Get Rid of Discrimination Laws

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 abrogates rights (see here and here). This is typical of laws against discrimination.

State laws mimic Title VII. The 50 states and numerous localities set up bureaus and agencies whose job it is to enforce all these anti-discrimination laws. Anchorage, Alaska is involved in a typical case. Hope Center, a Christian charity caters to women only. A (drunk) man dressed in a nightgown appears and asks for admittance. He’s turned away. He goes to the local Anchorage Equal Rights Commission. They prepare a complaint against Hope Center.

Read the comments to the cited article to grasp how different people react to a bad law. A single person gets to the bottom of the problem: “How about getting rid of discrimination laws so we don’t have to worry about identity politics?”

Governments cannot discriminate and still pretend to dispense justice. If they discriminate among citizens for no good reason, then they are tyrannical. But you and I can discriminate all day long without doing anything unjust, as long as we do not physically initiate violence against other people. The anti-discrimination laws fail to make this distinction, one which is common sense. If I won’t rent to you or sell you food, isn’t it my business? How can I be free and have a government tell me whom I may rent to and whom I have to sell to? Why is it not the right of Hope Center to help its chosen clientele and not to help those not in that set?

Justice can’t be found by writing morality into law. Justice can be found by understanding what makes for a crime and what does not.

The morality of discrimination does not justify abrogating the right to discriminate. Crimes are wrongs because they physically and violently attack your body and your goods in some way, and you have rights to these. They are not wrongs because they are thought to be immoral. Moral positions do not determine one’s rights. Rights are primary because they stem directly from your self-ownership.

To digress, a great deal follows from the axiom of self-ownership that the libertarian idea places front and center. This is not to say that we know everything we need to know about the self.

The self-ownership axiom (SOA) is self-evidently true, or inarguably true. That is, it cannot be denied without contradiction. That’s Hoppe’s argumentation thesis. If you argue that the SOA is not true, your act of arguing presumes you own yourself.

I think the SOA is true as a matter of physical biology. No one else inhabits your body but you, has your thoughts and feelings, or possesses the bodily apparatus that keeps you alive and functioning. No one else can cause your body directly to move. No one but you acts. I think Jefferson was profoundly correct to identify “certain unalienable Rights.” You cannot transfer these aspects of self from your body to the bodies of other people. Self-ownership is a sine qua non of being a human being.

Everyone is a self-owner. That is a fixed point. (I thank Jim Davies for stating this in private correspondence.) I think this self-ownership or self-inhabiting of our bodies comes with our existence. I think they are simultaneous and concurrent. Neither precedes the other. They occur together.

It is our nature to be self-owners and body-owners. I regard these as two different but congenitally joined things. We have bodies and we must have bodies to be able to think about our selves. The self is apparently bodily and yet it controls the body. If it doesn’t control the body, then what does? So, there is something there that’s not understood. It may not even be comprehensible. We may be able to understand galaxy formation before and better than we understand our mind-body relations including how we cause things to happen.

Title VII attempts to write morality into law, legislative or “positive” law. It goes too far, because it abrogates rights in the process. Rights are more fundamental with regard to law-making and law-enforcement than morality because the rights accompany our very nature and being as physical individuals. (It may be that we are hard-wired with incipient moral concepts, and these may be related to rights. This and the detailed nature of the self are beyond the scope of this blog.)

It’s one thing for government to enforce our rights, but a very different thing to enforce morality in general. Whereas all human beings have rights, all human beings do not agree on moralities. If government is to concur with human nature, it has to be limited to enforcing rights. It can’t extend into making laws based upon morality without infringing on rights. That’s what Title VII has done. That’s why the state is taking up against a Christian charity named Hope Center.


9:12 am on August 21, 2019