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Flowers and Headscarves, Oh My!

Abercrombie-Headscarf Firing

Have you heard the one about the Christian florist who declined to sell flowers for a gay wedding? She got sued by the Washington AG and by the ACLU. In a 60-page opinion, a state judge ruled against her. The florist is appealing. Also, she has since stopped selling flowers for any kind of wedding, lest “discrimination” break out yet again.

Have you heard the one about the young lady who showed up for a job interview with Abercrombie & Fitch wearing a black headscarf? You will: her fate is at issue in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch, pending before the Supreme Court. Abercrombie’s strict regulations of its floor “models’” attire and appearance include a prohibition against headgear. The company’s interviewer here surmised that the applicant was wearing her scarf for religious reasons (she is in fact Muslim), but the subject didn’t arise during the interview. After internal consultations, Abercrombie’s rejected the applicant. The EEOC sued the company for religious discrimination; won $20,000 in district court; lost on the defendants’ appeal; and asked for and obtained cert.

The case is an unholy mess, vehicle-wise. Unless I’m missing something there’s a real chance that the Supremes will dismiss it as improvidently granted. But let’s let the cert clerk worry about that. My question is this: we are litigating and writing learned opinions over a flower bouquet? And we are making a federal case over who should have said and done what in a single job interview and over a measly 20K, all the way to the Supreme Court?

Sure: small stakes may involve grand principles. (Mr. Marbury’s commission, and all that.) But the depressing thing is, “discrimination” litigation of this kind has no good outcome or at least, none that’s tolerably consistent with a liberal society. Take Abercrombie’s: the interviewer can’t ask about the applicant’s religion, because that constitutes discrimination. So: should the law require that the applicant give actual notice of his or her beliefs? (The Cato Institute defends that position in a very good amicus brief.)  Or does that throw the door wide open to discrimination by employers who know, or should know, or have reason to suspect, that the applicant holds religious beliefs? (For a position along these lines, see the Becket Fund’s amicus brief.) Darned if I know. Similarly, if the florist can refuse to sell to members of a protected class (gays), can a religious employer refuse to hire said members? Beats me.

At some risk of unleashing the hounds of hell, let’s regain clarity and revisit Richard Epstein’s Forbidden Grounds.   Government must protect us against force and fraud: why? If each of us had to protect individually against the worst aggressor out there, the costs would be prohibitive. For that reason we pool resources. In contrast, government has (as a first approximation) no business protecting us against private discrimination: why? Because the private costs of protecting against bad behavior are extremely low. If you run into someone who doesn’t want to do business with you (for good reasons, bad reasons, or no reason at all), you go to someone who will. The rejected applicant in Abercrombie’s case promptly found employment elsewhere. The gay couple in the flower case claimed $7.91: the cost of transportation to the next florist. Stack up the private avoidance costs against the enforcement costs of anti-discrimination law, and multiply by a few hundred-thousands per year: yikes. And while you’re doing the social calculus, consider what this sordid business of forcing people into transactions they don’t want to undertake does to the fundamental right to go our separate ways.

I get it, I get it: blacks at lunch counters. But it is (to my mind) one thing to say that we had to do very dramatic things to end segregation. It is a very different thing to say that those things are, in general and across the board, a sensible way of organizing a free society. They aren’t. Gays play their rights trump and religious folk play theirs and we all have one up our sleeves. Then we all fight, at great cost and to no good end.

How about a game without trumps? Count me in.

Reader Discussion

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on February 20, 2015 at 10:02:49 am

What does a game without trumps look like in your opinion?

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Gorgias
on February 20, 2015 at 12:51:21 pm

Its an old story that you can't legislate morality. What is moral to one could also be immoral to someone else. As long as violence or violations of property rights do not occur then individuals have the right to discriminate. No matter how distasteful it is to others in the society. With that said,looking back at history,once the Federal Government invoked "Civil Rights" legislation back in the 60's that was one of the final nails in the coffin of property rights. No matter how despicable racists were they still had the right to say who they could allow on or to serve on their private property,despite whether it was a "public accommodation" or not. Is it any wonder that communists and leftists were the longest supporters of "civil rights." They,the Left,knew that it was one avenue in which to get the state to control private property in America. Once the government went down the road of legislating morality it opened up the regulatory door for the destruction of property rights. The abolishment of the right to property being one of the 10 Planks to the Communist Manifesto.

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libertarian jerry
on February 20, 2015 at 13:57:12 pm

I'm pretty sure the florist's objection was to selling flowers to be used at a same-sex wedding, not to selling flowers to gays in general, as you imply at one point.

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djf
on February 20, 2015 at 14:02:42 pm

Herr Professor:

As always - a fine piece. There is much to be said for an assessment of the relative costs of government vs private actions regarding associational liberty (although some may call it license). Yet, to my mind there is a deeper issue here that I think is of somewhat more significant importance in the context of associational liberty.
Simply put, it is this:

Human beings have a right to hate! I say this knowing full well the dangers attendant upon such a claim and the relative ease with which one may then lay charges of "all kinds of *-isms*" against one making such a claim. (For the record, I am not a hater, with the notable exception of sports analysts). And I do not mean *right* in the sense of an isolated right arising out of the positive law such as is so commonly asserted today.

To deny one the right to hate, (mind you, we are not hear speaking of harmful actions injurious to another's property, life, etc) is, in effect, to deny one his / her conscience rights. If based upon a consideration of another persons actions, beliefs and practices I find that person to be reprehensible or if I find a political ideology to be repugnant to all that my conscience / reason determines to be wholesome / good, etc, I find myself literally loathing that *other*, who is to deny me the power of my own reason and conscience. Granted I may be wrong (and readers of this blog may certainly attest to that), my analysis may be faulty or predicated upon some false first principle but am I to be denied the practice / exercise of my own reason because of this possibility. Consequent to this conscience determination, I may choose to associate or not associate with whomsoever I please; I may not however impose or impinge upon the CHARTER liberties that a fellow citizen is entitled to enjoy. Yet I am under no obligation to assist that person in the pursuance of that which I find objectionable or even loathsome. You are quite correct in asserting that the government is the least efficient agent for enforcing "preferred" behavior (which SSM now appears to be), but such governmental intervention risks destroying more fundamental aspects of the civic compact - that we are, as Peter Lawler reminds us, associational beings with a sense of place / morals, etc. There is more than one *place* - leave us free to choose our own places ( so long as we do not infringe the Charter rights of others). Must we now submit to governmentally determined associations?

Am curious, if any other readers see a problem with limiting "hate." as defined above?
In other words to paraphrase Tricky Dick Nixon - are there any other "modified limited" haters out there?

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gabe
on February 20, 2015 at 14:31:50 pm

Another great piece Prof. Greve.

We have a freedom to contract that ought to be, but rarely is protected. The government is expressly denied the power constitutionally to interfere with my right to contract with whom I please (if we ignore the erroneous decisions of SCOTUS). If citizens do not wish to do business with one another, where does the government get the power to force them to do so (ignoring Justice Roberts)? The Constitution and laws flowing from it are to protect my liberty by restricting government’s ability to impair my right to contract. The courts should not hear these cases because they do not involve state action. Jim Crow laws represented government action and thus constitutional issues were properly considered; selling flowers is private action and therefore none of the government’s business.

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Ron JOhnson
on February 20, 2015 at 17:07:24 pm

Am curious, if any other readers see a problem with limiting “hate”…?

Gabe -- when it comes to helping me appreciate and exercise my right to hate, there’s no one more inspiring that you. Hands down; I hope you know that, man.

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nobody.really
on February 20, 2015 at 17:30:28 pm

I also struggle with the appropriate definition and regulation of “public accommodations,” especially regarding harms to dignity.

Similar to Greve, I have suggested a kind of antitrust affirmative defense to claims that a provider of “public accommodation” failed to accommodate someone: If the proprietor bears the burden of indicating where a customer can get substitute goods/services as similar price/quality/location, then he has a defense: “I’m sorry, but my faith forbids me to carry single women in my cab. But the cab behind me in this line would be more than happy to accommodate you, and charges the same rates I do. Please accept a ride from him, with my compliments.”

No, this won’t help vindicate harms to dignity – which was an express concern of Congress in adopting Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But one man’s “dignity harm” is another man’s freedom of speech/religion/association.

As a practical matter, how much harm would my proposed remedy impose on people’s dignity? Frankly, it could get pretty bad. In 1964 the proprietors of the Heart of Atlanta Hotel were forthright in their objection to serving “negroes.” If they thought they could maintain their policies and get to scream racial epithets at people without incurring liability merely by posting a sign saying “Negro-friendly hotel across the street,” I expect they would.

In short, it’s a high price to dignity; we shouldn't downplay it. But too high a price to pay for freedom of speech/religion/association?

Cuz, in the tradeoff between freedom and liberty, nuthin’s free.

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nobody.really
on February 20, 2015 at 19:07:18 pm

Yeah but remember I am proposing only a Nixonian approach - "modified limited hang-out hate" - no action required - just speech and thought which at times does appear to be at issue in these "offensive times."

But I do appreciate the vote of confidence!

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gabe
on February 21, 2015 at 12:49:48 pm

Ron........By obtaining and using a Social Security Number you become a walking corporation and come under the jurisdiction of the state .If you go into business and you apply for and obtain corporate status this same situation applies. By filling out W2,W4,1099,1040 and any other tax status forms you are indicating to the state that you are a taxpayer and therefore they have jurisdiction over you. Licensing for a myriad of activities including driving,marriage or going into a state mandated monopoly profession also gives the state jurisdiction over you. Most of the above status situations are done voluntarily by the citizen. Whether or not you can survive in today's world without "voluntary compliance" into this corporate status is besides the point. The main point is that once you arrive at a corporate "privilege" status the government can and will interfere with your life including your right to contract.

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libertarian jerry
on February 22, 2015 at 11:48:58 am

Fair to say we live in a more complicated society. I will be more cautious in my ascriptions of freedom in a changing and less free nation, one where some have more options then others, have preferential status, which is one thing, but at the cost of curtailing the freedom of someone else as the offset? The umpire in Washington, the regulatory State, cares only for the ever changing and seemingly slipping self managing society, the one of a free people where at times one must adjust one's actions to things like both custom and law, to the mores that operated quite well but which increasingly must bow to an increasing decadence and a rising bureaucratic monster, one that worships force.

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john trainor
on February 22, 2015 at 12:54:12 pm

John,

While it is definitely true that society is more complicated ( look at the number of bureaucracies that were made necessary by the advent of air travel.) there are some simple distinctions that help make sense of the madness. One such distinction is that between grievance and ambition. The left, by and large categorizes people according to their grievances and the right does so according to their ambitions. Both approaches lead to folly. Chamberlain was sensitive to Hitler's grievances and ignored the possibility that the latter was more motivated by ambition, with disastrous consequences. George W Bush thought the suppressed ambitions of Iragis would lead American invaders to be greeted with flowers and candy, oblivious to or ignorant of the fact that centuries old grievances would stoke a civil war.

Obama follows the same script. He sees the world as motivated primarily by grievance, in his view legitimate grievances against gentry american society, and he foolishly believes that if he addresses those grievances there cannot possibly be any group whose ambitions will exploit his panderings. The reflexive assessment by the left is that ambition is a character defect, a generalization of greed and a species of thought crime. Ambition, after all leads to inequality and inequality leads to grievance. It never seems to occur to them that grievance is often a tactic of the ambitious.

Another concept to help understand the complexity of the world is that factions seem to view the use of force as both good and bad; use force to defend oneself against aggressive, if unarmed youth, bad, use force, or the threat of force, to prevent offensive speech, good. Force in international relations, bad, force in the service of domestic political agendas, good. Force someone to salute the flag, bad, force someone to bake a cake, good. Force to prevent a stolen car running over police bad, force to prevent a little girl from selling lemonade, good. There is more at work here of course than simply caprice regarding the view of force. It is not the use of force itself that is really considered good or bad, it is the monopoly on the use of force that it considered so. Spread the wealth by all means, but under no circumstances spread the ability to use force to protect the innocent from the designs of the violent criminal. There is a certain portion of our society, which consists somewhat paradoxically of the radical left and the radical right whose default state is a certain level of distrust and anxiety toward american society, and that distrust and anxiety is only assuaged by the thought that people who do not think like them are kept in line by a monopoly of force.

History suggests that the use of force should never concentrated nor delegated. Innocent people should not lose their property in civil forfeiture actions, business owners should not face prison time for making innocent cash deposits in banks, SWAT teams should not be part of regulatory compliance, children should not be disciplined for chewing pastries into politically incorrect shapes, and people should not be prevented from hearing political opinions because those opinions offend the immature sensibilities of silly bullies who threaten "action."

The society is complex, but it becomes considerably more so when its day to day functioning is subject to the authority of, busybodies, idealists. narcissists, petty tyrants, and dumb people.

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z9z99
on February 22, 2015 at 19:49:36 pm

Hey Z:

Good to see you back.
Luv'd it.
I guess this shows that I can hate if I want to do as some of the types you mention are indeed deserving of my scorn.

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gabe
on February 23, 2015 at 11:35:44 am

The left, by and large categorizes people according to their grievances and the right does so according to their ambitions.

“By and large” covers a multitude of sins.

Google “Nixon’s Southern Strategy.” Google “Willie Horton ad.” Google “Tea Party Movement.” Hell, just watch Fox News. Which party is the party of grievance? Meanwhile, Obama promotes agendas such as promoting access to health care, facilitating immigration, and mitigating climate change. If you choose not to count these objectives as ambitious, that’s less a reflection on the objectives than on you.

And who favors the use of force? All those leftist Klansmen? Those leftists blowing up abortion clinics? Those leftists criminalizing abortion and pot? Those leftists supporting the militarization of the police and the invasion of Iraq?

Traditionally the Right places a greater emphasis on property rights, including rights in land. Yet rights in land rely pretty much entirely on the implicit threat of force against trespassers. On what basis can anyone claim land except by threat of force? (John Locke suggested we treat land like air – that is, you can claim as much as you want, provided there is ample supply available for everyone else on equal terms. Oddly, Locke wrote during the Enclosure Movement in England, where public squares and forests were gradually being privatized, leaving peasants landless. Perhaps coincidentally, Locke never achieved the acclaim in England that he received in the Colonies.)

It would seem the exceptions to this Left/Right dichotomy swallow the rule.

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nobody.really
on February 23, 2015 at 12:29:24 pm

C'mon, nobody!
Your arguments are usually better than this:

"And who favors the use of force? All those leftist Klansmen? Those leftists blowing up abortion clinics? Those leftists criminalizing abortion and pot? Those leftists supporting the militarization of the police and the invasion of Iraq?"

Let us not take isolated incidents (and of some long dead (functionally) actors such as the Klan) and attempt to present that as the norm and as a counterpoint to the unending proclamation of grievances by the Left that we have endured for the past 50 years. And the left did support the Iraq war until, of course, they were able to conceive and promulgate new *grievances* that would propel them to victory.

No, you can do better than this!

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gabe
on February 23, 2015 at 13:10:28 pm

z9z99, note my comment, the umpire in Washington. My primary concern is the growth of arbitrary power in the slum by the Potomac, managed currently by a group of people who I daresay would not qualify as school crossing guards. It is the hideous faith in central government coupled with a stomach wrenching and continuingly rotting popular, forgive the expression, culture, that warrants both despair and frustration. I see no improvement, no hope, no means of resuscitation only a deeper slide into the pit of decadence. Perhaps the carnival of vulgarity called the Academy Awards last night might have served as yet another episode of rot, if you cared to observe it. I took it in small doses.
Concerning Obama, he sees the world, or at least the part of it that he sadly is the Executive of, as an opportunity to extend State power, to in effect control and where possible damage the options available in a once freer society. To ignore or minimize the age old lust for dominance, against which the tattered remnants of law and tradition fade, is inviting the incompetent and corrupt to govern.
I am not very sure where Ambition leads to folly, always?, it does offer constructive possibilities I think.
By and large I agree with your comments and note your criticism of busybodies, idealists, etc, the target enjoyably eviscerated by H L Mencken in a happier time, and coincidentally with a much smaller government, you might even say one guided by, of all things, Federalist principles.
Regards

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john trainor
on February 23, 2015 at 13:26:05 pm

Nobody: (forgot this):

" Obama promotes agendas such as promoting access to health care, facilitating immigration, and mitigating climate change"

You apparently seek to confuse us by declaring that the implementation end state of the grievance industry is sufficient to deny the existence of the industry.

All the items (successes) you mention are nothing but the ends towards which all of the grievances propagated by the Left were aimed. Give me a grievance - no health care for the poor = end state of Obamacare; poor suffering innocent people here illegally = end state of "amnesty" and abandonment of our borders; now comes the most egregious and hubristic of all of the grievance industry efforts - Global warming - oops make that climate change = end state of carbon taxes / supranational confiscation of national wealth and transfer of wealth to other nations.

All of these started out as grievances AND they were and ARE propagated by the LEFT for their advantage.

Oh and let us not forget that the Klansmen that you mention were invariably DEMOCRATIC PARTY voters - da ya remember the Solid South? He was solidly democrat and supporters of ALL the Dem candidates for office.

And if abortion is not the use of force - what in the world is? But this is the end state of the "woman's body" grievance, isn't it.

No - your proofs destroy your arguments.

so what grievances shall we select from the modern left's cornucopia of grievances today.
Oops, I forgot, over at First Things you were advancing the "wealth disparity" grievance. Yep, just keep repeating it ad nauseum and pretty soon it becomes accepted part of the political dialogue - irrespective of its validity.
Well, after all, just think how many more bureaucrats (on top of the 100,000 for obamacare) we can add to government payrolls if we begin to police income inequality. wouldn't be your agency would it?

have fun

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gabe
on February 23, 2015 at 15:22:34 pm

nobody.really,

You often write write very thoughtful and in fact, useful, posts here. This is not one of them. I shall leave it to the winds of reading comprehension to scatter the army of straw men you have mustered.

And who favors the use of force?

Yeesh. Try responding to what I actually wrote and maybe we can have a discussion.

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z9z99
on February 23, 2015 at 15:47:07 pm

I am not very sure where Ambition leads to folly, always?

Perhaps I did not express myself clearly, and hence should be more sympathetic to nobody.really's frolic through non sequiturs. It is not ambition or grievance per se that leads to folly, it is the assumption that people are motivated by one or the other that does so. To take a topical example, President Obama spoke of legitimate grievances of radical islamists. Should we care if they have legitimate grievances if their ambition is to establish a medieval caliphate, to "kill the unbelievers where you find them," and to slaughter Jews? Again, grievance is often a tactic of the ambitious. Chamberlain was sensitive to Hitler's claim of grievance; Churchill recognized the presence of malignant ambition.

This dichotomy is not always clear cut, for example in the case of immigration. One sees a distinction between immigrants that are willing to assimilate, and those that are not. The former may be thought to be motivated by ambition to make a better life; the latter by resentment and hostility toward cultural chauvinism, i.e. grievance. An unfulfilled sense of entitlement is a grievance, an unfilled sense of opportunity is an ambition.

Grievance and ambition are in themselves neutral; there are legitimate and illegitimate grievances and the same holds for ambitions. This is true whether legitimacy is measured by concepts of justice, civil order, social contracts or otherwise. The folly comes from assuming that the person who wants to cut your head off does so because of a grievance he has against you. It may be that the grievance is simply that your head hasn't been cut off.

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z9z99
on February 23, 2015 at 17:00:30 pm

Z:

Don't know if I can disagree with anything that you have said, especially the part about folly being derivative of a false understanding / imputation of grievance(s).

I think, however, that in its current exposition there is a far greater nexus between grievance and ambition. Much of the growth of the modern state is the result of a response to "grievance" (real or imagined / constructed). A legitimate grievance can be said to have existed that resulted in the passage of Civil rights laws of the 60's. As a consequence, we have an entirely new bureaucratic edifice (all the various civil rights departments, etc). Move forward to the current time (skipping some interesting developments such as EPA, Dodd-Frank, etc) and consider the current "grievances" - income disparity, health care. Here we see the results of a concerted effort by one faction, the Democrat Party, to manufacture a grievance, either inadequate care or inadequate wages, and eventually parlay this into both electoral victory and a concrete substantiation of the grievances validity via legislation. This legislation has, of course, the added benefit of increasing state power and adding significantly to the already overlarge government apparatus. Grievance yields favorable results for those who seek to further augment governmental action / control. This incidentally serves the ambitions of those who will manage, direct and control both the agencies and the citizenry.
Clever little buggers, aren't they?
Next up on the plate - Net Neutrality, Carbon taxes, oversight of your local baker, and best of all the Income Equality Assurance Agency. consider the ultimate increase in state power and of those who would manage such an enterprise.

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gabe
on February 23, 2015 at 17:43:57 pm

Gabe,

I think you have it exactly right. Good summation. Let me just close with this: Grievance pandering is an effective form of not only electoral politics, but of social control. It is also cynical, unethical, enabling of corruption and ultimately destructive. Legitimate grievances can bear scrutiny; contrived ones require that their skeptics be shouted down as unscientific, racist, misogynist, terrorist, etc. There is nothing inherent in a legitimate grievance that compels resort to ad hominem fallacies.

Joe

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z9z99
on February 23, 2015 at 17:55:26 pm

P.S.

Second and goal on the one and you call what?

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z9z99
on February 23, 2015 at 18:18:34 pm

anything but an in route to a third rate receiver!!!

this one I will take to my grave - but perhaps that may be considered a "grievance" - albeit, to my mind, a legitimate one......

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gabe
on February 23, 2015 at 20:01:59 pm

Just could not resist - at least Nobody is supporting a growth industry - the grievance industry and here it is in the fullness and ripeness of its manifold expression(s):

http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/9432672/an-a-to-z-of-the-new-pc/

A must read

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gabe
on February 24, 2015 at 00:01:49 am

[…] Flowers and Headscarves, Oh My! […]

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Image of Share–and Care–Alike | Freedom's Floodgates
Share–and Care–Alike | Freedom's Floodgates
on February 24, 2015 at 07:52:38 am

Jeff Halevy

Flowers and Headscarves, Oh My! | Online Library of Law & Liberty

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Jeff Halevy
on February 24, 2015 at 15:09:14 pm

Let us not take isolated incidents (and of some long dead (functionally) actors such as the Klan) and attempt to present that as the norm…. And the left did support the Iraq war….

Give me a grievance – no health care for the poor = end state of Obamacare; poor suffering innocent people here illegally = end state of “amnesty” and abandonment of our borders; now comes the most egregious and hubristic of all of the grievance industry efforts – Global warming – oops make that climate change = end state of carbon taxes / supranational confiscation of national wealth and transfer of wealth to other nations.

z9z99 tried to draw a distinction between the Left and the Right. If you want to say that the Iraq War was an ambition of the Left, then I’ll suggest that this distinction has utterly collapsed.

z9z99 tried to draw a distinction between grievance and ambition. If you want to say that nobody has an ambition to reduce the harm of cancer, they merely have a grievance against cancer, then I’ll suggest this distinction has utterly collapsed.

Either way, you bolster my argument that z9z99’s thesis has more holes than Swiss cheese.

Oh and let us not forget that the Klansmen that you mention were invariably DEMOCRATIC PARTY voters – da ya remember the Solid South? He was solidly democrat and supporters of ALL the Dem candidates for office.

Ya, I remember. But z9z99 did not articulate a distinction between Republican and Democratic; z9z99 articulated a distinction between the Left and the Right. The Solid South was always part of the Right; it just changed party affiliation.

So, when did it change party affiliation from Democratic to Republican? Well, da ya remember when I suggested googling the phrase “Nixon’s Southern Strategy”? This might be a good time to do that.

[I]f abortion is not the use of force – what in the world is?

z9z99 tried to draw a distinction between people who favor use of force and those who don’t. If you want to suggest a person exercises force when she controls her own body, then I’ll suggest that this distinction has utterly collapsed, too.

Just could not resist – at least Nobody is supporting a growth industry – the grievance industry and here it is in the fullness and ripeness of its manifold expression(s):

http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/9432672/an-a-to-z-of-the-new-pc/

A must read

Oh, the Leftists’ grievance industry is perhaps older than you acknowledge. No ambitious people among the Leftists; just a bunch of whining and complaining. Such as this. And this. >. And this. And this.

Just could not resist. Must reads, all.

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nobody.really
on February 24, 2015 at 15:30:02 pm

It is not ambition or grievance per se that leads to folly, it is the assumption that people are motivated by one or the other that does so. To take a topical example, President Obama spoke of legitimate grievances of radical islamists. Should we care if they have legitimate grievances if their ambition is to establish a medieval caliphate, to “kill the unbelievers where you find them,” and to slaughter Jews? Again, grievance is often a tactic of the ambitious.

Who says we do care if they have radical Islamists have a grievance? What makes you think Obama gave his speech for the benefit of radical Islamists?

As a wise – but apparently short-sighted – man once said, grievance is often a tactic of the ambitious. Radical Islamists have ambitions. And to help achieve their ambitions they play upon the grievances of moderate Islamists, telling them that 1) the radicals represent Islam, and 2) the West’s opposition to the radicals is driven solely by the West’s implacable hatred of Islam.

Obama, precisely because he knows that grievance is often a tactic of the ambitious, is taking pains not to do or say things that will fan the grievances of moderate Muslims regarding the West. Resisting right-wing calls to proclaim how innocent and virtuous the West is, Obama has taken pains to emphasize how we in the West have also endured the pain and indignity of having violent religious zealots bastardized the names of our religions. Obama emphasizes our commonality with Muslims, reassuring them that by joining in the fight against the radicals they are not betraying their religion; they are honoring it.

Precisely because I find z9z99 persuasive, I find z9z99 unpersuasive.

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nobody.really
on February 24, 2015 at 16:06:22 pm

Obama agrees with me, and for this reason you find what Obama agrees with unpersuasive? Okay....I guess.

Perhaps you are intentionally missing the point. That is your right after all, and if that is the case, well you have a nice day. Otherwise, it would seem that the fallacy you are struggling with is that of the excluded middle.

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z9z99
on February 24, 2015 at 16:12:58 pm

Nobody:

You sound like an apologist for the Big 0 (zero) who seeks to employ Roberta Flack in his defense. I guess 0bama liked her too and so he now sings "killing Him Softly with his (sad) Song" - great music but pretty crummy foreign policy.

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gabe
on February 24, 2015 at 17:09:18 pm

Nobody:

"Ya, I remember. But z9z99 did not articulate a distinction between Republican and Democratic; z9z99 articulated a distinction between the Left and the Right. The Solid South was always part of the Right; it just changed party affiliation".

It is not quite true that the South was always a Party of the right. Putting aside the several centuries of Democrat led slavery / segregation affiliation, the south was in fact a very big supporter of FDR's New Deal and its associated policies. It bears little consequence that the south got shafted by FDR in terms of the amount of Fed monies he sent to them - still they were quite clearly supportive of the leftist programs. Perhaps, it would be fairer to say that they were religious leftists - a not uncommon phenomena! Also, one must bear in mind that it was the Left - not the Right - that was so fond of eugenics and attempted to use this hideous belief to justify the *condition* of the "inferior races" - gee, that seems somewhat concordant with Southern practices, does it not?

So, when did it change party affiliation from Democratic to Republican? Well, da ya remember when I suggested googling the phrase “Nixon’s Southern Strategy”? This might be a good time to do that.

And as for Nixon's southern Strategy, one should check out the actual voting tallies from that and subsequent elections. Nixon did not "carry" the south - he only won more southern States than any previous Republican. This trend continued for a couple of more elections. And Google is not the first source that one should go to for what Nixon's Southern Strategy was. But yes, over time there has been a marked change in voting patterns in the south - BUT this just so happens to coincide with markedly improved attitudes towards race in the south. so one may argue that it was the influx of Republican influence (and actual Republican voters - see demographic maps and the rise of technology companies) that are responsible.

But most of all, you at times seem stuck in the past wherein the south is filled with hooded lynch mobs, sharecroppers and bull whip carrying Sheriffs (all democrats of course, who were big supporters of the New Deal). That day lives on only in the fevered minds of leftists with both grievances and ambitions, whereby the former is employed to advance the latter (see 0bama).

I'll not respond to the cancer - grievance thing as it bears no relation whatsoever to the dialogue here. Not all ambition is predicated nor propel by a grievance - but invariably leftist / Democrat ambition is fueled, propelled and sustained by grievance.

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gabe
on March 26, 2015 at 07:32:12 am

[…] is the only way that a tolerably liberal society can deal with difference, as Michael Greve has recently argued. No one is forced to shop somewhere; no one is forced to hire or provide services. All […]

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In Defense Of Planet Fitness

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