Ethics Dunce: Old Town Sport And Health in Alexandria, VA. Why? Because White Nationalists Have A Right To Work Out Too

Let me be clear what you are saying, Professor: when you engage in harassment and bullying, that’s good, but if the bad guys do the same thing, it’s despicable. Do I have that right?

Last week, controversial speaker and white nationalist Richard Spencer was working out at the Old Town Sport&Health gym where he is a member, minding his own business,  when C. Christine Fair, an associate professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, recognized him and got in his face.

“Not only are you a Nazi — you are a cowardly Nazi,’ ” Fair says she told him.  “I just want to say to you, I’m sick of your crap — that this country belongs [to people like you]. . . . As a woman, I find your statements to be particularly odious; moreover, I find your presence in this gym to be unacceptable, your presence in this town to be unacceptable.”

Spencer called for a trainer, who happened to be black, to stop Fair and allow him to go back to working out.

“Seriously? This superior race of a white man needed the help of a female African American? What kind of martial race member is he?” Fair wrote in a post about the incident. Fair continued to harass Spencer, and another gym member stepped in to defend him. Fair said she told the woman, “Right now you’re being ignorant, and you’re actually enabling a real-life Nazi.”

So, naturally, Old Town Sport&Health terminated the professor’s membership for bullying and harassing other members.

Just kidding! It terminated Spencer’s membership for having the audacity to hold different views than Professor Fair. Whether Alexandria kicks him out of town on the same theory, as Fair believes is the right thing to do, is unknown.

Boy I hate it when people make me defend racists. I especially  hate it when smug, self-righteous totalitarians and noodle-spined, unprincipled  gym owners make me defend racists. Nonetheless, Spencer was the abused victim here, Fair was the offender, and she, not he, should have been told to work out somewhere else.

I’m so weary of reading about restaurants that give discounts to diners who pray, and bar owners who declare that no Democrats are welcome and Maine propane dealers who tell their customers that they can freeze to death if they voted for Donald Trump. I’m tired of pointing out what should be obvious to everyone in a pluralistic society, but suddenly isn’t, particularly, it seems, to proto-totalitarians like the Georgetown professor, who is doubtless hard at work indoctrinating her young charges into believing that those with non-conforming views should have their rights taken away for the greater good. I detest Spencer’s views, but I consider Fair and her kind the far greater threat to the nation, in part because there are so many of them.

Why? She is a greater threat because her version of society doesn’t work, and soon devolves into armed camps. As I wrote in a post called, “Americans: End This Slippery Slope Now, Before It’s Too Late,” about a Washington, D.C. restaurant that publicly apologized for letting an alt-right group to eat there,

I know, I know: Neo-Nazis are really bad. Yet I don’t want my freedom to participate in life and society to be limited by someone else’s judgments about my beliefs or politics. Listen to the rhetoric from angry Clinton supporters since the election. If you want to enforce immigration laws, you hate Latinos. If you think the unborn deserve rights, you are a misogynist. If you voted for Trump, you are a blight on humanity. Thanks to the rhetoric of Black Lives Matters and the tacit approval of some well-placed politicians, police officers have been refused service in various establishments… The argument that this group or that group is special and doesn’t deserve the same courtesy and service as other groups is simply a rationalization born of bias, like… the position that the Vice President Elect, alone among all the millions of audience members who are allowed to attend theatrical performances as part of the community, ought to be subjected to personal harassment based on his political beliefs.

If we, as a culture,  approve of this abusive treatment of the alt-right, then we are approving similar treatment when the group being discriminated against is the Democratic Party, the ACLU, a mosque, the Shriners, the Boy Scouts, NARAL, or a newspaper editorial board. Rights mean nothing if the most unpopular, most controversial, most offensive individuals and organizations cannot exercise them….This is a slippery slope that leads right to the end of the principles and liberties that make the United States an ethical nation, and perhaps a nation at all.

It would be just wonderful if the members of that Alexandria gym collectively confronted the ownership in support, not of Spencer, but of basic American principles of fairness and justice, and demanded 1) that there be no ideological test for membership, and 2) that members who harass other members are the ones who lose their privileges, not the harassed.

It would be wonderful, but it won’t happen.

_______________________________

Pointer: Althouse

 

76 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Business & Commercial, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Rights, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, U.S. Society, Workplace

76 responses to “Ethics Dunce: Old Town Sport And Health in Alexandria, VA. Why? Because White Nationalists Have A Right To Work Out Too

  1. Other Bill

    Suppose I can get a refund of the sixty thousand dollars my wife an I paid for our daughter’s Georgetown BA? What’s happened to that place? Have the Jebbies abandoned it?

  2. They keep pushing us, Jack. They never let up. It is now a dangerous game, the thin veneer of civilized behavior that once torn, lets both sides mingle without control. The left is making that tear.

    They keep after folks who just want to live their lives without being told they are racist for existing, how their non existent ‘white privilege’ somehow makes them despicable, and how not agreeing with anything a leftie comes up with is some sort of -phobic or -ist.

    They have begun to devolve into violence, even physical violence. When they make it clear that the right loses all their rights (in their world) there will be bloodshed. Cities need the right to produce, deliver, and sell the food. It is sad that leftist arrogance does not understand their peril.

    • Glenn Logan

      It is sad that leftist arrogance does not understand their peril.

      I’d say it’s well beyond that &dmash; they think they are ready for the peril they face, and consider themselves so intellectually and morally superior that they have little to fear — or at least, that they can handle what’s coming.

      So their arrogance is even deeper than you think it is.

  3. So this is what our country is becoming.

    Sad.

  4. He could have just said FUDGE YOU LADY! That would be understood as a non-expletive and therefore non-confrontational. #Chris

    The lady’s membership should have been immediately revoked and I would have asked the Mr. Spencer if he would consider moving his gym membership to another gym with no penalties to him financially, just let him out of his contract, so neither him or the gym would be faced with further harassment at that location.

  5. Glenn Logan

    Fair and her kind the far greater threat to the nation, in part because there are so many of them.

    Decades of leftist educational systems have produced exactly what they intended — masses of emotive assholes with no grounding in the American principles of self-reliance, justice, and open debate. Ideological purity, to them, is a moral imperative.

    Whither the “tolerant left?” Alas, it seems they’ve found intolerance to be much more satisfactory, like the bigots they condemn.

    • philk57

      Many democrats were tolerant. Most true liberals are tolerant. No leftist has ever been tolerant. See “Red Guards” for a pretty good illustration. They were about as left as you can get and appear to serve as a model for our current leftists.

      • At this point, what does it matter? ™

        All we seem to hear from the democrats and ‘true’ liberals sounds like leftist propaganda to me. There are some good honest liberals, but I don’t see them making much of a difference in the dialog outside this blog.

        • philk57

          Slick – I believe that we are in a culture war with the Left. I have believed that for long enough that I can remember being upbraided (on this site no less) for stating that belief. If we are to have any chance of winning this war, we will need to be able to identify the “enemy”. (As an illustration, I believe that one of the main reasons that we have so much trouble countering Islamic extremism is because a large proportion of our governing entities and elites refuse to identify Islamism as our enemy – though the Islamist have no such problem in identifying us non-Muslims as their enemy).

          So yeah, maybe it is a bit pedantic to try to separate out the Leftist from the Liberal, but I don’t think the Liberal is our enemy in the effort to protect and defend our culture. The Leftist, on the other hand, is our enemy.

          • Fair enough, Phil. But where are they in calming this behavior down?

            My point is the same with the so called ‘moderate’ Muslims: they benefit from what the radicals do, or are too scared to stand up, and so do not protest. Christian churches are quick to condemn their extreme brethren (Westboro Baptist comes to mind.) Of course, your average Lutheran will not behead you for a difference of opinion.

            • philk57

              I think that, like the moderate Muslim that will speak out, they are drowned out by the current high decibel narrative.

  6. Warren

    I completely agree, Jack. An ethical — and far more effective! — protest against Spencer’s racism, would have been to *ignore* him. That would have been the professor’s best move here. Instead, she’s done him a favor by bringing him back into the news again and looking like a fool herself.

    • At least she didn’t punch him in the face…

      • Glenn Logan

        I suspect he might’ve preferred that to banishment. Plus, it would’ve made here look every inch as intolerant as she is instead of just most of the way.

        • I wonder if there is a lawsuit against the gym? I would contact an attorney for being cast loose based on 1A grounds

          • Rusty Rebar

            The Bill of Rights, or any part of the constitution for that matter, does not apply to private citizens. The restriction is on government entities. Not private companies. Depending on the contract he signed with the gym, he can probably get a refund on his dues / membership fees.

            I find myself in total agreement with Jack’s post though. It is absolutely disgusting that we have gotten to this point. Where people are not allowed to hold controversial opinions. I could see if this guy was pushing his views while working out, or whatever, but from what I have seen of this story, it is the lady who should have been told to stop harassing customers or leave.

            This whole “if you see a Nazi, punch a Nazi” thing is also pretty concerning, especially when you consider that people saying that think everyone who holds an opinion even slightly to the right of them is a Nazi.

      • Wayne

        I kind of wish she would have: Then he could have sued her for assault.

  7. A.M. Golden

    I wonder if these deranged progressives will like the tables turned on them the next time a Democrat is elected?

  8. Steve-O-in-NJ

    Did you read the comments that followed that article on WaPo? Apparently once your views go too far right, you lose all constitutional protection and become someone who SHOULD be harassed, shamed, and fought every chance decent people get.

    From a business standpoint, I can see the gym not wanting to be known as the place a racist works out, and not wanting to attract people wanting to confront Spencer and give him grief. That said, it might not do well in the long run, because who wants to work out in a gym you know will kick YOU out if someone comes and gives you grief.

    • Chris

      Did you read the comments that followed that article on WaPo? Apparently once your views go too far right, you lose all constitutional protection and become someone who SHOULD be harassed, shamed, and fought every chance decent people get.

      Is it unconstitutional for a business to refuse service to a customer on the basis of the customer’s racist views? I don’t think this has ever been ruled on.

      I think Jack likely has it right here, and that the business shouldn’t have kicked him out. But I’m not sure it’s a constitutional issue.

      • I think if everyone were being consistent, the people who say that businesses have a duty to serve gay customers would also be saying that businesses have a duty to serve regardless of political affiliation. I get that it isn’t entirely apples to apples and that political affiliation isn’t always a protected group, but neither is gender identity, and that hasn’t stopped those people from championing trans rights.

        • I’ll be consistent and say that businessess should have a right to not associate with people or groups they choose not to, even if they’re asshats for making those choices.

        • Chris

          I have said before here that I think political affiliation should be protected, though I’m unsure if “white nationalist” counts as a political affiliation. But definitely people should not be able to refuse service to someone because they’re a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or any other political party.

          I’m not sure it’s necessarily inconsistent to believe gender identity should be protected and political affiliation shouldn’t, though; an argument could be made that the former is an immutable trait and the latter is not.

      • Other Bill

        Chris, you really should get a law degree and a license and work for the ACLU. You’re wasting your time teaching school.

        • Chris

          No thanks. The law sounds exhausting. Even just armchair lawyering of the sort I sometimes go for drains me, though I try to stay aware of what I don’t know.

  9. This afternoon I asked a couple of local business owners I know about this scenario and they said that they would rather kick out the suspected Nazi than have to deal with an onslaught of angry protesters against their business and their families because they kicked out a lefty verbally harassing the suspected Nazi and disrupting their business. It comes down to one customer or their entire business, they choose their business because they have to pay the bills one way or the other.

    I asked if they would have done the same thing last year and they all said no; they would have immediately kicked out the lady doing the harassing. Just to be perfectly honest there were five businesses, two are known to be liberals and three are known to be Conservatives and I got the same basic answer from them all.

    There you have it, fear wins, lefty know it and they are perusing this tactic.

    How long before these lefties push that to the extremes and a pack of cornered rabid dogs lash out at them.

  10. Jack wrote,

    “Boy I hate it when people make me defend racists. I especially hate it when smug, self-righteous totalitarians and noodle-spined, unprincipled gym owners make me defend racists.”

    But isn’t that the crux of ethics? To defend the unpopular because defending the unpopular is the right thing to do? Defending Spencer’s right to work out at a gym is no different from defending a patron’s right to eat at a soup counter. If rights mean anything, and certain rights are considered inalienable, then those rights belong to all persons regardless of ideology or political currency. The ACLU defended American Nazi’s rights to march in Skokie, IL. As offensive as that march was, the hallmark of the US is that all opinions are entitled to exist. Spencer’s opinions may be unacceptable but he has the right to those opinions and those thoughts, and those rights are protected and protectible.

    The gym is a private organization, though, right? So the gym can set rules and requirements for membership, right? Can it? Would the gym be within its rights to deny membership based on race, ethnicity, gender, religion? A baker is not permitted to deny a same-sex couple a wedding cake, and a photographer is not permitted to deny wedding pictures to a same-sex couple. A restaurant cannot deny service to customers based on race. How is denying someone a service they paid for because of that patron’s beliefs?

    jvb

    • Chris

      Currently in the law we have different standards for different types of beliefs. Religious beliefs protected in all fifty states; unless I’m mistaken, political beliefs are only protected in a handful. Then there’s the question of whether “America should be ruled only by white people, for we are the superior race” constitutes a political belief. How do we define that?

      • We define it just like we define any progressive’s opinion that is touted as fact: they have a right to feel that way. It is called the 1st Amendment. I would think that suppression of that right is prohibited in the Constitution, along with Spencer’s right to association. Both have been infringed, and if the shoe were on the other foot the progressives would howl

        Seems like we can force a baker to bake a cake, after all.

        • Chris

          I think the argument that sexual orientation is an immutable characteristic is stronger than the argument that political beliefs are. But as I said, I still think they should be covered. They just aren’t now.

          • It’s still wrong whether there’s a law or not…as you suggest.

          • Isaac

            Sexual orientation is, without a doubt, NOT an immutable characteristic for millions of the people who claim to be discriminated against in these scenarios, whether they claim to be bisexual, gender-fluid, or I-was-just-a-little-bi-last-year-but-I’m-totally-gay-now. Whether it is immutable for SOME non-heterosexuals is the only thing even up for debate at all.

            • Isaac

              My point being, any law that requires the endorsement of a gay wedding is protecting a great deal of behavior just as whim-based and changeable as one’s political beliefs. You can’t modify the law to only apply to gays who have been exclusively and provably gay their whole lives. Transexuals are protected from the minute they decide to identify as the opposite sex. Therefore, there’s no practical difference between making sexual orientation a protected class and doing the same thing for political affiliation.

              • Chris

                I think you are overestimating the number of people who say they have changed their sexual orientation. And of those, probably even less have done so intentionally. But religion can change too, and that’s still considered an immutable characteristic.

                My point being, any law that requires the endorsement of a gay wedding is protecting a great deal of behavior just as whim-based and changeable as one’s political beliefs.

                There is no law that requires “endorsement” of a gay wedding, and I’m unaware of any proposals for such a law.

            • Mutability, of course, does not belie any argument that sexual orientation should be a protected classification,. After all, religion is a mutable classification closely associated with conduct.

        • Rusty Rebar

          I think you misunderstand what the constitution is.

          It is a rule book for the government. It does not apply to people who are not acting in that capacity.

          Congress shall make no law… not Businesses shall make no law…

          It should be a social stigma to do things like this. And I suppose it could be considered harassment or something, possibly even slander, but in no way is it a violation of the constitution.

          • Chris

            Rusty, surely you’re aware that private businesses turning away customers for certain reasons–race, gender, religion, and in some states, orientation–has been ruled a violation of constitutional rights.

            No one is “misunderstanding what the constitution is.” We’re arguing if the constitutional protections that protect black people from being kicked out of restaurants also protect racists from being kicked out of gyms.

            As far as I’m aware, the current law says “no,” but that may change. Perhaps it should. If you’d like to join that conversation, I welcome you, but if you’re starting from the premise that the Civil Rights Act doesn’t exist, I doubt it will be productive.

            • Rusty Rebar

              No one is “misunderstanding what the constitution is.” We’re arguing if the constitutional protections that protect black people from being kicked out of restaurants also protect racists from being kicked out of gyms.

              Those are not constitutional protections. Those are legal protections that have been encoded in law, but are not part of the constitution. The 14th Amendment is a constitutional protection (several in fact) but read it:

              No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

              Those protections, as all of the constitution, only apply to the government. They are not restrictions on restaurants, or gyms or bakeries. If some restaurant were to deny service due to race they would be violating the civil rights act, but not the 14th Amendment.

  11. Paul Compton

    So, you can’t refuse to make a cake if you’re a bakery, but you can kick a paid up member out of your Gym?

  12. After eight years of allowing rude, crude, illegal, biased behavior, the country needs a refresher course on basic civics and civility. A lesson NOT to be taught by the regressive left. The Obama years are still playing out, and not for the better.

  13. “A Right To Work Out”

    No such thing.

    It might be polite, or pluralistic, or civilized to allow him to continue working out. But using the language of rights for health club membership is kind of silly.

    • Wow. Wrong.

      “That among these rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…” This was the basis on which the civil rights laws rested—that to allow businesses to refuse to serve citizens on the basis of race robbed those citizens of the rights to enjoy life to its fullest, and Rand Paul to the contrary, they were correct. What people like the professor want to do is make liberty, life, and happiness impossible for “Nazis,” and later Conservatives, Republicans, libertarians, and anyone else that threatens the Left’s increasingly mandatory world view. She said, recall, that she wanted him out of town. Next, out of the state. Eventually into compounds, I guess. Or deported.

      Of course he has a right to go to a gym and politely work out. In this country, he has a right to live like anyone else regardless of his political beliefs. Those who want to incrementally restrict that right, establishment by establishment, based on the fact that the law does not currently prevent them from abusing their right to eject customers from their gym, are hypocrites, of course. A store is violating rights by not selling a gay couple a cake, because they are GOOD oppressed citizens and deserve their rights to L,L and TPOH, but an advocate of fringe political views can be discriminated against at will, making it clear that they are unwelcome in this society, and their rights are illusory.

      The rights exist, Mark, whether the law currently protects them or not. And the effort to exclude individuals based on belief systems and their exercise of free expression from the same enjoyment of life as other citizens is a breach of rights, based on this nation’s founding values.

    • Windypundit,
      It’s obvious that you haven’t thought about this thoroughly, but that could be the result of having to spit out statements that fall within a 140 character limit.

      In addition to all the things that Jack wrote; Richard Spencer had an equal right, based on the contract with the gym, to work out in the gym and his physical presence and use of the equipment was not in violation of the contract, the intentional harassment (verbal abuse) from the bigot C. Christine Fair is was violating her contract with the gym and yet the one who was abused is the one that was punished and who’s contract was revoked and kicked out of the gym and the abuser, and more like her, is given justification to do it again.

      What I think is mind blowing in all this is that the gym made a conscious choice, they actually thought about it, and they literally chose to justify the intentional uncivil physical actions of one bigot and punish the other bigot that was the target of the abuse. The gym literally chose to punished the victim and justify the abuser; there is no other way to state it.

      Now we know that an ideological leftist can render any bigoted abuse they deem justified towards anyone that they ideologically disagree with and the victim of their abuse is likely to be the one that will be punished thus justifying, and likely promoting, the actions of bigoted abusers everywhere. What could possibly go wrong with wide spread use of this political tactic? When this table turns and the ones being abused start a tit-for-tat rebellion against their abusers, it’s not going to be pretty.

      It’s unfortunate but that’s the world we live in now.

      Prepare yourself, you’re next.

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        It’s already happening, remember the tow truck guy who refused to help a Bernie Sanders supporter?

  14. Wayne

    Who the hell does the associate professor think she is telling off a complete stranger in a public place! This is what the universities are producing: liberal neo-Nazis. Obviously she was trying to provoke him. Unfortunately she will probably get tenure and have free license to bully her students anytime she wishes to.

  15. Dwayne N. Zechman

    “Protected Classes” . . . ugh.

    Here’s the thing:

    IMO, political affiliations and/or associations should always be the VERY VERY HIGHEST LEVEL OF PROTECTED CLASS, trumping (sorry, couldn’t resist) all other protected classes.

    It goes to the very heart of what the First Amendment is all about: Forbidding the government from EVER taking ANY punitive actions against people who speak out in opposition to the government (…and by extension, from directing favorable actions towards those who speak in support of the government).

    The language in the First Amendment is the natural consequence of the unstated principle that We Are All Free to have whatever beliefs and opinions that we like, without fear of repercussions–that is, until or unless we actually do something to infringe on someone else’s freedom. Just because this principle is not explicitly stated does not mean it isn’t real. The founders thought it so completely obvious that it didn’t NEED to be stated. (And remember: The Constitution was originally presented for ratification WITHOUT those first ten amendments. Do you really think the framers suddenly came up with the whole “freedom of speech” notion later on, and originally intended for it NOT to exist…?)

    He has every right to think–and express–the most horrid ideas and beliefs and still enjoy ALL of the same freedoms that every other citizen does. She has no right to harass him.

    –Dwayne

    • Deery

      The language in the First Amendment is the natural consequence of the unstated principle that We Are All Free to have whatever beliefs and opinions that we like, without fear of repercussions–that is, until or unless we actually do something to infringe on someone else’s freedom.

      That’s just dumb, a child’s understanding of what freedom of speech is. I believe that the government should not punish people for their beliefs (absent action). But the thought that you should be allowed to say and believe whatever, and you should have no repercussions from anyone else?- no. It doesn’t work like that.

      As a test, go tell your boss that you firmly believe that her child, proudly displayed via many photographs on her desk, is the ugliest creature you’ve ever seen. Or tell your buddy that his wife is really hot, and describe the many ways that you would have her, if given the green light by her. Imagine that Spencer, rather than being merely a white nationalist that advocates (peaceful) genocide, was instead the president of NAMBLA, advocating for pedophilia. Would people wonder at the gym’s decision to revoke membership then?

      White nationalism, even in states that do protect political affiliation as a protected category, does not qualify. Spencer has the right to advocate the genocide of people he doesn’t like. He also has to deal with other people’s reactions to his words. The First Amendment doesn’t protect him from that. Nor should it.

      • Those repercussions cannot ethically and rightfully include blocking him from the same personal liberties and options the rest of us have and take for granted.

        • Deery

          Of course it can. If I tell my boss her child is ugly, I may be fired. And without any recourse. If I am the proud president of NAMBLA, even if I have never been convicted of any crimes, I probably won’t be welcome in most jobs, or gyms, for that matter. People also have the liberty of being able to react to ideas they consider odious (within certain limitations). The very idea that you can say whatever you want, but no one can react to that, is both wrong, juvenile, and rather oppressive.

          • I agree with Deery (oh hell…) in that we are not guaranteed to be protected from the consequences of free speech. If you have the guts, say what you want. But no legal recourse if folks tend to ignore you later.

            The difference here is that businesses who deprive a customer of contractual and inalienable rights are liable, from what I am reading here.

    • Wayne

      You bring up some interesting points Dwayne: During the 1950s I recall that it was illegal to be a member of the Communist Party, USA and affiliated groups such as the Abraham Lincoln Brigade which fought in the Spanish Civil War. The rationale was that members and leaders of these groups had their primary locality with the Soviet Union and were a threat to American Democracy advocating the violent overthrow of the Government. I cannot imagine though that any member were refused to work out in a gym or order lunch in a restaurant.

    • Chris

      It goes to the very heart of what the First Amendment is all about: Forbidding the government from EVER taking ANY punitive actions against people who speak out in opposition to the government (…and by extension, from directing favorable actions towards those who speak in support of the government).

      Since the government did not and has not taken any punitive actions against Spencer, I’m not sure what this position has to do with this case.

  16. Steve-O-in-NJ

    The problem I have with this is it’s a potential slippery slope, business or not. Let’s say you run a gym not too far from police HQ and occasionally the chiefs, maybe even the commissioner, stop by for a workout because it’s convenient. Is it ok for the other customers to hassle them, particularly if there’s a shooting or something like that, and call them killers of young black men? Let’s say your gym is near a city that boasts a thriving coffee shop/bookstore/college scene and also isn’t too far from the local airbase or fort, so you get both hippie-ish yoga people and military officers looking for a workout. Is it ok for either of these communities to give each other grief? Say you are in the state capital and government officials and their staff of both parties work out, is it ok for the other patrons to give them crap about this or that vote or this or that action?

    For that matter, would you be ok with a gym putting up a sign that said “This is a safe space for the community: no police allowed, except on official business, and then only with a warrant?” How about “This is a peaceful place, if you are from the military base, your money is no good and your presence is not welcome here?” What about “This gym welcomes all people, regardless of race, origin, or orientation. If you are a Republican, you may want to find somewhere else to work out?”

    I think we all know the answers, and frankly anyone who put up any of those signs would be an idiot. Nevertheless, the idea of refusing service to anyone you find objectionable could lead to any of them.

  17. Spartan

    This guy is a public figure and he will be recognized. He chose to be in the limelight. Gym members are allowed to quit their memberships because they don’t want to work out with an asshole. Now imagine (in liberal Old Town) that 75% of the members decide to quit their memberships at this gym because they don’t want to be around him. The business will now suffer.

    I used to go to this gym, and I can tell you that I would not want to be around this man. So, although I would not circulate a petition or demand that the gym expel him, I would quit my membership. And, I probably would tell all of my friends why, so I imagine many of them would quit as well. Also, keep in mind that this gym is super tiny — you are pretty much forced to interact with other members.

    In this scenario, the gym might end up closing because of lack of membership. So, this is trickier than you make it out in your hypothetical. I am not obligated, as a private citizen, to be polite or even silent around odious human beings. While I do not support a gym’s decision to terminate membership based on political (although I’m being generous here) beliefs, the fact is that people can vote with their feet.

    As for the bakeries, housing, and all the other examples brought up here, they just do not apply. There is nothing wrong with me privately discriminating against someone for odious, unpatriotic, conduct. In fact, I might have a duty to do that — otherwise I am normalizing or silently accepting what they are advocating. It would be ethically wrong for me, however, to privately discriminate against someone for who they are, including skin color, gender, and sexual orientation. And even with these examples, market forces still apply. White flight happened all over this country beginning in the 1950s. No one could legally force my family to stay in Detroit. Dupont Circle in Washington, DC is a known gay-friendly residential area. Private schools pop up that are gender or religion specific. Then there is the whole red state/blue state phenomenon. People are segregating themselves like never before. Apparently gyms are next on the list.

    • The word is harassment.

      “I am not obligated, as a private citizen, to be polite or even silent around odious human beings.”
      WRONG. You are obligated, and and you do not get to make the call on who is an odious human being. If you get to harass someone in public because you think he is an odious human being–based on what he THINKS!—then anyone should be able to do that to you too. And society is doomed.

      Still, Comment of the Day, and thanks for that. A very clear and well stated exposition of an unethical point of view that many misguided people agree with…thus imperiling our pluralistic society.

      • Spartan

        It is not harassment to quit a gym because I don’t want to work out with someone who advocates ethnic cleansing. Nor do I have to stay in my neighborhood if a convicted pedophile moves in.

        • Lame. The Professor harassed the man and told him to get out of town. You can quit a gym, but your position justifies an economic boycott to marginalize a law abiding citizen because you don’t like his politics and the increasingly totalitarian-tilting party you support believes that he shouldn’t be able to speak or appear in public, even in private. He is not a felon or a child molester.

          • Give me time to post your comment as a COTD!

          • Spartan

            We agree — people can quit the gym. Nowhere did I suggest that the gym should terminate this man’s membership.

            • Deery

              Is the gym unethical for terminating the membership of a white nationalist who advocates genocide? No. As Spartan pointed out, had they continued his membership, it is quite likely in liberal Alexandria that the gym would have gone out of business. The business also has to think about its minority employees, and how they might be treated by someone who espouses their inferiority and urges they be wiped out. They are under no legal obligation to provide him a place to work out. Sometimes when you advocate for despicable things, people actually notice and react.

              It’s not unethical to confront people you believe have behaved unethically. You have embraced the concept in other occasions. She did not threaten violence, but made people aware of the very ideas he has publicly proclaimed. Advocating for ideas is not consequence-free. Nor should it be.

          • Chris

            Lame. The Professor harassed the man and told him to get out of town.

            I think I agree that this incident constituted harassment. Spartan and deery have brought up the “duty to confront,” but if I understand your position on that, it applies to someone who is engaged in unethical conduct at that moment, not an otherwise unethical person going about their day in peace. So I’m with you here.

            You can quit a gym, but your position justifies an economic boycott to marginalize a law abiding citizen because you don’t like his politics and the increasingly totalitarian-tilting party you support believes that he shouldn’t be able to speak or appear in public, even in private. He is not a felon or a child molester.

            This, however, is a strawman followed by a rationalization.

            “Because you don’t like his politics” is a nice way of saying “Because you don’t like that he’s a Nazi.” Using the former instead of the latter is misleading; it makes it sound like we’re talking about normal political differences that people need to put aside in order to get along. But generally speaking, I don’t think we need to put our differences with Nazis aside. In situations like this, it’s a good idea to let the Nazi be and not start a confrontation, but dismissing those who choose not to as simply being unable to handle political disagreement is unfair.

            “He’s not a felon or child molester” is just “This isn’t the worst thing.”

            • 1, “Because you don’t like his politics” is a nice way of saying “Because you don’t like that he’s a Nazi.”

              No, it’s an accurate description. Nazi view are not illegal, and they are not banned. They are political views, an that’s all they are. A lot of your compatriots would argue that opposing abortion or not busing climate change is like being a Nazi.

              2. Check Spartans’ comment. SHE declared that this was the equivalent of avoiding a registered sex offender. I was pointing out that it isn’t.

              • Steve-O-in-NJ

                At least they aren’t illegal HERE. This guy from Austria was at a World War 2 weekend here and told me he had to beware what photos he was in, because if he was photographed next to any of the German reenactors with the Nazi symbols displayed, that alone could get him fined and jailed. You’ve already touched on the fact that some on the left want criminal statutes used to pursue those who don’t agree with climate change. Dan Savage wrote an article once in which he argued that those opposed to gay marriage should be treated like those who believe the earth is flat, interspersed with lots of profanity, of course.

                The path from democracy to totalitarianism is shorter than you think, and it starts with acceptance of the belief that certain opinions are so worthless as to have no place in any discussion, and that those who hold those opinion deserve to be ostracized.

        • Read the article; she did harass him.

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        Was that you breaking that guy’s balls on the plane because he wasn’t in DC to protest Trump? Nah, she was from Seattle, but I could see you doing exactly that.

  18. Just another example of what I’m calling “Why Trump, #xxxx in a series.”

    The mask is off these foaming lefties…they are, in fact, proving by their actions what a lot of us had already known to be true. “The Left gave up any pretense of principle or ethics or logical consistency. They know they’re right, and they know their enemies are not just wrong, but those enemies––conservatives (edit: or anybody else)–– are evil. For the American Liberal Progressive, this is a holy war, whether they want to admit it or not. Remember, in a war against sub-human enemies, anything goes.”

    http://wp.me/p5GfFy-fE

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