Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Captain Mal Agrees with the Arizona Legislature

Capt. Malcolm 'Mal' Reynolds is the captain of the spaceship Serenity, as seen on the TV series, Firefly, and in the movie, Serenity.  He's a little rough around the edges but he's a quite capable, fair, and a hard worker.

One of his best lines comes near the end of the movie, Serenity, when he is inspiring his crew to take drastic action in order to expose the government's evil deeds.

"Y'all got on this boat for different reasons, but y'all come to the same place. So now I'm asking more of you than I have before. Maybe all. Sure as I know anything, I know this - they will try again. Maybe on another world, maybe on this very ground swept clean. A year from now, ten? They'll swing back to the belief that they can make people... better. And I do not hold to that. So no more runnin'. I aim to misbehave." [emphasis added]
The belief that one can make people better is the source of much human suffering throughout history.  It is often done through decrees or legislation, but no law can improve humanity.  Humanity can only be improved through education, understanding, and cooperation.  How does this relate to what the Arizona Legislature has been up to?

First of all, businesses in Arizona can already refuse service to people.  That is already the law.  The current bill, SB 1062, basically exempts businesses from any lawsuits when they refuse services to anyone because of a religious belief.  It is essentially saying that it is okay with the government if you refuse to do business with someone.  This bill goes against the current politically correct trend of forcing businesses to provide services to every protected class of people.  This bill isn't trying to make people better but it attempts to work against any future laws that do try to make people better.

The biggest flaw in this bill is that it allows business owners to refuse service only based on religious beliefs, where it should allow business owners to refuse service for any reason at all.  This is not about religion.  This is about property rights.  Property rights are inalienable and without them, liberty is impossible.  Most people would agree that property rights are good, since they protect each individual's property in instances of theft, trespassing, or vandalism.  Unfortunately many people fail to consider the other side of property rights:  The fact that other people can use their property for whatever they want.

It has to work both ways.  If you do not allow others to use their property as they choose, then you have automatically suspended your own property rights.  So, your two choices are:  You can have property and use it however you wish, or you can let the government decide how all property is to be used.  The two choices are mutually exclusive.

The home is probably the most sacred piece of property an individual can possess.  Most everyone would agree that a homeowner has the right to remove anyone from his home for any reason.  The homeowner is the only person qualified to know who is allowed to be in the home and who is not.  It is not for neighbors, relatives, or the government to decide.  The homeowner has absolute property rights over the home and no reason has to be given in order to evict someone.

A place of business is also the property of an individual, or a group of individuals.  Is it any less sacred than a home?  Shouldn't the owner of a business have the right to remove anyone from the property?  Isn't the business owner the only person qualified to know who is allowed to be there and who is not?  Is it for other businesses, customers, or the government to decide what is best?  Doesn't the business owner have absolute property rights over the property?

In these two examples, the home and the business, property operates under the same system of property rights but many people pretend that there are two different systems of rights.  To pretend such a thing is to deny that property rights exist in the first place.  To claim that a private business operates as a public good under public supervision is to claim that individuals receive their rights from others, and that a majority of voters could simply overturn rights.  Such a view is destructive and dangerous for our inalienable rights.

My personal belief (not that it really matters in this debate) is that people should respect everyone around them and strive to serve others regardless of any characteristic.  With that being said, I will absolutely refuse to force others to give respect.  I refuse to use government coercion to enforce morality.  I refuse to believe that you "can make people... better."

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