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Mo Le Taxi

I've been having an interesting conversation over at Julia's place. It's a conversation that made me re-evaluate and then re-affirm my Libertarian viewpoint

Julia is not a Libertarian. She is more what you might define as a Classical Liberal. She believes in freedom, but not to the extent of doing away with most of the laws and going it without the need for a Government

Her views are always well informed and well thought out, she never chooses the popular, off the shelf philosophy and always thinks things through. That's one of the reason I find her blog such a delight

It's also the reason I agree with her on most things. But not all

I'm quite a staunch Libertarian and believe above all things, in the freedom of the individual and property rights. I do not believe someone should be punished by the law if they have caused no harm to other people or their property

Before you start sending me examples, yes, it applies to that too. No harm, no foul is my philosophy in all things

The post I'm talking about was one on dogs in taxis
A taxi driver who refused to take a blind woman and her guide dog was caught as part of a huge crackdown on cabbies breaking the law.
Turns out it was a Muslim taxi driver, so it's all about his backward superstitions

Julia has always been of the opinion that because the law states taxis must carry assistance dogs, it should be followed. Also that it's the right thing to do

I agree with her that it's the right thing to do, but do not believe someone should be compelled to take a dog in their cab if they would prefer not to

So I said so:
There is an old saying about good men ignoring bad laws. I don't know if he's a good man, but any law that says you don't have control over your private property is a bad law.
Even more so when it is enforced by council jobsworths setting people up on the off chance they do something naughty
Non-smokers wanted all the pubs, blind people want all the cabs. How about we let the property owners decide?
My comment was roundly disagreed with. Sobers commented:
"Non-smokers wanted all the pubs, blind people want all the cabs. How about we let the property owners decide?"

How about you try being blind, then see how you feel about the issue?
One thing I always try to do is put myself in the situation I'm talking about, or the shoes of the person I'm referring to. That way i can always be ready if someone says the inevitable, "What if it was your child...?"
"How about you try being blind, then see how you feel about the issue?"

I'm sure that if I was disabled, I would understand that by the very definition, there are some things I'm unable to do
Nobody, disabled or not, should be entitled to demand the labours and services of another
 And in answer to others:
 My example with the smoking law was to try and show that it's possible to make provision for everyone. Even though pubs can have non-smoking areas and some taxis will choose to carry guide dogs, some people want control of everything, even though they're never going to use all the pubs and cabs in the town

A public house or a taxi may be designated areas where the public can go, but they're still private property and part of a privately run business. I'm of the opinion that the business owner should get to decide, not the customer

If a business owner makes a wrong decision, a free market will sort that out. Non-smokers will be free to choose pubs and blind people to choose cab companies, as will owners be free to choose customers
I don't think this is a case where rights are in conflict. The only right I see here is property rights and that's on the side of the cab owner. The only right the dog owner can claim is the right to enter another persons private property and demand their services, which isn't a right at all

The dog owner simply has to ask if the company take dogs when booking the cab. If they don't, use another company. Such transactions don't need to be backed up by Government force
I don't mean to disrespect disabled people and the hardships they go through, but sometimes these days it seems that some disabled people forget that a disability means there are things they cannot do. Obviously something so simple as getting in a taxi should not be one of them, but there are other taxis

My main point is that people should not be able to demand the goods or services of another. Some people in America say that healthcare is a human right (Because they have to pay for it in a different way than we do)

If a human right involves an article or service that must be provided by another person, that becomes slavery. People should be free to trade their skills with others, but no-one should be able to demand the labours of another as their right

Sobers makes a good point:
"The dog owner simply has to ask if the company take dogs when booking the cab. If they don't use another company. Such transactions don't need to be backed up by Government force"

And if there aren't any? Which in this day and age is entirely feasible in certain parts of the country. According to you, if you're blind and happen to live in a town where the majority of the taxi drivers are Muslims (or such a large % that finding a non-Muslim one at any given point in time is a lottery) then thats just hard cheese, you'll have to walk miles home in the rain because while you managed to get a non-Muslim cab to go out, you couldn't find anyone prepared to take you on the way home.

I always ask myself in these sort of scenarios - would I swap? That is to say, if person X is demanding special treatment because of some sort of disability or whatever, would I put myself in their shoes in order to get the special treatment? Thus I consider if I'd be prepared to be blind just so my dog could accompany me in a taxi. And no sane person would purposely blind themselves for that reason, so I conclude that the blind persons needs are reasonable, and outweigh the needs of a taxi driver to obey a sky fairy and avoid dogs. If he doesn't want to deal with dogs, don't be a cab driver, any more than get a job at a kennels. There's plenty of jobs that don't require contact with dogs, so a dog disliking Muslim has more options to avoid them than a blind person has to not use cabs.
I do live in a town where the majority of taxi drivers are Muslim. The sheer number of Muslim taxi drivers is another problem in itself, but there's always another cab
The trouble with this viewpoint is that Sobers is saying the person with the biggest need should be able to demand the services of others and if those others do not want to comply, they should be denied the job of their choice (or forced to comply)
I get your point and I understand that the blind woman vs the Muslim isn't the best hill to die on, but your argument basically states that if I can demonstrate a greater need than another, I then have the right to demand their services and enter their property. Take that to it's logical conclusion...

Without Government interference, I'm confident the market will provide. I live near Blackburn and there's always a non-Muslim taxi driver available if you want one. They're scarce, but you just have to know where to go

"If he doesn't want to deal with dogs, don't be a cab driver"
If he wants to be a cab driver who only offers services to people and not animals, I don't see that as an unreasonable aspiration. If he thinks he can make money by ferrying around only giraffes, he should be able to go and do so. The Government should not put him out of work simply because another person who has been deemed more needy than himself, might possible want to use his services one day
As invited, he did take it to it's logical conclusion:
So are you in favour of taxi drivers saying 'No Blacks'? Or 'No women not dressed in burkas'? Or 'No gays'?

As the law stands a pair of flaming queers can order a cab, and any devout Muslim (or indeed evangelical Christian) who turns up must take them to their destination, and rightly so, by threat of legal punishment if he refused. Are you suggesting that such discrimination laws be repealed? If not why are you trying to make life harder for people who are suffering enough as it is?
If we follow my logical conclusion, we end up in a situation where everyone is free to chose what they offer and to who, but with a large section of society possibly disenfranchised. If we follow Sobers logical conclusion, we would be in a situation where everyone is a slave, forced to work on the whims of others who can demonstrate a need

In an ideal world, no-one would even think of judging another by their skin colour or sexual identity, but largely due to religion, we don't live in that world. In the actual world, whatever logical conclusion we adopt, we would probably end up somewhere in the middle of the above spectrum

I would love to live in a time where religion had been abandoned, nobody was racist or bigoted and these laws would not be necessary

But are they necessary now? If I went to get in a cab and the driver told me he doesn't take white people, what would I do?
  • Sue him
  • Call him a racist twat and walk away
I would pick option two

If I were to, say, beat the crap out of him, would he then say, "Sorry, you were right all along. White people are fantastic"?

Would he buggers like. So would he do that if I were to employ the Government version of beating the crap out of him; having him fined or imprisoned because of his wrong think? No, of course not

No matter how vile a persons viewpoint, you can't beat it out of them, fine it out of them or legislate it out of them, so as long as they're not causing any harm, all you will achieve by trying to do so is righteous vengeance

A taxi that refuses to take a certain demographic should be dealt with by one means only, the free market. The conversation did not start about racism or bigotry, it was about blind people being denied the services of a taxi (actually a dog, the blind person would have been welcome on their own, but as the two come as a parcel, we can say the blind person was not allowed in)

Granted, blind people with guide dogs might not have a huge purchasing power or influence in the market, but allowing the market to decide, is the only option that avoids people being made slaves to others, with the threat of force

People, particularly the religious, seriously need to grow up. The human race has a lot of evolution to do before we start to get things right, but Government is not the answer. At least not until that growing up thing has been done

So in answer to Sobers question:
Are you suggesting that such discrimination laws be repealed?
Yes

2 Comments:

JuliaM said...

Bucko said...