Sunday, May 23, 2010

Free enterprise as morality?

John Stossel on FOX News this week:

"[I]t's time now to repeal" the Public Accommodation section (of Civil Rights Act), "because private businesses ought to get to discriminate. And I won't won't ever go to a place that's racist and I will tell everybody else not to and I'll speak against them. But it should be their right to be racist."

"What they have to discover, what all the efforts of capitalism's enemies are frantically aimed at hiding, is the fact that capitalism is not merely the 'practical,' but the only moral system in history." -- Ayn Rand, "Capitalism : The Unknown Ideal"

Bill Moyers on Fresh Air:

"... I think the most important thing that we can do is to continue to treat Americans as citizens, not just consumers. If you look out and see an audience of consumers, you want to sell them something. If you look out and see an audience of citizens, you want to share something with them, and there is a difference.

Libertarians need to stop praying at the altar of Ayn Rand. Do you honestly believe that businesses would stop discriminating because the market told them to or because it was right? Even William F. Buckley didn't agree with this, "I once believed we could evolve our way up from Jim Crow," Mr. Buckley said in 2004. "I was wrong: federal intervention was necessary."

William F. Buckley Jr., in an essay written in the 1960s, directly confronted the libertarian/Objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand. "The conservative's distrust of the state, so richly earned by it,"Buckley wrote, "raises inevitably the question, how far can one go?" He went on to warn against those "whose passionate distrust for the state has developed into a theology of sorts, or at least into a demonology; to which they adhere as devotedly as any religious fanatic ever attempted to adhere to the will of the Lord."


Scott said...

It's funny how people are all for private property rights in their own home, but not in the homes or businesses of others.

Of course businesses *DO* discriminate (and should) whether it be on issues of performance, life style, or even gender, and people are all for this. So I don't think "discrimination" is the dirty word people would have us believe. What people are hostile to, and rightly so, is racism. Now, if company A has racist ownership, and does not want to hire black people shouldn't we know about this? Wouldn't you like to know how is the racist so you can STOP giving them your money? In our current system you are forced, by ignorance, to give your money to racists all the time.

Not only that, but the current system, which is so holy and lauded that it is treason and political suicide to even attempt to rationally discuss it let alone disagree with it, is almost TOTALLY ineffectual. Which is why we have band aids for it like affirmative action and we STILL have massive amounts of social segregation THROUGHOUT (not just "the south") America. The MAIN effect of the law was to make certain people feel better about THEMSELVES, rather than to actually force social change. Which, btw, is something you can never legislate and in fact is stunted by forcing people at gun point to change their minds. Never works, never will.

And for the record, I am no fan of Mr. Rand Paul. I find him to be a warmongering scum bag.

dbackdad said...

I really wasn't going to bring up Paul. Seems like he is getting enough grief from other places right now. One of the reasons I respect your libertarian viewpoint is that you are consistent with it. I have acquaintences (friends even) that call themselves libertarians yet call for wars in foreign lands and are virulently anti-immigrant. All of this with no apparent sense of irony. It's because they really don't know what it means to be libertarian.

And I agree with you that you can't legislate people out of their racism (or any beliefs for that matter).

Scott said...

Oh, I know the type. They're so prevalent now that Obama is president and it's hip for the "right" to be anti-government. heh. It's why I don't particularly like calling myself a libertarian anymore. If Neal Boortz and Glen Beck are libertarians, I most certainly am not. Honestly I relate more to anti-corporate, anti-war progressives than most people in the mainstream who call themselves libertarians.

wunelle said...

Very interesting. I'd not heard the Buckley quote, but it's germane to the discussion going on around Rand Paul.

I know very little about Mr. Paul, but his father's embrace of intrusive social policies is a turn-off and I'm highly skeptical of the son because of his Tea-Bagger credentials. But I found this particular discussion about individual civil rights intriguing. I agree that racism is ugly and anti-rational, but ugly, minority viewpoints fall under the purview of our constitutional rights. I think a person's right to believe ugly things must be protected.

In this I'm inclined instinctively to agree with Scott (if I don't misunderstand him): a person should be able to run their business however they choose, and we should be free to act in response accordingly. Because I think Glenn Beck is a circus-barking buffoon (one who is doing great harm to his country), I'm glad to boycott any company who advertises on his show. But I certainly would not advocate banning him.

I think this all dances around fringes I've not thought much about.

dbackdad said...

I may agree with Scott's point that you can't legislate racism out of people individually. But, I also believe you have to lead businesses by the nose a bit. Businesses do not always consider it in their financial best interest to act properly. It's not good enough to hope that businesses will eventually sort it out on their own. The free market as morality assumes business acting in an ethical manner, which they don't. The biggest reason for this is the personhood protection given to corporporations. Executives in these companies are free to do unethical things because they have no personal liability.