Friday, May 28, 2010

Should Whites-Only Lunch Counters Be Allowed?

Okay, let's get right down to it. Our side is asked, incredulously, "Do you mean that someone should be allowed to have a whites-only lunch counter?"

The standard libertarian answer is, "Yes, although I don't approve of the racist policy."

I say, "No. He shouldn't be allowed."

What?! Heresy!

Chill out.

He shouldn't be allowed, but it's not the literal force of government or private parties that should disallow it. It's the metaphorical force of social pressure -- led by libertarians, of course -- that should disallow it.

There, that's cleared up. Next controversy.


Roderick T. Long said...


The problem (well, one of the problems) with statists is that they tend to equate getting something done with passing a law, as though a) passing a law guaranteed that the result would be achieved, while b) not passing a law left the goal's being achieved to complete random chance (ignoring both spontaneous price-system incentives on the one hand and organised pressure on the other). Those are the assumptions we need to challenge.

Sheldon Richman said...


Sam Kitchen said...

"Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first a patron, the last a punisher." Thomas Paine

Thought this quote would be appropriate :)

Patrick10 said...

Meh, I say the lunch-counter owner can do what the hell he wants. He should just be prepared to deal with the consequences.

dennis said...

I think that's kind of Sheldon's point, that the law shouldn't do anything about it but that people of good will, with libertarians in the forefront should make those consequences as illuminating as possible (so long as its peaceful.)

Sheldon Richman said...

Dennis is right. "Be allowed" can have different meanings. One is: "suffer no consequences." That's what I had in mind when I said no.