Friday, May 21, 2010

Stossel: "Private businesses ought to get to discriminate".

Rand Paul's extraordinary view, which he has since retracted, has now been publicly backed by John Stossel.

STOSSEL: Totally. I'm in total agreement with Rand Paul. You can call it public accommodation, and it is, but it's a private business. And if a private business wants to say, "We don't want any blond anchorwomen or mustached guys," it ought to be their right. Are we going to say to the black students' association they have to take white people, or the gay softball association they have to take straight people? We should have freedom of association in America.


STOSSEL: And I would go further than he was willing to go, as he just issued the statement, and say it's time now to repeal that part of the law.

KELLY: What?

STOSSEL: 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.
He's now arguing for the rights of the racist rather than the right of every individual not to be excluded. I find this extremist and alarming.

Again, we are witnessing this almost insane belief that the market will always do what is right. Private business is concerned with profit. The government have a duty to ensure that the way they run their business does not do harm to the rest of us. For instance, it is more profitable to put untreated sewage directly into a river rather than incur the costs of making it safe for the public.

The government, rightly, passed laws to stop that.

An individual's right to make profit does not come before the rights of the rest of the community.

Stossel and, until he retracted, Rand Paul, are arguing the opposite.


Michael Tomasky gets it.
Conservatives, and libertarians, seem to think that we have regulations in this society because we have a bunch of underemployed pencil pushers sitting around dreaming up ways to make small business people's lives miserable.

It's ridiculous. We have regulations because throughout history people in various pursuits did really sleazy and unethical things. They swindled investors, they dumped toxins into bodies of water, they made children work long hours for slave wages. Et cetera. And so laws were passed and regulations were written.

And unfortunately such is man's endless capacity for sleaze and unethicality that this process will never end: as technology presents new ways to be sleazy, we'll always need to invent new ways to prevent sleaze from happening.

Corporations will always want to make people do more for less wages, that's simply the nature of what they do. We will always need laws to say what they can get away with and what they can't.

To pretend otherwise is, to me, bonkers.


Sophia said...

Individual liberties should be balanced by fairness and the concern for the other. I actually don't see much difference between libertarians and today's so called liberals.

Kel said...

I actually see Libertarians as extremists. What they say sounds reasonable but, when push comes to shove, their views - as Rand Paul amply demonstrates - are actually appalling.