Little things can expose serious injustice. For example, this story about two women being thrown out of a restaurant for a kiss…we need reminders like this that discrimination is real, and it hurts people.
There is no federal law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. Neither Kansas nor Missouri are among the few states that protect gay people from being discriminated against in areas of employment, housing and public accommodations.
Kansas City does have an ordinance protecting gays, as do St. Louis, Columbia and University City. But if you’re anywhere else in Missouri and you’re gay, you can legally be denied service in restaurant. Landlords can refuse to rent you a place to live.
You can even be canned from your job on the suspicion that you’re romantically inclined toward members of your own sex.
(via Daily Irreverence)
I guess im blinded…I didnt think things like this happened anymore. Discrimination, I know it will persist in the horrible fashion that it does…but open and obvious purging of people based on their love – unbelievable.
I wonder why love is suppressed, while it is claimed to be the core moral belief of our species. There was no mention of religious belief in the decision of the restauranteer but I can only assume.
It can be an unfortunate world.
IHOP is a chain. They should have this sort of thing written into their manager rules/training so it doesnt reflect poorly on their company as a whole.
Im a 3-am-Sunday IHOPer, and they will be hearing from me. I wont be going back until these women are given a public apology from the manager himself. *shrug* There ARE other places open at 3 am.
Geez, Grandview is just down the road from me. It’s gotten to be a tough part of town in recent years. I don’t suppose there is much enlightenment there. It’s about where I would expect something like this to happen.
If night club owners are be allowed to refuse service to ugly people, restaurant owners should be allowed to refuse service to same-sax-kissing* people as well. I don’t think neither is a very nice thing to do, but it’s their property, and they should have the right to choose. I’d also rather have them be open about it, so as to give those who might object a chance to take their business elsewhere; I also think the persons discriminated against would prefer the there’s-a-big-“No foreigners”-sign-outside-type discrimination to the stand-in-line-for-thirty-minutes-and-then-get-told-you’re-not-welcome-for-some-made-up-reason kind. At least I would.
* Why won’t ScienceBlogs let me use this word spelt correctly? Is seks-kissing something spambots say often?
Christian Burnham says
Fine- no kissing in certain restaurants.
But don’t tell me who I can kiss.
I hope they were smart enough to have eaten first. That would be a useful strategy to get out of paying a bill.
Seriously, IHOP is probably a franchise operation, and, if so, pressure on the franchisor could get them to change their franchisees’ policies. If they are not a franchise operation, but a direct owner, so much the better–pressure on the corporate owner can get them to change their corporate policies. That’s what happened with the Cracker Barrel chain a few years ago.
Mike Haubrich says
Sex, Sex, Sex Sex Test complete.
Lunch counter owners in the Confederacy learned a lesson or two from people that refused to leave despite being refused service. I am willing to join a bunch of gays and lesbians at a sit-in if it would help.
If the manager’s motivation is indeed religious, then it only serves to illustrate Dawkins’ point that it is foolish to allow people’s beliefs to have weight merely by allowing them to tag the word “religious” on to them. Discrimination is discrimination, whether the dolt thinks it is part of god’s commandment or not.
Jefferson said his neighbor’s religious beliefs neither picks his pocket nor breaks his leg. And I agree, but this is an example of where people use religion to “pick and break.” I could be an “apatheist” if not for this kind of bigotry. Until the religious learn to keep their religious beliefs to themselves, then I will be an “evangelical atheist.”
Christian Burnham says
Fine- no kissing in certain restaurants.
But don’t tell me who I can kiss.
(Arrrggghh! your spam-filter is overactive!)
I can understand why PZ would be concerned.
If this sort of blatent discrimination catches on, he soon won’t be able to get a table for himself and his favorite ewe, much less plant a spontaneous smooch on her.
Who said anything about religion? The establishment should have the right to refuse service to whomever they wish – and people should respond accordingly.
Millimeter Wave says
Sure. I mean, if somebody wanted to open a “whites only” restaurant, nobody should have a problem with that, right?
vox populi says
The women were not put out for who or what they are; they were put out for *behavior* that others found offensive.
We discriminate behaviors of all types, and for good reason. For a society to function peacefully, people agree to abide by certain civil rules.
Those who do not agree are shunned.
You may like to pick your nose and eat it, but people should not have to watch you do it while they eat.
Are you even aware you’re arguing against a strawman? Or do the arguments you don’t like always transmute in your mind into ludicrous parodies?
“Having a problem with that” is precisely what I’m suggesting.
At $12 a pancake I’m going to use that booth as though it were a hotel room.
Millimeter Wave says
maybe my “having a problem with it” isn’t sufficiently clear. Let me restate: are you suggesting that the restaurant owner should have the right to do that?
If that were true, a man and a woman shouldn’t be allowed to kiss in the same manner in that restaurant, and I highly doubt that would be the case. They were most certainly put out for who they are.
vox populi says
A man kissing a woman (lightly and not prolonged) does not offend 98.9% of the population, but if it did, asking the kissers to leave would be appropriate.
If what you wish to believe were true Nick, why were the women granted a table and service in the first place? I think it is safe to say that if they had focused on eating their pancakes there would have been no incident.
No one objects to women sharing breakfast together.
John W. says
First, I think the restaurant owners are stupid for kicking them out for being gay. Kicking someone out for kissing is somewhat acceptable because it can make your customers uncomfortable and after all it is a business. I think that businesses do reserve the right to cater to their customers (without breaking the law).
Secondly, what would you do if you ran a restaurant frequented by mostly athiests and some disgusting religious family came in and started praying or preaching to each other talking about how their great grand daddy tamed the T-rex? What I mean is that most atheist don’t like having their beliefs (even if they are correct) challenged. Not that I think we would be so rude to as to kick someone out, we are often very intolerent also.
Millimeter Wave says
Why would the owners immediately think that two women entering an IHOP together were gay?
Millimeter Wave says
do you have an actual example to cite? And what do you mean by a “disgusting religious family”?
Vox Populi says
“First, I think the restaurant owners are stupid for kicking them out for being gay.”
Again, there is no evidence to suggest that they were ejected for “being” anything.
They were ejected for “behaving gay”. Kissing is a verb, not a noun.
You admit as much yourself:
“Kicking someone out for kissing is somewhat acceptable because it can make your customers uncomfortable and after all it is a business.”
Why are people patronizing IHOP in the first place (unless they absolutely have to)?
The less money going to the giant corporations, the better.
Vox Populi says
“Why would the owners immediately think that two women entering an IHOP together were gay?”
By Goerge, I think you’ve got it!
They had to DO something to make that fact known. It was their DECISION to act out a BEHAVIOR that the resturaunt and it’s customers found offensive.
Descriminating behavior is perfectly acceptable.
But if the objection is just to kissing, then why throw them out altogether? Just go over and say “We don’t condone any public displays of affection here, please don’t touch each other any more”. Of course, I would expect the manager to then say that to anyone seen kissing, including male-female couples, parent-child interactions, and the like.
I’d say the overreaction by management in this case makes it very clear that it’s the fact that they’re gay, not their exact actions, being discriminated against.
Vox Populi says
“Of course, I would expect the manager to then say that to anyone seen kissing, including male-female couples, parent-child interactions, and the like.”
Whether or not asking the couple to leave is appropriate (that becomes a question of owners’ rights, which I’m not qualified to address in full) is irrelevant; the point is that discrimination against gays and lesbians is real and alive.
The women were granted a table since it wasn’t clear they were homosexual. If they kissed while walking in, I don’t think they would have been given that table and food. You seem to be implicity taking the stance that open acknowledgement of homosexuality in public is offensive to the majority of people and, therefore, it is okay to suppress it (please feel free to correct me). I think that, if a gay couple shares a short kiss, that *should* be socially acceptable. While it’s true that, if they’d only come in, ate, and left, none of this would have occurred, there’s a larger issue: is it okay to be openly homosexual? I say it is.
Although I think that the “first” was a much better defense of their actions than the idiotic vox populi’s (98.9 percent of people are not bigots like you.) the second one is lacking. All the couple did was kiss. I would have a severe problem if a religious family started preaching out of nowhere despite the circumstances, but if they just opened their bible and read quietly or discussed it amongst themselves without involving any other patrons would be fine. To kick them out or show disdain at them would be exactly like this.
Vox Populi says
“I think that, if a gay couple shares a short kiss, that *should* be socially acceptable.”
And you have the right to your opinion. However the overwhelming majority of your fellow citizens do not agree.
“While it’s true that, if they’d only come in, ate, and left, none of this would have occurred, there’s a larger issue: is it okay to be openly homosexual? I say it is.”
Well I’m sure that your restaurant will be quite popular with homosexuals, and I sincerely wish you success!
The issue here is that discrimination against homosexuals is wrong. Despite your claims the overwhelming majority of citizens (of the US I presume) are not raving bigots.
Vox Populi says
I think we all got your take on the issue the first time CV.
And we all got that you are a contemptible simpleton the first time you posted, vp.
Slavery used to be the accepted norm. That doesn’t make it any less wrong.
Maybe my restaurant can appeal to the homosexual abolitionist crowd.
Vox Populi says
My what a convincing argument for discrimnation! I am turned!
Vox Populi says
Nick if you ask me, I’d say you can position your restaurant to appeal to any crowd you wish.
PZ Myers says
I think the 98.9% criterion, even though it is entirely plucked out of Vox’s ass, is useful.
Atheists, by even the most conservative estimates. are more than 1% of the population. Therefore our biases must be pandered to by shopowners. So, next time you see someone saying grace in a restaurant, raise a stink and get them kicked out. After all, if offending a tiny minority is sufficient grounds for policing behavior, we’ve got a good case.
(For the sarcasm impaired: I don’t object at all to someone saying a quiet prayer at a restaurant, and I think it is perfectly comparable to a chaste kiss between two people of the same gender. I would object to public groping and excessive sexual abandon — I’m at a restaurant for a meal, not a show — just as I would object to someone turning dinner into a tent revival and splashing holy anointing oil everywhere.)
Vox Populi says
The “wow” was for you cv.
John W. says
I don’t have an example to cite it was hypothetical.
As for a disgusting religious family, I was using it as my impression of how some people here seem to feel about religion (your right it was too strong a word), while my sister is a paster I may not believe everything that she does, but I am totally tolerent of her beliefs.
Many people don’t seem to share this tolerence. What I was trying to get at is that “if” they were booted out for being gay then that is intolerence. People here can be equally intolerent of any form of religion creeping into their lives. So, if we expect the theists to be so tolerent of freedom shouldn’t we be equally tolerant of freedom of religion? After all I think that is in your constitution.
One word used condescendingly is not enough to win an argument. :/
YOu are not connected to Vox day are you?
Millimeter Wave says
1) Do you have a reference for that assertion?
2) …and that makes the discrimination ok why?
Vox Populi says
So, next time you see someone saying grace in a restaurant, raise a stink and get them kicked out.
“After all, if offending a tiny minority is sufficient grounds for policing behavior, we’ve got a good case.”
I think you misread the post PZ. It is my opinion that only 1% of the population would find a man kissing a woman offensive, which is why doing so (lightly and not prolonged, if you take my meaning) is highly unlikely to get one kicked out of a business of any sort.
And actually, I think that your sarcastic remark provides the grounds to support my 98.9% “ass stastistic”.
Give your wife a light smooch in public and record the number of times someone objects. We will anxiously await the results ;-)
Millimeter Wave says
I’m still not quite understanding the parallel.
If somebody started bothering other customers in a restaurant by either being very noisy or directly disturbing them, then it would not be unreasonable for the owner to kick them out.
This has nothing to do with the nature of the disturbance being religious, however, and I certainly wouldn’t say it was ok to kick them out in the event that they discuss their belief among themselves in the same manner that other customers discuss whatever it is they might be talking about…
Just because the majority think that something is disgusting DOES NOT mean that the thing they object to is wrong or it is right to discriminate based on that. Why do you think it is?
Vox Populi says
“One word used condescendingly is not enough to win an argument.”
Neither is mindless invective cv.
I do not even know who Vox day is.
Millimeter Wave, I think that the results of PZ’s experiment might provide ample proof..don’t you?
I think I answered your second question in post #12.
My previous comment was supposed to be addressed to VP.
Laugh and invite them back next week?
I’m interested in knowing just how passionate this kiss was. Are we talking a peck on the cheek, or full on Jenna Jameson and Brianna Banks face-sucking?
Anyone have a link?
John W. says
I was assuming that the anti-gay motivations were religious in nature and based on such intolerence.
I was simply wondering if people here exibit the same degree of intolerence towards religion.
While obviously many people here are very very tolerent, my experience has shown me that many religious people are equally or more tolerent. Obviously not the ones usually highlighted by PZ.
PZ Myers says
A link to full-on JJ and BB face-sucking? What kind of site do you think this is, anyway?
woot: follow the link in PZ’s post; here it is again.
John W.: Regarding tolerance, I think many of us would say ceejayoz has the right idea (post #46).
Wait, this isn’t a porn site?
Ah, well. Here’s some boobies.
I’m confused. It seems they were told to get out as they were leaving?
Or did he just bring them to the lobby to tell them why?
And the description is that the kiss was a harmless G rated type.
IHOP sucks anyway.
And what’s all this about whether owners “ought” to have a right.
People have rights, period. Those rights may or may not conflict with the law – which is why disobeying an unjust law can be a deeply ethical action, and why sometimes laws need to be forcibly overturned.
What I think is really being asked is whether such behavior should be permitted legally – and yes, I do.
Because it’s an utterly terrible idea to make the law the ultimate and sole arbiter of what’s permitted. There are alternatives which are even better – like protests, boycotts, and other forms of bad publicity.
What the manager did was wrong. But he most likely didn’t even see the kiss.
But had some uptight parent make a big deal.
Weren’t there some kiss-in protest some years back where gay ans straight people would just show up where a protest was needed and just make out?
I think that kind of protest gets the best press. And it freaks out alot of people too. ;)
Even assuming VP’s rectally produced overwhelming majority are offended by two women kissing, what makes them think they have the right to not be offended?
There’s a lot of things out there that offend me but I don’t try to have them removed from my sight.
If someone’s belief isn’t doing anyone any harm, is it really that hard to just let it be?
Growing up and living in MN my whole life I was uncomfortable with -any- public displays of affection. :)
I got over it. And most people will too over time. However it will only be through positive displays will it happen. Per the article – that appeared to be the case between the two women. Personally I make it a point to hold hands or grab a quick kiss if the opportunity presents itself with my BF. It -does- bother people. People will move away from you in movie theaters for something as simple as holding hands. You get a face from the couple next to you. Times are changing and for the “Vox’s” of the world – they are on the losing side.
Why all the surprise in the article?
This is the country that REJECTED the ERA as being some insane, laughable idea.
We don’t even legally recognize women as equal to men, and then we’re surprised that gays are discriminated against?
I read stories like this – and some of the comments posted here – and I fall to my knees and thank … (gee, it’s times like this when it would be nice to have someone to thank) that I was born, raised, and live in New York City.
Right out of the birth canal we are exposed – assaulted – with the beliefs, idiosyncracies, likes, dislikes, bad habits, and objectionable behaviors of lots of people from all races, most religions, and many countries of the world. And they are similarly exposed to us. The result is that, with a few exceptions that feed the headlines in other parts of the country, everyone here gets along with everyone else. Doesn’t love and may not respect, but does get along with. Furthermore, the economic competition is so great here that no restaurant or store can afford to discriminate against any customer, for fear of losing many. The net result is a very tolerant, very resilient, very productive, and very creative community.
My fellow Americans living in their idyllic suburbs and Mayberry-like small towns are cursed with the freedom to set up small communities of like-minded souls where they can all live just as they please and make sure that their neighbors do the same. They feel they have the right to complain about “objectionable behavior” which is nothing more than code for “discrimination”. Just who the heck do these yokels think they are, anyway, that anyone should care that they are offended by two women kissing? Or by a mixed race couple? Or by people who don’t say grace before meals? Or by someone who doesn’t go to local church?
My cold-as-ice New York heart bleeds for those who are a little bit different (and, IMHO, a little bit better because of that) from their neighbors, and who suffer because of their inability to live that difference freely. Just know that if you’ve got the money for the crazy rents we welcome you with open arms.
Were I to observe someone being kicked out for this, I would demand the restaurant kick out the people who asked for the original kissers to be removed.
Every community has standards that it enforces on its members. The “accepting” ones no less than the “non-accepting”. It’s my experience that the supposedly open-minded communities may have a longer list of things they explicitly reject, but are in fact more likely to reject anything not on that list.
Being parochial-minded isn’t something to be thankful for, whether you grew up in an isolated country community or the center of a metropolis.
As Hephaistos says, this isn’t about “if” some percentage of people are offended, its if they even understand tolerance at all. The problem that a lot of us here have with religion isn’t just that its driving principle is that is **should** be allowed to invade our space, whether we like it or not, but that its prejudices must be protected, at the exclusion of anyone else’s offense about them. They want tolerance, they need to first stop insisting that their intolerance is acceptable, but that everyone else’s is a form of attack on their faith or attempt to undermine the moral fiber of the nation. Its bullshit pure and simple.
As to *if* this particular case is somehow related to religion, we don’t have enough information, but its not an unreasonable prediction. There are places in this country where if you where a white women in a restaurant with a black man (and to some lesser extent the other way around) and you just held hands you would get thrown out. Religions is probably not a major component of that particular bigotry, but it exists never the less, and in some of those places, you might find that having held hands in the restaurant you might find that your room was no longer available at the local inn and you couldn’t even get the local police to help you when your wallet was stolen. I am sure I am not the only person here that has hear of this sort of crap still happening in some places.
The problem is that we have a screwed up double standard. On one hand, a large majority think they all have the *right* to not have to have things *shoved in their faces*, which I am not entirely in disagreement with, but at the same time, “shoved in their faces”, is taken to mean, “Happening any place I might see, overhear or be told by a third party about it.” The concept that some things, like public effection, must be off the table as “offensive” things for society to remain sane, while actively working to prevent **real** disruptions by things that only the perpetrator thinks are non-offensive, like maybe dropping your pants in the hotel lobby and peeing on the cradenza, is completely absent in most of the US. Instead, most have the mentality that nothing *they* do, even if its dumping fifty bear bottles out of their car door into the parking lot of the local Safeway, is *bad*, but just having a fracking tattoo that depicts, who knows, the wrong hair cut from the three stooges?, or something equally irrelevant and stupid becames of #@$#@$#@ hanging offense for the same bunch of idiots.
I expect this kind of stupid BS from grade schoolers. Sadly, it doesn’t improve in highschool, and given that the vast majority of nitwits never leave their home towns, almost none of them go past highschool, and some don’t even pass that, its not clear exactly where or how we expect this to be any different. Worse… Recognizing this as a problem, colleges who have found a lot of intolerance stays with the students that pass through, and started running scripted “diversity” classes, often run by people that are worse bigots than the people they are trying to fix. After all, how the heck do you promote a “diversity” class that has prescripted course work, without pigeon holing every student into some predetermined group with BS collections of “common traits”? Instead of mandating that students talk to each other about who they “really” are and why, that happens outside the class, and instead we get some black guy who is a business psychology expert telling all the white people that black people *tend* to be late for things, so you should be tolerant of differences by “expecting” this… WTF?
Instead of fixing the problems, which ironically the colleges often did for more than half those that attended, by forcing them into contact with real people with different beliefs, they are now trying to “fix” the other 30%, or what ever it might be, (who failed to change because their prejudices drove them immediatiately into the local chapters of, “We only take people like us”, clubs), by instead actually promoting pre-scripted bigotry that some diversity experts think is more “tolerable”. Worse, these are the clowns teaching a whole new generation in many places to believe that the highest intellectual and legal position to hold on such things is one of, “Hold any stupid prejudice you like, just keep your mouth shut about it and arrest anyone that dares to open theirs.” In other words, “You have a right to *not* be offended by other people’s acts.”
Um, no, sorry, there is no such right. It doesn’t matter if the offense is gay people kissing, black people riding in the front of the bus, women daring to wear pants, or any of a miriad of other things that do or have “offended” some stupid intolerant majority. Had the federal law stated that these people had a “right” to not be “offended” by any of this BS *ever*, the entire civil right movement would have collapsed the first day it started. Laws designed to protect prejudice, instead of enabling what those prejudiced consider an “offense” only produce more prejudices.
Tolerance comes of allowing people to do things and having the offended realize that the world didn’t suddenly come to an end just because someone kissed in public. Intolerance and promiting prejudice comes when you start with, “Yuck, two women kissed in public, throw them out!”, and end with, “Yuck, that person *looks* like they might be a lesbian goth atheist hiding tattoos, don’t even let them in the door!!” If its OK to throw out two people for “obvious” behaviour, why not one person for “looking” like they might do something that offends you? And does it matter at all if that’s wearing the wrong earrings (or just wearing some), instead of acting gay?
All aguments of this sort are non-strawmen. Why? Because its damn #@#$#@ hard to not make what “sound” to some people like strawman arguments to talk about an issue like this, when the original idiocy under discussion amounts to complaints by some fool that they don’t serve scarecrows in their restaurant.
I’m offended by Vox’s glaring example of stupidity. I demand the management eject him from this blog forthwith!
that said, was there anything to support whether or not it was customers or the management themselves that was/were “offended”?
not that I would agree with it personally, but if several/many customers complained to the management about ladies kissing in a booth, it could be argued a simple business decision to ask the source of the offense to leave; much like asking a smoker to put out a cigar or leave a restaurant if enough complained. If a lot of customers complained; you have a much larger issue than what the manager did. don’t boycott the restaurant; boycott the whole friggin town.
however, if it is clear that nobody was complaining, and it was all the manager’s decision, then you have a much clearer case of a specific example of applied bigotry.
Does anyone here have any evidence that the ousting was based on the religious beliefs of anyone involved?
I get it. Delicious-meat-sack-boy is convinced that sandwich boards and chantings can counter institutional torment by the landed gentry.
Why don’t we let the rich hunt the homeless for sport? I mean, the homeless can protest and boycott. They shouldn’t write their congressperson, though. That would be resorting to the law to protect the minority.
Oh wait. He doesn’t believe that humans should be treated with dignity.
Fuck you, psychopath. Take your chianti and fava beans elsewhere. Me? I’ll be working for the law to provide freedom from torment.
Caledonian: Honest request for clarification. What do you think ought to happen if such free-will action (protests, going to other restaurants, boycotts, angry letters) don’t work? What if the majority is really so powerful as to withstand those things with no real consequences, and therefore no incentive to change their actions? Should the injustice simply be allowed to stand?
the question seems to be where to apply the focus of wrath.
I rather think the title of this thread:
Missouri isn’t for lovers
is probably good advice in general.
it seems pointless to try and play “find the bigot” in this case, and rather look to putting pressure on the legislature to investigate whether anti-bigotry laws need to be more generally applied.
or else pass laws prohibiting public displays of affection.
It’s the responsibility of the state itself to either verify or more clearly explain why Missouri isn’t as described.
Is this an isolated incident? or a common pattern?
why does Kansas City have an ordinance, and not the rest of Kansas? was bigotry such an issue in Kansas city that it alone needed the ordinance?
I seriously doubt the answers to these questions will be found in a tiny article on a poorly described incident.
er, make that the rest of Missouri, not Kansas.
meh, they all look the same to me.
In terms of policy, MO is one of the most anti-gay states in the nation. Its courts have consistently been hostile to treating gay families as families, and the article linked from the KC Star notes that anti-discrimination legislation has been filed but has pretty much no chance of passage.
Queers would be well advised to avoid MO if they want to be treated as full citizens.
The Gay Species says
Why are such laws on the books? Why would anyone enforce them? I bet one can smack their dog’s lips, but not lock two lesbians lips in MO and KS and other strange lands. Wasn’t Ashscroft from one of these states? UFOs do exist.
If the majority is that powerful, how do you expect to change the laws?
No, obviously we need to legislate the offending attitudes away. And if they come back, we need to legislate even harder. No tolerance for the intolerant!
No, obviously we need to legislate the offending attitudes away. And if they come back, we need to legislate even harder. No tolerance for the intolerant!
think for just a second, would you, rather than just liberally applying sarcasm?
if the civil rights movement NEVER had any legislative backing whatsoever, how far do you think it would have gotten?
go back even farther;
did we really need to have a civil war?
based on your comment, obviously not.
no point to legislate slavery, right?
after all, slaveowners had every right to excercise their right to own slaves.
you’re overreacting to the idea that behavior does, in fact, need to be impacted by legislation from time to time. Not the ideal solution, but often the start of it.
If the South hadn’t ultimately been shamed by the chasm between its professed values and the values that motivated the attacks on the Civil Rights activists, no amount of legislation would have helped. (Same with Gandhi and the UK – the nonviolent resistance only worked because the British couldn’t bring themselves to do the things that would have broken the resistance.)
No one is arguing that our lives should never be “impacted by legislation from time to time”. But you cannot solve certain problems by force – and even when you can, there are often even better ways to resolve the issue.
Forcing people to behave the way you think they should is a bad thing, even if you’re right – and you all typically do not closely examine your own sense of righteousness.
If the South hadn’t ultimately been shamed by the chasm between its professed values and the values that motivated the attacks on the Civil Rights activists, no amount of legislation would have helped.
cart before the horse, my friend.
But you cannot solve certain problems by force – and even when you can, there are often even better ways to resolve the issue.
but you have to start somewhere, by pointing out to those that might think otherwise, that at least at some level, their government does not support their bigotry.
if not, it acts as a green light to enable those to continue unacceptable practices.
like i said, you gotta start somewhere, and if there were no attempts to legislate the bigotry in the south, do you seriously think “shame” would have gotten very far?
if so, you’re completely deluded.
fuck, just how long would you have been willing to wait?
Reverend M says
I don’t mind straight people as long as they act gay in public.
Missouri isn’t a good place for lovers. I know. I live there. It’s full of tiny towns, where people actively choose to live out in the country because the tiny towns are too urban for them. “No phones, no lights, no motorcars, not a single luxury…”
It’s full of people who think role-playing means wife-swapping, which they do actively. I discovered this by accident, and keep finding more and more of the buggers.
(any dirty thoughts about the poster are the responsibility of the reader, not due to anything I said)
Don’t even ask about the IQ level. They think Bush is doing a great job, overall. Yeah, a giant leap forward for the gay community here. I can’t wait to get my wife and I back to Washington State.
There is a saying about Americans – I don’t know if it’s true about people in general, which I suspect is the case, but I can certainly confirm its accuracy for my fellow citizens – that they don’t understand that you can have too much of a good thing. That includes the intrusion of law.
Sit-ins were useful not because it was legal for people to remain in private establishments when it was demanded that they leave, but because of the negative publicity and wasted effort it took to force them out.
Indeed, we have to start somewhere. But “somewhere” does not imply the government. And why should it? Why should the government be enforcing your particular moral code onto people – don’t you disapprove of that? Or is it just that you only disapprove when it’s not your code being imposed?
Some people are just in favor of top-down control. American political liberals usually are – it’s one of the many traits they share with American political conservatives. Things will be the way you want them, or you’ll force them that way, regardless of the consequences.
When working people were without protection, they banded together in unions so that they could utilize collective bargaining power. What happened to those unions? Why, they became corrupt and inefficient, because people are unable to restrain themselves. Power to bargain for necessary protections is also power to get concessions on demand.
If the people at large don’t favor your position, so that protests will have no effect, how exactly do you think you’ll manage to enforce the laws you wish to pass?
If you manage to create an enforcement group that agrees with you and has enough power to enforce what you want upon the majority, what protections will be in place to prevent someone else with positions you don’t agree with from seizing control of the enforcers and imposing their own ideas on you?
But that issue is a long ways away. The first solution ought always to be to exercise social and economic pressure. Coercion should be the weapon of last defense, not the first. (Of course, there’s no control in that, which is why you go straight to the force.)
aside from your argument of top-down politcs and liberaldom being wrong (uh, in case you hadn’t noticed the gross invasions of privacy supported by the current administration, for example), it’s also a near-complete strawman of the current argument.
What happened to those unions? Why, they became corrupt and inefficient, because people are unable to restrain themselves.
ok, you’re just trolling i see.
you do say the damndest things from time to time.
Selective perception at its finest.
Ichthyic, go back and read my previous two posts, and do so until you understand what’s absurd about your complaint.
No, it’s really not. When the first reaction to something you consider objectionable is “there oughtta be a law!”, you’re doing something wrong.
Write angry letters to the chain. Boycott them until they change their policies. Exercise social and political strength first – resort to using the law only when all else fails, because misuse of that power is ultimately against everyone’s best interest.
We’re talking about a simple law that states it’s illegal to descriminate based on sexual orientation. All it does is give people standing to sue when it happens.
You get kicked out for being gay… they sue… manager doesn’t do it again.
It’s not about legislating tolerance. It’s about giving gay people the right to defend their rights in court. Technically they could be thrown out for holding hands or just looking gay and they would have no course of action through the law.
Whoa, whoa – do they have the right, or don’t they? (You don’t need rights to defend rights in court – it’s an integral part of the right.)
All this talk about laws is because there is no general right to demand service, so a de facto right will have to be created for them. If they had such a right already, they could go straight to the courts – they don’t, so a justification for going to court must be constructed.
All this talk about laws is because there is no general right to demand service,
For some people there is. We have laws in this country which bar discrimination in the provision of public services, and restaurants fall under those laws. In MO, for instance, it would be illegal to refuse service on the basis of race or religion. Queers, however, are fair game for discrimination.
oops…I meant public accommodations.
Can you kick someone out of a restaurant for being african american or a woman?
Yes they SHOULD have a right to eat in any restaurant where other women can freely walk in and get a table. We are talking about an IHOP. Not a private dinner club.
It is allowable by law to deny gay people jobs, housing and apparently breakfast.
They are, in many states, not recognized as population that needs to be protected from descrimination.
IHOPs, and similiar establishments, are allowed to discriminate against all kinds of people – and the justifications for doing so are often absurd, like the “health regulations” that require people to wear shirts in McDonald’s.
Just because it’s utterly disgusting that a business would deny service to people for something so trivial does not mean that those people had a right to that service.
Queer people have become too polite. Queer Nation would have filled the place with kissing couples within a week.
And Caledonian clearly has no clue when it comes to non-discrimination law and public accommodations in the United States. There are certain social categories for which our laws do not allow for denial of service, race, religion, and gender being the most common.
You’re not distinguishing between rules that apply to all people or descrimination.
They cannot deny service to someone that is black or hispanic or asian who follows the rules.
It’s not trolling so much. Whenever Caledonian types something, it just shows up on my screen as:
It’s kind of like the way my cat will sing in an empty garage just to hear the echo his own voice.
Sea Creature says
Oh get real. How many times do you hear about hetero couples getting shit in a commercial establishment for anything less than extreme groping? Try living openly as a lesbian or gay man for a year before you spout off. As a lesbian I have to live in the real world, not any of your smug little theoretical “if they follow the rules” worlds (and by the way, since when has following the rules been a guaranty of anything for minorities? Ever hear of getting pulled over for driving while black or brown?)
‘Discrimination’ is the act of telling two things apart based on their different properties: distinguishing between them.
What I think you are trying to express is that discriminating on some aspects is appropriate, while others are inappropriate, and things like ethnicity or sexual orientation ought not to be used to make distinctions between people.
Okay… now justify the existence of laws that force people/organizations to disregard those aspects.
Reality is not something that Caledonian is likely to be amenable to. She hasn’t even worked out the distinction between a national chain that offers a service to the public and a private club, and doesn’t have the moral or ethical sense to recognize that this:
Is almost as transparent of a defense of segregation as is possible. That’s almost a direct quote of the kind of rhetoric that was bandied about a half-century ago to keep the coloreds away from the soda bar after the legal support for segregation was kicked out.
And what is that distinction?
That’s wrong on so many levels.
Here’s one: Why should doctors be forced to treat people regardless of their ethnicity? Let’s see those silly liberals defend that one, Caledonian.
Seriously, why don’t you go pistol whip someone? Or maybe burn a cross somewhere?
Why should any doctor be forced to provide services? (Besides the oaths they’ve sworn – not that you’re likely to be particularly concerned with oaths.)
You’re right. I’m not concerned in the slightest. The oath answer is, as is usual for you, completely devoid of any indication of an internalized morality. There was a reason for that oath, wasn’t there? What was that reason? Surely you aren’t suggesting that the oath was just pieced together arbitrarily?
If you like, I could cut some holes in an old white pillow case and FedEx it to you. I’m just trying to be helpful.
Here’s our Moment of Zen for the day, folks:
Thank God they weren’t breastfeeding.
*fans himself with his hand*
Is the practice of Zen supposed to help me unravel that minefield of inconsistencies you call your position? You’ve still only pointed to the oath requiring doctors to provide a service, when your question was:
So, justify the existence of the oath.
Caledonian, I don’t get you. You’re nearly always lucid and correct when anything epistemological is at issue. In Rob’s inane spirituality threads, for example, you cut through his pathetic special pleading and goalpost moving, and insisted on clear statements and definitions of terms. You were right to do so. Rob ended up looking like a buffoon for responding with bluster and evasions and threats (at least one of which was acted upon) to ban people. So, in such situations, yay Caledonian!
But when something with actual political or personal consequences comes up, from you we usually just get this bewildering tone-deafness and refusal to concede points that have been repeatedly pointed out to you. And now we get evasion and dithering, too:
Flippant evasion. Yet later there’s this:
Which was precisely what I asked you. Until you expand upon what “when all else fails” means, I can’t see any daylight between our positions.
I’ve always thought she was a concern troll. If not a concern troll, then a smug complicit moral conventionalist.
John W. says
Behavioral laws are different everywhere you go, in America you can’t walk down the street slugging a 40oz but here in Asia it is pretty common. N’u’d’e beaches let people walk around naked but you wouldn’t do that in the Trump Towers.
Laws governing our behavior change with every state or building we walk into.
Is being gay a choice or are you born with it? Can you choose to not be gay for the 40 min. it takes you to eat. Like PZ’s earlier posts suggests it is likely a combination of both nature and nurture. It is not the same as being black, you can’t stop being black while you were in a certain country or restaurant.
If it is a law to not be gay, in a certain place you must respect that law, even if it IS the stupidest law in the world.
Which I think is what Caladonian is trying to say is that while the world is filled with such laws of stupidity, what gives you or anybody else the right to change or dictate them?
How can we not be hypocritical when we complain about people forcing their views on others by choosing to force our views on others?
Because we are right? What makes us right? If the majority of people are offended by something does that make it wrong? NO, but then how do you decide and when does it ever stop?
John W. says
apparently N’u’d’e is an unpostable word?
Mike Crichton says
I have deaf acquaintences who swear that before the Americans With Disabilities Act, resaurant owners were allowed to kick them out because their signing “Disturbed the other patrons”. I suppose Caledonian would defend this, since it wasn’t their deafness that got them discriminated against, it was their ‘behavior’.
Oh, thank you John! Because of your enlightening and thoughtful post, I now know that it’s only discrimination if you can’t choose to stop doing what you’re doing.
Let’s all open restaurants and refuse service to Christians (because, you know, you aren’t born Christian, and it’s easy enough to stop being one while you’re eating), or atheists (because, even though you’re born an atheist, you can stop being one while you’re eating), or maybe we could refuse to serve Muslims (not born a Muslim, can stop being one while you eat). Gosh, there are so many idealogical groups to choose from!
truth machine says
I didnt think things like this happened anymore.
That’s far worse than thinking that evolution doesn’t happen. How can people be so astoundingly ignorant about the world they live in?
truth machine says
What I mean is that most atheist don’t like having their beliefs (even if they are correct) challenged.
Speak for yourself.
Not that I think we would be so rude to as to kick someone out, we are often very intolerent also.
Speak for yourself.
truth machine says
“It’s about giving gay people the right to defend their rights in court.”
Whoa, whoa – do they have the right, or don’t they? (You don’t need rights to defend rights in court – it’s an integral part of the right.)
Moral right — yes; legal right — in some places but not others.
All this talk about laws is because there is no general right to demand service
Yes, there is a general right to demand service if others are receiving service. There is always such a moral right, and there
is a legal right when the discrimination is based on race or gender. There should also be a legal right when the discrimination is based on gender preference.
Those who say that owners should be able to do whatever they want with their property are sociopaths who have a stronger moral commitment to property than to people.
I’ve read down this thread and there is one thing I’d like to inject into the conversation. Someone up thread, I think it was Vox Populi, said something about 98.9% of the US population would find two lesbians kissing offensive.
I presume this 98.9% includes heterosexual men? I’ve yet to meet one that finds lesbians kissing offensive, in fact I reckon the only reason these ladies got kicked out of the IHOP was because they didn’t go far enough! So we need to reduce the 98.9% a little, let’s say to 60%. Judging by porn sales in the USA ALONE that reduction is pretty conservative.
Then we have gay and bi women, and studies have shown that bisexuality is more prevalent in the female of the species than the male, so that 60% needs to come down a little too. Let’s arbitrarily say (since pulling figures out of our arse’s is the deal I guess) it’s now down to 30%.
Some of the remaining people will be liberals, freethinkers and atheists etc who are straight women. So we need to reduce that 30% a little, let’s say to about 15%, going by the US election results (roughly). SO 15% of the population (using the All New Vox Populi Hand Waving and rectal figure generation method) would be offended perhaps.
That figure probably needs reduction because not all of those people would be homophobes. Seems like a number of people less than the atheists in the US. Shut up boy, you in da minority!
Did I miss the point somewhere? ;-)
Francesco Franco says
I just needed to add my usual comment: it’s worse in other places (e.g. Italy!!). Sickening BS based on profound ignorance that needs to be combated the world over. What can actually be done,though?
AH the old “can you not be gay for five minutes” routine, because being gay isn’t the same as being black or female (two gross and terrible disabilities right? I mean we JUST about tolerate black people and women nowadays).
I’m a happily married heterosexual man. I remember distinctly the moment on my 16th birthday (the age of sexual consent in the UK is 16) when I filled in the S-90 form by ticking the box marked “heterosexual” and sent it to the Department of Shagging and Frottage Preferences. This government department then made sure that every future potential spouse or employer or establishment of business was notified that I wasn’t an arse bandit and thus I could be treated as a full human being.
Oh wait…that department doesn’t exist and I don’t remember making that choice. Hmmm. Maybe I was born straight. Oh no, if I was BORN straight that maybe means there’s some heritable component to my sexuality and surely there’s no evidence for THAT, it must have been all a choice. I wonder if all those interesting studies about homosexual men being more likely to have homosexual uncles or all those homosexual animals out there in nature means that maybe just somewhere there is a heritable component of sexuality. Gosh, do you think so? I don’t remember giving those bonobos the S-90 form to fill in. Nor the gay lions and ducks. Hmmm.
Oh another thought has occurred to me! What about even if homosexuality WAS a choice. What about respecting the rights of two mentally competent adults above the age of consent to do as they damned well please. Naaaaahh we wouldn’t want to do that. After all we can’t have signs up saying “No Blacks, Irish, or Women” anymore. Any form of tolerance towards those different to ourselves might just rob us of our last really good bastion of discrimination. After all poofs is unnatural, they must be, I read it in a book.
David Livesay says
But the couple they threw out were their customers. Do you call that catering to them?
People don’t have a constitutionally protected right not to be made uncomfortable. If they can’t stand the sight of two people kissing, they can look at something else. It’s a lot harder to escape the stench of cigarette smoke in a restaurant, and look at how hard we had to work to keep that behavior out of restaurants. It wasn’t enough to say, “it stinks really bad and makes it hard for me to enjoy my food.” We had to offer scientific proof that second hand smoke was actually harmful. Where’s the proof that second-hand same-sex kissing has harmful health effects?
Then we have a contradiction between two conclusions, which means there’s a well-established pattern of analysis to follow.
First, we examine each of the conclusions for errors – the simplest explanation was that a mistake was made in reaching one or the other. If we don’t find any, we compare the relative certainties of the two – the less-certain one can’t stand in light of the contradiction. If both are valid, and both are roughly equally certain, then we need to find a better way of thinking to understand how they can both seem to be true.
If I always seem to be correct when dealing with abstractions, but I contradict points you consider to be correct and well-established in the political sphere, how can this be explained?
1) My judgement goes hideously wrong when I try to apply it to politics, and the generally-accepted points are correct.
2) The generally-accepted points are wrong, and my reasoning is consistent across different spheres.
3) Both my reasoning and the general understanding are correct, and we’re missing vital pieces of information that would permit us to unify the two incompatible models.
4) Both wrong – this is certainly a possibility.
Break both arguments down to their most basic axioms, compare their axioms for differences, check for errors in derivation, and verify that each asserted conclusion actually follows from the axiomatic principles.
Or you could do what most people do most of the time: reject the argument that conflicts with your high-level assumptions about what conclusions should be reached and that makes you the most uncomfortable.
Exactly. Nor do they have a Constitutionally-protected right to be served in restaurants. (And if they did, it would be a travesty that ought to be removed at once.)
The rights guaranteed in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights et cetera restrict the power of government to take those rights away, nothing more, nothing less. Having the right to life does not obligate the government to provide food, water, shelter, and medical care to any citizen – it obligates the government not to kill people at will. Having the right to the pursuit of happiness does not obligate the government to ensure your happiness, nor to provide you with property of any kind. And so on.
We can pass laws saying that people have a right to be served by private entities open to the public. We can also pass laws that say you can’t eat garlic on Tuesdays, that cohabitating is a sex crime, or that DWIs get lesser sentences than DUIs. It doesn’t make the law reasonable, correct, or reflective of any actual right.
No, that was satire with a very specific purpose; it was neither flippant nor an evasion.
When all else fails – when every other avenue has been attempted. Resorting to the law, to pure force, is a failure on our part. Not only because of its ethical consequences, but the pragmatic ones.
Order rises up from chaos. Trying to impose it from above is not only unwise, but prone to failure, and so we should attempt it only when everything else has failed. Using it as the first response to something we feel is offensive is madness.
This thread is looking rather ugly, but I would just like to say that not all Missourians are bad. Y’all should come to Columbia; it’s not nearly as bad as Kansas City.
To compare eating garlic on Tuesday to being denied public accommodations for being gay. Ah the privileges of heterosexuality. To not have to deal with or care about injustice. I wonder what that’s like.
Um… no. Those things aren’t being compared.
Quite a lot of the problem in this thread is that some people keep failing their Reading Comprehension attempts. It’s not that you disagree with my argument, it’s that you seem to be either incapable of understanding or unwilling to understand what the argument actually is.
People who agree with Shelly that religion is OKAY, this is for you, so you can better understand why religion must be stamped out…
Deuteronomy 22: 28 If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. 29 Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her
Deuteronomy 7:1 When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations … then you must destroy them totally. 2 Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.
Leviticus 21: 9 And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father; she shall be burnt with fire.
Shelly, I would like to buy into this Bible stuff like you do, but it seems too violent for modern society. Here is how a moderate Christian defends abortion…
“The Book of Exodus clearly indicates that the fetus does not have the same legal status as a person (Chapter 21:22-23). That verse indicates that if a man pushes a pregnant woman and she then miscarries, he is required only to pay a fine. If the fetus were considered a full person, he would be punished more severely as though he had taken a life.”
That is the kind of stuff that Christians like Shelley are fine letting others believe. Here is another example…
“By our deepest convictions about Christian standards and teaching, the war in Iraq was not just a well-intended mistake or only mismanaged. THIS WAR, FROM A CHRISTIAN POINT OF VIEW, IS MORALLY WRONG – AND WAS FROM THE VERY START. It cannot be justified with either the teachings of Jesus Christ OR the criteria of St. Augustine’s just war. It simply doesn’t pass either test and did not from its beginning. This war is not just an offense against the young Americans who have made the ultimate sacrifice or to the Iraqis who have paid such a horrible price. This war is not only an offense to the poor at home and around the world who have paid the price of misdirected resources and priorities. This war is also an offense against God.”
Seems like that Christian has actually arrived at the right destination (one of the few who has), AMAZING! I guess the only problem remaining here is the compass (RELIGION), which can be unreliable and is easily misinterpreted.
Leviticus 20: 27 A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones; their blood shall be upon them.
Cheers to PZ Myers and Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris (and myself), who can see the danger in sadistic “fairy tales”.
Yes. This is because you tend to show no particular interest in empirical observation of the consequences of the implementation of pure principle, as you would have it done, or in the distinctions between different ways of implementing public policy–e.g., calling it all “force” and dismissing force as bad.
As an example of the first, the consistent, systemic exclusion of a class of persons from public accommodations and employment creates a de facto underclass, the consequences of the existence of which–crime, hostile communities, and medical care, for example–we all must share.
As an example of the second, there is (in the U.S.) an unsubtle distinction between adding something to the criminal code and simply giving private persons the standing to bring civil suit for a private wrong. Different amounts of brute force are implicated in each.
Also, you’re still being willfully opaque about what exactly this “everything” is that we must try before we attempt legislation. I know it includes letter-writing and patronizing other businesses. But does it include civil disobedience? Am I supposed get my friends and have a sit-in at the offending restaurant, plopping down on the floor and refusing to leave, thus allowing the police to use force on me (the good guy) before I attempt to get the government to exert any sort of influence on the restaurant (the bad guy)?
John W. says
First of all I grew up in Fredericton which is the gay capital of Canada something like a 3/10 ratio. I find it hard to beleive that people can be as ignorant about homosexuality as are claimed to be or as I am being accused of being. Since I have never actually seen such discrimination other then in American movies.
One thing I do know is that people need to be allowed a comfort zone of change it doesn’t happen overnight it is deep rooted in our phsycology.
Dustin: Nobody means to stop being gay or Christian but maybe just stop acting quite so much so for a few minutes.
Truth Machine: Owners are allowed to do anything they want on their property as long as they are not breaking the law and it doesn’t make them sociopaths.
Louis: Louis, Louis, Louis Oh my, where do you get your stats from Seymore Butts.
Wrong – I characterized force as dangerous.
I beseech you, think it possible that you may be mistaken. Just for a moment.
I know perfectly well why you want to take action – you find the behavior offensive, and think that it would be pleasant to cause it to cease to be. But think about the other consequences of that action. Cutting down hedges to get at the devil may be satisfying, but who can stand in the winds that will blow?
What further implications does limiting the ability of private individuals to use their possessions as they see fit in that manner have? What further implications does it have for people exercising their freedoms in any sense? What standard distinguishes between the appropriate and inappropriate ways people may exercise their rights, what justifies that standard, and how will you enforce it?
Think, for God’s sake! Don’t just attack anyone who dares to question the conclusion you ‘know’ is true. Think! Present the arguments.
What are the consequences of mandating behavior with the force of law? What does history teach about restricting freedoms?
John W., this statement is (sadly) factually incorrect here in the States. Laws have been passed which make it illegal for proprietors of a business establishment to refuse service to other people based on certain criteria.
Not that it is illegal for government agencies to withhold service based on those criteria, but private individuals.
Why do you think the IDists are trying so hard to get their nonsense enshrined in law? That’s how power is exercised here in the US – by wielding authority like a club.
John W. says
Like I said; “As long as they are not breaking the law”
Although I would like to add that I agree with you that laws are passed like wielding a club.
I am corrected, John W. My apologies.
Our right to swing our fists ends where others’ noses begin. But equally important is the recognition that we need space in which to swing our fists, and if people stick their noses where they don’t belong, they deserve to be struck.
Both the noses and the fists require boundaries which may not be transgressed. The people here like that their noses are protected by boundaries, but don’t want there to be any boundaries their noses are not allowed to cross.
John W. says
I want get one thing clear.
Do gays deserve equal rights? Caledonian?
I mean should their noses get to go where everyone elses noses get to go?
We’re using the word ‘rights’ in fundamentally different senses. I can’t answer that question in any simple, accurate way, for precisely that reason.
Gays deserve the same legal protections as everyone else. The key words here are protections and everyone else. Granting anyone the power to force others to offer them services is not a protection, and I don’t think anyone deserves to wield that power. Even if they’re black or female or gay or of any other unpopular appearance/sexuality/political grouping, and especially not any people belonging to popular categories.
It’s not enough that I approve of a thing – that is not sufficient cause to mandate it. It’s not enough that I disapprove of a thing – that is not sufficient cause to forbid it.
I am probably the most hardline advocate of careful reading and arguing against actual arguments, not perceived ones.
And yet I still failed to process a very important phrase in John W.’s post because I anticipated him making a very differnt point, and as a result I didn’t see the phrase that distinguished what he actually said from what I thought he would say.
If I can’t get it right, what hope is there for most of the people here?
“Granting anyone the power to force others to offer them services is not a protection, and I don’t think anyone deserves to wield that power.”
But they are “forced” to serve black people. They cannot deny service to people based on race.
What’s with the quotation marks? They are forced to serve people regardless of race.
You know, you really don’t have any chance of getting your Klan Hood on your head until you’ve pulled it out of your ass.
“If I can’t get it right, what hope is there for most of the people here?”
Caledonian, of all people, is fallible? If such an intellectual paragon has feet of clay, I can only conclude that humanity’s attempts to understand the universe using reason, logic, and empiricism must be utterly futile. That does it; I’m going to start worshiping Aslan, Kali, and Zod. (Hey, I have to hedge my bets).
Well said. Let’s pack those Negroes up and ship them back to Africa.
Colugo, you win the “Best Laughter Ever” award for today. Congratulations!
Also, kneel before Zod. Kneel!
Dustin, I have my disagreements with Caledonian but you are being utterly unfair and inaccurate with regard to his views, and I wholly disassociate your criticism from mine.
Separate but equal! SEPARATE BUT EQUAL! SEPARATE BUT EQUAL!
*lights a cross on fire*
Colugo, I’m sorry. What’s really important is that I respect Caledonian’s opinion, even if that opinion is nothing more than a regurgitation of the apologetics used to defend the de facto segregation that existed after the Jim Crow laws were kicked out.
The Catholic Church once burned heretics alive.
Therefore, fire should be banned. Also, Catholics aren’t allowed to sing anything by Otis Blackwell.
Whatever is devouring your medial prefrontal cortex seems to have made its way into the part of your brain that’s responsible for constructing analogies. The argument that everyone has been trying to force down your throat through that impenetrable smirk of yours goes like:
The Catholic Church once burned heretics alive. Therefore, burning heretics alive should be illegal.
And, I might add, your argument goes like:
If you act like a heretic around the Catholics, they have the right to burn you.
Justin: “that impenetrable smirk of yours”
Something must be wrong with my internet connection – all I can see on these threads is plain old text! Can any of you more tech-minded Pharyngula readers help me see a video image of Caledonian’s mug, like Justin apparently can?
You might try using your glasses. Name’s Dustin, not Justin. Then you might try to learn something about tone. Caledonian’s tone is smug, and her suggestions are useless. She is smug and useless. Smug and useless people just stand around and smirk while pontificating through their excremental orifice.
“can you not be gay for five minutes”
how about…can you not be straight for five minutes?
No, I can’t not be gay for any amount of time, because I am gay. Now if you want to ban holding hands while walking down the street, fine, but it must be for everyone, not just gay people. I have no obligation to make you feel good about yourself, or keep you from seeing things you do not like. I suggest if you visit Miami Beach you stay in your hotel, because you will see people of the same gender walking down the street holding hands.
Um, no. The Church certainly has the right to determine who’s in and who’s out – and if people believe that they’ll burn in everlasting Hell because the Church won’t let them in, it’s not obligated to change its standards.
Requiring lesbians who engage in acts of affection to leave would be the analogy there. Your version would require that the lesbians be beaten to death. (And guess what – property owners don’t have the right to bear people to death just because they’re on their property, especially not if they were invited in.)
Banning fire because it was used to kill heretics is an example of throwing out the baby with the bathwater – which is what you want to do: take away people’s ability to use their freedom in ways you don’t like by taking away their freedom.
Rights are not granted and withheld at your whim. And laws shouldn’t be passed that way either. Some restrictions are necessary – and each must be defended on its own merits. You’re not defending, simply declaring. Then you declare the opposition to be cross-burning Klan members.
Again: there is actually little difference between groups that want all of society to be controlled from the top down. What they want to accomplish with that power may vary, but their means of acquiring it are often indistinguishable, and the end result usually identical.
1) Such a ban would constitute government regulation of public spaces, not government regulation of private spaces. This is a very important distinction.
2) The government ought not to differentiate between people of different sexualities, agreed.
3) Such a ban, even if applied equally, would not be “fine”. There are no reasonable grounds for establishing such a ban – even social standards for appropriate behavior do not forbid hand-holding in this country/region. The ban would constitute an improper infringement of people’s freedoms.
Prove it. Prove that Sweden, The Netherlands and the American North have implemented their legal requirements for nondiscrimination to the same result as the discriminatory policies of the South, Iran and certain parts of Russia.
Prove that the forced desegregation of the United States has had the same social impact as the implementation of the Jim Crow laws. Prove that laws forbidding discrimination against women have had a negative impact on the social structure and economy of the United States. Prove that forcing people to accommodate everyone in a public place of business doesn’t reduce the fictionalization seen in places like Ireland.
You know what? I’m with Steve_C. You’re just an unhinged concern troll.
It isn’t necessarily anti-gay discrimination. Some people just steam at the idea of the godless fornication of everyone else they see. Case in point: My friend and I stopped at a small rural restaurant for a light meal. We gave our order and sat at the counter, chatting. Before we were served, though, the proprietor came hissing up to us and ordered us to leave. Apparently we had offended him by our raunchy behaviour. On reviewing the scene, the only thing I could think of was that my friend touched me on the forearm to get my attention while we were talking.
It’s possible. But if the IHOP manager isn’t regularly throwing out people for PDAs, he’s discriminating.
Your story does make me thankful for living in a big city though.
Don’t you see a difference between being refused service in a restaurant and being burned at the stake?
If you act like a heretic inside a Catholic church, they do indeed have the right to *ask you to leave*, nonviolently.
I do, of course, recognize the history in this country (and others) of refusing service to people for stupid and vile reasons. But it remains a far cry from murdering anyone for *any* reason.
I think Caledonian has a point that we should think twice before resorting to force (governmental or any other kind). The fact that a particular behavior is despicable, and inconveniences others, does not necessarily mean it should be illegal. Therefore, the fact that someone says a behavior should not be illegal does not mean that they are defending that behavior – they may consider it bad, but not bad enough to justify the use of force against it.
If you want to start a restaurant with different policies, you have the right to do so. If you want to organize a boycott of the restaurant in question, you have the right to do that too. But if you want to shut down the restaurant in question because you disapprove of it, regardless of how many people are still willing to do business with it, well, I’m afraid there’s a nose in the way of your fist. And while the owner of that nose may be a jerk, he’s not a violent jerk.
I think you have some valid points on this thread, but this goes too far. If the way I think people should behave is, say, to not murder each other, is it a bad thing to force them to not murder each other?
At best, it is overbroad. There is a genuine issue with trying to force people to refrain from “bad” behavior, but absolutism is not helpful in resolving it. (Then again, maybe that’s what you meant: it is bad, but sometimes a necessary evil.)
The point about the blindness of the self-righteous is dead on, though. We currently (in the US at least) see far more aggressive self-righteousness on the political right, but there’s no reason it couldn’t arise on the left as well, and sometimes does.
Uhm, duh? I wasn’t the one who started the heretic analogy, I was just fixing it.
This is getting kind of stale, so I’m going to leave you concern trolls to wank-off in peace once I’ve straightened something out.
They do. And they have that right because they are not a business offering a service to the public. Wrangle with the semantics of that all you like, it won’t change the fact that Churches can make you sign all kinds of statements of faith, and don’t have to adhere to the same regulations that are plastered in the back room at the IHOP. There is, and I’m only going to say this one more time, in the eyes of the law a difference between a business that is designed to offer a service to the public for profit and a private organization. And there should be.
And, by the way, Caledonian, you still haven’t answered my question about the doctors, and you still haven’t offered the proof of your asinine comment that this is likely to cause as much trouble as actively enforcing discrimination. I’m not going to be around to see what it is you type, but you should probably answer them… just so we know you aren’t a concern troll.
You know, I’ve started noticing a few people on Pharyngula (and maybe this is happening elsewhere on the ‘tubes) just throwing out this epithet anytime a heated argument reaches a certain length (not just by Dustin, and not just applied to Caledonian). I’m sorry, but this is clearly Godwin-like behavior, and it does not serve your argument when you use this term improperly.
“Concern troll” means something quite specific, and it is not “someone who refuses to agree with me”. If you have spent anytime around this blog, you know Caledonian is anything but. He is quite blunt, which goes against the whole concept, really.
I know the novelty has not yet worn off this neologism, and it is tempting to use, but please, show some restraint. There’s no point reading the comment threads if everyone moves in lockstep, and Caledonian is one of the best at making sure there is tension, so I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t equate disagreement with concern trolling.
Personally, I appreciate the back-and-forth between the libertarian and liberal-authoritarian viewpoints, as my own feelings tend to vacillate between the two.
Rooney is right; there has recently been an overuse of the term “concern troll” (and “troll” in general); not just on Pharyngula but other blogs as well.
The accusation of trolling is becoming little more than an excuse to dismiss any comment that the accuser disagrees with. Soon, a new term will have to be invented for real trolls. (“Orcs?”)
I actually agree more with Dustin than with Caledonian on this particular topic. But the repeated “concern troll” accusations were derisible.
John W. says
What I gathered ‘concern troll’ means from reading various blogs is: “disagreeing with the ideas in the original post”
Which I thought was a pretty useless term since there is no point in having blogs if everybody is just going to type: ‘umhmm’, or ‘yes’ all the time.
I don’t know what it used to mean but it seems to ring with the same tone as ‘skeptic’ which I also thought was a good thing until being skeptical was equated with being idiotic.
Mike Crichton says
You know, those who have claimed that this sort of discrimination isn’t analogous the restaurant refusing to serve black customers are absolutely right. What it’s actually analogous to, is restaurants refusing to serve mixed-race couples because they disapprove of their “blatant miscegeny” rather than the skin color of one partner per se. There, now that we’ve cleared _that_ up…
It’s not enough to show that a majority of the populace thinks a new restriction would be a good thing. It’s not even enough to show that a majority of the populace’s moral precepts would view a new restriction as a good thing. Even if virtually everyone saw it as a good and desirable thing, that wouldn’t lead to the restriction being right.
Restrictions on freedoms just be properly justified, just as restrictions on a particular freedom (say, freedom of speech) must meet very high standards before they can be put into place. Speech that isn’t popular needs extra consideration, and is equally deserving of protection – the same holds for behavior. Protecting popular behavior is redundant – the principles are in place to protect behaviors that the majority don’t like.
The behavior of the IHOP manager is outrageous and disgusting. That doesn’t mean that it ought to be made illegal, no matter how much we despise it.
(Do you think that there aren’t things that, in my secret power fantasies, I dream of rubbing out completely? Stupid attitudes, unthinking prejudices, mindless behaviors and beliefs… stuff that’s harmful and without any benefit of consequence. But that doesn’t mean that I would make them illegal if given the power.)
Do you really think that the vast majority of people in this society do not murder each other only because of the threat of retribution from the government?
If virtually everyone thought murder was appropriate, would passing any number of laws against murder be likely to help anything?
Even if it were somehow carried out, do you think that restraining people’s murderousness through force and the threat of force would lead to a better society, one more like ours? (And keep in mind that we’re quite violent compared to many other societies – it’s not that our punishments are more severe, I don’t imagine.)
That is precisely what churches are.
Speaking from my own experience in a large industrial business, I agree that powerful unions can become corrupt, as Lord Acton predicted. As a white-collar worker, I remain grateful for the benefits that blue-collar unions won for us all in years past, but more recently I have seen much evidence of Caledonian’s claim.
Quick geography lesson for some of you: Kansas City is in both Missouri and Kansas. Grandview is just south of Kansas City, MO and is considered a suburb of the city.
It irritates me when people say things like,
“Don’t even ask about the IQ level. They think Bush is doing a great job, overall. Yeah, a giant leap forward for the gay community here. I can’t wait to get my wife and I back to Washington State. ”
“My fellow Americans living in their idyllic suburbs and Mayberry-like small towns are cursed with the freedom to set up small communities of like-minded souls where they can all live just as they please and make sure that their neighbors do the same.”
The reason there are ordinances in certain cities protecting gays is because the people decided that they wanted them. I don’t have any problem condemning a group of people that have an ass-backwards viewpoint, but if you abandon an entire section of the country, how do you expect it to ever change?
Yeah, it sucks to live in a state that pioneers Intelligent Design in the school system. But I think it’s important to be here so that I can at least try to stop it. If we abandon middle America we only promote more ignorance in the future.
Besides there are plenty of small towns (and Grandview isn’t a small town) that have progressive views. Looking down on people because they don’t live in a big city is its own form of ignorance.
It was my understanding that the nature of anti-discrimination laws are simply to provide standing for a plaintiff to argue that the defendant was not treating them the same as other people for the reason of being black, female, aged or handicapped.
That is, because in the past blacks, women, the aged and handicapped couldn’t show any legal reason to believe they deserved the same level of treatment as other people, judges were dismissing cases due to lack of standing. So legislatures created a distinction saying that plaintiffs have a right to present their case of unfair treatment even if their case is based on their being colored, female, old, or handicapped.
In the eyes of the law, all citizens are (ideally) identical. The law extends into all public places, and even into all places which welcome the public.
It seems to me that all the homosexual rights advocates are asking is for the same level of standing already granted to blacks, women, aged and handicapped. They are not asking for the right to kiss in an IHOP, but they want the ability to present their case to be allowed to kiss in an IHOP to a judge or a jury of their peers.
They might lose that case. The judge and/or jury may find that it is not generally socially acceptable to kiss in an IHOP, meaning the managers behavior was not disciminatory. However, unless they can show standing the judge may simply dismiss the case.
Caledonian appears to think that the homosexual rights advocates want to make anti-homosexual behavior illegal. That is, impose fines or imprisonment for exhibiting anti-homosexual behavior. However, most of us make a distinction between granting someone the standing to sue and declaring an action a crime.
If anti-homosexual behavior was a crime, the government would be greatly involved, and may even take over the case. As Caledonian suggests this is an attempt to legislate a style of moral behavior, and does not work very well.
On the other hand, by giving homosexuals standing to sue for discrimination resulting from by being homosexual only involves the judicial branch of the government and is mainly a function of two (or more) members of society arguing for the appropriateness of their behavior.
So I think you’all are arguing at cross purposes.
Just to be fair I think that the many references to Caledonian as a concern troll are attributed to the fact that she states that she agrees with all the rights stuff but is espousing a view contrary to what posters like dustin et al. consider a consensus on the issue; that legislation is necessary or that this person was wrong to and not within their rights to kick someone out.
Concern trolling refers to someone opposed to a topic adopting the persona of a concerned individual on a topic in order to criticize it. While a first glance I assumed that Caledonian was doing this, a more likely interpretation is that Caledonian simply has a different view on the matter; that is that the owner was well within their rights and that legislation is not necessary.
Even though legally certain measures prohibit discrimination in practices (And whether these laws would actually apply to this particular situation I am not sure) and the segregation analogy is very appropriate, Some people have a concern that these might lead to a slippery slope and that the government might try to further legislate what we do with our property in ways that we would not like.
Caledonian, in my, opinion, has a few very good points and labeling them a concern troll is counter productive to the argument.
Although I am personally of the opinion that there is a clear and defined line, discrimination to what someone is rather than what they do, there is a simple fact that one has a right to throw people out for what they deem disruptive behavior.
On the other hand what people can deem disruptive behavior is a problem: if you go into a church and yell “there is no god” they would be well within their rights to kick you out as it is a house of worship and you have a reasonable expectation of conflict. However the IHOP is not a for straights establishment and a homosexual couple had no reason to believe that simply being gay would get them kicked out.
I think that most are agreed that what they did was not morally acceptable: kicking a couple out for being homosexual. But some may argue that, despite its bigoted nature, the act fell within their rights to conduct their business they way they please.
So was what they did legally exceptable? I doubt it but that is a more complicated issue that has to do with the actual discrimination laws. It has been argued that the IHOP is a private establishment and therefore does not have to adhere to anti discrimination laws but I do not know the specifics of missouri laws and really should let someone more capable comment on that.
Excuse my mindless rant above.
My point is that discrimination laws DO apply to private businesses.
However, there are very few antidiscrimination laws that have passed
that protect to the gay community. You CAN throw someone out for being
gay but not for being black. It’s legally ok to throw gay people out, for the
same behaviour that straight people engage in, in Missouri.
If the manager is consistent and is throwing out hetero couples for innocent kisses,
then there’s no problem. It wasn’t discrimination.
But do you think the table that got them kicked out has a problem with hetero couples?
I didn’t call Cal a concern troll. Cal was just being incredibly frustrating.
Actually, as far as I understand it, you can throw someone out for being black, but the person then has the right to sue you for doing so.
Just as an employer can refuse to hire a woman or an old person, but the rejected potential employee can sue an employer for doing so.
I admit I could be wrong, I’m not a lawyer. But I’d like a referance to the law where it says that says you can be arrested for refusing to serve someone.
Oh, and for clarity, I’m not thinking of additional fines imposed by the state to discourage discriminatory behavior. That’s a whole ‘nother discussion.
So far as I know, someone has to be found guilty of discriminating against a protected group for the sole reason of them being a member of a protected group before any of these fines are administered.
You don’t have policeman going into a resturant and telling the manager, ‘You’re under arrest for refusing to serve this woman a bowl of soup. Are you going to come along quietly?’
And, even if we where talking about “chosen” life styles, which certainly isn’t even the case here, the same segment of the population that would object to anti-descrimination laws to protect gay people **we have seen** trying to pass pro-discrimination laws that let them refuse service or refuse to hire people based “solely” on their religions, sexual preferences or what the provider/employer *presumes* those are. If you don’t pass laws to protect the right of people to sue, some other less high minded idiot ***will*** pass one that denies people that right, based on the identical criteria.
Luckilly, the only organizations that can currently get by with it are churches, since anything from denying service to the wrong sort of people to denying pension to someone that dared get sick before they retired officially falls under, “How a church conducts its business according to its own edicts, which the state has no standing to interfere with.” Having concluded that this is acceptable for a church, some segments of the US seem to think this is equally reasonable for a private business or even a state run hospital, based on the same idiotic stance that belief in who actually *deserves* service trumps everything else.
Its that sort of thinking that they are trying to pass legislation to promote and encourage. So, my main complete of Cal’s position is that you have to be blind not to see how proactive steps to prevent the promotion of bigotry is necessary, especially in a climate where some people think “anything” from having a tattoo to merely looking like an atheist constitutes valid grounds to discriminate and deny service, or even employment. If this was just one moron with some backwards ideals and no one was trying to push laws through that do the 180 degree opposite of anti-descrimination laws, I would almost agree with Caledonian’s position.
I didn’t imply that the manager could or should be arrested.
Equal rights laws make discrimination illegal and punishable… but only in civil court.
That’s how it should be.
Steve_C wrote, “I didn’t imply that the manager could or should be arrested.”
After reading all the comments I don’t think anyone here did imply this.
Caledonian appears to have taken the position that anti-discrimination laws restrict the freedom of a private individual from exercising their bigotry. In other words the government is preventing a private individual from following their beliefs.
I don’t see these laws that way. IMHO, anti-discrimination laws enable people, who are equal in the eyes of the law, to enjoy that equality. These laws give people who are subjected to unreasonable discrimination, standing in a court of law to prove that the defendants unreasonably discriminated against them.
I would love to get rid of these laws, for I agree with Caledonian that laws like these are not going to eliminate prejudice. However, until there is a better way to give plaintiff’s standing in a civil court to show how a defendant is not offering the same services to the plaintiff that the defendant offers to the rest of the general public I think we are stuck with these laws.
I don’t think the laws are even intended to eliminate prejudice, they do constrain the abilities of prejudiced people to inflict those beliefs on others by giving people recourse against them.
Hold whatever beliefs you want, but they do have a limit.
And that limit is at the boundary between public and private space.
There’s no reason for laws to mandate that private groups must treat all people equally. There’s no reason for laws saying that a private group must offer its services and wares to any particular person or group of people.
We can set whatever public standards we can justify, but those standards have a limit and a border. You’re crossing it.
Trying to use law to perform the functions of conscience is disruptive to law and destructive to conscience.
There are a host of reasons for this, but I’m going to focus on two:
1) Psychology has demonstrated that if you offer external motivators to people motivated internally, the external motivation replaces the internal. This is true even for things that people find innately enjoyable – if you pay children to play, for example, and stop paying them, they’ll stop playing until they’re given the reward again.
The implications for replacing internal, emotional controls on behavior with externally enforced codes of conduct should be obvious.
2) If you turn the law into the manifestation of your personal moral codes, other people will try to remake the law in their own image. Legal strictures should not become a battlefield on which people wage war to determine whose beliefs gain enforcement power. If you don’t want people dictating a morality that you find offensive, you must restrain yourself from imposing your own morality on others.
A behavior can be utterly abhorrent without meeting rational standards for illegality. Your disapproval of discrimination does not entitle you to restrict others’ right to make whatever distinctions they please in their lives and with their property.
Well actually it is not like they are inviting a bunch of friends to a barbeque. In national chains like this where they are held responsible for their costumers there needs to be some kind of assurance that the costumers are treated right. the gay couple had no way of knowing that they would be kicked out for being homosexual and I do have to ask what the reaction would be if it was a black couple that was turned away from a restaurant. Maybe if the put up a sign saying ‘no homos’ or ‘we only serve white people’.
And btw the IHOP is offering a public service.
Under Federal law, employers cannot discriminate against employees on the basis of things like race or sex
so really all I see anyone calling for is the extension of these laws for consumer’s rights and adding sexual orientation to the list for equal standing.
Although I would have to check the actual laws before any further commenting from myself ( I don’t want to make a bigger ass of me)
It makes absolutely no difference if it’s a national chain or a unique, locally-owned restaurant.
Referencing federal law is a non sequitur: there’s no law granting special protection to homosexuals, if there were it still wouldn’t be relevant to the issue of the correctness of such laws, and we’re not discussing employees anyway.
I think that you may have misinterpreted my comment.
This whole to-do is making me not want to patronize any IHOP, even though I know most are probably okay. And I love their Swedish pancakes with lingonberries!
I can be patronizing to any IHOP I want:
Wow your pancakes are just great! Why they are almost edible!
(Ps I’ve never been to an IHOP and mean no offense to people who like it)
Weird, but I suppose predictable.
Caledonian is unable, apparently, to see any distinction between laws intended to enforce a behavior and laws intended to provide people with standing to legally argue against that behavior.
Of course theft is a moral behavior, and maybe society, as represented by our government, shouldn’t be trying to enforce a moral code which states that theft is morally wrong. Note: I am not arguing here that Caledonian has expressed this belief. This is simply an illustration that morality and ethics covers a lot more ground than simply discrimination and we already have plenty of laws enforcing moral codes on our society.
In regard to Caledonian’s point #2 made above, “If you turn the law into the manifestation of your personal moral codes, other people will try to remake the law in their own image.” This happens with all laws, not just the ones dealing with morality. Further, the lack of a law can also be used to justify abhorrent moral behavior. Even before behavior in the post-reconstruction south became codified in the jim-crow laws, blacks were barred from plenty of activities and were expected to stay ‘in their place’. For a hundred years the lack of a law was used to justify repressive behavior.
I’m not recommending that we try to criminalize all unethical behavior (there is no way we could agree on what that even means), but at the same time, it’s silly to think that there should be no legal redress possible for a person who has been harassed for behavior which would be acceptable in other people.
The law is not a switch. Actions are not either permissible or prohibited. The law covers a continumm of actions; it can allow people to argue for redress of wrongs, it can also be used to subjugate whole classes of society. There are good laws and bad laws and sometimes which laws are good and which laws are bad depend on your point of view. Law is not a rigid structure like a mathematical proof, law is entirely about behavior.
The anti-discrimination laws seem to be a fairly good balence. Without making bigotry itself illegal they do provide a venue for people to expose bigotry.
I see no problem with extending these laws to another class of society.
Finally, as far as the IHOP incident goes, I don’t eat there myself, but I wouldn’t have a problem with it. We really don’t appear to have enough information from the news reports to determine what happened. Was the kiss long or short? Was it a single kiss or a series of them? Did another patron complain or was it only the manager? We can’t even begin to argue if a similar level of activity by a hetrosexual couple would have gotten them thrown out because we don’t know what the level of activity was.
If homosexuals did have legal standing to argue that the manager’s behavior was excessive, we might learn these things. The fact that homosexuals don’t have legal standing to argue that they are being held to a different standard of behavior than other IHOP customers means that we will probably never learn anything more about the incident (assuming we want to).
That is why anti-discrimination laws are a good idea. They allows the exposure of prejudice, and creates a public record of bigotry.
Um, no, those laws do indeed make bigotry (the application of bigotry) illegal.
Which is why people then have standing to sue. Because without those laws, the denial of service isn’t actionable because it’s not illegal.
As a demonstration of rationalization and compartmentalization, this thread is fascinating – I could have gotten a thesis out of it. As a discussion of law and ethics – not so much.
Alright, maybe I should have written; Without making bigotry itself criminal they do provide a venue for people to expose bigotry.
My mistake, which I recognized and corrected in another spot in my post, but missed here.
However, you are not winning any points with me by using a debating style which ignores the ideas presented and simply re-iterates your belief that anti-discrimination laws are an excessive invasion into individual rights.
I suppose if the questions, opinions, and beliefs which have been expressed on this thread are ones you have already considered and decided are unimportant you wouldn’t get much out of the discussion.
I can’t believe someone is arguing that Civil Rights/Equal Rights laws are bad.
Steve_C wrote, “I can’t believe someone is arguing that Civil Rights/Equal Rights laws are bad.”
I think it would be a simplification to say that Caledonian is arguing the these laws are simply bad. The question which Caledonian, and others, ask is whether these laws contribute to helping create a society free of bigotry and injustice more than they infringe on the personal rights for each of us to be as big an asshole as society allows. This is a reasonable question.
Their viewpoint, as I understand it, is that there are better ways to correct prejudice than legislating against it. Further, that legislation which results in restricting the actions of individuals for no other reason than to correct prejudice is in itself unjust.
That is a viewpoint I understand, and even sympathize with to an extent. But it founders upon the rock of reality. This viewpoint assumes that most of the people in the world are rational and free from prejudice. Or that most people can be persuaded to abandon prejudice by means of a short discussion. Unfortunately, people are not rational.
So, when there is a group of citizens who generally find it difficult to do things which the rest of that society takes for granted, like eating in a resturant or getting certain types of employment, due to a general level of bigotry what can be done? (Note: I wrote ‘generally’, I’m implying that if prejudice against this group was a rare occurance the justification for anti-discrimination laws would be reduced.)
Do we assume most people are rational and will change their behavior once it’s pointed out that differences like skin color or gender are minor compared to the rights we all share in the eyes of the law as citizens of this country?
Or do we recognize that not only are some people irrational but some people are convinced that other human beings are inferior, and no amount of discussion will convince them otherwise?
You don’t get it:
It’s not your place to decide what people should believe. “Ending bigotry” is not justification for law. You are not qualified to engineer society, and neither is anyone else. People can and will believe stupid stuff that is utterly outrageous and harmful – but that doesn’t mean making such beliefs illegal are appropriate or just.
um… this isn’t about what people believe, this is about how people’s beliefs effect other people and how we can provide some sort of recourse for people who have been discrimnated against.
Are you also against the employment laws?
Don’t blow off the question, answer it. Why?
Sounds like we have an unhunged libertarian.
The beliefs are not made illegal! Geeze. People can hate, pray and screw whomever they want in private. It’s when they ACT on those beliefs that are unfair to a population is when they run up against civil courts. IF the laws are in place.
This is not about thought crimes.
Flex seems to think that the laws restricting people’s actions would be unneeded if it were possible to get them to stop being bigoted with a short talk.
Perhaps you don’t believe that such laws are for the purpose of reshaping people’s beliefs over time, but he does. So the points are valid.
More to the point: what justifies the control of these behaviors?
“You are not qualified to engineer society, and neither is anyone else.”
Perhaps so. Maybe no one is ideally qualified, either individually or collectively. But modern society – including market democracies – are all about engineering. So we have to make do with the flawed engineers we have.
Sure, in an idealized classical liberal society there would be no need for engineering. On paper.
In reality, however, there are public health campaigns, nuisance laws, civics education, nondiscrimination laws, federal economic manipulation, local business incentives, wealth redistribution, social workers, and other kinds of top-down, social, medical, and economic engineering. And for good reason. Of course, the balance between top-down engineering and aggregate individual choice can get out of whack in either direction.
Caledonian wrote, “Perhaps you don’t believe that such laws are for the purpose of reshaping people’s beliefs over time, but he does.”
What a wonderful conclusion you have jumped to, I wish I had actually said it. Well, no I don’t wish I had said it.
Where do I say that I know what beliefs people should hold? If you got that from any of my statements, let me be very, very clear. I do not think I know what beliefs people should hold. I do not claim to know what beliefs people should hold.
I do claim that people should be able to argue against actual or even perceived injustice in a court of law. You will note, nothing in that statement suggests that I have any idea what people believe, or even care about anyone’s beliefs.
If you inferred it from my statements through some logical process, you really should list the steps in your logic so that I can correct your missunderstanding. Because if there is a logical series of steps to go from what I maintain, that ‘anti-discrimination laws provide a legal basis to fight institutionalized bigotry against select groups within society’ to ‘Flex believes anti-discrimination laws are a form of mind control to advance Flex’s personal beliefs because Flex knows best’ I’d really like to see it!
In actuality, I think Steve_C said it better than I have when he said, “The beliefs are not made illegal! Geeze. People can hate, pray and screw whomever they want in private. It’s when they ACT on those beliefs that are unfair to a population is when they run up against civil courts. IF the laws are in place.”
Well, you apparently fail to see the difference between civil law and criminal law, as illustrated by your lack of acknowledgement of the differances we have shown you.
Here’s another of your blind spots to consider. You say, what justifies the control of these behaviors? There is a large difference between controlling behaviors and giving people the ability to complain about them. That’s right, complain. That’s what a tort is, a complaint in civil law where the plaintiff wants redress for a perceived injustice. If you think anti-discrimination laws are a way to control behavior, I hate to see what you think about criminal laws. Anti-discrimination laws give a plaintiff standing to argue that an injustice was committed. They give the plaintiff the right to argue in court. No more.
Finally, this question pops up, and it’s probably ingraved on the heart of every social liberatarian: Why should we provide some sort of recourse for people who have been discriminated against?
Here are a few answers:
1. Historically, long term institutionalized discrimination breed resentment and rebellion. As well as feeling of superiority in the class with the upper hand. Rebellion, even quashed rebellion, costs a society. Look at the Luddite riots in northern England or the Great Indian Mutiny, or the even Helots rebellion in ancient Sparta. Even though the rulers won in all those examples, the rebellions cost the lives and fortunes of private individuals. Of course, if a complete societal collapse happens, like on Easter Island, all your savings will be worth exactly nothing. Money and banks are social constructs and when society breaks down, money and banks are worthless. For purely selfish reasons you should be concerned about institutionalized discrimination.
2. Institutionalized discrimination restricts the freedom of those who are discriminated against to get jobs, learn knowledge, or even simply feel comfortable being themselves. This is an opportunity cost lost to society of all the hard work, great art, new products, and advancements in knowledge, not to mention the savings from the dispair created by making people feel obligated to fit in. Since institutionalized discrimination is restricting individual freedoms, I would think your libertarian philosophy would be against such discrimination.
3. Finally, I’ll throw this question back into your face. Why is it wrong to desire to eliminate bigotry, hatred, prejudice? Because to do so I have to confront those people who act on their bigotry and hatred? It’s a violation of their freedom to chastise them for being bigots, intolerant, and hateful?
Your response is predictable; it will be along the line of ‘it’s not wrong for an individual to do it, it’s wrong for the government to do it’. Sorry chum, the government IS us. The sooner we realize that and elect people who understand that the government represents the people, and the desires of the people, the sooner we will be back on the hard path of democracy.
If you want something to ponder, as to why your social libertarian ideas are wrong, spend some time drilling to the heart of this famous phrase, “No Man is an Island”.
You DID say it. Here:
You don’t understand my ‘viewpoint’. Not only am I saying that we have no obligation to ‘correct’ anyone’s bigotry, I’m saying it’s wrong to attempt to do so, both pragmatically and ethically.
You are still reading more into what I wrote than what I actually wrote. I said that as I understand it, you believe that there are better ways to correct prejudice than legislating against it.
You took that to mean, “we have no obligation to ‘correct’ anyone’s bigotry.”
These are not equivalent statements.
I’m sorry, you took that to mean, “We have an obligation to ‘correct’ someone’s bigotry.” My bad, I blame it on the mid-term I just took.
As I understand libertarian ideology, the options range from ignoring bigotry to taking a personal interest in reducing bigotry. No where does libertarian ideology suggest that there is an obligation to ‘correct’ bigotry. And if you inferred that from what I wrote, I’m sorry to be so obtuse.
That second paragraph in my previous post should also be blockquoted, btw.
You have no idea what I just said, and your attempted dry sarcasms failed rather badly.
Oh, and one more thing before I retire with a Brother Cadfael novel I’ve read before, you flat out state in regard to correcting bigotry that:
“it’s wrong to attempt to do so, both pragmatically and ethically.”
I really, really hope that you don’t mean that literally. Instead, I read the statement as “it’s wrong to apply any sort of force to change a person’s mind.” For if you believe what you wrote, you are already violating that principle by arguing with me.
Simply by arguing with me, you are trying to ‘correct’ my viewpoint. Bigotry is a viewpoint. My opinion on bigotry is a viewpoint. Through arguing with me, you are attempting to convince me that my viewpoint is wrong and your viewpoint is correct. By a literal interpetation of your own words that would be a violation of your beliefs. For that reason, I have translated your bald statement into what I believe you are really intending to say.
I don’t mind being told I’m wrong, I’m often wrong. However, I spent a good deal of time considering the libertarian viewpoint before I rejected it, you haven’t advanced a single argument I haven’t heard before.
I’ve attempted to answer using libertarian arguments, because I know that arguments from compasssion are not relevant to your philosophy.
Can you see that it is in the interest of libertarian ideals to oppose institutionalized discrimination? Or does the inherent selfishness and anti-government stance of libertarianism override the rights of individuals?
Caledonian wrote “You have no idea what I just said, and your attempted dry sarcasms failed rather badly.”
Thanks for answering that for me flex: I don’t think I would have the time to write something like that so well. I really can’t see how one confuses laws that prevent people from acting against other people on their prejudices with laws that keep people from thinking prejudical thoughts or saying prejudical things.
Could you explain this?
And I really am confused with your statement about me blowing things off: when have I failed to answer a question directed at me?
Sorry: everything after the first sentence in my above post was supposed to be directed at caledonian
1) No one’s confusing thought control and action control – except possibly you.
2) What justification is there for actions that harm no one’s rights to be restricted?
You don’t actually read the comments do you?
Sorry, that the should be my in my above post.
Sorry for any confusion.
“2) What justification is there for actions that harm no one’s rights to be restricted?”
They do harm people’s rights, that’s why we want them restricted. THAT’S THE ENTIRE POINT.
People don’t have the right to be served in a private establishment. And they certainly don’t gain that right because they’re a member of a minority.