Monday, May 01, 2006

Discrimination is an Essential American Liberty

I’m a victim. All around me, people are constantly discriminating against me. Just because I’m not a Revolutionary War descendant, I can’t get that scholarship award. If I try to walk into Costco, I’m shunned for being cardless. I can’t even sign up for a payment plan with Capital One. Wrong age, wrong family, wrong bank account (as in empty). Help! This isn’t fair. Actually, discrimination isn’t all bad.

Every person uses standards to make decisions. This differentiation is discrimination. In the article, “The Right to Discriminate,” Michael Miller wrote, “In fact, discrimination is essential. You can't live without it. You can't live for a day, let alone a lifetime, without continually choosing one thing and setting aside others, without preferring one thing to another.”

When a person chooses chocolate double chunk over vanilla ice cream, he displays bias. When an employer compares three interviewees and chooses one, he has indicated that one interviewee has more desirable qualities than another. Not only is type of distinction and choice appropriate, but it is necessary to life.

Foundational American liberties include freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the freedom to organize and protest. Choice, which is discrimination, is imperative to liberty. Without it, freedom doesn’t mean anything. defines freedom: The capacity to exercise choice; free will.

A couple of weeks ago, parade organizers and John Dunleavy, parade committee chairman of a St. Patrick’s Day Parade, refused to allow the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization from participating in their parade. Although the gay rights campaigners boycotted the parade because they thought it unfair, the parade organizers simply used their American freedom to express a choice.

Imagine what a prochoice parade organizer might say if they were forced to allow a prolife group to march in their parade. Private organizations should have the right to exclude whom they wish.

Dictatorships force those under them to conform to their standards. A couple of weeks ago in Afghanistan, Abdul Rahman, a man who converted from Islam to Christianity, was imprisoned and almost killed for becoming a Christian. United States citizens should rejoice that our government doesn’t dictate choice.

Professors at colleges discriminate when they grade one paper higher than another. Costco discriminates when they require membership for entrance. Parade organizers discriminate when they exclude groups contrary to their platform. Even if someone finds a particular choice offensive, the right of private organizations and citizens to hold that position should be protected.

Voltaire put it nicely, “I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it.”

You may also enjoy my other post on this topic: The Right to Discriminate.


Wholesome Works said...

Terrific post!

I never really thought of discrimination in this way. I was taught to think all discrimination was bad.


Elizabeth Ellen Moore said...

This was great! Discrimination is a touchy issue, and you are right. Even those who would complain about being discriminated against do in fact discriminate against others. You put it very well.