of the Civil Rights boycotts but it was the Federal law that put minorities on an equal footing. The market promoted what the laws sanctioned and the laws sanctioned what the markets promoted... and vice versa.

These were (and are) the denial of basic civil rights to minorities. The Federal gov't had to step in. What was being done to blacks, gays, women, mentally disabled etc. was morally WRONG. It is the same with Trans Bathroom fears and Nazi cakes. Libertarians should want to limit Government but not the moral defense of others who the market exploits. Just look at the predatory banking  called "payday loans" and "car title loans" that exploit segments of our population based upon their desperation…

These attached advertisements illustrate market sanctioned, codified discrimination and denigration. Talk Jews, Gays, Cakes, Gender Queer and Nazis all you want but it's all academic personal nonsense unless you're the minority. These are Civil Libertarian issues. The picture below is of me and my family. Trans Bathroom issues are no different. I'm not a monster. I'm not a Predator. Fear of predatory behavior is a false distraction away from the real issues of Civil Rights.  Teach kids about "Stranger Danger", Teach them about "Personal Space". Prosecute sexual predators and abusive behavior. Don't teach kids a stereotype. It won't prepare them. It will scare them.

All of this is about safety.  Both for the non Gender Queer person and for  the LGBT Community. Phobic men  tend to be angry violent men and women can be just as predatory. We are shocked to hear so many stories of female teachers sleeping with their young students because of false stereotypes. We cannot let fear and bigotry take away the hard fought Liberties of all including those of the LGBT Community. Cultural Conservatives need to understand these "bathroom" laws are about propriety. Let Gender Queer folk use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender being presented.

We look back and say "market forces" would have stopped the segregated racist. The chauvinism. The reality is that they didn't. Libertarian is not Libertine. It is not license to be mercenary, oppressive bigots. Libertarianism must allow at some point for the codified response to a harm being done. Otherwise our “do no harm” motto is worthless.  We seek equality of treatment. Not outcomes.  We seek Equality of access to goods, services and transactions. Not of purchasing quantity. People have different levels of income so not everyone can purchase or sell at the same levels. They do however deserve an equal footing before the law. If Johnson is wrong on this then it's back to pre 1964 America.

A right is what is granted to us by the God of Nature as legally decreed in the Bill of Rights. A law is what is used to stop those rights from being enjoyed by all. In the case of the Civil Rights Act it is law used to restore what was denied. Redress is given to Citizens by the Courts and Legislature via higher statutes of Federal law as established by the Constitution and the precedent history of the Supreme Court.

Johnson's stand is absolutely Libertarian. Libertarianism is first an ethos before it is a political and economic ideal.  The ethos is equal standing before the law. If we don't grasp this then perhaps naysayers are Anarchist? Or to turn the argument in on itself they cannot be Libertarian because they are denying equal standing before the law to those they disagree with. They do so by denying the valid use of law to redress obstructions to the Bill of Rights. Sweeping away Civil Liberties by negating the Constitutional use of law is not Libertarian but Anarchist and almost Fascist.

Equality of treatment before the law (not the guarantee of equal outcomes) is a moral imperative and the first thing needed to pursue Liberty.  Period.  Social Justice is the moral voice that should shout loudest when equal treatment is denied to others guaranteeing them an outcome of social submission.

The saddest of ironies would be that we the Party who generally oppose Liberal ideas of guaranteed equal outcomes but support the right of all to equal opportunity are now in some ways the ones guaranteeing the outcome and denying the opportunity.
The final impetus for the above letter came from this article calling for Gov. Johnson to step aside: