Businesses Have a Right to Discriminate
Debate Rounds (3)
I will keep my opening statement short. In arguing in favor of this motion, I will repeatedly set forth to show that this position is both correct from a moral and legal perspective as well as from a practical business one. Let's begin with the former:
A private business is an extension of one's private property. What I do in the privacy of my own home, is not the business of the government or any individual, as long as I am not harming another human being. While it is true that they might be offended and displeased, this is not equivalent to the use of force. By making it illegal for me to choose who I do business with, you are literally saying that it is okay for the government to use force against a person who has not used force against anyone else. This is morally abhorrent.
The right to discrimination falls neatly into the American liberal tradition of freedom to choose. Do not tell a woman what she should do with a fetus in her body, don't tell a gay couple that they can't get married and do not tell a business owner who they should and should not do business with. The philosophical principle is the same and cannot be changed because one may not like it. Freedom to choose is the freedom to choose and has to be consistent or else you are hypocritical.
The right to discriminate is further a fair way for people to operate in a free society. By telling one they can't discriminate and have to serve everyone who comes in their door, you are LITERALLY telling them that it is perfectly acceptable to lie. Lying should be the basis for our society. Wouldn't it make more sense for people to know openly who likes them and who doesn't? Shouldn't the bigots in our society be penalized by the free market and not government force?
I will continue to press these points throughout the rest of the debate and look forward to understanding how my opponent can see otherwise.
A private business, while owned by someone privately, is a service that you provide to others. By selling a product or providing an active service you put yourself out there for criticism and legal punishment. A restaurant is not legally allowed to feed their patrons food that will poison them. By discriminating against, say, a gay couple, you are not providing the service that you promised to provide and therefore, like in the case of infected food, not holding to your contract as a business.
Freedom to choose is different from freedom to not provide for certain groups of people. A woman has the right to choose what happens to her body, a gay couple has the right to choose what happens to their future, but a business should not have the right to choose who they get to serve and who they don't, because by doing so you are indirectly choosing what happens to their body and their future, even if it's a very minimal difference.
The government has had a history of protecting those who are being discriminated, even if it doesn't always succeed. If a minority such as homosexuals decides not to patronize a store because of discrimination, the majority, heterosexuals, may still provide enough of an income for the business to succeed. This would mean that the bigots of society continue to prosper because they took advantage of a majority group that isn't affected by their discrimination. Plus, lying isn't the same thing as providing for people you don't approve of. A doctor has to operate on any patient they've been ordered to, even if they don't like the patient personally. If we allow the members of our society to choose who to provide for and who not to then our society would quickly fall apart due to the number of misanthropes and bigots in the world.
I, too, will continue to press my own points against yours and look forward to seeing how you will counter mine.
You write " A private business, while owned by someone privately, is a service that you provide to others. By selling a product or providing an active service you put yourself out there for criticism and legal punishment."
Why do I lose rights because I decide to sell my services in a private business that I started? If I can do whatever I want within the confines of my own private property, that is not using force against someone else, why do I lose these rights once I potentially profit? Instead, I am now subject to government laws saying that I HAVE to sell to everyone or else they will lock me in jail? That doesn't seem very moral on any ground. Can't people make their own rational decisions without the threat of the government and their guns?
You write "By discriminating against, say, a gay couple, you are not providing the service that you promised to provide and therefore, like in the case of infected food, not holding to your contract as a business."
That is quite a leap. A restaurant is promising to not poison you and if they do, they are causing you physical harm. By not serving a gay couple, you are hurting their feelings. They are not physically harmed but offended. This is a major difference.
You write "Freedom to choose is different from freedom to not provide for certain groups of people. A woman has the right to choose what happens to her body, a gay couple has the right to choose what happens to their future, but a business should not have the right to choose who they get to serve and who they don't, because by doing so you are indirectly choosing what happens to their body and their future, even if it's a very minimal difference."
This seems to be a far stretch as well. If I don't serve (name the group) I am not causing them physical harm. I am offending them but...they still have numerous options. If my racist restaurant refuses to serve black people, don't they have gazillions more options for places to eat? Why do opponents of this policy seem to always suggest that people are losing out on a service that the market will freely provide?
You write "The majority, heterosexuals, may still provide enough of an income for the business to succeed. This would mean that the bigots of society continue to prosper because they took advantage of a majority group that isn't affected by their discrimination."
If a business is stupid enough to leave out a share of their customer base, then they will not prosper. Apart from the specific group they are bias against, they will also isolate their supporters and anyone concerned about being associated with them. I am not gay, but I would not eat in a restaurant that didn't serve gays simply because I abhor homophobia. But let's say I was okay with a little homophobia and my love for the restaurant trumped my indifference. I would then run the risk of being known as a homophobe. Gay people wouldn't want to do business with me if they knew I ate at a place that hated them. More importantly, the smart restaurants which didn't discriminate would benefit both financially, socially and politically in the long run.
Let me paint you two hypothetical scenarios and I challenge you to tell me which of these is better for a healthier society and more open society:
Scenario 1: A restaurant opens in any city which posts a sign that says "No Black People Allowed." This restaurant would be shunned by probably 95% of the population and stay in business for a short period of time.
Scenario 2: A racist opens a restaurant but because of the fear of being thrown in jail, they are forced to serve everyone. Because he is a racist, he gives black people terrible service, spits in their food, ridicules them behind their backs and maybe gives some of his profits to racist organizations.
I look forward to your rebuttal.
First of all, the prospect of a jail sentence was never brought up. There are many forms of illegal, and many punishments as well, and not all of those are jail time. Even I must admit that jailing somebody for choosing who to do business with is outrageous. However, a fine or restriction on the business I believe would be a much better fit. Second of all, you continue to use the term "force against someone else". However, our country already has laws about discrimination that don't involve the use of force. Finally, I continue to press my opinion that if a business is selling a product that affects other people, it now becomes less of an issue of private property and more of an issue of the way you affect others and how those people are protected by the law.
Again, you push the idea of physical force and harm. Hurting a minority's feelings, as you put it, is more than an offense in a lot of cases. If a business decided that they would only sell to black people, a lot of white people would not only feel offended but some, for sure, would feel in danger for their lives. While this may seem like a very drastic position to hold, a lot of people in this country would hold it if they were in that circumstance. If the idea of a business catering only to the African American community seems unreasonable, then what's the difference between that and a business deciding not to cater towards the gay community?
It's not about how many other choices one has to eat, it's about the situation that person may be in. Say a restaurant operated in a very rural area and was the only restaurant for miles around? If a gay couple doesn't have the means to cook for themselves or buy food from a market, and that restaurant doesn't serve gay people, then what will they eat? Of course this seems like an incredibly foolish situation to suggest, but the law has to accomodate for special circumstances. If we let certain businesses discriminate, and others not because of the situation, then how can we fairly say who decides who gets this right and who doesn't? It would seem safer to close off that possibility for businesses, or at least discourage them from taking that option.
While one would hope that the bigots of soceity would fail, think about companies that have made their feelings about homosexuality open but don't discriminate against homosexuals catering-wise. For example, the CEO of Chick-Fil-A has admitted to press that he doesn't support homosexuality. However, the business is still running and even though people have boy-cotted it before, Chick-Fil-A remains a fairly successful chain. Now, of course, if Chick-Fil-A decided not to do business with homosexuals, that would be a very different situation. However, who's to say how much of a difference it would make?
And finally, the scenarios you give aren't completely accurate. Sure, Scenario 1 would most likely occur. However, a lot of people would want that person to be legally reprimanded due to strong feelings of justice. As for Scenario 2, the things that racist would do to black people would still be discrimination. Even if you aren't technically discriminating between who to do business with, you are still discriminating between who gets better service, which wouldn't be allowed either in the ideal situation that I'm arguing for. Giving his profits to racist organizations would be his personal freedom, even if it seems wrong. If people don't support him doing this, however, hopefully they could attempt to boycott the restaurant. However, this would be the choice of the people.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by CentristX 1 year ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Everything was really a tie, except for the most convincing arguments. Both Pro and Con had similar and civil conduct, good-enough spelling and grammar, and neither had sources. Still, after reading the debate, I feel that both parties gave arguments that lacked. I hoped to have been convinced to either side by the end of this debate, but I am rather now, more confused than before. However, in the end, I found that the Con gave more convincing arguments because of things the Pro said in Round 2 about "force against someone else" that were confusing, and the Con pointed that out in Round 3.
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