Freedom Of Expression

This gay couple is awful.

Mr. Phillips, 61, grew emotional as he talked about the case.

“I have no problem serving anybody — gay, straight, Muslim, Hindu,” he said. “Everybody that comes in my door is welcome here, and any of the products I normally sell I’m glad to sell to anybody.”

But a custom-made wedding cake is another matter, he said.

“Because of my faith, I believe the Bible teaches clearly that it’s a man and a woman,” he said. Making a cake to celebrate something different, he said, “causes me to use the talents that I have to create an artistic expression that violates that faith.”

Mr. Mullins and Mr. Craig, speaking in the kitchen in their Denver home, rejected the distinctions Mr. Phillips drew.

“Our story is about us being turned away and discriminated against by a public business,” said Mr. Mullins, 33, an office manager, poet, musician and photographer.

Who would want to have a wedding cake provided under legal duress? It’s totalitarian.

49 thoughts on “Freedom Of Expression”

  1. The state can compel specific performance (it shouldn’t be able to, but….).

    However, it can not compel good specific performance, and why would anyone want a cake made by someone who could do it poorly?

  2. Well said Rand. I was thinking you should have added something in addition, but on second thought it would dilute your fine point. That other thought was public vs. private. You often see a sign in restaurants that says… “We reserve the right to refuse service.” Will they go after that next?

    The govt. can’t be allowed to discriminate, in part because we all pay taxes. For a private business, they should always have the right to refuse service even if it’s stupid to do so. Another business would probably be happy to have their business.

    Returning to your point, as a customer, gay or otherwise, you always have to find a business that will accommodate your desires. Can I sue any business that doesn’t happen to stock something I want?

    What if there was no available bakery? Do you then go into someone’s home and force them to bake you a cake at gunpoint?

  3. Maybe another business would be happy but suppose you have a quiet family restaurant and half a dozen large, obnoxious loud yobbos walk in and start harassing the wait staff etc etc. Of course you might suggest to them they might want to go elsewhere.

  4. I think we should be able to compel people to perform services for us. For example, picking cotton is a miserable profession – a job Americans won’t do. But Americans have no right to refuse to do anything. So they have to be forced.

    And it would be good for them, in the long run. We could start with the unemployed, most of whom are black. What could be more Progressive than forcing black Americans to pick cotton?

  5. Yuck. Probably the couple doesn’t know what black workers used to do in obnoxious white customers’ food. You’d have to be crazy to eat it.
    But of course they don’t really want a cake, or a wedding. They want to hurt people who disagree with them.

  6. Mr. Whiskey: ” I am a chef. The way I prepare and present my food is art. Since I have a freedom of expression in my art, I choose to not serve african american customers at my lunch counter.”

    Mr. Tango: “I am a hospitality artist. They way I arrange the flowers in the rooms, the way I make the beds, everything, it is all art! Since I have freedom of expression in my art, I choose to not host african american customers at my hotel.”

    Mr. Foxtrot: “I am a lawyer. I advise my clients on how to avoid the indignities required by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by explaining how their everyday actions constitute free speech. I honestly can’t decide whether I myself believe what I’m saying.”

      1. I’m deeply sympathetic to the baker. I think he should have freedom of expression. But I honestly can’t see how “freedom of expression” is compatible with the Civil Rights Act, since any act can be characterized as art.

        So: Gosh Rand, thanks for calling my comment stupid, but I honestly don’t know why it is stupid. And I don’t know why it misses the point. Is the point simply that the gay couple are foolish and mean? Ok, fine, but I thought you were making a point about the 1st amendment.

        1. Because your emotions have overtaken your critical thinking skills. Welcome to the lumpenproliariat. You’ve been duped by cultural marxists propaganda.

        2. That’s life – one human’s civil rights are another’s abridgement of freedom. So, you have to have a standard by which you judge when there is a compelling societal interest in introducing the heavy hand of government to tip the balance.

          In this case, there is no shortage of cakes. There is no significant impact on the lives or livelihoods of those who would be denied cakes from specific persons. Hence, there is no reason for the government to get involved.

    1. The left has no problem with businesses refusing to serve certain customers. There are endless examples of this over just the last year.

      The case in question though is forcing someone to participate in an ideological ceremony. In the USA, the state can’t force someone to participate in your ideological ceremony. Individuals can’t either. You can’t force someone to attend a church or to participate in your ideological ceremony.

      The bakery serves all kinds of people for their regular business, just doesn’t want to participate in ideological ceremonies. That is an important distinction. The bakery has zero issues serving gay people for any other purpose except an ideological ceremony.

      1. The problem is, who decides who is a Nazi, and who isn’t? What are the objective criteria for establishing a threshold?

        1. There can be no objective criteria because the whole point of the continuing revolution is an ever shifting set of demands that require constant change to reinforce control over the populace. And if there is an objective criteria, then out-groups and dissidents can’t be targeted as effectively.

          The definition of a NAZI will always change to whatever it needs to be.

    2. Mr W.T.F., we’ve decided your services meet our needs so you will be working for us now or be destroyed by what we euphemistically describe as law. See, we re benevolently giving you full freedom of choice.

    3. There are always limits. The 2nd Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear arms. But, you can’t keep a nuclear bomb in your basement.

      The threshold is when there is an overriding societal interest. When discrimination against blacks was widespread, to the point of crippling the community from moving forward, society had an overriding interest in proscribing discrimination based upon the color of one’s epidermis.

      Gay couples are not significantly impacted by the refusal of a few people to bake them cakes. Cakes are not in short supply, and the lack of a particular cake does not substantially impact their lives. There is no societal need to compel the baking of cakes for them. Until and unless that changes, forcing others to bake them cakes is just bullying.

        1. Being forced to create art is a good argument. I think the better one is being forced to participate in ideological ceremonies.

          We have the state enforcing what is essentially a religion on people and that runs contrary to the 1st amendment.

        2. I don’t think it matters. Baking can be art. Decorating can be art. Anything can be art. People who argue “anything can be art” are usually quite left-wing. You are missing an opportunity to hoist them (me) by their (my) own petard. It is really quite a clever argument, and it appears to me that you don’t recognize how good it is. I’m not being sarcastic – I think I see a smart general-purpose libertarian argument here, and it is a bit funny to me that you think it is less powerful than I do.

          1. I see that you continue to be an idiot, and that you didn’t read my PJMedia piece.

            Baking is not an art. The baker already said that he’d be happy to sell anyone an off-the-shelf cake.

            It is not about baking. It is about decorating. That is where the art comes in, and that is where the participation in the ceremony comes in. I’m sorry that you too effing stupid to understand that point.

          2. And, really, Bob, do I really have to continually emphasize how totally effing stupid you continue to be on this subject?

            Really? Is there nothing I can to do point that out that will get it through your effing thick leftist skull?

          3. Baking certainly can be performance art, and it is completely irrelevant whether the baker already said that he’d be happy to sell anyone an off-the-shelf cake. I see this case as a way for libertarians to successfully achieve their goals by showing how left-wing has contradictory values.

            I can’t tell whether you understand what I’m saying or not, but a) I’m interesting in an intellectual discussion.
            b) I actually think you’ve won a victory for libertarianism even if you don’t quite understand the extent of your victory
            c) I’ve been polite (if you’ll excuse a little humor regarding “WTF”).
            d) You are not being polite.

            I don’t know why you’re not being polite, but it certainly is your blog, so I’m done.

          4. If I’m “not being polite,” it is because you are being an asshole and continuing to completely miss the point, and still being unwilling to either understand that, or admit it.

            It you are willing at this point to admit it, and explain how you missed the point, and apologize, I’ll accept it, but that doesn’t seem to be where you are.

          5. Forget about “art”, which is entirely subjective. One issue is where the line is crossed between providing a commodity good, and providing a custom service that makes one effectively a participant in the use of one’s production.

            Should a Jewish baker be forced to provide a stylized dessert for an Aryan Nations ceremony? Where does one draw the line?

            Another issue is whether there is a compelling State interest in getting involved. At some point, there might be. If gay couples were completely cut off from the market for artisan cakes, that might be a problem. Particularly because, if they are cut off from that market, they would probably be cut off from others, as well.

            But, that is not the case. Artisan cakes are widely available. I’d go so far as to suggest that it is likely that most are produced by gay artisans. So, why should the government step in and force a particular baker to provide one?

  7. While getting rid of Jim Crow was a good thing–the government should treat all of its citizens equally and not discriminate for or against any of them–the Civil Rights laws of the 1960s went too far when they redefined private businesses as “public accommodations”.

    There is nothing wrong with private discrimination. Suppose a black man opens a barber shop and wishes to cater to an exclusively black clientele (since “black hair” is different from “white hair”). As a white man, that doesn’t harm me at all. There are plenty of other barber shops where I can go. Likewise, suppose a lesbian opens a restaurant and wishes to cater to a female clientele. Again, that doesn’t bother me a bit. I have plenty of other options. I wish them both success.

    Ayn Rand said at the time, “Freedom of association includes the freedom not to associate.”

    1. When I was a kid I took over management of a restaurant that was part of a 21 store chain. The existing managers knew something I didn’t. I had an all girl crew including the mother of the manager that left. That I knew. What I didn’t know was the old manager was a lesbian, her girlfriend still worked there. …and the old manager was hitting on all the girls, straight or not. Which I only found out when I found one of my waitresses crying and ask her about it.

      I fixed the situation, but the other managers thought it was a great joke.

  8. In this Brave New World, a Christian baker must bake gay wedding cakes, but a DNS registrar is free to cancel right-wing domain names just because they feel like it.

    It’s almost like there’s a hidden agenda somewhere.

    1. YouTube is also free to censor and demonetize videos that they don’t like just like FaceBook is free to censor their platform as well.

      All of these companies were quick to embrace the demands of places like China to use censorship and enable population control and while our government, for now, isn’t making any of those demands, the internet companies act like their own little communist dictatorships.

    2. a hidden agenda

      Like, the fools gave us power so let’s kick equal justice to the curb?

      Spare the rod and spoil the child. The children now make the rules and the ‘adults’ are so stupid they aren’t taking away their keys.

      Not to confuse GOP with adults but they now have a once in a lifetime opportunity and they’ve wasted 8 months o it with only 16 months let of it being certain.

    1. Another thing I just thought of is that this is another good reason not to be in a commoditized business selling to anyone walking in off the street. No annoying people are going to knock on the door of SpaceX and demand service.

      1. No annoying people are going to knock on the door of SpaceX and demand service.

        I bet there’s plenty of annoying people. They have to wave some pretty hefty amounts of money to get in the door though.

  9. I wasn’t “being an asshole”. I came up with my initial argument independently, and I’m pleased to see that the ACLU will be arguing the same argument before the Supreme Court.

    But the American Civil Liberties Union attorneys representing the couple, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, claim that Phillips’s reasoning for discriminating against their clients could apply to a host of other businesses.

    “For example, hair salons, tailors, restaurants, architecture firms, florists, jewelers, theaters and dance schools use artistic skills when serving customers or clients,” the ACLU argued in briefs.

    Louise Melling, ACLU’s deputy legal director, said Phillips’s argument is nothing more than an argument that the U.S. Constitution protects the right to discriminate.

    “What’s at stake is whether a business that opens its doors to the public can turn you away for who you are,” she said.

    You obviously don’t agree, but I initially made identical to the one which will argued before the supreme court, and you dismissed it as missing the point. I’m confident that the Supreme Court will at least touch on the age old question “what constitutes art?” We could have discussed how question pertains to the 1st amendment and the Civil Rights Act, but you went with rude insults instead. Too bad.

    1. Some words were dropped from my last paragraph, so here is what I hope will be the correct version.

      You obviously don’t agree, but I initially made an argument identical to the one which will argued before the supreme court, and you dismissed it as missing the point. I’m confident that the Supreme Court will at least touch on the age old question “what constitutes art?” We could have discussed how that question pertains to the 1st amendment and the Civil Rights Act, but you went with rude insults instead. Too bad.

    2. The ACLU are also being assholes, and have long lost touch with their original purpose in life. There is a word for those who demand that others be compelled to participate in a ceremony that violates their conscience by force of the state. That word is “totalitarian.”

      1. Yes. I mean, I certainly don’t agree that I’m an asshole, but I agree with your second and third sentences. That is why you have such a strong argument! It is an even stronger argument if you appeal to a belief typical among people on the left: the belief that art (and religious participation) have extremely flexible definitions.

        However, if you can accept that many seemingly mundane activities, such as arranging the silverware for a dinner party, might have an artistic component, then you’re opening the door to unintentionally protecting heretofore illegal racial discrimination in your admirable zeal to protect freedom of speech and freedom of religious expression.

        I find the whole situation intriguing and baffling, leading me to exclaim”WTF?”, not in the sense of swearing at you, but in the same sense that a scientist like Tabby Boyajian might exclaim WTF upon first noticing the mysterious dips in the brightness of KIC 8462852.

          1. Rand, there *might* be artistry in laying out silver. You can’t be sure. I can imagine you scoffing at this assertion. So…

            ….are you familiar with Duchamp’s Fountain? Quoting from Wikipedia: ” Duchamp’s Fountain was voted the most influential artwork of the 20th century by 500 selected British art world professionals.”

            Are you familiar with the story? Duchamp went shopping at a plumbing supply store. He purchased a urinal. He mysteriously signed it “”R. Mutt 1917” and then placed it in an art exhibit.

            Thousands of essays have been written about Duchamp’s award-winning art. Thousands of essays have been written about *why* it is art, and not just a urinal.

            “Duchamp has been compared to Leonardo da Vinci, as a profound philosopher-artist.”

   <— the message is in the url

            Again, it is easy to imagine you scoffing. But the art world disagrees. And that disagreement is what you appear to not understand. Someone who understood who artists and art critics think could use it to their advantage, as explained in my comments above.

          2. Rand, there *might* be artistry in laying out silver.

            Yes, if one wants to be a pedantic asshole, and a totalitarian, one might attempt to pathetically make that case, and I fully expect you and the ACLU to do so, because…well…you know…

          3. The last sentence should have read “Someone _how_ understood who artists and art critics think could use it to their advantage, as explained in my comments above.”

            Anyway, Duchamp was clearly having a laugh, but lots of people found his art, such as it was, meaningful and interesting and worthy of serious commentary – the sort of serious fine art that the Supreme Court would almost certainly recognize as worthy of protection under the 1st amendment. This should give you pause, when you consider it in the context of the wedding cake case.

          4. Third time should be the charm:

            “Someone who understood _how_ artists and art critics think could use it to their advantage, as explained in my comments above.”

          5. This is a double-edged sword. If the Supreme Court is willing to protect art such as Duchamp’s,
            the ACLU would lose!

            Anyone in the USA, including libertarians who just want to be left alone, can use the Duchamp example to argue that their 1st rights trump the government’s anti-discrimination laws.

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