Freedom to discriminate

Freedom to discriminate, by Nicola Wright.

What would a truly free market look like without discrimination laws? If a business was to advertise that they do not serve or hire black people, for instance, the public outcry and sanctions would probably mean they would quickly change their stance, or go out of business. Additionally, businesses that do not discriminate make more money than businesses that do through access to a greater pool of customers and job applicants.

When customers take their business elsewhere, this naturally leads to fairer outcomes than would arise were the graceless hand of government to step in with fines and lawsuits. Society in this day and age does not tolerate blatant racism and bigotry, so why do we need to look to the government to enforce a ‘code of conduct’ on us all? Government have not exactly been a glowing example of moral superiority to date, so we ought not to continue to look to them for validation and correction of societal ills.

The grown-up thing to do if refused service for your same-sex wedding would be to take your business to the 99.5 per cent of other providers who would be only too willing to serve you. Let’s give same-sex couples the benefit of the doubt; if confronted by such a situation perhaps most of them will take this option. But as the saying goes ‘there’s one in every crowd.’

With or without freedom of conscience protections, we all know what will happen to the first business in Australia that refuses service to a same-sex couple with retribution on their minds. Some people will call these conscientious objectors brave and principled, others will call them hateful bigots, but no matter what you think of these people, their punishment will be swift. They will be headline news across the country, they will be publicly denigrated, ostracised and suffer a trial by social media that will likely destroy their business. Surely this is punishment enough, without the iron fist of the law coming down on their heads as well?

hat-tip Stephen Neil