Archive for the ‘#naturalrights’ Tag

SCOTUS Reconsideration   Leave a comment

Is baking (or at least decorating) a cake an art? If someone can be compelled to decorate a cake in violation of his/her religious beliefs, does that violate the concept of freedom of faith?

Contrary to popular belief, the Supreme Court never dealt with that issue in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case. It declined to deal with these issues, instead ruling narrowly in the baker’s favor because the Colorado State Civil Rights Commission displayed animus toward his religious beliefs. And Elena Kagan felt the question of whether the baker had refused to sell the couple of custom cake or any cake remained unanswered.

The decision is causing the Washington Supreme Court to go through the motions of reconsidering the Arlene’s Flowers case in light of Masterpiece, but there’s an Oregon case involving another baker that has reached the Supreme Court’s doorstep. Melissa and Aaron Klein are practicing Christians who owned and operated a bakery where they made and sold custom wedding cakes. An administrative law judge fined them $135,000 for refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, putting them out of business. The Kleins have provided proof that they had gladly served the couple in the past and merely objected to helping celebrate this particular ceremony, but an Oregon state appellate court upheld the fine.

Living according to one’s own conscience is the foundational principle of a free society, which is why freedom of expression is acknowledged by the First Amendment, which doesn’t just recognize your right to say what you wish, but it bars government from compelling you and I to say something you don’t agree with.

Cake decorating is definitely a creative pursuit, an expressive art form. If bakers are artists, they cannot be forced to convey messages that violate their beliefs, whether secular or religious values.

The courts have essentially been saying that only people who agree with same-sex marriage should be allowed to operate businesses related to weddings. That turns freedom of expression into a hollow principle. 

Although quite similar to Masterpiece Cakeshop, the Kleins’ case is neater, with fewer distractions unrelated to the core question of expression. For starters, there is no allegation that the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries showed anti-religious animus. Moreover, the Kleins did not sell off-the-shelf cakes to the general public; they created only custom cakes.

The Cato Institute is the only organization in the United States to have filed Supreme Court briefs supporting same-sex couples seeking to get married and vendors who don’t want to participate in those weddings, has now filed a brief supporting the Kleins’ petition to the US Supreme Court.

The Court should take the case to clarify that the First Amendment protects people from having to convey messages or express support for ceremonies with which they disagree. Klein v. Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries presents an inquiry into the scope and nature of expression itself—and much like a good cake, we hope that the Court finds these issues too enticing to pass up.

In Defense of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms   Leave a comment

Found on Lew Rockwell

By Andrew Napolitano

Image result for image of andrew napolitanoThe Ash Wednesday massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, seems to have broken more hearts than similar tragedies that preceded it. It was no more senseless than other American school shootings, but there is something about the innocence and bravery and eloquence of the youthful survivors that has touched the souls of Americans deeply.

After burying their dead, the survivors have mobilized into a mighty political force that loosely seeks more laws to regulate the right to keep and bear arms. The young people, traumatized and terrified with memories of unspeakable horror that will not fade, somehow think that a person bent on murder will obey gun laws.

Every time I watch these beautiful young people, I wince, because in their understandable sadness is the potential for madness — “madness” being defined as the passionate and stubborn refusal to accept reason. This often happens after tragedy. After watching the government railroad Abraham Lincoln’s killer’s conspirators — and even some folks who had nothing to do with the assassination — the poet Herman Melville wrote: “Beware the People weeping. When they bare the iron hand.”

It is nearly impossible to argue rationally with tears and pain, which is why we all need to take a step back from this tragedy before legally addressing its causes.

If you believe in an all-knowing, all-loving God as I do, then you accept the concept of natural rights. These are the claims and privileges that are attached to humanity as God’s gifts. If you do not accept the existence of a Supreme Being, you can still accept the concept of natural rights, as it is obvious that humans are the superior rational beings on earth. Our exercise of reason draws us all to the exercise of freedoms, and we can do this independent of the government. Stated differently, both the theist and the atheist can accept the concept of natural human rights.

Thomas Jefferson, who claimed to be neither theist nor atheist, wrote in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal and are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” Such rights cannot be separated from us, as they are integral to our humanity. Foremost among our unalienable rights is the right to life — the right to be and to remain alive.

And that right implies the right to defend life — the right to self-defense. If I am about to assault you in the nose, you can duck, run away or punch me first. If I am about to strike your children, you can strike me first. If I am about to do either of those things with a gun, you can shoot me first, and no reasonable jury will convict you. In fact, no reasonable prosecutor will charge you.

The reason for all this is natural. It is natural to defend yourself — your life — and your children. The Framers recognized this right when they ratified the Second Amendment. They wrote it to ensure that all governments would respect the right to keep and bear arms as a natural extension of the right to self-defense.

In its two most recent interpretations of the right to self-defense, the Supreme Court characterized that right as “pre-political.” That means the right pre-existed the government. If it pre-existed the government, it must come from our human nature. I once asked Justice Antonin Scalia, the author of the majority’s opinion in the first of those cases, called the District of Columbia v. Heller, why he used the term “pre-political” instead of “natural.” He replied, “You and I know they mean the same thing, but ‘natural’ sounds too Catholic, and I am interpreting the Constitution, not Aquinas.”

With the Heller case, the court went on to characterize this pre-political right as an individual and personal one. It also recognized that the people who wrote the Second Amendment had just fought a war against a king and his army — a war that they surely would have lost had they not kept and carried arms that were equal to or better than what the British army had.

They didn’t write the Second Amendment to protect the right to shoot deer; they wrote it to protect the right to self-defense — whether against bad guys, crazy people or a tyrannical government bent on destroying personal liberty.

In Heller, the court also articulated that the right to use guns means the right to use guns that are at the same level of sophistication as the guns your potential adversary might have, whether that adversary be a bad guy, a crazy person or a soldier of a tyrannical government.

But even after Heller, governments have found ways to infringe on the right to self-defense. Government does not like competition. Essentially, government is the entity among us that monopolizes force. The more force it monopolizes the more power it has. So it has enacted, in the name of safety, the least safe places on earth — gun-free zones. The nightclub in Orlando, the government offices in San Bernardino, the schools in Columbine, Newtown and Parkland were all killing zones because the government prohibited guns there and the killers knew this.

We all need to face a painful fact of life: The police make mistakes like the rest of us and simply cannot be everywhere when we need them. When government fails to recognize this and it disarms us in selected zones, we become helpless before our enemies.

But it could be worse. One of my Fox News colleagues asked me on-air the other day: Suppose we confiscated all guns; wouldn’t that keep us safe? I replied that we’d need to start with the government’s guns. Oh, no, he said. He just meant confiscation among the civilian population. I replied that then we wouldn’t be a civilian population any longer. We’d be a nation of sheep.

Gays Need the Freedom to Discriminate | Jeffrey A. Tucker   3 comments

Gaining the right to be married is a win for liberty because it removes a barrier to free association. But how easily a movement for more freedom turns to the cause of taking away other freedoms!

Related imageFollowing the Supreme Court decision mandating legal same-sex marriage nationwide, the New York Times tells us that, “gay rights leaders have turned their sights to what they see as the next big battle: obtaining federal, state and local legal protections in employment, housing, commerce and other arenas.”

In other words, the state will erect new barriers to freedom of choice in place of the old ones that just came down!

To make the case against such laws, it ought to be enough to refer to the freedom to associate and the freedom to use your property as you see fit. These are fundamental principles of liberalism. A free society permits anything peaceful, and that includes the right to disassociate. Alas, such arguments seem dead on arrival today.

So let us dig a bit deeper to understand why anti-discrimination laws are not in the best interests of gay men and women, or anyone else. Preserving the ability to discriminate permits the market system to provide crucial information feedback to a community seeking to use its buying power to reward its friends and noncoercively, nonviolently punish those who do not share its values.

Ever more, consumers are making choices based on core values. Does this institution protect the environment, treat its workers fairly, support the right political causes? In order to make those choices — which is to say, in order to discriminate — consumers need information.

In the case of gay rights, consumers need to know who supports inclusion and who supports exclusion. Shutting down that information flow through anti-discrimination law robs people of crucial data to make intelligent buying decisions. Moreover, such laws remove the competitive pressure of businesses to prove (and improve) their commitment to community values, because all businesses are ostensibly bound by them.

A market that permits discrimination, even of the invidious sort, allows money and therefore success and profits to be directed toward those who think broadly, while denying money and profitability to those who do not. In this way, a free market nudges society toward ever more tolerant and inclusive attitudes. Money speaks far more persuasively than laws.

Notice that these proposed laws only pertain to the producer and not the consumer. But discrimination is a two-edged sword. The right can be exercised by those who do not like some groups, and it can be exercised by those groups against those who do not like them.

Both are necessary and serve an important social function. They represent peaceful ways of providing social and economic rewards to those who put aside biases in favor of inclusive decision making.

If I’m Catholic and want to support pro-Catholic businesses, I also need to know what businesses don’t like Catholics. If I’m Muslim and only want my dollars supporting my faith, I need to know who won’t serve Muslims (or who will put my dollars to bad use). If a law that prohibits business from refusing to serve or hire people based on religion, how am I supposed to know which businesses deserve my support?

It’s the same with many gay people. They don’t want to trade with companies that discriminate. To act out those values requires some knowledge of business behavior and, in turn, the freedom to discriminate. There is no gain for anyone by passing a universal law mandating only one way of doing business. Mandates drain the virtue out of good behavior and permit bad motivations to hide under the cover of law.

Here is an example from a recent experience. I was using AirBnB to find a place to stay for a friend. He needed a place for a full week, so $1,000 was at stake. The first potential provider I contacted hesitated and began to ask a series of questions that revolved around my friend’s country of origin, ethnicity, and religion. The rental owner was perfectly in his rights to do this. It is his home, and he faces no obligation to open it to all comers.

On the other hand, I found the questions annoying, even offensive. I decided that I didn’t want to do business with this person. I made a few more clicks, cancelled that query, and found another place within a few minutes. The new renter was overjoyed to take in my friend.

I was delighted for two reasons. First, my friend was going to stay at a home that truly wanted him there, and that’s important. Force is never a good basis for commercial relationships. Second, I was able to deny $1K to a man who was, at best, a risk averse and narrow thinker or, at worst, an outright bigot.

Declining to do business with him was my little protest, and it felt good. I wouldn’t want my friend staying with someone who didn’t really want him there, and I was happy not to see resources going toward someone whose values I distrusted.

In this transaction, I was able to provide a reward to the inclusive and broad-minded home owner. It really worked out too: the winning rental property turned out to be perfect for my friend.

This was only possible because the right to discriminate is protected in such transactions (for now). I like to think that the man who asked too many questions felt a bit of remorse after the fact (he lost a lot of money), and even perhaps is right now undergoing a reconsideration of his exclusionary attitudes. Through my own buyer decisions I was actually able to make a contribution toward improving cultural values.

What if anti-discrimination laws had pertained? The man would not have been allowed to ask about national origin, religion, and ethnicity. Presuming he kept his room on the open market, he would have been required under law to accept my bid, regardless of his own values.

As a result, my money would have gone to someone who didn’t have a high regard for my friend, my friend would have been denied crucial information about what he was getting into, and I would not be able to reward people for values I hold dear.

This is precisely why gay rights leaders should be for, not against, the right to discriminate. If you are seeking to create a more tolerant society, you need information that only a free society can provide.

You need to know who is ready to serve and hire gay men and women, so they can be rewarded for their liberality. You also need to know who is unwilling to hire and serve so that the loss part of profit-and-loss can be directed against ill-liberality. Potential employees and customers need to know how they are likely to be treated by a business. Potential new producers need to know about business opportunities in under-served niche markets.

If everyone is forced to serve and hire gays, society is denied important knowledge about who does and does not support enlightened thinking on this topic.

Consider the prototypical case of the baker who doesn’t want to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. He is within his rights. His loss of a potential customer base is his own loss. It is also the right of the couple to refuse to give this baker business. The money he would have otherwise made can be redirected towards a baker who is willing to do this. It is equally true that some people would rather trade with a baker who is against gay marriage, and they are within their rights as well.

Every act of discrimination, provided it is open and legal, provides a business opportunity to someone else.

How does all this work itself out in the long run? Commerce tends toward rewarding inclusion, broadness, and liberality. Tribal loyalties, ethnic and religious bigotries, and irrational prejudices are bad for business. The merchant class has been conventionally distrusted by tribalist leaders — from the ancient to the modern world — precisely because merchantcraft tends to break down barriers between groups.

We can see this in American history following the end of slavery. Blacks and whites were ever more integrated through commercial exchange, especially with the advance of transportation technology and rising incomes. This is why the racists turned increasingly toward the state to forbid it. Zoning laws, minimum wage regulation, mandatory segregation, and occupational licensing were all strategies used to keep the races separate even as the market was working toward integration.

The overwhelming tendency of markets is to bring people together, break down prejudices, and persuade people of the benefits of cooperation regardless of class, race, religion, sex/gender, or other arbitrary distinctions. The same is obviously and especially true of sexual orientation. It is the market that rewards people who put aside their biases and seek gains through trade.

This is why states devoted to racialist and hateful policies always resort to violence in control of the marketplace. Ludwig von Mises, himself Jewish and very much the victim of discrimination his entire life, explained that this was the basis for Nazi economic policy. The market was the target of the Nazis because market forces know no race, religion, or nationality.

“Many decades of intensive anti-Semitic propaganda,” Mises  wrote in 1944, “did not succeed in preventing German ‘Aryans’ from buying in shops owned by Jews, from consulting Jewish doctors and lawyers, and from reading books by Jewish authors.” So the racists turned to the totalitarian state — closing and confiscating Jewish business, turning out Jewish academics, and burning Jewish books — in order to severe the social and economic ties between races in Germany.

The biggest enemy of marginal and discriminated-against populations is and has always been the state. The best hope for promoting universal rights and a culture of tolerance is the market economy. The market is the greatest weapon ever devised against bigotry — but, in order to work properly, the market needs to signaling systems rooted in individuals’ freedom of choice to act on their values.

And, to be sure, the market can also provide an outlet for people who desire to push back for a different set of values, perhaps rooted in traditional religious concerns. Hobby Lobby, Chick-Fil-A, In-and-Out Burger, among many others, openly push their religious mission alongside their business, and their customer base is drawn to them for this reason. This is also a good thing. It is far better for these struggles to take place in the market (where choice rules) rather than through politics (where force does).

Trying to game that market by taking away consumer and producer choice harms everyone. Anti-discrimination laws will provide more choices at the expense of more informed choices. Such laws force bigotry underground, shut down opportunities to provide special rewards for tolerance, and disable the social learning process that leads to an ever more inclusive society.

New laws do not fast-track fairness and justice; they take away opportunities to make the world a better place one step at a time.

Source: Gays Need the Freedom to Discriminate | Jeffrey A. Tucker

What I Know to Be True   6 comments

I stared at a blank computer screen for a while on this … not because I have nothing to say, but because I’m in the middle of a series on Christian truth and I didn’t want to cop out and reuse something from the series. Tempting, but ….

My fellow authors are discussing this topic. Please join us.

WordPress:
<!– start InLinkz script –>
<a rel=’nofollow’ href=”http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=632923“><img style=”border:0px” src=”http://www.inlinkz.com/img/wp/wpImg.png“></a>
<!– end InLinkz script –>
Custom Blog:
<!– start InLinkz script –>

http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=632923” title=”click to view in an external page.”>An InLinkz Link-up

//static.inlinkz.com/cs2.js?v=116
<!– end InLinkz script –>
Code for Link:
<!– start InLinkz script –>
<a rel=’nofollow’ href=http://goo.gl/lyBBlQ>get the InLinkz code</a>
<!– end InLinkz script –>

 

Today’s world doesn’t like the concept of true truth — the idea that something is true for everybody. This is partially a reaction to modernism, which sought to include everyone in a transcendent truth apart from God, based on scientific principles. Different philosophers tried to define truth for everyone about everything and failed. We’re still doing that today to a certain extent with materialistic claims that everything must submit to the lens of science or it is not valid, but philosophy has moved on from that dogmatism to believe that there is no true truth and therefore what is true for me may not be true for you and vice versa.

That works … except for the inevitable outcome of the 20-story leap. Gravity in ordinary space is a true truth. If I jump off a 20-story building without a bungey line, a base chute or a para-suit, I’m going to hit the ground hard and not get back up again. There’s no getting around that. You stick your hand in a flame and, so long as you have a normal nervous system, you will feel pain. Even if you don’t feel pain, the fire is going to cook your flesh and you’re going to need medical attention. That’s a true truth. The outcome is known, it is consistent and it is inevitable.

By and large, the sane recognize these truths and comply with the physical laws of the universe. Yet, when it comes to more philosophical truths, we like things squishy. For example, we try to play with the principles of economics (which are based on centuries of observation of human nature) and sometimes our manipulation works … for a while … and then the world economies begin to become increasingly shaky, governments amass huge amounts of unsustainable debt and … well, we’ll see, won’t we, because we’re standing on the edge of that precipice right now.

My older brother’s half of the Baby Boom generation was involved in an experiment of “free love” and “open marriage”. Some people had a lot of fun with that for a while, and then the divorce rate exploded and sexually transmitted diseases became rampant. There had been others who had observed the zeitgeist and suggested this experiment was a bad idea, but they were accused of putting their “truth” on others who had their own “truth”. Bro Jeff admits today that “it’s a rare marriage that can survive that sort of voluntary cheating.” It’s so rare that he can’t name a single friend who is still part of that experiment because the experiment ignored basic human nature.

Ah, you might notice I use that word “human nature” a couple of times in this article. It is a true truth that human nature is self-interested. From conception to death, life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generating action. It’s normal for us to take action for the support, furtherance, fulfillment and enjoyment of our own individual lives. Exercising that self-governance is labeled a “right” … that is, the freedom to act on our own judgement, for our own goals, by our own choice without physical compulsion, coercion or interference from other people. A right cannot impose obligations on my neighbors other than to prevent them from violating my rights. It also works the other way round. My neighbors have an equal right to act in their own self-interest, but their right cannot obligate me to anything.

I know this to be true. As part of my human nature (I would say God granted it, but you are welcome to say it’s in your DNA if you like), I have a right to life which is the source of all rights and the right of property is how we implement that right to life. Property rights secures our other rights. The right of property is not the guarantee of a physical object, but the freedom to act in order to reap the benefits or experience the consequences of producing or earning a physical object. It doesn’t guarantee that you will earn anything, but it guarantees that if you earn something, it belongs to you. You may freely trade it or sell it, but it may not be taken from you against your will.

Of course, we know that isn’t the world we live in. The rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are violated on a regular basis in our country today. Whenever a person is made to act without her free, personal, individual, voluntary consent, her right has been violated and she has in fact been enslaved to the agenda of whomever is forcing her to act against her own self-interest.

There are a lot of goodies we perceive to be “rights” these days that obligate other people to give up their own “selfish” goals to give us what we demand, what we assume is our right because we want it. Our demands for the slavery of our fellow humans seems to grow with every election cycle, every Congressional setting, every meeting of a PTA in some podunk town in Backwater, USA. But there are no rights beyond the right to act in your own self-interest without obligating your fellow human to doing something that is not in their self-interest. As soon as you try to make an argument otherwise, you will find that you have now obligated yourself to something that is not in your self-interest. That cycle continues until the whole of society is enslaved by obligations without any rights because the desire to obligate our neighbor to serve our needs is voracious. It is never satisfied. It will be popped lose of its teat only when the society it is leeching from collapses … or wakes up to the concept of natural rights.

I know this to be true. We are all individually responsible for the precipice we are standing on. We made the individual choices in the ballot box that lead to the crisis we’re at right now. We are still free to make different choices. Will we?

 

Stine Writing

Poetry, Positivity, and Connecting!

Writer vs the World

In search of beauty, inspired by literature.

Inside My Mind

Words from my brain

Happiness Between Tails by da-AL

Tales + Books + Compassion + Culture + Wagging Tails

Fairfax and Glew

Vigilante Justice

The Wolf's Den

Overthink Everything

SaltandNovels

Sprinkling wonder into writing

Remmington Reads

A book enthusiast bringing you all things bookish

MiddleMe

Becoming Unstuck

Magical BookLush

A New Dimension to Explore!! A reason to Love and A promise to fight the wrong is hidden in Books. Come, Let's Explore it!!!

Jacquie Biggar-USA Today Best-selling author

Read. Write. Love. 💕💕💕

Not Very Deep Thoughts

Short Fiction and Other Things

%d bloggers like this: