What’s Wrong with the World

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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

Repeat After Me:

You should be able to sleep with whomever you love. You should be able to marry whomever you love. The state has no business discriminating among the sexual relationships of consenting adults. And slippery slope arguments are stupid.

Comments (64)

I saw someone else link to this too, but I think there's a very good chance that it's fake. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I sincerely hope it is fake. If it isn't then it is an incredibly irresponsible piece of "journalism" that basically encourages child abuse. In regards to argument, the information presented in the article is flat out false regarding both genetic risks and legal status. It is also clear that she had established a familial bond with him and after he left greatly missed that bond due to her chaotic upbringing, so even by libertine standards the sexual relationship should be viewed as a highly manipulative distortion of consent and he is essentially a sexual predator.

Elephant, do you think it's a hoax just because it's so bizarre, or...?

Step2, there is so much despair in this sentence: "so even by libertine standards the sexual relationship should be viewed as a highly manipulative distortion of consent and he is essentially a sexual predator."

The libertine standard is consent. You say the consent here is impaired, but I have no idea how you'd prove that. The libertine, whose legal regime basically rules in this country, must permit this.

Indeed, the more recent crank of the libertine ratchet implies strongly that our criticism or disapproval of this behavior, should it ever take legal form ("no, I won't rent a room to a father-daughter dating couple"), amounts to nothing less than invidious discrimination. Many courts have ruled, coercively, that very doctrine.

When I first read it, I didn't think much about the claims other than they were weird and disgusting. Having read it a second time, I think it very well may be an attempt to troll the left. Much of the way she writes about the relationship is rather similar to how gay rights activists try to talk about the "meaningless differences" between them and an ordinary heterosexual couple. Then there's the rather glaring detail that his family is not only ok with it, but they're going to attend the wedding and the grandfather will give her away. Their roommate thinks nothing of it. The odds of them running into all of these oh-so tolerant people on an issue that is very politically charged for several reasons (incest, "power differentials," and the inherently controversial matter of older men scoring with young women) are rather low. I would hazard a guess that one would more likely have found this tolerance 30 years ago toward two gay men than even today with incest because incest has the mental blocker of "sex = really warped kids."

I don't know, it seems like someone watched Flowers in the Attic and thought it would be loads of fun to troll some liberals.

For the record, if it is an attempt to troll the left, I'd love to buy the author a beer or round of shots. She deserves it. Watching the liberals contort themselves to either prove themselves more tolerant than one another or justify why one totally can't arrive at this outcome from supporting gay marriage and public displays of homosexuality gave me a lot of laughs.

Assuming the story is not a hoax: Since she is an adult, Step2, the father is not legally a predator. The whole "manipulation of consent" thing might or might not be true in this case (if the case is real). It is highly dubious that all the things that the left still wants to condemn can be condemned under the rubric of "no real consent," and the attempt to do so has been backfiring in various ways in feminist attempts to condemn the hookup culture on college campuses as a form of rape. It really often gives the strong impression of trying to shoehorn all condemnation into a single category because that is the only category that is left.

Lydia, yes, the bizarre nature of the story and general over-the-topness of it all seems like it could be satirical, but especially the part about the grandparents being there for the "wedding." What??

Isn't New York Magazine a major publication? Deep inside the mass media which is thoroughly evil and unrepentant? If this is fake, it would only be to further the cause of the Baal cult. Perhaps by seeking to normalize a story such as this one, making it seem like no big deal.

I don't know whether this is real or fake, but in order for it to be fake the author had to troll for some deeply perverse sub-culture in which to situate this: 5th graders who get drunk and get a girl (not his "girlfriend") pregnant, and whose girlfriend continues to stick with him in a "serious" relationship for 2 more years - 5th graders are well known for long-lasting romantic relationships. Where "most" of the kids are hooked on heroin, middle-school religious girls having repeat lesbian encounters. Where an 18-year old can say (apparently with a straight face) that there must be some *reason* she hasn't "dated a lot of men" - because, you know, being 18 isn't sufficient. Frankly, if these are all accurate renditions of the conditions, the school ought to be closed down, the authorities jailed, the kids given religious and mental therapy, and the parents shamed in public and private for complete, abject failure.

But the really nasty thing about the article is the insidious nature of WHERE the new "normal" is being placed even in matters not incestuous: being religious and having guilt about lesbian affairs isn't normal, no - being _unashamedly_ bisexual is now more normal than having troubled feelings about it. Having chronic depression is the new normal (possibly true, sadly), and getting over it when finding someone who finds you attractive - as if the mental disorder is hardly anything more than low self-esteem.

As Jonathan Last says, first the story about the horse (don't Google it, just trust me) and now this -- don't we all owe Rick Santorum a big apology?!

TME,

Let's not forget the fact that the grandfather is allegedly the one giving the "bride" away! Either this is a multi-generational sickness or it's just a load of rubbish.

I'm going to go out on a limb and admit that my present opinion is that this is for real. At a minimum, I think the paper publishing it believes it is for real. I suppose it's possible that the woman herself being interviewed has made the whole thing up for the limelight, but she's convinced the reporter.

Well, it's not like there's a precedent for that in recent times now is there?

The libertine standard is consent. You say the consent here is impaired, but I have no idea how you'd prove that.

We've had this discussion before; consent is a necessary condition but not the only standard. The whole point of informed adult consent is to prevent exploitation, not to provide legal cover for it. From a neo-Freudian perspective the female in the story is a textbook example of someone acting out an Electra complex. Contrary to Mike T's claim, when I skimmed through the comments I didn't find a single person voicing support, the only responses were "it's a hoax" and "please seek shelter and get psychological help".

Since she is an adult, Step2, the father is not legally a predator.

I don’t know what part of “she lost her virginity to her father” doesn’t seem predatory and it doesn’t really matter what age she is, it isn’t as though she uniquely has no instinctive desire to be loved by a parental figure which can be manipulated.

Question, Step2: Let's suppose it isn't a hoax. Let's suppose that they do go through some bizarre, legally non-binding "wedding" ceremony and make this all very loud and clear to anyone who will listen. They move to a state where there is no law on the books against their sexual relationship. Suppose that Mr. Jones has a rental property. Let's say it's just one house. His only rental property. So this "couple" comes to see the property, and, because this is "who they are," they find an opportunity to tell him all about themselves: He's her father. They believe they are married. They've undergone a ceremony recently. They will think of this as their "honeymoon house."

Mr. Jones refuses to rent to them on these grounds. Their city's non-discrimination ordinance says that you may not discriminate in housing on the basis of "family or marital status." They sue or get the local relevant commission to fine Jones.

What is your opinion on this scenario? Should the housing ordinance be revised? Should Jones be fined or forced to pay up in a civil lawsuit? Should the housing commission use "prosecutorial discretion" to refuse to go after Jones? Etc.

After all, it's generally those on your side of the political spectrum who have applauded such non-discrimination rules, and you have to admit that they seem to apply pretty straightforwardly to this case if the issue of housing discrimination should arise.

Oh, their city's ordinance also says you can't discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and contains no clause that says that the "orientation" in question doesn't count as a protected status if it is an orientation towards having sex with your adult daughter. So there are multiple portions of the non-discrimination ordinance that seem to apply to this scenario.

Step2, I don't believe I directly associated you as a libertine. Do you own to this doctrine now?

We've had this discussion before; consent is a necessary condition but not the only standard.

Yes, I wholly agree. It's the libertine who does not. Unless he is just smuggling in his latent standards without acknowledging them.

The whole point of informed adult consent is to prevent exploitation, not to provide legal cover for it

"Whole point" is a conspicuous overstatement here. Exploitation is a very nebulous notion, meanwhile; and one which, as you yourself indicate ("it doesn't really matter what age she is"), is only very inadequately prevented by legal age of consent provisions.

It is most unfortunate that, beyond impassive libertines who agree that the rental property owner must accommodate publicly to dating father-daughter couples, we already know that, in the end, most liberals will as well. Hell, in a decade many soi disant conservatives will, probably.

Step2's protestations notwithstanding, there is nothing left in liberalism from which to disapprove of sexual behavior that is legally consented to. This "not the only standard" blather is just hand-waving; it binds no one; it costs no one anything. It even impeaches no motivation, really, since liberalism has spent so much time denouncing with great vehemence anyone who asserts a normative structure to human sexual relations, that the moment any freak or deluded soul affirms satisfaction in some new contranormative arrangement, liberal objection is muted.

What is your opinion on this scenario?

If your novel interpretation of sexual orientation isn't spelled out, the non-discrimination law shouldn't be enforced. That is the deciding factor in why Mr. Jones refused to rent. If the novel interpretation is spelled out, that part of the law should be overturned.

Exploitation is a very nebulous notion, meanwhile; and one which, as you yourself indicate ("it doesn't really matter what age she is"), is only very inadequately prevented by legal age of consent provisions.

So it's better not to have any standards at all because some standards are inadequate? I appreciate the fact that when I am agreeing with you that parental incest does violate a normative structure of human sexual relations I'm being raked over the coals for doing so. That's a great lesson to teach.

I think it's real, though there are signs that it might not be and I wouldn't be surprised to find out that it's not. How's that for the strength of conviction? :)

When discussing this on Facebook with one of my thoughtful left-wing friends, we basically got to the point that he admitted not having a principled reason for distinguishing between gay "marriage" and this marriage, but he denied that it would make a difference because there's not going to be an "incest movement".

I think the couple in Lydia's scenario could sue and win, if they got the right judge. Statutes talk about sexual orientation, but court cases talk about equal protection; all the couple would have to do is prove that the owners had rented to other couples without worrying about their marital status or sexual activity. After all, as we're repeatedly told, if you offer services to the public, you need to offer services to the entire public, whether you agree with them or not.

If your novel interpretation of sexual orientation isn't spelled out, the non-discrimination law shouldn't be enforced.

What about my pretty darned straightforward interpretation of "marital or familial status" which is included in many (most?) housing non-discrimination statutes? They are obviously being discriminated against on the grounds that a) their familial status is that they are father and daughter, b) they are telling everybody that they regard themselves as married, hence are having sex with each other, and for good measure c) they aren't legally married under the laws of the state.

Frankly, I don't think that _needs_ to be spelled out to be a fairly direct application of the law.

Do you not know that such a law would _definitely_ apply if you refused to rent to a shacking up male-female couple? On the grounds that a) they aren't married, b) they've made it clear to you one way or another that they are having sex.

It's a very similar case, legally, to discriminating against the unmarried boyfriend and girlfriend, and I can tell you *quite definitely* that that would be illegal under "marital and familial status" laws. Indeed, the boyfriend-girlfriend scenario is almost certainly why such clauses were inserted, even long before "sexual orientation" was put into the laws.

So it's better not to have any standards at all because some standards are inadequate?

Certainly not. It's better to have, or rather to acknowledge the robust normative structure of human sexual relations, of which consent forms only a part.

For instance, many of us find the aggressive promotion of homosexuality in schools horribly exploitative; more broadly, many of us observe a keen and predatory mindset, from which springs grave exploitation, in the general sexualization of youth. This preys upon the discomforts and sensitivities of young people as they awkwardly come of age, in order to exploit emotional agitation, or divert passions, for purposes of nefarious interest -- some political, many more purely commercial. The campaign late last year to turn pretty young girls into foul-mouthed feminist harpies was ugly and exploitative. The various lawsuits forcing schools to permit a little boy to urinate and defecate amongst girls -- ghastly exploitation. On the commercial side there are the countless manipulations designed to excite a taste in young girls for sluttiness; the ceaseless deluge of innuendo in all kinds of advertising; etc.

I appreciate the fact that when I am agreeing with you that parental incest does violate a normative structure of human sexual relations I'm being raked over the coals for doing so.

I just don't think that you'll have the endurance to agree with us for very long.

Frankly, I don't think that _needs_ to be spelled out to be a fairly direct application of the law.

And I think you are incorrect, shocking right? Again, the deciding factor isn't that they are father and daughter, nor that they are not married, it is that he objects to their "orientation". I understand you believe non-discrimination law covers all sins so to speak, but it seems to me like you are reading more into it than what is actually there. However, even if you are correct all it means is that the law should be rewritten or overruled.

I just don't think that you'll have the endurance to agree with us for very long.

Well sure, we have different values, but that doesn't change the fact I agree with you in this case.

Step2, in some states "marital status" non-discrimation in housing has indeed been interpreted to protect unmarried couples who want to live together. (My own state of Michigan is one such.)

See here:

http://www.fairhousingblog.com/2011/03/discrimination-against-unmarried.html

Do you not see how that applies here? In such a state, if a relationship is exploitative (say it really is) but both members of the couple are adults and are breaking no laws, I think we have every reason to believe that such a law would protect that boyfriend and girlfriend who wanted to live together from discrimination. E.g. The landlord wouldn't be allowed to say, "You were this girl's high school teacher before she had her 18th birthday. I know the whole story. I think this is an exploitative relationship even though she's an adult now, and you didn't even marry the girl, so I won't rent to you as a couple." Let's say that the landlord really does know all about it and that the 50-year-old "boyfriend" really did engage in predatory type behavior, though he never did anything illegal. Still, the landlord is supposed to keep his nose out of their business and rent.

Can you not see the similarity to the father-daughter "couple" in the story? It seems pretty obvious to me.

Can you not see the similarity to the father-daughter "couple" in the story?

I can see a similarity but I'm not going to ignore the categorical difference between fornication and incest. You've also changed the scenario a little, where the landlord knows the whole story beforehand instead of having it blurted out to him. I doubt it makes much difference in terms of discrimination law, but if they are trying to hide something about the relationship then chances are they wouldn't want the publicity entailed by a lawsuit or attempt to rent from someone who knows their whole story. Anyway, I did some online research on discrimination against alternative sexual lifestyles and couldn't find anything which prevents such discrimination if it is not explicitly protected by law or implicitly protected by an employment contract.

The thing is, Step2, you are implying that a law that is _explicitly designed_ to protect unmarried couples having sex with each other _could not_ be used provided that the other (legal) aspects of their relationship fell into a particular sub-category of "unmarried man and woman having sex together and wanting to rent an apartment." I see _no reason whatsoever_ to believe that a law that is meant to protect unmarried, cohabiting, adult, male-female couples would suddenly magically "not apply" if the landlord were also relying on some _additional_ problem with their relationship, such as the incest angle. Why in the world should it? The whole point of such a non-discrimination law is, "Keep your nose out of their sexual business and rent if they aren't breaking any law." The incest relationship seems like a perfect way to exploit that legal intent and context. It is just a bare, unsupported posit on your part that suddenly if the landlord is specifically honing in on some special angle of the relationship such as incest he's exempt from "marital status" non-discrimination laws against this particular "boyfriend and girlfriend."

Please look at the link I already posted if you "couldn't find anything which prevents such discrimination." What part of that is unclear? The state of Michigan deliberately sent out people posing as unmarried couples to "catch" landlords discriminating against them!

The whole point of such a non-discrimination law is, "Keep your nose out of their sexual business and rent if they aren't breaking any law."

Wasn't I recently chided for using "whole point" as a conspicuous overstatement? You are reading more into the law than what is there and are refusing to acknowledge the deciding factor in the discrimination. Employment and housing discrimination laws closely track each other and an employer certainly has the ability to discriminate against unprotected legal sexual lifestyles. If somebody announces they practice bondage in front of their boss, the boss is perfectly within his rights to fire that employee.

Please look at the link I already posted if you "couldn't find anything which prevents such discrimination." What part of that is unclear?

The part where they didn't claim to be an incestuous couple. If the behavior or status is explicitly protected by law, then of course discrimination against it can be investigated and charged. We are discussing whether that protection can be extended through an implied general principle of non-interference. You claim it can, I disagree.

We are discussing whether that protection can be extended through an implied general principle of non-interference. You claim it can, I disagree.

Do you mean the same kind of extension as was used to make illegal the discrimination against sexual orientation extend ALSO to illegal discrimination on the basis of sexual activity? That kind of extension?

Or the extension that was used to make illegal overt acts of discrimination on the basis of race extend also to make illegal acts on completely different rational bases that had unequal EFFECT on different races? That kind of extension?

Well, sure, Step2, if you want to limit yourself to the actual meaning of the words in the law, and limit yourself to the meaning given explicitly and trumpeted repeatedly in order to get enough agreement to get the law passed, then perhaps you may be right. But if you want to get into how the law will actually be used in courts by judges with active imaginations and limited respect for said language, or will be used by moneyed organizations to pick legal battles against small businesses who, if they were to try to defend themselves in court, would go bankrupt before finally winning - a pyrrhic victory to be sure - well then we have to consider the broader context.

In any case, we don't need to assume that Lydia's case rests on a general principle of non-interference that is complete and absolute. It need not, for example, be a stance that would explicitly or implicitly condone child sexual slavery. A much narrower position is enough. It is certainly the case that even if the law that "protects" against discrimination on the basis of family status is meant to allow a non-married co-habitating couple to get an apartment and is NOT meant to apply just the same to a non-married co-habitating incestuous couple trying to get an apartment (a case not easy to make given that the law does not single out "incestuous" as an exception), THERE WILL BE JUDGES who decide that it applies to an incestuous couple just the same. Who will decide that "marital status" covers a couple who are not married whether incest is involved or not, and all the other "blather" is just smoke and mirrors to applying the law. Who will decide that New Jersey's decision to apply opprobrium to incest only if one of the parties is under 18 means that for New Jersey, the "marital status" anti-discrimination law applies to ALL parties over 18.

This forecast isn't even a stretch, Step2. This outcome is far, far more plausible than that NO judge will decide to apply the anti-discrimination law to an incestuous couple. Whatever legal theory you think ought to hold.

If somebody announces they practice bondage in front of their boss, the boss is perfectly within his rights to fire that employee.
The part where they didn't claim to be an incestuous couple. If the behavior or status is explicitly protected by law, then of course discrimination against it can be investigated and charged. We are discussing whether that protection can be extended through an implied general principle of non-interference. You claim it can, I disagree.

Step2, that's totally weird. Homosexuality *itself* is not "explicitly" protected even by the laws expressly passed with the intent to protect it!!! Any law that protects homosexual orientation and behavior does so by means of the broader phrase "sexual orientation." So your legal claim in this latest comment is going to have to be something like this: Even though homosexuality isn't named, homosexual practice is "explicitly" protected by sexual orientation laws. But other sexual practices such as the one you mention are _not_ protected by those laws because they aren't explicitly named.

What???

That don't even make good nonsense. I don't think "explicitly" means what you think it means.


Not going to be a habit but really.

" Any law that protects homosexual orientation and behavior does so by means of the broader phrase "sexual orientation."

Which is defined in multiple laws and regs. as Heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality with an occasional reference to gender identity in order to protect a trans individual(s).

"Sexual orientation" is defined in a number of state and federal laws and regulations. It is universally defined as:

"(10) Sexual orientation. The term sexual orientation means homosexuality, heterosexuality, or bisexuality."

That is from ENDA but State and agency regs are the same (at least all the ones I could find).

I'm sure we all remember this. Excerpts from the 1995 NYT story.

" UNION, S.C., July 27— Susan Smith's stepfather, who admitted that he had molested her when she was a teen-ager and had consensual sex with her as an adult, told her and his town that he shared her guilt in the drowning deaths of her young son.

Mr. Russell, a former member of the executive committee of the South Carolina Republican Party and a member of the Christian Coalition, read aloud from a letter he had written to Mrs. Smith in jail in which he said that his "heart breaks for what I have done to you."

The same jury took just 2 1/2 hours to convict the 23-year-old Mrs. Smith of murder in the drowning of Michael, 3, and Alex, 14 months. They must now deliberate whether Mrs. Smith should be executed for that offense or be sentenced to life in prison, where she would be eligible for parole after 30 years.

Mr. Russell fondled his daughter when she was 15 and kissed her in a passionate, grown-up way. He continued to do so even after he had had counseling, he testified today. Then, after her marriage to David Smith, the boys' father, he had sex with her again.

"In this case it was important to show that Susan Smith and Beverly Russell chose an adult relationship," Mr. Pope said. Mr. Russell conceded that the sexual relationship with Mrs. Smith, which continued as late as last August, was with her consent."

I realize that it is uncomfortable for some to allow that both Mr. Russell and Mrs. Smith as well as the couple in the instant case are engaging in a heterosexual relationship.

I realize why you want your beliefs as to the definition of sexual orientation to be true but they simply aren't. The story was about, and you all are discussing, a plain, old fashioned and highly dysfunctional heterosexual relationship.

Am I the only one to notice that woman first engaged in sex with her father at about the same age as her mother was when she became pregnant with her. Maybe Mr. Justice Holmes...

Bipolar mother with multiple loser relationships, drugs all over the schools - what could possibly go wrong? And these are the sort of cases we want to generalize about? This no more says anything about liberals then Mrs. Smith's case says anything about socially conservative Christians.

For our comrades in Greece:

http://media.vad1.com/temporary_url_20140405ksjrf/internationale-gr1.mp3

Al, my local ordinance-writing city council faced exactly that question of defining "sexual orientation" and _deliberately_ did not define it in that way. My recollection is that they left the definition open-ended. That was even a talking point that we who opposed the ordinance used against them. They did not, for example, exclude various things such as pedophilia from the definition of "orientation."

By the way, see this page:

http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/free-books/living-together-book/chapter5-2.html


Your best protection against discrimination may be a city or county ordinance prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Although usually passed to protect the housing rights of gay and lesbian tenants, most local laws forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation also protect unmarried heterosexual couples as well.

If you suspect (or know for sure) that a landlord won’t rent to you because you’re not married, first find out whether your city or state has a law that has been interpreted to prohibit discrimination against unmarried couples in rental housing. If the answer is yes, you have a decent chance of winning if you fight back.

So in other words, the definition of "orientation" has already been taken past homosexual, etc., to other groups based on their "orientation."

Moreover, as I already pointed out, the phrase "marital and family status" *in itself* has a fairly broad meaning because in some states it is *intended* to protect unmarried adult couples from discrimination in housing.

More or less what I'm getting when I point out how natural and fairly straightforward (even more so than the application of "orientation") the application is here to this father-daughter couple, given that both are adults, is "oh, brother, can't you see that's _different_?" Legally, no, I really can't, and I don't see why a court or local board set to enforce the ordinance should either.

Correction: It looks like in the process of deliberation they eventually decided to define "orientation" as homosexuality, bisexuality, or heterosexuality whether by practice or orientation (so not _just_ orientation) and did decide to exclude pedophilia. Smart move, that last.

So a question arises, in the nolo article, what was their basis for saying that most local laws against sexual orientation discrimination also prohibit discrimination on the basis of being unmarried?

Moreover, why would "family status" non-discrimination law (which is defined in terms of being related within a certain number of degrees of consanguinity) not protect this couple? And why would "marital status" not protect them given that it is intended in Michigan to protect unmarried couples from discrimination in housing?

Yeah, yeah, I know: Because theirs is an exploitative, unmarried, sexual relationship, so _of course_ the courts would regard it as okay for a landlord to discriminate _then_. Good luck with that.

Scenario: A male-male couple tries to rent. One member of the couple is fifty; the other is eighteen. They chat away to the prospective landlord about how they have "loved each other for years" but the younger man was a minor until recently, so they had to "wait." But now, they have had a private (non-binding) "marriage" ceremony on his eighteenth birthday (the state doesn't recognize homosexual "marriage"), and they are so excited to be starting off their "life together." The young man even talks about how he never got along with his own father. This is a very chatty couple.

The landlord discriminates on the grounds that he believes the relationship is predatory and exploitative. Based on their discussion, he says that it is clear that the older man has been grooming the boy for years, engaging in predatory type behavior, even though the couple claims that he never carried out any illegal sexual acts prior to the boy's eighteenth birthday.

I await with bated breath the outpouring of liberal support for the landlord in such a scenario and his triumphant vindication in court. Because, you know, these non-discrimination laws don't protect _predatory_ and _exploitative_ relationships, and _of course_ the landlord is allowed to use his own moral judgement and discriminate when it comes to predatory and exploitative relationships.

Lydia, an unmarried couple is still either going to be heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual in orientation. A pedophile is either homosexual, heterosexual, or bisexual in orientation. Period. (I once knew a trans man who was in a poly relationship with two trans women. Their orientation was bisexual.)

There is no public policy reason to game the definition. Such gaming is not part of the general liberal project. It may be an attempt by folks with legal problems or who are discomforted by their drives to piggy-back on the real and inexcusable discrimination exercised against others. In general, business transactions should be at arms length. A landlord (with # of unit exceptions) is in a business and the personal life of his tenants is of no concern. Good rules of thumb are does it break my leg, pick my pocket, or frighten the horses. In general, laws like this that don't make size exceptions are poorly written.

Your thought experiment involves a person admitting to felonious behavior in the recent past. There is no way I would knowingly put my assets or my other tenants or the neighbors at risk by knowingly renting to such a person. I'll go to court on that one. We are simply not going to agree on public accommodation laws but that doesn't mean that those who favor them are using those laws as a stalking horse for some other purpose.

Realistically, no one is going to admit to having engaged in a serious felony. While the SOL differs from state to state it appears that in your example the older man is at risk for about three years. The couple in the article seem to want to move to a jurisdiction (adult incest is a felony in Michigan) in which they won't be at legal risk and where they can be accepted as a married couple (no state accepts the validity of an incestuous marriage in which both parties are still alive). The last thing they are likely to do is over-share with a stranger. Thought experiments are most useful when describing likely scenarios.

All that having been said, we should be clear that the lives of our couple are likely to end in tears. To moi this is yet another example of how we humans manage to use personal relationships to thoroughly screw everyone involved over. That there are likely to be children produced who then grow up to screw their lives up is really sad.

Jake, using these NYM articles as having anything to do with public policy is not going to be very productive.

Such gaming is not part of the general liberal project.

A classic of the genre.

Your thought experiment involves a person admitting to felonious behavior in the recent past.

I was pretty careful to make sure it did _not_ involve his admitting to _any_ crime. The whole point was supposed to be that they couldn't help their feelings of being in love but hadn't, er, "done anything" until the boy was an adult. Just like the father-daughter couple, I gather. Isn't the whole idea that they only started engaging in sexual relations after she was eighteen?

The last thing they are likely to do is over-share with a stranger.

Oh, c'mon, Al, you know perfectly well that gay couples testing the waters and trying to stir up troubles "over-share with strangers" pretty frequently in an attempt to see whether they are going to be discriminated against. For that matter, the people posing as unmarried couples in Michigan went around deliberately "over-sharing" to see whether the landlords were discriminating against unmarried couples. Or didn't you notice that?

If this couple wants to push the envelope for adult incest, which they _clearly_ do, over-sharing looks like very much their kind of thing.

A landlord (with # of unit exceptions) is in a business and the personal life of his tenants is of no concern. Good rules of thumb are does it break my leg, pick my pocket, or frighten the horses.

A good, clear statement of the liberal position. Which *directly contradicts* Step2's principle that a landlord would be allowed to discriminate against the adult incestuous couple on the grounds that this adult incestuous relationship is predatory and exploitative. Their personal lives are supposed to be of no concern to the landlord.

Lydia, an unmarried couple is still either going to be heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual in orientation. A pedophile is either homosexual, heterosexual, or bisexual in orientation. Period. (I once knew a trans man who was in a poly relationship with two trans women. Their orientation was bisexual.)

There is no public policy reason to game the definition. Such gaming is not part of the general liberal project.

Al, I see that you must be at least one of the following (but probably both): an older liberal who still thinks in square terms; and not very closely tied in to the most recent media fads.

It is now all over the place in liberal circles that just as "gender" is no longer to be written in a two-pole system, nor even in a uni-dimensional system of infinite variation in degree in maleness or femaleness, but (at the least) a plane system of variation in many directions, so also is "orientation". Indeed, once gender is released from the bonds of directionality based on physical organs, orientation cannot but follow along behind. If there are now 56 genders (ala facebook), then there are 56^2 - 1 possible orientations. GET WITH IT, man.

In general, business transactions should be at arms length. A landlord (with # of unit exceptions) is in a business and the personal life of his tenants is of no concern.

Why? It's is an interesting theory, but is hardly self-evident. It harbors assumptions that most people would deny are valid under some circumstances. The question then becomes when and why do you allow business transactions to be personal (not whether)?

It harbors assumptions that most people would deny are valid under some circumstances.

Moreover, once grant those assumptions, and why, again, were Al and Step2 telling us that it would be both legally possible and, on their view, desirable for landlords to be allowed to refuse to rent to adult incestuous couples? Funnily enough, Al evidently regards himself as _helping_ Step2 to argue that "that would never happen" (you know, non-discrimination law being used to force someone to rent to the couple in the main post). Yet the very principle of "None of your beeswax" which Al articulates would, in fact, support that very outcome! In fact, it is we who have been arguing that "the personal life of your tenants is none of your concern" *is* the left-wing principle in play here and *would* support such a non-discrimination mandate! Because let's make this clear: If someone refuses to rent to the couple in the main post, they're doing it because they think their personal lives are someone else's business, at least insofar as that someone else doesn't want them carrying out their couplehood while renting from him!

Do you mean the same kind of extension as was used to make illegal the discrimination against sexual orientation extend ALSO to illegal discrimination on the basis of sexual activity? That kind of extension?

I don't even understand the concept whereby you could claim you aren't discriminating against a sexual orientation and then engage in total discrimination against their sexual activity. If a straight guy tries to go into a profession of a certain type: hair stylist, interior design, it wouldn't make sense for the owner to say "Oh I would never discriminate against heterosexuals, I truly want to hire you. Wait, you have a wife and kids? I'm afraid I can't associate with that kind of activity." On the other hand, I've always used sexual orientation in a technical/legal sense with the definition al mentioned above, so it may be that I'm not current with the lingo. Sue me - no don't.

I think Tony accidentally wrote family status when he meant to write marital status. Family status was made a protected class to stop landlords from only renting to childless singles.

This forecast isn't even a stretch, Step2.

I disagree, it is a stretch. This doesn't mean your prediction is absolutely positively going to be wrong; I don't have any better access to the future than you do despite my Illuminati membership, I'm only claiming it does involve a stretch. In the meantime, I suppose it must be strange that a liberal is telling you it is permissible to discriminate against a particular immoral group and you feel compelled to argue why you will not.

If someone refuses to rent to the couple in the main post, they're doing it because they think their personal lives are someone else's business, at least insofar as that someone else doesn't want them carrying out their couplehood while renting from him!

That's a fair enough assessment, but it seems easy enough to turn the tables and say that if a landlord was completely opposed to fornication on his property he wouldn't allow his tenants to have any visitors of either gender, possibly even installing cameras in each room of the property to prevent those deviants from sneaking in to having extramarital sex. I doubt anyone would feel comfortable living in such prison-like conditions, but if it is all about what the landlord wants then what is your reason for saying the landlord can't make those rules or can't spy on his tenants? There ought to be some sort of balance between absolute control for the landlord and absolute freedom for the tenants. The most obvious and clear restriction on a tenant's freedom is illegal activity which is always grounds for eviction. As I indicated above regarding employers, the behavior doesn't have to be illegal to be a legitimate cause for discrimination.

but it seems easy enough to turn the tables and say that if a landlord was completely opposed to fornication on his property he wouldn't allow his tenants to have any visitors of either gender, possibly even installing cameras in each room of the property to prevent those deviants from sneaking in to having extramarital sex.

Step2, I don't know why you would say this. I am sure it is a lot less than 200 years ago that any landlord was considered entirely within his rights to get rid of a tenant who noticeably engaged in activities which, to a reasonable person, seemed to be aligned with fornication, (such things as inviting young women in during the evening, and having them leave in the morning in a dis-arrayed state of clothing, with considerable amounts of alcohol consumed, and rather loud "goings on" heard from the next apartment that need not be described in detail). Or to refuse to rent to someone who is well known, in the town, for the above activities. Cameras not necessary: the evidence that comes to hand without physically intruding is sufficient.

The notion that what goes on inside your apartment that I rented, is my "personal" life in a sense that is "none of your business" is, inherently rather strange. It is your apartment. Personally. What you choose to do with it is your business BEFORE it can be my business. If you decide that you are in the business of renting apartments but not to people who build ships in bottles, how in the world can I tell you "that's not your business"? How can you tell Alfred Nobel that it's not his business to set up a renowned award for various pursuits but not for mathematics? The fact that he hated one specific mathematician gave him the impetus to make it his business.

Secondly, it is a strikingly narrow concept of the connectivity of the human family that one can think of sexual relations between 2 persons as not having an impact on the larger human family (and, therefore, being part of "our business"). Take just the first thing that comes to mind in the above case:

we should be clear that the lives of our couple are likely to end in tears. To moi this is yet another example of how we humans manage to use personal relationships to thoroughly screw everyone involved over. That there are likely to be children produced who then grow up to screw their lives up is really sad.
In the meantime, I suppose it must be strange that a liberal is telling you it is permissible to discriminate against a particular immoral group and you feel compelled to argue why you will not.

As far as I'm concerned, Step2, that's not correct. If I were a landlord I absolutely _would_ discriminate against this couple. But I think I would have legal headaches, at a minimum, if I did so. So I regard this as another reason not to become a landlord! For that matter, I would want to discriminate against unmarried couples in general, which is another reason not to become a landlord. I don't think any of us has been saying that we _wouldn't_ discriminate against them, just that we think we would be subject to legal harassment for doing so.

What we're trying to get back to, I think, is the "whatever is not forbidden is compulsory" idea that I discussed in a much older post: If x is not forbidden, it's considered "none of your business" for everyone else, *and therefore*, our entire legal set-up says that everyone else must go about in a robot-like fashion in all commercial and other interactions (but especially commercial interactions) and act like the person isn't doing x. No matter what x is, and even if that means renting one's own property for use for doing x. And we see no reason why that socially destructive principle would not be taken to apply to this situation.

That's a fair enough assessment, but it seems easy enough to turn the tables and say that if a landlord was completely opposed to fornication on his property he wouldn't allow his tenants to have any visitors of either gender, possibly even installing cameras in each room of the property to prevent those deviants from sneaking in to having extramarital sex. I doubt anyone would feel comfortable living in such prison-like conditions, but if it is all about what the landlord wants then what is your reason for saying the landlord can't make those rules or can't spy on his tenants? There ought to be some sort of balance between absolute control for the landlord and absolute freedom for the tenants.

I don't see any reason for this weird caricature of a landlord who doesn't want to rent to, say, an unmarried couple as wanting to sit around listening to all their conversations, watching them get undressed, etc. Why think a thing like that?

But as far as the "balance" goes, let me turn the tables back again: If Bob and Sally are openly unmarried and openly living together as a sexual couple, making no bones or secret about it, why does it fall on the "wrong" side of that balance you mention for the landlord to say, "No thanks" and rent to someone else instead?

You think that the reason the adult incest relationship doesn't have to be illegal to be worthy of discrimination is because it's exploitative. The landlord who doesn't want to rent to the unmarried, non-incestuous couple thinks their relationship worthy of discrimination because he thinks it is destructive to their lives and to human society more generally, because it is (whether they realize it or not) an expression of lust rather than love.

Once allow the kind of moral judgement that you are making of the incestuous couple, and it is really fairly arbitrary to disallow the moral judgement of the unmarried couple. Once _insist_, *in law*, that the unmarried couple's relationship is "none of the business" of the landlord, and it is quite difficult to find a reason to allow his *purely moral* judgement of "exploitativeness" a place in the case of the incestuous couple. What harm are they doing him, after all? Etc.

Cameras not necessary: the evidence that comes to hand without physically intruding is sufficient.

Okay, but what is your reason for saying he can't be more intrusive and demanding? By your own account everything the tenants do on his property is legitimately the business of the landlord. Why doesn't he have the right to protect his business in the most forceful manner possible?

Secondly, it is a strikingly narrow concept of the connectivity of the human family that one can think of sexual relations between 2 persons as not having an impact on the larger human family (and, therefore, being part of "our business").

Discrimination (legal or not) is hardly a vehicle for encouraging the connectivity of the human family. It is meant to be a disconnection and disassociation from society.

Why think a thing like that?

It's a slippery slope argument, which some people believe are intelligent arguments.

If Bob and Sally are openly unmarried and openly living together as a sexual couple, making no bones or secret about it, why does it fall on the "wrong" side of that balance you mention for the landlord to say, "No thanks" and rent to someone else instead?

This is a question that touches upon much larger issues of how laws are made and which social values they should or should not reflect. As a specific answer, I personally am not sympathetic to either party. If the landlord refuses to rent to them it isn't a big deal, and if the landlord is coerced by law to rent it isn't a big deal.

Okay, but what is your reason for saying he can't be more intrusive and demanding? By your own account everything the tenants do on his property is legitimately the business of the landlord. Why doesn't he have the right to protect his business in the most forceful manner possible?

But he can. And he does. CAN be more intrusive, and DOES have the right.

If he writes that into the contract, of course. Just like he can write into the contract that you aren't allowed to smoke in his building. I have the right to be intrusive on guests I have in my home, because it's my home. He has (or at least ought to have) the right to be intrusive on people in his property if he wants to exercise that right, because it's his property. As long as he protects that in contract form.

If he finds that he won't get any renters under such conditions where he is more intrusive, maybe he will re-write the contract and give up those rights. Maybe he will invent a sensor-with-camera that will only take a picture when you are just in the process of putting a nail in the wall, so he can still protect his property without being as intrusive. Who knows? In any case, the point is that before it is property he is offering to rent out, it is property that is his, and he can be "intrusive" on his property. When he rents it out, i.e. subjecting his natural rights to be intrusive AND USE his own property, to limitations and constraints, he can either give up the right to be intrusive by contract or retain it by contract.

Discrimination (legal or not) is hardly a vehicle for encouraging the connectivity of the human family. It is meant to be a disconnection and disassociation from society.

Sure, Step2, put the blame for disorder on the person who objects to a couple choosing to damage the social fabric. "You want to separate yourselves from both the existing social mores and the natural social good by revolting behavior, but I'm the one being "disconnective" by giving you the natural consequence of your being offensive to our society's mores - I won't associate with you." Like that? That's really good. That's Moe blaming Calvin for Moe's skinned knuckles on Calvin's teeth when he won't hand over his lunch money fast enough.

Just for good measure here: legal punishment is not SUPPOSED to feel good and inviting. Nor is social quasi-punishment like shaming and shunning. If you think "being harsh" describes a wrong act, you've been smoking at the weed of the liberal golden rule ("BE NICE") too long.

I think it a bit odd that Step2 should simultaneously recommend discrimination against the incestuous couple and criticize discrimination apparently *in general* as being bad for the connectivity of the human family. Perhaps Step2 thinks that in the incestuous couple case it's actually _good_ to do something that's _bad_ for human connections.

The real answer is that rightly used "discrimination" is good overall for the connectivity of the human family because it discourages behaviors that are *themselves* bad for social cohesion. We can even see this in the case of crime. If I discriminate against a violent felon, for example, I'm disassociating from him qua individual, but I'm both a) encouraging the cohesiveness of my particular business by reducing the probability that it will be disrupted by a violent felon and b) hopefully deterring others from committing violent felonies because of the long-term effects on their employability.

So discrimination can, of course, serve the cause of the connectedness of the human family.

I have the right to be intrusive on guests I have in my home, because it's my home.

Once again you are ignoring some crucial differences. You certainly do have the right to be severely intrusive to guests in your home because you aren't charging them rent and also because you are living under the same roof - so their behavior is essentially unavoidable for you. If it is a separate property and you are charging rent, clearly they aren't "in your debt" or "in your personal space" in any way like a guest living for free inside your own home is.

Sure, Step2, put the blame for disorder on the person who objects to a couple choosing to damage the social fabric.

First, I will dispute that existing social mores are as opposed to unmarried sex as you believe. In America the percentage who think premarital sex is morally acceptable or neutral is double the percentage who find it morally unacceptable.
http://www.pewglobal.org/2014/04/15/global-morality/table/premarital-sex/

Second, I didn't say the response was disordered, I was noting the irony of an appeal to the connectivity of the human family while also saying some members of the "family" shouldn't be associated with. This isn't difficult to understand unless you make it difficult. Furthermore, I laughed out loud at the notion I'm too nice, so thanks for that.

That's Moe blaming Calvin for Moe's skinned knuckles on Calvin's teeth when he won't hand over his lunch money fast enough.

Yes, it is the tenants who are extorting money from the landlord, this explains why they are paying him.

If it is a separate property and you are charging rent, clearly they aren't "in your debt" or "in your personal space" in any way like a guest living for free inside your own home is.

So, what you are saying is that once I decide to offer the apartment for others' use, I lose the right to have any perspective on why, how, to what extent, etc I am going to rent it out. In other words, it doesn't MATTER what kind of contract I actually intend to enter into, as soon as somebody out there chooses to call it "rent out" at that moment I lose all control over constraints that I wanted for that contract. I am literally unable to CHOOSE to be a "renter of apartments to morally decent people," that's not a possible thing to choose to be.

Well, maybe you are right - in a legal sense. If so, you are merely saying that the government is a tyrant. Your position, of course, accurately predict the behavior of certain judges

clearly they aren't "in your debt" or "in your personal space"

No, they are "in my apartment". The apartment that is mine fully, before they become renters. The apartment that they rent only after and by agreeing to a contract. Their only possible claim on the apartment is subsequent and "junior" to mine - the contract (if I agree to one) gives them part of the rights over property that I have, but not all. I am saying that unless and until I have CHOSEN to make it their living space, it is mine to decide whether I want people in my property doing X, Y, or Z things the same way that is my right in my own home. Maybe you personally don't care about Y activities. But if I do care, in what sense are you in a position to say "that's not your business" until after I have made over the use of the apartment to them, without making Y a subject of the contract? Why, the only basis you have is that of tyranny: You personally DON'T LIKE that I should base my business interests on whether a person does Y in my property. So you are going to impose your likes on my business interests.

First, I will dispute that existing social mores are as opposed to unmarried sex as you believe. In America the percentage who think premarital sex is morally acceptable or neutral is double the percentage who find it morally unacceptable.

That's a complete non-starter as a response. In the narrow focus, this thread is about incest, not about unmarried sex. In the broader focus, I clearly included the larger sphere of HISTORICAL perspectives as well as current ones. Historically in America, far far more generations of people have thought unmarried sex is morally unacceptable than have thought it was OK.

The _social_ mores was only 1/2 of the perspective I mentioned, anyway. In any time, whether 100 years ago or now, the person who owns the property gets to reflect HIS OWN morals in the contracts he is willing to enter into for the use of his property. If he thinks making his property available for immoral living together by unmarried sexually active couples is bad and damages the social fabric, he should be free to NOT ENTER INTO such contracts. It's his property, he can just let it sit there rather than put it into the hands of someone doing something wrong with it - he should be free to not cooperate with evil behavior.

I was noting the irony of an appeal to the connectivity of the human family while also saying some members of the "family" shouldn't be associated with. This isn't difficult to understand unless you make it difficult.

Such ironic aspect only exists on the superficial level. Anyone who takes half a second to peer at this would recognize things that are superficially not immediately helpful to community feeling, which are in the long run exactly what is needed for a sound community. Such as a woman accusing a rapist of rape. Superficially speaking, this puts her at odds with him - causes a rift between them - but putting a criminal and predator behind bars will ultimately help the rest of the community be more complete than leaving him out to prey on other women. That is, the irony, such as it is, is entirely trivial.

Furthermore, I laughed out loud at the notion I'm too nice, so thanks for that.

Well, you can unlaugh. I know people who claim to worship at the idol of the golden "be nice" calf, who are anything but nice themselves. Yeah, you are right, that's hypocrisy. Just goes to show you, hypocrisy isn't limited to right wing Christians.

Tony, sorry for the late response. Vacation.

So, what you are saying is that once I decide to offer the apartment for others' use, I lose the right to have any perspective on why, how, to what extent, etc I am going to rent it out.

I’m saying you don’t have an unlimited right to control how you are going to rent it out unless you decide not to rent it at all. Remember the spiel about absolute control vs. absolute freedom and the idea was to find some sort of balance? You are claiming tenants in principle can be required to accept interference in nearly every aspect of their personal lives, can be subjected to paranoid spying, and must submit to all manner of prejudices (including obviously racial, religious, and gender), but if the state interferes to stop this nonsense then and only then is tyranny afoot. This situation is supposedly justified by a business contract, even though it is the landlord’s prerogative to impose all of these restrictions without a contract on guests living in his own home, yet somehow consent makes it morally right for a business transaction. Strange how the libertine value of consent supersedes all other considerations when an economic transaction is involved.

If so, you are merely saying that the government is a tyrant.

If a government has no rights to control economic activity it isn’t a government. Before continuing about the tyranny of a democratic republic to regulate and/or deregulate business activity; perhaps researching an actual tyranny would put things in better perspective. Or simply read this quote: "Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary." - Reinhold Niebuhr

Well, you can unlaugh.

Fortunately it is unpossible to unlaugh, but I wouldn’t even if I could. It sounds horrible.

I’m saying you don’t have an unlimited right to control how you are going to rent it out unless you decide not to rent it at all. Remember the spiel about absolute control vs. absolute freedom and the idea was to find some sort of balance?

Actually, Step2, I am something approaching a middle-of-the-roader in general terms as far as government involvement in the marketplace. I agree with you that the marketplace doesn't get off scot-free from intervention just because it is "the marketplace". The government has a role in intervening. In order to ensure a social order that comes closer to modeling justice, it will sometimes be necessary for government to intervene even in supposedly "free" contracts. I agree that the government can outlaw certain kinds of contracts as inherently unjust, and could also (in what should be a SEPARATE standard) simple refuse to enforce some other contracts as being "beyond our writ". Which would make them rare anyway, but not illegal.

However, the standard that should apply in judging when government should intervene in contracts and the marketplace is narrower than you are upholding here. Generally the realm of free contracts ought to be left alone UNLESS some clear need for the common good makes it necessary to have government intervention. Nobody I know of thinks that there is an established case that there is a CLEAR need, for the sake of the common good, that people who want to rent out their property must not be allowed to constrict and narrow their possible clientele according to their notion of moral behavior in their clients - that's not a legally permissible economic act. Just as for one reason that easily

passes the "rational basis" standard, renting constitutes an ongoing relationship in which you have to repeatedly interact, repeatedly juggle competing needs (privacy of renters vs owner's need to make repairs and upgrades when he is available). This means that they will have a ongoing relationship, and a person should not generally be forced to have such relationships with people he finds morally offensive - and who are using HIS PROPERTY to further those morally offensive behaviors.

Instead, the standard of rationale that is used to support such laws as the one here under discussion is something else, not "clear need for the common good". It is something much more like "we as a majority don't find the distinction you are making between potential clients to be a suitable one. If it is unsuitable, then it would be unjust for you to make those distinctions, and we are not going to allow you to be unjust to possible customers." It is, in effect, saying that the government should put a halt to unjust contracts solely because they are unjust, and that the government's judgment about justice here extends even to matters of conscience of the vendor. It is only 2 skips and a hop from that thesis to government controlling pricing and all other economic decisions because it won't allow people to sell their goods or services too low or too high or to the wrong people.

It is funny how liberals can staunchly oppose government interference in the free speech of a person spouting silly and pernicious nonsense, even when it CLEARLY DOES affect the common good - in effect saying "sometimes it is necessary to allow some bad things in order to further other good things - and then have no compunction at all in putting a stop to other "bad" things (in their view), just because they are "bad", without any claim that these evils are significant to the common good at all.

You are claiming tenants in principle can be required to accept interference in nearly every aspect of their personal lives, can be subjected to paranoid spying,

I have no idea why you are saying this. If they object to such "interference" by the owner of the property, they can put their objections into the contract. Then they don't have to accept his interference. Or they can negotiate by price and other give and take to allow some and not allow others. Or they can go find a landlord who doesn't care, and views their putting these terms into the contract as irrelevant to his concerns. WHY must tenants rely on the state to write the terms of the contract for them? What if a tenant would have been willing to ACCEPT such "interference" at a lower rent? Hell, you could even have the state simply draft a set of 10 different levels of rental agreements labeled with different names, with varying levels of landlord powers and tenant powers, and let the parties negotiate between themselves which of the 10 they wanted, OR WRITE SOMETHING ELSE.

and must submit to all manner of prejudices (including obviously racial, religious, and gender), but if the state interferes to stop this nonsense then and only then is tyranny afoot.

It is entirely legal for me to be racially, or religiously, or gender bigoted when walking down the street greeting people. I can be welcoming and friendly and pleasant to everyone who is female, or everyone who is Hindu, and be obnoxious, nasty, and insulting to everyone who is male, everyone who is Greek Orthodox, and everyone who is between 5'7" and 5'10". This behavior would clearly be WRONG, prejudicial, and upsetting to people. But it would be legal. Every one of the offended people MUST INDEED "submit to all manner of prejudices" from me according to the law. They have no legal choice. They can, of course, make other choices: they can also be nasty to me, they can turn their backs on me, they can irritate the heck out of me by driving past me real slow while I am trying to get out of my driveway, etc. They can also REFUSE TO BUY from my corner market. What they cannot do is sic the law on me.

These actions of mine are clearly injustices of a sort, but the law says nothing about them. These people are being made to suffer all manner of prejudicial behavior, and the law ignores it. Either you think that the law is bad because it overlooks these, or you think that it is OK for the law to permit some evils to happen without being addressed under the law.

To turn the camera around: a black person can refuse to buy at my corner market JUST BECAUSE I AM WHITE, for no other reason than that, and the law doesn't charge him with a crime. He can refuse to enter into that commercial arrangement with me, and my business can suffer for it, but I am not allowed to claim "racial prejudice in a buyer". Why not? Because the law doesn't regard ALL evil actions, it only regards some. And why is that? Because, for one reason out of many, the object of the state is not ALL GOOD AND EVIL, but the common good. And these sorts of _personal_ offenses between two citizens doesn't automatically arise to the level of such an evil that the state ought to take note. So how is it possible for the same state to think that when a seller won't sell to someone because he is black, that should be illegal, the state SHOULD care enough to punish that, but when a buyer won't buy from someone because he is black, that should not? For some reason the state has chosen to privilege the buyer over the seller in these economic transactions: though both are engaged in the same wrongful behavior with the same moral gravity, only one is saddled with a crime. The state puts constraints on the seller's ability to freely contract, but not the buyer's.

It is only 2 skips and a hop from that thesis to government controlling pricing and all other economic decisions because it won't allow people to sell their goods or services too low or too high or to the wrong people.

The government doesn't have to "control" pricing, but it has the right to punish price gouging and price fixing in the interest of the common good and justice. The same principle should allow for placing some restrictions on other unjust practices especially with regard to essential goods and services like housing.

Every one of the offended people MUST INDEED "submit to all manner of prejudices" from me according to the law. They have no legal choice.

Previously you claimed that the law can’t force people to tolerate morally offensive behavior, now you are claiming the law requires people to tolerate it. Which is it?

For some reason the state has chosen to privilege the buyer over the seller in these economic transactions: though both are engaged in the same wrongful behavior with the same moral gravity, only one is saddled with a crime.

Partially it is because the seller's behavior is extremely easy to prove and the buyer's generally is not. Partially it is because specific control over buyers requires a massive enforcement mechanism. You would essentially be creating a tyranny in order to enforce such a law against buyers, even though I agree that their behavior is equally wrong and blameworthy.

Previously you claimed that the law can’t force people to tolerate morally offensive behavior, now you are claiming the law requires people to tolerate it. Which is it?

Nope. Got it wrong. The law can't force people to COOPERATE in morally offensive behavior.

And, even when the law does indeed impose restraints that require of people that they tolerate morally offensive behavior, the law can't force people to tolerate offensive behavior without any social response in consequence, it can only construct sanctions on SOME forms of intolerance, not all.

The law can't force people to COOPERATE in morally offensive behavior.

Typically selling or buying things that have no relation to the offensive behavior is never considered formal cooperation, so even if your claim is true it doesn't apply in this case. Furthermore you haven't defined what cannot be counted as morally offensive behavior, which nullifies the coercive power of all laws.

And, even when the law does indeed impose restraints that require of people that they tolerate morally offensive behavior, the law can't force people to tolerate offensive behavior without any social response in consequence, it can only construct sanctions on SOME forms of intolerance, not all.

Okay, so is there some reason the landlord can't rent the property and still tell the tenants he believes they are wrong, cursed by God etc., and let everyone else know about his profound intolerance? As far as I'm concerned the landlord still has his free speech right to say all those things, the legal constraint is on his actions not his speech.

Typically selling or buying things that have no relation to the offensive behavior is never considered formal cooperation, so even if your claim is true it doesn't apply in this case.

That's relatively true. Typical cases of buying and selling THINGS that have no relation to the offensive behavior is not considered formal cooperation.

Of course, immediate material cooperation is also morally wrong and a seller should not sell in such a circumstance. In addition, remote material cooperation with evil CAN be morally wrong, unless it is justified by other goods that outweigh the evils foreseen but in no way desired. So let's not just limit ourselves to formal cooperation.

It is typically true of buying and selling things that the seller "cooperates with" the buyer to the extent of the typical uses of the thing. And so I agree, for the cases of selling a thing whose use has no relation to the morally offensive behavior, the seller can sell without cooperating in evil, formally or even materially. But selling the use of an apartment is not selling a thing, it is the landlord RETAINING the ownership and handing over the temporary use of it within limited constraints. That's not "selling a thing". The buyer of "a thing" can walk away with the thing and never see the seller again, he owns the "thing" free and clear and he has no further ongoing relationship to the seller, just to the thing. Renting an apartment is a different kind of transaction.

Even more to the point: anyone who grew up in an era when fornication was frowned upon widely and strongly knows perfectly well: to undertake fornication on a habitual basis, with comfort and ease, requires a place to do so. (Maybe a back seat will work a time or two, but not for long.) Making such a place available to those bent on fornication is certainly related to the offensive behavior. Parents regularly forbade (and still do) their adult children from fornicating on the premises because, in part, the parents will have no part in providing such a place for it to happen. So providing a quasi home for fornicators to act and be "at home" the way married couples are is indeed related to the offensive behavior. The act of making a home together by the fornicating couple is indeed at the service of their sinful behavior.

Okay, so is there some reason the landlord can't rent the property and still tell the tenants he believes they are wrong, cursed by God etc., and let everyone else know about his profound intolerance?

If he were not under the throes of a law forcing him, he would be equally able to say "I will not cooperate in your evil behavior". Saying "I will not tolerate it" in his words while saying "but you can use my apartment to act like married couples act" in his actions kind of undercuts the truth of his words. Choosing to overlook their behavior in contracting to rent to them JUST IS tolerating it.

I'm going to reword one part of your sentence but try to keep the meaning intact. "...to undertake a morally offensive behavior on a habitual basis, with comfort and ease, requires a place to do so." The landlord's renting in this sense becomes direct cooperation with and at the service of every behavior on the property, which is a position I find untenable.

Parents regularly forbade (and still do) their adult children from fornicating on the premises because, in part, the parents will have no part in providing such a place for it to happen.

Assuming the premises are where the parents live, their right to do so isn't remotely in dispute. This is still the case if the adult child is paying rent because the behavior unavoidably falls within their personal space.

The landlord's renting in this sense becomes direct cooperation with and at the service of every behavior on the property, which is a position I find untenable.

I believe this is not correct. In my recollection of teens and young adults, say some 45 years ago when the culture was much less careless about the matter, it was frequently the case that they refrained from fornication in part because they had no private place of their own in which to engage in it. The issue was two-fold: first (and especially for teens but not just for them) they needed a place in private where they would not be "found out" by parents, siblings, neighbors, etc. Getting the use of a place where they could be private in their sexual encounters was not a mere SIDE EFFECT of having a place to live, it was either the major or one of the major driving forces for that effort.

Secondly, getting a place together was, again, not merely 2 individuals doing something (like 2 bachelor friends getting a pad together which they will use to each date their girls), it was a behavior of simulation of married folk, precisely in order to make it easier for people to treat them _like_ married folk. That's how THEY looked at getting the apartment, back then. The fact that nowadays many people no longer care enough to even BOTHER with whether they might be married or not is irrelevant to the underlying thesis, and the underlying roots of the behavior back when it started to become common.

Yes, it is true that if I rented an apartment to a couple, they could have engaged in mail fraud or planning a bank heist while living there. But those activities could not be in the least bit characterized as anything like the raison d'etre for getting a place together. Generally, though, fornication could be so characterized. As I indicated above, selling a product DOES entail the seller "cooperating" with the buyer in the typical uses of the product, the foreseen and expected and planned uses. Which, for a young adult man and woman renting an apartment together, could be understood to include a sexual relationship.

Yes, it is true that if I rented an apartment to a couple, they could have engaged in mail fraud or planning a bank heist while living there. But those activities could not be in the least bit characterized as anything like the raison d'etre for getting a place together.

The criminals need a private place to plan or do those things and having such a place certainly makes things more convenient for them. However it is best to avoid examples which involve criminal activity because nobody has claimed a landlord should tolerate it. I’m unclear if you are still claiming a trait such as race or ethnicity can be viewed as morally offensive. The debate so far has revolved around activities (rather than innate traits) which are legal but are considered immoral, and to what degree a landlord should enforce his own moral code upon his tenants. I think a better example in that regard is alcohol consumption. If a tenant is having keg parties every night it is likely to be disruptive and possibly dangerous, but if the landlord is a teetotaler advocate how strict of an alcohol policy should he be able to enforce? If a tenant is surreptitious about his drinking is it less offensive? The situation gets more obscure if the tenant is drinking off the property; is his status as a moral offender sufficient to evict, in effect creating a code of conduct that extends beyond the property?

One major difference between our views is that although the landlord retains ownership, I think it is inappropriate for the landlord to treat a rental property as his personal space. The rental property is his business space which involves some degree of separation between his personal morality and those he does business with. As in other businesses there is also a degree of state involvement, and especially so for essential goods and services where the state has an interest in limiting the number of permissible exclusions.

I’m unclear if you are still claiming a trait such as race or ethnicity can be viewed as morally offensive.

I do not now and have never regarded or advocated race or ethnicity as morally offensive, nor as comparable to something morally offensive.

If a tenant is having keg parties every night it is likely to be disruptive and possibly dangerous, but if the landlord is a teetotaler advocate how strict of an alcohol policy should he be able to enforce? If a tenant is surreptitious about his drinking is it less offensive?

If a landlord doesn't WANT to rent his property to people who wear yellow shirts, that may indeed be irrational but there shouldn't be a law forbidding his insisting on that, nor a law rejecting his writing it into a contract. Before he even theoretically offers it up for rent, no other person has ANY claim on it that they should be able to say "wait, you can't limit your use of your property in THAT way." We wouldn't be able to say that to a man who only choses to use the property to grow only orange roses, or all rose colors EXCEPT yellow, or to rent it out as a short term rental only every 17th day, or to have only Frenchmen wearing blue caps shooting quail on the property, or any OTHER irrational thing that HE and HE alone finds enhances his enjoyment or satisfaction of his property - whether it is for his personal use or for friends, acquaintances, etc, - that his choices to limit its use to these particular uses is so wrong as to be illegal. It is only after he decides to not retain it for his own enjoyment and let others use it that anybody else can even POTENTIALLY have a claim on its use. And if his deciding to not keep it for his own use and let it for others' use is a decision and choice *limited* by wanting to see only people wearing blue caps on the property, or who wear pants with pleats, or only to Broadway actors rehearsing musical numbers, then NO OTHER USE was ever in his mind to release to anyone else and was ever offered to anyone else and so no other use was ever a potentiality that anyone else can stake a claim on. The only use of the property that anyone ELSE can ever make a claim for is a use that he first was willing to grant to others. In principle, then, no other person is being stiffed if he ONLY chooses to lend it with limitations about ANY specific purposes or behavior that he finds he doesn't want taking place on the property - no matter how foolish his want is.

I don't know how to make this any clearer: his choosing to lend the property's use is ITSELF a limited choice consequent on his prior full ownership, and is inherently limited to the uses he wants to grant to the user. They can't acquire a CLAIM for more use than he first is willing to transfer over to them.

One major difference between our views is that although the landlord retains ownership, I think it is inappropriate for the landlord to treat a rental property as his personal space. The rental property is his business space which involves some degree of separation between his personal morality and those he does business with.

Whether it is a business choice or not is DEFINITELY a separate question from whether it is his property. Before he decides to use it as rental property - to give others PARTIAL use of it, that is - it is simply HIS property. That is, there is no basis for distinguishing it as "personal" or "not personal" if he has never chosen to rent it out before, it is just HIS. Whether he uses it daily, or every 3rd week, or for vacations twice a year, or to let his buddies crash, or whatever, it is simply his own. If he decides to alter his former patterns and give its use over to a paying customer instead of freeloading buddies (or himself), it DOESN'T MATTER whether he formerly used it much or little personally.

The decision to let "for business" or not is inherently sticky - there are all sorts of gray areas that are not clearly "involving" personal space and not clearly "not involving" personal space. But setting those sticky areas aside, effectively you are saying he is not allowed to bring his personal morality INTO HIS BUSINESS. And that's truly obnoxious, as well as bizarre. A Jewish or Muslim butcher is not ALLOWED to offer only Kosher meats? He is REQUIRED to offer pork, because after all essential goods and services? A 7th Day Adventist or Jew who runs a gas station is not allowed to close on Saturday to observe the Sabbath?

In addition to all the OTHER reasons to reject such a position, the basic one is this: a person is LIVING HIS LIFE while he conducts his business as well as outside of conducting his business. His person is present to and part of his business, and so his business decisions ARE personal decisions. His moral choices to not cheat customer Jones, to pay a fair wage to employee Bob, are moral choices of his person as well as business decisions. To run a business well as a human being is to be a person as well as a businessman, it is to be fully human for both aspects of the decisions being made. The only way business decisions can be separated from moral choices is to decide that business activity doesn't need to be moral, they can be as immoral as hell because "it's just business, not personal". Which, I submit, is a reductio result to your thesis.

and especially so for essential goods and services where the state has an interest in limiting the number of permissible exclusions.

If a person (or just a few people) have a monopoly on a truly essential good, that's one thing. But if the good is distributed among millions of owners, the state's role should be promoting and encouraging optimal behavior, not forbidding less than optimal behavior. There are 122 million households in this country, and almost every one of them lives in a place. 80 million live in their own place. Almost 60 percent of rentals are in places with only 1, 2, 3 or 4 units. There are 10 million landlords for those 42 million rentals. You can't plausibly represent there is a monopoly on places to live, or even on rental units.

The only use of the property that anyone ELSE can ever make a claim for is a use that he first was willing to grant to others.

The state has all sorts of claims on how property within its sphere of influence is developed and used. There are zoning laws and building codes, there are special licenses and permissions for specific kinds of business activity, there are environmental and animal control laws to protect his neighbors, there are occupational safety laws to protect his employees, there can even be limits placed on how much he can water his own lawn. More importantly there can be no conservative principle that requires everyone to genuflect before the unlimited rights of a business owner. Do you wish to claim it is impermissible to restrict a property owner from building an adult bookstore? Are you going to decry other conservatives for imposing new and costly requirements on abortion providers?

He is REQUIRED to offer pork, because after all essential goods and services?

In what world is eating pork an essential good?

But if the good is distributed among millions of owners, the state's role should be promoting and encouraging optimal behavior, not forbidding less than optimal behavior.

It's better to use a carrot than a stick, but you can't throw away the stick. You haven't provided any clue about what counts as optimal behavior which makes promoting it seem rather futile.

The state has all sorts of claims on how property within its sphere of influence is developed and used.

And, unlike libertarians I agree with the principle that there are and should be state-imposed limits on the rights a man can exercise over his private property. Unlike liberals, I repudiate the notion that the man's rights over private property ORIGINATE IN the state. The state is not the source of the real good that a man owns, nor is the state the original source of his ownership, and the state's role in creating limits on his ownership is itself a limited role: it can only create such limits on the exercise of rights of ownership as are required to effect the common good.

This means that a man does, in principle, have the right to use his property any way he finds enjoyable, or to REFUSE to use his property in any way he wants to restrict its use, unless and until the state finds a common good basis to take that decisive authority away from him. The presumptive place of the authority over the use, or non-use, of property resides FIRST with the man who owns it. He can only lose some of the scope of that decision authority when the state restricts his rights over its use by law enacted as needed for the common good. And all other rights besides the explicit restrictions remain to him even after the law restricts his scope of authority over his property.

As we all see, most of the laws that restrict the rights of owners regarding their property are rules that make some action, use, or behavior with it no longer allowable. They are negative. They usually are not rules that DEMAND of him certain positive action, use, or behavior with the property. (The primary exception is that he is not allowed by inaction to allow his property to lead to damaging other property.) Thus, within the rules which primarily REDUCE the scope of allowed actions, use, or behavior with his property, he can either use it in any or all the ways left over, or NOT use it at all. There is no rule that says "If you are not going to use your property, you must put it up for sale, rent or lease." He can choose to NOT USE the property, or NOT USE it fully, or not use it in some respect or other.

Within that framework, a man can offer to anyone else that THEY can use the property in any way that HE can use the property, in any way that the rules have left him scope for deciding to use it X way rather than Y way himself. If he is not REQUIRED to either use the property in full or sell or to rent it, he can decide that he wants to restrict its total use to every third Tuesday, and then FURTHER rent its use every 12th Tuesday, so that the renter buying its use is only buying 1/12 of the total property use, and only 1/4 of the usage that the owner is willing to see it be used. Without rules that DEMAND of the owner that he employ the property fully, he can further limit anyone else's use to just a sub-portion of the use the law leaves open to him. He can lease out such limited uses based on temporal boundaries (every 12th Tuesday), or based on other boundaries (you can only farm 1/3 of the land at a time), or based on usage in kind (you can hunt deer but not boar; or, you can harvest pine but not cherry wood), or based on other criteria such as actions (you can bowl for a set price of $5 until you have a single gutter ball, then your game is over). In general any action the law allows him to take with regard to using his property himself (or not so use) must be allowable for him to allow or refuse to allow for any sub-let situation to others. He cannot GRANT to any renter the right to do illegal things like running a meth lab, because he himself doesn't have the authority to use the property that way. But if he has the right to NOT use the property as allowing unmarried guests to sleep together, he has the right to NOT GRANT OTHERS the very same usage he rejects for himself and his friends.

By definition, choosing to rent out the use of property is choosing to give over some of the _rights_ of property ownership to another, but not all such rights. An owner should be able to give over SOME of the rights the law leaves him free to employ or not employ, and likewise he should be able to NOT give over any of the ownership rights the law leaves him free to exercise or not exercise. If he doesn't WANT his land to be hunted, he should be able to restrict a rental agreement so that it says "but your rights of possession do not extend to hunting on the land" even if full ownership rights include that right. It doesn't matter if the reason he doesn't want the land hunted are moral or other reasons. What matters is that is not an ownership right he is interested in granting. It doesn't matter if this inaction is reasonable in the sense of having a rational basis in his mind, it is still an action or inaction the law leaves him free to choose with regard to the property.

Do you wish to claim it is impermissible to restrict a property owner from building an adult bookstore?

What is under discussion is not: whether a person can be required (whether it is OK for laws to be written so) that he NOT USE property rights that otherwise would belong to the full panoply of ownership rights. I agree that good laws sometimes take away ownership rights because using such rights damages the common good. What is under discussion is whether it is OK for a law to FORCE a man to give over ownership rights to others such rights of property usage that he would prefer to be unused. And, whether it is sensible to say that a man can legally exercise his property ownership rights by repudiating a particular use of his property for all those are on his property as visitors, but that he cannot legally exercise that right in sub-letting to others by only granting to them such ownership rights that exclude such usage.

It is illogical to suppose at one and the same time that: the state is OK with his NOT GRANTING to himself or any friends and visitors the right to use the property in way X (the state being OK with it because their not doing X action is not harmful to the common good); and that the state can find a common good basis to force him to GRANT to renters the right to use the property to do X. If he were to refuse to rent at all (which the law is OK with), solely because of such a law, there too the person who theoretically might have been a renter STILL won't use the property doing X. The state does not further a common good by such a law.

Somehow, your position amounts to saying that there is a common good basis on which to say "packaging up the limited rights of ownership that allow a person to purchase live-in rights on a residential unit must needs include the basic ownership right to fornicate" It shall be illegal to formulate and sell a package of limited use rights over property, which include live-in rights, that don't include this right." There is no such basis.

In what world is eating pork an essential good?

In what world is a couple fornicating an essential good? They can, ya know, just get married. Or just not live together.

As we all see, most of the laws that restrict the rights of owners regarding their property are rules that make some action, use, or behavior with it no longer allowable. They are negative. They usually are not rules that DEMAND of him certain positive action, use, or behavior with the property.

This is a very awkward way of looking at how laws work. Building codes demand positive action when applied to buildings. If he chooses to build any sort of structure his behavior with the property must comply with those laws. If he wants a business license to be a landlord instead of a commercial farmer or a manufacturer, his actions as related to those relevant laws can easily be viewed as positive demands if he wouldn’t have done so without the coercion of the law. The landlord can refuse to rent his property, in effect shutting down his business; but his business, as a specific kind of economic exchange the state has power to regulate in some limited fashion, has legal obligations which persons don’t have.

And, whether it is sensible to say that a man can legally exercise his property ownership rights by repudiating a particular use of his property for all those are on his property as visitors, but that he cannot legally exercise that right in sub-letting to others by only granting to them such ownership rights that exclude such usage.

You can make a private club with whatever eccentric rules you want. It is only when your “not granting” extends into the public economic sphere that the state has an interest to limit redlining and segregation.

In what world is a couple fornicating an essential good?

I’ve only claimed housing is an essential good because, ya know, it is.

You can make a private club with whatever eccentric rules you want. It is only when your “not granting” extends into the public economic sphere

The difference between running a private club and renting your property is far, far smaller than the difference between renting your property and running a grocery store open to the public. The latter is widely understood as a "public accommodation," and while plenty of us have doubts and reservations even for public accommodations with regard to restrictions on your ability to limit your business operation to a target clientele, NOBODY thinks you must run your apartment as a public accommodation.

but his business, as a specific kind of economic exchange the state has power to regulate in some limited fashion, has legal obligations which persons don’t have.

You want to force,/i> it into being a "specific kind of economic exchange that it need not be. There is no moral or public reason that a man must want to run his business as THAT specific kind of economic affair rather than something more limited. If a man wants to rent not to "the public at large" but to "my fellow parishioners", that is a perfectly legitimate kind of business, but it is not the SAME kind of business as renting to "the public at large." Or if he wants to rent to chess-playing members of his parishioners - quiet people who are not hard on property. Or if he wants only to rent to Italians because he likes Italian food and music, and he will get fewer complaints from neighbors because they don't so much mind the loud music if it's Italian - that's a reasonable business goal. You are saying it is an illegitimate business (because the state has made it so), BUT IT SHOULD NOT BE made so. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have as his target clientele something other than "the public at large", just as there is nothing wrong with having as his business only selling black shoes, or only selling kosher meat. To the extent that the law makes it the state's business to force his business to be a kind of business he doesn't want to run, to have a class of clientele that is "the public at large", just so far the state oversteps its bounds.

I’ve only claimed housing is an essential good because, ya know, it is.

There is no essential-ness to getting a place where you are allowed to fornicate. Even people passionately in lust can live without it if they decide to. Or each of the 2 persons can rent a different place, so nobody is saying they can't get places to live. The "scarcity of essential goods" only works as an argument when (a) it is scarce, and (b) there is no way you can meet any landlords standards.

The latter is widely understood as a "public accommodation," and while plenty of us have doubts and reservations even for public accommodations with regard to restrictions on your ability to limit your business operation to a target clientele, NOBODY thinks you must run your apartment as a public accommodation.

Since federal, state and city law often disagrees with "nobody", it is obvious somebody does think you must run commercial housing property intended for long term leasing as a public accommodation. Each law at each level of government has its own exemptions for and restrictions upon landlords, but the claim that every landlord can limit his business to target clientele has no legal foundation.

If a man wants to rent not to "the public at large" but to "my fellow parishioners", that is a perfectly legitimate kind of business, but it is not the SAME kind of business as renting to "the public at large."

If his rental property is covered under federal civil rights law, which exempts many landlords with 4 or less units, he could sell the property to or create a legal partnership with the private club or religious organization (unfortunately the details were fuzzy). In that situation they are restricted from renting to anyone outside the club or religious organization, but it is still a business of a very limited kind.

There is no essential-ness to getting a place where you are allowed to fornicate.

There is no essential-ness to getting a place where you are allowed to observe your religion, or watch football on the TV, or sing Broadway numbers, or ten billion other activities. The essential-ness is in getting a place to live.

The "scarcity of essential goods" only works as an argument when (a) it is scarce, and (b) there is no way you can meet any landlords standards.

Since you have yet to rule out anything as a valid reason for refusing to rent and avoided defining any optimal behavior for renting, you've made it easy to say that these "standards" cannot be met.

Me:

But if the good is distributed among millions of owners, the state's role should be promoting and encouraging optimal behavior, not forbidding less than optimal behavior.

Step2:

It's better to use a carrot than a stick, but you can't throw away the stick. You haven't provided any clue about what counts as optimal behavior which makes promoting it seem rather futile.
Since you have yet to rule out anything as a valid reason for refusing to rent and avoided defining any optimal behavior for renting,

Step2, your harping on particulars to this "optimal" is suicidally silly. It's a NON-ISSUE. My point was about the difference between forcing-demanding obedience, and encouraging / promoting a good. The difference can be seen in the government's grant of a deduction for mortgage interest costs. The government is thereby encouraging people to own their own homes, because as a policy the government thinks it good for society as a whole if many people own their own homes. There is nothing in the law that legally PENALIZES people for not owning the place they live in. We didn't say "the common good is served by people owning their own homes, so we will put people in jail who choose to rent too much " or something idiotic like that. That our society aimed at a social good without demanding uniform compliance with it across the board was the point.

A similar case can be made with charitable donations and that tax deduction. The good things thus promoted are often small compared to the government's own spending on comparable goods - but the "success" of the promoting effort, or maybe lack thereof, doesn't make the government decide that they are going to double or triple the deduction. The government doesn't mandate FORCED giving to charity, just because it is a good thing for society that people give to charity. The government doesn't criminalize people who don't go along.

If the government is convinced (please note the hypothetical) that non-discrimination in selling houses or renting apartments (or many other transactions between private parties) on the basis of race, creed, etc is good for society, the government could encourage and promote the behavior it wants without criminalizing people who don't go along. I SIMPLY DON'T NEED to describe either the specifics of "good" non-discrimination or the specifics of the best kind of encouraging for such "good" behavior, that's why I don't bother to discuss it. If the government thinks that the behavior is good - whatever kind of behavior it is trying to identify- that's the behavior it can promote and encourage.

Since it is manifestly true that not all acts of selling houses, or rentals, or other commercial transactions, in which one party alters his intention on the basis of race or creed or sexual orientation is BAD, (including both the moral aspect and its effect on the common good), it is also true that government trying to control all such transactions by criminalizing such discerning behavior is also bad for the common good. Better that the government not try to criminalize behavior that sometimes is bad and sometimes is good.

Here is an example. A black man owns a house that he decides to sell. He is doing "sell by owner" to save money. He posts a sign in his yard because he doesn't want to commit to newspaper and other public venues. He gets a phone call from a potential buyer who "sounds black", who is interested. Has good financing. Gives his name and the seller checks his bona fides with the bank. All good. They set up a time for an inspection. The buyer shows up, and is a lily-white Scandinavian - American The seller all of a sudden is reluctant to sell to this person. Bad behavior? Not at all: the seller knows that the house next door is owned by a rabid white-hater. One who has advocated violence against white people. The seller doesn't want to sell to this white person because he is white, but its FOR A GOOD REASON - a reason relating to the good of the neighborhood as well as the safety of the buyer. It has nothing of animus against the buyer or against his race.

Of COURSE it is often immoral and unjust to refuse to sell a house on basis of race, creed, etc. But it is not ALWAYS immoral and unjust to discern a reason to reject an otherwise good transaction merely on the basis of race, creed, etc.

I SIMPLY DON'T NEED to describe either the specifics of "good" non-discrimination or the specifics of the best kind of encouraging for such "good" behavior, that's why I don't bother to discuss it. If the government thinks that the behavior is good - whatever kind of behavior it is trying to identify- that's the behavior it can promote and encourage.

Your home ownership and charitable giving examples specifies particular goods, if they weren’t specific then it couldn’t be written as tax policy. Your position is legally and morally meaningless if your preferred policy is vague and undefined.

There is nothing in the law that legally PENALIZES people for not owning the place they live in.

In the sense that they are paying higher taxes, as a group they are being penalized for not owning their living quarters. The penalty is strictly comparative and therefore can’t be further criminalized, but it still counts as a penalty.

The seller doesn't want to sell to this white person because he is white, but it’s FOR A GOOD REASON - a reason relating to the good of the neighborhood as well as the safety of the buyer. It has nothing of animus against the buyer or against his race.

The reason "may" be for the safety of the buyer but his safety is his choice, all the seller needs to do is inform the buyer of the danger. If the seller is removing the buyer’s choice based on his own private determination his paternalism is in fact indicative of racial animus against the buyer. I also disagree the reason is for the good of the neighborhood, it is clearly segregationist in outcome. Just because the seller supposedly isn’t a racist (why should I believe him?) he is clearly enabling the racial animus of his neighbors.

More importantly for the discussion, let's say this black seller decides to apply for the tax incentive. Even though he was enabling a segregationist policy does his supposed pure intentions allow him to claim the incentive anyway?

Better that the government not try to criminalize behavior that sometimes is bad and sometimes is good.

http://www.bostonfairhousing.org/timeline/1920s1948-Restrictive-Covenants.html

his paternalism is in fact indicative of racial animus against the buyer.


!!!

Thank you. You make the case for me. The prosecution rests, since the defense has taken over the task.

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