Conservatives as a group often agree that if a Christian baker wants to refuse to bake a cake to a same-sex couple, they are free to do so. But when a conservative is asked to leave a restaurant or property, because its staff and owner do not agree with her politics, well, then that’s a problem.
Columnist Michael Graham wrote about the issue on an op-ed. According to the writer, “[t]he treatment of Sanders at the Red Hen restaurant is the very incarnation of the double standard many conservative Americans feel they’ve lived under for years. Their social media feeds are full of liberals supporting the very same behavior for which they’ve been condemned as (literally) ‘bigots’ and ‘Nazis’.
While this might as well be true, many on the left may use this story, in particular, to say that conservatives have a double standard when it comes to freedom of association.
After White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders shared on social media that the head of the Red Hen had asked her to leave, several different Red Hens, all of which had nothing to do with the incident, received threats from Sanders sympathizers who simply cannot deal with the fact that a private company can ask a customer to leave.
This behavior, while not representative of all conservatives, will undoubtedly be used by people on the left as “proof” that, yes, the right will only defend their own.
The Only Solution To The Double Standard: Property Rights
In the baker’s case, the Supreme Court ruled that Colorado authorities had been hostile towards him because of his religious beliefs. That made the case about religious freedom.
In Sanders’ case, no charges were filed and no legal case will be pursued. But many are angry that a restaurant would show “hostility” toward a member of the Donald Trump administration. Many would say that they discriminated against Sanders on the basis of political affiliation.
Well, how about looking at the core of both of these issues?
In both cases, we have two private parties attempting to do business with each other. And in both cases, the service or goods provider refuses to engage with the second party claiming that the mere association would make them feel untrue to their faith or political views.
In both cases, the party told to leave has to respect the property right of the business owner. Period.
Politics or religion aside, what matters is that only property is at stake here, therefore property should be protected.
In the baker’s case, the party denied service used aggression, or the state, to punish the property owner. In Sanders’ case, she did what was expected of her: she left. Even if she complained later about it, she did not call for an insurrection against Red Hen. Yet, many reportedly took it upon themselves to “get back” at the restaurant by making threats on the internet.
As you can see, the only solution to this problem is to get back to the basics.
As economist Murray Rothbard put it, “there are no human rights that are separable from property rights.” And it’s because liberals and conservatives insist on using politics or religion as a means to protect speech that there’s so much confusion.
Want to rid the country of double standards? Then uphold property rights regardless of who’s involved that creates a culture of respect for property – not just by people who agree with us on any given subject.