Twelve days ago, I posted the first, of what I expect to be, a series of pieces on gays, the GOP and the 2012 election (now a new category). I return to that theme today, asking perhaps the question least considered by gay activists, but perhaps most important to the achievement of their (ostensible) goals: can government make life fair, or even better, for people like us.
Last month, Glenn Reynolds linked John Stossel’s post on Reason.com where the latter asked the broader question (about whether government can make life fair):
President Obama says he want to make society more fair. Advocates of big government believe fairness means taking from rich people and giving to others: poor people; or people who do things politicians approve of, like making “green” energy equipment (Solyndra); or old people (even rich ones) through Social Security and Medicare.
The idea that government can “make life fair” is intuitively appealing to people—at least until they think about it.
Once government gets into the business of making life fair, politicians and bureaucrats enter into the business of determining fairness.* And they do that by taxing and regulation. To create economic “fairness,” they take from some of the most productive people in society (er, the rich) and give to some of the least productive (er, less fortunate). Now, to be sure, some of the least fortunate have indeed suffered some bad breaks in life while some of the most fortunate have gained their good fortune through, say, the luck of being in the right place at the right time or circumstance, being born into a productive family.
Sometimes, that is, things in life just aren’t fair, but once government starts adjudicating that it often penalizes the more fortunate members of society (many of whom, aware of their good fortune, have generously supported causes which help the less fortunate).
In the gay context, we ask, is it fair that some companies still discriminate against gay people? No, it’s not. But now to their credit, many (if not most) private companies have sought to redress that unfairness by adopting non-discrimination clauses in their employment policies or developing “diversity” policies to recruit gay and lesbian employees.
When government tries to redress a problem, it prevents such companies from developing their own solutions.
This piece of course only scrapes the surfaces of the issue, so I post it primarily with the intention of following Stossel’s lead and asking you to consider whether government can make life fair for gay people. And pondering whether it should.
I don’t believe it’s the business of government to make life fair, but hold instead its purpose is to leave us free so each of us, in his private life and in the associations he freely forms and the organizations he freely joins, to redress the unfairness he finds in the world around him. And to conduct his life as he sees fit.
*In the real world, individuals must implement our notions of the ideal.
The government can make life more fair by getting out of the way. When, for example, it tries to make two people who might not be equal equal, it often ends up making the lesser person “more equal” than the other (i.e. it reverses the situation instead of making the two people equal). The government can best provide an equitable system by enforcing only laws that are necessary for ensuring the natural rights that everyone has are not infringed upon.
Often at odds with me, this time, Richard Bell echoes my thoughts and builds upon my premise:
Acceptance, can only be achieved at the individual level. There are some LGBT people that I can accept easily and some I will never accept. The same is true of hetero’s. Acceptance is born from the experiences of interaction of individuals over time. Without acceptance we are talking about affirmative action for LGBT people.