My Reply to a Libertarian Critic

An article online at the Freeman about proposed laws protecting the right of business owners to discriminate against gays quotes a recent article of mine accurately, but, along with misspelling my name, misinterprets what I say in the article (“Discrimination Means Freedom”) about a Kansas bill that would permit discrimination against gay couples based on one’s religious beliefs and prohibit anti-discrimination lawsuits based on such activity.

Although he seems to believe in the absolute freedom of association, the author doesn’t welcome such laws because the “targeting of gays suggests bigoted motives that libertarians best not associate with.” Here is the relevant paragraph:

Many libertarians have cheered the proposed laws, citing the small-government principle that the State has no business interfering in individuals’ private contracts.’s Lawrence M. Vance voiced his support of Kansas’s recent attempt, while admitting it “doesn’t go far enough,” reasoning that “in as much as the bill legalizes—if only in a small degree—the freedom to discriminate, such provisions in it should be welcomed.” Such an instrumentalist approach to protecting freedom of association is strategically flawed, as the current bills’ targeting of gays suggests bigoted motives that libertarians best not associate with.

I have seven brief comments.

1. My name is spelled Laurence, as can be seen at the top of hundreds of my articles posted all over the Internet.

2. These laws are not necessarily the result of bigoted motives. Did certain legislators suddenly turn into bigots and decide to pass laws targeting gays? These laws are in part a response to lawsuits brought by homosexuals against people for refusing to do business with them. Lawsuits that they have won.

3. The author implies that it is bigotry to not want to associate with gays. Some people with teenage boys may have good reasons for not wanting their boys around gay men. And it has nothing to do with bigotry.

4. I did not voice my support of the Kansas bill. If you read my article, you will see that I said many negative things about the bill, including that the authors of the bill “don’t have a clue what a free society really is.”

5. I said that such provisions in the bill that legalize the freedom to discriminate should be welcomed. Welcoming such provisions is not voicing my support of the bill.

6. The result of a law is more important than the motives of those who passed it. Although it should be legal for anyone to discriminate against anyone else, it is better that we are allowed to discriminate against some than none.

7. The author implies that support of “marriage equality” is a tenet of libertarianism. I argue here that there is no libertarian position on same-sex marriage.

I read the Freeman. I like the Freeman. I like the Foundation for Economic Education. I like its president, Lawrence W. Reed. But I don’t like to be misinterpreted. Read all of my articles on discrimination here.


3:44 pm on March 14, 2014