In recent year discrimination has once more become an important issue up for discussion and debate. With Christian Bakers refusing to bake gay wedding cakes immoral Davis refusing to sign marriage licenses it is important to have a definitive stance on this issue.
Ethics are moral values involving dealings with others.
Morality is all statements of right and wrong including ethics but also encompassing self, personal relationships, and God.
Discrimination is targeted disparagement of a group of individuals.
Ethics of Discrimination
So let us set forth two types of Discrimination:
- Government Imposed Discrimination
- Private Discrimination
Both are forms of Discrimination. Both can be moral or immoral. Only one is unethical: Government Discrimination. That is because one cannot deny consent to the government. If the government mandates discrimination it has to be obeyed. The rule here is simple: any entity which you can’t avoid doing business with(hospitals, governments, utility companies lack competition and are therefore unavoidable) then they can’t discriminate. However if you have a choice they can. Their discrimination may still be immoral(ie discrimination against blacks or Jews or women) but it isn’t unethical because the people they are discriminating against still have a choice. So Kim Davis can’t refuse to sign marriage certificates but the Kliens(I probably spelled that wrong) can refuse to bake a wedding cake. Why? Because married couples can’t avoid going to the government to get their marriage certificate signed but they can avoid that one baker who hate gays(not that the Kliens hate gays). The following is a rational case for discrimination:
A contientous objector can’t be forced to go to war. A scientist can’t be forced to build a wmd for the government. A Muslim Butcher can’t be forced to handle pork. Why? Because in this country we value the freedom of the conscience. If a person finds an activity or behaviour morally reprehensible they can’t be forced against their will to participate in it. The same should apply to business but especially any business that involves artistic ability such as baking and decorating a cake. Why? Because doing so is literally endorsing said behaviour. This isn’t selling a generic cake at the local market. This is an original creation and an artistic statement. However this argument can apply to any business which believes that what they sell will be used in an immoral way. They have every right to say no. Why? Because freedom of conscience.
Freedom of Association
In life you have the right to refuse association with anybody on any basis. This right shouldn’t cease just because you own a business. Just as opening a business doesn’t mean you cease being human so too it shouldn’t mean that you don’t have the same rights all the time just because you own a business. Nobody would argue that a business owner doesn’t have freedom of religion or speech but we refuse to stand up for their freedom of association. This shouldn’t be so. We should readily defend all of a person’s freedoms even if we find their use of said freedoms morally reprehensible.
And finally the Business is first and foremost the property of the business owner. It is his/her property first before it is an institution which serves the public. Its sole purpose is to make money for its owner. If the business owner decides to skip out on making money due to person prejudice it is his personal problem. It is nobody else’s business (no pun intended) what he does or doesn’t do with his property. Just as if a farmer wants to grow cabbage its nobody’s business. So, too, if a business owner doesn’t want to serve a certain group it is nobody’s business. This is simple fact. The reason is irrelevant just as the reason why the farmer wants to grow cabbage is irrelevant. In fact the only thing this argument doesn’t work for is a hospital or utility company. It doesn’t work for a hospital because they deal with life and death. It doesn’t work for a utility company because there is no competition. And of course government isn’t private property.
While Discrimination may be immoral it is rational and should be permitted out of reverence for individual liberty and private property.