Monday, August 09, 2004

While reading Eric Muller's posts on Michelle Malkin, most of which are double posted at Volokh I ran into this post on a religious discrimination case.
A woman has apparently been fired by a Muslim-owned company because she ate pork on the premises. Is this illegal religious discrimination?
No, just as a Christian-owned company's firing an employee because he is a homosexual is not illegal religious discrimination. Antidiscrimination laws bar people from discriminating based on the employee's religion. An employer may still discriminate based on their employee's conduct — food preferences, sexual preferences, and the like — because of the employer's beliefs, whether those beliefs are religious or secular.

I agree with the decision but not Volokh's logic. Preference is not conduct. And eating bacon -or sucking cock- at home is not the same thing as bringing a lunch of pork fried rice into a synagogue, or getting butt-fucked in a cathedral.

I'm amused by those who defend freedom at home, but refuse to accept the degree to which our powers as a state are derived from the powerlessness of others. I remember an old friend who used to defend Israel as a socialist country. Muller's criticism of Malkin's book is a rebuttal to her arguments about the history of internment. Malkin seems to have cobbled together an argument about the past out of whatever she could find to make the case for something she believes about the present. It's bad scholarship, but is scholarship even the point? In his most recent post after going through her list of parallels between WWII and the 'War on Terror" [my scare quotes] Muller writes:

On page xxx of the book's Introduction ("A Time To Discriminate"), Michelle tells us to "[m]ake no mistake": she is "not advocating rounding up all Arabs or Muslims and tossing them into camps."
She's not?


Is Muller being ironic here? I don't know. Some things can be hinted at but not stated. Malkin is denying the obvious. So what? It serves her purpose. Perhaps -probably- she's confused, but pointing out the illogic won't help. What Muller should be doing is responding less to her arguments, which are shallow, than to her fears, which aren't. Her research is a facade. Ignore it. Respond to her reasons for building it.

But back, briefly, to the religious freedom case. What is the reason, the justification, for the limiting of free association? Why the constraints on illiberal opinion, or more concretely on the ability to act on them? Why limit the rights of people to indulge their religious beliefs, or their racial or sexual paranoia?
Freedom of speech as an idea is predicated on an ideal of curiosity. Let a thousand flowers bloom. The Market is predicated on a single dominant social relation, a relation which some would call the lowest common denominator of human existence. If life is predicated on this relation, then nothing should get in its way. One should not be allowed to be racist or religious or illogical in public because they all limit the market. The lowest common denominator, discounting family, neighborhood, community, language, literature and pleasure itself, rules the scene. This is called freedom.

I'll link to this just because it makes me laugh, and because liberalism has no response.

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