Marvin_Edwards wrote: ↑
May 30th, 2020, 5:29 pm
I'm not saying that the "first possession" rule is immoral. It can certainly produce a moral result in many limited issues of property ownership. But it can also produce an immoral result in other matters, such as racial discrimination. It allows a restaurant owner to post a "Whites Only" sign in his window. Allowing that kind of racial discrimination in places that serve the general public is immoral.
You're begging the question there. A restaurant owner who places a "Whites Only" sign in the window is clearly not "serving the general public." He is serving whites only. Who a restaurant owner opts to serve is his decision to make, not yours. You may decide with whom you will do business, but not with whom others must do business. Declaring that Alfie's restaurant "serves the general public" is gratuitous, and presumptuous on your part.
Now, of course, if the restaurant owner is indeed acting immorally, then others are entitled, and perhaps obligated, to intervene. But if he is, then you'll need to articulate the moral principle or rule he is violating, and present some sort of rational defense of that principle or rule. I take the purpose of moral principles and rules to be prohibiting acts by agents in a social setting which inflict loss or injury on other moral agents, and redressing any violations that may occur. Since Alfie inflicts no loss or injury upon Bruno by declining to do business with him, you'll need some other principle justifying a "moral" rule that would force him to do business with Bruno. What is that justification? What is that moral principle?
But you say . . .
Why is racial discrimination in housing and in employment and in restaurants immoral? Because everyone, equally, needs a home, a job, and a place to eat on their lunch break. To be deprived of these necessities of life is a physical harm. If the black man must go across town to find a place to serve him lunch, when all his fellow employees can simply go across the street, then he suffers an injury every day. To deprive him of a home is to make him homeless. To deprive him of a job is to make him destitute.
Well, first, no one has any a priori
duty to meet other people's needs. You have no duty to feed and house your neighbor, and he has no duty to feed or house you. You might acquire such a duty by entering into some sort of contract with him, or perhaps as a result of some injury you've inflicted upon him, but you don't have any such duty a priori
And you're mis-using the term "deprive." I don't "deprive" you of a lawn mower by refusing to let you use mine. I don't "deprive" you of food by refusing to buy your groceries. I only deprive you of something by taking something you already (legitimately) possess, or preventing you from taking morally permissible actions to secure something you desire. Forcing someone else to give you that thing you desire is not a morally permissible action.
The new moral principle you appear to be invoking to justify forcing Alfie to serve Bruno seems to be that everyone has a duty to meet others' needs and satisfy others' desires. You'll need some powerful arguments to justify that principle (which quickly leads to a reductio ad absurdum
). No doubt this presumed duty derives from that imaginary "social contract" of which you're enamoured. I hope that by now we have put that myth to rest.
And to offer him these things only upon the condition that he lives where you say, and eats where you say, and works as you say, is to make him a slave.
Now you're mis-using the term "slave" (and parroting a common Leftist sophistry). A slave is someone forced to work for another's benefit. If anyone is a slave in the situation under discussion it is the restaurant owner, since he is the only person forced, per your argument. Are you proposing a Newspeak definition of "slave"?
No person has any duty to offer anyone anything. If someone chooses to offer something, he may attach any conditions he likes. No one who freely accepts those conditions is a "slave;" neither is a person who finds those conditions unacceptable and refuses the offer. No force is involved in either case.
We don't tolerate that kind of thing in America anymore. Why? Because it is an unnecessary harm.
We've covered this. A "harm" is a reduction in someone's welfare; some act that causes damage.
No damage is done to a person refused service at a restaurant; he has sustained no injury and no loss. He is as healthy and wealthy when he walks away as when he approached. Are you also inventing a new definition of "harm"?
Yet you claim that the restaurant owner's "right", to choose who he serves lunch to, somehow trumps the black man's right to eat across the street rather than going across town.
No person has any "right" to enter upon another's property, or eat another's food without invitation or permission, Marvin. Other than, perhaps, an arbitrary fiat "right" conjured from thin air by a lawgiver. But he has no right in the sense of that word understood in the liberal tradition, and in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights (which does not, of course, mention any such "right").
GE Morton wrote: ↑
May 30th, 2020, 11:56 am
...I also refer to myself as an "American." That, too, merely expresses a matter of fact --- that I was born and raised in a certain part of the world. It imposes no obligations or carries any moral implications either.
So, if America were a colony of England, and King George sent troops to quell the revolution, you'd have no obligations to anything other than your own property?
Correct; I would not. However, under the circumstances of 1776 I'd most likely find it in my interest to join in the revolution.
GE Morton wrote: ↑
May 30th, 2020, 11:56 am
Now you seem to be assuming that I need someone's permission to remain here, and that I must agree to some hypothetical "contract" to secure that permission. ...
Is that supposed to be some sort of moral argument?