STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Discrimination Is the Fastest Road to Freedom
By Philippe Gastonne - July 08, 2015

Following the Supreme Court decision mandating legal same-sex marriage nationwide, the New York Times tells us that, "gay rights leaders have turned their sights to what they see as the next big battle: obtaining federal, state and local legal protections in employment, housing, commerce and other arenas."

In other words, the state will erect new barriers to freedom of choice in place of the old ones that just came down!

To make the case against such laws, it ought to be enough to refer to the freedom to associate and the freedom to use your property as you see fit. These are fundamental principles of liberalism. A free society permits anything peaceful, and that includes the right to disassociate. Alas, such arguments seem dead on arrival today. – FEE blog post by Jeffrey Tucker, July 1, 2015

One reason freedom proponents make slow progress is that they promote only selective freedom. Some same-sex marriage advocates are proving the point right now. Fresh from their Supreme Court victory, they now want to bolster their own newfound freedom by taking freedom away from others.

As Jeffrey Tucker ably explains in the article, this strategy will accomplish the opposite of what its promoters claim to want. Rather than end anti-gay bigotry, the anti-discrimination laws will force it underground. There it will fester and create resentment that harms everyone and delays the true freedom the LGBT rights activists want.

At the root of this problem is a false understanding of "discrimination." To discriminate is simply to make distinctions. We all discriminate every day. We discriminate red from green at traffic lights. We discriminate in elevators when we push only one button and don't visit other floors. We discriminate by choosing arugula instead of iceberg lettuce at the salad bar. Normal life would be impossible without discrimination.

We also make distinctions between the people we encounter. We assume things about them based on their appearance or other characteristics. This, too, is perfectly natural. Discrimination is so natural that government is powerless to stop it. The state can make it illegal, but it can't easily force people to change their minds.

A market-driven economy is far better at changing human behavior. People observe discrimination in action and over time will fine-tune the distinctions they make. In due course, they will behave in a way that maximizes everyone's peace and prosperity.

The state circumvents this process when it makes laws that hide discrimination. Complying with the law deprives individuals of information that helps them make better decisions.

Same-sex marriage was winning the battle for public opinion even before last month's Supreme Court decision. Those who wish not to do business with LGBT people are shrinking in numbers. They will disappear much faster, and stay gone longer, if everyone knows who they are. Making them hide the behavior that identifies them to everyone else needlessly extends the process

Posted in STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
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