I should start off with a disclaimer, I suppose: I am a fan of John Stossel. I stumbled across his YouTube videos by accident, he does a regular show for Fox in the US debunking “conventional wisdom” from a libertarian perspective. They are quite compelling.
Recently, there was a bit of a furore in the USA when a Republican candidate for the US Senate, Rand Paul (son of the famous Ron Paul) said that he despised racism, but that he felt that the state had no business telling people that there were legal sanctions on racism. He said that the Community Relations Act of 1964 went too far in banning racism in private businesses, effectively ending private freedom of association.
John Stossel went on TV to defend freedom of association to the media. You can watch the clip here. He started off by saying that he found racism repugnant and that he would never knowingly support a racist business and that he would campaign against a racist business, but that it was no business of the government to tell people who they could choose to serve or not serve. If you watch the clip, you will see how the “progressive” presenter fails to see how this is entirely consistent and moreover fails to see how anyone could not accept that it’s the government’s business to tell anyone what they can and can’t do.
There is an important historical aside here: private business was way ahead of the government in wanting to do away with instutionalised racism. The law (for it was such) issued by the state that said that people of colour had to sit at the back of the bus was a huge problem for the bus company: most whites didn’t use the bus, whereas most blacks did. So they were forced to travel with half-empty buses, apart from any moral qualms they might have had. They didn’t want the bus laws, even if they were full-on racists, because it hurt their business. And so on.
Anyway, it goes without saying that the USA was up in arms that anyone might defend anything to do with racism. Mr Stossel has written a letter defending his words here. Please do go read it and tell me if you agree with him or not.
It caused me to reflect upon the recent humbug we had here in the UK about gays in bed and breakfasts. For some reason, it is perfectly acceptable to have a bed and breakfast that only allows homosexuals to stay there, while simultaneously denying people the right to bar gays from their establishments. So you are allowed to discriminate against straight people because of the “progressive consensus”. You are legally allowed to discriminate against white people or males to “balance inequality”, but heaven forfend that you discriminate against ethnic minorities or women.
To my mind, these positions are inconsistent and create a far greater sense of inequality and divisiveness. Can you imagine how someone employed because of “inclusion” feels? Effectively the employer is saying “we would have employed someone else who could do the job better, but you ticked some boxes on a government directive or target.” Even if that person was the absolute best candidate, they will never know.
Isn’t it time we stopped making an issue of race and gender? Institutionalised discrimination is a terrible thing, and it doesn’t matter who is being discriminated in an institutional manner.
But individual people are different. We naturally gravitate towards people with similar interests and attitudes. We are not all going to like the same people or even the same mix of people. Imagine if the government said that you had to choose your friends according to the make up of your local community, whatever that might be. 50% of your friends would have to be of the opposite gender. 4% of them would have to be Muslim (and no more, which might be a bit of an issue for actual Muslims!) 2% would have to be black (and no more, which might be an issue for actual black people) 10% would have to be gay (and no more, which might be an issue for actual gay people) and so on and so forth.
Yet governments and “progressives” demand that employers should represent the mix of people in the communities they work in. Somehow this idea appears logical, but it denies the reality that not all people of all races are interested in the same thing. It’s very unlikely for a representative spread of people to occur in any situation naturally.
So why force it?