by Myles Kantor
Burns International Security Services fired Pennsylvania resident Curt Storey in May after he refused to remove Confederate symbols from his truck and lunch bucket. Kirk Lyons of the Southern Legal Resource Center has sued Burns Security on behalf of Storey, who describes himself as a "Confederate Southern American." Seeking reinstatement, back pay, and damages, the lawsuit contends Burns Security discriminated against Storey on the basis of national origin. (Storey is of Southern ancestry.)
Whether a Confederate lineage constitutes a national origin is an interesting question, but the lawsuit against Burns Security is antithetical to the Confederacy's principles and those of a free society.
A salient aspect of the Confederate States of America was its reinforcement of decentralized governance. While the United States Constitution included safeguards for states' autonomy, the Confederate Constitution further contracted central authority. Among other areas, this is evident in the Confederacy's impeachment and amendment processes. (See Marshall L. DeRosa's The Confederate Constitution of 1861: An Inquiry into American Constitutionalism for a comprehensive delineation.)
Section 703 (a)(1) of Title VII deems it unlawful employment practice "To fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin." From a textual perspective, it can be claimed that Burns Security violated this provision of the 1964 Civil Rights Act when it terminated Storey.
From a philosophic perspective, Title VII shouldn't exist and Burns Security's termination of Storey shouldn't be a crime. Federal nationalization of employment policies subverts the constitutional separation of state and federal purviews.
Furthermore, Title VII subverts property rights by infringing upon contractual and associational discretion. Richard Epstein observes, "The right to exclude, and the correlative rejection of the antidiscrimination principle…is part of the right to be left alone with the people of one's choice." Title VII and similar policies coerce association and contract, assailing the bulwark of a free society.
If Burns Security doesn't want to employ Colombians, that should be its right; if Burns Security doesn't want to employ Cambodians, that should be its right; and if Burns Security doesn't want to employ pro-Confederates, that should be its right. (The appropriateness of these choices is another matter. Inappropriateness and criminality are not synonymous.)
For pro-Confederates to enlist a federal apparatus of multi-dimensional usurpation to vindicate their convictions is bizarre. It's incoherent constitutionally and inimical to proprietary liberty. One doubts Alexander Stephens, Albert Taylor Bledsoe, and other Southern nomocrats would have countenanced the statist framework upon which Storey bases his lawsuit.
Instead of embracing the antidiscrimination Leviathan, Storey, Lyons, and their allies should adopt Ed Cobb's strategy: boycott. To seek vindication from the EEOC lends legitimacy to an illegitimate entity and undermines the inheritance these men claim to cherish.