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I Demand My Right to Take Yours Away

February 23rd, 2015

If I’m not allowed to deny you your rights, that’s an infringement on my rights.

Does that make sense? No? Didn’t think so.

However, that’s how conservatives are trying to paint civil rights issues today. Take this reaction to a judge’s decision that a business cannot discriminate against customers based on sexual orientation:

Conservatives criticized the judge’s ruling because it infringes on a business owner’s right to refuse service.

Todd Starnes, host of Fox News and Commentary, said he thinks the court’s ruling shows how the government singles out Christian business owners for their religious beliefs.

“And it appears the courts are consistently ruling that gay rights trump everyone else’s rights,” Starnes said.

It shouldn’t take more than a few seconds to figure out how ridiculous that is. Yes, businesses have the right to refuse service on an individual basis. Businesses, however, do not have a right to discriminate against a class of people based on an innate characteristic. You cannot run a business and refuse to serve black people, or poor people, or disabled people. You can turn away someone if they are behaving badly, or are not wearing a shirt, or for some other individual grounds. But not because they are gay. Remember how lunch counters used to be whites-only? Yeah, that was based on “a business owner’s right to refuse service” too.

Second, if Christian-owned businesses are being “singled out,” it is only because Christian-owned businesses are the ones violating the civil rights of others. It kinda works out that way—but it’s not the fault of the government, it’s the fault of the Christian-owned businesses for breaking the law.

As for “gay rights trump everyone else’s rights,” it is everyone’s right to not be discriminated against, while it is no one’s right to discriminate. So, yes, in that standoff, gay rights trump the right to discriminate. How terrible it is to be you, you poor oppressed soul.

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  1. Troy
    February 23rd, 2015 at 11:53 | #1

    Perlstein’s Nixonland is a treasure trove of new knowledge for me. I should have read it years ago . . . when I finish I’ll get the other two books in the series . . .

    He mentioned in passing:


    the key bit:

    In 1964 Ronald Reagan stated in a press release as “an ardent supporter of Proposition 14, and later explained, “If an individual wants to discriminate against Negroes or others in selling or renting his home, he has a right to do so.” Reagan labeled fair housing laws and the Rumford Act as attempts “to give one segment of our population a right at the expense of the basic rights of all our citizens.”

    Same conservative bullshit, 5 decades later.

  2. Troy
    February 24th, 2015 at 03:00 | #2

    Wow, I’ve gotten to 1968 in Nixonland and the civil rights conflict was certainly not a sidebar. Hundreds of pages documenting the nation’s arc into anarchy 1965-1968 was . . . stunning. Being born in ’67, I’d missed all of that. I’d read 1960s World Book encyclopedia entries on what happened, but at the time (in the early 80s) I didn’t understand how filtered and biased that right-wing source was.

    Page 721:

    “What white Americans have never understood—but what the Negro can never forget—is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white society condones it.”

    This was from a blue-ribbon commission LBJ set up to examine the 1967 Detroit riots.

    It wasn’t what LBJ wanted it to produce, since the mainstream majority wanted communist agitators and hoodlums to be the root bad guys, not themselves:

    “The president was aghast at the Kerner Commission report. It did the one thing he’d been so careful never to do when laying the political groundwork for his sweeping social and civil rights legislation: blame the majority, instead of appealing to their better angels.”


    Nixonland came out in 2008, and yet the Trayvon Martin and Ferguson incidents show its thesis is still with us today.

    In 1964 LBJ and Democrats won an immense victory, with majorities rivalling 1936 (2/3 instead of 1936’s 4/5 in the Senate, healthy majority in the House).

    But step-by-step, the nation fell apart in his first full term.

    We barrelled headlong into Vietnam, first putting marine battalions in at Danang, then the 1st Air Cavalry to police the middle sectors around Pleiku. But the war got bigger and bigger each year, and so did the racial black vs. white strife.

    An interesting sidenote was the hijacking of 1964’s Free Speech movement at UCB in 1965, when some assholes decided to start a Filthy Speech Movement promoting the public use of the f-word.


    This made it easy for the slick demagogues on the right like Reagan to tar all leftists as degenerates with nothing valid to say — and brings up an interesting inherent contradiction and weakness of liberality — ‘please tolerate us but you don’t have to tolerate them‘.

    The Berkeley protesters were trying to save the world — restoring voting rights in the Deep South, stopping draftees being sent to Vietnam — and then a few clowns show up just wanting add ‘Fuck’ to their message. Tough position for the ‘free speech movement’ be in, to be ambushed from your left like that.

  3. Troy
    February 25th, 2015 at 01:51 | #3

    re back in 2008:

    “What puzzles me is that nobody’s suggesting a plan to start a true national health insurance program, one that is rated to income. Again, unless I misunderstand things, the plans both candidates are pushing are really just regular insurance plans, but people have to buy into them. ”


    we kinda got that at least, but if you move you’re going to have to get new insurance, so it’s not that national.

    plus the GOP is trying to hobble it in the courts again:


    Roberts already took out the Medicaid expansion for red states:


    now he has the opportunity to take out the subsidies for middle class people now.

    Which is fine, if red states don’t want PPACA, they don’t have to have it.

    “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”


  4. Troy
    February 25th, 2015 at 17:25 | #4

    back in 2006:

    I love how WMD in Iraq is a ‘mistake’ according to commentator ykw.

    Keith Adler is probably the one linked to supportimus.org that appeared in 2007 when the talk radio personality referred to a womens’ bb team as ‘nappy headed hos’

    Aside from all the negative stuff the Bush crew committed 2001-2008, there’s also all the stuff they did not do, like adequately incentivize solar power, or try to save GM in 2008, waiting for Obama to step in in 2009.

    Speaking of which, how the entire country fell apart in 2008 is certainly another black mark on Bush’s record.

    How we got to 2008 was Bush’s biggest failure perhaps, though it’s really, really tough topping his mistakenly lying about WMD program-related activities to build a casus belli vs. Iraq.

    With the dotcom crash of 2001, the wars starting in 2002 and 2003, the GOP brain trust was deathly afraid of the 2004 midterm, and I think they did the only thing they could, blow up another housing bubble like what got Bush senior elected in 1988.


    is real per-capita consumer debt take-on.

    Adding in government deficit spending:


    (real per-capita)

    shows how the colossal consumer debt take-on (which was courtesy the housing bubble) even stimulated the economy such that the fiscal debt fell, giving cover for the supply-side tax cuts of 2001-2003 to appear to be working as Laffer said they would.

    How big was the housing bubble? Funny you ask!


    shows the 2000s US bubble was bigger than Japan’s late 80s episode.

    Evil or stupid? Why pick one!

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