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Overseas money-a telltale of two parties

In the aftermath of the 2008 election some people accused Barack Obama of receiving a lot of help from overseas, including contributions from Palestinians associated with terrorism.  Recently Barack Obama has charged that his Republican opponents this year are receiving a lot of money from overseas.  I realize that we’re all supposed to be caught up in the phony let’s you and him fight charade that goes on between these two supposedly opposing parties.  But as reports come in confirming that both sides receive a substantial amount of money from sources overseas, I can’t help but feel that the wrestling match between the two so-called major parties on this issue is in fact a distraction.  What really deserves attention is the fact that both parties appear susceptible to a lot of foreign influence.

This is exactly what their behavior would lead you to believe.  Despite their supposed differences they seem in general agreement on a policy that neglects the security of our borders and allows or even encourages massive illegal immigration.  They agreed on policies that have exported jobs overseas and allowed foreign countries to profit greatly from the flood of goods then exported into the US market.  While time and again they have ignored clear public sentiment in opposition to bailouts that serve the interests, among others, of a lot of foreign investors, their pattern of behavior suggests no such sensitivity to the needs and opinions of the people they’re supposed to represent.

I often suggest that in place of all of this phony campaign finance reform it would be far better to implement an approach to the funding of political activities in this country based on a simple principle: no dollar vote without a ballot vote.  If you’re an American citizen, of age and qualified to vote in a given election, the law should not interfere with your ability to vote your dollars in any way you choose and in any amount you please.  If political freedom of speech and association mean anything they ought to mean the right to use the money your talent and work have earned to promote (to any degree you choose) the things in which you believe.    Of course since this would only allow flesh and blood people to vote, the fictional persons that appear in law to represent corporations and labor unions, it would eliminate the controversy over these funding sources.  Since only voters  are allowed a dollar vote it would eliminate money that from non-citizen sources overseas. (It’s certainly not feasible to suggest that American citizens overseas are foreign sources, though that possibility validates the need to rethink the notion that birth on U.S. soil automatically entitles someone to claim U.S. citizenship.)

Like so many of the  damaging problems  we’re now dealing with the supposedly inordinate influence of foreign money in our politics is a product of government intervention. If and when we reduced that intervention to the minimum required in order to guarantee that the political process is financed exclusively by qualified voters,  many such problems will disappear.  Add a requirement that money be declared as to its source and amount when it is contributed, and that the records of contributions be immediately available for  public scrutiny, and I think the people will have what they need to put their money behind their political convictions, and to police the results at the ballot box.

I’ve always thought that there are few things so patently laughable as the promise that politicians will serve the people by creating effective mechanisms to control their own corruption. That’s like saying the hen house will be better served if the foxes design and install the hen house security system.

The idea makes no sense.  But it may  give the hens a false sense of security while the foxes look for new and special ways to serve them.  Which is probably why campaign finance reform is one of the favorite courses at the Finishing School for Bipartisan Cooperation and Civility, where well-behaved candidates for office learn how to wash their money before being seated.

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{ 23 comments… add one }
  • rj June 13, 2010, 4:12 pm

    amen,what you do in the privacy of your home is your business,you can choose who to let or not to let in,there is no constitutional right not to get your feelings hurt,dr paul may be a little off base on this but he is much preferable to the liberal democrat jack conway

  • Paul May 24, 2010, 9:35 pm

    Would this argument also apply to discrimination against homosexuals or others who practice behavior that a business owner sees as offensive, or does it not apply to a person’s choices?

    If so, would business owners be required to serve ex-cons? Would upscale restaurants be required to serve people wearing jeans and a t-shirt? Are these institutions also governed by the rules of public justice, or can institutions establish some rules about who they will and will not serve?

    • loyaltoliberty May 24, 2010, 10:53 pm

      Because the argument has to do with discrimination based on incidental natural properties (dependent on God’ will) it does not apply to actions that have to do with moral choices and preferences, (dependent on human will.) The injustice of racial discrimination has to do with the fundamental rules of natural justice. By basing the argument against racial discrimination on natural right, we remove any imputation of fundamental injustice from common sense discrimination that does not violate unalienable right (such as the state laws that set a certain age for purchasing alcoholic beverages, or the business owner’s code re proper dress.)
      There is of course one natural property (the outward signs of the male-female distinction) that is not incidental, but essential to human nature. It has to do not with the way this or that individual happens to be made, but with the way the Creator has fashioned humanity as such for a purpose essential to human existence. To forbid discrimination with respect to that distinction ( sch as having restrooms exclusive of the opposite sex) would contradict rather than respect the natural law.

      • Chiu Chun-Ling May 25, 2010, 4:53 pm

        Or rather, we recognize that the differences between men and women are so fundamental that superficially similar actions (such as entering a room where there are persons of a given sex present in states of partial or complete undress) can be acceptable when done by members of one sex and completely unacceptable when done by members of the opposite sex. This recognition proceeds out of matters of simple biological fact, culminating in the fecund nature of the reproductive act itself.

    • Chiu Chun-Ling May 25, 2010, 4:48 pm

      As long as the ex-cons, homosexuals, and people wearing jeans and a tee do nothing to outwardly distinguish themselves as such, there is no reason whatsoever that a public accommodation should have or need the right to exclude them from the premises.

    • Eileen Elsethagen November 20, 2011, 10:19 am

      Hello Dr. Keyes,

      I am curious what you thought of Sarah Palin’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Friday.


      Sometimes I feel like the Tea Party movement is not focused enough on the collusion between special interests and politicians. I was very happy to see Sarah’s editorial, and I feel like a focus on this issue could be exactly what we need to re-energize the movement!

      What do you think of the idea of creating a pledge for congressmen to sign, similar to the one Grover Norquist created about raising taxes? Congressmen would sign a pledge to dedicate themselves to reforming lobbying and campaign finance. Anyone who didn’t sign would be outed as corrupt.

      I look forward to hearing from you!


  • Chiu Chun-Ling May 24, 2010, 3:11 pm

    The idea that government cannot have any positive role in economics is attractive to those who have witnessed the total havoc wrought by government overreach in regulating and constricting market activities.

    This does not change the simple fact that many features of the market, particularly the free market, rely implicitly on positive government action. For instance, the use of currency which is certified to have a certain value, or any form of established measure at all, depends on some authoritative body with the power to issue genuine values and punish counterfeiters. Enforcing truth in advertising (one of the most vital components of a true free market) is also impossible without some final appeal to persons with the authority to decide which claims are true and which false. Even the prevention of simple robbery and theft (economic transfer by compulsion or force) are impossible unless some agency undertakes to be the final arbiter of whether the principle of consent is being observed.

    Yes, the existing government has not only failed to enforce these vital market principles, but has overtly engaged in violating them. This does not change the fact that government is necessary to have these essential features of a free market system.

    To extend an invitation “to the public” and then selectively reject members of that public based on criteria that are basically subjective and insubstantial is a form of injurious false advertising, much like bringing people in by advertising goods at low prices when they are not actually available for that price. The possibility of the merchant benefiting from the former tactic is slighter than with the latter tactic, but the injury to the would-be customer is proven to be greater.

    Nor is it a simple matter of advertising that members of a given “race” will not be served. The insubstantial and subjective concept of “race” affords no certainty to the customer whether or not service will be provided or denied in any particular instance, precisely because the government is (properly) forbidden from establishing discrete standards for “race” (the way that it can establish discrete standards for , say, a $200 PS3).

    This is to say, there are certain features of a free-market which depend on the government. Confidence that advertisements represent goods and services that will really be available to the customer are dependent on government action. This creates a significant link between distinctions the government is forbidden to make (namely those based on race) and those it is therefore impossible to properly regulate in economic transactions. When a distinction will be impossible to verify, but will impose real harms without substantial possibility of recourse, the distinction cannot be permitted as a basis for inflicting those harms.

    • Brian Brady May 24, 2010, 6:09 pm

      “This does not change the fact that government is necessary to have these essential features of a free market system.”

      The only essential features of a free market are buyers and sellers and goods and services. eBay handles the functions you cited (currency, reputation management, and ultimate arbiter) much more efficiently than government.

      This is hard to understand Mr Chun-Ling because it is unlikely that any of us have truly lived in a “free” market…but we’re getting there with alternate bourses like eBay.

      Dr. Keyes, I’m off-topic. The Civil Rights Act has had little (if any) negative effect on markets but because the State holds a monopoly on market regulations, it seemed like a worthy discussion.

      • loyaltoliberty May 24, 2010, 8:04 pm

        I agree that the issue of racial discrimination is more about access to the market (or other public facilities) than about regulating the market as such. But I think the discussion of natural rights has a bearing on the subject of market regulation. Given the presumption of liberty that results from the doctrine of unalienable rights, the only proper role for government re the marketplace is the same one it has in general- to secure unalienable rights. Like the free flow of traffic, the free flow of goods and services requires giving some attention from the government in order, among other things 1)to assure that the most basic premises of the natural law are respected (things like no stealing, no extortion (i.e., forceful intimidation etc.; 2) to provide a venue for the enforcement of contracts and the peaceful resolution of disputes (i.e., the civil court system); and 3) to prevent outside forces from disrupting economic production and the otherwise peaceful exchange of good and services (as part of the common defense of the society.)
        None of these purposes justifies the use of government power to enforce economic outcomes- not by controlling production and not by redistributing the surplus value generated in the course of production. Government can contract for production, and to buy goods and services, like any other economic actor, but except in the most extreme circumstance (i.e., total war) direct government dictation of economic outcomes is tyranny, pure and simple.
        The rhetoric employed to justify expansion of government control of the U.S., economy verifies that the last statement was in fact recognized as the common sense of the American people . That’s why so many socialist policy initiatives were characterized in military terms- the war on poverty, the war on hunger, the war on drugs, the war on crime, the battle against disease, illiteracy etc. The metaphor of war wasn’t coincidental. It implied that the circumstances calling for action somehow justified suspension of the usual regard for individual rights.
        This implication was in almost every case faulty because 1) reliance on individual liberty was or would have been more efficient in achieving the desire outcome and 2)the disregard for unalienable rights concentrates power and breaks down the structures of moral responsibility, thereby aggravating every problem addressed in this way.
        Anyway, my overall point is that your comments weren’t necessarily off-top, they just pointed toward the more general implications of what we are discussing.
        Thanks and Godspeed.

        • Brian Brady May 25, 2010, 12:03 am

          “The metaphor of war wasn’t coincidental. It implied that the circumstances calling for action somehow justified suspension of the usual regard for individual rights.”

          Aha! I never connected those dots.

      • Chiu Chun-Ling May 24, 2010, 10:38 pm

        It is worth noting that eBay must act as the final arbiter of all the provisions of freedom you suggest can be implemented by the buyers and sellers themselves. Nor does eBay operate without appeal to the government when individual cases may make it necessary.

        It is certainly true that no humans have much experience with genuinely free markets, but that is what gives us theorists such an edge in understanding them.

        • Brian Brady May 25, 2010, 12:01 am

          Could a company like eBay operate as ultimate arbiter? I think any voluntary bourse can provided they face competition. Competing bourses could solve many of the problems we discussed, these past few days, because reputation will be everything to traders. Traders with poor reputations will be shunned by all reputable bourses and suffer less liquidity for their goods and services.

          We do this daily. We avoid certain establishments because they have (or don’t have) a dress code. We choose certain movie theaters because they regulate patrons’ noise level. Sometimes, we put up with things which should repulse us(like unfriendly stares because of race) because the product is exceptional.

          • Chiu Chun-Ling May 25, 2010, 4:45 pm

            Unfortunately, history has proven that reputation with those who really know you is of minor economic impact compared with reputation with those who know little about you. And it has further demonstrated that, with enough money and power, it is relatively simple to control what those who little know you think they know about you.

            In the absence of any final arbiter of damaging claims, the market cannot distinguish truth from falsehood. Not that the French particularly care about such things, I suppose.

  • Brian Brady May 23, 2010, 12:52 pm

    Dr Keyes, you’re using the positivist argument to defend natural law. That’s like saying “we believe in God because the State allows us to”.

    Should we abhor racism? Of course we should and we should abhor it in the public square, with the light shining on those private property owners who practice it. Your argument about the use of government force is misapplied. A criminal trespass is much different from theft.

    • loyaltoliberty May 23, 2010, 1:29 pm

      I can’t guess the logic involved in your assertion. (“Dr. Keyes, you’re using the positivist argument to defend natural law.”) Can you provide the reasoning that leads you to that conclusion?

      • Brian Brady May 23, 2010, 7:23 pm

        “Once they take their property into the public marketplace, or any other public place, it is subject to the rules of justice that govern there”

        The marketplace has a set of rules; reputation is probably the highest among them. To suggest that a man’s economic activity is subordinate to State-created rules is the cornerstone of positivist argument. Essentially Dr. Keyes, those “rules of justice” already exist and don’t need to be created, regulated, nor enforced by the State.

        A positivist could use your “public square” litmus test to prove that a man, in his home, is part of a community of economic exchange, creating a de facto public square. Therein lies the slippery slope.

        • loyaltoliberty May 23, 2010, 11:23 pm

          Brian Brady:
          The rules of justice in question are those based on the Creator’s will, the laws that govern nature in general and human nature in particular. It is the specific difference of human nature that requires those laws to be recognized and enforced by human institutions.
          I said nothing about the community of economic exchange. Rather it is the community of human nature, and the institutions that respect and enforce its God ordained good that I am considering. Invented positivist legalisms are excluded by the discipline of reason once the primacy of natural right is acknowledged as the premise of the law.
          Of course some aspects of an individual’s economic activity are subordinate to rules made by the State. That is the cornerstone of civil society, not positivism. The issue is: are the rules made in light of a reasonable application of the natural law, and therefore with due regard for natural right, or are they mere conventions, fabricated by arbitrary human will and applied not by reasonable persuasion but by manipulation (of the truth, of the passions) or brute force.
          Madison said (Federalist 51) that “if men were angels, no government would be necessary”. Your statement that government is never needed to enforce the natural law is wishful thinking, at least until there is a new heaven and a new earth, as the Scripture envisions. Until then, the redemption of humanity’s fallen nature works through the Gospel transformation of individuals, and through the operation of laws they may influence for good.
          The notion that on its own human freedom produces lawful results, whether expressed in the socialist worship of government or the licentious libertarian’s worship of human free will, reflects the explicit or tacit denial that God is the Creator, ruler and judge of the universe. That’s why I am, like the American founders, a natural law/natural right libertarian.
          I often wonder at the fact that so many of the free will libertarians profess to revere the Constitution. Yet they forget that the aim of its framers, and of the Constitution itself, is the establishment of a strong national government, albeit one disciplined and constrained by respect for natural right.

          • Brian Brady May 24, 2010, 9:17 am

            “Of course some aspects of an individual’s economic activity are subordinate to rules made by the State. That is the cornerstone of civil society, not positivism.”

            I think this is where we disagree. I ask you to consider that State rules can sometimes cloud market demand for a participant’s reputation. Occupational licensing is an example that comes to mind.

            Thank you for the dialogue.

  • Chiu Chun-Ling May 23, 2010, 1:07 am

    A careful and necessary distinction, and one that bears consideration. An entity that wishes to avoid accommodating the public must not give the established markers of being a public accommodation.

    However, I apply the principle of “burden of proof” in the opposite direction in this case. Where the “public interest” represented by the court insists that an accommodation was public, the burden of proof lies on the public, not the private interest. It is also incumbent on the government to avoid infringing on intentionally private interactions, such as a home-based business (selling handmade scented candles, for instance). Where the government is so intrusive as to attempt to regulate such clearly private activities as though they were a public accommodation, it is insufficient to point out the application for a business license or similarly required paperwork as proof that the house where these candles are made (along with the candles themselves) is a “public accommodation”.

    In the current regulatory environment, only specific invitations made to the public at large at the free discretion of the private owners could fulfill the burden of proof, because only these are not required of everyone attempting to provide any kind of good or service, no matter how personalized in nature. To reasonably change the bar of proof of something being provided as a “public accommodation”, the government must not require even a remote fraction of what it now does with respect to anyone attempting to contribute their services to the economy.

    • loyaltoliberty May 23, 2010, 1:19 pm

      “An entity that wishes to avoid accommodating the public must not give the established markers of being a public accommodation.” Bravo. This is the gist of it. I would just reformulate it slightly to focus on the issue of discrimination. “An entity that wishes to avoid accommodating everyone must not assume the public posture associated with doing so, which posture shall be indicated by established markers such as…” On this basis one could easily develop a legislation and a jurisprudence with respect to discrimination that is specific, limited and predictable (unlike the license to legislate trendy elite prejudices the courts now exercise.)
      I think the development of clear, common sense markers actually deals with the “burden of proof” problem. Absent any of the established markers, the burden of proof clearly falls on the government, or the individuals asking that the government intervene. The greater the number of markers present, the more that burden of proof shifts to the entity in question.
      The first step is to establish and publicize the markers. In the first instance, this should be done legislatively, with provision in the law for updating the list of markers in light of actual administrative experience. Then ask all entities conducting business to declare their posture public or private in light of those markers. Allow them to indicate an inability to do so or simply to refuse outright, but make clear that in any case their declaration or lack thereof is subject to administrative review or legal challenge in the courts.
      As for the current regulatory environment, I think it is partly the result of the fact that the legal and political elites have abandoned their obligation (in light of their sworn duty to uphold the democratic, republican, constitutional form of government) to discipline their actions and decisions with reasoning that respects natural right. Like its better known corollary, the presumption of innocence, the presumption of liberty is a consequence of natural right. As formed and informed by the Creator, every human being is free to do all the corresponds to the Creator’s will for their existence (i.e., all that is consistent with the determinations or laws through which the Creator fashions and preserves their nature.) When they freely come together with the common purpose of obeying and respecting “the laws of nature and of nature’s God”, human beings form a civil society. Government is the institution through which that civil society acts as such. It must therefore respect the common purpose of civil society (as distinct for example from a society of pirates or gangsters), which is to obey and respect the determinations of the Creator in consequence of which every individual human being exists (i.e., stands free as a particular, distinct, formed and informed entity) and preserves itself as what it is supposed (first by the Creator’s knowledge, and subsequently also by its own ) to be.
      The Creator’s determination in respect of every human being’s individual existence and the existence of humanity as such, is the basis for unalienable right. So the aim of government is to secure (assure the safe existence of) unalienable rights. The powers of government are justly employed only when used with respect for this aim. But the free existence of each individual is the antecedent substance of unalienable right. Therefore government’s powers are justly employed only when used with respect for each individual’s freedom.
      This does not mean that government power is never used to limit or prohibit the free action of individuals. It means that such constraints are justified only when necessary to assure they can act safely. The obvious and often used illustration of this is the system of roads, signs, lights, rules, etc. that allow traffic to move safely from one place to another. The mistake people make is to think that government is the traffic cop, when in its most general sense the term refers to the whole dynamic network, and all the activity and decisions whereby it operates. (Obviously in this general sense the term includes not only the entities we usually think of, but also the household and even the internal discipline of every individual, i.e., self-government in its literal form.)
      In terms of this analogy, government regulation as a function of natural right aims only to assure the safe and free flow of traffic. This secure freedom is the common good of the society. (Remember, however, that since freedom is defined in terms of natural right, safety involves excluding from the flow whatever violates natural right. Such things are, in principle, contraband.) Individuals and the fleets they naturally form determine where things are going and for what purpose.
      The totalitarian socialists, liberals, corporate socialists, and other promoters of the comprehensive, administrative state reject this concept of the common good. They see it as the purpose of government to secure goods for all, not to secure the rights whereby individuals move to secure (i.e., justly to determine, procure and hold on to) goods for themselves. This means that government must decide upon and act to secure (procure and hold on to and distribute) goods of every kind. But in doing so it must necessarily usurp, repress and eventually eliminate altogether the individual’s unalienable right to do all these things. It must abandon the common good as determined by the Creator.
      The imperialistic expansion of the government’s regulatory power is therefore not a consequence of the way the current system works or doesn’t work. It results from the fact that the system is undergoing a radical paradigm shift, from one that sees decent freedom (i.e., the exercise of natural right) as the common good, to one that caters to the common desire for goods (e.g., food, drink, toys, pleasure, money, and self-esteem) in order to assume control of all power, which is the ultimate good, (as it procures all the rest) and the one that matters most once desire slips the constraints of “the laws of nature and of nature’s God.”

      • Chiu Chun-Ling May 23, 2010, 8:21 pm

        I would be more particular about the basic characteristic of totalitarian governments and how they view the “common good”, it is not the idea of totally equal distribution of goods for all (which no such government has even honestly attempted, no matter their rhetoric). It is not even in their definition of “common good” so much as their understanding of “good” itself.

        For the totalitarian, goodness is not connected with entirely voluntary action, as it is in the Christian view. To the Christian, it is the willing sacrifice of what is naturally one’s own that really counts, and the grudging gift or largess with another’s natural property is of no virtue. This means that both freedom to give or withhold and real respect for natural property rights are absolute prerequisites for any “good” action. If a person cannot claim individual ownership of anything, or cannot refuse to give it up, no good deed can ever be done.

        But the totalitarian does not require that actions be voluntary or that they deal with what is really the giver’s own to give. Thus property rights and freedom are unnecessary for “good” to be done. Of course, this formless and undefined conception of “good” does not exclude any of the acts that we would generally call “evil” or even “abhorrent”, such as theft, brutality, prostitution, rape, murder, and eventually genocide. Christ said “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” By removing the concepts of voluntary action and natural ownership from consideration, the totalitarian is able to think of a far “greater love”, the systematic torture and murder of millions carried out under compulsory orders to serve “posterity” (naturally, only the posterity of those not exterminated).

  • J Stuart May 22, 2010, 8:36 pm

    Alan, much as I agree with you on so many things, I must take exception here. That’s because public is as public does. Or to put it another way, some things or places are more public than others.
    If I want to start a … (fill in with your preferred group: Oriental, Kenyan, red-headed, veterans, Christians, women, right-wingers, …) restaurant that will be open only or mainly to that group, I should be able to. Some choices might be stupid choices, but the constitution allows for it. (If it’s a blacks-only or a whites-only restaurant, public opinion may keep it from lasting, but it’s certainly not unconstitutional, dumb as it is in this culture. )
    But to do the same for a govt facility would be wrong. It’s publically run and publically owned, whereas the restaurant (or whatever), is privately owned. There are enough YouTube videos of digruntled waiters or hotel-cleaning crew getting upset with patrons and getting back surreptiously. Do you really want to eat at a left-wing owned and run restaurant? Most people will be OK, but there are extremeists who can make you wish you’d stayed away (if you only knew what they were doing in the background – including illegally without your knowledge).
    Or, why can’t I have a semi-public [public use, private ownership] theater? If I’m a Christian (or a …), I might not mind showing secular movies — but I should still have the right to say I will decide which movies I’ll allow. The way you described things above , if my theater is open to the public, I would also have to allow movies that I might consider raunchy. And I don’t think you really believe that. Accordingly, somebody can be stupid and say they’ll allow blacks into their restaurant, but not whites, or vice versa. It is constitutional but short-sighted or stupid.

    • loyaltoliberty May 22, 2010, 11:51 pm

      J. Stuart, thanks for your comment.
      I expected someone to respond as if the word “public” is used in the piece to refer exclusively or even mainly to ownership. It is not. I use the term public to refer to anything that takes place in the public square under the pretext of offering goods or services to everyone. If people wish to associate on a more restricted basis, they may certainly do so, so long as they do not seek to establish their association in the public sphere. Even as things now stand, truly private schools, clubs, golf courses and the like can still practice racial discrimination. It is changing mores that have made such things more rare, not the force of law. You also miss the import of the phrase “otherwise open to everyone” and therefore confuse two very different circumstances. Saying “I will admit everyone but whites” is different than saying “I will admit no one who is not Sicilian (or Muslim, or a graduate of MIT.) Any activity that assumes the posture of being open to everyone takes a public posture. From that posture, discrimination based on unalienable properties is inconsistent with the premise of human equality. (Once the public posture is assumed, putting up a “blacks only” sign doesn’t alter the public nature of the premises. A truly private activity is like a building with no public entrance. By contrast, a building with an entrance on the public square assumes a posture that is open to everyone.) Thus any business or activity that is not structured to avoid assuming a public posture cannot violate the rules of justice that apply to that assumption.
      Public also refers to anything that infringes upon the most basic requirements of public justice, order and decency. Though I have the right to keep people out of my home (or other premises that I operate on a purely private basis) if I don’t like the looks of them, I don’t have the right to take one of my children into the basement back room and do away with them. Some acts, wherever and however they are done, violate rules of right and wrong that government has an obligation to respect and enforce.
      So some rules apply everywhere. Others only apply when matters are brought into the public square. Racial discrimination is no different in that regard than any other action or activity that publicly harms morals (i.e., morally degrades those who publicly participate or are exposed to it). Sado-masochists may privately indulge their inclination to be whipped like beasts. But even in our less than fastidious times, they are restricted from doing so in the public square, whether the particular portion of it in question is owned by the government or by McDonalds.
      The article lays out the logical connection between the basic American premise of justice ( we are all created equal and endowed by our creator with unalienable rights) and the requirement that, in the arenas exposed to all, all must be treated with equal respect for their humanity.
      In your comment you also fail to distinguish between discrimination based on natural attributes, and discrimination that is not. Oriental, Kenyan, Italian, right-winger, and veterans for example are not any of them references to exclusively natural characteristics. The violation of natural right can only take place where natural characteristics (i.e., things characteristic of the way God made you) are involved. That is the sense in which I use the term “race” in the article, and its meaning when the term racism is applied with respect for its real history.
      Society could not function without all kinds of discrimination. Without it, no distinction could be made for voting and other purposes between citizens and non-citizens. Without it, orthodox Jewish congregations, churches and political parties could not exclude those who do not share their religious practices, faith or political views, and so on.
      The conclusion you draw with respect to types of movies, etc. therefore has no relevance to the natural property rights (i.e., rights arising from a natural property) the piece discusses. In fact, the wisdom of the argument drawn from natural right is that it narrowly specifies the criteria that forbid discrimination, while leaving other criteria of taste, sentiment, private preferences and private morals free from government interest or interference. Unlike the unfounded view of rights as unfettered freedoms, the natural right understanding specifies the requirements of justice in order to leave room for common sense and the operation of normal human affinities.

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