There are a lot of people talking about Libertarians these days with a subset of folks berating LP Presidential candidate Gary Johnson and his VP William Weld. One area where the haters think they have traction is the topic of religious freedoms,specifically the ability to discriminate on the basis of ones religious beliefs.
I believe it safe to say there are conflicting theories as to religious freedom and libertarian principles. One camp believes that freedom of association is paramount and fortified by the freedom of religion clause of the Constitution. Another camp believes society can’t allow for religion to be both protected yet allowed to discriminate secondary to its rules. The former is the purist and the latter the realist with foresight and a history degree.
The purists as it were had amongst them folks who buy into the anarchy model of libertarianism. No drivers licenses,no immunizations,drugs for everyone and so on. These folks tend to bone up on the Constitution and the Federalist Papers and come off more knowledgable than nutty. Truth be told they’re douchebags who are completely deficient in appreciating historical context and reality. We can’t nor should we want to even try if it were possible to grab Mr Peabody and set the Wayback Machine to the era when all was right with America.
The other purists who I hope are a majority believe discrimination of all kinds is permissible and that those that choose to do it should face free market consequences as opposed to regulatory wrath. This is quite possibly the ideal but how it plays out in the real world makes it simply unattainable.
The realists on the other hand are folks who still may very well loathe empowering government to prevent discrimination but realize that government sanctioned discrimination assaults the free market principles libertarians supposedly hold dear. These folks have foresight and can envision future issues involving Muslims as well as further balkanization’s of the American population. Realists are steeped in US History and recognize that the government sanctioned discrimination against Mormons,Catholics,Blacks and Jews to name a few has always been a misguided,immoral and illogical crime against freedom.
It is against this backdrop that the contrived controversy over Johnson/Weld’s position on the issue of LGBT “rights” and “religious freedom” is being played out.
In their support of same-sex marriage the ticket has been clear that they oppose anything that forces clergy to conduct ceremonies they believe are against their will.
On the issue of entities providing goods and services to the general public they have declared that the entire public is entitled to equal treatment. Johnson has been targeted with a gross misrepresentation of his overall position with the well trotted out tale of Johnson requiring Jewish bakers to make Nazi cakes. He has been very clear that he would indeed expect a Jewish baker to bake a Nazi a cake but never expect the baker to have to make a Nazi cake for anyone. I believe the same would be afforded to a Christian merchant. You should be expected to provide baked goods or flowers to homosexuals but not necessarily provide homosexual goods i.e. penile flower arrangements and gay cakes. I believe the merchant should be expected to identify the policy as well at least to the level of the famed hypothetical “jewish bakery”.
America needs to put an end to eventually getting it right when it comes to society. When true libertarian free market principles were desegregating retail stores in the 1960’s religious freedoms were embraced to discriminate and prevent change. The same thing happened years earlier as every new wave of immigrants,read Catholics, started coming ashore. The “No Irish” signs of the early 20th Century eventually turned to “Exclusive” signs in the 50’s which were code for NO JEWS! I don’t see how anyone can claim it a libertarian principle to deny someone else freedom.
Many so-called conservatives will be the first to tell you of all the ills ahead regards Muslim immigration. Instead of bitching about Gary Johnson being against religious freedom today perhaps they should get ahead of the curve and help establish the lawful precedent they want even if for far different reasons.
Bottoms line to call Johnson/Weld’s plank regards religious freedoms and discrimination “un-libertarian” is pretty short-sighted.