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Reblogged:Ramaswami's Terrible Idea

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At the Federalist, David Harsanyi warns that a GOP presidential hopeful's policy idea would worse than backfire. That idea is Vivek Ramaswami's proposal to protect employees from what he calls "viewpoint censorship." (HT: Steve D.)

Set aside the fact, seemingly lost on Ramaswami, that only governments can censor, there is plenty not to like.

Harsanyi quotes the description of the proposal from the Wall Street Journal piece announcing Ramaswamy's candidacy, for the benefit of anyone kept out by the paywall -- and then explains his objections, which I quote here in part:
Image by cottonbro studio, via Pexels, license.
There's a significant moral and legal difference between firing a person over an immutable characteristic, such as his skin color, and a political opinion. Ramaswamy's idea, as far as I can tell, would not only make it illegal for Disney to fire a social conservative but for a Jewish restaurant to sever its relationship with a neo-Nazi, or a Catholic adoption agency to fire an employee who believes ninth-month abortions are "health care" and the nuclear family should be destroyed. Hedge funds would be compelled to keep a Trotskyite who believes profits are evil on the payroll and Wal-Mart would have to wait for the worker who spends his days trying to put big box chains out of business to leave of his volition.

Corporations would be barred from firing executives who embarrass the company when publicly converting to Pastafarianism, even if stockholders lose millions. It is far more likely that such a law would only further politicize the marketplace as employers will be more interested in digging into the ideological dispositions of prospective employees. [italics in original, bold added]
Regulars here already know my opinion about anti-discrimination law: While the government should be barred from racial discrimination in employment and contracting decisions, it has no business interfering with how private individuals run their businesses because that is a violation of their property rights. (Yes, even scoundrels have rights.)

I would also add that, if it is wrong to force the likes of platforms such as Twitter or Facebook to provide a forum to anyone, it is also wrong to make any other business do so. And that is exactly what this proposal would do. (Harsanyi even compares this proposal to similar past proposals based on calling platform providers "public utilities" and finds it wanting. (!))

Whether for space economy or because such law has been so thoroughly normalized that nobody questions it, Harsanyi notes that Ramaswamy's proposal wrongly treats a choice (one's beliefs) like an accident of birth (e.g., racial characteristics). As a result, Ramaswamy's proposal would accordingly open up a whole new can of worms untouched by existing anti-discrimination law, in addition to being quite likely to backfire.

-- CAV

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