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Lincoln's Slaves

A West Hollywood "Gay" Bar has announced it will not serve California legislators who stand up to the LGBT lobby's demands. Bar owner David Cooley defended his no-entry list saying: 

“I want to send a message to all those people out there who conflate Christian values with discrimination: we don’t want your kind here,” Cooley said. “I’ve learned that I can’t stop crazy, ignorant or stupid, but I can stop it from coming through my doors.”

Cooley's statement reeks of irrationality and dishonesty. Is he trying to say that Christian values are incompatible with discriminating against sodomy or that he hates Christianity because it discriminates against sodomy or both? It doesn't really matter.

These are the people who use the word "gay"—which formerly meant cheerful, merry—to refer to the depressing and suicidal lifestyle of non-reproductive human animals that identify themselves exclusively by their sexual habits. Most of us "straights" have had homosexual friends who did not reduce their personalities and lives down to that lowest of lowest common denominators. What's next, a new movement whose members are defined by their preferred mode of using the bathroom?

Meanwhile, back in the USofA, Arizona governor Jan Brewer is still debating, with all the profundity she is capable of, whether or not to sign a bill permitting churches and businesses not to provide services to homosexual marriage ceremonies. Since Brewer is a national Republican in good standing, the issue of that "debate" is not in any doubt. Lusting after respectability, the governor will undoubtedly veto the bill.

Rational Americans, if there are any capable of thinking on a higher plane than Governor Brewer or gaybarowner Cooley, will scratch their heads. How can a California gay bar deny service to patrons who do not promote LGBT "rights," if an Arizona wedding planner cannot refuse to serve a homosexual couple.

The answer is quite simple.  Mr/Ms Cooley and Ms Brewer are on the right side of history, while the poor benighted Christians of middle America are not.

Once upon a time, someone who owned a house or a business could serve whatever customers, rent to whomever he liked. If he did not like you because your hair was too long, your skin too dark, or your feet too light in the loafers, that was his business. As Senator Sam Ervin used to say (quoting the poet John Ciardi, whose translation of Dante I heartily recommend), "The Constitution of the United States gives every man the right to make a damn fool of himself." If a businessman is willing to lose money by refusing to do business or hire competent employees, that was his look-out.

Speaking personally, I supported the civil rights movement until the leaders pushed for national legislation restricting the rights of property owners. I can remember the day on which I came to this decision. I was in graduate school, talking to a moderate pro-business liberal who astonished me (I thought of myself as a radical) by caving into such an illiberal onslaught on property rights. All I got in response to my criticism was sentimental twaddle about how it felt to be the victim of discrimination.

The current onslaught on the rights of small businessmen is even more frightening.  From now on, independent wedding planners, cake-bakers, photographers, and musicians will be required to perform their services involuntarily for people they would prefer not to serve. There is a word for involuntary servitude, and that word is slavery. As black people used to complain, whenever told to do perform a task they did not want to, "I thought Lincoln freed the slaves."

Of course, we know Lincoln really didn't free many slaves, but that is beside the point. The fact is that, in one way or another, all Americans are becoming more like slaves every day.  Oh, we don't call it that, goodness knows. As South Carolina's James Hammond responded to northern politicians who claimed to have ended slavery, "yes, the word but not the thing."

We eliminated Southern slavery in order to create a servile proletariat in the North, but most blacks are no freer in 2014 than they were in 1860. They are merely slaves on the Federal plantation. We promoted the theoretical rights of women and children, at the expense of the historic rights of white male property-owners of the type that created this country, but the women and children who have been liberated from patriarchal fathers and husbands are now wards of the state.

There is no irony in any of this, much less evidence of any conspiracy. The modern state is a parasite that can grow only by sucking the vitality out of its hosts—the real men and women who work hard, bear and rear children, and mind their own business—and businesses. What are our masters going to do when there is no one left to tax but social workers, foodstamp recipients, and gaybarowners?  

Who could possibly care?  

Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is the former editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of The Politics of Human Nature, Montenegro: The Divided Land, and The Morality of Everyday Life, named Editors' Choice in philosophy by Booklist in 2005. He is the coauthor of The Conservative Movement and the editor of Immigration and the American Identity. He holds a Ph.D. in classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Before joining the Rockford Institute, he taught classics at the University of Miami of Ohio, served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Education, and was headmaster at the Archibald Rutledge Academy. He has been published in, among others, The Spectator (London), Independent on Sunday (London), Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times, National Review, Classical Journal, Telos, and Modern Age. He and his wife, Gail, have four children and four grandchildren.

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