I think there is a big difference between actions of the state, and individual, private actions. I think that while it may be unethical to behave in a discriminatory manner in your private life, it can be understandable on some levels, even if irrational,and from a practical standpoint, impossible to police.
However, that goes out the window when it comes to state actions. In the United States, we are supposed to prize individual liberty and individual rights. Therefore group punishment and group abridgment of rights is something that should be approached very gingerly, if at all. The state has the literal power of life and death over people in a way that very few private individuals do. And the state is supposed to be properly constrained from exercising bigotry by certain foundational documents that it cannot willfully toss aside when it becomes too inconvenient.
Yes, well said. Ideally the distinction should go further but I don’t think we can work out how to draw it. Individuals acting in a private capacity should ideally be completely free to make their own decisions, eg as to who to befriend and certainly who to trust with their loved ones, however biased or bigotted they may seem to be. If, say, they distrust Jack Russells and their owners, that should be their business and they shouldn’t have to justify themselves by showing bite marks. But this same individual in his capacity say as a shop owner cannot be allowed to refuse to serve people based on such a prejudice. There is inevitably a conflict between respecting the freedom of the individual to discriminate, but also not to be discriminated against. (Personally I much prefer corgis.)
I hope you feel better soon, Jack.
[I’m especially very grateful to have an inventory of strong Comments of the Day—two more to post after this!–since I woke up today with painful stiff neck that makes everything from walking to chewing painful, and looking down at a keyboard ridiculously difficult.]
In response to fair, reasonable, liberal commenter and mother who had just written that when it came to looking out for her daughters, extreme caution was the rule, meaning that heterosexual men were regarded as inherent potential threats if the were strangers…even the fathers of her daughter’s friends (maybe even—this is my thought, not hers–a Vice President!).reader Chris Bentley raised several interesting points. As with many Comments of the Day, this one was not strictly on topic; workplace sexual harassment and discrimination was the subject of the post, except on the broad issue of the different genetic wiring of man and women,
Here is CB’s Comment of the Day on “The Tangled Ethics Of Men, Women, Sexual Harassment,Sexual Discrimination, Romance, Common Sense, And “Vive La différence!”: