"I'm not particularly friendly to public accommodation laws in general, though I'm not a lawyer, and fully recognize that I may simply be missing important facets of the debate.
"But even if I endorsed the principle that racist shop owners ought to be free to exercise their beliefs, one's right to discriminate against people on the basis of race or creed is literallythe last right I am interested in defending. When we have rolled back eminent domain abuse, ended state nannying about our health choices, curbed prosecutorial abuses,obliterated corporate welfare, stamped outf arm subsidies, ended the moronic drug war,established well-funded school voucher programs, pruned our overgrown tax code, torn down our trade barriers, shoved the government all the way out of our bedrooms, rationalized regulation, and gotten the Supreme Court out of the business of approving nativity scenes in remote town squares . . . well, then I might be prepared to sit down and ponder, philosophically speaking, whether one's fundamental human right to be a repulsive racist should be recognized by the legal system in this context." [Megan McArdle (April 16, 2008) - The rights order] [Links added]
The problem with this attitude, of course, is that it assumes that any business owner who doesn't want to accommodate a member of a minority group is just a"repulsive racist."
This is the assumption that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) makes when it's chasing employers, that the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights makes when it's chasing de facto segregation, and that plaintiff's attorneys make when they're using anti-discrimination lawto chase greenback dollars.
But all of them are ignoring something—since these laws allow of no exceptions, they are enforced even if they're likely to get someone killed.
It's like gun control. Once that Powers That Be in your city,state, or country have decided that it's dangerous for ordinary citizens to possess the means to self-defense,then the store owner, apartment dweller, home owner or taxi driver under attack is left with some unhappy choices—scream for help, fight back barehanded, submit, or die.
Taxi drivers are one obvious group of victims of the civil rights laws.Dinesh D'Souza, in the pre-purge National Review, wrote a piece called Myth of the Racist Cabbie, [October 9, 1995] quoting taxi-drivers saying things like
"I'm not going to pass up a fare, which is money in my pocket. But I don't want to get robbed. You know what the black crime rate is in New York? Do you want me to risk a gun to my head, man? What's wrong with you?''
That was an African cab driver who said that. Not all cab drivers felt like that—the late Keith Moore of Washington, DC, would pick up passengers of any color, in any neighborhood, at any time of day.
That, in fact, is why he's the late Keith Moore—he was found shot with two bullets in his head and the car keys in the ignition. (A memorial list of murdered taxi drivers can be found here—it's quite lengthy.)
But after actor Danny Glover, who is 6'3" and has made a career of acting violent in the movies, complained about being unable to hail at cab in New York in 1999, Rudy Giuliani, often thought of as an anti-crime guy, launched a campaign to make drivers pick up black passengers, no matter what.
The campaign was called Operation Refusal. According to the cab drivers' lawyer, Dan Ackman, writing in Slate Magazine:
"Five hundred drivers had their licenses suspended. Almost 100 had their licenses revoked. Their livelihoods disappeared in a flash."[Giuliani's sorry crackdown on New York cabbies., December 19, 2007]
The taxi-drivers sued the city and won, but on due process grounds, unfortunately, not by proving that it's not unreasonable to racially profile customers. Who knows how many of the robberies and murders that continued to take place were facilitated because the drivers were more afraid of Giuliani than they were of being robbed?
By the way, the City apparently used undercover black cops to make the tests, which means that the drivers were being suspended for refusing to pick up black men with concealed weapons, since all NYPD officers are armed at all times, about the only people in New York allowed to be so.
There are also store owners in New York, who in times and areas of high crime, lock the doors of their stores, and admit only people they think won't rob them. This means, of course, that black shoppers are more likely to be turned away.
In the late 1980s, the New York Times editorialized against this practice, making a Rawlsian philosophical argument that it apparently got all wrong. Professor Michael Levin of City College replied. He wrote:
"You say that the Rawls principle that ''No one ought to endorse a social order that he could not accept if he were in the shoes of the most disadvantaged' implies that people ought not to take even rational steps to avoid being victimized by black criminals...
"You indirectly try to make these points by proposing the quite incredible idea that it is just as bad to be discriminated against as it is to be robbed or murdered—or, at any rate, that a society in which prejudice is rampant is as bad as one in which violent crime is rampant. [JF: Emphasis added—this is how civil right enforcers think.]
"Individual tastes in disaster may differ, but surely the innocent black turned away from a Madison Avenue boutique would not wish to change places with a boutique owner who has just been assaulted. It is unfortunate that innocent blacks must be inconvenienced because of the behavior of guilty blacks, but if we are to play the put-yourself-in-his-shoes game, the innocent black who puts himself in the shoes of the vulnerable boutique owner should just as surely conclude that he would not let himself in under similar circumstances.
"It is hard to fathom your sudden concern with the penalized innocent, given your steadfast endorsement of affirmative-action quotas that invariably penalize whites innocent of discriminating. Is discrimination against innocent whites a tolerable price for insuring jobs for blacks, while discriminatory inconvenience for innocent blacks is too high a price for reducing the risk of murder for white store owners? [Letter to the Editor, December 30, 1986, by Michael Levin and Margarita Levin.]
Incredibly, Levin's letter immediately became an academic freedom case. At City College, there are some things you just can't say, one of which is that people are more likely to be murdered by a black person than a white person (although it's true).
But the point here is that the law doesn't recognize any exceptions to the principle that business owners must serve all races equally—and the City Of New York has a Commission on Human Rights to help storekeepers get themselves robbed and killed.
So does Philadelphia, which, like the City of New York, was on the Northern side in the Civil War, and which has never had Jim Crow laws in the first place. In prison, of course, there are interracial rapes and murders, because while racism is frowned on in decent society, violent felons, black, white and Hispanic, aren't members of decent society.
As prosecutor Patrick Frey said on his blog, "prisoners are not as racially sensitive as the rest of us, and often engage in violence due to race". They're more likely to be members of race-based prison gangs.
For a while, multicultural California had a program of temporarily segregating new inmates into racial groups. Guess what? This was a violation of their civil rights—so the Supreme Court found, in Johnson v. California. And if they say it, it must be true.
Steve Sailer wrote that this was due to a "dangerous lack of contact" with the real world on the part of the justices and their clerks. That's right, but of course the point of civil rights law is that it doesn't matter if the policy leads to rape and murder. Frey's remark about racial insensitivity, above, was posted in response to a massive prison race riot that broke out in Tehachapi just after Johnson v California was decided.
There's more—the Seventies experiment of busing led to a lot of predictable interracial violence, especially in Boston—also on the winning side of the Civil War, also with no history of Jim Crow laws. But that didn't stop Judge Arthur W. Garrity! Garrity was the federal judge who insisted on taking the toughest working class white school in South Boston and the toughest black school in Roxbury and integrating them. The violence got to the point that South Boston High School had three hundred police officers patrolling it.
Garrity also ordered "equal numbers of black and white police officers to guard the schools, provoking racial hostility even within the police force," which is exceptional, even for him. [Busing's Boston Massacre, By Matthew Richer, Policy Review, November & December 1998]
But the largest single example of the idea that "Civil Rights Law Doesn't Care If You Die": September 11, 2001, when 19 Arabs boarded planes and flew them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Mohammed Atta, their leader was described by John Derbyshire this way
"My reaction on seeing the photograph of the first to be identified, Mohammed Atta, was that he looked exactly like my own mental conception of an Arab terrorist. "
Oddly enough, that was the reaction of the man who sold Atta his final one-way ticket. Steve Sailer wrote recently that
"Michael Tuohey was the veteran U.S. Air ticket agent at the Portland, Maine airport who checked in head terrorist Mohammed Atta and his companion Abdulaziz Alomari on the morning of September 11, 2001, on the first leg of their trip that ended with Atta piloting a hijacked jet into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. In 2005, Tuohey recounted:
Right. But it's not only that he had trained himself not to think that way, although as the guy who was responsible for asking security questions like "Did you pack your own bags?" he was the man responsible for looking out for Arab terrorists.
During the 9/11 Commission hearings, former Reagan Administration Navy Secretary John Lehman asked Condoleezza Rice:
"Were you aware that it was the policy, and I believe remains the policy today, to fine airlines if they have more than two young Arab males in secondary questioning because that's discriminatory?"[Young Arab Males at U.S. Airport Security, DanielPipes.org, Thu, 15 Apr 2004, updated Sun, 27 May 2007]
She wasn't aware. However, that not only was the policy, it continues to be the policy, six years after 9/11.
The ancient Romans had a saying that went "Fiat Justitia, Ruat Coelum". Let justice be done, though the heavens fall.
The modern Civil Rights enforcers aren't really interested in justice. But they certainly don't seem to care if the Towers and the Cities fall.