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Pizza with a Sprinkling of Nuts

Michelle Malkin passes on the story of a Danish pizzeria owner, Aage Bjerre, who got in trouble with the law. Seems that he refused to serve French or German customers because of their governments' decision not to stand by President Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq. Because he refused to pay the fine, Bjerre's going to spend a few days in jail. Malkin thanks the man for his support and implies that he's some sort of hero.

I disagree. If Danish law requires that a restaurateur not discriminate against customers based on nationality, then he is obliged to obey that law and not discriminate against people based on nationality.

But legal issues aside, his actions are still reprehensible. Imagine, for example, if Bjerre refused to serve Catholics because he disagreed with the pope's stand on birth control. Or if he refused to serve senior citizens because he disagrees with government-funded pension programs. What these, too, be right?

Discrimination based on nationality is no less bigoted than discrimination based on age, gender, race, or religion. That Bjerre chooses to dress up his bigotry with American flags and pictures of President Bush and Laura Bush does not change the fundamental nature of his bigotry.


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Comments (78)

Whatever, Penny. I'm sendin... (Below threshold)
Josh Davenport:

Whatever, Penny. I'm sending him ten bucks.

I hear you pennywit, but wo... (Below threshold)
earth:

I hear you pennywit, but wouldn't it be nice if people could peacably run their business as they see fit? No piece of crap government is going to tell me what to think, even if they force my actions into conformity. You're right though, he's a wackjob.

Earth:If I may, ho... (Below threshold)

Earth:

If I may, how would you react if an American restaurant closed its doors to, say, whites? Or Jews? Or blacks?

--|PW|--

Well, having had a COSTCO c... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Well, having had a COSTCO cashier refuse to hand back my membership card and instead opt to throw it on the floor after I paid for my goods the morning after the last Presidential election -- me standing there with a smile, payment in full, valid membership and a tiny American flag lapel pin on my blouse -- from a company known to be a highly active meeting and greeting and funding organization for the DNC, I'd say that the pizza guy was fed up with the issue of liberal outrage.

I don't know what the "laws" are in his place of business, but if they require a non-discrimination behavior based upon nationality, fine, but the guy didn't discriminate based upon nationality, from what you write here.

You might want to go refresh your understandings of the words, "discrimination" (to "discriminate") and what "on the basis of nationality" mean.

And, if and when you can tell from looking a person over what their religion is, let me know. I'd be interested to read about that special power.

Hmmm.Then I'd supp... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

Then I'd suppose those signs that read "No shirt, no shoes, no service" is discriminatory towards those people without either shirts or shoes.

Or perhaps, at least in America, businesses can choose whom to do business with.

Go figure.

S --He did, in fac... (Below threshold)

S --

He did, in fact, refuse to serve French and German customers; he was judged in violation of Danish law regarding discrimination based on nationality, and he has been sentenced.

--|PW|--

If I may, how would you ... (Below threshold)

If I may, how would you react if an American restaurant closed its doors to, say, whites? Or Jews? Or blacks?

Me, I'd go to another restaurant. You?

Ed -- Except, of c... (Below threshold)

Ed --

Except, of course, for the small matter of the Civil Rights Act ...

--|PW|--

And what about pharmacists ... (Below threshold)
frameone:

And what about pharmacists who refuse to fill birth control prescriptions because of their religious beliefs? That fairly flies in the face of decent professional behavior. If such a thing is allowed what happens when Christian Scientists start flocking to pharmacy schools in droves to hand out copies of Science and Health instead of your arthritis or heart medicine?

Malkin would be screaming to high holy heaven if her web host cancelled her account or, say, her gas company rep shut off service to her house because of her political views. These dudes just wanted some pizza.

How about if, instead, this... (Below threshold)

How about if, instead, this guy decorates his place with American flags and pictures of Bush and US Marines? He answers the phone "Bob's Danish Pizza, where we support America and George Bush". Each pizza comes with a little plastic American Flag stuck in it.

That would be a better way to vocally show your support, and when French or German customers complain, tell them to eat somewhere else.

This "bigotry" is different... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

This "bigotry" is different, PW. It's a temporal one based on a transient policy of a government and not one primarily and permanently directed at particular people's except as a secondary consequence. I don't find it to be quite as cut-n-dried as you have presented.

Let me proffer another extreme that goes the other way. Say you have a store and there's a large gathering - I dunno, how about a G8 Summit. As an adjunct, some anarchists meander the streets looking for refreshments which you just happen to sell... but they are currently marching peaceably. However, you are aware of their political activity and disagree with their activism. Searching one's conscience and not finding the inner passivity to reward these hoodlums with your fine recipes (remember, they aren't currently hoodlumming), you decide to deny them entrance into your store.

Is that bigotry? Is he not free to do with his enterprise what he chooses? Outright racism to me seems unfair, but the other -isms I would deem fair game since they are largely based on choice or are transient in nature and entirely reversible.


I'll be ordering some mugs.

Sorry. Misplaced apostrophe... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

Sorry. Misplaced apostrophe above. Maybe persons would've been better.

"Me, I'd go to another rest... (Below threshold)
frameone:

"Me, I'd go to another restaurant. You?"

Yeah, and I'd find another public bus company to ride to work. Or I'd find another state to vote in, or a state I wouldn't get lynched in, or one I could go to a decent school in, or maybe even, use the public swimming pool whenever I wanted, or drink from public drinking fountains ...

Private discrimination works the same way. The victim can find themselves utterly shut off from a slew of basic services or forced to go out of their way to seek those services because of discrimination. It places an undue burden on the lives of those discriminated against. The Supreme Court declared that separate but equal is not justified under the law because separate is not equal. Although I guess those were activist judges. I can't wait til we finally overturn the Civil Rights Act.

pennywit: let me repeat th... (Below threshold)
-S-:

pennywit: let me repeat this...

YOU allege that the man's behavior is synonymous with someone "refusing to serve Catholics..."

I asked YOU how you could suggest that anyone -- this pizza guy or anyone else -- could perceive (and opt to serve or not serve) ANYone on the basis of an assumed religion.

And if YOU know how to perceive a person's religious faith based upon their visual appearance (other than, perhaps, a person in a burkha or wearing a Seik turban or a Buddhist monk or the Pope in his ceremonial clothing or similar...which the normal/average customer in a pizza parlor is not likely to be wearing, by the way, nearly anywhere)...then to please let me know how that evaluation is done.

The man refusing to serve "Germans and French," well, perhaps (so it's described here) but the association YOU made as to a religious discrimination is far fetched to baiting for another discussion altogether.

And that I don't know what "Danish law" says or requires of anyone in business to do anything. If the Netherlands overrule individual rights (a proprietor has no right to refuse service to anyone based upon nationality, as you describe -- I just don't know what it is, other than what you write, which is what I also wrote in first response), then the guy violated his local laws.

However, there's no mention here whether or not at times of war, what an individual's liberties are or are not...in Denmark.

There's no description here of how and upon what the pizza guy made his determinations as to who to serve and who to refuse service to, so, that's a huge unknown.

Maybe he was refusing service to "Germans and French" who yelled and/o were otherwise offensive in his establishment, on his property, who knows.

But, this issue is hardly similar to someone refusing to serve anyone based upon discrimination.

In my view. Unless proven that the guy was targeting, specifically, "nationalities" in refusing service -- very difficult to ever prove unless there's an ongoing standard of discrimination -- I don't see the big news here.

Nor still understand your stretching to try to include religious discrimination as a plea for undue/inappropriate sympathy.

"If Danish law requires tha... (Below threshold)
Mark Flacy:

"If Danish law requires that a restaurateur not discriminate against customers based on nationality, then he is obliged to obey that law and not discriminate against people based on nationality."

As you pointed out, he's going to do jail time. Standard civil disobedience. What's your beef with that?

Don't forget that the simple presence of a law can't force you to do anything. It can simply make you regret not doing something.

Murdoc -- That has me laugh... (Below threshold)

Murdoc -- That has me laughing.

AD -- A few distinctions come to mind. On a legal level, the Danish purveyor of pizza is in the wrong. If the law says "don't discriminate based on nationality," and you discriminate based on nationality, you're screwed.

On the other hand, your anarchist analogy is inapposite. The anarchist has more or less made his choice to be an anarchist; the German or the Frenchman, in contrast, had no choice about being born a German or Frenchman.

S:

Read the links nd use your power of reason. It's possible to draw a few conclusions on Danish law based on a man's going to jail for violating that law.

Also, I bring in religion to gauge reactions to different forms of discrimination. Whether a discriminator can ascertain a customer's religion is irrelevant to the large question of how Wizbang readers react to particular discriminatory attitudes.

--|PW|--

And, most importantly, find... (Below threshold)
-S-:

And, most importantly, finding it very odd that some people here are presuming to force the "reprehensible" rejection upon some Danish guy's behavior...in Denmark...via misapplication of United States legislation...which does not apply to...people in Denmark.

I think the guy might consider displaying his political position (in as abundant a fashion as possible) in and about his store and suggesting alternative pizza parlors to anyone who might not like his political position about anything.

BACK IN THE UNITED STATES, however, the issue of discrimination is often abused by some, to attempt to offend individual liberties.

I agree that there exists some discrimination in our world, and in the United States, specifically (however, I cannot comment about what exists in Denmark for a citizen there since I'm not a citizen/resident of Denmark), but it is rarely "reprehensible" unless it's institutional. Say, for example, publicly funded schools in, say, the state of Hawaii, who disparage and refuse to include Caucasian students in their programs, based upon a presumption of who qualifies on "blood quantity" (racially presuming what a "racial type" is based upon the presumption of the amount of what "racial blood" someone has or does not have) and who does not.

And, pennywit, when you opt to view MSNBC and not FOX News, you're exercising discrimination.

The issue is whether or not governments can and should dictate/require under penalty to individuals how individuals behave, based upon individual preferences. Some of those preferences are substantially harmful to others, most are not.

I wouldn't call the pizza guy a hero anymore than I'd call his behavior "reprehensible." I think he's probably a reasonable guy who only has so much time in every day to act according to his politics and whose politics are respectable.

Proving "discrimination" on the terms that exist in the U.S., based upon "nationality" is something that requires more than a few customers in a pizza parlor, however. Again, what's required in Denmark is an unknown to me, and I'm not going to presume that the Danes are now functioning according to U.S. legislation.

Pennywit: I'd go to another... (Below threshold)
earth:

Pennywit: I'd go to another restaurant too, and probably shoot the bird or worse to that business owner. It's still his business though, not the governments (arguably). Actually, since the eminent domain case the other week, it seems like the whole country is turning into a good ole boy system (sewer) and everything is up for grabs.

Murdoc: That's a fantastic idea!

I think the guy is choosing... (Below threshold)
joe:

I think the guy is choosing the wrong way here. Not ALL French and German people were against invading Iraq, or the polls would have said 100% instead of 70% or whatever.

Murdoc had a better idea: an American-themed restaurant.

Reprehensible or not.... I... (Below threshold)
MikeB:

Reprehensible or not.... In a *free* country, a business owner should be *free* to decide with whom they will or will not conduct business. Why should government use the threat of force to coerce someone to do business with someone else ?

This owner has artificially limited his customer base. Another owner who didn't have such an artificial limitation would have a larger customer base available and therefore be more likely to be able to grow his business at a faster rate. In the long run, the net result his refusal not to serve a selected group would simply cost him business (read:money) and goodwill while accomplishing nothing.

RE: pennywit's post (July 1... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: pennywit's post (July 13, 2005 12:37 PM)

...If the law says "don't discriminate based on nationality," and you discriminate based on nationality, you're screwed.

Yes. There are repercussions to breaking this law and, as mentioned by Mark Flacy, there is Civil Disobedience. Perhaps the law will be changed.


...The anarchist has more or less made his choice to be an anarchist; the German or the Frenchman, in contrast, had no choice about being born a German or Frenchman.

Yes, but they could certainly emigrate to more hospitable climes... they choose to remain French or German. ;)

But seriously, if the proprietor knew the customers were anti-American, his decision would be based on a political basis. If he didn't know this and just rejected them outright with prejudice, then it's a questionable business decision and perhaps offensive to any pro-American/anti-Hussein partisans. Nonetheless, the political decision based on nationality is still a transient one... the natives will just have to go spend lots of money in a more hospitable shop. Perhaps there's a Syrian Shish Kabob Shop down the lane where they can refuel and return later to march in protest. My underlying foundation is that individuals should still retain the right to control their property under practically all conditions. Exceptions arise but the default should be to the benefit of the proprietor. Market forces will self-correct the most egregious violations.

Penny has the heart of a t... (Below threshold)

Penny has the heart of a totalitarian. Any business can refuse service to anyone they want to. Tell me Penny, can I come into your house and start yelling at the top of my lungs? Can I sleep in your driveway? Oh suddenly you get all selective on the concept of private property. You are a joke, I can't believe the Wizbang dudes let you post here (unless it is to make fun of you).

Thank you MikeB, freedom is... (Below threshold)
earth:

Thank you MikeB, freedom isn't really that scary is it? I also doubt a racist like that would have the business a less wacked business owner would have.

Mr. Leftism =, her house is... (Below threshold)
joe:

Mr. Leftism =, her house is not a "Public accomodation" like a store or restaurant.

-S-You said: ... (Below threshold)
Bruce:

-S-

You said:

"And if YOU know how to perceive a person's religious faith based upon their visual appearance (other than, perhaps, a person in a burkha or wearing a Seik turban or a Buddhist monk or the Pope in his ceremonial clothing or similar..."

What about:
A Christian by a cross
An Amish by his beard and dress
A Hindu by the red dot
A Muslim by his beard
A Jew by his hat or the star of David sewn on his sleeve

There are a lot of clues – and those who are prejudice are motivated to find them.

Hey Joe: If your restaurant... (Below threshold)
earth:

Hey Joe: If your restaurant is only yours conditionally, when does the rest of your property become only sort-of yours? Last week in the supreme court? Tomorrow?

I think he handled it wrong... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

I think he handled it wrong. He should have had a sign made.
No Shirt.
No Shoes.
No Deodorant.
No Soap.
No Manners.
No Service!

He could then exclude 3/4s of Europeans without singling out people by nationality.

Pennywit - The res... (Below threshold)

Pennywit -

The restaurant owner is in violation of Danish law. Just as a US business importing proscribed goods from Cuba would be in violation of American law.

His lack of a legal defense doesn't nesessarily back up your moral objections to the practice of discriminating against nationalities. It's a geograhic coincidence in this case.

Bruce:I put an Israe... (Below threshold)
joe:

Bruce:
I put an Israeli flag sticker on my computer in college not because I was Israeli or Jewish, but because I was sick with all the anti-Semitic junk I kep hearing. Amazing how fast stuff stopped--and how many people automatically assumed I was Jewish.

Hmmmm."Except, of ... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

"Except, of course, for the small matter of the Civil Rights Act ..."

Which states that "from discrimination or segregation of any kind on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin". It however doesn't preclude the manager from denying you service because he doesn't like you. Or because you're annoying him.

There's a lot of loopholes in something like this, especially for a restaurant. Sure if the guy yells out "You damn Germans! Get out of here!" then you probably have a case. But if he sits you down and then waitress gives you slow-as-hell service, that's not grounds for any sort of lawsuit.

If it were, then I'm owed a bundle of money from my local diner.

Gee, bullwinkle, get abroad... (Below threshold)
frameone:

Gee, bullwinkle, get abroad much?

Hmmm.Or here's ano... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

Or here's another interesting one. You could put up a sign that reads:

"You are required to say "God bless George Bush" to make your order for food. If you do not say "God bless George Bush, you will not be served."

Is that illegal? Is it covered by the Civil Rights Act? It's not on the basis of race. Or religion. Or color. Or nationality.

Three points and a question... (Below threshold)
GregG:

Three points and a question:
1. You made a point about obeying the law. Some laws said that certain races had to sit at the back of the bus. Those who broke the law were just like the pizzeria owner: sent to jail. The law is no indication of morality, as in right or wrong.
2. I think the owner did a really dumb thing by potentially alienating many Germans and French who agreed with him. Someone's suggestion about the decor would have been a much better solution.
3. It is one thing for a government to discriminate, but another for the government to force someone to associate with those with whom he or she does not wish to associate. Oh, and by the way, it appears the Danish government does discriminate (as do many others) in the way it treats Germans versus the way it treats Ghanans.
Q. Around the time of the start of the second war in Iraq, the news reported that many German businesses were refusing to serve Americans. Does anyone know what happened with those? Did they actually discriminate? Did they even have the opportunity? Was there a law against that? If so, any prosecutions?

'his actions are still repr... (Below threshold)
DUNUT:

'his actions are still reprehensible.'

Reprehensible? What's reprehensible is that any gov't can tell a private business who to sell their products to.

Dunut: yeah dude, that's re... (Below threshold)
earth:

Dunut: yeah dude, that's reprehensible.

"What's reprehensible is th... (Below threshold)
frameone:

"What's reprehensible is that any gov't can tell a private business who to sell their products to."

I'm sorry but how this not an argument for discrimination based on race, religion, politics what have you?

Rules about no shoes and nor shirts are clearly tied to health code and other safety regulations, not simply the owner's social or cultural attitudes.

Second, how many people here really want to live in a country where you have to announce your political or religious views everytime you want to buy a pizza?

Let me get this straight: W... (Below threshold)
Jason:

Let me get this straight: We're allowed to boycott businessess because of whom they choose to do business with, but the business is not allowed to choose whom to do business with?

Umm, OK.

For the record, I don't think the guy should refuse service to individual people, who may or may not agree with their governments, because of the actions of their governments, but he should be allowed to serve whoever the hell he wants. Why can’t someone who opens their own business not be allowed to operate it as they see fit? If he’s willing to take a financial hit, why does government need to get involved? Is this guy really a criminal? And if other customers don’t like it, they can stop going there.

Also, what if an American company only wished to do business with other American companies (Buy American!), would they be violating any discrimination based on nationality laws? Is it a reprehensible act? Should the company be forced to do business with, say, a British company?

Not surprising that everyon... (Below threshold)

Not surprising that everyone missed the real point of the post:

Pennywit gets paid by the comment.

Have one on me, PW! (cha-ching!)

Second, how many people her... (Below threshold)
earth:

Second, how many people here really want to live in a country where you have to announce your political or religious views everytime you want to buy a pizza?


I certainly don't, and this guy is out of business due to lack of customers and vandalism. It didn't require jack booted gov't thugs to do it though. What again is wrong with freedom and market forces?

earth, DUNUT and Leftism= a... (Below threshold)
Phinn:

earth, DUNUT and Leftism= are absolutely right.

The question here is not what the government is doing through the Civil Rights Act (or the Danish equivalent), but whether these governments should be doing these things.

Goldwater opposed the CRA at the time, on grounds of liberty. If only the bloggers had been around then ...

Nor are these collectivist strong-arm laws justified on the grounds that businesses are "public accomodations." That's a distinction without a difference. Labelling somethng "public" does not justify every form of intrusion and control.

The only thing that justifies governmental force is the prevention (or remedying) of actual harm. Is a discriminatory shop owner causing anyone harm? Of course not. One of the basic tenets of the Harm Principle is that refusing to associate or do business with someone is NOT a form of harm.

No harm? No governmental action.

RE: Jason's post (July 13, ... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: Jason's post (July 13, 2005 02:45 PM)

Also, what if an American company only wished to do business with other American companies (Buy American!), would they be violating any discrimination based on nationality laws?

Excellent point. We've limited our focus to individuals at the level of retail, but the ethics of it all should apply universally to be intellectually honest. Very insightful.

Not surprising that ever... (Below threshold)
earth:

Not surprising that everyone missed the real point of the post:

Pennywit gets paid by the comment.

Have one on me, PW! (cha-ching!)
It's not surprising that freedom is a popular subject.

OK, so let me get this stra... (Below threshold)
Bruce:

OK, so let me get this straight,

Several of you seem to say a shop owner should be able to turn away anyone – is that correct? I’m curious, who do you want to turn away? A lefty, an African American, an old person, a U.S. Marine, a W.A.S.P, someone in a wheelchair, a little girl with red hair? What’s your point? Why would you want to turn anyone away unless they were creating a disturbance? If you’re saying you want this right, then you must have some idea how you want to apply it.

Frameone, I've probably spe... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

Frameone, I've probably spent nearly as much abroad, living, not as a tourist as you have spent wasting the oxygen that was intended for decent people. That would mean your whole life, in cast that isn't clear enough for you.

Why am I convinced that we ... (Below threshold)
fatman:

Why am I convinced that we wouldn't be having this discussion if Aage Bjerre had refused to serve American customers because of our government's decision to invade Iraq? (Because he wouldn't have gotten in trouble for THAT.)

Bruce: Forcing a m... (Below threshold)
earth:

Bruce:

Forcing a man to serve another man pizza is slavery.

I’m curious, who do you ... (Below threshold)
Phinn:

I’m curious, who do you want to turn away?

Me? No one. I want every person who is not HARMING anyone else to be LEFT THE HELL ALONE by the government.

See, whenever the government does something, it uses force or the threat of force. That's what government is -- organized force.

Now, force is not always bad, but we have to recognize that there is such a thing as JUSTIFIED force and UNJUSTIFIED force.

Force is only justified to prevent or remedy actual harm. In ordinary life, most people have no trouble understanding this.

When a shopkeeper decides with whom he will (or will not) do business, that is not a form of harm. We should respect his privacy, his autonomy, his fundamental human dignity enough to NOT USE FORCE to make him act in the way we would like him to. When we do such a thing, then WE become the aggressor.

If you disagree with him, then say so (also not a form of harm), or set up a shop across the street and appeal to people's good sense and decency by announcing that you will not discriminate.

Why would you want to turn anyone away unless they were creating a disturbance?

To make a point. To protest. To raise people's awareness. Whatever.

Motives are irrelevant (whether you think them good or bad). What matters is his behavior, which is patently not harmful.

If you’re saying you want this right, then you must have some idea how you want to apply it.

No, what I am saying is that he already HAS this right. It is a fundamental human right to be left alone, to be free from the aggressive use of force (i.e., unless you are causing harm to someone).

As for applying it, that is up to each person to do so, as he sees fit.

Bruce,I don't thin... (Below threshold)
Jason:

Bruce,

I don't think anyone should be turned away. That's entirely different from saying that I think that a business owner should be allowed to turn away whoever he or she pleases (and suffer the financial consequences of doing so).

Have you ever seen signs in businesses that say someting to the effect of: "The management reserves the right to refuse service to anyone"? It's particularly common in bars, but I'm sure it shows up elsewhere.

Anyway, the point is, if I can refuse to use a business because of the politics of the owners(perhaps they donate money to an opposing political party or a non-profit organization I dislike) why can't the business refuse to serve me for the same reason?

I'm not saying it's a good business practice, but why does freedom only go one way?

There's a lot of loopho... (Below threshold)

There's a lot of loopholes in something like this, especially for a restaurant. Sure if the guy yells out "You damn Germans! Get out of here!" then you probably have a case. But if he sits you down and then waitress gives you slow-as-hell service, that's not grounds for any sort of lawsuit.

How about if he puts up a sign that says "No French or Germans allowed"?

Since that's what he did, I think it's kind of a germane question.

Private discrimination w... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

Private discrimination works the same way. The victim can find themselves utterly shut off from a slew of basic services or forced to go out of their way to seek those services because of discrimination.

Eating pizza is a "basic service?" I didn't know.

The Supreme Court declared that separate but equal is not justified under the law because separate is not equal.

In PUBLIC education, they decided that. You know, "public" as in the government pays for it. They never said that about anything else.

RE: Bruce's post (July 13, ... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: Bruce's post (July 13, 2005 03:25 PM)

Several of you seem to say a shop owner should be able to turn away anyone – is that correct? I’m curious, who do you want to turn away? A lefty, an African American, an old person, a U.S. Marine, a W.A.S.P, someone in a wheelchair, a little girl with red hair?

Anyone? No. But certainly some on a whim. For grins, I'll go through your list:
lefty - Hmm. Depends on their ERA. Oh, you mean political lefty. Then yes.
African American - no
old person - no
U.S. Marine - yes
W.A.S.P - WASP no; ASP yes
someone in a wheelchair - no, unless they put themselves in that wheelchair because they got injured in a G8 melee assaulting a cop
little girl with red hair - natural or dye job? :) - no

Notice the pattern for the qualifications? If it's a biological condition in which one has no control, then the discrimination seems to me to be unwarranted. If it is a politically derived condition, then people should be allowed to make their own judgements.


What’s your point? Why would you want to turn anyone away unless they were creating a disturbance?

People have the freedom to be stupid, or whimsical, or rebellious, or lazy, or activist, or any other number of things that helps them live their lives the way they deem appropriate. They are entities unto themselves with inherent rights that are not relinquished to the contemporaneous assemblage of external governing agents. They reserve a sphere of influence whereby their own rights are not subservient.

Why turn away? Hey, no one said you had to be business savvy. Everyone has the right to drive their business into the ground if they want to; or to make a statement in hopes of satisfying a personal ethic; or to create a business model that loses domestically and gains internationally.

The world is oh-so-idiosyncratic... a reflection of its humanity.


Flipping to get to the other side of the coin, do you endorse government intervention to force you to serve everyone no matter what even though that government contributes nothing to your very real material risk? Do you approve of an external entity to define your ethics and/or rules of operation and have those rules be moving targets subject to episodic reapplication depending on the political flavor ruling the day? Do you have an objection to free-market economic dynamics?

Jason and Phinn,I ... (Below threshold)
Bruce:

Jason and Phinn,

I understand your point about freedom and not wanting government interference, but I also think you know that such freedom can and will be terribly abused – in fact such freedom has been abused in the past. What if we aren’t talking about shop owner: the extreme is an ER in a private hospital turning people away? But lets use a more ordinary example, a businessman ostracized just because someone doesn’t like him? If the freedom is given, then some will use it like a mafia don, to run people out of business. I guess my real question is: are there some freedom we have to give up in order to get along? We have laws that restrict our freedom – some of them are essential such as “murder is illegal.” The government forces that one on us – if it didn’t we’d live in chaos. Is the Civil Rights Act really a bad law?

AnonymousDrivelI l... (Below threshold)
Bruce:

AnonymousDrivel

I loved the sentence about “…moving targets subject to episodic reapplication…” it’s very funny because it’s true. No, I don’t have objection to free-market economic dynamics. But on your first point I think we might disagree. Societies stable because of laws. It’s interesting because I think that most people will and can get along without laws, but human kind has proven that without laws there are always a few who will - “over extend their personal space – shove there weight around.” I’m sure you know the value of law, it’s just the extent of law’s application that we may disagree on. If the ideas we’re talking about fall under the Civil Rights Act – then I think it’s a good law. If that mean’s losing some of my freedoms, I’m ok with that. It’s a balancing act, isn’t it, just like the Patriot Act.

Bruce:I'm not OK w... (Below threshold)
earth:

Bruce:

I'm not OK with losing some of my freedoms.

Bruce,Three things... (Below threshold)
Jason:

Bruce,

Three things: 1) I agree that freedom will be abused, but that's not really an argument for limiting freedom. If you only have the freedom to do good things, then you don't really have freedom at all. I believe that cheating on your spouse is morally wrong, but I think people should still be legally allowed to cheat on their spouses.

2) I'm not an absolutist on allowing businesses to have total freedom over their operation, and there are some cases, such as your hospital example, where government would need to step in. However, this is hardly an issue since doctors and other health care workers have legal and professional licenses and certifications that limit what they can and can't do. But I'm not sure government needs to step in to make sure everyone is getting their fair chance at purchasing a pizza.

3) And this kind of thing probably happens more often than we really recognize. I've known of stores that boot out teenagers, the homeless, known or expected shoplifters, etc. I have a friend who was refused service at a bar because the bartender overheard him admitting that he doesn't tip. I doubt someone with a "Bush/Cheney 2004" button on would get much service in a locally-owned bookstore in a college town. I've heard of dance clubs that only allow males who are 25+, while women can be 21+. We turn a blind eye to much of this. I don't think the Danish pizza guy's a hero, but he's not a criminal.

Earth, I don't wan... (Below threshold)
Earth:

Earth,

I don't want to make an assumption here or sound condescending, but does that mean you want to wipe criminal law off the books? Does it mean you're against the Patriot Act? Do you want there to be no laws?

such freedom can and wil... (Below threshold)
Phinn:

such freedom can and will be terribly abused

With all due respect, this is bullshit.

If someone exercises his freedom, that (by definition) is not "abuse." It means that he is acting within the scope of his rights.

What you are really saying is that you do not believe that the shopkeeper in this example has this form of freedom. You can have that opinion, of course, but you should just admit that you are not a defender of freedom.

If the freedom is given, then some will use it like a mafia don

Again, bullshit. The problem with the "mafia dons" is that they use aggression to enforce their business dealings. In particular, they extort money from law-abiding businesses by force or the threat of force, and then claim it is for their own good. And they use violence to maintain secrecy and exclude competition.

are there some freedom we have to give up in order to get along?

No. Any behavior that harms others is, by definition, not a form of freedom. Freedom means to be free from harm caused by others, including (but not limited to) various forms of aggression, (but also extends to other forms of harm like theft, fraud, negligence, breaches of contracts, etc.).

We have laws that restrict our freedom – some of them are essential such as “murder is illegal.” The government forces that one on us – if it didn’t we’d live in chaos.

Again, you are confusing your terms.

"Freedom" does not, by definition, include behavior that causes harm to others. Freedom means freedom from aggression (and the other things listed above). Therefore it cannot include the "freedom to commit murder" or "using aggressive violence against others with impunity." These are nonsensical, self-contradictory phrases.

The correct way to describe it is to say that we have laws that restrict our behavior. The law should be tailored to restrict harmful behavior, which is how it DEFENDS AND SECURES our freedom. When the government enforces laws that restrict our freedom (i.e., non-harmful behavior), then the government goes from being the protector of our freedom to being the destroyer of our freedom.

Is the Civil Rights Act really a bad law?

Yes. Because it undermines the principles of freedom, independence and government by consent of the governed.

The fact that it is promoted on the grounds that it addresses a particularly ugly and politically unpopular aspect of human nature makes it even MORE insidious. People are always willing to take a step down the road of morally unacceptable violence when it is for an purportedly good cause. Remember what they say about the road to Hell.

The end result of laws like this is the promotion of the idea that we are all working at the government's pleasure. That we are only government functionaries. It is part-and-parcel of the mindset that gives us decisions like Kelo, that says that the government has absolute title to all land and can replace anyone with someone who is a better tax-payer (which is indistinguishable from a feudal serf).

Phinn You said: “F... (Below threshold)
Bruce:

Phinn

You said: “Freedom means to be free from harm caused by others, including (but not limited to) various forms of aggression, (but also extends to other forms of harm like theft, fraud, negligence, breaches of contracts, etc.).”

I’m trying to understand your definition of “harm.” Do you think denial of a business to business deal is not something that can cause harm? If a businessman convinces his friend to run someone out of business (for example by not selling him essential parts) just because he doesn’t like him, isn’t that harm? Economic harm?

"If a businessman convinces... (Below threshold)
Jason:

"If a businessman convinces his friend to run someone out of business (for example by not selling him essential parts) just because he doesn’t like him, isn’t that harm? Economic harm?"

That's sort of an odd example. You can refuse to shop at a store where the employees are rude, right? And the store can boot out customers who are rude. Presumably, the rude people in either case are not well liked. So why can't a businessman refuse to sell something to someone he or his friend doesn't like?

I’m trying to understand... (Below threshold)
Phinn:

I’m trying to understand your definition of “harm.” Do you think denial of a business to business deal is not something that can cause harm? If a businessman convinces his friend to run someone out of business (for example by not selling him essential parts) just because he doesn’t like him, isn’t that harm? Economic harm?

No. "Harm" describes a sphere of interests that a person can legitimately claim to deserve protection by the use of force.

In other words, "harm" and "justified use of force" are flip-sides of the same concept -- force is justified when someone causes harm (or threatens harm).

"Harm" does not include things that are merely disagreeable, or disfavored, or "something less than optimal for me."

When someone refuses to do business with someone else (or refuses to associate with someone in any context), that is not a form of harm. That is a purely passive, non-aggressive mode of behavior. The distinction is premised on the idea that you cannot compel someone to act purely for someone else's benefit. That is what we call "slavery."

Verbal criticism (non-defamatory, non-violent) is also not a form of harm. Americans seem to understand this concept in the context of the First Amendment.

Also, when someone enters a line of work, that is not a form of "harm" to those who are already in that line of work. Let's say I enter a market that already has existing producers. I am sure they feel that my doing so is to their detriment (they will have to offer lower prices, a better product, etc.). But if I peacefully and honestly offer my products or services to willing consumers, even if that means that these consumers will be less inclined to patronize the existing producers, then I have not "harmed" anyone. If anything, I have benefitted the consumers.

In your example, you say that some business is "running someone out of business." That is a self-serving and narrow way of looking at the situation. If I refuse to sell to someone (for whatever reason), that creates a profit opportunity for someone else to do so. I have now created a motivated consumer of whatever I a selling, who will now go out and find other producers.

The only way this behavior could be a form of harm is if I had promised to deliver and then breached that promise (i.e., voluntarily assumed the duty to act), or had otherwise defrauded him into believing that I would act in a certain way. This sort of thing is harmful, and therefore actionable.

People have no trouble understanding the general concept of liberty, volntarism and non-aggression in daily life, but for some insane reason feel that when it comes to economic liberty that the rules suddenly change and all bets are off.

To whomever posted in my na... (Below threshold)
earth:

To whomever posted in my name at 4:49 :

What I am saying is making one man serve another man pizza is slavery. Why is the pizza guy in violation of criminal law? Why do you equate this with me wanting anarchy or a state of lawlessness? Why do you insist on forcing this man to SERVE someone he doesn't want too? Is this guy using force against someone? I don't think so.

Yeah, and I'd find anoth... (Below threshold)

Yeah, and I'd find another public bus company to ride to work. [additional non sequiturs snipped]

Frameone, I was answering Pennywit's question, which was about a restaurant. Go play in traffic.

This discussion has taken a... (Below threshold)

This discussion has taken an interesting turn into the freedom to contract and to do business. Any thoughts on market collusion, restraint of trade, and antitrust? How about employment discrimination? Fait housing law? In one way or another, each of these laws restrains the freedom to conduct business. Is this good policy or bad?

--|PW|--

, I bring in religion to... (Below threshold)
-S-:

, I bring in religion to gauge reactions to different forms of discrimination. Whether a discriminator can ascertain a customer's religion is irrelevant to the large question of how Wizbang readers react to particular discriminatory attitudes.--|PW|--Posted by: pennywit at July 13, 2005 12:37 PM

Ah, but PM, you have not explained how, in a pizza parlor, you might imagine some pizzaguy perceives anyone's "religion" based upon how and what they order as to pizza. But, you have confirmed to me that the issue of religion in the context of this Danish guy's pizza parlo is pandering...

As in, just throw in an idea that denying pizzas to some people is based in religious intolerance even when it isn't inorder to "gauge the reactions" of people about an entirely disparate issue than what you're writing about, what the cited news is about.

So, are we now supposed to be upset about some idea of some possible Danish guy with a pizza parlor, denying Catholics pizzas? And that we Catholics wear that "I'm a Catholic" appearance like an outfit when we go into pizza parlors?

I fail to understand your methods here other than you're just trolling for emotional responses based upon some implausible projection that discrimination as to natiionalities in Denmark equates with denying pizzas to Catholics anywhere by way of applying our U.S. laws to all possible.

I'm still curious how you could imagine what scenario as to anyone knowing anyone else's religion within the context of ordering a pizza, such that some idea as to discrimination could ever occur.

People deny service to others all the time. Not all of that merits federal reprimand, and certainly doesn't represent U.S./federal reprimand for a guy in Denmark.

I'm thinking you just wanted to create discomfort about the issue of discrimination and hoped to incite some religious fervor, despite the inappropriateness of the many tangents.

I'd hardly say that they guy's behavior was "reprehensible." Next it'll be "a sin" that he didn't serve anchioves to a Yogi.

You're right he should not ... (Below threshold)
Jim:

You're right he should not have refused to serve the French and German customers. He should have spit in their pizzas or any other food they ordered. LOL. Or he could have added old condoms... naw, I'm getting gross. Nevermind. LOL

I meant used condoms. Not o... (Below threshold)
Jim:

I meant used condoms. Not old condoms. Although if one uses a condom doesn't it become an old condom? I mean, if it's been used it's no longer new. Right? Can I get a clarification on this point, please? LOL

RE: Bruce's "balancing act"... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: Bruce's "balancing act" post (July 13, 2005 04:36 PM)

That is true and has some validity. I guess on this particular behavioral scale, I tilt considerably more to the right with the individual trumping the right of the group. However, the "Patriot Act" reference puts a chink in my argument. I'm not sure how its application would fit; nevertheless, I'd concede that the group needs protection from the individual given the type of harm in play. The harm is not economic which is the paradigm under which we have been debating... generally speaking.

Actually, were individuals free to make their own decisions and defend their own spheres better, the Patriot Act might not be quite so necessary. Then the onus shifts to the group to defend itself from the individual who is actually defending him/herself. This is all so confusing.

In summary... individual good, group bad - stay out of my cave.


PW and "...thoughts on market collusion, restraint of trade, and antitrust...":

Just one - anyone have some spare willowbark to chew on? I understand we had some of this floating around here not to long ago.

Earth,On the 4:49 ... (Below threshold)
Bruce:

Earth,

On the 4:49 comment. I'm sorry. I don't know how that happened. I don' think I entered your name as mine, but there it is so I must have. About my question:

You said "I'm not OK with losing some of my freedoms." That seems like it could apply to criminal law (it does restrict certain freedoms - for example, you can't assault someone just because they called you a name – you don’t have that freedom). It also seems to apply to the Patriot Act (you have to comply at the airport with certain rules, etc. or the government will put you in jail). I’m sure there are other, even better examples. Is it OK to lose these freedoms?

AnonymousDrivelSor... (Below threshold)
Bruce:

AnonymousDrivel

Sorry if the “Patriot Act" was throwing curves – the conversation just seemed to drift that way. It’s been a good conversation and hard to believe it was started over a pizza!

I'm too lazy to read throug... (Below threshold)

I'm too lazy to read through the 70 other comments, but I'm going to post my own anyways. It's a freaking private business... I realize laws are different over there, but if he is not receiving any money from the government, he should be able to discriminate against anyone he wants to. If he's willing to refuse money, he should have every right to.

Bruce, please stop referrin... (Below threshold)
Phinn:

Bruce, please stop referring to acts of aggressive violence as a restraint on "freedom." This terminology makes no sense. At its most basic level, "freedom" means "freedom from aggression." Get it straight.

Any thoughts on market collusion, restraint of trade, and antitrust? How about employment discrimination? Fait housing law? In one way or another, each of these laws restrains the freedom to conduct business. Is this good policy or bad?

The most destructive form of restraint of trade is the government-sponsored barrier to entry. It is the situation where the existing producers in a field bribe politicians to pass a law keeping other potential producers from entering the market. It takes many forms.

Similarly, the only destructive form of "collusion" is that between gov't and business. The fault lies with the gov't, since that is the side of the Unholy Alliance that brings the element of force to the table (usually in the form of one or more barriers to entry).

Again, true monopolies only exist when they are gov't-sponsored. Such as gov't sponsorship of railroad monopolies in the 19th and early 20th centuries, or the current telecommunication local monopolies, such as you get at the local level these days.

Effective monopolies also come in the form of gov't subsidies for established producers that your basic start-up cannot get, thus eliminating any possibility that an entrepreneur can get in on a market. There are a lot of these subsidies in agriculture still lingering around from the New Deal era.

Private monopoplies do not exist in a free market. The point of a monopoly is to raise prices without competition. In a free market, competitors are always free to enter. When prices are raised to an excessive level, that necessarily means that a profit opportunity has been created that a competitor can (and will) exploit. If no such profit opportunity exists, then by definition the price is already at an appropriately low level. There is no other potential scenario.

Show me a purported monopoly, and I will show you a monopoly that either (a) doesn't actually exist, or (b) exists due to some other gov't regulation that is the real cause.

Employment discrimination works the same way. If a qualified person is turned down for non-economic reasons (e.g., race discrimination), then that creates an opportunity for a competitor to hire the person at a lower price. The competitor with the non-discriminatory hiring policy thus has a distinct economic advantage. This is precisely the reason that blacks in the US, once truly protected from violence in any meaningful sense to the same degree as whites, began to make far above-average gains in economic progress, year after year, for decades. This progress virtually stopped in the age of the welfare nanny-state.

Bruce: If I assaul... (Below threshold)
earth:

Bruce:

If I assault someone for calling me a name, I have initiated violence and I am at fault. If I don't like restrictions in airports I don't have to fly. That may suck for me but no one is forcing me on that plane. I can not scream fire in a theatre, beat people up, steal, rape, prevent others from commerce, etc. There are a lot of things I don't have the "freedom" to do in civilization, but not serving pizza to someone I don't like shouldn't be one of them. As far as I'm concerned that's thought policing.

P.S. Thank you for civil discourse. These things often turn into cussing matches, which is about as stupid as refusing service to a Frog.

Also, I defer to the much longer-winded and insightful rants of Phinn and others.

One more post and I’ll let ... (Below threshold)
Bruce:

One more post and I’ll let this one rest.

Bruce, please stop referring to acts of aggressive violence as a restraint on "freedom." This terminology makes no sense. At its most basic level, "freedom" means "freedom from aggression." Get it straight.

I guess my point Phinn is that I think there is a point where the type of “freedom” we’re discussing can escalate to violence.

I deny service for a good reason, then because I don’t like the guy, then I hate, I discriminate, I terrorize (with words – no physical harm – just words), and then violence. The steps between are all to brief. When is my freedom unacceptable? At which step should it be illegal?

Do you see what I’m saying? There’s a point where this freedom can be used for abuse. Not between reasonable people, but by some.

I’ll put in one more point. Personally I don’t see a lot of difference between physical and mental violence. Admittedly, I was a fat little nerdy boy. I got lots of grief for it. It hurt. It was wrong. Did my classmates have the right to call me fat? Did they have a right to deny me a place on the baseball team during gym or what that their freedom?

Earth, Ditto on th... (Below threshold)
Bruce:

Earth,

Ditto on the civil discourse - it is much appreciated!

- I guess based on some of ... (Below threshold)

- I guess based on some of the comments in this thread that little sign you see posted over the cashier station in a great many small businesses..."We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone".... isn't worth the paper its written on.... But then of course it is.... It is because it doesn't single out anyone based on color, sex, ethnicity, or religion....

Pennywit,On this i... (Below threshold)
Baggi:

Pennywit,

On this issue i'm a ture libertarian.

I believe private business owners should have freedom to do what they wish with their business. As long as the government does its part to prevent monopolies from forming there shouldn't be any trouble.

So, if a business wants to descriminate on the basis of Nationality, Sex, Race, Religion, etc, it ought to be allowed to do so.

And those of us who disagree with their business practices can go and shop elsewhere.

I guess my point Phinn i... (Below threshold)
Phinn:

I guess my point Phinn is that I think there is a point where the type of “freedom” we’re discussing can escalate to violence.

At that point, by definition, such behavior ceases to be an exercise of freedom. (Unless, of course, we are talking about violence used in an act of self-defense, which is always justified.)

Freedom (in this context, at least) means primarily freedom from aggressive violence.

Therefore, to restrain someone from using aggressive violence cannot be a restraint of freedom. No one is "free" to use aggressive violence.

This is more than a semantic point. It goes to the heart of what it means to be free.

What Pennywit and others here fail to see is that, in this case, when a government forces a shopowner to conduct his business in this way, the government is the one using aggressive violence. Governments can be aggressors, too.

Hmmmm.The point of... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmmm.

The point of all this is that it's very possible for a business to not deal with specific individuals. It's just stupid to do things that way as it'll hurt profits.

But if someone wants to run their business into the ground based on some principle? Go for it, someone else'll be moving into your former shop very soon.

But there's a very real difference between what can be done, what should be done and what's really idiotic to do.




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