Two kinds of discrimination

Jun 24, 2018 by

by Andrew Lilico, Conservative Home:

Contrast the following two questions:

    1. “Should I sell an alcoholic a newspaper?”
    2. “Should I sell an alcoholic a bottle of whisky?”

In the first case, the moral question turns on issues such as whether it is appropriate for me to express my disapproval of this individual’s lifestyle, or signal to that individual that she needs to seek help, by refusing to trade with her in the way I might trade with others.  The second case is importantly different.  In that case the issue is not simply about what duties I owe to the individual or the signals I want to send out to that person or to the rest of the world.  In the second case the issue is whether I should involve myself in the alcoholic’s error by selling her alcohol – whether I should facilitate things I think wrong.

I do not claim that acts of the first form are always wrong.  I have, for example, noted previously that I consider shunning a perfectly legitimate practice in a free society.  But I do want to assert that they are importantly different from those of the second.

For example, it would be perfectly possible to imagine a society with laws that forbade acts of the first sort but permitted those of the second sort.  We could have a non-discrimination law that said that publicly-offered commercial transactions could not be withdrawn simply on the grounds that one disapproved of those seeking to take up such offers, but that (within reason) no-one could be obliged to specifically facilitate behaviours they disapproved of.  So, you couldn’t refuse to sell an alcoholic a newspaper, but you could refuse to sell her alcohol.

If we therefore focus upon Type 2 discrimination (i.e. the refusal to engage in commercial acts that specifically facilitate acts one considers immoral) it is instructive to reflect upon a number of cases.  Consider the following ten examples (noting that my question is not about what is or is not permitted under the law as it stands, but, rather, about what ought to be the case):

Read here

Read also: Sarah Sanders says she was kicked out of restaurant because she works for Trump, CNN


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