Monday, December 26, 2016

On the Question of a Private Business’s Right to Refuse Service to Whomever it Chooses for Whatever Reason

Chris Heasley posted the following question on his Facebook page Ayn Rand: Voices of Youth:

Chris Heasley's photo.

Heasley called it the Freedom of Association Principle. In speaking of rights, one must always remember that rights properly understood apply to everyone equally and at all times. With that in mind, I left this comment, edited for clarity:

Should consumers have the right NOT to patronize whichever privately owned businesses they choose without fear of legal action? One's answer to the above question must logically and morally apply to this one. My answer to both questions is, yes.

One problem I have with the above question is that the wording is wrong and misunderstands rights. The question asks if privately owned businesses should have this right. This implies that rights are grants of government. They’re not. Rights precede government and are inalienable; which means, private businesses already have the right to refuse service. I would rewrite the question as follows: Do you feel that the right of privately owned businesses to refuse service not mandated by prior contractual obligations to whomever they choose should be protected by law?

Related Reading:

Protecting Rights vs. Sanctioning Action

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