Marshall in the Middle

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Role of Government...... to Enforce Manners ?

By Chuck Marshall


Miss Manners


     The title of this blog "Marshall in the Middle"  implies  my belief in a more moderate political angle (and a moderate approach to many things in life, but that's another topic).   I usually see both sides of issues and I feel I usually understand "why" the right or left feels and act as they do.  That being said, I do tend to have ideas that I think are much more pragmatic than other people which leans my core ideas of what the government should and should not be doing towards the right.   I just feel things usually work better without the government involved in the challenging issues of the day.   Case in point;  the responsibilities of the courts to uphold "fairness" in business activities.   Much of this spins from all the recent controversy involved in the state laws  that seem to allow a business to refuse service to a homosexual citizen.   


     If I ran a business, such as restaurant, I would welcome anyone who came in- as long as they behave themselves, are respectful of other customers, and they pay their bill.  To me, this is just good manners and the right thing to do (and - as luck would have it- is congruent to my morals as an active Christian man).  Does that mean everybody else in the world needs to judge "proper" behavior the same way as I do ?  Of course not !  That's why we have different businesses and we should all be free to go where we're comfortable.   If  I, a heterosexual white man, went to a business run by a gay man and they refused me service because I was straight I would be very insulted and outraged, however I'm not sure that's the government's problem.  Why do I need the government to fix the narrow mindedness and insulting habits of this one situation?   Word of mouth and my not returning to the business would hurt them and eventually they would probably go out of business anyway.  The problem solves itself.  

     This is not to say that government involvement has never been necessary.  In the south of 50 years ago a black person could not sit at the lunch counter of a Walgreens drugstore or even enter certain businesses.    That was an off-shoot of great bigotry and the horrific slave owning history of the south.  That situation required government action at that point in time, but as is often the case,  I'm not sure  laws enforcing business to allow everyone into their establishment are still necessary. Wouldn't word of  mouth from a bigoted business eventually sink them today?  Bad manners are bad manners and they will eventually cause the failure of the narrow minded, bigoted business.  

     In public places the law of the land should be to shield anyone from being refused access.  This includes corporations, ie  publicly traded companies (Walgreens, McDonalds, etc...) because by their very name they are a part of the public realm and all existing laws are warranted.  But do all "private" businesses have to be legislated and ordered to allow and serve customers they don't want ?   Isn't it their right to have bad manners and suffer the consequences that come with that?  The left always sees the government as the answer to a problem.,, but I seriously do not think that laws can make us all be  nice to each other.   Manners just as many other issues in life are better left to each citizen to decide.  Much of all this reminds me of George Orwell's novel "1984" where the government had such control over people that you couldn't even "think" things that were contrary to government edicts.  I sincerely care about all people and do my best to be fair in all situations but I can't agree with people who believe the government should be "fixing" us of our "bad thoughts".   Leave people alone and let them make their own mistakes.  Government action rarely is necessary to "fix" bad thoughts.  Hateful, bigoted, angry thoughts usually circle back around to fix the "thinker" as a natural consequence and often serves to teach the "thinker" a lesson or two. Such is the way of the Universe not Washington, DC.  The government brings conflict and lawsuits, and angry citizens and simmers distrust and dislike between people because it is simply not effective at controlling human behavior. Controlling private businesses in such a manner is not, in my humble opinion, the role of the government.    








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