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Keep The Government Out Of Our Bedrooms (re-dated)
December 2, 2008, 4:53 pm
Filed under: Philosophy, Politics | Tags: , ,

“The government has no business in the bedrooms of Canadians!”

I dare you to find a politician who would disagree with this.  It is now a political truism.  If you don’t know, you should know that until the late sixties homosex was illegal in Britain.  From what I gather, you could actually be jailed for it.

OK.  I accept this. (Keep the government out of our bedrooms.)

But does the government have any business in a business’ human resources room?  

What if I decide to hire only men?  Only women?  Only asians?  What business does the government have in intruding on this?  Me and the men/women/asians are consenting adults conducting business privately.  

What if decided to only have sex with asians?  I’d be a sexual racist of sorts.  How come the government does NOT intrude on my private sexual practices (between consenting adults), but they DO intrude on my private hiring practices (between consenting adults).

How come human rights tribunals don’t bring folks up on charges for promiscuous sexual racism?

Sex is private.  Yes.  But so is my small business.

BTW – I shouldn’t have to say this, but obviously I don’t advocate sexism or racism!  I’m just wondering what the principled basis is for the government’s different policies with regard to racism/sexism in the bedroom and boardroom.

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3 Comments so far
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The difference between the bedroom and the boardroom is that people’s careers are dependent on boardrooms but not on bedrooms (note that if prostitution is legalized in Canada than my whole point goes out the window). Whenever people are vying for the same job the government tries to make sure that the hiring party is fair and does not use prejudice in it’s decision. However, this is obviously impossible because it is not prejudice to hire a smart capable person over a dimwitted inexperienced person? But, at least this prejudice is not based on sex or race. Again this is not always possible. If you’re a film company hiring an actor to play a short asian man you will need to be sexist and racist in your decision.
The point is not for a uniform absence of prejudice but instead for smart prejudice. Smart prejudice is actually the fairest approach to hiring and I think this is the goal of prohibiting racism and sexism in the hiring process. We have to remember that we are coming from an enviroment of dumb prejudice. And oftentimes to combat an issue we swing too far the other way (ie, it’s illegal to ask someone’s religious beliefs in a job interview, but what if they’re applying to be a pastor or priest at a church?)
The difference with bedrooms is that people’s livelihoods are not dependent on their sexual preferences (OK maybe in the pornography/prostitution industry). You can walk out of a sexual transaction (or never make it into it) feeling the victim of prejudice and still make your mortgage payments and have every other opportunity. You can’t say the same if you walk out of a business transaction feeling the same way.

Just some thoughts. I vote for smart prejudice.

Comment by Adam

Yes, I think you’re right that the principle behind the difference in policy is the general assumption that being the victim of sexual racism won’t really hurt your life. Whereas the systematic refusal to hire certain kinds of people will hurt those people in a very significant way.

I still wonder why the government CANNOT force you to have sexual relations with someone of a certain kind, but they CAN force you to have business relations with someone of a certain kind.

I think it is immoral, ridiculous and ignorant to systematically refuse to have business relations with women/asians/men (or whatever group you choose).

But should the government be able to step in and force you to hire someone? Isn’t that an invasion of privacy.

What if you genuinely don’t think you’re racist or sexist in your hiring practices, but the government thinks you are? (You are a perpetrator of systematic racism and/or are subconsciously racist.) How come the government can then force you to hire according to a racial/sexual quota? How come the government always wins when it comes to this kind of difference of opinion.

Don’t you have the right to quietly conduct your business as you see fit?

I guess I want to say that freedom/privacy are always going to be at odds with attempts to socially engineer equality.

Comment by the.pilgrim

BTW – I’m not the kind of person who’ll always side with freedom/privacy. I’m not a libertarian.

But I’d say that we shouldn’t take it for granted that concerns over equality should always trump concerns over freedom/privacy. I think it is wrong that some folks always advocate for their side of this issue, and don’t consider the legitimate concerns of their political opponents.

Comment by the.pilgrim




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