Tag Archives: Non-discrimination

The Moral Poverty of Non-discrimination

I’ve been thinking for a while that anti-discrimination laws enshrine profit seeking as the only legitimate motive for decision making.

Take laws against housing discrimination. It’s illegal for a white homeowner to refuse to sell to the highest bidder if that bidder is a minority. He can’t accept a lower bid from a white buyer if he thinks that would be the best thing for the neighborhood, or out of respect for its history, or out of a sense of solidarity to someone who shares his ethnic or religious background. We aren’t allowed to concern ourselves about community well-being, tradition, or solidarity, only about getting the highest price.

For employment, the only defense against disparate impact lawsuits is to show “business necessity”, which ends up meaning whatever will maximize profits. A business owner can’t pay fathers supporting families more than others because he believe in the importance of traditional family arrangements. Or he could, but only if he could show that such an arrangement would fulfill a business necessity, i.e. that it maximizes profits. He couldn’t do it if his reason is only that it fits with his moral values.

In short:

disparate impact that maximizes profits = legal
disparate impact to promote moral values = illegal

So laws that are designed to promote equality end up elevating profit maximization to be the only legitimate concern. Anti-discrimination laws teach people that money is the only thing that should matter.

Anti-discrimination laws end up discriminating against moral values in favor of greed.