Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Subsidize Interracial Marriage

In case you haven't heard, a Louisiana justice of the peace recently refused to marry an interracial couple because of his "concern is for the children." Granted his concern may be real, it seems to me that the we should subsidize, not restrict, interracial marriage. As I shared as a link before, Iraq actually pays Sunnis and Shiites $2,000 to marry each other. As a libertarian this seems like a better alternative than most failed and possibly unconstitutional government intervention to end racism (hate crime laws, workplace discrimination laws, and laws forcing the hand of businesses). Perhaps it would help to cancel out the social costs to these relationships that have huge positive externalities for all of us.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. You don't really think we should end hate crime laws. Surely you don't think that.

    You think government subsidizing desirable social conditions (interracial marriage) is better than government protecting people's rights and freedoms from the actions of other people (hate crimes, workplace discrimination)? My friend, I'd say that is distinctly un-libertarian -- at best.

  3. Let me clarify my statement about hate crime laws. I think violent crimes should be punished accordingly. But I don't think violent crimes are different because they are racist/sexist/homophobic etc. Hate crime laws punish speech + action when I feel like just the action should be punished. These laws may have good intentions, but I think they are bad for free speech.

    "You think government subsidizing desirable social conditions (interracial marriage) is better than government protecting people's rights and freedoms from the actions of other people"

    No. Workplace discrimination, as much as I don't like it, is a freedom. I believe employers should be free to use whatever standards they wish in hiring their workers. Entrepreneur's own their businesses, employees don't own their jobs.

    The best thing about these problems is that they should (but not always) be small. CEO's find it very valuable to hire the best employee for the best price (no matter what race or sex). However, you don't have to remind me about Jim Crow and pre-Civil Rights America. As bad as those times were, I don't think it would still exist today. Companies are generally more greedy than they are discriminatory (especially in a globally competitive market).

  4. So I presume you consider a company refusing to hire someone on the basis of their race not to be an infringement on their freedom. I must say, for a libertarian, I find that a pretty low regard for freedom.

    Please explain to me why the government should take my money from me (upon threat of jailtime) so it can try to convince other people to marry for money, a practice which I believe (and hopefully you agree) is no way to start a marriage.

    You may consider that companies are more greedy than discriminatory, but I'm afraid the majority of American history disagrees with you. You told me not to quote history to you so I won't, but I will point out that the Civil Rights act took 188 of our 233 years as a nation to pass, and companies weren't exactly rushing towards equality when it did.

  5. I think I have a high regard for individual freedom. I don't think people have the freedom to not be discriminated against by other individuals because they always will be. Whether that discrimination is based on race, sex, height, weight, attractiveness, or even intelligence, it is going to happen.

    As for subsidizing interracial marriage, that was just what I saw as a more effect alternative to past attempts to end racism. I of course would prefer none, but if racism is something you want to get rid of, blocking interracial marriage is probably the worst thing you can do.

    Do you think that if the Civil Rights movement didn't have sit ins lunch counters would still be segregated? I don't think so. But even if they were, I think business owners have the right to discriminate however they like, no matter how much I disagree with it.

    Now that I think about it, is it illegal for a business to refuse customers based on race/sex/sexual preference? Google couldn't help me.

    Let me also add I do support laws that ban discrimination by government (schools, libraries, parks, etc).

  6. I'll make this is my last comment.

    Saying that people don't have the freedom not to be discriminated against because they always will be sounds to me like a low regard for individual freedom. To me, that's the same thing as saying there will always be theft, so we shouldn't outlaw it. I consider discriminating against someone to be intentional harm towards that person. It is an attack on their freedom. And thus it should be against the law.

    In regards to subsidizing marriage, if you would "prefer none," then why are you suggesting it in the body of this post? I now take you to be saying you don't think subsidizing interracial marriage is a good idea, you just think blocking it judicially is bad. And I agree.

    Indeed I do think that if the Civil Rights movement had not occurred, lunch counters would still be segregated, though that's as hypothetical a situation as I can imagine. I know you disagree, but I think when companies are made up of racist people, they will act as a group of racists would, regardless of their objective bottom line. I would point out as I did before that almost 200 years of racial history in this country supports this idea.

    It is my understanding that it is illegal in most, if not all states to refuse service based on race. But I'm not positive.

    Before I go, I want to say that after considering what you said, I'm not sure where I stand on hate crimes. I was factoring a little too much of my perception that you view racial and sexual discrimination to be somewhat a thing of the past in this country into your words. I'm not sure myself if people should be punished more by law if the crime they commit is done with hateful intentions.


You are the reason why I do not write privately. I would love to hear your thoughts, whether you agree or not.