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DEBATE 500: Business Discrimination

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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 7/11/2016 Category: Society
Updated: 2 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 820 times Debate No: 93618
Debate Rounds (4)
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* Debate 500 *

I'd like to thank my esteemed opponent, lannan13, for accepting this debate.

This will be my 500th debate on DDO as well as his 500th debate!

Full Resolution: Places of business should be permitted to deny service to anyone.

I will begin my arguments in Round 2. I look forward to a really interesting discussion.


I accept and look forward to a great debate.
Debate Round No. 1



Unless we accept that people have the right to other people's services, discrimination is not problematic. Since we do not have the inherent right to other people's labor or trade, there is no breach of rights when a service or trade is denied -- regardless of why that service or trade was denied.


As a consumer, I am free to discriminate on the basis of anything I see fit. I can choose whichever restaurant or ice cream parlor I'd like to frequent for any reason -- or I can choose to avoid them for any reason. If I am a bigot, racist or otherwise, my ignorance and hatred is not legally held against me. I do not have to engage with everyone, and I can avoid businesses and people that I do not wish to trade with. Yet as a business owner, I do not have that luxury. I would not be free to discriminate and I would not have the same right to freedom of association. This does not seem righteous, practical, or fair.

The Role of Government

"You and I disapprove of bigotry. But the private virtue of tolerance and the public virtue of pluralism require us to countenance things we do not approve. Tolerance means accepting the fact that other people's values might be very different than your own. Pluralism means eschewing the use of political power as a means for 'correcting' those values.

The idea of tolerating intolerance sounds suspiciously paradoxical, but so do a lot of other good ideas -- like freedom of speech for advocates of censorship. In fact, freedom of speech has a lot in common with tolerance: neither of them means a thing unless it applies equally to those we applaud and those who offend us most viscerally.

Tolerance is ennobling, which is why we should teach it to our children. Pluralism is insurance against tyranny, which is why we should demand it of our government. To speak up for even the most despised minorities is both morally right and politically prudent" [1].

But calling on government to purify others' minds and hearts is not not admirable; instead it is a gross injustice that oversteps the responsibilities of government. The government exists to protect people's rights, and people do not have the right to other people's services or labor. People do have the right to decide whom they want to trade with.

There are many things that people do in society which I do not agree with, i.e., smoking cigarettes or having unprotected sex. Yet no matter how repugnant or unsatisfactory I might find other people's choices, I should not use the government as an oppressive tool to forcefully dictate their behavior. Only aggressive behavior that directly harms another's life, health or property should be restricted by government force. Discrimination is not overtly aggressive, and it is not always harmful.

Anti-Discrimination Laws

To combat discrimination, the government has imposed unnecessary measures of aggression through anti-discrimination laws. This violates people's rights and forces them to ignore or disregard information that is pertinent to their decisions -- even if it is rational or justified. The establishment of anti-discrimination laws suggests a push toward no discrimination at all. Yet that would not be moral or pragmatic in our society.

While the beginning of these measures were narrowly defined, the demographics have expanded to include age, disability, sexuality, the potential for pregnancy and other things. There seems to be no end in sight to what can be included; social status and even attractiveness have been mentioned [2].

Why Discriminate?

In most cases, discrimination is not economically practical. It usually results in the loss of profit, so most people do not engage in such practices. This means even if people were legally allowed to discriminate, many would choose not to. Yet there are a few reasons some people choose not to trade with others.

A. Ideological Differences

It is reasonable to understand why a Jewish baker would not want to bake a Nazi's wedding cake, or why a black mechanic would not want to service a Klansman's car. The USFG imposes economic sanctions, which are financial restrictions against a targeted group, product or country of which it does not approve. Why then couldn't an individual or business group do the same?

In some cases, trading with another individual or firm qualifies as condoning or not standing up for one's most important values. This raises significant concerns for a multiple civil liberties violations - including freedom of association, freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of conscience to name a few [3].

B. Rational Discrimination

Rational discrimination describes discrimination on the basis of characteristics which may be correlated with preservation of rational self-interest. In other words, it describes when discrimination is justified with reasonable cause. For example, if one notices that black communities are associated with high crime rates, one might discriminate and not venture into black communities to sell door-to-door. This decision would certainly be discriminatory; however, it would also be justified.

All that matters in this context is that race and crime are somehow correlated -- they tend to occur together for some reason, and that reason may or may not be known. If I am not writing an academic paper or researching the deeper issues, it doesn't matter. Regardless of the underlying reason or sociological root cause, I might choose to avoid selling door-to-door in black communities to protect myself based on what I do know -- and to do so would not necessarily be an injustice. I would merely be implementing the science of statistical inference and probability.

Moreover, my discrimination would not have the intent to cause any harm, but only to protect myself. In choosing to not trade with Person A within the inner city, I will lose out on the potential profit of that deal -- but I will also not expose myself to any potential risk of that deal. If we do not consider our rational self-interest in making deals, we are not weighing the cost-benefit analysis correctly.

So to reiterate, many standards for discrimination make perfect sense.

Consider businesses that have signs saying, "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service" and discriminate based on clothing. In this case, violations of dress code could pose health or safety concerns. However some places of business look to service or not service particular demographics for less practical reasons. For instance, some social clubs, spas or sporting clubs and facilities prefer to be exclusive to one particular sex. Yet anti-discrimination laws prohibit these types of groups from existing.

If men want to golf vs. other men exclusively, it would make sense to allow an all-male country club. But women could sue these businesses for not allowing their equal participation, despite the demand for an all-male facility. It would make sense for a business owner to satiate their customer's demands for profit, yet the law prohibits them from doing so in many cases.

Federal Funding

To be clear, private businesses should be allowed to discriminate; businesses that are related to government or funded by the public should not be allowed to discriminate for obvious reasons (they are not privately owned, and they are funded by all tax payers). But businesses that expect to receive government funding of any kind can be required to NOT discriminate. This would discourage discrimination, but still allow for it.


Capitalism discourages discrimination. The philosopher Voltaire once quipped, "Go into the London Stock Exchange. . . and you will see representatives of all nations gathered there for the service of mankind. There the Jew, the Mohammedan, and the Christian deal with each other as if they were of the same religion, and give the name of infidel only to those who go bankrupt" [4]. He was describing how people preferred maximizing profits over petty intolerance.

Furthermore, petty intolerance hurts the businessman. "In his book The Economics of Discrimination, Becker pointed out that free markets make discriminators pay for discriminating because they give up opportunities to work with productive people. That doesn’t mean, he noted, that people in a free market will never discriminate; the most extreme racists and bigots will often be willing to pay the price for discriminating. But pay they will" [5].


Employees and consumers are all free to discriminate against businesses for any reason they wish; thus employers should have the same freedom. People do not have an inherent right to the labor and service of other people. Some individuals have legitimate reasons for discriminating. Protecting our civil liberties matters, and many of them are directly correlated with our right (and in some cases our responsibility) to decide whom we trade with.

Clearly the public and USFG do not have a problem discriminating in business; consider the trade restrictions (including tariffs) we impose on goods, services and countries we don't like. Since discrimination inhibits profits, capitalism discourages discrimination and promotes finding the common ground. It should be reserved as a legally permissible option though, even if it can cause harm. Society and even the government can take measures to discourage discrimination while still allowing for it to exist legally, much like we discourage but defend things like unprotected sex, flag burning or hate speech.

Thank you.

[1] Economist Steven Landsburg on page 42 in his book "Fair Play"
[2] "Facial Discrimination: Extending Handicap Law to Employment Discrimination on the Basis of Physical Appearance," Harvard Law Review 100(8), pp. 2035–2052.




When we look at a society, we have to look at the traits benefiting it the most. Through any and all instances we must view society through the lens of Utilitarianism to adhere to Hedonism to see what, on balance, benefits society the most and creates more pleasure than suffering. The very foundations of a society are built around the concept of utilitarianism which is why civilization exists in the first place as it helps give people a mutual benefit. Having a business required to treat their customers with equality and permit anyone to purchase their products is necessary to ensure society reaches the maximum amount of happiness and efficiency. Without this enforced equality we would see society begin to devolve of there would be a decrease in living standards and the average person, no matter race, religion, or creed, will suffer.

Businesses only have Positive Rights

In society, Kant argues, there are two types of rights, positive and negative. Positive rights are those that promote society like welfare, equality, and laws similar, while negative rights are those regarding right to privacy, self-defense, etc... [1] The business is an entity that is a vassal used by an individual. While it could be argued the individual gives the Negative rights to the business permitting discrimination, this is simply impossible. The business is meant to benefit society as it would result in a mutual benefit for all parties involved, as I'll go in depth later on. The requirement for the protection of the society in the rights of a business helps aid the society through the increased amount of net pleasure society has.

Even if the store owner wishes to deny any sort of minority or group their pain is outweighed by the pleasure society and their customers will feel by using their business. Once a business has publically advertised their product and/or service available for sale to the public, they are then obligated to sell to the public, regardless of their feelings. A Christian baker does not have the right to refuse to bake a wedding cake for a LBGT couple. This is since the Christian baker has opened the bakery, with the purpose of selling wedding cakes or any kind of cakes to the public and have done so for years. They have also been advertising as such. With such an advertising and service for years, they surrender their right to discriminate as anyone is able to purchase their product as they made it available to the market. This may seem harmless, but these things can get a lot worse. Hospitals discriminating on religion by excluding a Muslim or discriminating on race can be extremely harmful as they would then have to go to another town and in some cases these places are miles and miles away and if the injury is severe enough, the person would die in the process. We have to see in this case, the life of the individual is more important than the bias of one person running a store.

Economic Harms

Individual harms

When we look at the individual we can see the harms of discrimination go a bit more extreme and more serious than a simple bakery. When we look at the Physiological needs of the individual, we can see that the minority faces an uphill battle even in today's society. Home ownership amongst blacks was 48.1% while whites were nearly 75%, and African-Americans were 3 times more likely to receive a subprime mortgage during the crisis according to the Federal Reserve [2]. Another hard hitting fact is the net worth difference, the average white net worth is $67,000 to the blacks’ net worth of $6,200 [3]. This is a significant difference caused by discrimination in current society which has yet to actually account for the change in the status quo which my opponent is purposing in this debate. There are many places that refuse to even severe or listen to the Black community when it comes to something as simple as an apartment rental. This would cause more and more people to worry more and more about their Physiological needs creating more harm on a society as the workforce would deteriorate and crime. One study found that those who are homeless tend to commit crime ranging from petty theft to major crimes in order for them to find shelter [4]. This would harm more and more businesses as they would need to focus on figuring out how to better protect not only themselves, but their places of business. Allowing more and more people to enter their business would help decrease the chances of crime which helps the business more than harms it.

Another area that minorities tend to suffer is what is known as the Ghetto tax. Low income blacks, when receiving a bank loan, would have their interest rate anywhere an upwards of 10% higher than a white family of the same income [5]. On car loans, we would see very similar issues when it comes to these minorities. The average increase was 2% higher for blacks than whites of the same income which can result in paying thousands more a year on car loans. With allowing businesses to discriminate, they could get away with charging even higher prices on these loans resulting in the possibility of there being little or no transportation for minorities.

Harming business

Outside of the petty theft and other crimes that are done to businesses that I have discussed last round, there are several other issues that can come out of discrimination which can truly harm a business. In business, the purpose is to see your product/service and maximize the amount of profit you can make, but when business owners discriminate, this tends to work against their own desires. By discriminating, these businesses place an arbitrary barrier to entry in the market which drives their prices higher, this not only harms the customers who purchase their products, but it harms the business as they would now have to pay more and purchase less products to make a smaller profit. It would not be wise for a business to discriminate as they would generate less profit and possibly be ran out of business by a business who refuses to partake in such a practice.

There are many instances and groups of people where if discriminated against, could do serious economic harm. One group, the LBGT group who is the most recent targets for discrimination as of late, can harm the economy is there is massive discrimination enforced against them. A study ran showed that if the nation, or a large part of, barred LBGT from entry into the market, the collective American economy would lose nearly $1 trillion in profit and this number is expected to grow by 21% in upcoming years [6]. There are instances where people will boycott industries and areas that discriminate. A good recent example is when Gov. of Indiana Mike Pence introduced a strict law that permitted businesses to discriminate against LBGT groups, several states boycotted goods from Indiana as well as 9/10 law firms criticized the law. Allowing this discrimination would be practical suicide for businesses that do it as there would be a major loss. Another recent example was where Georgia was planning anti-transgender law, the NBA, Disney, and Hollywood all threatened to withdraw their businesses from the state if the law was enacted. Such discrimination can devastate a business and the economy as these laws allowed businesses to discriminate, not just a total ban. If this was issued nationwide, there would be catastrophe for any business that would elect for discrimination as well as harm in international trade.

Business Discrimination endangers life

Discrimination is something that will drive others to perform actions that will endanger their lives. The discrimination minorities face on an average basis can lead to a massive amount of self harm. The College London's Institute of Psychiatry, which had interviewed people from more than 35 countries, had found that out of everyone he had surveyed with depression had found 79% of them faced discrimination on an average basis. 25% of them refused to search for work because of the fear of discrimination while nearly half of those surveyed expierenced discrimination while searching for a job [7]. This shows the workforce is shrinking even further creating more of a burden on soceity as they will have to try and support more and more minorities who are unable to work due to their inability to get a job due to discrimination or just simple discrimination on a dayly basis which is nearly 3/4's of the minorites depressed, which is a great deal of people.

This type of discrimination in business causes massive harms as we see suicide occur with much of these issues. It is seen as minorities and even whites who are discriminated against by these places of buisness see suicide occur. In a study done, it showed each year, in an average population of 100,000 that 1,369.2 blacks commit suicide and 177.7 whites commit suicide over these issues [8]. These numbers would skyrocket with businesses to be permitted to discriminate and selectively choose who to sell their products/services to. Many places of business will harm the overal society as these numbers would drastically climb. Another study done showed that 15% of people who suffer from depression commit suicide each year [9]. This means that nearly 7.5% of those who commit suicide do so out of the discrimination they face through what occurs from these businesses. If more businesses are permitted to discriminate, on whites, blacks, LBGT, and so on, suicides would increase furthering the harm to humanity caused by this.

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Debate Round No. 2


Re: Utilitarianism

A. Problems

Utilitarianism posits that the best course of action is that of which yields the greatest good for the greatest number of individuals. However, Con hasn't explained why it's better to follow the wishes of the greater number vs. the lesser number. Why should we presume that the majority's satisfaction is that of which is morally permissible?

Murray Rothbard asks: suppose that the vast majority of people in a society hate and revile redheads, and greatly desire to murder them; and suppose further that there are only a few redheads extant at any time. Must we then say that it is "good" for the vast majority to slaughter redheads? And if not, why not?

Con's proposed standard of utilitarianism supports discrimination -- for if the majority of people wish to discriminate, discrimination would be perfectly ethical by Con's very own standard. Decades ago, society determined that black people were not equal to white people and deprived them of their basic rights. Con is suggesting that segregation was moral. After all, it provided the greater satisfaction for the greater number. But did it provide the greatest GOOD? Distinguishing between arbitrary standards like happiness, goodness and satisfaction can be problematic for the utilitarian.

"Indeed, utilitarianism implicitly assumes these subjective desires to be absolute givens which the social technician is somehow duty-bound to try to satisfy. But it is common human experience that individual desires are not absolute and unchanging. They are not hermetically sealed off from persuasion, rational or otherwise; experience and other individuals can and do persuade and convince people to change their values" [1].

"Utilitarianism cannot be supported as a groundwork for property rights or, a fortiori, for the free-market economy. A theory of justice must be arrived at which goes beyond majority rules, because then "majority rules" therefore can serve as the basis for dismantling the very same propositions. There are 2 fundamental principles for justifying individual (and property) rights:

1. the absolute property right of each individual in his own person, his own body; this may be called the right of self-ownership; and

2. the absolute right in material property of the person who first finds an unused material resource and then in some way occupies or transforms that resource by the use of his personal energy.

This might be called the homestead principle - the case in which someone, in the phrase of John Locke, has mixed his labor with an unused resource" [2].

The principle of Self-Ownership "asserts the absolute right of each man, by virtue of his (or her) being a human being, to 'own' his own body; that is, to control that body free of coercive interference. Since the nature of man is such that each individual must use his mind to learn about himself and the world, to select values, and to choose ends and means in order to survive and flourish, the right to self-ownership gives each man the right to perform these vital activities without being hampered and restricted by coercive molestation. Consider, then, the alternatives - the consequences of denying each man the right to own his own person" [2]. In other words: slavery.

B. Compatibility

Some advocates of free-market economics are able to reconcile utilitarian ethics with laissez faire principles, such as the famous austrian Ludwig von Mises. Mises was a utilitarian in ethics, although a Kantian in epistemology, and suggested he could make only one narrow value judgment. So while he wishes to fulfill the goals of the majority, he does not presume to know the goals of everyone. And thus, he would allow for discrimination in the free market.

"Granting in this variant that the economist may not make such advocacy, he takes his stand as a 'citizen' willing to make value judgments. But he is not willing to simply assert an ad hoc value judgment; presumably he feels that a valuing intellectual must present some sort of ethical system to justify such value judgments... True to his utilitarian position, his value judgment is the desirability of fulfilling the subjectively desired goals of the bulk of the populace" [3].

Essentially the argument is that in order to satiate the demands of the majority (make sure the most people are happy), the best way to do that is to allow for freedom and for people to make decisions for themselves since there is no objective, agreed upon moral consensus. Rather than force a Christian baker to bake a gay couple's wedding cake, and a gay baker to bake a Westboro Baptist Church member's wedding cake, the compromise to maximize utility would be freedom.

By forcing the Christian baker to bake a gay couple's wedding cake, only one of those parties is happy (the couple). If the gay couple had to find another service provider, they would still get their cake, and the other party would voluntarily consent, thereby having two happy parties (verses one). Even if there were no one to trade with the gay couple, so the gay couple went home unhappy, there would only be one unhappy party there as well. In other words, Con has failed to show how MORE utility (satisfaction) is present through the use of force.

Re: Framework

Con writes, "Having a business required to treat their customers with equality and permit anyone to purchase their products is necessary to ensure society reaches the maximum amount of happiness and efficiency." That is false. If a gay couple ordered a cake from a Christian baker, and the baker refused the gay couple service, the couple could find another provider. In the end the gay couple and the baker would be happy.

By forcing the baker to make the cake, the baker would be unhappy and the couple would have to fight (which is not pleasurable) to have the cake made, OR, know that the baker did not want to trade with them anyway which is not pleasurable. For example we know that companies like Hobby Lobby, Chic-Fil-A, Urban Outfitters and the Salvation Army are not supportive of gay rights. As a gay person, I would not enjoy trading with those companies and I am not forced to. I can use my bigotry to affect trade whereas business owners cannot. That is not equal and does not necessarily provide greater satisfaction.

Re: Businesses and Positive Rights

Con writes, "The business is meant to benefit society as it would result in a mutual benefit for all parties involved." That is also false. The business is meant to benefit the owner and the owner/s have no immediate or inherent responsibility to society at all. For example, if I have apple trees in my yard and my neighbor has orange trees, we might create a business (trade) of swapping apples and oranges. That business is meant to benefit us -- we have no obligation to benefit anyone else. We can add blueberry farmers and lemon farmers to the business, but we have no obligation to include peach farmers or make sure peach farmers receive of any net benefits if none of us want any peaches. If others have nothing to trade/contribute, we are certainly under no obligation to ensure that our trade benefits them as well.

Contract agreements (trade) are meant to benefit the individuals involved. Society as a collective benefits from the opportunity for individuals to trade peacefully and without force, aggression and coercion. Yet Con wants to impose force, aggression and coercion in the market.

Con states, "Once a business has publicly advertised their product and/or service available for sale to the public, they are then obligated to sell to the public, regardless of their feelings." This is nothing but a bare assertion that repeats the status quo. Indeed it is a circular contention, as I am specifically arguing that this standard should not be enforced.

Con mentions problematic circumstances, such as hospitals discriminating and their exclusion having a negative impact.

If we have positive rights, other people have positive duties (to take certain actions). Con is responsible for arguing that we should FORCE people to take those actions -- even when the proper actions are not always clear or agreeable. Yet I'd like to repeat his own hypocritical standard. Consider in medicine when the positive rights of patients conflict with the negative rights of physicians; for example, in the case of assisted suicide. If enough practitioners opt out as a result of conscience, a right granted by conscience clause statutes in many jurisdictions means they do not have to provide that service. In other words, it's discrimination via majority demand. But this also allows for the opportunity for a hospital or doctor's discriminating and exclusion. An individual health practitioner's right to conscientious refusal is important; there are dozens of medical dilemmas facing physicians [4].

Re: Economic Harms

Con claims that discrimination has significantly harmed some groups more than others. First, his example ignores some of my arguments from the last round, most notably justifiable discrimination based on correlated data. For example, if a trend has been observed where black people are not sufficiently paying back their loans, it would make sense for a lender to impose a tax based on skin color without having (or caring) about any other relevant data. After slavery had ended, there were little to no opportunities for blacks in society to get ahead. Thus various societal factors (including legal barriers) made employment difficult. Why wouldn't lenders or people who take risks through trade consider all of the data in making their decision? It would make sense to discriminate or be suspicious based on race. Second, these examples do not account for my previous arguments on capitalism. People who choose to discriminate in business lose out on profits they would have reaped otherwise.


Heads up: I'll wrap up with the Economics and Business arguments (and how that affects society) in the final round.



For this round I shall be addressing my opponent's opening arguments. You will have to forgive me for my short arguments due to the time restraint.

Role of Government

It is a prosperous purposely that the government is trying to purify people's minds of discrimination, for that comes on its own through nature. The government's duty is to ensure that justice is made and there is equality under law. Customers should have the right to select where they wish to trade. If these places refuse to, then they are denying people the right for people to choose where to do business and they will end up harming the individual by denying them basic needs which may result in death, as I will get into later.

I may also disagree with many things the government does or societal norms/behaviors, but that doesn't mean that it should be enforced upon everyone. Discrimination may not always be harmful, but they may be harmful where if you deny a dying patient surgery due to their race, they may die. This would be due to their discrimination. Under these intense situations, these people have no choice where to do business other than the closest place of business here, if they are denied there, then they may die.

Anti-Discrimination Laws

"Segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The impact is greater when it has the sanction of the law, for the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the negro group. A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn. Segregation with the sanction of law, therefore, has a tendency to [retard] the educational and mental development of negro children and to deprive them of some of the benefits they would receive in a racial[ly] integrated school system."- Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court [1]

For it was nearly 50 years ago that the US Supreme Court had its historic ruling on the Brown V Board of education court case. The outcome had ended segregations across the entire nation. It was a unanimous decision that created a new outlook for American history. A decade later came the US Civil Rights Act granting equality to all. This was important as it helped insure that everyone was treated equally and they were then able to compete against others in the workforce and be able to purchase and shop where they please. There is some people in Alaska that live nearly 150 miles from a store. If they were discriminated against they would have to go even further to reach any kind of store and this would be a major drain on them as they would have to continue searching. What if someone's care runs out of gas and the gas station denies them access? They are then stranded. What if a hospital denies a patient treatment due to their race or sexual orientation? This will cause major harms as they will be nearly condemned to death in these situations or placed with an undue burden. The US Constitution

Another key SCOTUS ruling on discrimination was Morgan V Virginia, where the SCOTUS ruled that segregation places an undue burden upon minorities. My opponent may try to brush this off, but this is constitutional law shown through the lenses of the group appointed to interoperate it. As I have already shown, US discrimination places an undue burden on people which in some cases can result in death due to the denial of basic human needs and those required for survival.

My opponent provides a list of those things that people have looked at for discrimination and brings up attractiveness [2]. Though this one really doesn't matter all that much, but there is indeed discrimination on that as well. The CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch stated that he did not want ugly people wearing his clothing, but things sank to a newer low. In 2009, there was a $40 million lawsuit where a female with a prosthetic arm was forced to work in the back since she didn't meet their beauty standards, many minorities had also faced the same issue.

Why discriminate?

A. Ideological Differences

My opponent asks why the USFG can impose sanctions but the individual can't. This answer is quite simple as the individual is not permitted to tax another, wiretap phones, or a long list of other things. Just because the government does it, doesn't mean individuals can also do it to themselves. This is not a valid justification.

My opponent brings up how being forced to trade with others is a civil liberties violation, but when we look at contractual laws, we can see that advertising is an invitation for bargaining, meaning now that the business has advertised itself, others have the permission to enter the store or firm and commence business [3].

B. Rational Discrimination

It may be true for their safety though this specifies that we must focus on the firms and when the individuals want to participate with the business. If the business neglects to advertise to them is an entirely different situation. My opponent's example is an advertisement since the representative would be going door to door trying to sell products while the individual could easily decline to purchase the item. This shows that my opponent's example here is invalid.

As for "No-shirt, No-Shoes, No Service," is much a safety/public health concern and there are male/female clubs and there may be demand for one, but there is demand for an open club to all. Even if it is private, the club should be open to all as there is demand for this as well.

Federal Funding

Just because a private business does not receive federal funding does not mean they should be able to discriminate. Since farmers may not get subsidies does this mean they are allowed to own slaves even if it is 'voluntary?' Is a company allowed to dump waste into a lake even though they don't get federal funding? The answer is no. Just because they don't get funding does not mean they do not have to follow federal rules and regulations.


Capitalism discourages discrimination, but that does not mean it does not happen. My opponent, herself, pointed this out several times in her own argument that they would discriminate and do so by losing profit. This argument contradicts other portions of her argument and either this argument or the other must be thrown out of the debate.

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Debate Round No. 3


Re: The Role of Government

My opponent begins "The government's duty is to ensure that justice is made and there is equality under law." However the justice of equality of treatment depends first of all on the justice of the treatment itself. "Suppose, for example, that Jones [and/or the State], with his retinue, proposes to enslave a group of people. Are we to maintain that 'justice' requires that each be enslaved equally? And suppose that someone has the good fortune to escape. Are we to condemn him for evading the equality of justice meted out to his fellows?" [1].

Con then goes on to propose the dramatic scenario of where one might die because of discrimination. First, in theory, we could allow every business *except* hospitals to discriminate, thereby nixing most of this contention. And second, we already allow this to happen every single day as we discriminate based on ability to pay. People who cannot afford the best care die by the second. We discriminate by class constantly. Those who can afford it get the best legal defense, healthcare, education, security and opportunities. It sounds like Con is suggesting we become communist by saying we no longer be allowed to discriminate.

Re: Anti-Discrimination Laws

Con goes on to detail the negative impact of segregation, for which I would agree, although there is also evidence of the positive impacts of homogeneity [2] but I digress. He further describes instances where people were treated unfairly or in a hurtful, detrimental way due to shallow standards. Yet this goes back to R2 arguments on intolerance. "You and I disapprove of bigotry... Tolerance means accepting the fact that other people's values might be very different than your own."

Audience, please go back and re-read the section under 'The Role of Government' in R2. Remember the comparison to freedom of speech. We allow even speech that we find vehemently immoral. Similarly we must legally permit behavior that we do not agree with so long as it is not aggressive. We can fight it. We can protest it. We can petition against it, picket it, raise media awareness, write about it, and boycott. But we should legally permit intolerance. We should not use the state to forcibly impose our subjective moral values outside of protecting life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness -- freedom from aggression in bodily autonomy and physical property. Discrimination does not violate that standard because it is not overtly aggressive. Discrimination protects our rights.

Re: Why Discriminate

I pointed out the USFG imposes sanctions (discriminates) against targeted groups, so why couldn't citizens? Con rightly notes the government has rights that ordinary citizens do not. Yet that obvious contention does not address the premise: justifiable discrimination, and using discrimination as a rational and practical means to a reaosnable end.

I went on to mention that in some cases, trading with another individual or firm qualifies as condoning or not standing up for one's most important values. This raises significant concerns for a multiple civil liberties violations - including freedom of association, freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of conscience to name a few.

Con's response? "When we look at contractual laws, we can see that advertising is an invitation for bargaining, meaning now that the business has advertised itself, others have the permission to enter the store or firm and commence business." He simply recites with the current law and standard is without justifying that standard. Repeating the status quo does not win him this debate -- I am arguing against the status quo. I'm arguing that it's violating people's civil liberties as detailed above. Con repeats the law, and does not address why the current law is righteous. And now I won't have the opportunity to respond...

Re: Rational Discrimination

Con admits that it is completely rational to discriminate, as it might pertain to people's safety. I have won this point. He then repeats the point about advertising which is completely irrelevant. He says door-to-door selling qualifies as advertisement and thus is subject to laws that forbid discrimination. Yet what if we use the example of a taxi cab service. Many cabs avoid "black neighborhoods" and discriminate on passengers based on statistical inference. I repeat: in choosing to not trade with Person A within the inner city, one will lose out on the potential profit of that deal -- but they will also not be exposed to any potential risk of that deal. If we do not consider probability and statistics with our rational self-interest in making deals, we are not weighing the cost-benefit analysis correctly.

I gave the example of consumers wanting an all-male sports facility or an all-woman spa. It would behoove business owners to make a profit by satiating that demand. Con replied, "there may be demand for one, but there is demand for an open club to all. Even if it is private, the club should be open to all as there is demand for this as well." Well, if there is a demand for an all-inclusive club, that should certainly be allowed... what does that have to do with inhibiting the demand for exclusive clubs?

And furthermore, is Con suggesting that all exclusivity be disallowed? For exclusive membership of any kind would necessitate some type of discrimination. Let's not go down a slippery slope toward outlawing discrimination.

Re: Federal Funding

Con asks, "Since farmers may not get subsidies does this mean they are allowed to own slaves even if it is voluntary?" The answer is absolutely not, because this would violate the freedoms I've specifically outlined including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Meanwhile, Con's very own proposed moral standard of Utalitarianism would permit slavery! For Con believes in majority rules or operating by the greatest good for the greater number, regardless of what disgusting behavior or terrible actions that may entail.

Con asks, "Is a company allowed to dump waste into a lake even though they don't get federal funding? The answer is no." Con is right - the answer IS no because this, too, violates the property rights I've already outlined previously. And moreover, to reiterate my points under this header, #1 only private businesses should be allowed to discriminate -- ones that do not receive tax payer funding of any kind, and #2 businesses that expect to receive government funding of any kind can be required to NOT discriminate. This would discourage discrimination, but still allow for it.

Re: Capitalism

Con admits, "Capitalism discourages discrimination, but that does not mean it does not happen." Quite obviously, utopia can never exist where every single moral standard or even law is abided by all. Sorry Con. Yet the fact remains that people, on balance, ignore frivolous differences for the sake of trade. While some discrimination is rational, most of it is not (on a risk/financial basis) thus most people do not perpetuate this standard. Con suggests that acknowledging this reality is contradictory but that's absurd. Discrimination might be cost-effective or riskier in some situations vs. others. It's circumstantial.


That brings me to wrapping up on Business and Trade.

In R2, Con argued that the black community suffered harm as the result of discrimination. Con also mentions the ghetto tax: charging black people higher rates for loans. All of this goes back to my point on rational discrimination. After the Civil War ended, black people had little to no education or opportunities. Many of them were forced to work for pennies if they could find work at all. Thus, why wouldn't one assume that black people (recently freed slaves) and the immediate generations weren't most likely extremely poor? They were, on balance, very risky investments which would be an assumption rooted in logic. Today, that assumption would not be as warranted.

My opponent writes, "In business, the purpose is to see your product/service and maximize the amount of profit you can make, but when business owners discriminate, this tends to work against their own desires." He repeats that discrimination is not practical and wise. Yet this only supports MY position in the debate. Indeed, since a business owner's concern is maximizing their productivity and profit, they will likely not discriminate as I have outlined in the previous round. The free-market has voluntarily discouraged discrimination, whereas forced integration is typically met with resistance, hostility and resentment.

In fact every single argument that Con brings up about discrimination works in my favor. He notes that LGBT people are worth a huge portion of the market, so discrimination against them would cause a tremendous loss. This just proves why discrimination is inconvenient and ineffective to a businesses' bottom line. Furthermore, capitalism allows for opportunities for other businesses to pop up and capitalize on market demand. For example, while LGBT people might be discriminated against (or feel unwelcome) in certain areas, entire industries that are specifically devoted to LGBT individuals have emerged. There are gay bars, clubs, hotels, cruise lines, real estate pros, legal teams, and tons of other services that specifically market toward LGBT people in particular [4, 5, 6, 7].

Thus capitalism not only discourages discrimination, but it provides opportunity by opening up market share and promoting competition. It also allows people to boycott effectively. For instance, Con noted the NBA and other organizations have pulled their business from states that allowed for discrimination. If every state could legally discriminate, and thereby we only went after (or avoided) the single individuals or companies that we did not like, we can target our boycotts effectively and hit the real culprits where it hurts while being fair and generous to the others.



I would like to thank my opponent for this great debate and in this final round I shall defend my case.



There are many things we need to look at in a society. We all attempt to work for what best benefits us as an individual, but, as my opponent has even brought up, there are certain roles that the government upholds. The role of the government built off of that of the social contract where the will of the people is to be inforced by the government and law is to be upheld by them. That, by itself is the near very definition of Utilitariainism in a sense.

My opponent brings up murder, however, utilitarianism doesn't support it and we have to look at how it casuses a great deal of unhappiness, and when we look to Rule Utilitarianism, for these reasons, murder is unethical under this scope [1]. Then when we move on to the discrimination aspect and apply it to Rule Utilitarianism, we can still see that there is a net pain that occurs in soceity due to the suffering that occurs through pain, social stigma, and the sucicides that take place due to these issues. These things would lead to something like this, being unethical.

My opponent calls the refusal to deny this is slavery, but it is being blasted out of perporsion as I have already addressed on how this is simply not applicable as something that is personal property and private property are two completely different things. The business has advertised publically and as a result the public is now able to use this person's property due to their ability to now be able to commense business here. This is an open contract which they have no offered the invitation to bargin which now leads the individuals to be able to commense business within their location.

Compatability and re:framework

My opponent's example of a bakery is a select example as a bakery does not provide the basic escentialls whether it is housing, food, water, and/or power. Some towns and cities only have one of two of these places and discrimination would result in displacement and people might not even be able to travel which would make their situation even worse. Discrimination of this kind violates the right to life and the individual's life/lives outweigh the perferances of the business owner(s) who could severly harm the individual's life that could result in death. This kind of treatment is unethical and the ability for this to continually exist and spread would result in chaos and many would suffer because of some minute thing a person doesn't like. Survial takes persidence resulting in a higher utility to be fulfilled to the public.

Business and positive rights

My opponent's example of the fruit farmers is irrelivant as it is simply an example of requiring or not requiring business mergers and has nothing to do with refusing business to another person. My opponent also miscontrews my argument on contracts. We have to see that when one publically advertises, they officially create an invitation to bargin to the public. Which means they are then required to have some sort of response from the public unless there is a withdraw from the business, but when the customers comes, it shows they have accepted the invitation to bargan and have now entered the barganing period which would result in a business transaction occuring or none at all if either of the parties involved tend to disagree with the contents of the deal. We shouldn't force people to do anything.

The business only possess positive rights and this isn't the individual. The business is not a person, so it is not entitled to the same rights as an individual. The individual isn't forced to do anything, but once they, under the business, perform public advertisement or anything of that calliber, they are then to be required to perform the service they stated they would. A doctor is allowed to have another doctor perform a surgery if they wish not to, but if someone is capable then it should be done. If they refuse it on ludicrious motions then they should do it since it is their job to ensure this is done. The right to life triumphs and if the patient dies since the hospital refuses to do so, then the hosptial should be sued for having such an attrocity happen.

Economic Harms

My opponent misunderstands what is occuring as she states that some blacks are being discriminated agaisnt due to their race and switches it to state that it is due to them not being able to pay back loans all that great. Though you have to remember when I brought up the Ghetto Tax, this isn't quite the truth as this is what they are being offered, not the average of what it costs them.

In the end, we need to focus on life. The individual's life matter most here and when people refuse service that is key and escential to that individual it could result in the death of that person. It could make their lives a lot harder for them even if they live nearest other areas as they would be in larger debt and would suffer more and businesses would refuse them loans and other places refuse them service. There should be no reason why a business should discriminate on minute factors when people's lives are at state. My opponent never address the suicide the deaths that occur due to this businesses discrimination and there is not one thing that is broughten up that shows why such a death would be justifiable. The business has publically advertised allowing the public to come and perchase their goods and services making it more and more probable and possible that they should be able to purchase these goods.

With that I thank you and urge you to vote Con!

1. (
Debate Round No. 4
13 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by fire_wings 1 month ago
Yeah, this was an awesome debate. Too bad I didn't vote.
Posted by ColeTrain 1 month ago
This is awesome. Two debaters debating each other on their 500th debate.

Great debate, too, btw. :)
Posted by whiteflame 2 months ago
I'm working on this one, guys. Should have something up either tomorrow or Wednesday before the time limit.
Posted by ThinkBig 2 months ago
This was a phenomenal debate from both of you and applaud you for the hard work that you guys put into it. This will be a very long RFD as this was a long debate.
Posted by ThinkBig 2 months ago
Will vote later tonight or tomorrow.
Posted by fire_wings 2 months ago
I'll probably vote around 10 days later.
Posted by Udel 2 months ago
I will vote on this. I wasnt included in the voters union pm again, TUF's mistake
Posted by ThinkBig 2 months ago
What a great debate to both of you. I'll hopefully vote on this later.
Posted by Danielle 3 months ago
So I wanted to wait until Monday to post my round per your request. Of COURSE my boss comes in and sits right next to me all day long, so I couldn't log onto DDO and finish my argument. I literally left work to post this in time lol. My second round isn't the best, but I'm confident I'll wrap up and finish strong in R4. Thanks for your perspective, lannan. I look forward to the final round.
Posted by missbailey8 3 months ago
I'm looking forward to this one. Good luck to both of you.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 months ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: RFD given here:
Vote Placed by ThinkBig 2 months ago
Who won the debate:--
Reasons for voting decision: Testing ELO restriction