I'm embarked on a project of reflection on my specific political and moral beliefs and how they fit with my liberal and libertarian beliefs in general
Going to be unpopular this one.
My position on anti-discrimination laws has been inconsistent over the last few years. In 2007 I was against them in principle, although looked forward with glee to the unhappiness they'd cause religious fundamentalists, whereas in 2010 I was of the opinion that one person's rights did trump another's in the Chris Grayling Bed and Breakfast controversy.
Well I'll put my hands up and apologise to all who debated with me over the Chris Grayling issue. I was wrong. I admit that I felt uncomfortable with my decision but I let my heart rule over my head. The Government should not be involved in dictating who stays in a guesthouse. That choice remains with the owners themselves.
It's not a position that sits well with me. Someone who bans someone else from their home, business or group based simply on who they are, rather than their character, is not someone I have much time for. They are, at the very least, impolite and poorly mannered. But the Government should not be in the business of punishing people for being nasty, unwelcoming people. Allowing our Government this power concedes that they are able to interfere in the private lives and business of British citizens. That is a dangerous precedent.
It's stories like this which really trouble me. It is simply unacceptable that people should be abused in public like this but if he wasn't inciting violence how can one have this busker arrested simply for being a knob? I do not mean to downplay the awful hurt that can be caused by words. Even the occasional whispered comment or snigger behind your back can leave me upset. Are we to have every idiot locked up? You know what I think would've been a more effective reaction? The same one as happened with the John Snow pub; group action. The busker is licensed to be in Trafalgar Square so must be there fairly regularly. A little news story here and there and viola he's surrounded by people on their own PA systems calling him out for his idiocy. He'd soon learn his lesson and the value of free speech is upheld. Calling in the authority of the state to punish this nutter is yet another dangerous precedent.
What about at work? Well if you don't work for a company who issue you with a contract stating they will protect you from harassment or want to work for a company who wouldn't want to hire you because of who you are then really I have to wonder about your choices. As I've said before; we all need to stop hiding (and allowing prejudiced idiots to hide) behind stupid laws that dictate how private agreements can and should be made. We need to stand together, win hearts and minds and call out those who discriminate and make sure their customers know how flipping nasty they are.
Again none of this sits well with me. I want to protect the vulnerable and to frustrate the efforts of anyone who is prejudiced. But if I am to be consistent with my belief in freedom from Government control (which has hurt so many in centuries past) then I cannot support anti-discrimination laws which are, in effect, allowing Government to police people's morality. If I don't want the Government policing my morality, I must stand up and stop them policing others.
If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist