December 9, 2019

Duck Dynasty A&E dispute proves Civil Rights Act obsolete

Duck_Dynasty_s800x265TAMPA, December 20, 2013 – Immediately after A&E put Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson “on hiatus,” the blogosphere exploded with reactions. Liberals decry Robertson’s alleged bigotry. Conservatives defended his right to free speech and freedom of religion.

99% of the commentary is wrong, of course. First, Robertson’s comments were not bigoted. Robertson merely quotes the Bible on homosexuality. He then says that it is not for humans to judge anyone. That is reserved for God.

You can’t be prejudiced if you don’t judge. He believes homosexuality is a sin, but nowhere does he indicate that anyone should be treated differently, either by the law or by individuals, because they are homosexual.

This has nothing to do with freedom of speech or religion, either. Those principles relate to government suppression of speech and religion. The government hasn’t threatened Robertson.

In fact, A&E’s response was the textbook libertarian answer to this kind of dispute. A&E’s management, representing the stockholders, exercised their own right to freedom of association. They have a right to terminate their business relationship with Robertson for any reason, provided it does not violate the contract they signed with him.

The other cast members have now released a statement implying they won’t do the show without Phil. The statement indicates that they are negotiating with A&E on what the future of the show may be.

It’s possible that the show will be canceled. Or, A&E might back down. Most likely, a compromise will be reached where the show goes on, Phil Robertson makes a public statement expressing regret for offending anyone, but standing by his Christian faith, and A&E welcomes him back on condition he doesn’t make public statements on this subject in the future.

Does anyone notice anything missing from these scenarios?

If you said “the government,” you’re correct. If this little media drama has proven anything so far, it is how unnecessary government is in resolving issues of racism or bigotry. The market does just fine.

It would do better if Titles II and VII of the Civil Rights Act were repealed.

Most of the Act prohibited discrimination based upon race, color, religion or national origin in either state or federal governments. There are legitimate constitutional concerns about giving the federal government these powers over the states, but even most libertarians aren’t losing much sleep. If ever there was a place to compromise strict constitutional principles, prohibiting bigotry in government is it.

Titles II and VII of the Act are another story. In those, the federal government is given power over the personal choices of the individual. Title II prohibited private business owners from discriminating in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters, and “all other public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce.” Title VII prohibited employers from so discriminating.

This redefined the very idea of private property. No longer could individuals “dispose of their persons or possessions as they saw fit,” as Locke would put it. In effect, the government made itself part owner of all private property.

One does not have to be a racist or a bigot to be concerned. The response at the time was that American culture was so deeply ingrained with prejudice, especially towards blacks, that only the government’s heavy hand could solve the problem.

There are certainly cracks in that theory. For example, if there weren’t private business owners in the south who wanted to serve blacks, then why did they have to make it illegal to do so?

Questions only libertarians think to ask.

In any case, this is 2013, not 1964. The power given to the federal government isn’t necessary now, if it ever was. The Duck Dynasty incident proves that. Voluntary contracts will resolve that dispute and consumers will reward or punish that resolution with their decisions to watch or boycott.

Like all government solutions, the Civil Rights Act has largely achieved results opposite of its intentions. Affirmative Action spawns resentment against blacks when they get jobs because of their race over more qualified applicants. There is also resentment when the black is more qualified, because the white applicant quite reasonably suspects that race was a factor, even when it wasn’t.

Check black unemployment statistics during the fifty years before and after the Act was passed. The government has defeated black unemployment about as well as it’s made health care more affordable.

The market, if left free, would be an efficient dispatcher of racism. Employers who routinely hired less qualified employees based upon their race would soon find themselves outperformed by firms that hired purely based upon ability. In business terms, racism would be rendered extinct.

The same would hold for hotels, restaurants and other private firms that serve the public, in terms of their decisions of which customers to serve.

Not convinced? Here is a wager. Repeal Titles II and VII of the Civil Rights Act and allow individuals to make personal decisions based upon whatever values they hold. In the unlikely event that someone puts up a “Whites Only” sign on a restaurant, this writer – likely the worst restaurateur on the planet – will open for business across the street the very next week. My sign will say “Everybody Welcome.”

We’ll see who is still in business a month after that.

Tom Mullen is the author of A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

 

More anti-libertarian nonsense: libertarianism failed African-Americans

TAMPA, April 6, 2013 ― If my colleague Chris Ladd had written the usual, libertarians-are-racists screed, it would be unworthy of a response. But he didn’t. In fact, his piece “How Libertarianism failed African Americans” is a thoughtful and philosophically consistent argument that clearly disclaims any accusation that libertarianism is inherently racist.

But it’s still nonsense. That it is eloquently stated makes it all the more harmful.

Ladd’s premise is that racism and Jim Crow presented libertarianism with a dilemma. Libertarians oppose all government interference with freedom of association and free markets, but blacks were being “oppressed” by the voluntary choices of white people not to serve them. Therefore, libertarians had to choose between staying true to their principles or supporting the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which meant granting the federal government the power to override private decisions.

Most libertarians don’t oppose most sections of the Act, which prohibit governments from discriminating. They oppose those sections which allow the federal government to prohibit private decisions based upon race. Ladd recognizes this distinction, claiming “African Americans repression rose not only from government, but from the culture and personal choices of their white neighbors.”

First, Ladd’s history is completely wrong. Like many conservatives and liberals, Ladd sees libertarianism as a subset of conservatism, an “extreme” version of the conservative philosophy which supposedly advocates a market economy. For him, libertarianism traces back only as far as Barry Goldwater and became an independent movement in the early 1970’s when anti-war conservatives formed the Libertarian Party.

Libertarianism does not follow at all from conservatism. It is the philosophical child of classical liberalism, which struck an uneasy alliance with conservatism during a few, short periods in the 20th century, after the liberal movement completely abandoned individual liberty. The so-called “Old Right” should really be called the “Middle Right,” because conservatism has meant bigger, more interventionist government for most of American (and world) history.

Read the rest of the article at Communities@ Washington Times…

The Right to Be Racist?

With Ron Paul well positioned to win the Iowa Caucuses, the Republican establishment is in full panic mode. They are well aware that Paul actually means what he says about cutting $1 trillion from the federal budget during his first year in office, including removing U.S. troops from the active wars in the Middle East and from their decades-long deployments in Europe and elsewhere around the world. In other words, for the beneficiaries of big government, both liberal and conservative, the party will be over. Desperate to prevent this, they are looking for something, anything, that they can attack him on.

The trouble with attacking Paul is there is not much to attack. He has no closet full of ex-wives, tawdry affairs, or dirty political deals. More importantly, he has been a consistent conservative throughout his political career. He doesn’t have to explain away a Romneycare or television ads promoting the liberal environmentalist agenda. He doesn’t have to explain why he has changed his position on issues conservatives deem crucial to their ideology and platform. He can’t be attacked for his economic plan because it is precisely what conservatives say they believe in, but never do. While his foreign policy is out of step with the current Republican establishment, it is consistent with that of conservative icons Ronald Reagan and Robert Taft, which Paul takes every opportunity to point out. It is also resonating with the American people, including active military personnel, who donate more to Paul’s campaign than to all of the other Republican candidates combined.

So, in a desperate attempt to find something to attack, Republicans are resorting to the old, liberal trick of implying that he is a racist. They can’t call him a racist outright because the allegation would be ludicrous. Paul and his positions have become too well-known, including his own denunciation of racism as “an ugly form of collectivism.” Instead, the establishment seeks to associate Paul with racism indirectly, citing campaign contributions from white supremacists that Paul didn’t return or the famous newsletters, an issue that was put to rest a decade ago.

However, the one question of substance that the establishment can raise and which Paul should expect to be heavily emphasized should he win the nomination is his stance on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Here, Paul’s strict adherence to libertarian principles would seem to mean that Paul recognizes a right to be racist, regardless of how distasteful he may find racism personally. If that’s true, then it is going to hurt Paul politically, especially in the general election when the full power of the liberal media is aligned against him. Paul should expect to be questioned on this in every interview. The strategy was effective against Barry Goldwater, who also opposed the Civil Rights Act, and will be effective against Paul if he cannot answer it more effectively.

It is a testament to the character of the American people that any association with racism immediately elicits aversion and disgust. The idea that a human being might somehow be inferior because of a superficial genetic variation like skin pigmentation, which is about as significant as attached ear lobes, is the height of ignorance, leftover from a more barbaric past. The majority of Americans have decided long ago that this is something that they want no part of and ought to be banished from civil society. But what about the minority who do not agree? Does Ron Paul or the libertarian philosophy in general recognize a right to be racist?

The short answer is no. The whole line of reasoning comes out of a misunderstanding of libertarianism and, more fundamentally, rights. Libertarianism does not recognize the existence of “positive rights.” To libertarians, all rights are negative. Thus there is no right to be racist, just as there is no right to be charitable, tolerant, or honest. There is only the right not to have force used against you unless you have previously initiated force against someone else. This is the essence of liberty and libertarianism. It is the only theory of rights that can be reconciled with reason.

Consider the right to life. Regardless of how they feel about the supposed right to healthcare, a living wage, or other controversial “rights,” everyone recognizes the right to life. But what is this right? Is it a right to live under all circumstances? No. When someone dies of natural causes, no one alleges that their right to life has been violated. Similarly, if one dies of a fatal disease or is killed by a flood or eaten by a lion, no one would allege that their right to life was infringed, however tragic their death may have been. The right to life is specifically the right not to be killed by another human being. Even this definition of the right to life has a limit. Your right to life does not protect you from being killed by another human being if he is defending himself against you while you are trying to kill him.

This reasoning applies to all rights. The right to liberty is the right not to have another human being forcefully inhibit your actions if they do not harm another person. The right to property is the right not to have another human being take your justly acquired possessions away from you against your will.

Thus, libertarianism does not defend the right of an employer to discriminate based upon race, it defends his right not have violence initiated against him if he does. Understanding this point requires a recognition of reality – that every law is backed up by the threat of violence if it is not obeyed. While the vast majority of libertarians – in fact, the vast majority of all people – find racial discrimination distateful, libertarians recognize that it does not constitute violence against other people and therefore its practitioners have a right not to have violence used against them. Thus, there can be no just law against racism or racial discrimination. That is not an endorsement of bigotry. It is merely a consistent application of the principle of liberty.

So would a libertarian society include signs on restaurants saying “No Blacks Allowed” or vast inequities in employment opportunities for racial minorities, women, or the disabled? No. Why not? Because a libertarian society would include an unregulated free market, with no privileges or artificial advantages for connected corporations, which means unlimited competition among firms selling similar products and services. As I’ve said before, the racist employer loses in such a market economy. Any employer that consistently chooses to hire less talented employees based upon their race will, by definition, have a less talented workforce than its non-racist competitor. This does not rely upon altruism, boycotts, or any other sacrifice of individual self-interest. The employer that hires the most talented people, regardless of race, sex, or other non-essential characteristics does so because it is in his economic best interests to do so. A more talented workforce increases his profits and allows him to gain market share, eventually putting the racist out of business.

Similarly, the restaurant or movie theater that turns away customers based upon race (or other non-economic factors) puts itself at a fatal disadvantage against the restaurant or movie theater that sells to all consumers willing to buy its products. This doesn’t even account for the societal aversion that would result from anyone putting up a sign saying “Whites Only” or “No Blacks Allowed.” Even discounting the fact that most Americans would boycott such an establishment merely on principle, the racist restaurateur or movie theater owner loses, for purely economic reasons. In other words, even assuming that all economic players act only in their own self-interest and no one makes any decisions based upon moral aversion to racism, the market will still defeat racism, every time.

The only other solution is totalitarianism. If government regulation is really the answer, then the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not nearly go far enough in fighting racism. Regarding employment, the legislation is arbitrarily selective in the racism that it prohibits. As I’ve said before, the employment contract is merely a buyer-seller arrangement. Employers are buyers of a product (labor) from sellers of that product (employees). Why should this buyer-seller contract be treated any differently from any other buyer-seller arrangement? Why should the government not be regulating every purchase we make, ensuring that we buy approximately 12.5% of our food, gasoline, or toilet paper from black-owned firms, or approximately 50% of those products from women-owned firms? While that might seem ludicrous, it is not substantively different in principle from the idea that the government can prohibit racism when employers purchase labor. Neither is the prospect of punishing black or female consumers for not buying enough products from white-owned or male-owned firms.

If Americans take the time to think these issues through, they will continue to abhor racism but will join Paul and libertarians in their opposition to those sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that deal with private property and personal decisions. Liberty does mean that some people will do things that we don’t like, but it affords us the ability not to associate with those people, to disapprove of their actions, to voice that opposition openly, and to persuade others to condemn it as we do. It gives us the ability to make our own decisions about who we associate with, who we do business with, including who we buy from and who we sell to, and forces us to live with the consequences of those decisions. By prohibiting racism under the threat of violence, the government actually gives racists cover. If given the freedom to hire, buy, and sell based upon race, as they wish to, the market will more quickly put them where they belong – out of business.

So how does Ron Paul handle this deeply divisive philosophical issue without compromising his principles, and do so during the average one-minute soundbyte during an interview? While I would not presume to be able to articulate the principles of liberty better than Ron Paul, who has been doing so for over 30 years, I humbly suggest the following:

“Personally, I agree with the vast majority of Americans that abhor racism and other forms of discrimination against people based upon superficial characteristics that have nothing to do with the content of their character. However, we have to find a way to fight this problem without trampling the rights to liberty and property that are the bedrock of a free society. So, I’ll make you a deal. You give me an unregulated free market where everyone is free to dispose of their person and property as they see fit, as long as they do not invade the person or property of others. If, under those circumstances, someone actually puts up a sign that says “Whites Only” or “No Blacks Allowed,” I’ll be open for business the very next day, right across the street. My sign will say “Everybody Welcome.” We’ll see who’s still in business a month after that.”

Tom Mullen is the author of A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Lord and Levin Welcome Ron Paul to the Top Tier

Punctuated by his move past Michele Bachmann into third place in the race for the Republican nomination for president, Ron Paul has arrived in the “top tier.” While this is a significant positive for his supporters, it does not mean that opposition to Paul from within the party will diminish. On the contrary, now that it is undeniable that he really could win the nomination, Paul’s supporters should expect attacks from the opposition to intensify. They have.

Beginning with a piece in the American Spectator by Jeffrey Lord, conservative opponents of Paul have fired the first shots in what from here on out will probably be an all-out bombardment of Paul and his platform. I say “Paul and his platform” because along with substantive criticism of his positions, one should expect a generous amount of ad hominem directed at Paul himself. Judging from the Lord piece and Mark Levin’s replies in weighing in on the matter, one can expect even more mudslinging than usual.

That is not to single out Lord or Levin as particularly unique in this regard. Mudslinging or “muckraking” has been a part of American politics since the earliest days of the republic. Contrary to what many Americans seem to believe, there never was a “golden age” of American journalism where reporters objectively reported the facts and avoided all political bias. In fact, early American newspapers were not only unapologetically biased; they were unconcerned about even the veracity of the mud they slung. During the election of 1800, John Adams was reported to have “ordered Charles Cotesworth Pinckney to London to procure four pretty mistresses to divide between them.” [1] Adams laughed off this completely false accusation, saying that Pinckney must have kept them all to himself.

Indeed, Ron Paul is unique among politicians for his refusal to attack his opponents personally, even when he vehemently disagrees with their positions. After Rick Perry suggested that Ben Bernanke’s monetary policies might be treasonous, Ron Paul declined to join in even when invited to. Asked by Wolf Blitzer to respond to Perry’s comments, Paul refused to take the bait, saying “I try never to make it the individual as much as the philosophy.”

In the same spirit, I would like to take a look at Lord’s and Levin’s criticisms of Paul and respond to the substantive parts of them. Generally, both accuse Paul of not being a true conservative due to his foreign policy of non-interventionism. Lord claims that this policy is rooted in “neo-liberal” philosophy and that in Paul’s case, like many of the supposed neo-liberals that Lord cites, the policy is also motivated by racism (anti-Semitism being racism directed at Jewish people). Finally, Lord accuses Paul of being disingenuous in portraying the founding fathers as non-interventionist, citing Washington’s invasion of Canada during the Revolutionary War, John Adams’ prosecuting of the Quasi War, James Madison’s prosecution of the War of 1812, and James Monroe’s Monroe doctrine.

Taking these points in order, the first concerns “non-interventionism.” What is it and what is its motivation?

First, we have to recognize the actual definition of the word “intervene.” It certainly does not mean using force to defend oneself. If an individual is attacked by a mugger and uses force to defend himself, he is not “intervening.” Intervention is by definition the interposing of one party into the affairs of two or more others. Thus, if England and France go to war, and Russia enters the war on France’s side, then Russia is intervening. Likewise, if a revolution occurs in Albania, and Spain enters the war on the side of the rebels, Spain is intervening. However, if the United States were attacked by Russia and used military force to defend herself against the attack, the United States would not be intervening.

Ron Paul consistently states that the United States should have a strong national defense but should also be non-interventionist. Is this philosophy rooted in racism? In my own interview with him in July 2011, Paul confirmed that the underlying philosophy that informs all of his positions is the libertarian non-aggression axiom (this question and answer begins around the 11:50 mark). This axiom holds that no human being has the right to initiate force against another, including against their person, liberty, or justly acquired property. This is what makes Paul’s positions against the welfare state, the Patriot Act, and preemptive war consistent. All of these policies represent the initiation of force.

Mssrs. Lord and Levin do not distinguish the concept of non-aggression from pacifism. This is an error. Libertarians like Paul are fierce defenders of the right to bear arms precisely because they are not pacifists. They recognize the right, even the duty, to defend oneself with force against aggression. This applies both to the relationship between individuals within society and the relationship between nations. Paul does not champion pacifism if another nation attacks the United States. However, he opposes the United States initiating force against another nation, even if that nation’s policies are oppressive or otherwise objectionable.

Lest opponents of this libertarian philosophy tag it as “leftism” the reader should understand that it was the central principle that inspired Thomas Jefferson’s philosophy. In his own words,

“Our legislators are not sufficiently apprised of the rightful limits of their powers; that their true office is to declare and enforce only our natural rights and duties, and to take none of them from us. No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another; and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him.”[2]

This was by no means the only time that Jefferson invoked the non-aggression principle. He invoked it in defending religious freedom, saying ““The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”[3]

In fact, on nearly every occasion where he had the opportunity to define the role of government, he invoked this principle. His first inaugural address was centered around it.

“What more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow-citizens — a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.”[4] [emphasis added]

That this founding principle is completely consistent with non-interventionism is reflected by Jefferson’s support for it in that same speech.

“Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none;”[5]

Lord points to Jefferson’s war with the Barbary pirates as an example of interventionism, but this is absurd. Jefferson was not intervening in a dispute between two other nations or an internal dispute within one. He was defending the United States against acts of war that had been committed against them. On May 10, 1801, the pasha of Tripoli formally declared war against the United States. Jefferson’s military response was completely consistent with non-aggression and its sub-corollary, non-interventionism. Again, neither non-aggression nor non-interventionism are synonymous with pacifism.

As Tom Woods and Kevin Gutzman have pointed out, all of the early American wars cited by Lord as examples of the founders being ‘interventionists” were in fact similarly defensive. Lord’s citing of the Quasi War with France as “interventionist” is particularly confused. The whole reason that it was called a “quasi” war was Adams staunch refusal to ask for a declaration of full-out war, even against the wishes of many in his own party. As I have written before, Adams actually considered avoiding war with France the crowning achievement of his presidency.

As I argued regarding Obama’s war in Libya, taxing American citizens to defend people in other countries similarly violates the non-aggression principle. If conservatives actually believe that the U.S. government can tax Americans to provide freedom or security to people in other countries, then what is their objection to the liberal policy of taxing American citizens to provide healthcare or housing to other Americans? In either case, one person is taxed to provide benefits exclusively to another. Is this conservative? It certainly isn’t libertarian.

On the racism/anti-Semitism charge, there is nothing in any of Ron Paul’s public statements, voting record, or writing that can remotely support a charge of racism or anti-Semitism. In his own words,

“Racism is simply an ugly form of collectivism, the mindset that views humans only as members of groups and never as individuals. Racists believe that all individual who share superficial physical characteristics are alike; as collectivists, racists think only in terms of groups. By encouraging Americans to adopt a group mentality, the advocates of so-called “diversity” actually perpetuate racism. Their intense focus on race is inherently racist, because it views individuals only as members of racial groups.”

Lord and Levin accuse Paul of not being a true conservative and of espousing major tenets of the liberal philosophy. However, it is they who adopt the tactic that conservatives consistently accuse liberals of using: making an unfounded charge of racism in the hope that the mere association of the word with the position will evoke an emotional response in the minds of voters and persuade them to oppose the position, regardless of its merits. I agree with conservatives that this is a dishonest and reprehensible tactic.

They also accuse Paul and some of his supporters of not being conservative for criticizing Reagan. Reagan, who said in this interview that “the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism,” invoked Jefferson’s first inaugural in stating that it was government’s role to keep us from harming each other, but should not try to keep us from harming ourselves. However, as the interview goes on, Reagan is able to put virtually the whole progressive regulatory state into the former category, with very little recognized as part of the latter. This lends insight into his presidency, where the size and the power of the federal government doubled, despite his libertarian rhetoric both before and after his election.

If the heart and soul of conservatism is truly libertarianism as Reagan argued, then true libertarians and conservatives would have to criticize Reagan’s presidency. He did not, as he promised he would, abolish the Department of Education, but expanded it. He did not, as he promised, reduce the size and influence of the federal establishment back within the limits imposed upon it by the Constitution. He did not lower taxes. He raised them. He did not cut government spending – it doubled on his watch, outpacing the spending increases of Carter and Clinton by large orders of magnitude. Both libertarians and conservatives should criticize these aspects of his presidency. Doing so doesn’t make them less libertarian or conservative. It merely confirms that they have a grip on reality.

Finally, the personal nature of Levin’s attacks on Mike Church and Jack Hunter belie their lack of substance. Levin calls Church a moron, accuses him of being intoxicated on the air, and even belittles Church’s supposedly insignificant radio audience. Most people are familiar with the ad hominem attack. While passion for one’s viewpoints is understandable, “attacking the man” rather than the man’s arguments amount to a capitulation that one has lost the debate. Don’t expect this to diminish as Ron Paul’s popularity continues to increase. Supporters of the establishment have good reason to fear a Paul presidency, and one can expect the attacks on him and his supporters to get uglier and uglier. And yes, expect supposed conservatives to act just like liberals in calling anyone who disagrees with them a racist. Welcome to the top tier, Congressman Paul.

Tom Mullen is the author of A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

© Thomas Mullen 2011


[1] McCullough, David John
Adams pg. 544
[2] Jefferson, Thomas Letter
to Francis Walker Gilmer June 7, 1816 from The Works of Thomas Jefferson edited
by Paul Leicester Ford G.P. Putnam‘s Sons New York and London The Knickerbocker
Press 1905 pg. 533-34
[3] Thomas Jefferson, Notes on
Virginia, Query XVII 1782
[4] http://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/jefinau1.asp
[5] Ibid

How Do We Defeat Racism and Discrimination Once and For All?

We haven’t heard a lot lately about discrimination in the job market. Perhaps the economic crisis has pushed it into the background. “Progressives” may be too busy promoting their economic gibberish (Keynesianism) to fall back on this tried and true “divide and conquer” issue. However, as surely as night follows day, there will come a time when our friends in Congress will again need a different reason to try to tell people how to conduct their business, and nothing garners more support than railing against discrimination. When that shoe finally drops, I have a suggestion. Let’s not go back down the road of affirmative action, quotas, or any other idiotic idea that our retro-liberal Congress is likely to resurrect. There is only one remedy for discrimination in the workplace: free market capitalism.

I can speak from personal experience that this is true. I have interviewed thousands of people for jobs over the course of my life. The candidates were black, white, Hispanic, male, female, young, and old. How did I decide who to hire? I chose the same way every time. I picked the candidate that I believed would make me the most money. When I chose a black candidate or a woman, I did not do so because I wanted to promote diversity or equality. I did not do it out of altruism or for women’s rights. When I made those decisions, I had one thing and one thing only on my mind – profit.

Sometimes, I chose a white male over a black female and didn’t give it a moment’s thought. Sometimes, exactly the opposite was true. Nonetheless, in each case I chose based purely on my own self-interest (or that of my employers). I did not hire people to help them and they did not come to work for me to further some missionary cause (or even because of my sparkling personality, believe it or not). They came to work for me because the opportunity I offered them would benefit them personally more than any other available to them at the time.

The people that have worked for me in the past and who work for me now are my equals. They have skills and services to sell and I am their customer. We deal with one another in the same way that people deal with one another when buying or selling a house. I am looking to get the highest quality work that I can for the best price. They demand the highest price that they can get for their services. They choose to sell those services to me because I am willing to meet their price. If they call me “Mr.” or “Sir,” it is not out of subservience any more than the owner of an exclusive restaurant is subservient when he calls you “Sir” or “Madam” while you are paying him $150 per plate. When someone buys your product, you show gratitude for the high compliment they have paid you. They have chosen what you have to offer over all other alternatives.

Were I to make hiring decisions based upon anything other than the profit motive –based upon racial discrimination for example – the market would punish me. It would reward my competitor with a more talented employee and an advantage in the market. If I were to do this habitually, my competitors would soon have more talented employees throughout their organizations and I would be forced out of business. Anyone who has run a business knows that one cannot afford to discriminate based upon anything but profit. The market forces me to ignore race, creed, or sex for my economic survival. Only politicians remind me that I should consider demographics.

The plain fact that no politician in history has ever understood is that the market requires no altruism for everyone to benefit. Competition for employees creates higher wages and better benefits. If competition for jobs drives wages down, then the cost of production drops with wages and real wages rise despite the nominal decrease. There is no need to “balance” profit and social justice. The profit motive creates social justice. People exchanging their goods or services with one another by mutual, voluntary consent is social justice. It is only coercion that is unjust.

When people are left to themselves to deal with one another by mutual, voluntary consent, the profit motive will trump racism and discrimination every time. Show me a firm that passes on superior talent because of race or sex and I will show you a firm that is not going to be around for very long. Show me an entire industry that has put the best talent on the sidelines due to race, sex, or age, and I will be open for business in that industry the very next day. Within six months, I will be that industry’s next billionaire. The company with the most talented employees wins – every time.

This relationship between employer and employee – between buyer and seller of services – is one based upon all parties acting in their own self interest. My employees do not need my help or my altruism – they need my business, just as I need the business of my customers. They strive to perform at the absolute highest level that they can so that they can demand even more money from me for those services. I happily pay it when their improved performance increases my sales or my profits. I offer less when I can get the same performance at a lower price.

The beneficiaries of all of this are our customers. I am constantly trying to lower my costs and raise the quality of my products. I do this to gain market share and increase profits. My employees continually improve their service to our customers so that they can make more money for themselves. Higher performance from my employees is what raises the quality of my products.

Neither I nor my employees bother to stop and take note of the color of anyone’s skin or whether they are a man or a woman. We cannot afford to and, quite frankly, we just don’t have the time. This is the way the real world works. Just ask anyone who has to make a living in it. Only politicians and the people they are able to confuse see it any differently.

So, the next time your politicians bring up discrimination in the workplace, try to explain all of this to them. Tell them to put away their pamphlets and spend some time with you – working for a living. Six months spent actually earning a living rather than living off taxes collected at gunpoint would make capitalists of them all. You may say I’m a dreamer, but just imagine the freedom and prosperity that would result.

Tom Mullen is the author of A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.