Freedom is simple. You have a right to be left alone by me, and I have a right to be left alone by you. Neither of us has a right to force others to initiate action or expend energy on our behalf. You own yourself. I own myself. Period. That includes our peaceful activity, and our decisions about how to spend the time God gives us to live. As a result, we acknowledge the truth of free association. Freedom of association entails the freedom to not associate, for if one is not free to exclude, one is not in control of his or her own life; one does not own himself or herself. One is a slave.
Evidently, Dana Nessel, the Attorney General of Michigan, doesn’t understand these basic principles.
Or she does, and she doesn’t care to respect them because she doesn’t think the state forcing people to do things is a type of slavery.
As Calvin Freiburger reports for LifeSiteNews, Ms. Nessel is planning to appeal a MI Court of Claims ruling that found in favor of the right of people to decide they’d rather NOT do work for someone.
The Detroit News reports that the case concerns the Sturgis wedding venue Rouch World, which had declined to host a same-sex ‘wedding’; and Marquette business Uprooted Electrolysis, which denied service to an ‘individual transitioning from a man to a woman,’ both for religious reasons.
And it shouldn’t matter whether a person wants to deny service or anything else to someone due to religious reasons. One should be able to control his or her life based on any reason one sees as justified. Otherwise, others control you. Period.
But, sadly, many contemporary Americans don’t clearly see or adhere to the right of others to freely associate or not associate. Instead, the forest is missed for the statutory trees, as Freiburger explains:
The (Michigan) Elliot-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA) forbids discrimination on the basis of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status,’ The Hill notes. While the Michigan Civil Rights Commission interpreted it to extend to sexual orientation and gender identity in 2018, Judge Christopher Murray ruled Monday that the law did apply to gender identity but not to sexual orientation.
Well. See? The rules that other people have created about how YOU can interact or not interact with people in MI are laid out and have been reviewed, and there’s a little wiggle room. It’s cool. And there’s more:
‘If defendants determine that a person treated someone who ‘identifies’ with a gender different than the gender that he or she was born as, then that is dissimilar treatment on the basis of sex, and they are entitled to redress that violation through the existing (Michigan Department of Civil Rights) procedures,’ he wrote. But he also determined that ‘sex’ could not be taken to mean ‘sexual orientation’ according to a 1990 Court of Appeals precedent.
But Atty General Nessel doesn’t like that, because, of course, it might allow some people to “discriminate.” So:
‘I respectfully disagree with the Michigan Court of Claims on its ruling in this case as it relates to sexual orientation,’ said Nessel, invoking the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous decision this summer in Bostock v. Clayton County, which redefined ‘sex discrimination’ in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to add sexual orientation and gender identity, in addition to its original biological meaning.
And that brings us close to the bud of the problem. While many contemporary Americans applaud the 1964 Civil Rights Act for removing many Jim Crow laws and insuring members of racial or ethnic minority populations the right to vote, the so-called “Public Accommodations Portion” of the federal statute officially called formerly private property “public” if it was open to customers.
This terminology is, of course, flawed, because public property is only that on which tax money is spent, but this redefinition opened the flood gates to numerous additional statutes on the federal level (such as the 1992 Americans with Disabilities Act pushed and signed by George H. W. Bush) and on the state level, as we see in Michigan.
And that 1964 Civil Rights Act was, itself, preceded by a terrible US Supreme Court ruling in 1946 called Marsh v. Alabama -- a case in which the majority of Justices ruled that a private campus built by a ship-making company in Alabama was not private property, but was, according to the Justices, “public” property.
This has utterly destroyed the concept of private property among generations of Americans such that they often overlook the fact that a private business is just that - privately owned -- and the owner has the right to deny service, even if it is detrimental to his or her bottom line, since he or she is losing a paying customer.
If the state can force a business owner to serve someone, can the state force a customer to frequent the shop of someone he or she might not like?
Can the state force a black man to frequent the shop of a KKK member if the latter is in the “minority” of a town’s or state’s population?
We lost Walter Williams two weeks ago, and the eminent economist and political philosopher was quick to teach people that all living creatures discriminate. Discrimination is not a bad thing. It simply means to choose between two or more options which is best for oneself. He noted that when he proposed to the woman who became his wife, he “discriminated” against other women.
Should he have married all of them? Dated all of them? Should a woman have to date any man who asks her out?
Sadly, these fundamental questions about self-ownership and preferences, about free will and association, are lost on people like AG Nessel.
And the principles are lost in the day-to-day arguments about identity politics, when the principles themselves are essential for any human to identify his or her integrity as a self-owning individual.