Feb 16, 2022
“The right to joy and pleasure is a crucial element of racial justice” is a misguided article due to its total misunderstanding of what rights are. If you believe that rights apply to all persons equally, then you will find the article to be racist as fuck. Basically, the article comes out in favor of the central US government telling private property owners what they can and can’t do with their own property. Falsely framed as a civil rights enhancement, it is little more than a property grab by the central State.
While it makes total sense for a government not to discriminate against people by race in its legal codes and official procedures, controlling what private people do on their own property is an unjust violation of human rights. Life, liberty,and property are what governments are created to protect, not violate. However, in the aftermath of the Second American War for Secession the rulers of the winning State tried to give special privileges to blacks instead of protecting the rights of all.
Special privilege is the devil in the term “public accommodations.” Should the property rights of all restaurant, bar, hotel, theater, and shop owners be violated for the purpose of promoting some people’s pleasure? Of course not, anyone who understands individual rights would answer. And after the “public accommodations” part of the Civil Rights Acts of 1866 went unenforced and was quickly repealed by the Supreme Court, this attack on property rights was dead. (It was never more that a vain tribute to the brutal reconstructionist politician Charles Sumner.)
Property rights of all were attacked, using the public accommodations excuse again, nearly a century later by the Civil Rights Act of 1954. Again, the State leveraged the perfectly legitimate “equal rights under the law” principle, but as before illegitimately expanded it to mean “equal opportunity to use other people’s property against their will.” This, of course, is an attack on all private property, no matter what the race of the owner. It is a gross violation of freedom of association - the right to associate (or not) with whomever one chooses.
It is a shame that the authors of the article take the concept of individual rights to be a mere floating abstraction, and pleasure as something guaranteed to everyone by the State. Rights (in the general moral sense) are not about outcomes or results; they are about freedom of action. Pursuit of happiness is a right, but being happy is not. Just as freedom of speech is a right, but being provided with a lecture hall or radio station is not. All laws that force individuals to interact with other individuals against their will are unjust, and violations of freedom of association. If you want to promote anti-discrimination, you need to do it by peaceful means, by convincing people and boycott and such. Forcing others, using the government gun, to interact with people they consider scumbags is both immoral, and has perverse effects. It is more likely to increase divisiveness and bigotry due to the systemic rights violations.