It is deeply ironic (in the dramatic sense) that the most vociferous opponents of Indiana’s recently passed version of the Federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) are through their very actions making the case for why their beloved anti-discrimination laws are unnecessary. This is the argument libertarians have been making for years: boycott, shun, exclusion. If anyone, whether an individual or business, behaves in some socially unacceptable way, then everyone else is free to point out this boorish behavior to others, to refuse to associate with them and/or cut off other ties. That’s what happened here. As soon as Indiana passed this law there were cries from across the country to boycott the whole state. Their hearts were in the right place, but their brains are a few hours behind. Or perhaps it does make sense if one is immersed in the statist worldview, that is, that the government under which one lives technically “owns” you. For example, if an employee at a restaurant made some racist remark, people would boycott the restaurant with the belief that the owners of the restaurant are the ones with the ultimate responsibility and control over what goes on in their restaurant. So in the same way they view the Indiana government as being the “boss” of every state resident. Of course their grievances are merely about what might occur, not anything that has actually happened. Considering that our governments don’t actually own us, the more logical approach would be to wait until some discriminatory event takes place and then boycott, protest, etc, that particular business. Why punish an entire state because of a fear of what a few individuals might do? Well if the ends justify the means then I guess it doesn’t matter. Let’s put millions out of work from businesses going under to ensure that maybe a gay couple will not have to suffer the indignity of being unable to buy a cake from someone that doesn’t like them very much. Yes, that’s who I want to get my edible items from; someone that really dislikes me. Trust me, never be rude to the person taking your order at a drive-thru; you don’t want to know what they do to your food if you tick them off (no it’s not what you think, this is second hand information).
But when it comes right down to it, that’s what anti-discrimination laws are all about, the right to be served by people that possess a range of negative emotions concerning you. Why on earth would you want to give money to someone that hates your guts? Or someone that espouse hate in general? Anti-discrimination laws simply drive those feelings below the surface. It doesn’t make them go away. It doesn’t make the world into a utopian Kumbaya handholding ring of love. It creates more of a Potemkin village where the false façade and the real are indistinguishable.
The RFRA is a step in the right direction but for totally incorrect reasons. There is nothing unique or special about “religious” beliefs. This outlook holds all other forms of belief in contempt and makes a mockery of religion in general as everyone figures out if they just slap the word “God” or “Church” on their belief they can get into the fast lane of doing what they want without state intervention (e.g. The First Church of Cannabis). ALL beliefs (whether religious, political, or philosophic) should be immune from state interventions.
The state has no right to interfere between the peaceful interactions of two people, even when one of those people is behaving like a jerk (regardless of what belief system is motivating said behavior). Likewise you have no right to not be shunned and boycotted when you behave like a jerk. That is how a free society works. The immune system cells (activists) will quickly identify and rally attention on the growing cancer cells (jerks, racists, homophobes, etc) quickly, cleanly and without violence. The state on the other hand is like chemotherapy, it bathes the whole organism is a poison that while killing the cancer also kills non-cancer cells and makes the organism that much weaker for it. Stop the chemo and get the state out of all aspects of our lives.