Re: The Right to Exclude

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Thu, 12 Aug 1999 15:30:43 -0700 (PDT)

> That would probably also mean making it possible to have
> the "whites only" restaurants, shops, railway stations, etc.
> return. Back to racial seggregation and quite possibly
> racial war. Not Good(tm)

It is a common misconception that such racially-motivated exclusions would return if there were no prohibition of them. This ignores some very important facts: (1) In the south at the height of Jim Crow, segregation was /supported/ and /enforced/ by the state. Even after I was born, it was illegal in some states for blacks and whites to marry. Freedom may remove forced tolerance, but it also precludes forced bigtory. (2) Attitudes change, people die. Even if it were completely legal, something like a restricted hotel would be unpopular today, and likely face protests and boycotts. (3) Yesterday's disenfranchised minority is today's economic power.

I remember that in 1969 and 1970 in Picayune, MS, much of the love-thy-neighbor-unless-he's-black Southern Baptist culture still existed: there were still two YMCA's and two public parks, for example, segregated by gentlemen's agreement. But even my parents (in their early 30s at that time) were more enlighted, and taught me and my sister to be. We were called "nigger lovers" and were unwelcome in some of our neighbor's homes, but we knew we were doing the right thing and that times would change. People who assume that civil rights laws were a cause of societal change rather than an effect are giving too much credit to them. Society changes; legislators recognize and respond to those changes or else they find themselves out of work. They also find it convenient to take credit for those changes--undeservedly.

For a maximally free society, it is sufficient to prohibit discrimination /by/ the government and pseudo-governmental monopolies (utilities, schools, etc., to the extent that these are not privatized). The private sector will sort itself out just fine. This is not merely Libertarian dogma (though it is that as well), but my own personal experience.

Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
"All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
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