Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

28 February 2014

Freedom of Association and Anti-Gay Discrimination

As I have made it clear many times, I do not believe that homosexuality is in any way immoral.  Morality as it applies to homosexual acts is very similar to the application of morality to heterosexual acts in many important respects, though clearly it is differentiated by the absence of concern for the potential of responsibility for creating a baby.  I have supported gay domestic partnership contracts in their governmental form and noted that government really has no business addressing the spiritual aspects of marriage for anyone.  It should only grant domestic partnership contracts to consenting adults with no more concern for their sex or numbers than is appropriate for a business partnership contract. Adult individuals have the right to form the voluntary associations and contracts of their choice.

I have long been embarrassed by the stand of many Republicans for whom I have often voted on their stance on the issue of homosexual discrimination by government.  Government has absolutely no business discriminating against homosexuals or bisexuals or heterosexuals.  Government must support the rights of every individual to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of their personal happiness.  This does not allow exceptions for homosexuals, bisexuals, or heterosexuals or many other characteristics individuals have or choices that they make.  Of course, for every Republican who embarrasses me in this regard, there are many more destructive and immoral choices made by almost every Democrat Socialist Party candidate.  Political candidates are never entirely rational and moral.

I argued for an end to the Clinton Defense of Marriage Act and for the end of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  I contributed to the Log Cabin Republican effort in accomplishing these tasks and praised their work.  I contributed to the Marylanders for Marriage Equality group when it was trying to promote the ballot initiative to equalize same-sex marriages in Maryland.  That campaign was successful, with about half of all Maryland Republicans voting for it.  Unfortunately, these groups are now turning to attempts to make it unlawful for businesses in the private sector to discriminate against gay people.  On this matter, I part ways with these groups, for reasons of general principle and because their effort actually undermines their own right to freedom of association in a very fundamental and harmful way.

I find it an immoral act for a business to refuse service to someone because they are homosexual or because a gay couple may be married. I prefer not to do business with such a business and I applaud others who would not do so also.  In doing so, I am discriminating in accordance with my values.  This personal choice and expression of my own values and moral code is not one that I have the right to impose on others by the initiated use of force.  It changes nothing morally if I join a majority of voters and elect politicians who will use the force wielded by government to accomplish this same goal of imposing my values and my morality on others.  They too have a right to choose their own values and their own moral code.  The fact that I disapprove of the choices some people make does not give me the right to marshal the force of government to suppress their choices of values and actions made in accordance with their moral values.

Good government cannot be achieved or evaluated without a rational reference to principle.  Legitimate government has one and only one purpose.  That purpose is to secure and protect the equal, sovereign rights of the individual to life, liberty, property, the ownership of one's own body, mind, and labor, and to the pursuit of one's own happiness.  Government cannot do this if it does not allow individuals the implied freedom of conscience and the freedom of association.  The individual in possession of his own mind establishes the principles and values of his conscience and he acts in his life upon those principles and values in forming associations with others.  Good government imposes very little in the way of morality on its citizens.  It only requires that they respect the equal rights of others by not initiating the use of force against others and by not defrauding them.

So if a person forms his moral principles and values in accordance with a Bible verse of the Old Testament such as Leviticus 20:13
Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them.
without regard for the primitive, brutal nature of the times and the need of a small tribe to procreate madly in the interest of survival, it is not the role of good government to instruct this person on morality or to take actions against his discrimination in putting his moral beliefs into action, so long as his actions do not involve the initiated use of force or fraud.  Government should not require that the believer in Leviticus 20:13 not have an aversion for gay sex, though it must draw the line in not allowing the believer in this brutal dictum to kill or use other violence against those who have voluntary gay sex as adults.  In general, good government will no more prescribe morality than it will prescribe speech or dictate who one will marry or befriend.  Individuals have the freedom to choose their values and the moral principles by which they will live.  They enjoy freedom of conscience and freedom of association by choice.

These are freedoms are as critically essential to gay individuals as they are to heterosexual individuals.  Indeed, when the general principles of individual rights are not respected by government, it is various small minorities who usually suffer the most.  Historically, this has been clearly the case for homosexual and bisexual individuals.

Gay marriage is most often sold as a matter of equality, but that is a weak argument.  The response of some conservatives and other religious people is that everyone has the equal opportunity to marry someone of the opposite sex, so equality is maintained.  Of course, the freedom to enjoy one's own mind and body and to pursue one's own happiness may not be served by the equal opportunity to marry someone of the opposite sex.  In the context of rights, only the even-handed behavior of government is mandated.  Government must not differentiate the availability of equal domestic partnership contracts.  A person of religious belief or otherwise in the private sector, however, need not regard a domestic contract as the equivalent of a requirement of respect for that partnership that he might grant to other partnerships approved by his religion.  The private individual retains all rights to discrimination outside of governmental actions.

But the same-sex marriage advocates seemed rarely to worry about making a fundamental argument based on individual rights.  Too few of them have thought in general principles of the legitimate function of government and its very limited purpose.  Support for same-sex marriage has been based on a popularity contest riding the crest of a recent fad.  The broad and necessary right of a gay individual to choose his own values, who he wants to associate intimately with, who he wants as a domestic partner, and who else he will discriminate against for these purposes, is apparently unknown to him, with few exceptions.  Part of the problem is that most gay people do not think in terms of general good political principles because that would be inconsistent with the fact that most are too closely associated with the Democrat Socialist Party.  It is very difficult to find a valid and strong argument for freedom of conscience and freedom of association from the perspective of a collectivist!  Those arguments derive their strength from individualism and the clear and certain recognition that individuals are complex and highly differentiated.  Every individual has the right to life and the right to pursue his own happiness.  The nature of our lives, of our bodies and minds, and the paths to our happiness are rich in their variety.

I am discussing these fundamental issues of individual freedom pertaining to gay individuals now because of the recent hullabaloo over the Arizona state Senate Bill 1062 which allowed business owners to make association choices based on their religious beliefs.  Now my objection to that bill is that it is defective in limiting the freedom of conscience to that subset of conscience deriving from religious beliefs.  This is a common error in American law.  In reality, the individual has a broad freedom of conscience and it is wrong for government to limit that freedom to only its religious expressions.  I do not believe that when one owns a business, one gives up one's basic freedoms.  If that were so, then every business owner in exercising his right to earn a living and to own property for the purpose of doing so, would be losing other fundamental and necessary rights.  Our rights are broadly owned by each of us and we are rightly and properly deprived of them only when we initiate the use of force against others.

If a businessman is deprived of the right to discriminate against others for some choices or actions they take, can he long expect that he will be allowed to fire an employee who does not perform his job well.  Will he soon be forced to buy goods and services for his business from inept suppliers because a supplier might be a brother-in-law of the governor or represent an industry that makes large campaign contributions?  Must he sell items or services to some people preferred by the government at lower cost than to others?  Will he be allowed to fire an employee or not do business with a supplier who lies to him?  Businessmen have every bit as much need to discriminate among people based on their values as those who are not businessmen. An employee of a business has the right to judge his employer and if he finds him wanting, he is free to leave employment.  The consumer is free to discriminate against a businessman and not buy the goods and services he offers for sale, unless the service falls under ObamaCare, if you go along with one important aberrant claim on how limited our rights are.  In reality, our individual rights are not narrow, as American law tends to mistakenly take them to be, but they are broad, generous, and rich.

Legitimate and good government recognizes this fact.  The presumption of good government is that the freedom of the individual is sovereign and inalienable.  Only extremely rational reasons, agreed upon by most everyone, can be used to limit individual rights.  It does not impose the moral preferences bare majorities or a favored faction on others.  It must allow the individual the freedom to use his own mind and to act upon his own view of reality with only the most necessary limitation that we all have the equal right to do that.  None of us has the right to initiate the use of force to limit the choices and actions of others and we do not gain that right by manipulating a government to do this for us.  The presumption of individual freedom must be very strong in the healthy, individualist society.

Does the gay person refused service by a business suffer a measure of harm?  Yes he does.  He is done an injustice.  But, if the government forces a business owner whose moral beliefs dictate that he should not serve the gay person to serve him, then the business owner has also suffered a harm.  There is no way violating the rights of one person to prevent a harm or an injustice to another can be worked to prevent harm and injustice.  That course of action simply guarantees more harm and more injustice.  We have to expect in life that some people are going to make moral choices others of us will not like.  We cannot treat someone as a slave to be ordered about just because we believe they have done an injustice and that their morality is not as good as ours is.  No, in a free society one simply seeks out other adults who are willing to associate with us.  This is so for much the same fundamental reason that we do not force someone to associate with us for the purposes of sex.  Voluntary consent is critical in a free society.

While the modern Progressive Elitist does not believe freedom of speech and of the press is a broad right anymore and often wishes to limit them based on harm or hurt feelings, these rights are very broad.  It has served us well to enjoy a broad right to speak and write our minds.  It has served our society well to allow people to choose their own values, formulate or adopt their own moral ideas, and to manage their own lives.  While freedom of conscience and freedom of association are not always given the broad protections they should be given, for the most part in the non-business private sector they are tolerated by our government.  They should be equally tolerated in the business sector.  Indeed, they should be given a very committed and strong protection in all of the private sector in America.  If they are, gay individuals will prosper and flourish more certainly than if they are not.


Anonymous said...

So you don't believe homosexuality is immoral, despite them basing their entire identity on their sexuality, and little else. To even start off with, homosexuals aren't even 'discriminated' against; they have full rights and demand one thing after another. They don't deserve civil rights at all because their basing their identity - again - on who they have sex with, a thing that is not determined by genetics and is entirely their choice. And last I checked, homosexuals demand to have places in the Boy Scouts, for people to cater to them, and want special rights at the expense for others.

I don't think you understand the entire issue. Homosexuals wield a lot of power, and anyone who questions them they label homophobes. They do not deserve marriage or the right to children, because the child is deprived of the right to a mother and a father, and given the molestation rates, homosexuals should be kept away from children altogether. However, they clearly have a hand in the education system, as we can see in Boston and Massachusetts. In Virginia the law against gay 'marriage' was overthrown because the judge alluded it to interracial marriage.

Homosexuality isn't normal or healthy to begin with, so I haven't an idea why you're defending it. I suppose it has to do with the 'discrimination' against them, when they experience more freedoms than anyone else. No one should have laws based on them because of their sexual identities. So I am in favour of the laws against them, even when their supporters angrily call it an injustice.

" That purpose is to secure and protect the equal, sovereign rights of the individual to life, liberty, property, the ownership of one's own body, mind, and labor, and to the pursuit of one's own happiness." - That is a democracy. A good government sees the needs of the many over the needs of the few. A good government realizes that people who base their lives on who they have sex with are people who are baseless and have nothing to offer. I believe this 'pursuit of happiness' is an oft used argument by same-sex marriage supporters.

So you campaigned for the end of DADT, which openly says that our soldiers are free to be sodomized despite the health risks. One of the reasons why homosexuality is immoral is because it pushes sexual desire over all else. If homosexuals shouldn't be discriminated against, then incestuous couples and child marriages should be accepted.

A good government would shun a lifestyle that spreads disease, drug abuse, and suicide. A bad government allows them to run their machine. As we can see, homosexuals run the show, not the other way around, for who can criticize the homosexual and not be called a homophobe? Marriage isn't a definition to be changed. It is an evolutionary institution. If you believe children shouldn't be sold as a part of Big Government, perhaps you should be against same-sex marriages.

They deserve no rights. We do not base identity on hair or eye colour because that would be discriminatory.

Oh, the irony.

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

Many, probably most, homosexuals do not base their entire identity on their being homosexual. Some may and it seems that some heterosexual individuals may do the same. Your claim that homosexuality is not based on genetics and is entirely a matter of choice is not scientifically based. I expect sexuality is partly due to biochemistry, experience, and choices in a very complex and highly differentiated manner. However much it is a matter of choice, to decide it is immoral, one still has to show that such a choice is immoral.

Heterosexuals wield a lot of power and too many for a long time discriminated against homosexuals. Perhaps the name-calling began long before political correctness set in.

If all homosexual men should be kept away from children, should not all heterosexual men be kept away from women, given the high incidence of rape? Just think back to eons of conquering armies raping the enemy's women. Who can forget the Japanese Army in China or the Russians raping German women in WWII? People do evil things and they do them sexually. The act is evil, but if it was done by a tall man, this does not make all tall men evil.

You are right that no one should have laws preferential to a particular sexuality, but then you immediately turned against that principle.

A democracy does tend to see good government as one that hurts some for the benefit of more, but this is actually bad government. Good government limits itself to protecting everyone's rights so that it will not fall into the tyrannical trap of hurting its citizens. Like a good doctor, good government tries to harm no one. When you write off someone's rights as insignificant from your viewpoint, it becomes easy for others to write off your rights from their viewpoint. A critical principle of a good society is that it does not write off anyone's rights.

There are health risks in heterosexual sex. In the 1800s, every childbirth that resulted from such sex was a real danger to a woman's life. I have walked among farming family graves of that time and observed how many farmers had three wives, two of whom died in childbirth. Then the danger was unavoidable even to heterosexual married people. Gay sex can be performed with protection and with careful choice of partners to avoid most of the danger that so impresses you. Where you get the idea that adult consent is not needed for sex if homosexual adults have sex, I cannot imagine. I see no argument for child marriages.

Homosexuality does not necessarily mean a lifestyle of disease, drugs, and suicide. Yes, some make such choices. Some of those choices are likely to be on the part of the many of any sexuality who do not have a high self-esteem and then are subject to ostracism. Diminishing the ostracism may go a long way to decreasing the numbers choosing a self-destructive lifestyle. Most heterosexuals are not even aware of many people who are homosexual, so it is dangerous to be a heterosexual who paints with such a broad brush.

Marriage was once mostly for political and property management. Later, the Christian Church gave it a spiritual component, which was useful for the political and property protection purposes as well. So, church and state cooperated on formalizing the institution of marriage. The state gained by claiming power over the institution enhanced by the spiritual power, but the state has no business hijacking that spiritual aspect of a marriage. So, the state should only offer a domestic partnership contract and leave everything spiritual about marriage alone.

Every individual deserves rights, equal rights, no matter what their sexuality, their hair cover, their eye color, or their ethnicity. The Declaration of Independence rightfully did not say everyone has individual rights except a, b, c, and d individuals.