Monday, May 09, 2016

Guardians Against Slippery Slopes: The members of America's Libertarian Party don’t seem to understand this, uh… liberty thing

Of all parties, you'd expect the Libertarians to stand against the big government insanity of private sector nondiscrimination laws
observes Benny Huang as InstaPundit notes that Libertarian Party membership applications double after Trump becomes GOP nominee.
They don't.

If you’re like me you’re probably searching for a third party candidate in the wake of Donald Trump’s clinching of the GOP nomination. For those of you considering the Libertarian Party (LP), I hope you’ll reconsider.

The party’s current frontrunner, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, doesn’t seem to understand this liberty thing. He thinks it means drugs and abortion but should you decide that you don’t want to engage in a business transaction he wants the government to coerce you. The party’s other candidates aren’t quite as extreme in their statism though none of them will make an unqualified stand for your Thirteenth Amendment right not to be held in involuntary servitude—which is exactly what private sector nondiscrimination laws are.

Johnson is so enamored with the concept of private sector nondiscrimination laws that he wants to force Jewish bakers to make a Nazi wedding cakes. Yes, really. Contrary to the battle cry of his party, “Minimum government, maximum freedom,” Johnson thinks the government should mandate that party A do business with party B. I don’t. My philosophy is that both ends of any economic transaction should be voluntary. That is not, by the way, a return to Jim Crow. Jim Crow was also a statist monstrosity which prohibited businesses from serving whom they wished. Big difference.

Johnson makes the familiar slippery slope argument that permitting businesses to refuse service to one group for one reason will quickly get out of control and then all sorts of businesses will be discriminating for all sorts of reasons. For the life of me, I can’t explain why a libertarian would be upset about this. It certainly puts the lie to the rest of his supposed libertarian beliefs.

 … The moderator, John Stossel, then asked whether Jews should have to bake a Nazi wedding cake and Johnson replied, “That’s my contention, yes.” He then went on to cite the silliest slippery slope argument I have ever heard—and I’ve heard some silly ones. He actually said that a private utility company might decide to shut off someone’s electricity for religious reasons.

Is this really a problem? No really; has this ever happened in the history of the universe? Where do they get these ridiculous scenarios?

I don’t mean to imply that slippery slope arguments are inherently suspect. To the contrary, we’re racing down a slippery slope at breathtaking speed but in the other direction. The idea that business owners can’t discriminate is being taken to absurd lengths and it will only get more bizarre in coming years. It isn’t just nondiscrimination laws either. Once we’ve accepted that private businesses aren’t really private there’s essentially nothing the government can’t mandate or prohibit. If you’re okay with that then please don’t call yourself a libertarian, a conservative, or even an American. Call yourself something else. Please.

 … Strange things start happening when that right disappears. What seems like an absurd application of the law today may seem quite normal in twenty years. The sky’s really the limit. Just imagine if you could go back in time and tell Ralph Abernathy, one of Martin Luther King’s closest advisers and an ordained minister, that the precedent he was setting would one day be invoked to make Christians such as himself bake wedding cakes for homosexual weddings. He would have thought you were mad.

Nondiscrimination laws are now being used to force private businesses to allow men to use the ladies’ room. That’s what Houston’s HERO was about, as well as Charlotte’s recent law which was preempted by the state of North Carolina, which may in turn be preempted by Obama’s dictatorial powers. The Obama Administration’s wacky position isn’t even that we should integrate bathrooms, only that each of us should have the freedom to self-select which group we belong to.

 …  The hottest new fad in nondiscrimination law is protection for convicted felons. Most of us don’t think that being a murderer or rapist is a status deserving of protection but then against most of us don’t work for the Obama Administration. Last month, the US Department of Housing issued a decree saying that refusing to rent to a prospective tenant on account of a criminal record may violate the Fair Housing Act. Actuality, it doesn’t. The act prohibits discrimination based on race but not on felony conviction. The Department maintains that discrimination against felons is de facto discrimination against racial minorities. So there you have it folks—Democrats think minorities are a bunch of criminals. And we’re the racist ones?