The Advocates for Self Government have produced a 10 question survey designed to challenge “the dominant ‘Left versus Right’ political model” which tries to categorize “virtually all political opinion into either left and right. This model — still widely used today — is misleading and fatally flawed.”
However, this quiz still allows people to be classified as supporters of liberty, who still believe in using government force. A better, shorter quiz asks the one question: Should any good or service be provided at the barrel of a gun? This allows all people to be placed into one of two categories: people who believe in freedom, and those who don’t.
This single question can be applied to every situation: immigration, education, welfare, marriage and even discrimination. In each case, the support of liberty would say, “no good or service should be provided at the barrel of a gun.”
Gary Johnson, the 2012 Libertarian Party Presidential nominee, recently compared the baker that didn’t want to bake a cake for a same-sex couple to the segregated businesses in the 1960’s south. The primary difference is that the racially segregated lunch counters, water fountains and buses were segregated because the law mandated segregation. In essence, a good or service was being denied at the barrel of a gun, therefore, a supporter of liberty would oppose mandated segregation. By contrast, the baker who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex couple was not being forced by law to refuse a service. Johnson said, “There has to be an awareness, and there has to be consequences to discrimination… This is America.”
Johnson wants to force the baker to provide goods with the threat of the barrel of a gun; i.e. if the baker refuses to bake the cake for his client, Gary Johnson and others would have the government punish the baker. This goes against the ideas of liberty that no good or service should be provided at the barrel of a gun. Put another way, Johnson and others want to ignore the concept of voluntary association, and ignore the fact that the market will punish businesses that choose to discriminate.
Just as I do not support forced association, I do not support forced discrimination. If businesses are legally allowed to advertise their bigotry, people who do not support bigotry will be able to avoid those businesses; while people who support bigotry will be able to support their fellow bigots. This would work in reverse as well, with the bigots mostly avoiding the businesses run by those who do not discriminate. Liberty might not always be pretty, however it is not inherently violent, and this is reiterated in the belief that no good or service shall be provided at the barrel of a gun!