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A Discrimination Lesson

If discriminating against someone is always bad—which is what we are constantly told—then how can someone be celebrated for vowing to discriminate against people on the basis of sex while someone else is condemned for allegedly discriminating against someone on the basis of religion?

At the Golden Globes award ceremony last month, actress Regina King accepted her award for best supporting actress and then gave a customary short speech in which she vowed:

Time’s Up, times two … In the next two years, everything that I produce, I am making a vow, and it’s going to be tough, to make sure that everything that I produce, that it’s 50 percent women, and I just challenge anyone out there who is in a position of power … I challenge you to challenge yourselves and … do the same.

King’s vow to discriminate against men “brought women in the room to their feet clapping and was also getting enthusiastic responses on Twitter.”

family was recently removed from an American Airlines flight before takeoff from Miami International Airport because they allegedly had offensive body odor. According to a statement from the airline:

The Adler family were asked to deplane last night after several passengers, along with our crew members, complained about their body odor. The family were provided hotel accommodations and meals, and re-booked on a flight to Detroit today.

But Yossi Adler accused the airline of singling out his family because they’re Jewish. He taped his argument with the ground crew on his cell phone. He can be heard saying: “There’s a religious reason for some reason that they’re kicking me off the plane. We don’t have odor, OK? Nobody here has odor.” A ground crew member can then be heard asking: “Now you told me for religious reasons you don’t shower, is that what you said?” To which Mr. Adler responded: “No I didn’t! I shower every day. I said you kicked me off because of religious reasons.”

Time for a discrimination lesson.

But first, two comments.

Regarding the discrimination based on sex, if the actor who received the Golden Globe award was male and said that he was making a vow to have 50 percent men in everything he produces he would be denounced as a discriminator and a sexist.

Regarding the discrimination based on religion, I think it is ludicrous to believe that American Airlines kicked a family off a plane because they were Jewish. How many employees of American Airlines are Jewish? How many Jews have flown on American Airlines over the years? How many Jews fly out of New York on American Airlines every day?

Now for the lesson.

Confusion about discrimination abounds. Even the recent Libertarian Party candidate for president was confused about discrimination. I will try to state the libertarian position on discrimination as clearly and as succinctly as I can:

Since discrimination—against anyone, on any basis, and for any reason—is not aggression, force, or violence, the government should never prohibit it, seek to prevent it, or punish anyone for doing it.

This doesn’t mean that any or all acts of discrimination are necessary, fair, justified, ethical, moral, or proper. It just means that, as far as the law is concerned, whether an act of discrimination is based on stereotypes, false assumptions, or prejudices is irrelevant, whether an act of discrimination is due to racism, sexism, or xenophobism is immaterial, whether an act of discrimination is thought to be unfair, baseless, or nonsensical is of no consequence, and whether an act of discrimination is unreasonable, illogical, or irrational is neither here nor there.

To outlaw discrimination is to outlaw freedom of association, property rights, and freedom of thought. Discrimination is a crime in search of a victim.

In a free society, vowing to have 50 percent women, 50 percent men, all women, or all men in some production would not be newsworthy. In a free society, refusing to serve, associate with, rent to, or do business with an individual or a group on the basis of religion would not be newsworthy.

In a free society, there are no anti-discrimination laws, and the right to discriminate is essential and absolute.

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