Missing Link Friday – Lies, liberty & inequality

Un-occupy: Nearly 70 students walked out of Greg Mankiw’s economics class at Harvard on Wednesday afternoon. According to the Harvard Crimson’s Jose Delreal, "The walkout was meant to be a show of support for the ‘Occupy’ movement’s principal criticism that conservative economic policies have increased income inequality in the United States." Sinclair Davidson comments.

What did they miss? "Ironically, the topic for today’s lecture is the distribution of income, including the growing gap between the top 1 percent and the bottom 99 percent", writes Greg Mankiw.

Are you in Australia’s top 1 percent? "According to the ATO’s tax statistics, if you earned $248 192 or more in 2008-09, you were part of the top 1%", writes Matt Cowgill.

Conservatives and freedom: "The Tea Party alliance between libertarians and conservatives gives the misleading impression that conservatives care about individual freedom", writes the Philosopher’s Beard.

Why Will Wilkinson isn’t a liberal: "I’ve come to accept … that diffuse cultural forces, such as racism or sexism or nationalism or intergenerational poverty, can deprive an individual of her rightful liberty without any single person doing anything to violate her basic rights. This takes me a long way toward standard liberalism. But I find that my gut nevertheless leans right on issues of personal responsibility." Will Wilkinson at the Moral Sciences Club.

Keeping the state out of your bedroom: Libertarians say they want to keep the state out of your bedroom. John Quiggin doesn’t believe them.

Lying to ourselves: According to psychologists, "self-deception evolved so that we can effortlessly tell lies without getting caught." And that’s a good thing, says Chris Campbell.

Tim Blair on vegetarianism : Back in 2008 Tim Blair linked to a story claiming "Scientists have discovered that going veggie could be bad for your brain – with those on a meat-free diet six times more likely to suffer brain shrinkage." Sandy Szwarc wasn’t convinced.

Scientists explain Tim Blair: "You would think we would admire do-gooders who are truly motivated by morals, values and beliefs. But you would be wrong. Recent research compares the attitudes of meat eaters to vegetarians. Meat eaters don’t really like vegetarians. We think they judge us. So we make fun of them." Rita Handrich, The Jury Room.

Irrationality virus spreads to Australia: The Australian conservative movement is becoming infected by an irrationality virus, writes Harry Clarke. It’s "a development which threatens both its intellectual viability and our future."

94 thoughts on “Missing Link Friday – Lies, liberty & inequality

  1. Thanks, the Sandy Szwarc link is great — although almost irrelevant to the article, the African honey bee graph is hilarious.

  2. How so?

    Faulty conception of libertarian logic. Quiggin supposes a positive-rights interpretation of bedroom privacy which can, and this is no great surprise, cause conflicts with propertarian rights. That’s why most libertarian theory is based on a) negative rights and b) propertarian settlement of disputes. Because it avoids just such logical collisions.

    Quiggin is beating up a strawman, in other words.

  3. Pretty much Jacques, clearly there are potential conflicts between rights and so there needs to be agreed rules. Should your property rights allow you to shoot a trespasser or include a lease covenant against acts potentially leading to miscegenation? Clearly the social context of the time will lead to different answers to those questions. That doesn’t make libertarianism wrong or stupid. All philosophical positions can be reduced to the absurd if you try hard enough.

  4. Pedro, I agree. It’s easy to come up with a beautiful theory that covers the major cases but struggles with the corner cases. That’s why law and software both grow exponentially more complex as such cases come to light. I don’t see why universalist theories of morality / economics / politics should be any different, whether they’re liberalism-libertarianism, socialism, religion or any other ambitious -ism.

  5. It’s not even a hard case. It’s a confection based on a delusion of moral superiority, an undergraduate “gotcha” fail. The argument is wrong because it is not the State in the bedroom, it is B enforcing the lease covenant. The State is only involved to the extent required to enforce the bargain and so is a minimal actor. There is no libertarian conception of the state in which the state actively checks on compliance with bargains.

    As it happens, the nutty-lib fringe has an answer, which is the private enforcement of contractual rights through a dressed-up version of see you behind the dunny at little lunch.

  6. ” Liberals believe that freedom for individuals is best provided through society, in the form of institutions and resources, and also restrictions that enable more valuable choices for more people (like minimum wage or work safety laws). ”

    Good illustration of how hard it is to sensibly write that rules make us free.

  7. This is the good bit

    “I agree that many people are in dire straits and suffering for absolutely no fault of their own, and that policies ought to be in place to provide meaningful material assistance. Still, I find I want an ethos of effort and individual responsibility to prevail, and I continue to think people who chose their way into trouble need to be told exactly what Welch seems to be telling the OWS folk: we’re not going to feel too sorry for you if you made some bad decisions about taking out mortgages and/or student loans, even if everybody you knew was making them too.”

  8. Don’t worry JJ, once Obama the socialist moves back to Kenyan where he’s from, tax cuts to the rich are given so as to solve the problem with the government’s small tax base, the theory of plate tectonics is finally disproved so you can stop hearing about how white people came out of Africa (god how scientists have lied all this time), you get rid of gay teachers in schools (they’re corrupting the kiddies, after all), and probably a few other things I’ve missed, everything will be fine. Jesus said so after all.

  9. What is it about banking conspiracies and antisemitism? I’m pretty sure the Swiss were into banking when Moses was reading a sand-colour map upside down. But I don’t see anyone making dark comments about gnomes or cracking jokes in piss poor German.

  10. Sandy Schwarz is a tool who barely has half a grasp on what she posts about. Also, anyone who hosts a blog about contentious issues and does not allow commenting is an intellectual coward.

  11. “What is it about banking conspiracies and antisemitism?”

    Banking conspiracies? We are talking about the financial anal gang bang of the Western world. We are talking a scale of looting that is in the 20-30 trillion dollar level as to its magnitude. Now its inevitable that there will be an explosion of anti-semitism when this has gone unpunished. Because we look to who is running things now in the US, and it gives people the impression, rightly or wrongly, that the place is becoming a Jewish-run tyranny.

    The bankers choose the representatives now through bribery known as campaign contributions. I don’t think anyone ought to lie about this after what happened after the first TARP scam attempt was voted down. Blankfeins boys just openly went and bribed and threatened everyone. Then they had a second vote. So these are bankers representatives we have here for all practical purposes.

    And lets look at the composition of some of these banker representatives:

    Joseph Lieberman chairs Homeland Security. Barney Frank chairs Finance. Carl Levin chairs armed services. Sander Levin chairs the House Ways and Means committee. Barbara Boxer chairs Senate committee for public works. Henry Waxman chairs the senate committee for commerce. Dianne Feinstein chairs the Senate committee for intelligence. Howard Berman chairs the house foreign relations committee.

    People the world over are beginning to notice that the takedown and rapid destruction of the US is being presided over in the context of Jewish dominance. Whoever the shadow government is they must really hate normal Jews if they are affecting to have these clowns ruin everything for everyone. Its not as if these guys are there on merit. We are talking about massive incompetence of an almost surreal nature.

  12. It’s the protocols of the elders of zion! Sheesh JC, can’t even get your anti-semitism straight. What is the world coming to? ;-)

  13. Yes that Fyodor does sound an awful lot like Bird. But he’s using Fyodor’s email address so I don’t really want to add it to the banned list. God knows how he got Fyodor’s email address because it isn’t displayed on Troppo. I can only assume Fyodor must at one time have been silly enough to post a comment on Bird’s blog.

    BTW I’ve banned Bird’s most recent (before Fyodor) avatar “jimmy-jive”. May I suggest that you all adhere to the standard “don’t feed the trolls” advice?

  14. Oh yea, It’s the Protocols….

    He seems to be having a real hissy fit over Wall street and thems Jews, Pedro/Jason.

    I nicely informed him that if you look at the current crop of Wall Street CEO’s you could in fact suggest it’s perhaps a conspiracy within a conspr=iracy to try and hide the fact Jews are running Wall Street. There’s only possible CEO of Jewish origins in the whole cohort.

    Go through them.

    Bank of America. Brian Monihan… ummm my guess is Irish background.

    JPMorgan. Jamie Diamond… Greek back background. Funny tidbit. His dad works there as a broker and he’s in his 80′s. There a broker’s desk populated by 80 year olds servicing their clients. Imagine.

    Wells Fargo…John G. Stumpf Sounds German origin I’d say.

    Citigroup…Vikram Pandit.. Indian.

    State Street … jay hooley Irish

    Morgan Stanley… Steve Gorman. Australian.. German background.

    Goldman Sachs Lloyd Blankfein

    Largest hedge fund in the world… Bridgewater..Run by Ray Dalio. Sounds Italian. And he’s off his head.

  15. Ken
    Same way he was able to pose as me including using my avatar at one stage – because I’ve been silly enough to post a comment on Bird’s blog in the past using my real email address trusting in his basic decency, putting aside the looniness.

  16. But he’s using Fyodor’s email address so I don’t really want to add it to the banned list.

    Huh? So it’s Fyodor pretending it’s bird pretending its Fyodor. This is getting really screwed up.

  17. Jacques says:

    I’m pretty sure the Swiss were into banking when Moses was reading a sand-colour map upside down. But I don’t see anyone making dark comments about gnomes or cracking jokes in piss poor German.

    Jacques, nearly 1/2 of the Swiss gnomes are in hiding from US authorities as the US is going after them for opening private accounts for US (domiciled) citizens. And to top it off they are handing over the names thereby exposing them without even a cough.

    Want to trust Swiss banking gnomes? I dare you.

    EXCLUSIVE – Swiss offer U.S. tax deal for all Swiss banks: sources

  18. So Birdy didn’t get in by the back door he got in by the Fyodoor!!

    Still there is a silver lining. how can you tell with KC?

  19. Where’s the evidence for anti-semitism? Its a combination between black humour, an organised campaign of desensitisation, and an enquiry as to why the same population source, that can produce such riches, and good things, while they are struggling to the top, can often be amongst the most egregious wealth destroyers and ragbags, once they get there. One wants to know these things. These are honest enquiries.

    One time a relieving bank manager told me about a funeral he had just been to. A protestant former bank manager had died. And at his funeral the place was just packed to the rafters with Jewish people paying their respects. What had happened is that in the late 40′s and early 50′s he had loaned all these recent refugees $5000 dollars apiece to help springboard them into small business. And the community had never forgotten them for it. Now this is an example of a banker creating wealth. But it wouldn’t have been likely to create wealth if he had lent the money to any other group of refugees. So there is a mis-match there.

    Its Jamie DIMON JC. And Dimon is a Jew. Plus JP Morgan are particularly obnoxious wealth-destroying welfare queens. What is your problem with Bridgewater? They would appear to be doing excellent work?

  20. It’s fyodor. Not Bird.

    Fyodor would know Dimon’s correct spelling as he’s a stickler for that sort of thing.

    James “Jamie” Dimon was born in New York City, to Theodore and Themis Dimon, of Greek descent and attended Browning School.[5]

    He majored in psychology and economics at Tufts University, before earning an M.B.A. degree from Harvard Business School along with classmates Jeffrey Immelt, Steve Burke (businessman) and Seth Klarman. When Dimon graduated in 1982, Sandy Weill convinced him to turn down offers from Goldman Sachs,[6] where he worked the previous summer, and Morgan Stanley to join him as an assistant at American Express. Although Weill could not offer the same amount of money as the investment banks, Weill promised Dimon that he would have “fun

    I must say “Jamie” had to be a late developer. Browning is the private (high) school for not so bright rich kids.

  21. What is your problem with Bridgewater? They would appear to be doing excellent work?

    Nothing. I’m in awe of their (his) performance. However Dalio is freaking crazy. have you kept up with his “hyper-reality theory”.

    My theory is that’s it’s just Ray’s way of bullying the hired help.

  22. No JC it is Bird. The comments are reproduced on Bird’s blog
    Ken’s point is that Bird has been ‘harvesting’ email addresses left when you comment on his blog. So beware.

  23. “Oh well, the more famous Fyodor (Dostoevsky) was a bit of an anti-semite”

    Well I’m not. I’m a life-long Jew-oh-phile I would think. But there is no use denying that something has gone wrong. Howard Hughes found he could work with Mormons. Now there you have a tight-knit group. Tight-knit groups can keep secrets within the group. Such group coherence can be exploited. The rather scary ethnocentrism of Jews can be exploited. Basically Jews are white-supremacists, but kind of polite with it. Certain characteristics that can be highly valuable to society in some contexts, can be exploited for wrong-doing in other contexts.

    The historical pattern appears to be that a few people within that community get involved in wrong-doing, and we Neanderthals take it out on the innocent within that community. Now we all must recognise that this is not a good thing. But the answer is not to shy away from the misery that Lloyd Blankfein and many others are inflicting. The answer is to get normal Jews to break ranks with the criminals, and be the most energetic in pointing the spot-light on their wrong-doing. Yet we have the economics profession running interference for the worst of the worst banksters.

  24. Oh Okay Jason. Tricky stuff.

    In that case Bird will love the Hyper-reality theory then. It may be a good way to take his “mind” off the Protocols and into Ray’s theory of everything including the universe.

  25. “Nothing. I’m in awe of their (his) performance. However Dalio is freaking crazy. have you kept up with his “hyper-reality theory”.”

    Sounds like a pretty good small model to me. I never had a problem with Italians. I had a problem with you when you turned treasonous to human liberty. Its one thing to support a bailout, but a bailout used to simply mean that you sent the trucks out from the mint, in a hurry, at high interest rates, to stop a general run on the banks. Then you opened up the books to see what had gone wrong.

    This was a different sort of bailout. And there could never have been an excuse to support it, when you had ensconced yourself in free enterprise circles. You have brought discredit on human freedom, and the voluntary society.

  26. Joe

    Do you think you could bring yourself simply to ignore him? He’ll go away after a while if you do. You might enjoy a discussion with a malevolent nutter but it’s pretty clear no-one else does.

  27. Anyway I’ve banned the Fyodor email address for the moment and the current IP address Bird is using. I can always reinstate it later once Bird has fluttered off elsewhere temporarily. He’ll inevitably be back as someone else in due course but we’ll deal with that when it arises.

  28. The propertarisns in this thread don’t in any way dispute that they would, if necessary, approve the police evicting someone because the landlord doesn’t like their sexuality. They just explain that it’s really all right, because it’s freedom of contract.

    My post wasn’t directed against confirmed propertarians like the commenters here – they’ve already followed their position to its logical consequences. Rather it was directed to people of generally liberal inclinations, who might be tempted to see propertiarianism as a logical complement to beliefs about the desirability of personal, and particularly sexual, freedom. The commenters, starting with Yobbo prove my point.

  29. If your point was that you’re a hack who would come up with any sort of convoluted bullshit to score a point against the libertarians you hate so much, then yes, I think we’ve proved your point.

  30. Don’t worry John, as you may be aware, Yobbo does this to everyone to the left of Genghis Khan, but when one actually takes him to task he runs for the hills like a wuss. Has all the intellectual rigour of Justin Bieber. All spiky tip, no iceberg. Briefly fun but ultimately unfulfilling.

  31. But there was no evidence that Anders Breivik was mentally ill and 1,516 pages worth of evidence that his murderous rampage was deliberate and politically motivated</

    Actually I don't think that's right. I can't imagine any libertarian supporting cops going around to ones home and chucking them out.

    There would have to be a court decision first and courts wouldn't send cops around the same day to throw people out of the house.

    Frankly in practical terms I can't see how this could eventuate. Does a landlord spy on a person in their bedroom? How would a court look at such a thing and not throw it out and in fact punish the landlord.

    Lastly it's not at all certain in my mind that a court would ask a tenant to leave and perhaps find a way to continue the contract until the lease expires.

  32. I know what John thinks as he has written about it.

    Yobbo has yet to express his understanding of the matter.

    Neither case is unusual

  33. Ok homer here it is in a nutshell.

    The entire assumption of John’s argument is that people should be able to ignore the aspects of a contract that they signed, if they later decide that it’s mellowing their buzz.

    Introducing the emotive case of racial or sexual discrimination is just an emotive ploy to make the landholder seem evil.

    The actual hypothetical case is no different than if the landholder “A” stipulated in the contract that no dogs are allowed, and then “B” later decided to go and buy a dozen Rottweilers.

    If you don’t like the terms of the contract then don’t sign it.

    The entire sub-plot of “calling the state in to enforce the contract” is a strawman typical of Quiggin where he likes to play the “you’re not really a libertarian” card. In actual fact there’s no reason why the landholder would need the state to intervene, he could quite easily evict the tenant without their help.

    And of course, B could avoid ever having to agree to any such lease conditions by buying his own house.

    John of course, would prefer a world where even buying a house would not ensure your personal freedom inside of it. A world where a majority of busybodies could still make laws on what kind of sex you had inside your own bedroom, just like they are now trying to pass laws on whether or not you can smoke cigarettes in your own home.

  34. So, Yobbo’s completely OK with landlords discriminating against gays, mixed-race couples etc.

    He wants to preserve his libertarian cred by supposing they can use hired goons to effect their evictions without any legal process, thereby avoiding the involvement of the evil state – total nonsense of course, since their property rights are 100 per cent derived from the state, but what can you expect?

    Do the rest of the propertarians here want to back him up? Or do some of you get my point now?

  35. I particularly like Yobbo’s comparison of choosing your partner with bringing a dozen Rottweilers into the house – that kind of equivalence shows why liberals should never make common cause with propertarians

  36. In actual fact there’s no reason why the landholder would need the state to intervene, he could quite easily evict the tenant without their help.

    Disregarding the fact such an action would be unlawful.

  37. It would only be unlawful if they used force Rog. They could, you know, ask them to leave. And then, if that doesn’t work, you would go through the normal legal process.

    I particularly like Yobbo’s comparison of choosing your partner with bringing a dozen Rottweilers into the house – that kind of equivalence shows why liberals should never make common cause with propertarians

    The principle is no different at all John. There are already lease agreements you could sign right now which would forbid you from having a live-in partner of any kind. I don’t see anything wrong with it as long as both parties agree ahead of time.

    There are plenty of people around who feel that bans on pets are also discriminatory. Why aren’t you fighting for them?

  38. “Introducing the emotive case of racial or sexual discrimination is just an emotive ploy to make the landholder seem evil.”

    No it isn’t. It’s because, historically, allowing racial and religious discrimination tends to be a good way of starting wars that often never end until both sides are back at the stone age. Even in less extreme cases, if you’re going to allow some group to have unfair things constantly done to them, then I don’t see why you would expect them to actually care less about your laws, contracts, philosophies, social norms etc .

  39. “since their property rights are 100 per cent derived from the state”

    Ah, but does the state precede or follow the institution of property rights? Or can we really tell?

    It seems to me, though maybe my history is faulty, that the State evolved from the violent enforcement of property rights. Until modern times, the state was property rights. “L’etat c’est moi”

    The very modern social democratic state evolved because the people who took control of the state realised that control would be enhanced if the state started usurping property for redistribution.

    Now I know that sounds like RWDB raving, but how exactly is it wrong?

    Property preceded social justice. The dawn of agriculture may have been communitarian, who knows, but if so it didn’t last.

  40. “if you’re going to allow some group to have unfair things constantly done to them, then I don’t see why you would expect them to actually care less about your laws, contracts, philosophies, social norms etc”

    Hear hear, treat everyone equally! Oh wait, poll taxe here we come.

    Seriously, fair is moral beauty.

  41. Ah, but does the state precede or follow the institution of property rights? Or can we really tell?

    Plenty of animals are territorial, but very few have a government.

    Presuming people believe in evolution that is.

  42. No it isn’t. It’s because, historically, allowing racial and religious discrimination tends to be a good way of starting wars that often never end until both sides are back at the stone age.

    Really? I suppose then you can quote an example where racial or religious discrimination on private property led to a war?

    The fact is that we still practice gender, racial and religious discrimination today in both the private and public sector. Obviously though only the “good” kind.

    Examples:

    Women-only shelters.
    Religious Schools
    Aboriginal-only scholarships and government jobs.

    Now I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with them either, but it stands to reason that if it’s ok for 1 person, why shouldn’t it be ok for the next?

    In the example John gave, the land owner could have very good financial reasons for not wanting people of a certain religion/sexual orientation to live in his house. The obvious one being that it could cause him to lose existing customers in the same complex/block of units.

    There’s nothing wrong with offering a service to only a certain subgroup of people. It’s a niche. Money talks in the end, which is why capitalism has been so great at reducing discrimination against minorities – their money is as good as anyone else’s.

  43. “Really? I suppose then you can quote an example where racial or religious discrimination on private property led to a war?”

    Yobbo, I don’t think it’s only property, but having things like “No Jews”, “No Christians” or “No Muslims” seems like a good place to start.

    “but it stands to reason that if it’s ok for 1 person, why shouldn’t it be ok for the next”

    I don’t think it’s an all or nothing situation. I think some discrimination in terms of helping disadvantaged minorities (and majority groups in the case of females) isn’t seen as moralistically bad by the majority of the population, including by the looks of it, you. Are you somehow morally offended by women’s shelters? If not, then you can obviously make the distinction between sticking a sign up saying “No Muslims in this property” and your examples.

    “In the example John gave, the land owner could have very good financial reasons for not wanting people of a certain religion/sexual orientation to live in his house. The obvious one being that it could cause him to lose existing customers in the same complex/block of units.”

    That doesn’t mean we should allow it. It’s possible to think of groups that perhaps the majority of people in some places wouldn’t want in their block of flats or close to them (e.g., Pakistanis that don’t look or act “British” in the UK, various similar Arab groups in France, public housing in many countries etc.). And so when they form ghettos, and decide they hate you because they can’t get jobs and are hence poor (you wouldn’t want them serving customers after all — they’re bad for business), are you really going to be surprised when some of the crazier ones decide to bomb your trains? That’s the problem of poor social out-groups. Just saying “I should be able to discriminate against anybody any old way I please” doesn’t solve the problem.

  44. Are you somehow morally offended by women’s shelters?

    No, but I am offended by the banning of men-only clubs.

    are you really going to be surprised when some of the crazier ones decide to bomb your trains?

    They do that anyway, despite the kind of discrimination being discussed here being illegal for decades.

    Freedom of association is a freedom in and of itself. The government shouldn’t have the right to force you to associate with people that you don’t want to associate with. If you want to take that right away, you better have a damn good reason, and I don’t think either you or John has provided one.

  45. And so when they form ghettos, and decide they hate you because they can’t get jobs and are hence poor (you wouldn’t want them serving customers after all — they’re bad for business)

    I should point out that the anti-discrimination laws also prevent discrimination in favour of minorities when it would be preferable. For example, if I was running a package tour company that catered exclusively to Japanese, then I would like to hire a Japanese national as my tour guide. But under current laws, this is illegal. All I could specify is that fluent Japanese language skills were required.

  46. “They do that anyway, despite the kind of discrimination being discussed here being illegal for decades.”

    Perhaps they need to enforce it more. It seems to me it’s whether it happens first, and whether it’s legal second. Obviously if it’s legal and no-one cares apart from the soical out-group, then presumably it would happen more than if it is illegal. If it happens anyway, well, you end up with the situation in the UK, France, and worse (e.g., Sri Lanka).

    “No, but I am offended by the banning of men-only clubs.”

    As it happens, I think these shouldn’t be illegal either. It’s not clear to me what the argument is as to why these have been made illegal. Alternatively, I’m entirely happy with women’s shelters, so there is a clear distinction in mind between them.

    “The government shouldn’t have the right to force you to associate with people that you don’t want to associate with.”

    Again, I don’t think this is black and white. Can I go to Iran and teach them to make nuclear weapons (if I knew how)? I also think laws against racism and sexism in the workplace are reasonable, yet these are essentially forcing people to associate with others (or at least restricting their choice). If you don’t think you should have to hire, say, Arabs because they’re bad for business, then I assume you wouldn’t mind them ignoring the laws you like and your social norms.

  47. Alternatively, I’m entirely happy with women’s shelters, so there is a clear distinction in mind between them.

    What about women-only gyms?

    If it happens anyway, well, you end up with the situation in the UK, France, and worse (e.g., Sri Lanka).

    It’s still no explanation for terrorism. Are muslims discriminated against in Indonesia? Then why are they still blowing people up?

  48. “I should point out that the anti-discrimination laws also prevent discrimination in favour of minorities when it would be preferable. For example, if I was running a package tour company that catered exclusively to Japanese, then I would like to hire a Japanese national as my tour guide. But under current laws, this is illegal. All I could specify is that fluent Japanese language skills were required.”

    I’m not offended by that. It’s far simpler to have a law that states:”No discrimation” than a law with 1000 exceptions in grey areas. If I coud speak Japanese and know how to deal with Japanese based on their cultural norms, I don’t see why I should be excluded from the job.

  49. If you don’t think you should have to hire, say, Arabs because they’re bad for business, then I assume you wouldn’t mind them ignoring the laws you like and your social norms.

    Do you think Arabs should be forced to hire Jews? Even if it meant that their business would fail overnight?

  50. Yobbo, I don’t think it’s only property, but having things like “No Jews”, “No Christians” or “No Muslims” seems like a good place to start.

    Or no hetro couples such as what happened in Melbourne a few years ago when a gay bar owner wanted to ban hetros from his bar but was stopped by the government thereby potentially fucking up his business strategy to serve a clientele of his choice.

    As Yobbo said, in the end money talks and it wasn’t laws that broke those barriers.

  51. If I coud speak Japanese and know how to deal with Japanese based on their cultural norms, I don’t see why I should be excluded from the job.

    Because your employer would go broke, basically. Because no Japanese would sign up for a tour led by a gaijin if a competitor led by a Japanese was available.

  52. “What about women-only gyms?”

    I think they’re fine (and mens-only ones too). I don’t think going to the gym affects people’s life in a meaningful enough way to care. Alterantively, getting somewhere to live and a job does.

    “It’s still no explanation for terrorism.”

    You can be a terrorist for lots of reasons. You can be an annoying citizen for lots of reasons too. However, if you’re discriminated against all the time and have no money, then it obviously increases your chances of this. You could argue that it also isn’t fair.

  53. I’m not offended by that. It’s far simpler to have a law that states:”No discrimation” than a law with 1000 exceptions in grey areas.

    And it’s simpler still to have a law that says “hire whoever you like”.

  54. “Do you think Arabs should be forced to hire Jews? Even if it meant that their business would fail overnight?”

    Do you mean in Australia? Yes I think they should. Whose business would fail?

    “Because your employer would go broke, basically.”

    Who said? I’ve seen white guides of CHinese tourists. It doesn’t seem to bother them. I don’t know much about Japanese culture, but if there are few extreme cases, then get an exception (but these should be few and far between) — we already have them religious stuff (the same goes for gay bars).

  55. “And it’s simpler still to have a law that says “hire whoever you like”.”

    Well this just gets us back to square one. I think that the creation of social out-groups leads to long term harm. I also think that for democracies to work well, you can’t have to many people that don’t give a shit your laws. Obviously you dont think the types of things I worry about do this.

  56. Who said? I’ve seen white guides of CHinese tourists. It doesn’t seem to bother them.

    How do you know? Did you ask them? I think you’ll find that while it may not bother them immensely, they would far prefer a tour with a Chinese guide. And that’s why these sort of anti-discrimination clauses can really punish employers. They prevent them from giving their clients what they want.

    This mainly applies to the face-to-face service industry of course.

    Do you mean in Australia? Yes I think they should. Whose business would fail?

    Any business that dealt mostly with Arabs who had a Jewish person as their customer service representative would fail. I shouldn’t have to explain why.

  57. However, if you’re discriminated against all the time and have no money, then it obviously increases your chances of this.

    You really think this happens in this day and age, Conrad. You think people aren’t hired even with superior resumes. Tell me something. I believe you’re a academic. Do you think your institution would consciously discriminate on sex , color or religion if there were no laws?

  58. @Pedro & Tel Honestly, you don’t need to engage in this kind of pseudo-evo-bio stuff.

    Take any piece of land in Australia (except land held under native title), and you can, with a bit of effort trace the ownership of it right back to the point where it was first granted by the British state, who took it from the previous owners. And while native title predates the Australian state, it only exists in reality because the courts and the legislature (that is, the state) decided to recognise it, after a couple of centuries of not doing so. The same is true everywhere else in the world, whether or not the records still exist. Rights to personal property are similarly derived from the law, that is, the state.

    To be clear, a consistent propertarian is someone who wants positive state action to enforce property rights and contracts, and opposes any other state action that would either promote or restrict personal freedom.

  59. As a real-life example of how anti-discrimination laws can hurt a company, look at Qantas vs Singapore airlines.

    Qantas have to hire flight attendants in accordance with Australian non-discriminatory hiring laws.

    Singapore ask their prospective applicants to send a glamour photo and their measurements with their CV.

    Who do you think has better reviews for customer service?

  60. And Yobbo, thanks for making my point so eloquently. As Yobbo shows, if you want freedom of contract be a propertarian.

    To everyone else, if you want freedom, be a liberal.

  61. “Do you think your institution would consciously discriminate on sex , color or religion if there were no laws?”

    I don’t know who does most of the hiring where I work, but it seems unlikely. However, there are plenty of cases of discrimination against employers (and that’s not for especially exceptional cases like you mention), so it’s common enough.

    “Who do you think has better reviews for customer service?”

    I take Cathay, and they have anti-discrimination laws in HK, both for race and sex. Seems fine to me.

  62. I take Cathay, and they have anti-discrimination laws in HK, both for race and sex. Seems fine to me.

    They don’t have laws based on discrimination of appearance though, which Australia does. It’s perfectly ok, for example, for Cathy to say to a job applicant “go lose 10 kilos and reapply”. In Australia that employer would get taken to the cleaners.

  63. I don’t know who does most of the hiring where I work, but it seems unlikely. However, there are plenty of cases of discrimination against employers (and that’s not for especially exceptional cases like you mention), so it’s common enough.

    Interesting. So it’s unlikely at your place of would would, but it common elsewhere.

  64. “It’s perfectly ok, for example, for Cathy to say to a job applicant “go lose 10 kilos and reapply” ”

    It’s not clear to me that’s true (any HK Lawyers?).

    It’s also certainly possible to get berated in Australia for not wearing the right clothes. I have to visit various places in a suit for my work now and then, and if I didn’t, I might well get a word about it. Can I sue my employer for this? I don’t think so (but I’m not a lawyer, so I could be wrong).

    Also, the problem in planes (at least for me) isn’t the look of people, it’s the service, and that presumably the employer is allowed to do something about. Lufthanser employs all sorts on their plane, for example, but I take them, because they’re polite, they’re on time, the airports are good, and they don’t lose my luggage. Quite unlike Air France. I couldn’t care less if the person who serves me is fat 50 year female — indeed LH has a big camp hairy bear on a flight I’ve taken perhaps 20 times (I’ve seen him multiple times), and I don’t see people complaining about this.

  65. It would only be unlawful if they used force Rog. They could, you know, ask them to leave. And then, if that doesn’t work, you would go through the normal legal process.

    Presumably the legal process would be thru laws which are made and enforced by the state.

  66. “but it common elsewhere.”

    I didn’t say common elsewhere — I said common. Since I don’t do any of the employing, I really wouldn’t know.

  67. Presumably the legal process would be thru laws which are made and enforced by the state.

    The “state” doesn’t enforce such laws. The judiciary does. You’re a little confused at times Rog.

    ——-

    Conrad.. you seem perfectly fine that say Qantas can’t discriminate over issues to do with appearance in the same way Singapore A does. That’s right, no?

    How do think a strip joint would survive if it didn’t somehow skirt those laws?

    Seriously.

  68. Hmm. I assumed there was something heated happening from all the notification emails in my inbox. In fact it seems quite civil if not very enlightening. Still if you’re all arguing away happily but civilly who am I to be bored shitless?

  69. The “state” doesn’t enforce such laws. The judiciary does.

    Are you referring to the system of courts that interprets the laws of the state Rumplestiltskin?

  70. Yes Rog, the independent court system that interprets laws, hands out decisions etc and attempts to resolve conflict but doesn’t create them as such.

    I think your confusion rests with the silly idea that the judiciary is an arm of government forgetting the relevance of the important issue of independence.

  71. John Q, it’s just a simple point. Yes, property rights are now derived from the state, but the existence of the state does not imply a moral, as compared to legal, claim to dispose of property rights as it sees fit. Also, land is not the only property and I’d guess that land is now a vastly reduced percentage of total wealth, especially if you exclude the value of improvements.

    So I’m not arguing for freedom of contract uber alles, but against the suggestion that believers in the social value of the recognition and protection of property rights ought to be grateful for small mercies.

    Also, it’s either right or wrong, but it is not pseudo.

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