Monday, January 25, 2010
Freedom of Association Even in the Face of Racism
A recent article on the forming of a "whites only" professional basketball league brings up a topic that needs to be addressed. Many would demand the government get involved in said situation. I have heard the cries myself that government intervention is needed when it comes to combating racial prejudice. But this could not be farther from the truth. In fact, government mandating who must or mustn't be included in groups, leagues, businesses, clientele, etc., is a blatant violation of the right to freedom of assembly and an expansion beyond its constitutional role.
The league's founder is obviously motivated by some type of racial prejudice, but that should not matter. Racism is detestable, but it is not illegal in the private sector. In fact, it shouldn't be.
Racial prejudice can effectively be combatted by the free market. For example, if a store owner does not allow black patrons, I can refuse to provide them business and encourage others to follow suit. If enough people stand their ground, the business owner will feel the market effects which will influence the way he conducts business (or his ability to conduct business at all).
However, even if the market allowed the above store owner to prosper in society, that is still no reason for the government involved. Government involvement would mean the violation of freedom of association, and two wrongs never make a right. The price of the erosion of liberty is too much to pay.
Government cannot change hearts and convictions, and it definitely cannot through the erosion of our liberties.