Saturday, May 28, 2005

Cloudy Thinking

Here's an example of what I mean by Wingers I would like to talk to, only it wouldn't do any good.

Why Support the GOP?

Because the GOP will do the right thing at least from time to time:

DENVER (AP) Gov. Bill Owens vetoed a bill Friday that would have outlawed workplace discrimination against gays...

...Owens, a Republican, said he considered the measure unnecessary and said it could force employers to spend a lot of money defending lawsuits.

Opponents of the bill had argued that an employer might not know the sexual orientation of a job applicant or employee but could be sued for alleged discrimination nonetheless.

I actually understand this guy's point -- he's wrong, of course, but I understand him.

He believes that ill-intentioned (and possibly not even gay) guys will use this bill to make business owners hire employees they don't want to hire, or not fire guys they need to be able to fire, because they're worried about law suits, and that this will be bad for business owners, and thus business, and thus all of us.

(1) This shows a great deal of ignorance about the way actual civil rights law suits work. You can't just claim (as Mark here seems to believe), hey, I'm gay, (or Asian, or a woman), so therefore I've been discriminated against. You have to be able to demonstrate (that is, prove, with evidence, witnesses, documents) that your boss or your company has, is fact, discriminated against you because you are gay (or a woman, or Asian, or whatever). So, if, as in the hypothetical situation Mark and "opponents" put forth, the boss doesn't even know the employee is gay, how are we going to prove that the boss is discriminating against him for his gayness?

(2) I'm assuming the picture these "opponents" have in mind is that the boss or company does not know that this particular employee is gay, yet are anti-gay, and create a hostile environment (it's not actually possible to tell what they mean from this story) which would keep an employee from wanting to work at a company -- this would, indeed, be a legitimate reason to sue. Let me change the terms, though, and ask if the "opponents" would still think it was okay for this to happen if this company was Anti-Christian; or Anti-Republican; or Anti-White Male company; if the Boss spent all her time ragging on how stupid men were and how Christians were pathetic and how Bush was a criminal and like that -- would that be okay?

(3) But there's this bit, in the comments, posted by Mark:

What I'm saying is that once upon a time I was denied employment because, of all things, I'm attitude was "screw 'em" and I went and found a different job, and thus a competitor got the benefit of my hard and enthusiastic work.

Don't go looking for government to be your nanny; you get government protecting you from all things and what you've got is a government which controls you in all things. You can't be half free; you're either free, or you're not.

So Mark doesn't care if a boss discriminates against him. He just gets another job. And since he has no trouble finding other jobs, he figures everyone else can do the same. Because there is, after all, a level playing field in America. And no health care crisis. So we don't have to worry a smidge about COBRA payments or health insurance or what we'll do if we don't find another job before our savings run out, or anything like that.

And the last paragraph is the best. You don't need the government to protect you. Yay! You're free. Protect yourself.

Which is pretty to think about.

Except, you know, I do, in fact, want to government to protect me -- that's what we have a government for.

I want government regulations in place to protect me from corportations that would pollute my ground water. In the same way, I want laws there to idiots who might drive drunks or drive 130 on the interstate or let their pit bulls roam in my neighborhood. I do, in fact, want laws in place to regulate such things as child-labor and work-place safety and unpaid over-time, and I am getting pretty nervous, Mark, about the erosion of those laws.

I don't see this as making me "half-free" or "less free" or a child being looked after by a nanny. I see this as me being a citizen who has employed other citizens to manage the country for me.

Your libertarian fantasies about being able to negotiate your own labor contract are very pretty, but how much power do you really think you have? You're one guy. You have the power to say, No, thanks, I'll go work somewhere else. How much do you actually think that is worth? Read some labor history, bud, and get back to me.

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