Now, Iain can fight the corner of his own little vested interest all he likes—and, let's face it, he's never pretended to be a libertarian—but he calls this so wrong that it's worth giving his wee face a little slapping.
I fundamentally disagree with him on the main issue. This is not about property rights. If you open your house to paying guests, it is no longer just your house.
BOOM! Wrong! This is why libertarians fundamentally disagree with the smoking ban, whether they be smokers or not: because a pub is, in fact, a private business.
You are running a business, just the same as anyone else, and you should be subject to the same laws as anyone else.
Sure. But maybe—just maybe—businesses should not be bound by these laws either. Ever considered that, Iain?
If you do not wish gay people, black people, Jews or anyone else in your house, don't open it to the public. Simple as that. No one would accept a shopowner refusing to serve a particular type of person, would they?
No, Iain. And that's why public opinion is rather more important than the law. These days, a shop that displayed a sign saying "no blacks, no poofs and no Etonians" would be boycotted by anyone who isn't a colossal bigot. Now, it might be that a large proportion of the British public are bigots, but...
... perhaps you should leave the decision to individuals, rather than slapping blanket laws of people to force them to live by your personal morals.
Now, to a dedicated statist like Iain Dale this is, of course, unconscionable. The state should force private businesses to behave like Iain wants them to—in short, that private businesses should belong to the state (as long, of course, as that state is run by the party that Iain hero-worships).
Get a grip, Iain: businesses are private entities, just as individuals are. In fact, they are recognised as private individuals in the law that you are suddenly so fond of.
And so, once again, Iain Dale shows himself to be an oppressor of individuals' rights, and a statist of the most disgusting type—a man who claims that he believes in personal freedom, except when your morals are opposed to his. In which case, of course, he will use violence to ensure that—at least outwardly—you agree with him.
Wake up! Freedom means tolerating those things that you dislike, as well as those things that you do like.
Iain Dale has failed that test—and not for the first time.
UPDATE: for the benefit of commenter Phil Dickens, here is a brief 101 on how libertarianism applies to this case.
- The central tenet of libertarianism is the non-aggression axiom: that is "you shall not initiate force or fraud against someone's life, liberty or property".
- Inherent in this is a strong belief in property rights—your body is considered to be your property and, thus, so is your liberty and the property that you have justly acquired through the application of your life and liberty.
- The shop that you run is your property. Anyone who tells you how your shop should be run is infringing on your property rights, thus violating the non-aggression axiom.
- Blacks, gays and Etonians do not have a right to buy stuff from your shop—you do have the right to refuse to serve them. It would make you a bit of a shit, but that is, nonetheless, the case.
- The disgusted community do not have the right, for instance, to show its displeasure by throwing bricks through your window. It does have the right to boycott your shop because of your unpleasant ideas; nothing says that anyone must buy from you, or give you their money, and they can refuse to buy from you and thus make your business fail.
Of course, someone might set up a rival shop, selling anything to anyone—they will not be closing off a large section of the market as the bigot is. That person might be, for instance, an Asian who also happens to work harder than the bigot; the Asian thus not only serves the whole market, but also prices his goods more cheaply—money talks and people go to his shop and realise that maybe these Asian fellows are not the demons that they've been painted as.
The Asian's shop thrives, whilst the bigot's becomes less and less frequented. Indeed, as the Asian community grows bigger and the surrounding community less fearful of the interlopers—realising that Asian people are, in fact, humans just like them—the Asian shopkeeper starts to branch out. Instead of stocking only traditional corner-shop goods, the Asian shopkeeper starts to import the exotic fruits and vegetables that he is used to in his land of origin.
The Asian community start to flock to his shop and the indigenous community start, slowly but with increasing momentum, to discover the diversity of foods out there. Instead of buying the usual carrots, potatoes and other earthy vegetables, the wider community starts being introduced to mangoes, okra, sweet pumpkin, taro and other assorted delicacies.
People also start being introduced to new ways to cook things—the concept of "curry", for instance, might become so ubiquitous that it's almost seen as something indigenous. Further people who might never have become curious about far away places are, as travel becomes cheaper (partly as a result of enterprising Asians taking holidays back to their countries of origin), able to visit these places and further appreciate the culture that the Asian shopkeeper has come from.
And so on and so forth...
At the end of all this, the community has become enriched, by trade and the interaction of human beings—not by laws handed down from on high and enforced by violence. In the meantime, of course, the bigot's shop has long gone bust, and the bitter old cunt has joined the BNP.
UPDATE 2: more on this by the Libertarian Party's Head of Policy.