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Anti-Discrimination Laws: Undermining Our Rights

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  • Javier Portillo

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  • Walter Block

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Abstract

The purpose of this article is to argue in favor of a private employer’s right to discriminate amongst job applicants on any basis he chooses, and this certainly includes unlawful characteristics such as race, sex, national origin, sexual preference, religion, etc. John Locke and many after him have argued that people have natural rights to life, liberty, and property or the pursuit of happiness. In this view, law should be confined to protecting these rights and be limited to prohibiting other people from transgressing those rights. The law should not hinder an employer’s ability to discriminate, any more than it should compel people to marry against their wishes. These laws generally emerge from a moral perspective that people think should be imposed on everyone else. But those who don’t welcome those morals are in effect being coerced to abide by them against their will; this is unethical. Finally, it will be argued that the free market has mechanisms by which discrimination will, be rendered powerless to harm its victims. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Javier Portillo & Walter Block, 2012. "Anti-Discrimination Laws: Undermining Our Rights," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 109(2), pages 209-217, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jbuset:v:109:y:2012:i:2:p:209-217
    DOI: 10.1007/s10551-011-1120-6
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10551-011-1120-6
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Smith, Adam, 1776. "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number smith1776.
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    Keywords

    Discrimination; Rights; Free association;

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