Arizona on My Mind

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Dennis Sanders

Dennis Sanders is the Associate Pastor at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Minneapolis, MN.  You can follow Dennis through his blogs, The Clockwork Pastor and Big Tent Revue and on Twitter.  Feel free to contact him at dennis.sanders(at)gmail(dot)com.

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206 Responses

  1. Avatar DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    It is 2014. Yelp exists. Google Reviews exists.

    So, when you encounter a horribly bigoted business owner who refuses to serve dirty sinners like you, the process is:

    1) Go to Yelp
    2) Leave a review saying “refused to serve me because I’m gay, one star”
    3) Find somewhere else to go.

    “bubububububub bigotry!

    Hm, interesting. Is this about pointing out bigotry, or is it about your butthurt over someone being mad at you?

    As pro-equality people are fond of pointing out, there’s no such thing as a civil right to not have your feelings hurt.Report

  2. Avatar Jonathan McLeod
    Ignored
    says:

    This is a good essay, Dennis. As much as I support SSM and the defeat of laws like the one proposed in AZ, I agree that there are more complex issues at hand, and that we are looking at competing “rights” (for lack of a better word; I don’t want to get into the “what’s really a right” debate right now).

    One minor pushback I have, though, is that religious beliefs can be honest and sincerely held, and still be bigotry. Such an observation only gets us so far (and doesn’t mean we shouldn’t treat “the other side” with love), but the bigotry can’t just be waved away, either.Report

    • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Jonathan McLeod
      Ignored
      says:

      Jonathon,

      “One minor pushback I have, though, is that religious beliefs can be honest and sincerely held, and still be bigotry.”

      This is something I struggle with because certain views can be held without having hate behind them and then we can enter into a gray area where I think bigotry is maybe an unfair label. Example, I have never had a problem with people’s sexuality. For a long time though I believed that gays could not raise children as well as heterosexuals. This wasn’t because I thought they were inferior as people but I believed that there they were lacking the the social structure that kids needed by only having parents of one gender. I now realize that this was an incorrect view but I know that it A) didn’t come from a place of hate and b) I really was trying to intelligently think about the issue and simply arrived at a different conclusion. So I don’t think I was being a bigot.

      I think the same position can be held by those with religious objections, but they must make a rationale argument for why this isn’t about labeling someone inferior.Report

      • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Mike Dwyer
        Ignored
        says:

        Fair enough, Mike; I wasn’t trying to say that all religious objections to SSM were necessarily rooted in bigotry, just that they could be.

        However, I sometimes wonder how such sincere beliefs can not be rooted in some form of bigotry. Not that they’re rooted in hatred, and not that there’s malice intended, necessarily, but that to completely disentangle them from bigotry could be difficult (and maybe “rooted in” is the wrong term… maybe “linked to” is a better term).

        I wonder about opinions I’ve held in the past, and I wonder if there was any bigotry tied up within them, and I’m inclined to believe that, yes, my opinions were steeped in bigotry.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Mike Dwyer
        Ignored
        says:

        How is bigotry then not just another sort of error that reasonable people can engage in? I’m supposing that people encounter many obstacles to forming correct judgments about things and this tendency to form error is largely blameless, or at least not very blameworthy. Why? because matters are often difficult and correct reasoning is rarely obvious. We lack the resources to prosecute(as in blame them for) every single epistemic sin people have. Expanding the instances which are called bigotry results in calling bigotry lots of errors which are no less excusable than other sorts of errors that people have a tendency to make. Yet, our understanding of bigotry is as something which is blameworthy in a rather stringent sense.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to Mike Dwyer
        Ignored
        says:

        Murali,

        I think you are agreeing with my point so I will respnd as such: Yes, that’s the problem with using the label of bigotry because it basically assumes, “No rationale person could ever believe that, therefore your beliefs are based in something other than reason…so I will call it bigotry.” I feel like it is a cop-out designed to dismiss opposition rather than treat a difference of opinion as an opportunity to make an intellectual argument that might persuade them otherwise.Report

      • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Mike Dwyer
        Ignored
        says:

        Well, considering the tone of this post (and the other post of Dennis’s to which he linked) and the fact that I stated this was a “good essay”, I’d imagine people could read my comment as agreeing with Dennis’s thesis. So any suggestions at dismissing people or opinions or discussions out of hand wouldn’t really jibe with what I was getting at.

        Far more opposition to SSM is based in bigotry (or things like bigotry) than most people would like to admit. I’m not actually sure that I’ve read an argument against SSM that doesn’t have some sort of bigoted underpinning to it…but I won’t assume that my experience is exhaustive on the topic.

        “How is bigotry then not just another sort of error that reasonable people can engage in?”

        Maybe that’s what it is, then, though the implications seem worse than other errors people might make. It also seems to me that “reasonable” is doing a whole lot of work in that sentence, maybe appropriately so, but maybe not.

        “I’m supposing that people encounter many obstacles to forming correct judgments about things and this tendency to form error is largely blameless, or at least not very blameworthy.”

        Perhaps. I think there are obstacles for which stumbling over them is largely blameless, but others for which blame is due.

        “Why? because matters are often difficult and correct reasoning is rarely obvious.”

        It might even be easier to fall in line with bigotry than to fight it, but so what? Does the manner one befell bigoted opinions actually make the opinions any less bigoted? Maybe it’s a case that it’s strategically better to not call these errors “bigotry” because that will make it easier for people to confront their (bigoted) opinions, but seeing as I was giving just a bit of pushback to a post I agreed with, suggesting strategies or discussing efficacy isn’t exactly what I was going for. Though I will add that if we’re going to choose to not call it bigotry for the sake of efficacy (and if it works, I’m on board), that doesn’t mean that Dennis (or anyone) need specifically categorize it as “not bigotry”.

        “I feel like it is a cop-out designed to dismiss opposition rather than treat a difference of opinion as an opportunity to make an intellectual argument that might persuade them otherwise.”

        This is fair, but, again, it’s more an argument of tactics (and manner, perhaps) than the actual truth of these (sometimes? often? always?) bigoted opinions. It also is a little out of place as a response in a comment thread that began with me explicitly stating that I understood the trade-offs and the complexity of the subject, as well as saying we should “treat ‘the other side’ with love”.

        So it seems to me that we’re dancing around three subjects here: efficacy, manners and the nature of bigotry. I think the three of us, more or less, will agree on the first two, but I think those two topics are being used to obscure the third.Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Mike Dwyer
        Ignored
        says:

        But you don’t believe those things anymore, right? I can accept that five or ten years ago, someone could have beliefs about same sex marriage and same sex parenting that were mistaken, but in no way bigoted.

        Today, in order to have those same beliefs, a person would almost certainly have to be willfully ignorant of the world. And I think that willful ignorance is a form of bigotry.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Mike Dwyer
        Ignored
        says:

        Alan
        I think there are two forms of bigotry:
        1) Bigotry towards those you don’t know.
        2) Bigotry towards those you do.

        1) could still be possible in this day and age — someone used to a strict gender binary (possibly with a more militaristic upbringing?), not understanding how that would “work and work well”

        I think 2) is something far harder to fix, if you ever fix it at all. You do it by exposing exceptions, and gradually eroding stereotypes.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire in reply to Mike Dwyer
        Ignored
        says:

        In practice, does this sort of thing actually work?

        I mean, I don’t know. In my world, “transphobia” is what happens to me, and if being nice to transphobes would make them stop, then fine, I’ll flash a smile.

        But does it work?

        In my experience, and from my view of history, the battle lines get drawn pretty quickly; factions coalesce; rationalizations get repeated and rehearsed; all the arguments are known before the master of ceremonies taps the mic. And then we gather and make noise.

        Homophobes are bigots. Transphobes are bigots. Racists are bigots. By now we see the contours.

        And that “well-meaning” person who stumbles into some horrible opinion? Well, I can explain why he is wrong. I can explain again. And again.

        But the “well-meaning” person is too often very impressed with his own shitty opinion, and too often unwilling to listen, to think that some tranny could know more than he. And each debate is frustrating and takes its toll, not that we don’t keep trying. But really, for me it is often easier just to say, “Fucking bigot” and walk away.

        Others will listen. I don’t actually need to convince that one guy.

        Really, does being “nice” work?

        Regarding this topic, I’m mostly interested in hearing from folks on my side of the privilege divide. Can you see why?Report

      • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Mike Dwyer
        Ignored
        says:

        Alan, you’re right that there’s a lot of willful ignorance. I don’t know if I’d call the willful ignorance bigotry, but it certainly takes away from the suggestion that people are not blameless for their ignorance (which, is an oversimplification of what Murali said, to be sure).

        It’s very important to re-examine our biases and our reasons for holding certain opinions. People who are completely unwilling to do that are culpable for their ongoing mistakes.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Mike Dwyer
        Ignored
        says:

        v,
        Okay, I’m going to try and talk softly here.
        Part of the premise about “being nice” is trying to fit in.
        Showing you aren’t one of those “nasty black gun-wielding drug dealers from TV”
        [when a black couple moves into town, obviously].

        This is far more likely to happen in small towns — because, well, people
        tend to be more in the closet there (on a lot of things, including race sometimes).
        And the culture values conformity more (which is a fancy way of saying
        even the nice “let her alone” folks want you to not “dress like a tramp”).

        So, um, yeah, being nice really can work. But it’s not about being nice.
        It’s about becoming human in someone else’s eyes. I am a person.
        I am here. I demand a modicum of respect. I do not expect you to kowtow
        to me. Just a cup of coffee, sir.

        And, as a white woman, this is something I know relatively less about. So
        I damn well ought to listen if someone with more experience starts to yap.

        I know an awful lot about people who despite encountering others on a daily
        basis, consider them to be subhuman.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Mike Dwyer
        Ignored
        says:

        oh, and one more thing — I won’t hold it against anyone who
        decides that conformity is not part of their nature.

        It’s not everyone’s personal cross to bear — ridding the world of bigotry.Report

      • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Mike Dwyer
        Ignored
        says:

        Valid, valid points, Veronica.Report

      • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Mike Dwyer
        Ignored
        says:

        Kim, so the choices are: (1) personal cross of ridding world of bigotry; or (2) conformity and being a bigot?

        Seriously, simply not being a bigot isn’t an option?

        I am never moving to Pittsburgh.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Mike Dwyer
        Ignored
        says:

        Jon,
        no, you misread me. I took the part of a person from v’s side of the privilege side,
        where the choice is:
        1) to be “nice” and conform, as one may
        or
        2) to be oneself, no matter what people say. [whether borne out of rage or true nonconformity]

        And to be clear, I speak of this more in terms of rural America, a place that I admittedly have less to speak of than others hereabouts. Of course, they’ll tell you I’m a liar, so I would hold their trustworthiness in question.Report

      • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Mike Dwyer
        Ignored
        says:

        Kim, you’re right. I totally mis-read. My apologies.

        Maybe I’ll come to Pittsburgh after all.Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Mike Dwyer
        Ignored
        says:

        to be oneself, no matter what people say. [whether borne out of rage or true nonconformity]

        What does that even mean? If you’re acting some way out of rage and not true conformity, how is that being yourself?Report

      • Avatar kim in reply to Mike Dwyer
        Ignored
        says:

        Alan,
        put simply, some people are going to not be able to be conformist.
        Others are going to “act out” because they don’t like the idea that everyone
        has to be conformist.

        I fully support the right of both of the above to do as they like.
        They won’t be changing bigot’s minds, but That’s Not Their Job.Report

      • Avatar Creon Critic in reply to Mike Dwyer
        Ignored
        says:

        @veronica-dire
        Really, does being “nice” work?

        No.

        At most it will get you to, “You’re one of the good ones. I’m not talking about you when I say all X people are…” This niceness thing also calls to mind the “All our negroes were happy until you northerners came down hear and started stirring up trouble”. I tend to think vindicating your rights, seeing them instantiated, will always fall on the “stirring up trouble” part of the divide for the already privileged.

        Which is to say, taking blinders off the privileged is rarely simple, or nice, or easy. Much less dislodging some of the privileged’s power. There is one aha moment I can recall that was fairly easy-going, but it was a narrow, narrow point. So it was a freshman year literature-history class, and we were discussing class in America. the usual American classlessness stuff was being spouted, we’re all middle class in America, we don’t have lords and ladies like England, so much freedom in America, rah rah…

        Then the professor asked, how likely were we to marry someone who didn’t finish college? Well, umm… some. Maybe. Well you know, Bill Gates didn’t finish college. Next question, How likely were we to marry someone who only graduated high school? Ahem. Cough. Cough. And how likely were we to marry someone who didn’t finish high school? More coughing here.

        Things got real, real fast.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire in reply to Mike Dwyer
        Ignored
        says:

        @creon-critic — Heh. Sounds about right. “One of the good ones.”

        For the record, I didn’t graduate high school. Fortunately my wife didn’t mind.Report

      • Avatar Murali in reply to Mike Dwyer
        Ignored
        says:

        @mike-dwyer
        I was replying to Jonathan and agreeing with you.

        @jonathan-mcleod
        The issue of reasonableness is complicated. We both agree that some sorts of epistemic sins are more excusable than others. Though, we may or may not agree about which are the excusable or inexcusable ones. Expanding the account of bigotry risks including types of epistemic sins which are genuinely excusable within the rubric of bigotry. Now, one way of talking about bigotry is as this thing which everybody engages in, as something too bound up in our human nature and which we have to consciously fight against all the time. Another way of thinking about it involves instances of animus, resentment or profound inexcusable ignorance. There may or may not be a “correct” way of using the term bigot, but the second way is more pragmatically useful. As it stands, the term bigot is used as a term of censure, to indicate that someone has done something that is not just wrong, but something blameworthy. I doubt we want to do away with the term, or for that matter neither do we wish to do away with the sting associated with the term. The line you sort of want to draw is that bigotry has no place in the public square, but reasonable differences in opinion do. The hard question is exactly when a difference is reasonable, but defining reasonable too narrowly cannot be conducive to living peacefully among others in a society characterised by an extensive pluralism in views.Report

      • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Mike Dwyer
        Ignored
        says:

        @murali I’m not exactly sure where you’re going with all of this.

        First of all, suggesting that my argument is “expanding the account of bigotry” is a definite stolen base. I have clarified in this thread that there is often bigotry underlying people’s opinions (and this is true for more than just the SSM debate) even if the people aren’t consciously holding any animus toward anyone. This is what makes bigotry, racism, sexism, chauvinism, homophobia, etc. so insidious. It seeps into arguments and viewpoints. People absorb it without thinking about it.

        But, even if no harm is intended, that doesn’t mean bigotry isn’t present.

        Further, as I also clarified, I’m not saying that we have to call out every instance of bigotry as bigotry, necessarily, but I oppose saying that bigoted opinions aren’t bigoted.

        The second half of your paragraph seems a little off to me. You say there are two ways of using the term bigotry [(1) a typical human failing and (2) something beyond the pale]. That seems like an oversimplification, but it’s probably a useful oversimplification, so assuming, arguendo, this is correct, I don’t see how you can say that this second use is the pragmatic one.

        Later in your comment you note that bigot is used as a term of censure, which is not helpful in terms of discussions or introspection… but using it as a term of censure is the natural conclusion as the second use of the term–the use deemed pragmatic.

        In fact, if more people were willing to admit to occasionally succumbing to bigoted arguments (not even necessarily saying that they supported bigotry, just that they erred)–that bigotry was a natural human failing–maybe, just maybe, even more people would be willing to examine their own opinions to see potential bigoted underpinnings.

        Finally, if we’re talking about trying to live peacefully, I’ll just go back to my original agreement with Dennis’s post (and extrapolate from his point), that we most definitely need to treat other people with love and respect. You don’t need to ignore the shadows of bigotry to do that.

        I’m not suggesting that anti-SSM viewpoints need be shunned from reasonable debate. Far from it! I would love to read an argument against government recognition of SSM that wasn’t steeped in bigotry.

        Further, as a libertarian-ish sort of guy, I’m all for more ideas in the public square–marketplace of ideas, fight ignorance with information, and all that good stuff–so I am certainly not suggesting that we chase anyone who may have slightly off-colour opinions from our public discussions.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Mike Dwyer
        Ignored
        says:

        I support Creon’s point.
        But I also want to say that “understanding that there are good ones” is a form of progress too. Progress, you see, is the path of thorns.Report

  3. Avatar Michelle
    Ignored
    says:

    Good post, Dennis. I agree that the best strategy is to simply walk away from business people who can’t, for reasons of conscience or bigotry, support or participate in gay marriages. Don’t sue; find another business that’s happy to work with you.

    The arguments for SSM have been won. I never thought I’d live to see it in my lifetime but I’m now convinced that SSM will be legal in all 50 states within the next couple of decades. Time to be gracious in victory. Christian fundamentalist types are expecting to be persecuted for holding dissenting views against SSM. Better for everyone if they aren’t given an excuse to be martyrs.Report

    • Avatar Road Scholar in reply to Michelle
      Ignored
      says:

      I never thought I’d live to see it in my lifetime but I’m now convinced that SSM will be legal in all 50 states within the next couple of decades.

      I think it might be a reality far sooner. If the legal logic of the recent spate of court decisions striking down state-level ssm bans holds when they hit SCOTUS, even in part, we should at least see a situation where even if a gay couple can’t get married in, say Kansas, that same couple would at least continue to be married if they wed elsewhere.

      A few years of that, the dust settles, and most, if not all, of the recalcitrant state assemblies will quietly pass laws making ssm legal.Report

  4. Avatar North
    Ignored
    says:

    Thanks for writing this Dennis, it covers a lot of points I was pondering with regards to how gays who have won the war should set about winning the peace. I also endorse your prescriptions in general. While the idea of laws like the Arizona or Kansas ones are nonstarters I think that gay people in general should simultaneously avoid launching lawsuits over these private companies. Setting aside the principle for a moment and focusing on the practical why on earth would you want to force an unwilling business to make your wedding cake?? Just how high exactly do you want the spit content of your frosting to be? Also, as a practical matter, this weaponizes the culture war even more and increases the odds of us getting flipped into the aggressor role- a role which we very much should, viewing our own history and the history of the civil rights movements that came before us, seek to avoid.

    Additionally ignoring the religious right would be the cruelest thing gays could possibly do to them. Fundamentalist parishioners and pastors do not fear the thunder of a pro-gay mob on their church doors; far from it; they welcome it. They relish the prospect. Christianity has had a cultural chip on their shoulder ever since they originated as a persecuted minority in the Roman Empire. Being the dominant game in town has always caused a certain mental dichotomy (it’s hard to be a martyr when you’re too big to oppress); they mainly dealt with it by schisming and then persecuting each other, so in some ways becoming the persecuted social minority again would be a refreshing return to their roots. Fading to obscurity is their nightmare scenario. Fundamentalists don’t fear the hammer of the gay man on their door, they fear that the gay man will deem their door insufficient important to bother beating on and will elect to stay home and watch TV instead. I advise that gays and their allies should, all else being equal, consign our religious fundamentalist foes to the indifference they never gave us. Ignore them, find happiness, gay flourishing will agonize fundamentalists more than any intentional persecution we could ever devise would.Report

  5. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist
    Ignored
    says:

    This

    “serving people we don’t see eye to eye with is the essence of Christianity. Jesus died for a world with which he didn’t see eye to eye. If a bakery doesn’t want to sell its products to a gay couple, it’s their business. Literally. But leave Jesus out of it.”Report

    • Avatar Maribou in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist
      Ignored
      says:

      Thanks for reminding me of how much I like Rachel Held Evans, @mad-rocket-scientist . (And my librarian scruples feel the need to point out, for those who don’t click through, that the quote above is actually from someone Evans is quoting, Andy Stanley.)Report

  6. Avatar Kazzy
    Ignored
    says:

    Great piece, Dennis. You remarkably explore the many nuances of this situation and relate how your own personal experiences have offered you a unique perspective on the matter.

    One of my objections to allowing the sort of religious opt-out discussed is practical: business owners are given unique benefits and privileges under which to conduct their business. These are paid for, in part, by tax dollars. Tax dollars paid for by all citizens, gay and straight alike. So when businesses are given tax incentives or benefit from downtown renewal projects and the like, they have no qualms entangling themselves with the government and, in doing so, the public at large. But when that same public comes knocking with that same government’s legal support, suddenly “FREEDOM!” becomes the rallying cry.

    Burt thoughtfully pushed back against this saying that a free-er market is better than a less free market. And while I would agree with that in a vacuum, context matters. In this case, a market that offers protections to existing businesses, barriers to entry for new businesses, and tax incentives does more harm in the aggregate by allowing discrimination than it does by barring it.Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Kazzy
      Ignored
      says:

      I’m not sure “might be given downtown renewal tax incentives” is really a reason to justify intervention. I’m okay with rules that require businesses (and even churches) to be non-discriminatory to get a specific benefit (such as that tax-free beach gazebo from a few years ago). And for that matter, I think non-discrimination laws are justified on other grounds. But I think the rationale you’ve offered isn’t very strong.Report

    • Avatar Vikram Bath in reply to Kazzy
      Ignored
      says:

      business owners are given unique benefits and privileges under which to conduct their business. These are paid for, in part, by tax dollars. Tax dollars paid for by all citizens, gay and straight alike. So when businesses are given tax incentives or benefit from downtown renewal projects and the like, they have no qualms entangling themselves with the government and, in doing so, the public at large. But when that same public comes knocking with that same government’s legal support, suddenly “FREEDOM!” becomes the rallying cry.

      Where’s Jason when you need him? This is a fully general argument that can be used to dismiss the concerns of anyone who receives any sort of benefit from the presence of government.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        Let me step in here….

        The issue of “unique benefits”, etc. can be easily solved. Don’t hand them out.

        See how that uncomplicates all the issues in the last few posts?Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        Ah, yes, wouldn’t really be a thread involving government if someone didn’t pop up with the “Just get government out of it, problem solved!” solution.

        It must be nice to have a perfect solution that will never be tested by reality.

        My favorite is it’s application to gay marriage. “Let’s bypass the whole thing, just get government out of marriage”. Well, golly-gee-willickers, that SOUNDS like a great idea. Except for all the parts of “government being involved in marriage” people like, like handling name changes, power of attorney, assets, custody of minors, etc.

        Such a predictable, pointless response. “Government does wanted things X, Y and Z, but has caused unwanted Q.” Getting government out DOES get rid of Q, but also X,Y, and Z…..and yet strangely, the “get government out” folks never talk about X, Y and Z, acting like Q is the sole reason government is involved.Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        I think the better way to put the objection is that, as I’ve argued in other threads of late, allowing incorporated, for-profit, entities to claim to possess religious “beliefs” turns the entire concept underlying limited liability on its head. Incorporated entities, no matter how small, cannot be said to be mere extensions of their principal owner(s) asserted beliefs. Limited liability requires that the corporate entity maintain an identity separate from that of its owners, and where owners fail to keep that independent identity, the corporate form of their business can be disregarded. To say that a corporate entity has “beliefs” which are identical to the beliefs of its principal and which should be protected and respected is to say that the corporate entity is indistinguishable from the business owner, which is precisely what is NOT supposed to happen if you wish to incorporate.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        morat20,
        then it would take ten times as long to get married. So What? I had to sit in a chair for ten minutes to sign the forms.

        It takes 10 times as long to buy a house, and that’s also a Really Expensive Decision.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        It must be nice to have a perfect solution that will never be tested by reality.

        As if Dems and Repubs would ever let it. It’s a bit much to stand there barring the door to the experiment and sneering about it’s untested status.Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        Surely it makes sense for a church to have religious beliefs, and they are often incorporated entities. Likewise, I believe sole proprietorships are still subject to these laws.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        @mark-thompson

        I can’t find it now, but I was just reading an opinion by some legal scholars that was touching on that same idea, although I think they were approaching it from a shareholder perspective (i.e. if a public corporation held up a belief as part of the corporate image, that they could put themselves at risk from shareholders who do not share that belief).Report

      • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        Alan,

        Re: chruches, Mark did say “for profit”.Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        @alan-scott Jonathan’s correct in pointing out that I used the “for-profit” qualifier for precisely that reason. On the issue of sole proprietorships, I’m very much sympathetic to the notion that they should be exempted from discrimination laws. If you’re willing to take on the risks that come with individual liability, then I see no reason you should be prevented from selecting your customers.

        As for churches, they already have their rights sufficiently well-enshrined in existing Constitutional law that there is no dispute that they are allowed to discriminate however they wish in terms of their internal governance and membership decisions. (The Catholic organization adoption problems come about because that’s an external activity and service offered to the public in general and for which they actively seek and receive government funding).Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Vikram Bath
        Ignored
        says:

        As if Dems and Repubs would ever let it. It’s a bit much to stand there barring the door to the experiment and sneering about it’s untested status.

        James, people would never let it. That’s the problem with that solution. It would be less popular than a dose of the clap. “Congratulations, married couple. Now if you’d like power of attorney, custody rights over children, tax breaks, ability to handle each other’s assets, and the million other things you take for granted as part of ‘marriage’ you will need to hire a lawyer and spend six weeks filling out forms”.

        That’s the reason it’s a stupid solution, James. Nobody wants it. There’s a reason government’s are involved in marriages, the world over. Not just to keep a list, but because there are a huge parcel of contractual rights and obligations bound up in marriage.

        So “Let’s just get the government out” — whether of marriage or public businesses — ignores the million things people want out of it that only government can offer. Like limited liability, tax breaks on investments, the ability to have medical power of attorney over your spouse, etc.

        Seriously, how is this not blindingly obvious? Are you just oblivious to all the things the government does that are involved in a marriage license? Or do you just somehow think it’s superior to hire a lawyer and spend six weeks and god knows how much money doing it all contractually, and then having to show that paperwork around every time you want to use it?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        Morat,

        There’s people-don’t-want-it and there’s it’s-bad-policy. Sometimes the two overlap, sometimes they don’t. But surely you don’t mean soneone should stop trying to sell someone on what they believe is a good policy just because they haven’t yet sold people on it?

        That sounds to me like just a convenient way to shut up certain unpopular views.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        @james-hanley — Fair enough, and I really don’t want to sneer.

        On the other hand, while we’re waiting for libertarian utopia to arrive, we have to deal with the hands we’re dealt, which includes the societies and their governments as they exist, and what changes we can actually achieve.

        Personally, I have no interest in libertarian utopia. I don’t think it would work, and the path to get there is one I believe would be disastrous.

        I suppose I would like queer utopia, were it ever to arrive. But I don’t expect it to arrive. And that path is a minefield as well.

        Mine is the politics of harm reduction, small steps to ease the injustices I see, laws to mitigate deep imbalances, to ease suffering in small doses.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        “Utopia”.

        Imagine a human saying “your life doesn’t fall under my jurisdiction” to another. Forever.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        @jaybird — Thing is, those words more or less denote nothing meaningful in my world. I mean, I passingly understand the worldview that produces them — I too read Ayn Rand at one point, and have been exposed to the OMG! Adam Smith! fan base. But “jurisdiction” — what does that even mean here? On the streets I walk, the people I know, the economies I live in, they way greed works in practice, the reality of violence. It doesn’t ring true to me.

        In my life I have to deal with violent men with guns. Some of them are cops.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        while we’re waiting for libertarian utopia

        That puts the lie to your claim that you don’t want to sneer. And the libertopia claim is sufficient evidence of your unwillingness to listen to others the way you’d like them to listen to you.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        your life doesn’t fall under my jurisdiction

        Of course, your life falling under my jurisdiction, and mine under yours, is sort of what society is. It seems that the goal is for your life not to fall under excess jurisdiction, and exactly what and where we find the excess is the topic of every discussion of political and social theory and practice ever.

        On the other hand, continuing from a previous conversation, we’d get more bounce music.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        Mark, I’m curious about this comment

        as I’ve argued in other threads of late, allowing incorporated, for-profit, entities to claim to possess religious “beliefs” turns the entire concept underlying limited liability on its head. Incorporated entities, no matter how small, cannot be said to be mere extensions of their principal owner(s) asserted beliefs.

        I’m perfectly amenable to this conception of a corporation (since I agree with you that it forms the basis of the concept of limited liability protection), but I’m curious how it squares with various conceptions of speech rights. I seem to recall an argument of yours where you attributed rights to free speech to the legal fiction rather than the material corporate body upon which that fiction is constructed, which was a view I recall arguing against a few weeks ago. Am I confused about this?Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        “your life doesn’t fall under my jurisdiction”

        Unless I can convince at least one juror that I felt threatened by you.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        i.e. if a public corporation held up a belief as part of the corporate image, that they could put themselves at risk from shareholders who do not share that belief

        I’m confused by this. Who are “they” and what could shareholders do to them? (All I’m coming up with are “management” and “fire them” respectively, but I’m unsure that that’s what you mean. )Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        Argue for marriage as a private contract all you like. But what Morat is saying, that it won’t happen because the vast majority of people don’t want it, is quite true. So, when you say that it won’t happen because the political parties won’t allow it, is that an accusation of some kind, or an acknowledgment that in this respect they’re representing their constituents?Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        So, when you say that it won’t happen because the political parties won’t allow it, is that an accusation of some kind, or an acknowledgment that in this respect they’re representing their constituents?

        Why can’t it be both?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        @mike-schilling
        So, when you say that it won’t happen because the political parties won’t allow it, is that an accusation of some kind, or an acknowledgment that in this respect they’re representing their constituents?

        First, it appears to me that Kazzy was talking about special privileges for business owners–e.g., “business owners are given unique benefits and privileges “–so I’m not sure we’re not talking about that, instead of about legal privileges of marriage.

        Second, it’s an acknowledgement that the parties are representing their constituents (particularly their business constituents). But that’s not what I was criticizing. It was the cheap use of the claim that our method csn’t be valid because it can’t even be tried out by someone who would do his damndest to let it be tried out.

        In other words, that’s not his true rejection.

        But that’s the only sense of accusation. I’m not “accusing” the parties for not holding my preferences. I understand I’m in the minority.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        morat20
        Well, Virkram was complaining about how folks who took gov’t money..yadda…

        Frankly, I’m tired of the countless bitching that goes on about how to solve one problem that only brings up another problem, only to find that root of the issue being that SOMEONE SOMEWHERE took money from the the gov’t. Rather than peeling an onion only to find a rat’s nest within, go to the root of the problem. What a stunning concept!

        And you know, we don’t need anarchy from day one. How about we start small, with one or two small programs-say like those urban renewal funds mentioned by Virkram?Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        Kazzy:
        Like Vikram says, with that logic you’re basically giving the government a blank check to do anything to anyone. How do you like that child tax credit? Great! We’ll let you know when we need something. Other problems with this argument that come to mind:

        1. Businesses and their owners pay much of the taxes that fund these benefits. To paraphrase Harry Browne, it’s like the government breaking your legs, giving you crutches, and saying, “You owe me big-time, bub.”

        2. Things that ostensibly help business may not actually benefit many business owners. For example, if the government does an urban renewal project that brings in more customers, that’s great for you right up until it’s time to renew your lease, at which point your landlord captures the benefits. And if you didn’t open your business until after the project was done, you don’t benefit at all. Ditto tax incentives.

        3. Individual businesses rarely have the ability to opt out of these things short of packing up and moving (and again, even if they do, they’re still paying for them). This is like that scam mail order companies used to run where they’d send you something unsolicited and demand that you pay for it, except you don’t even have the option of returning it.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        Morat:
        Ah, yes, wouldn’t really be a thread involving government if someone didn’t pop up with the “Just get government out of it, problem solved!” solution.

        It must be nice to have a perfect solution that will never be tested by reality.

        It sounds an awful lot to me like you’re saying you’re okay with cronyism as long as the government uses it to keep its cronies in line.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        @mark-thompson
        That sounds pretty arbitrary to me. It’s not like limited liability is a natural phenomenon whose properties were discovered by David Ricardo through a series of rigorous laboratory experiments. It’s something the government made up to encourage investment and business formation.

        As such, there’s no logical connection between limited liability and the owners refraining from asserting their identity, especially in the case of corporations with one or a small number of owners.

        That may be the case as a matter of law, though it’s not quite clear to me what you’re talking about. Are you referring to piercing the corporate veil? I was under the impression that that was only done in the case of fraud or blatant abuse of corporate status for things like tax evasion. Are there examples of the corporate veil being pierced for reasons even remotely comparable to this?Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        @stillwater Essentially, the difference with speech is that it exists regardless of whether you attribute it to a corporation, and the First Amendment protects speech itself, full stop. It doesn’t cease to be speech because it is words on corporate letterhead, and you need a compelling reason to regulate any given type of speech. The issue in Citizens United was not whether corporations have free speech rights – it was whether the government had presented a sufficiently compelling reason for regulating a type of speech.

        But beliefs are wholly internal and subjective and can only belong to an individual.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        @james-hanley — No, I really don’t mean to sneer.

        Look, queer utopia is not coming either, and we have to deal with our government and society as it exists, and whatever changes happen will surely be incremental. And if they are not incremental they will probably occur under very unpleasant stress.

        Let’s get concrete. For a young, trans girl living in a red state, her problems are pretty off-the-radar in libertarian circles. And she probably hates cops. But she probably hates violent, young rednecks just the same. Thing is, libertarianism is so far from the world she lives in, the politics that she knows. Like her food stamps, since decent jobs are hard when you are trans and maybe she doesn’t want to do sex work. And her subsidized housing, since the corporate buildings don’t want a poor girl like her and the small landlords won’t go near a queer. And a libertarian type might explain to her how government is broken, and how important “free association” is, but to her “free association” sounds something like that last dude who said, “I don’t rent to faggots” and slammed the door.

        No, I don’t mean to sneer. But that girl is important to me. (She is based on girls I know.) My politics are for her.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        I’ve seen some pushback here and much of it fair. To clarify my position, I would not invite the government to make every decision for anyone who benefits from its existence. Rather, if we have A) government enforced barriers to entry that make “Just going to the bakery down the corner” more difficult than it ought to be AND B) tax dollars going to supports businesses, non-discrimination laws seem a reasonable counter-balance to those forces.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        queer utopia is not coming either,

        And nobody accused you of doing so, did they?

        For a young, trans girl living in a red state, her problems are pretty off-the-radar in libertarian circles. And she probably hates cops [and] violent rednecks

        Is it your considered belief that libertarians aren’t concerned with police and violence?

        You’re making a lot of claims about libertarianism, but you’re not persuading me that you actually know much about.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        @kazzy
        tax dollars going to supports businesses, non-discrimination laws seem a reasonable counter-balance

        I agree in principle, but think it would be difficult to determine which businesses are benefitting from taxes enough to fall under that policy. I’ve been wondering if it could be done with different sections if the tax code, so that non-discriminating businesses get a tax discount

        Under that type of system, anyone who really wants to discriminate can, if they’re willing to pay the higher rate. They could put signs in their windows announcing their tax status, so customers could choose whether or not to patronize them.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        @jm3z-aitch

        Difficult, but not impossible. Your idea is workable, though in a weird way it incentivizes the government to encourage discrimination to increase tax revenues. If two companies are applying for a single permit and the government is cash-strapped, it might opt for the discriminating one. Which would be horrible. But I wouldn’t put it past the government, especially non-elected officials.Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        @jm3z-aitch I think you missed @veronica-dire ‘s point, which is a point quite well taken. She’s not accusing libertarians of supporting police brutality, but rather saying that, while libertarians may offer trans persons something of value on that specific issue, the bulk of problems that trans people face are problems that have little nexus with government, and the issues that libertarians tend to be concerned with (outside perhaps of the police brutality issue) are issues of minimal importance to most trans people. Moreover, on a number of issues that are of importance to trans people – most significantly expansion of anti-discrimination laws,* but also to a large extent a strong social safety net – libertarians (or at minimum libertarian rhetoric) tend to be at the forefront of those opposing policies that trans people believe (with very good reason) would make their lives a little less difficult.

        One thing implicit in her points that I think is quite significant is that trans people in much of the country are too small, impoverished, and isolated a group to have any economic clout whatsoever, meaning that there’s no real economic incentive for business to welcome them, and lots of economic incentives not to.

        *I’ve always understood you yourself to be a supporter of most discrimination laws, so this doesn’t apply to you (or me, for that matter, since I still largely self-identify as libertarian), but it’s undeniable that just about every libertarian institution I can think of tends to oppose expansion of anti-discrimination laws, and AFAIK both Cato and Reason supported the Arizona law at issue here.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        @mark-thompson

        Re: Veronica’s point. I think it really matters what’s a more crucial issue to transgendered folks, police and rednecks or discrimination in housing and employment? If the former,mthen libertarians have a lot of relevance. If not, then hallelujah for that, at least, and libertarian relevance msy dwindle. Or not, since libertarians tend to have a “live and let live” attitude. I think the same logic could be made about gays and libertarians, and yet it strikes me that gay folks with some libertarian leanings are a surprisingly common species.

        As to my stance on anti-private-discrimination laws, I’m anti-discrimination but not very enthusiastic about such laws. You live in a place where the folks are bigots? Move to a place with fewer bigots–it also means there’ll be more folks like yourself around. I’ve moved too much in my own life to have much sympathy for the “I should be able to find exactly what I want in life wherever I happen to be” crowd, whether that’s suburbanites bemoaning the lack of ethnic food in their town, urbanites bemoaning housing costs while demanding growth limits, or what have you. And to the extent we want to minimize private discrimination, I’d prefer an incentive-based plan to a command-and-control plan.

        But as far as issues I’d be willing to fight for, anti-duscrimination laws are so far down my priorities list–because there obviously is an important good that stems from such laws as well–that there’s no conceivable calculus by which I’d prioritize that over my concerns about what gov’t does, from police brutality to prosecutorial misconduct to ghettoization of minorities to national security state surveillance and the imperial presidency.

        None of that applies to governmental discrimination (bigotry), which I oppose absolutely and unequivically.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        It sounds an awful lot to me like you’re saying you’re okay with cronyism as long as the government uses it to keep its cronies in line.
        Sounds an awful lot to me like you can’t read. Or perhaps the imaginary liberal in your head started spewing whatever weird things it believes again.

        I made my point in exasperation: In the real world, proposing solutions that are not acceptable to the vast majority — VAST in the case of ‘get government out of marriages’ example — are not actually solutions.

        A solution that cannot be implemented is not a solution. It’s, at best, a pointless diversion. I’ve gotten to the point where seeing such things has become quite annoying — you know it’ll never happen, I know it’ll never happen, so your pithy little ‘solution’ is utterly pointless, so why did you even bring it up?

        Seeing “get government out of X and that’ll solve the problem’ is rarely, if ever, an actual solution. it’s generally just a knee-jerk ideology masquerading as one, a one-size-fits-all solution that nobody would actually take.

        And before you go all nuts, there are places and times and situations where removing government might actually BE a good solution. (I can think of a few offhand, yes). Even a popular one. However, they’re going to be — by and large – -limited to cases where the problems themselves are the result of government intrusion and where the problems outweigh the original reasons for government intrusion.

        Marriage licenses, quite obviously, are not one of these.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        “I sometimes have to work with people I dislike and/or disapprove of” is as first-world as problems get.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        @jm3z-aitch — What @mark-thompson said is precisely correct. I am aware that libertarians oppose policed violence. In fact, to my view libertarians consistently get it right in terms of opposing abuse of power by the government.

        I mean, to say the least. That’s kinda a “water is wet” observation.

        Thing is, in my world social power works on many axes, and government hardly seems the worst. In fact, I think government has been critical in furthering civil rights and gay rights. We trans folk hope for the same help.

        Moreover, government is here. It does some good, some bad, a lot in between. Insofar as it ain’t going anywhere, and insofar as it can do much good for marginalized people — whether you like it or not, it is our primary available nexus of social support — I will work to see that government works on the side of good, even as I know many people are pushing it in the opposite direction.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        ““I sometimes have to work with people I dislike and/or disapprove of” is as first-world as problems get.”
        @mike-schilling

        I’d go even further. It is the unique province of the employed. I’m sure there are people who’d rather complain about working with people they dislike than being relegated to complaining about people they have to stand in the bread line next to.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        I sometimes have to work with people I dislike and/or disapprove of

        That’s kinda the definition of having a job, eh?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        @morat20
        Or perhaps the imaginary liberal in your head

        That’s pretty rich, coming so close in time to your libertarianism is just for rich white males comment.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        That’s pretty rich, coming so close in time to your libertarianism is just for rich white males comment.

        You should read more closely. I even specifically stated that there are minority and poor libertarians. I merely stated it was easier to be a libertarian as a well-off, white male.

        Which seems pretty darn hard to argue. It’s always easier, whether libertarian, Republican, Democrat, marxist or whatever — to argue for a political, religious, or social ideology that will primarily benefit you. It’s a lot harder to argue for one that benefits others at your own expense.

        One reason I respect Warren Buffet more than, say, the Koch brothers. He advocates for at least some policies that will impact him negatively, in favor of impacting others more positively.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        Libertarianism sits quite awkwardly in a political conversation that contains the concept of Sharia, and the sense that religious (not political) judges can make enforceable decisions.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        I made my point in exasperation: In the real world, proposing solutions that are not acceptable to the vast majority — VAST in the case of ‘get government out of marriages’ example — are not actually solutions.

        You were responding to a suggestion that we get rid of government subsidies of businesses. You then segued into marriage.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        @morat20

        Well, as Zane said elsewhere on this page, it’s easier to be just about anything in the U.S., which means if your statement wasn’t a swipe at libertarian ideas for being favorable primarily to rich white guys, then it was a meaningless truism.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        “One reason I respect Warren Buffet more than, say, the Koch brothers. He advocates for at least some policies that will impact him negatively, in favor of impacting others more positively.”
        @morat20

        While I agree with you that selflessness is generally preferable to selfishness, is it really accurate to say that Buffet is harmed by any policy? In some ways, it is easier for him to argue that we should tax the right for precisely the reasons many other people take that stance: because he won’t feel it.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        Kazzy,
        Buffet’s actively advocating for money to be taken from his pocketbook via raising taxes both on income and on capital gains.

        Secondary effects are as always secondary…Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        Which seems pretty darn hard to argue. It’s always easier, whether libertarian, Republican, Democrat, marxist or whatever — to argue for a political, religious, or social ideology that will primarily benefit you. It’s a lot harder to argue for one that benefits others at your own expense.

        How much money do you suppose the median American libertarian makes? Let’s go nuts and say $100k/year. I can’t imagine it’s even close, but let’s pretend. Who’s proposing that we raise taxes on people making $100k/year? The number I seem to recall repeated ad nauseum in Obama’s speeches was $200k. What percentage of libertarians do you think make $200k/year? 2%? 5%?

        So where do you get this idea that libertarianism is about promoting libertarians’ narrow economic interest? Looking at the numbers, it looks to me like there are a of a lot more Democrats lining up to eat from the trough than there are libertarians looking to get a break from filling the trough.

        One reason I respect Warren Buffet more than, say, the Koch brothers. He advocates for at least some policies that will impact him negatively, in favor of impacting others more positively.

        Warren Buffett isn’t promoting policies that will impact him negatively. He has literally orders of magnitude more money than he has any inclination to spend on himself. Think about what kind of taxes the government would have to levy on him before it affected his personal consumption by even one cent. Is he promoting anything like that?

        The only people who are going to be hurt by raising taxes on Warren Buffett are the people to whom he would otherwise have given away that money. But hey, better it goes to giving middle-class Americans some freebies or tax breaks than that it goes to poor people in the third world. It’s not like African kids are going to grow up to vote for Democrats.Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        @brandon-berg There’s nothing in what I’m arguing that would prevent business owners from “asserting their identity” through their business – if the business owner wants to use his business as a platform for expressing his beliefs, there’s nothing to stop him. Free speech protects his right to use his business to, for instance, publish a line of Christian products or publish and distribute movies attacking a political candidate (as I’ve said, I have always agreed with the ruling in Citizens United). That right is protected regardless of whether the business owner sincerely believes the expression. No inquiry into sincerity is necessary.

        But when we’re talking about religious beliefs being used to obtain an exemption from laws of general applicability, we run into a whole host of problems (this is more or less the issue in the Hobby Lobby case being heard this term; I expect it will be a 5-4 decision; I also expect that I’ll disagree strongly with Justice Scalia regardless of whether he’s part of the 5 or 4)* when we’re talking about incorporated entities.

        Let’s start with the fact that, if it’s an incorporated entity, enforcing the law of general applicability will result only in a judgment against the business, not against the business owner herself. Indeed, this is the entire point of creating the legal fiction of corporate personhood. Thus, any effect on the business owner’s free exercise rights is entirely indirect – the corporate entity committed the illegal act, not him (even if he’s the sole owner), and thus the corporate entity alone may be held liable. At that point, frankly, I don’t see the impact on the owner as being conceptually any different from the impact on the taxpayer of tax receipts being used to fund programs the taxpayer finds morally objectionable.

        More to the point, though – implicit in the idea that individuals may evade liability for the actions of their business so long as they respect that the business is a separate entity from them is that the business itself may not evade liability for the actions of the individual undertaken in the business’ name.

        Additionally, complying with public accommodation laws in particular does not require that the business owner herself directly participate in the legally required practice – in the Elane Photography case, for instance, there was to my knowledge nothing prohibiting the business owner from subcontracting the work out to someone else. Employment discrimination laws are a trickier issue, of course.

        And while I’m not aware of any specific veil piercing cases in which an attempt to attribute a business owner’s religious beliefs to the corporate entity resulted in a veil piercing, my point is that conceptually business owners wishing to maintain limited liability may not treat the business as a mere extension of themselves. To say that the business owner’s professed beliefs are wholly attributable to the corporate entity such that the corporate entity is entitled to the same religious exemptions as the owner is to dramatically weaken this distinction, even if it stops just short of wholly eviscerating it. Indeed, it is to say that the corporate entity may do whatever the owner wishes as long as he can find some way of shoehorning those actions into a religious belief.

        It also raises a number of other problems:
        1. Religious exemptions for corporate entities may well violate the establishment clause by providing corporate entities who have an owner that claims to be religious with a competitive advantage. Atheists have their own sense of morals, as well, but those morals would presumably not give rise to exemptions because they lack a basis in religion.

        2. If you have any more than one owner, what makes a purportedly religious belief “sincerely held” by the business? Particularly when there are bound to be nuanced differences in religious beliefs between any two given people, even if they’re part of the same religious organization.

        3. Are we going to inquire as to whether the business acts consistently with other religious beliefs of the owners in order for the owners to demonstrate that the belief giving rise to the exemption is both sincerely held and religious? How do we inquire into not only whether a belief is sincerely held (which is not something that’s been a problem in the past) but also whether it’s a truly “religious” belief without that inquiry itself becoming an infringement on religious liberty?

        But the bottom line is that if the tradeoff for obtaining limited liability is that the business owner must treat the business as an entity wholly separate from the business owner, then part of that tradeoff must be that the business has separate interests from the business owner and the business may not rely upon its owner’s interests to evade compliance with generally applicable laws. Limited liability exists to shield business owners from financial ruin in order to incentivize them to take risks; it does not exist to provide business owners a sword with which they may carve out their own personal utopia free from the laws of the very entity that created the legal fiction by which their business exists.

        *Technically the Hobby Lobby case isn’t over whether the First Amendment protects a business’ implementation of its owner’s religious beliefs, but instead whether the Religious Freedom Restoration Act can be interpreted to extend to businesses. As a practical matter, though, this means asking whether a for-profit business is capable of “exercising” religion within the meaning of the First Amendment.Report

      • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        @james-hanley I don’t think it’s quite so easy as that when it comes to trans people. If @veronica-dire is correct – and I have no reason to doubt her – trans people are so marginalized that they tend to be disproportionately impoverished. While gay people are not nearly as well-off as the stereotypes claim, there isn’t much evidence that they’re economically any worse off than average, either. That means that on economic issues, there’s a diversity of interests within the gay community that, if Veronica is correct, just doesn’t exist amongst the trans community.

        Additionally – and now I’m shooting from the hip a bit more – I suspect that the reason that gays are approximately as economically diverse as the rest of society is that discrimination against gays was, to a large extent, mitigated by a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” culture. Unless you’re spending a lot of time together outside of work, an employer or supervisor doesn’t know that an employee is gay unless the employee explicitly comes out – otherwise, as far as the employer knows, the employee just has a “roommate.” That’s not to trivialize the psychological effects of the closet, just to explain that the effects of social discrimination against gays were less economic than psychological. What’s more, while a number of states still do not protect gays under anti-discrimination laws, many do, and have so for quite a long time.

        For the last 15 years or so, then, I’m assuming that the issues of mutual interest to most gays have been: (1) adoption laws; (2) SSM; and (3) hate crimes laws. Those first two issues are issues on which most libertarians have long been supportive, and I strongly suspect that the hate crimes issue was a significantly lesser priority (and a rapidly diminishing one at that, as acceptance of gays has increased so dramatically in the last 15 years) – it’s fairly rare that a stranger looking to commit a hate crime will be able to deduce someone’s sexuality just by looking at them, and if there’s someone a a gay individual knows who is capable of committing a hate crime, they might be able to prevent that person from learning their sexuality.

        But trans people are truly “marked” in a way that’s visible no matter where they go or what they do and in a way where economic effects are impossible to avoid.

        That means they have a greater mutual interest in welfare programs and strong anti-discrimination laws. It presumably also means they’re more likely to be victims of hate crimes and suffer abuse from strangers far more frequently than gays.

        Last but not least – and veronica can correct me if I’m wrong here – I suspect that marriage laws and adoption laws are not a universal impediment to trans persons. While I’m certain that trans people almost universally support SSM and gay adoption rights, I’d also wager a fair amount that measurably improve life for the majority of trans people.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        @mark-thompson

        You make a good argument, but then at the end you come back to this.

        That means they have a greater mutual interest in welfare programs and strong anti-discrimination laws. It presumably also means they’re more likely to be victims of hate crimes and suffer abuse from strangers far more frequently than gays.

        And the second half of that brings us right back to the relevance of libertarianism. now Veronica says that violence is less of an issue for her than housing/employment. That’s good, I think, because I think violence is worse (although lack of employment/housing obviously puts one at greater risk of suffering violence).

        But Veronica lives in a sizable urban area to pick from her cues (clubs, public transportation). But the conversation keeps coming back around to trans people in more rural and conservative areas. What are their worst issues? I don’t know anything factually, but I’d be willing to wager that violence is a lot higher on their list than it is for Veronica, unfortunately for them.

        I’m not saying that libertarianism is “the solution” for trans people, or that somehow they’re fundamentally misguided if they’re not libertarian. I’m just saying that to the extent violence–and especially police violence/mistreatment–is an important issue, libertarianism simply can’t be totally irrelevant.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        @jm3z-aitch and @mark-thompson — My own personal situation isn’t so bad. I have to deal with harassment, and being trans at work is complex. But I still have my job and my salary and my apartment. This really isn’t about me personally.

        I don’t think you can separate out homelessness, violence, sexual abuse, on and on. They all get wrapped up together as the “lives of poor trans women.”

        We are often served poorly by local government. Many trans women are reflexively afraid to call the police, since that makes it worse. To the abuse we got from some dude we add some further abuse by some dude with a badge. We are often afraid to defend ourselves, because the broad society believes we’re “asking for it,” and thus when someone abuses us, we had it coming.

        I’ve experienced this in small, subtle ways. Cece McDonald experienced it full bore.

        Many trans women experience something called “unrapability,” which does not mean that men cannot violently force sex. It means when a trans women is the target, it wasn’t “rape.” We get raped a lot. We don’t report it.

        (Disclosure: I have been sexually assaulted, three times. I have never been raped. I did not report.)

        Many poor trans women are hesitant to access community services, such as homeless shelters, since we are often housed with men. We are accustomed to civil servants treating us like freaks, which is humiliating. The emotional toll is often too much, so we make our own way on the “street.”Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Vikram Bath
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        says:

        One question that I have with regards to my (and, really, we’re not talking about “Jaybird” here, we’re talking about “Society In General”) responsibility:

        We seem to have as one of our fundamental assumptions that society in general disapproves of transsexualism, doesn’t like it, or sees it as something having gone wrong (a mental illness, an imbalance, whathaveyou). (It seems to me that the negation of this sentence would be something like “society in general is totally fine with transsexualism” and that strikes me as downright false.)

        If we are to see transsexualism as falling under our jurisdiction, why is the assumption that it will be to the benefit of everybody involved rather than, say, more analogous to how Turing was treated?

        Because it seems to me that if we want society to seriously take an active interest in this topic, it’s more likely to try to “fix” transsexuals than try to make sure that landlords don’t discriminate against transsexuals.

        As Chris points out: Of course, your life falling under my jurisdiction, and mine under yours, is sort of what society is.

        What’s our track record for this assumption when it comes to me saying that, yes, I am responsible for you and your well being? At best, I think we can say that “it’s mixed”. At worst, it seems to me that “you know what, I’m not under your jurisdiction” is a hell of an improvement.

        If anything, it seems to me that there is a hell of a lot that needs to be done with regards to attitudes before we start saying “yes, this is an area where we need to start taking even more of an active interest”.Report

  7. Avatar Damon
    Ignored
    says:

    Nice post Dennis,

    Something that’s been lacking in our divided society-tolerance. And I think Rauch’s on point here. But it’s not just “the gays” or SSM. It’s the entire world view. You’re with us or against us, and those against us deserve no mercy, only destruction. Note, this is not a left side problem either, but a behavior component of both sides. They push their world view upon others by force of law. I see no difference in this example than the ones of the baker, photographer, the bar owner that wants to cater to smokers, whatever.

    Reminds me of the time some neo nazi’s came to my hometown and opened a shop. Gradually the community learned of this fact and stopped patronizing them. They left a year later. There was no protesting, no laws asked to be passed, just people deciding for themselves not to do business with them.

    Here’s what I expect from people. Treat me with a modicum of pleasantness and courtesy. Don’t push your views on me. I’ll do the same. We’ll all get along nicely.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Damon
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      says:

      Damon,
      What a waspy thing to say. You know there are towns where the neonazis wouldn’t be kicked out (I can cite if you don’t). Hell, I personally know of towns where the Nazis are not kicked out (oh, yes nobody likes to admit they were a nazi anymore…).

      This whole “don’t push your views on me” is just fine and dandy, until someone else’s views start trampling all over you.

      Libertarianism works far more efficiently than government, and it always will. But that doesn’t make it nearly as effective.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Kim
        Ignored
        says:

        Right,
        So you’ll trade one use of force for another? I guess you assume in one scenario you’ll be the victim of force and in another the beneficiary.

        You think that gov’t regulations or the cops will actually protect you from such a situation? Not only do they have no legal obligation, but they only exist to clean up the mess afterwards.Report

    • Avatar Zane in reply to Damon
      Ignored
      says:

      Damon, your stance is perfectly reasonable, but only so long as a majority (or large minority) of people disagree with and care about the convictions and actions of the business owner.

      Years ago, Cracker Barrel had a corporate policy of not employing lesbian or gay people. A few people got fired. I got into an argument with a libertarian-leaning gay guy who said, “Well, it should be their right as a business to do as they please, and why would I want to work for anyone who would do such a thing anyway?”

      My argument was that it was easy for him, a young man going to a good university, to say that he would simply work elsewhere. I asked him to consider a middle-aged woman who did not complete high school, living in rural Idaho with her partner and their children. They stay in Idaho to help care for her partner’s elderly parents. This woman has a decent job at Cracker Barrel. Her options are few. She can’t simply pack up and move. She does not have all the choices others have to find different opportunities. Others are dependent upon her. She can’t simply turn back the clock and magically obtain skills, education, or work history that make everything easier. (BTW, Cracker Barrel has since changed that policy.)

      This argument is the same. I do not begrudge people their beliefs, nor do I view everyone who is opposed to gay marriage as an enemy. I do take sharp exception to the idea that everyone faces a world of opportunities and choices; that if someone will not be served by one vender (doctor? lawyer? pharmacist? hospital? grocery store?) that they can find another with no hardship.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Zane
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        says:

        I think the simpler way to say it is: It’s really easy to be a libertarian in America when you’re white, male, and have a good income.

        Because the positive changes libertarianism would make would all pretty directly benefit you, and the negative ones would impact other people. (And even that is soothed away by believing it’ll all work out for the better for those poor suckers later, anyways).

        Which, just for the record, doesn’t mean libertarianism is wrong. (Or that minority or poor libertarians don’t exist). Only that it’s really easy to advocate major changes when the fallout is gonna be on other people.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        @morat20

        Kind of like how a lot of uninsured/underinsured people supported ObamaCare, because the cost would fall on the middle & upper classes?Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        Kind of like how a lot of uninsured/underinsured people supported ObamaCare, because the cost would fall on the middle & upper classes?
        I suspect they supported it so they could get health insurance, actually. Especially since they all started to pay for it, especially the under insured.

        I couldn’t get individual health care on the private market prior to the ACA. I can now. I still pay the same, both ways. (Well, actually, I’d pay MORE because prior to the ACA I just couldn’t get insurance so I’d stick society with the costs because lord knows I couldn’t pay after a certain point).

        And I’ve got a quite cheap problem. Seriously, it’s like 10 dollars a month for the meds — that’s the actual cost charged by a pharmacy — plus a neurologist visit a year. And yet that got me blocked from the get-go. Thank god for employer provided health care, eh?

        And in any case — the ACA was by and large supported by Democrats (except those who wanted it to go further), who might be a party that supports the poor and uninsured, but aren’t exactly a party composed entirely of the poor and uninsured.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        I think the simpler way to say it is: It’s really easy to be a libertarian in America when you’re white, male, and have a good income.

        As opposed to how difficult it is to be progressive or conservative in America when you’re white, male, and have a good income?

        I wonder when you will realize that your high horse is actually pretty low to the ground.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        Kind of like how a lot of uninsured/underinsured people supported ObamaCare, because the cost would fall on the middle & upper classes?

        Do you know this to be true, that poor people advocated for the ACA only because they could free ride on other people’s taxes? Could there be any other reason why they supported it?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        Morat,

        Please, can we stop having liberals tell us what libertarian policues are/would do? It really smacks of conservatives calling liberal policies socialist.

        Here at the OT we’ve gone over the ways in which government screws over the poor and non-white, and I don’t feel like re-treading it all again right now. But next time you grit your teeth at a conservative or libertarian calling Obamacare socialist,* consider that from a libertarian’s perspective you’re doing the same thing.
        __________
        *For my part, I’d gladly join you in slapping ever one of my fellow libertarians who calls Obamacare socialist instead of the far more accurate corporatist.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        @morat20

        I actually think the way Zane framed the argument was far better.

        To everyone,

        I have my beefs with libertarianism though I also have strong leanings in that direction. All that said, @james-hanley has demonstrated himself to be as far from the FYIGM strawman as it gets while still maintaining some serious libertarian street* cred. I can understand why folks might disagree with the ideas he supports — I often do — but painting him as uncaring is unfair and, more importantly, inaccurate. When I challenged libertarians in the past to discuss resolving broken treaties with Native American tribes (one of the more egregious violations of property rights by the government), he was one of the few people to even engage the conversation. So, disagree with him if you must, but let’s avoid the strawmanning — with him and anyone else.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        James,

        Sometimes the at feature doesn’t work on this site. Strange.

        I think you are half yet. It is unfair for liberals to say what libertarian policies are but it is completely fair for liberals to say why they disagree with libertarian policies and what they think the unintended consequences will be if libertarian or conservative policies or enacted. That is part and parcel of politics. Especially because many libertarians (but not you) can go into happy-shiny land about what Libertarian-utopia would look like and I doubt their utopia.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        some serious libertarian street* cred.

        You should see the libertarian street. No building codes and you have to pay a toll to drive down it!

        (By the way, anyone who can explain why both of those might be untrue qualifies as having a decent understanding of libertarianism.)

        When I challenged libertarians in the past to discuss resolving broken treaties with Native American tribes (one of the more egregious violations of property rights by the government),

        An issue that particularly boils my blood, although I’m not sure why I feel so strongly. I hate, deeply hate, that treaty-breaking. But in some cases I’m damned if I can think of really satisfactory resolutions this many years diwn the line. Some cases are easy. About 20 years ago the treaty rights of some tribes around Puget Sound to collect shellfish up to the high-water mark was upheld over the objections of current landowners. To me that one’s a no-brainer. Return of the Black Hills, though? Emotionally I favor it, but damned if it doesn’t have major negative effects on a whole lot of pretty innocent folks who aren’t me.

        he was one of the few people to even engage the conversation. So, disagree with him if you must, but let’s avoid the strawmanning — with him and anyone else.Report

      • Avatar Zane in reply to Zane
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        says:

        @morat20 “I think the simpler way to say it is: It’s really easy to be a libertarian in America when you’re white, male, and have a good income.”

        While I don’t disagree with you, I think it could be said that it’s easier to be most things in America when you’re white, male, and have a good income.

        More importantly, our ability to evaluate the impact of these proposed laws (or, as those who have been paying attention, the impact of current policy) is undermined to the extent that we use only our own experiences or anticipated effects on ourselves. Our unexamined privilege misleads us, even when we are well-intentioned, to underestimate how difficult things can be for those who do not share our own advantages.

        There was a nice piece on Slate a couple of days ago that part of the rhetoric used by those opposed to the Arizona law involved pointing out that a Muslim (gasp!) cab driver could theoretically refuse to drive an unaccompanied woman, or someone who had alcohol, or (as has happened in Minneapolis) someone with a seeing-eye dog. This “it could affect you or people you value more than LGBT folks” aspect is a bit icky, but it’s a way to get around the problem of how privilege blinds people.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        @jm3z-aitch

        If I had included my *, it would have noted that libertarian street cred is acquired on streets paved in gold because they’re all rich white guys who pillage the untamed masses.

        And while I didn’t intend for you to rehash your position with regards to Native American treaties, I think what you’ve offered here illustrates my point that you aren’t callous in your disregard for others and that you do consider them but in conjunction with considering a myriad of other factors. Folks may disagree on what weight to give those various factors but to presume someone doesn’t care about the suffering of others is wrong. People who disregard suffering aren’t libertarians; they’re assholes.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Zane
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        says:

        @newdealer
        but it is completely fair for liberals to say why they disagree with libertarian policies and what they think the unintended consequences will be

        Of course it us. But when libertarians were all over the negative consequences of the drug war before liberals climbed on board (and I’m glad they did, no disrespect intended) and have frequently pointed out the ways in which occupational licensing laws hurt poor minorities, I’m nit inclined to let it slide when some jackanapes tells me libertarianism doesn’t do squat for minorities.

        If he wants to point out specific policies that he thinks would hurt poor/minorities, that’s fair. If he wants to argue that on balance the effects of ending the drug war and other government economic discriminations would not offset the hsrm other libertarian policies do, that’s also fair. But the blanket assumption that libertarianism is only for wealthy white makes is not defensible. There are innumerable libertarians who aren’t well off, a great number who are female.

        As to black libertarians, I recommend this:

        I recently had a conversation with a friend — a liberal — about how libertarians don’t always agree on everything.

        “Of course you won’t agree with everything libertarians say,” she said. “You’re black.”

        With shaking hands (I was angry), I responded that my race had nothing to do with whether or not I agreed with libertarians. They aren’t a monolith. And neither are blacks. […]

        As someone who prides herself on being an individualist, comments like the one my friend made enrage me. Why must everything be about race? […]

        They say there are no black libertarians. There are no female libertarians. There are no black female libertarians.

        Hello! I’m right here.

        … And on the Internet at least, I’ve observed that we are always welcome. No defensiveness and no judgements based on the color of my skin.

        It’s more than fair for Morat to disagree with me and with her. But that doesn’t mean he gets to create an ideological plantation that she is expected to stay on.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Zane
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        says:

        Zane,

        True enough. And as I said upthread, it’s not exactly a purely libertarian failing. Most people fall into policial, social, or religious ideologies whose institution would benefit them. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot.

        It’s a rare duck who advocate for policies that directly harm themselves in favor of someone else. (And even many that seem that way — say, carbon taxes that would make daily life more expensive — are for the benefit of a long-term good for yourself, whether they’re right or wrong in that long-term payout, they’re still aiming for a net positive).

        I will state their support for ending the drug war (something liberals have only started to push tentatively once Republicans stopped being able to use it quite so effectively as a political cudgel against them) is one that would benefit poor and minorities far more than it would well-off, white males. (To whom a drug bust is far less likely, and far less long-term damaging to their life prospects).

        Which, I suppose, is one reason I keep reading libertarians. I agree with them on quite a bit, after all.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        My libertarian cred is solar powered.
        *whistles while walking away*Report

      • Avatar veronica dire in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        (I hope this doesn’t come off more mean spirited than I intend.)

        To me, libertarians are like broken clocks. 🙂Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        By the way, the writer I quoted above is Addie Hollis. Since the theme of this post is about discrimination, I want to also link to her post on that topic.

        Nobody had to agree with her; only respect that just because she’s a black woman doesn’t mean liberals can speak for her.Report

      • Avatar Zane in reply to Zane
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        says:

        I don’t like the typical arguments that happen here about libertarianism. I think they end up short-cutting to the same old stances on both sides without going anywhere–they are well-hashed-out positions and just leave people angry.

        That’s part of the reason why I think it’s more fruitful to come at this from different angles. If the idea of privilege can be a useful tool to evaluate how we can think about policy, that’s all good. It can inform us no matter our inclinations about the best structure of policy response.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Zane
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        says:

        You should see the libertarian street. No building codes and you have to pay a toll to drive down it!

        (By the way, anyone who can explain why both of those might be untrue qualifies as having a decent understanding of libertarianism.)

        Because there is no libertarian street, because I’ll be damned if I’m going to let you fascists tell me where to drive.Report

      • Avatar Zane in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        …and I see that my use of “libertarian-leaning gay guy” above may have contributed to this. (Though I know the “Libertarians are!/Libertarians aren’t!” argument happened upthread also.)

        I wasn’t trying to say that he was typical of libertarians, or that libertarians are “the problem”, I was just trying to shorthand what informed his particular stance. It was his inability to see how those different from him might be harmed that was the problem; not his political proclivities.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Zane
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        says:

        it’s easier to be most things in America when you’re white, male, and have a good income

        Including, oddly enough, a victim.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        @veronica-dire

        To me, libertarians are like broken clocks. 🙂

        Right twice a day? Well, that’s better than the liberals, who unpredictably run ahead or behind. 😉Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Zane
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        says:

        @zane

        While I’m not really in agreement with you here, you’re not the problem. You’re not the one making blanket condemnatory statements. I’m always happy to engage respectfully with non-libertarians who write thoughtfully, as you have.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        @mike-schilling

        Perfect timing. 😉Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        Street? The real libertarians are in their flying cars above the Gulch.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        Airships.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        @james-hanley — Well, I for one am always fashionably late. 🙂Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        @stillwater

        I’m sure there are other reasons, but that does not mean avoiding the fallout isn’t also a reason. Being able to avoid the fallout of a policy is, if nothing else, a cherry on top.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Zane
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        says:

        You know, you have a good point. I was being too sweeping. For one thing, I lumped all of libertarianism into one giant pile, rather than winnow out the particular common aspects of it I had in mind.

        For instance (as I noted above) common libertarian views on drug policy are generally advantageous to poor and minorities, who bear the brunt of the US drug war — while the wealthy tend to find themselves easily skirting past such inconveniences.

        Socially, libertarians have a lot to offer. Economically, I find considerably more room for argument insofar as I feel that many commonly suggested policies have..problems.

        The issue here at hand — public accommodation — I find the libertarian notion of “Why should the government dictate who a business serves?” to be quite compelling, at first glance. Seriously, it’s a very hard argument to counter and one that is very, very important and darn well deserves to be weighed, in full, in this sort of issue.

        On the other hand, we’ve seen how it works in practice — the CRA didn’t appear because Congress was bored. I was born and raised in a Texas town that didn’t get rid of it’s sign warning blacks not to let the sun set on them until the late 70s. I got to see the remnants, and my parents lived it, of exactly what happens without such laws.

        Maybe their freedom to be able to live where they wish, purchase things from a store like ‘real’ people and such isn’t worth the freedom of a business to discriminate. Maybe it is.

        I won’t pretend there aren’t conflicting rights, conflicting freedoms, at stake. And people might prioritize them differently.

        I see it as a fairly obvious decision. It’s been the law of the land for skin color for 40 odd years now, I don’t see why sexual orientation is different. *shrug*. It just feels like we’re re-arguing the CRA, and I’ve *seen* the crud people got up to even with the CRA. I’m not so foolish to think things would have been better without it.Report

      • Avatar Zane in reply to Zane
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        says:

        @james-hanley Addie Hollis’s position in the essay you linked to is undergirded by assumptions that just are not true everywhere. It’s all well and good to say that in an unfettered marketplace I can simply opt not to go to the vendor who won’t serve me because I’m gay (or a member of some other verboten group). And her solution is that surely non-biased good actors would come along and provide that service or good if they don’t already.

        The assumptions underlying this are important. The first is that we are speaking of a large enough market to support two vendors of a particular good or service. Secondly, that the second “good” vendor would actually succeed. If a large enough number of consumers agree with the first vendor’s stance, then it very well might happen that they would avoid the second vendor, preventing it from surviving or perhaps even being founded. Third, that all vendors supply goods and services of substantially equal quality.

        If we think about small, rural markets and areas with difficult transportation it’s easier to see how in fact these assumptions may not be met.

        The town I was born in has no physician. The family I have that remains there drives 35 miles to see the only physician in a neighboring community. The nearest specialist or dentist is 115 miles. If one of these physicians says “I’m sorry, I don’t serve your kind,” then they are effectively without access to medical care. Let’s say it’s not the physician but the one grocery store or hardware store that denies service. How about the pharmacy? The funeral home? What about an employer-selected insurance company?

        I know, I was born not far from the middle of nowhere. But I also know that those who remain there are often without the ability or means to leave. And if they are members of a despised group, even less able to obtain those means.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Zane
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        says:

        @morat20–that comment is totally cool. Even if I ended up on the opposite policy side, it would just be from weighting values differently. The analysis I’m generally in agreement with.

        @zane — I have no problem with that type of criticism. You’re not (even implicitlly) denying her existence or hinting that she ought to be liberal on the basis of her ethnicity/gender.

        I would note, though, that if we follow your logic, it might suggest that anti-discrimination laws should be applied in small-market areas, but not large market areas. And there’s some interesting grounds for discussion. 😉Report

      • Avatar Zane in reply to Zane
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        says:

        @james-hanley “You’re not (even implicitlly) denying her existence or hinting that she ought to be liberal on the basis of her ethnicity/gender.”

        Wait, what? Have people done such?

        Here’s the useful aspect of the concept of privilege: It’s not something held only by those “in power.” It’s not just straight, white, cis-males who have unexamined privilege. It’s pretty much all of us, depending on the time, place, and circumstances of the moment. It differs from person to person, and somewhat from moment to moment. Having some “outsider” status can make us very aware of the privilege others hold–within that status. As a gay guy, I’m pretty aware of how many straight guys have no idea how the world they inhabit is pretty tailor-made for straight guys. But that doesn’t necessarily make me any more aware of how my apparent race makes life easier than it might otherwise be. I still have to work at that part.

        Some of the comments responding to Addie Hollis’s essay indicate that she’s young and lives in a fairly diverse urban setting. I don’t know if that’s true. If it is, it might explain how her wish for no nondiscrimination laws doesn’t seem informed by what vast areas of the US are like and/or what the lived history of people has been like prior to today’s (still problematic but improved) state of race relations.

        Certainly she could hold the same beliefs if she started with that awareness (and in fact she may, I haven’t looked for an answering essay yet). But at the very least, she might argue for her stance differently or talk about how there would be negative consequences to what she suggests but it would still be worth it.Report

      • Avatar Zane in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        @james-hanley “I would note, though, that if we follow your logic, it might suggest that anti-discrimination laws should be applied in small-market areas, but not large market areas. And there’s some interesting grounds for discussion. ;)”

        It is an irony that the people who would most need the protection from vendor discrimination are living in those places where they are least likely to obtain that protection. No surprise though.

        Maybe we could have a rule: If you’re willing to pass a law to protect people from discrimination, you don’t need it. If you aren’t willing to pass such a law, one will be imposed? Heh.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        Wait, what? Have people done such?

        Yes, frequently. Anytime someone says libertarianism is a white/male thing they’ve implicitly done so. It racializes and genders libertarianism, and suggest it ain’t a black/Latino/Asian/female thing, which implies–intentionally or not–that blacks/etc./females ought not be libertarian.

        Now if someone wants to observe that whites and males are over-represented in libertarianism (I would guess that in fact they are, although I haven’t looked at the data), and ask serious questions, or make serious arguments, about why, that’s a fine starting point. But I don’t think we can ret-con most of the “white male” arguments into actually having started from that point.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        Maybe we could have a rule: If you’re willing to pass a law to protect people from discrimination, you don’t need it. If you aren’t willing to pass such a law, one will be imposed? Heh.

        Yeah, it’s a weird from that angle, eh? (Not that it’s the only angle it can be viewed from.)Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        @james-hanley I’d argue that maybe works for some areas, but would fall pretty short in other areas. Except in a particularly tight market, a distinct minority unwilling to rent you a house isn’t necessarily a huge problem*. Someone unwilling to serve you dinner, well you can just go to the next place and that place may hopefully get tagged as the bigoted place that nobody should go to.

        But jobs… that’s where I don’t think it could fit at all. Given the degree of specialization and how hard it is to match people and skills generally, every bit of discrimination has more of an impact.

        I know that when I was worried about anti-gentile discrimination in Deseret, the thing I was worried most about was jobs. That’s where I was least likely to be able to find an equivalent substitute. (Note, I’m not saying that being a gentile in Deseret is “just like” being a minority. It just happens to be the place this white boy has been most able to experience anything even vagely remotely like it.

        * – A potential problem here is cascading effects. Everyone might support equal housing in theory though be generally biased towards more homogenous housing. This can cause places that don’t want to discriminate to need to do so because more and more minorities are warding off more and more whites who would prefer parity or not to be outnumbered (and yet would support laws preventing discrimination).Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        Will,
        the problem is that it’s not a minority type issue. Your standard gatekeeper for homebuying is the real estate agent. And, as was recorded in my hometown, no real estate company wants to be remembered as the one who brought blacks/jews/etc. into the neighborhood. That loses you business.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        That’s a good point, Kim.Report

  8. Avatar Michael Drew
    Ignored
    says:

    I started to try to write a comment in the other thread about some of this but just decided I wasn’t equal to the complexity nor did I necessarily have enough understanding of anyone’s perspective to say some of the things I thought to say. The comment was going to point out Douthat’s column this weekend and say that, while a number of his claims and conclusions were problematic, I sort of agreed with some part of the basic impulse – except that in cases where the issue is really pushed (say, a situation where a couple has a good reason to prefer a particular baker or florist who happens not to want to serve gay weddings for religious reasons), or etc., the impulse (basically, why push the issue in many instances?) has to give way.

    Anyway, I’m very glad you wrote this, Dennis, because this way I can more or less just read a better version of what I was never going to be able to write myself.Report

  9. Avatar Francis
    Ignored
    says:

    hose of us in favor of same sex marriage and those opposed have to find a way to tolerate each other

    I disagree. The planet is full of places where humanity has not found a way to tolerate each other. There’s no “have to” about it.

    Also, the line between expressive conduct and ordinary commercial enterprise is, I think, a little more gray than the tolerant faction is admitting. A lunch counter is one thing, and a private chef in your own house is another. But what about an ultra-high end restaurant? Why should that creative genius not be allowed to discriminate? How many rooms to a B&B before it has to accept all comers? How few rooms to an inn before it is allowed to discriminate?

    Finally, I find the idea that employees in certain professions can bring their apparently religious-based beliefs to the workplace is both abhorrent and ridiculous. The job of a cab driver is to provide service to everyone. The job of a pharmacist is to dispense pills to everyone with a legal scrip. In our civil society, I see no room for people in these professions to decline service based on the employee’s religious beliefs.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to Francis
      Ignored
      says:

      Finally, I find the idea that employees in certain professions can bring their apparently religious-based beliefs to the workplace is both abhorrent and ridiculous. The job of a cab driver is to provide service to everyone. The job of a pharmacist is to dispense pills to everyone with a legal scrip. In our civil society, I see no room for people in these professions to decline service based on the employee’s religious beliefs.

      This is an odd statement in a couple of ways. First, people bring their beliefs, religious or otherwise, with them wherever they go, so why would you expect the workplace to be any different. Certainly, we can enforce social norms on how far people go in acting on their beliefs, but it seems a bit naive to believe that anyone can ever completely just keep their beliefs at home.

      Second, it is weird that you assert the right to dictate what there is “room for” in people’s professional behavior. This way of thinking implies that people are primarily organs of the collective who need a good reason to opt out, rather than individuals first. In a civil society, the burden ought to be on society to prove why the collective has a right to restrict individual behavior, not on the individual to prove why he or she ought to be left alone to follow his or her conscience.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Francis
      Ignored
      says:

      By this standard, an ObGyn, whose job it is to attend to women’s gynecological and reproductive needs, should be required to perform you-know-whats. Or can’t object to doing so for religious reasons, at any rate, if they’re trained and capable of doing it.Report

      • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        I assume that’s what @francis is getting at (correct me if I’m wrong, Francis).Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        Most people I know who say that pharmacists should hafta don’t actually carry that over to physicians due to one distinction or another. The absolutism of Francis’s statement leaves me wondering if he/she actually does carry that distinction over.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        Will,
        an ObGyn is allowed to lie to women about their baby’s health, in a handful of states.
        http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/03/02/1280992/-How-Republicans-will-try-to-block-new-tests-for-fetal-disorders

        Go ahead, get tested. But be warned, your gynecologist doesn’t have to tell you that your baby will die within 10 hours of being born. Even if not telling you would lead to loss of other children’s lives. [So far as I’m concerned, that’s a violation of the Hippocratic Oath].Report

      • Avatar veronica dire in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        @will-truman — Good question.

        My gut response is this: there is something more immediate and visceral about actually doing the deed rather than dispensing a medicine. The latter is indirect. The former is not.

        This is probably related to those ethics brain teaser about throwing fat people in front of trains.

        In both cases we can weigh the moral issue versus the public good and decide OBGYNs will fall under one set of rules for one sort of actions, while pharmacists fall under another.

        A a more direct comparison would be doctors who refuse to prescribe birth control. What about them? (I assume they must exist. Am I right?)Report

      • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        We’ve had that debate in Canada, Will. We’ve even had the debate about whether or not med school should require that doctors-to-be learn to do abortions.

        From my recollection (and, anecdotally), the opinions broke the same way for both debates.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        @veronica-dire They do exist. My wife went to medical school with some. The expectation is that they do not have to write out the prescription, but they are supposed to refer her (or have a secretary do so) to a physician who will write the prescription. This is a professional guideline rather than a law. The same is supposed to happen for abortions, actually, though that one is not always honored. My impression is that the contraception one typically is honored.

        My wife worked at a Catholic hospital at a point, and the employees could not prescribe or dispense contraception. The result was that there was a single floor of the complex that was not considered a part of the Catholic hospital and they could and did.

        My personal view is that pharmacists should not have to dispense contraception, but should not be protected from their employer if they are unwilling to do so. That said, I don’t have a problem saying “hafta” here and “don’t hafta” there because I actually see it as a complicated issue. (I think that the standards for ER docs should be different, for example, and pharmacies attached to emergency rooms and acute care centers.)Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        @jonathan-mcleod That’s interesting. I’ve run across comparatively few people who think that doctors should have to perform abortions, though I know a lot of people who have views on what pharmacists should have to do. We have had laws passed with regard to pharmacists (I know one in Washington state was shot down by the courts), though none for abortion.Report

      • Avatar veronica dire in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        @will-truman — I’m (obviously) on the hafta side, since I want to protect women in small communities poorly served. And I shudder to think of something like Walmart deciding to block birth control from poor women with few choices.

        That said, “separate floor on the hospital” seems a fine compromise, as long as the service actually works. (5 hour wait, not acceptable.)

        I’m not sure how that translates to small, independent pharmacies. How many of those still exist?Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        v,
        me too. though i gotta say, letting doctors lie (see above) is FAR WORSE than them simply not doing.

        We got plenty of small pharmacies around here. but i’m in a city.Report

      • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        It might be worth pointing out, though, that the government limits enrollment in medical school here (at least in Ontario), so it’s kind of a trade off.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        Veronica, in the case of contraception, I think the ultimate solution is to beef up access for women more generally by improving pharmacy-by-mail. I’d also support referral requirements (if you won’t do it, you have to put them in touch with the nearest person who will) similar to what physicians have (or are supposed to).

        Do those things, see where we stand, and take it from there. That’s my view (which I don’t expect you or anybody to necessarily share, just want it clarified-and-out-there).Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        @jonathan-mcleod Limited by the government? No private medical schools?Report

      • Avatar Francis in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        Mostly I was dashing off an irritable series of unconnected and poorly-thought out comments (like usual).

        I think that there’s a pretty strong difference between refusing to perform an act that is abhorrent irrespective of the identity of the recipient of the act (performing an abortion) and performing an act that may or may not be abhorrent depending on who’s receiving the service (cake baking, photography, issuing birth control pills, driving a cab).

        But before we all concede the point that gay couples should be magnanimous in victory, let’s revisit the photographs of black individuals de-segregating diners. Was it enough to win the Loving case and get federal troops sent to Little Rock? Or did victory include getting in the face of bigots?

        (Making people uncomfortable is an effective way to change behavior. Change behavior for long enough and beliefs follow.)Report

      • Avatar veronica dire in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        @will-truman — I could live with that, as long as we keep in view the least of us, the poor women, the uneducated women, those without transportation, the teens with abusive fathers, those whose husbands strive to force pregnancy, where the woman must take her birth control in secret — all of those women.

        But indeed, if we can provide reproductive freedom to those women, then I say let the religious pharmacist abstain.

        I very much dislike religious extremists, but my goal is to support the women, not spite the Christian.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        there was a single floor of the complex that was not considered a part of the Catholic hospital

        That reminds me of when I lived in Salt Lake City. Restaurants were not allowed to sell alcoholic beverages, but many had a section that was legally a state-run liquor store, where you could buy (at wildly inflated prices) an airplane bottle of booze.Report

      • Avatar Jonathan McLeod in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        @will-truman universities are more regulated (and cheaper) in Canada (or, at least, in Ontario). Universities are quasi-public.

        ‘Tis a whole other world up here.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Francis
      Ignored
      says:

      A person’s job is whatever his employer decides it is. Or if he’s self-employed, whatever he decides it is. Argument by job description is silly.Report

  10. Avatar Patrick
    Ignored
    says:

    The point of my rambling is that those of us in favor of same sex marriage and those opposed have to find a way to tolerate each other.

    This is true, for some definition of “tolerate”. On the other hand, when you’re talking about a sea change in public opinion on deeply held convictions, most often what you’re talking about is the work of generations.

    Three generations from now, the vast majority of folks are going to believe a lot of the same things we believe, and some things we don’t currently believe, and some of the younger members of the League will be on the cusp of being part of the norm or being part of the counter (if I’m still around I’ll probably still not be part of the norm, but then I haven’t really been so why should I start now?)

    It does me no grace to make a suggestion about what, if anything, can speed this process along (my suggestions are usually terribly unhelpful). All I can really offer is the observation that time erodes social conventions and replaces them with new ones.Report

  11. Avatar Barry
    Ignored
    says:

    “The proposed laws in Kansas, Arizona and other states are the signs of a way of being that is passing. I as said in my previous post, those in favor of same sex marriage have won. But there is still something nagging me. How do we live with those who are the losers? How do we deal with those who say their opposition to gay marriage is based on religious teachings? Do we ignore them? Do we try to stamp them out? What is deemed as religious (even if we think it is weird) and what is not a religious practice?”

    I have not seen a single posting or comment anywhere on this topic which was not pretty much a search and replace argument against the Civil Rights Act.Report

    • Avatar Zane in reply to Barry
      Ignored
      says:

      Precisely, Barry. And the arguments provided are exactly the same, except for “race is different”, and “no one wants business owners to turn away black people”.Report

      • Avatar morat20 in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        Well, that’s not exactly true. No one really wants to admit publicly that they’re for that. Not racism, but the ability of business owners to say “I don’t serve X” where X is anything the business owner doesn’t like. Blacks, Jews, Catholics, gays, straights, whatever.

        But they do exist. One of them is even on the (current) short list of GOP Presidential candidates. (Paul Ryan, who so very carefully avoids answering the question “Was the CRA good law?”)Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Zane
        Ignored
        says:

        morat,
        Rand paul as well. but he’ll bloody well say it at least.Report

  12. Avatar Lyle
    Ignored
    says:

    Of course in the New Mexico case that lead to this the business owner wanted to shout that they opposed same sex marriage by using that as the reason, rather than telling a white lie that they had other commitments at the time in question. It seems that one could always say one had other plans on any given date even if as a cake baker. If you say you have other commitments you don’t rub others noses in your opinion. It was this rubbing of noses in the persons opinion that was imho the incorrect conduct. There are times when being brutally honest is not the right policy, but rather a polite evasion.Report

  13. Avatar Dennis Sanders
    Ignored
    says:

    I wanted to share Ross Douthat’s column from yesterday. I think he is one of the most thoughtful writers out there and he shares his views on what should happen next for those who share his views.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/02/opinion/sunday/the-terms-of-our-surrender.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

    What I like about this article is that Douthat does acknowledge that gays have not been treated well in the past and he also tries to put the reaction to social conservatives in focus instead of yelling “persecution!” all the time.Report

    • Avatar BobN in reply to Dennis Sanders
      Ignored
      says:

      Ross’ may be “thoughtful”, but his article is a lie. The AZ law wasn’t a mere adjustment and Douthat is smart enough to know that.Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Dennis Sanders
      Ignored
      says:

      It’s kind of disingenuous for him to describe the Arizona Bill as an attempt to negotiate surrender, since there was nothing in it that in any way supported or paved a path for gay equality.

      Part of surrender is giving up the thing you’re fighting for, ideally in exchange for mercy or concession from your opponent. If Arizona had passed a bill that added sexual orientation and gender identity to its anti-discrimination laws while at the same time including religious exemptions, we’d be having a very different conversation. Several states in New England that passed marriage equality legislation have very broad religious protections written into those laws. That was a negotiated surrender. This is just digging more trenches.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Alan Scott
        Ignored
        says:

        In Salt Lake County, the LDS Church itself supported to an anti-discrimination bill It made sure that there was an exemption for churches, of course, but actively argued that gay people should not be denied access to jobs and housing. Which is actually significant insofar as the people in the area most likely to do so are members of its own flock.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Dennis Sanders
      Ignored
      says:

      I paraphrased part of that column over at LGM:

      In this scenario, Christians would essentially be left to promote their view of God within their own institutions, as a kind of dissenting subculture emphasizing the Incarnation and the Trinity, while the wider culture declares that belief in God is enough to make a religion.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Dennis Sanders
      Ignored
      says:

      I’ll second Dennis on calling out Ross’s acknowledgement of gays past mistreatment. That’s a big concession and it’s good on him to include it. I don’t agree with the man on a ton of stuff but I do respect him.Report

    • Avatar Barry in reply to Dennis Sanders
      Ignored
      says:

      “I wanted to share Ross Douthat’s column from yesterday. I think he is one of the most thoughtful writers out there and he shares his views on what should happen next for those who share his views.”

      I’ve got to call foul on this. Douthat is down there with Brooks, Friedman and Cohen on intellectual vacuity.

      And anybody who diminishes the impact (and intent) of the AZ bill is a liar, pure and simple.Report

      • Avatar Nicholas Costo in reply to Barry
        Ignored
        says:

        “I’ve got to call foul on this. Douthat is down there with Brooks, Friedman and Cohen on intellectual vacuity.”

        I think that’s a overly charitable description of Douthat’s writing, to say nothing of the passive-aggressive tripe embodied in his column on the Arizona veto.Report

    • Avatar Barry in reply to Dennis Sanders
      Ignored
      says:

      He’s not thoughtful, and as pointed out, he’s a liar.

      Here’s where Gin and Tacos takes him down, piece by piece:
      http://www.ginandtacos.com/2014/03/03/ross-douthat-gets-a-big-gay-fjm-treatment/Report

      • Avatar Dave in reply to Barry
        Ignored
        says:

        He’s not thoughtful, and as pointed out, he’s a liar.

        And you think you are in a position to judge someone’s character why?

        I wasn’t impressed with Douthat’s article and can address each point without feeling the need to go into full-blown wannabe asshole mode like that joker did. It bores me.Report

  14. Avatar BobN
    Ignored
    says:

    “As a society, we are going to have to find someone to accomodate those who disagree on same sex marriage. ”

    As a society — and certainly WITHOUT the imput of out-of-the-closet gay people — we already figured out how to accommodate those who disagree. On race. On religion. On gender.

    They do not get to discriminate. Not in the provision of goods and services in the marketplace. Period.

    It’s really galling to listen to certain religious leaders — Catholics and Mormons mostly — demand “tolerance” when THEY ARE THE ONES WHO WROTE THESE RULES forty, fifty, sixty years ago. What was good enough to protect them is good enough to protect us.

    Conversely, if they want “tolerance” for discrimination woven into the societal agreement, let it be “tolerance” for discrimination against them, as well, not just against gay people.Report

    • Avatar Lyle in reply to BobN
      Ignored
      says:

      What I don’t get is the desire to make a statement about your disagreement. As I noted, one can always tell a white lie about being busy when something is happening, or being unable to deliver a cake on time, or that the reception hall will be undergoing a deep cleaning etc. The logic may be like many other things that are not said in polite company, but rather lied about, such as telling a woman she is fat.
      I guess these folks desire to tell folks their point of view over being polite.Report

  15. Avatar Shazbot11
    Ignored
    says:

    “As a society, we are going to have to find someone to accomodate those who disagree on same sex marriage. Driving them from the public square could be detrimental to American society in the long run.

    “Them” in this case is equal to “homophobic bigots.” And yes prejudiced bigots should be “driven from the public square” (Though that is a vague turn of phrase, to be sure. No one is killing bigots or putting them in camps. Rather, they are being required to follow certain rules in business, just as they have to follow minimum wage rules, environmental rules, and the like.)

    Being anti-gay marriage is homophobic and bigoted, just as being anti-interracial marriage was bigoted and racist.

    Now, you might object “Wasn’t Bill Clinton bigoted then? And even Obama?” And I will respond, yes, they were bigoted in this way. But no longer.

    Bigotry and prejudice need not require intentional cruelty of the sort that only mustache twirling villains of old movies felt. It is present in all of us at one time or another, and is most likely felt as an unthinking apathy. (The banality of evil and all that.) Those of us who admit our predilection towards bigotry and try daily to overcome it are correct. Those who refuse to admit their bigotry, hold on to their bigotry to a greater degree and should beReport

    • Avatar Shazbot11 in reply to Shazbot11
      Ignored
      says:

      should be shamed and sometimes required to act correctly in business related practices.Report

    • Avatar veronica dire in reply to Shazbot11
      Ignored
      says:

      +1Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Shazbot11
      Ignored
      says:

      Being anti-gay marriage is homophobic and bigoted, just as being anti-interracial marriage was bigoted and racist.

      Not exactly, tho relevantly similar enough for your argument to go thru. The difference, I think, is that it’s veryvery easy for non-Christians (or recovered Christians) to view certain beliefs and practices as being exclusively derived from animus to gays. But from the pov of a committed Christian things certainly don’t look that simple, do they? I mean, here we have a gay Christian pastor writing a post about tolerance for religious beliefs, beliefs that you’re attributing exclusively to animus against gays.

      Is Dennis a self-hating gay? Self-hating Christian? It can’t be that simple, can it Shaz?Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        “I mean, here we have a gay Christian pastor writing a post about tolerance for religious beliefs, beliefs that you’re attributing exclusively to animus against gays.

        Is Dennis a self-hating gay? Self-hating Christian? It can’t be that simple, can it Shaz?”

        IIRC, this same Dennis wrote about a slavery-supporting ‘christian’ priest a few months ago, with little (if anything) said by him against his beliefs.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to Shazbot11
      Ignored
      says:

      Being anti-gay marriage is homophobic and bigoted, just as being anti-interracial marriage was bigoted and racist.

      The race analogy is sloppy. More importantly, it’s not really necessary. We don’t need to resort to the Conan the Barbarian style of political activism. The “crush your enemies; see them run before you; hear the lamentation of the women!”

      I understand why some people find that mode appealing, but ultimately, are we after revenge or are we after a better and more just equilibrium?

      The better solution is simply to support people’s rights to equal access to a political and social institutions. Maybe your religion calls you to oppose that, maybe it’s your personal bigotry, maybe you’ve got some esoteric reason for opposing gay marriage (I am recalling an interaction with a gay man whose opposition to gay marriage was something along the lines of him seeing marriage as a corrupt institution to which he didn’t want gays having access). Who cares what your reason for being against gay marriage is? This is where the social norms on the issue have evolved. Feel free to dissent, but your dissent is no longer enough to stop the rest of us from moving forward.

      There is no need to drive people from the public square when it is easy enough to simply ask them to stand aside.Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        “There is no need to drive people from the public square when it is easy enough to simply ask them to stand aside.”

        Who is it who’s seeking to drive people from the public square?Report

  16. Avatar Fnord
    Ignored
    says:

    You have a point, to some degree.

    On the other hand, instead of gays, suppose I have a religious objection to serving Muslims or Jews or Catholics or Protestants. It still makes sense for outright religious stuff; obviously, nobody’s going to be forcing someone to officiate a wedding they religiously object to. But when we’re talking about commercial transactions, outright religious discrimination is generally seen as bigotry, and indeed is illegal in some contexts.Report

  17. Avatar zic
    Ignored
    says:

    Funny thing: In the one year and two months that SSM has been legal here, I’ve noticed one big change: people who used to sort of hide their relationships, people who spoke of their significant other as a ‘partners’ or ‘friends,’ now talk about their husbands and wives. And with some obvious joy, too, but I’ve never witnessed an in-your-face way of talking about their marriages.

    More importantly, the same people who were up-in-arms over these marriages, who predicted the end of traditional marriage and family, haven’t actually witnessed any end of traditional marriage. It’s pretty much been a non-issue, at least in the news (I can’t say what’s being said at the pulpit). The folks getting married now who couldn’t before were already here, already in committed relationships. Other then the fact that those people are more honest about their relationships, not one thing has changed, and the imagined problems of ‘living with the side that lost’ seems pretty much like a non-issue; at least it has not made it into any local news that I’m aware of.

    I should point out that we have some history here; the legislature approved SSM. On referendum, the Christian right collected signatures to put it on the ballot in an off-year election, and this was overturned. The next day, signs went up on church lawns all across the state, “Thank you, Lord, for protecting marriage” was amongst the nicer ones that I saw; many were outright cruel. The right was secured by another ballot initiative he voters re-instated SSM; I didn’t notice any cruel (or not cruel) signs out after this second vote. We’ve had some experience on this roller coaster, and since same-sex marriages began a year ago and two months ago, things have been pretty quiet.

    I guess what I’m saying is that happy families, even if they’re not quite what some thought a family should look like, proved to be the best answer to fears of the demise of traditional marriage. Surprisingly, there was room for more happy families in their hearts.Report

  18. Avatar Burt Likko
    Ignored
    says:

    We go down a very dangerous road when we start creating exceptions to the notion that people may discriminate against others based on subjective and unprovable propositions like their personal faith. Faith was used to justify discrimination based on race and color, let us not forget. And we pretty much take what people say about theirown ffaith on The honor system.

    Also, what @mark-thompson said above about corporation s is right: if a corporation has a separate legal identity from its stockholders and officers and employees then we need to apply that concept on a consistent basis.

    Finally, we ought not forget that in large numbers of cases, the concept of “reasonable accommodation” has a place in the debate. @will-truman described how doctors balance personal conscience with professional duties. A similar mechanic comes in to play in a variety of non-discrimination legal situations too.Report

    • Avatar j r in reply to Burt Likko
      Ignored
      says:

      In reality, people may discriminate against all types of people in all types of situations for all sorts of reasons. Businesses discriminate against potential customers who cannot or will not pay their prices. Employers discriminate against job applicants who don’t have enough education or experience. And everyone discriminates to no end in their personal life. And somehow, we accept all of this.

      Yes, I understand that you are using the term discrimination to speak about a certain class of acts, but it is important to remember that discrimination has a wider meaning. And when protecting particular classes of people from a particular kind of discrimination, it is important to remember this wider meaning. Human judgment is a good thing, if often flawed. Without it, we become nothing more than automatons.

      The idea that each individual ought to abandon his own personal judgment and biases and conform to the tastes and judgments of the collective is a very dangerous road as well. Therefore, it’s best to find some equilibrium between protecting the rights of individuals to live in and fully participate on society and the rights of individuals to not to forever assimilate into whatever the present set of tastes happens to be.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        @j-r

        “Therefore, it’s best to find some equilibrium between protecting the rights of individuals to live in and fully participate on society and the rights of individuals to not to forever assimilate into whatever the present set of tastes happens to be.”

        Boom goes the dynamite. The problem, as I see it, is that the People In Charge tend to ebb and flow between those two extremes whenever it suits their fancy.Report

      • Avatar Barry in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        “Yes, I understand that you are using the term discrimination to speak about a certain class of acts, but it is important to remember that discrimination has a wider meaning. And when protecting particular classes of people from a particular kind of discrimination, it is important to remember this wider meaning. Human judgment is a good thing, if often flawed. Without it, we become nothing more than automatons.”

        But we do and have divided discrimination into two parts, one part permissible, one part forbidden.

        Your comment is just smoke.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        Of course, we sometimes do prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of education level, depending on whether the government thinks said discrimination is justified.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        @will-truman

        We also allow discrimination based on criminal history, as well as credit score.

        I recall recently getting annoyed with Senator Warren for going on about how we have to prevent employers from using Credit Reports to discriminate against potential employees. I was annoyed because the better fix for that problem would be to give people better control over their credit scores (removing fraudulent entries more easily, etc.), and to make the determination of credit scores more logical & transparent (e.g. why does my score take a hit when I close an inactive line of credit?). She could also help a lot of people by pushing for changes to the way Fannie Mae, et.al. deals with underwater properties.*

        *Fun fact, if your mortgage got sold to Fannie Mae, and it’s underwater, before you can push for permission to do a short sale, you MUST miss at least one mortgage payment, thus trashing your credit. If you have very good credit, it’s almost more worth it to get a new place to live, then let the old one foreclose, because your good credit will let you recover faster.Report

      • Avatar Dave in reply to j r
        Ignored
        says:

        The idea that each individual ought to abandon his own personal judgment and biases and conform to the tastes and judgments of the collective is a very dangerous road as well. Therefore, it’s best to find some equilibrium between protecting the rights of individuals to live in and fully participate on society and the rights of individuals to not to forever assimilate into whatever the present set of tastes happens to be.

        Are you suggesting that anti-discrimination law fails to appropriate address this issue?Report

  19. Avatar Zane
    Ignored
    says:

    This is very very late, but I think this is a good statement about what Douthat says in the essay mentioned above.

    Andrew Sullivan quotes a reader of The Dish (found here: http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/03/05/surrender-douthat-ctd/):

    ‘I find I have little sympathy for the protestations of Douthat, Dreher, etc., and here’s why: what they’re protesting is their fading ability to dictate to others how to live their lives. They have not actually lost any rights, but rather lost a position of privilege and authority from which they have called the tunes to which others have been forced to dance. What they’re upset about isn’t the loss of power over their own lives; it’s about the loss of power over others’ lives. To which I say, “Boo-freaking-hoo.”’Report

    • Avatar Dave in reply to Zane
      Ignored
      says:

      Zane,

      That quote represents my opinion, and I remember how the opponents of same sex marriage used that position to call the shots. Immediately after SSM was legalized in MA, attempts were made to amend the US Constitution. Forget allowing the states to call the shots, the so-called “conservatives” weren’t even open to that. When that failed, they mobilized voters in 2004, helped carry GWB to victory and passed bans in their states. We knew it wasn’t just about marriage when other forms of gay unions were being banned as well. During Prop 8, gays were horribly stigmatized in the name of defending “traditional marriage”. Maine legalized SSM through the legislative process and opponents forced a referendum and prevented it from going into effect. There are other examples as well.

      Recently, I wrote a post on same-sex marriage and how those of us who support it should act towards those that oppose it. Can we be good winners to the losers?

      I have two issues. First is that opponents of same sex marriage were never good winners and I can’t let that go. What they won was the ability to indiscriminately violate the rights of others without any legitimate public purpose. Also, the “you have an equal right to marry someone so long it is someone of the opposite sex” reassurance made me sick to my stomach every time I heard it.

      The second issue I have is defining the losers. There are at least two kinds. There are the raging bigots that led opponents of SSM into a culture war over marriage. It is more than clear that these people were not motivated by defending marriage but by marginalizing gays. One of the best things about the Prop 8 case was that the findings of fact really brought the tactics of the anti-SSM groups into sunlight and exposed these people for the bigots they are. How do I treat them? Not well.

      I can accept the fact that there are people that have religious objections to same-sex marriages but have no bigotry or animus towards gays (I put Elaine Huguenin from the Elaine Photography case in New Mexico in this category). From there, my feelings are mixed. Part of me believes that they share responsibility in what’s happened over the last 10 years because many of them idly sat by while the bigots ran rampant. At the same time, my gut tells me that one of the reasons marriage equality became more accepted was that people from this camp changed their minds over time.

      I may not agree with the views of these people but I have no interest in driving them out of the public square. The bigots attempted to do this with gays. To turn that on someone else for no valid reason means I’m taking a page from the bigot playbook. I refuse to stoop to that level.Report

    • Avatar Barry in reply to Zane
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      says:

      That’s a very nice summary.Report

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