A large number of people are outraged at the recent laws proposed in multiple states that would allow business owners to deny service to anyone that they had a deeply religious difference with. This, of course, means homosexual couples or individuals could be denied service by a business owner on the basis of religious belief.
This raises a crucial question – especially when it comes to individual liberty:
Should private business owners be allowed to discriminate?
I say absolutely. Hear me out…
Say you live in a community that is comprised of small businesses. Individuals in the community know these business owners well and do business with them daily. One day, a local shop puts up a sign that reads “We refuse service to ______” (Insert any class or trait here – homo/heterosexual, African American, Caucasian, Hispanic, Asian, children etc).
In 2014, this level of open discrimination would not be a good business practice. I’m willing to bet that people in that community take notice of this, and decide they would rather not support that business. In the age of the internet and social media, word of an openly discriminatory business would spread like wildfire. The business will begin to lose customers, which means loss of revenue, and eventually dwindle down to going out of business. OR the owner may change the discriminatory policy all together.
Either way, there is a key component at work – change is made through an individuals actions, not government action.
The beauty of economic and personal liberty is that individuals can shape society through the power of voluntary cooperation and decision making, such as refusing to do business with a racist or bigoted business. It makes little sense to me as to why individuals being discriminated against would want the government to FORCE that business to take their money.
In a free market of private businesses, if one establishment goes under due to discriminatory policies, another will have their doors open and willing to serve people of any class or race. In other words, where there is demand, there is supply.
A friend of mine made the statement that there should be no federal requirement to be moral, and I wholeheartedly agree. I don’t think it is OK to discriminate against others, but I also understand and accept that laws cannot force people to be moral, and that a free market empowered by individual liberty is a much better tool to clear communities of discrimination and hate.
I want to leave you with a fantastic video that lays out the liberty based argument for handling discrimination…