In the last few months, we’ve seen an NBA owner lose his team because of some racist remarks, and we’ve seen a court in Colorado decide that a bakery must make the wedding cade for a gay marriage.
I find both cases a bit troubling.
How many arguably racist things would you guess get said by any NBA representatives (owners, players, professional staff) in any one day? How about anti-gay comments? How about just making fun of others?
Shouldn’t we weed them all out? And how far do we take it? What if someone you know or work with says something questionable? Should they lose their job? How about their home? Their car? Their friends?
Now add in the Colorado court ruling. In that ruling, a gay couple sued a bakery that wouldn’t make them a cake for their wedding. So how about that? Should we also be able to make people do things against their own ideas, beliefs or even prejudices?
I would suggest that forcing someone to do something against their will is flat out evil.
Some questions I couldn’t help but have about the bakery case include: If you were getting married and someone told you they didn’t want to participate or perform a service you wanted them to perform, why would you want to force them to? Why would you want someone who resents you anywhere near your wedding? (or anywhere near you, for that matter?)
Isn’t this what the market is for? If people don’t like what Donald Sterling said, they can stop buying Clippers tickets. The players could stop playing for him. Similarly, if you don’t some things a player says or does, you could not root for that player. You could refuse to go see a game when that player is playing. Heck, you could buy a ticket just to spend the entire game heckling that player.
If you don’t like that this bakery in Colorado won’t bake a cake for a gay wedding, then don’t buy anything from them. In fact, tell your friends to avoid them and why. And if you do like it, make a point to support them.
I’m not really that interested in either case, to tell you the truth. What does interest me is resolution through the free market. If you say a bunch of stupid things and you’re representing a business or a club (or even just yourself), word will get out and you’ll lost support. You’ll lose money. You’ll lose standing. You’ll lose customers.
And if you’re doing good things and people believe in you, they’ll support you. They’ll go an extra mile to bring you their business or spend time with you.
I don’t think it’s right to take personal property away from others. Where does that stop? And who gets to decide who’s offended? Who decides what comments warrant that punishment?
Nor should we make people do things they don’t want to do. How far can that go? What makes that right?
These are examples of the road to coercion by fear. This is the stuff of police states, and this should not be how we want to live. The free market has ways to deal with people, and we’d do best to let them work. That way, we don’t rely on one entity to judge us all. We each get to play our own role, through our actions, in deciding the fate of others.