What's your position on 'freedom of affiliation'?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by fivepoint, May 27, 2010.

  1. fivepoint macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    #1
    Going beyond your own personal morals, what you would do if you were in charge of these groups, do you inherently believe that private citizens and private businesses should have the right to associate with ever they wish without the government dictating it to them?

    Even if you disagree with the sentiment, and abhor the actions, do these groups have the right to make the decision for themselves... similarly to how we may abhor speech from the KKK, but we fight to defend their right to say it?

    Is it ok for the Boy Scouts to disallow homosexuals?
    Is it ok for the African American or Hispanic advocasy groups to disallow whites?
    Is it ok for private restraunts to disallow service to anyone because of their race or gender, etc?
    Should the PGA or NBA or maybe any given "men's group" be able to disallow women from competing?

    The question is not whether you personally think about these acts, but rather, whether you think private organizations should have the right to make these choices for themselves... as some would certainly not affect or bother you in the least.


    Many partisans and shallow thinkers las week jumped on Rand Paul for his insightful principled position against government involvement in personal rights and the freedom of association. He strongly supports the law as a whole, had no intention of ever pushing for repeal (obviously), only honestly answered a question about 1 of the 10 clauses of the bill which eliminated the ability for PRIVATE businesses to limit service to people based upon race. Rand, and I think all of agree, that this is a despicable act and should be pointed out as such and such businesses should be put out of business by the free market system, but does the government have the right to come in and dictate this? What if the government wants to dictate things that we all generally disagree with or find morally reprehensible? Do we only support this clause because we thankfully don't like the action it prohibits?

    On a personal note, I'd just like to say that as a society we often complain and cry out for politicians who are willing to tell us how it is, to be able to speak honestly and from the heart from principled positions... not from polling data or by weaseling around the question in an effort to piss off as few people as possible. I find it infinitely refreshing to have a politician like Rand Paul and Ron Paul who speak from principle and are incredibly honest and forthright people. A trait that is sadly missing from the rest of politics. Many poeple seem to think that Ron's statement was in some sort of Gotcha hidden camera moment... and if you get your news exclusively from HuffPo, etc. you probably thought that... when in reality he was being interviewed several weeks ahead of the election by a board of newspaper editors in Kentucky. He knew he was being video taped and he knew it wouldn't be a popular answer. It's just sad that everyone proved just how bad our soundbite media is this last week. How people avoid deep meaningful discussion at all costs as long as they can get a dig in on the other side. As long as it will help their political odds. God help us if our politics never rises above this crap.


     
  2. fivepoint thread starter macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    #2
    Information for Context:

    From Wikipedia:

     
  3. CaptMurdock macrumors 6502a

    CaptMurdock

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    #3
    How did I know you were going to defend Rand Paul and his closet racism? :rolleyes:

    [Edit]Actually, I shouldn't leave it at that. Salon has an article about a book you might want to read:

    Amazing how some lessons have to be learned over and over again.
     
  4. fivepoint thread starter macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    #4
    How did I know that liberals were going to resort to calling people racists to ease their argument instead of engaging in real substantive philosophical debate? How did we all know that liberals would avoid the arena of ideas as quickly as possible and condense their entire flaccid argument into "Racist, racist, racist! You are a racist!" :confused:
     
  5. CaptMurdock macrumors 6502a

    CaptMurdock

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    #5
    If it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck...

    As I pointed out above, try reading "Black Like Me." Might alter your perspective a little.
     
  6. fivepoint thread starter macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    #6
    At any rate, perhaps I focused too much on Rand Paul in my original post. The point of this thread is to discuss the larger issue of 'freedom of affiliation'. What are your general thoughts on the matter, perhaps with the specific examples given above? Do we as a society need to decide which affiliations are ok, and which aren't? How much are we willing to stifle freedom of speech to increase equality or lessen discrimination? Let's have a real discussion instead of lobbing stones back and forth.
     
  7. Queso macrumors G4

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    #7
    Discrimination hurts people. To tolerate it allows people to be hurt in a non-physical way.

    So fivepoint, bearing that in mind what's your position on other forms of non-physical harm being caused to people? Is fraud OK for example? Should we allow people to commit that providing it is carried out on private property?
     
  8. mcrain macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    #8
    Remember, all we are talking about are the equal use, access and benefits of places of public accommodation. That's it. In other words, places that are open to the general public, can not discriminate based on race, color, religion or national origin.

    Rand Paul did not like the idea that the Government would have any right to restrict what is done in a private business, and while that may be a purely libertarian philosophical view, that view promotes and allows for public places to segregate based on race. That is racism. Not that Rand Paul is a racist, but that philosophical view promotes racism.

    Yes, he "says" he supports the law, and he probably does, but his philosophical view is opposed to that part of the law, the ADA, minimum wages, and many other civil rights laws. Those views are critical to how he would vote in representing people from Kentucky. His refusal or inability to answer simple questions about big, BIG issues makes him a pretty big question mark as far as what he would do when faced with big issues in the future.

    I do respect him for his attempts to convey honestly his views, but do we really want a philosophical libertarian in office when they abhor all government intervention, even if that would allow for rampant and open racism?

    Rand seems to believe that the private markets will correct problems on their own. The public will stop purchasing goods from racist companies, however, as we have repeatedly seen, companies act based on profit motive, and people don't always act based on a universally agreed set of morals. If the private markets worked that way, then there would be no toxic paint on children's toys, no need to worry about the disabled and their access to businesses, no need to worry about businesses paying their employees living wages, etc.

    That's the whole point of the electoral process. Elect people who have principled positions that don't encourage racism, that foster the general welfare of the people they represent, and are willing to stand up to any interests that are contrary to their constituents.

    Actually, the ONLY people who claim it was a Gotcha moment are people who DON'T get their news from credible sources, and instead listen to right wing talk radio or watch Fox News.
    Wow, I wonder why his Republican opponent didn't make an issue of this? Hmmmm....
     
  9. fivepoint thread starter macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    #9
    Fraud is illegal. The question being posed here is whether or not individuals, private citizens, companies, groups, etc. should be allowed the freedom of affiliation or if we're better off having the government mandate speech and legislate morality. Clearly we can all agree that no racism, sexism, etc. should exist at the government level... that no state sponsored entity, government, business, etc. should be able to discriminate based on these things. The question, as laid out in the OP is whether these private entities should be able to... regardless of harm being caused to other individuals. Does the harm on our larger liberties outweigh the harm of select groups being occasionally discriminated against my private entities.

    Another question, might be are there different means to this end? Is the only way to end/reduce any sort of discrimination by private entities simply free market pressures? Education by the government, etc.? Also, is all discrimination bad? I think night clubs discriminating against citizens who are 'underage' is probably a good thing in most cases. I'm sure we can all think of a case of discrimination which is probably valid and optimal in practice... so who decides which of these forms of discrimination is ok, and which are outlawed at the expense of freedom of speech and affiliation?
     
  10. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #10
    I think the author of that article is probably willfully misrepresenting facts to put forth an agenda, but given the benefit of the doubt that he's just woefully ignorant, I'd offer the correction that rather than there just being "two or three KKK members still alive", implying that Klan membership is limited to 2-3 octogenarians who will soon be dead, thereby eliminating the group from the current American scene, there were actually roughly 5,000-8,000 in 2007.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0209/p02s02-ussc.html

    That doesn't count other white supremacist groups, and I think we all know that membership in these groups can only have risen in the last three years.

    As to the substance of the debate fivepoint hopes to start, he's right, it's a complex issue. I think that while the poles of private free association and discrimination free public space make sense, the ground in between those poles has a lot to do with where we want to proceed as a country and is a realm for judicious decision. I think that for the most part, that's where we are today.
     
  11. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #11
    That is exactly why this particular libertarian philosophy doesn't work. This should be a no-brainer, but instead, they keep harping on it.
     
  12. fivepoint thread starter macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    #12
    You seem to be drawing a different line in the sand than I would. You're essentially labeling restaurants, etc. as public entities... Many would argue that this an example of government 'stepping on the throat' of private property and business. Perhaps it would be easier just to make all of the restaurants, etc. public owned? ;) Socialist. :D



    I disagree. First though, thanks for being honest about Dr. Paul and for not taking the easy road of simply belittling him and claiming 'racist' at every corner as a way to avoid debate. I applaud you, sir. Back to my disagreement... this philosophical view does not PROMOTE racism. In fact, many would argue that it leads to a more heart-felt valuable destruction of racism over the long haul because citizens are faced with making up their minds and coming to the decision on their own instead of just being forced to a viewpoint by the authorities. A quick question for you, as this is essentially a quantitative argument as we both undoubtedly see at least some danger in the other direction... do you think there are any concerns with government outlawing private institutions ability to 'discriminate' (not always a bad word) against someone vs age, sex, race, etc?




    I'd say being forthright is the one thing you can't criticize Rand Paul or Ron Paul for. They're probably two of the most honest straight forward politicians out there. As you state in the second paragraph of that quote.
    [/QUOTE]
     
  13. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #13
    What's a private restaurant? :confused:
     
  14. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #14
    Yes, I'd like to know too. There are private clubs that can do so. If there's a restaurant in said club, then it would be fine- but a membership system would be required.
     
  15. fivepoint thread starter macrumors 65816

    fivepoint

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    #15
    What isn't a private restaurant? A private restaurant is any restaurant on private property owned by a private citizen or entity.
     
  16. Queso macrumors G4

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    #16
    Fraud is only illegal because the government has mandated it as such.
     
  17. citizenzen macrumors 65816

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    #17
    Oh. In that case, no... they can't discriminate.

    Perhaps you should familiarize yourself with the Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States...

    Passed on July 2, 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 banned racial discrimination in public places, particularly in public accommodations, largely based on Congress' control of interstate commerce.

    The Heart of Atlanta motel was a large, 216-room motel in Atlanta, Georgia, which refused to rent rooms to black patrons, in direct violation of the terms of the act.

    The owner of the motel filed suit in federal court, arguing that the requirements of the act exceeded the authority granted to Congress over interstate commerce. In addition, the owner argued that the act violated his Fifth Amendment rights to choose customers and operate his business as he wished and resulted in unjust deprivation of his property without due process of law and just compensation. Finally, the owner argued that Congress had placed him in a position of involuntary servitude by forcing him to rent available rooms to blacks, thereby violating his Thirteenth Amendment rights.

    Decision

    The Court held that Congress acted well within its jurisdiction of the Interstate Commerce clause in passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, thereby upholding the act's Title II in question.

    While it might have been possible for Congress to pursue other methods for abolishing racial discrimination, the way in which Congress did so, according to the court, was perfectly valid.​



    So the Supreme Court has ruled that discrimination is a violation of the U.S. Constitution. Don't you consider yourself a believer of the Constitution? I know Rand Paul doesn't. I think he called it an "anti-liberty" document... or something.

    What do you think about the Constitution, fivepoint?
     
  18. mscriv macrumors 601

    mscriv

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    #18
    fivepoint I think the problem with your question is that it is fundamentally flawed. You ask "us" to go beyond our own "personal morals" as if that is possible, yet then bring morals back into the equation by posing the question of the government being able to "legislate morality". You can't separate morality, principle, etc. from individual and collective decision making. These kinds of issues aren't decided in some relative moral vacuum. A person's foundational core beliefs will influence their choices and actions.

    Furthermore:

    Principles and laws are judged by other principles and laws. That's how it works. As Amerians if we agree that the source of our legal princples is the Constitution then we have to use it as the standard by which we evaluate all others.

    With that in mind, we must recognize that the Constitution is built upon the foundation of the Declaration of Independence which most famously states, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

    That being said, our government has further identified these "equal and unalienable rights" to include freedom from discrimination based on race, religion, sex, age, etc. Thus, "freedom of affiliation" must be understood within this context. A business that sets itself up to serve the "public", must adhere to the government's view of what the "public" consist of. If any business does not wish to adhere to this definition then they need to set themsevles up as a private club or member's only institution. Is this making sense? Refusal of service can not and shoud not cross the boundary lines of "unalienable rights".

    Personal freedom of affiliation is an entirely different concept because you as an individual are protected by the law in that you are free to think and feel what you wish and can thus draw your own personal affiliaion boundary lines. You as an individual don't serve the public with a business license.
     
  19. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #19
    BTW- I thought it was called "freedom of association".

    Am I wrong?
     
  20. IgnatiusTheKing macrumors 68040

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    #20
    There are restaurants that require diners to be a member of a private club.
     
  21. NT1440 macrumors G4

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    #21
    [/QUOTE]

    Sure, he's straight forward on topics he wants to be, otherwise he dodges questions without grace or shifts straight to his talking points which often have nothing to do with the question. Did you watch the Rachael Maddow interview? I know how you feel about her but if you have actually watched it there is no way you can say being straight forward is a great trait of his.
     
  22. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

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    #22
    OK, I think I can give an opinion without calling the OP or anyone else a racist. As far as PRIVATE clubs go (I mean social clubs that people don't have to join other then for reasons of enjoyment), I think people should be able to have a club with a whites-only or no-atheist allowed rules. IF THEY ARE PRIVATE. The problem I have with the boyscouts is is that they take government funds and don't want to allow gays/atheists in. That's wrong. If you take taxpayer money, you shouldn't be allowed to do that. As far as PRIVATE business go, I say no way for this reason: (and yes, I stole this from some RIGHTWING talk show host on MSNBC, yup, A RIGHTWINGER made this point). Say somewhere in America, there is a town of racists and they don't allow blacks into their private businesses. But a black family is driving across America and their car breaks down in this town. How can they get food, supplies, find a hotel room, if private businesses are allowed to say no to certain races. Sorry, I'm all for government staying out of MOST of our business but somethings go too far and would hurt innocent people.

    And if you disagree, you're a racist dick.
     
  23. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #23
    I love you. :) Strong post, but SPOT ON and illustrates perfectly why this particular libertarian view is crap.

    BTW- isn't it "freedom of association" not "freedom of affiliation"?
     
  24. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

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    #24
    Its the same meaning either way.
     
  25. Ttownbeast macrumors 65816

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    #25
    There is the bigger issue of separatism involved, It's not just whites or just Christians who practice this exclusivity as it seems is automatically assumed, other cultures within American society are offered public funds for private social groups as well. This separatism seems to be something quietly yet openly encouraged by government funding equally throughout many ethnic backgrounds for many different organizations that set specific qualifications based on physical characteristics for membership or benefits.

    One such example would be filing for grant money from the feds concerning benefits--not necessarily qualifying factors but factors which can expedite the process include race, ability or gender. If you are a minority chances are there are grants awarded specifically for that factor alone, and other awards put you higher up on those lists--if you are not a minority very few options put you on equal footing such as disability, or status as a veteran.

    On the matter of exclusivity there are clubs funded in part by federal money which are black only, Jewish only, etc.

    There are also entire exclusive communities receiving public funds and/or tax breaks because they are closely tied to their religious practices such as the Hasidim, the Mennonites, and the Amish where separatism is still just the way things are.
     

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