Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Battle of Moralities

Gosh, that was fun! So many fascinating discussions from the posts of the last few days, thank you all who engaged in one place or other.

So, I have to tackle Arizona because apart from anything else it is a perfect illustration of why this whole morality thing is such an issue. In Arizona two moralities are coming face to face.

Just in case you don't know, a new law* has been passed in Arizona that gives business owners the right to refuse service to anyone based on religious sensibilities. It is called religious freedom, but of course, it's nothing of the sort. The vast majority of observers liken it to Jim Crow and they are spot on. I make no bones about my opposition to this law, there's no point, my biases are right up front. This is legalized bigotry.

But it's also a situation where moralities clash, because while this law is based one type of morality (purity, and let's not pretend otherwise, it's about sex, because it's aimed at LGBT people)  it inevitably leads to another type of immorality, namely harm. It could potentially lead to physical harm, this is not a law that will simply be accepted quietly, nor should it be.

So, first things first, the plans I had to visit Arizona are cancelled until this is repealed, and if I find myself there by accident, as I have done before, I won't be spending any money. I apologize in advance to the decent people of Arizona, but monetary sanctions are the only thing that ever works. I'm also well aware that losing my business won't hurt them, but we have to start somewhere.

And you might say, never mind this, the situation is far worse in Uganda, and you'd be right. The difference is that nobody expects any better of Museveni and his crew, they are the scum of the Earth. One would hope that those representing a Western state would have more sense, but apparently not.

Does a business owner have any right to refuse business. Absolutely. And it can be for no good reason. Too tired, felt like closing early. Just felt like. Nobody has any right to service.

We already have many businesses who simply don't open on Sundays because of their religious beliefs. But discriminating against specific customers, that's a whole other issue. That's low.

The last thing these bigots need is encouragement.

Look, any of these people can and have said "Sorry, don't want that order". They make themselves look bad, and when it becomes public some will boycott them and some will applaud them. That's how the world is. We don't have to like it.

But this stuff is insidious. When you legalize this type of discrimination you make other types of discrimination easier. That's why they do it. This has nothing to do with religious freedom and everything to do with a desire  by bigots to persecute the (in their view) subhuman. They are, as usual, using religion as an excuse, because we have some crazy urge to automatically respect religious beliefs.

* I've been informed it has yet to pass. This is my error. There is hope.


  1. The biggest problem I see with any kind of discrimination: when you can say of any fellow-human being "You're not like me" referring to any ridiculous excuse you can think of to discriminate against; eye color, length of hair, choice of footwear, political / religious choices etc. you have a basis for saying "I can do this to you because you're not human (according to my definition of human, and therefore I don't recognize that you have any rights at all.)"

    1. Exactly that, yes. Now - this is not new. If you go back in time to early tribes that was how they discriminated, how they justified their discrimination. "Other" was less human than themselves. That was normal. I think we've moved past that.