Freedom of Association, and the Freedom to Disassociate


So, a pizza joint doesn’t want to cater gay weddings, and the internet explodes. It’s pretty ironic that so many people are using their freedom of disassociation to protest someone else’s freedom of disassociation, but does this mean we should support laws like the the Religious Freedom Act in Indiana? Generally the libertarian supports freedom of association, but on the other hand the libertarian opposes regulation of social behavior by the state. How does the libertarian reconcile this conflict?

Simple: Don’t support this law. Yes, people should be free to associate or disassociate with anyone they choose. No, it should not matter whether or not they are in their home or in their business. If it is OK for the customer to discriminate, then likewise it should be OK for the salesman. The recent outrage over and subsequent closing of a pizza joint in Indiana illustrates perfectly why we don’t need the government involved. That outrage wasn’t mandated, and it wasn’t the government that closed the place down, and while I personally don’t like the tactics used I must concede that everyone else isn’t going to play the game according to my values. We have to choose between the law and the market, and the closing of that pizza joint was the market in action. You can’t have your gay-free cake and eat it too.

Discrimination by a business is illegal in this country. Clearly that is a violation of every business owner’s freedom of association, but the solution is not to pass a new law exempting specific groups from other laws. The solution is the repeal of those laws which violate freedom of association to begin with. Going after those laws would require much larger political testicles than any politician currently in office has. Who is going to stand up and say publicly that they want to amend The Civil Rights Act, or that they oppose it? It would be political suicide, so instead these slimy bastards try to chip away at it by using The Constitution against the law, claiming to protect the 1st Amendment because it’s a lot easier to say “I support the 1st Amendment” than to say “Some of The Civil Rights Act was an overreach”.

And now we have a special exemption from the Civil Rights Act for Christians, against gays. What about everyone else? Is it fair for one group of people to enhance their personal liberty at the expense of someone else’s? No, it isn’t. The answer to these conflicts, and the only way to prevent a fuck load of bullshit laws granting Civil Rights Act immunity to every special interest group that can afford to lobby some cockwagon in public office is very simple: Just let people be who they are, and let people associate with whoever they want, and let people buy and sell as they choose, with whoever they wish.

I personally support equality, for everyone. I will do business with anyone unless they openly do something I find morally reprehensible, or criminal. I don’t care about race, sexuality, religion, or any other characteristic that doesn’t define your moral character. My reason for being willing to tolerate discrimination is not because I like discrimination. I tolerate it because living in a free society means that assholes get freedom too. And then I am free to discriminate against those assholes.

If ISIS bought property at Ground Zero and wanted to build a statue of Hitler sacrificing a baby to Satan while sodomizing a statue of Martin Luther King Jr., that would disgust me. I would not ask the government to pass a law against it, because in a free society sometimes the asshole gets what he wants. That is one of the costs of liberty. Freedom isn’t for the weak. You can always gauge a person’s commitment to freedom by their willingness to tolerate behaviors that they personally find sickening.

If it is OK for the buyer to discriminate, then likewise it is OK for the salesman.

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Poet and Amateur Farmer