Many people who bring up the subject of libertarianism have no idea what they are talking about.
Like Maya Kosoff, who “graduated with her bachelor’s in magazine journalism from the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in 2014,” lives in New York City, and “writes about tech for VF.com.” Her work has appeared in Business Insider, Slate, Inc., Entrepreneur, and she has appeared on CNBC’s Closing Bell, Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, and Huffington Post Live.
WeWork is a “company that provides shared workspaces, technology startup subculture communities, and services for entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups, small businesses and large enterprises.” It “designs and builds physical and virtual shared spaces and office services for entrepreneurs and companies.”
Last month WeWork announced that “the company will no longer serve red meat, pork or poultry at company functions, and it will not reimburse employees who want to order a hamburger during a lunch meeting.”
The Free Society Best Price: $56.86 Buy New $19.95 (as of 07:35 EDT - Details) In a memo to employees, “Miguel McKelvey, WeWork’s co-founder and chief culture officer, said the decision was driven largely by concerns for the environment, and, to a lesser extent, animal welfare.” He maintains that “new research indicates that avoiding meat is one of the biggest things an individual can do to reduce their personal environmental impact.” And additionally, WeWork could save “over 15 million animals by 2023 by eliminating meat at our events.” Seafood is still allowed, however, and employees may be exempt if they “require a medical or religious accommodation.” “I don’t eat meat, but I don’t consider myself a vegetarian,” McKelvey told the New York Times. “I consider myself to be a ‘reducetarian.’ I try to consume less and be aware of the decisions I’m making. Not just food, but single-use plastics, and fossil fuels and energy.” The company is also phasing out “leather furniture, single-use plastics, and is going carbon neutral.” McKelvey also said that in time, “the company will evaluate its consumption of seafood, eggs, dairy, and alcohol.”
But libertarianism has nothing to do with eating what you want when and where you want to eat it. This is because libertarianism has nothing to do with doing what you want when and where you want to do it.
As I have written elsewhere:
Libertarianism is the philosophy that says that people should be free from individual, societal, or government interference to live their lives any way they desire, pursue their own happiness, accumulate as much wealth as they can, assess their own risks, make their own choices, engage in commerce with anyone who is willing to reciprocate, participate in any economic activity for their profit, and spend the fruits of their labor as they see fit, as long as their actions are peaceful, their associations are voluntary, their interactions are consensual, and they don’t violate the personal or property rights of others
A company has the perfect right to decide what food it will serve on the property it owns or manages. This is because a company has the perfect right to decide whether it will offer food to its employees in the first place.
If employees work for a company on the company’s property, then the company is perfectly free to tell its employees what food they are allowed to eat on company property. This is because a company has the perfect right to decide what employee behavior will be permitted on company property.
It doesn’t matter how silly, illogical, unreasonable, irrational, unscientific, or asinine the reason is.
So, rather than WeWork’s new food policy being “every libertarian’s nightmare,” it is perfectly libertarian. The company’s policy might attract and retain workers and customers or it might repel and lose workers and customers. But the policy decision is WeWork’s to make. Free Trade or Protecti... Buy New $5.95 (as of 07:00 EDT - Details)
And it’s not just food and behavior policies that companies should be allowed to make.
In a libertarian society; that is, a free society, businesses large and small would have to right to hire or not hire whomever they wanted to for whatever pay and benefit package that employer and employee agreed on. No one has the right to a job or a certain rate of pay. The right to discriminate in employment is absolute. Just as potential employees now have the right to discriminate against employers for any reason and on any basis, so employers should have the right to discriminate against potential employees for any reason and on any basis.
In a free society, businesses would also have to right to sell to or serve or not sell to or serve whomever they wanted to for whatever reason. No one has the right to be sold to or served. The right to discriminate in sales or service is absolute. Just as potential customers now have the right to discriminate against businesses for any reason and on any basis, so businesses should have the right to discriminate against potential customers for any reason and on any basis.
In a free society, it can’t be any other way.